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Rev. xvii. 18—The great city, which reigneth over the Kings of the earth.

In my previous lectures I have attempted to show from the internal evidence of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans that there existed at Rome in 57 A.D. a Christian Church of high repute and many years' standing, and that this Church had been founded and built up by a man into the sphere of whose labours he [St. Paul] had been careful not to intrude. Moreover though St. Paul does not mention the name of the man, circumstantial evidence has been brought forward making a very strong prima facie case in favour of the ancient tradition that he was none other than St. Peter.

To-day I propose to consider how far that tradition in the form in which it has been handed down to us by Eusebius and Jerome132132Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. book ii. cc. xiii, xiv, xv; Jerome, De Viris Illustribus. The evidence of Eusebius, it must be remembered, was based upon a wide acquaintance with earlier Christian literature and with a mass of official Church documents and state papers, as well as local traditions now lost to us, and that Jerome had studied Eusebius' works, and that he had access to the Eusebian sources. Eusebius for example tells us that he was acquainted with the five books of the Commentaries of Hegesippus, a Hebrew Christian who journeyed to Rome from the East expressly to learn what was the true doctrine taught there (Hist. Eccl. iv. 22). It appears that when at Rome Hegesippus drew up a list of the Roman bishops. See Bright, Introd. to Eusebius' Eccl. History, pp. xxviii-xxix; Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Clement of Rome, i. 202–3; Lawlor, Eusebiana. is consistent with the facts of the early Apostolic history contained in the Acts and the Pauline Epistles and fits in with the chronological framework of that history.


Eusebius133133Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. 13. 14. tells us, on the authority of Justin Martyr (a passage of whose ‘Apology'134134Justin, Apologia, i. 26. he quotes at length), that a certain Simon of the village of Gitton in Samaria, whom nearly all the Samaritans worshipped, confessing him to be the Supreme God, came to Rome in the reign of Claudius Caesar and having there performed many magic rites was regarded as a god. After further describing, this time on the authority of Irenaeus, the character of this man's teaching, as being the fountain-head of all heresy, Eusebius proceeds to say that when in Judaea Simon was convicted of his wickedness by the Apostle Peter, and later journeying from the east to the west arrived at Rome and was there successful in bringing many to believe in his pretensions. ‘Not for long, however,' adds the historian, ‘did his success continue; for on his steps in this same reign of Claudius, the all-good and most beneficent providence of God conducts the mighty and great one of the Apostles, Peter, on account of his virtue the leader of all the rest, to Rome against so great a corruption of life, who like some noble warrior of God armed with divine weapons, brought the precious merchandise of the light that had been made manifest from the east to those in the west, preaching the true light and the word that is the salvation of souls, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.'135135οὐ μὴν εἰς μακρὸν αὐτῷ ταῦτα προὐχώρει. Παρὰ πόδας γοῦν ἐπὶ τῆς αὐτῆς Κλαυδίου βασιλείας, ἡ πανάγαθος καὶ φιλανθρωποτάτη τῶν ὅλων πρόνοια τὸν καρτερὸν καὶ μέγαν τῶν ἀποστόλων, τὸν ἀρετῆς ἕνεκα τῶν λοιπῶν ἁπάντων προήγορον, Πέτρον, ἐπὶ τὴν Ῥώμην ὡς ἐπὶ τηλικοῦτον λυμεῶνα βίου χειραγωγεῖ, ὃς οἷά τις γενναῖος Θεοῦ στρατηγὸς τοῖς θείοις ὅπλοις φραξάμενος, τὴν πολυτίμητον ἐμπορίαν τοῦ νοητοῦ φωτὸς ἐξ ἀνατολῶν τοῖς κατὰ δύσιν ἐκόμιζεν, φῶς αὐτὸ καὶ λόγον ψυχῶν σωτήριον, τὸ κήρυγμα τῆς τῶν οὐρανῶν βασιλείας εὐαγγελιζόμενος. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. 14.

It is not necessary here to enter into any detailed examination of the theories of Christian Baur136136See Baur's Kirchengeschichte der drei ersten Christl. Jahrhunderten; Paulus der Apostel Jesu Christi; Die Christus Partei in Korinth &c. and his disciples of the Tübingen School or of the arguments of Richard Lipsius137137Lipsius, Die Apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden, Quellen d. röm. Petrus Sage and other works. in their attempt to prove that the Roman 61Petrine legend was without foundation and that Simon Magus never had any real existence, but was a lay figure concealing the personality of St. Paul; for later research has shown that their conception of the course of early Christian History is fundamentally false and it is becoming generally discredited. These distinguished scholars indeed, while brushing aside the pseudo-Clementine literature with one hand, as pure romance invented by Essene-Ebionite writers of the third and fourth centuries, at the same time laid hold with the other hand on those very fictions, on which the Clementine romance is built up, in order to erect thereon a romance of their own equally unsubstantial, and no less inconsistent with the clear evidence of the earlier authorities that we possess. Dr. Hort as long ago as 1884 in his ‘Lectures on the Clementine Recognitions' (pp. 130–1) declared—‘all these impossible theories [of the Tübingen School] have no other real basis than the assumption that Simon is only St. Paul in disguise. The true relations of the Syrian and Roman stories are much simpler, according to what seems to me the most natural interpretation. Simon at Rome was familiar in the second century; of Simon in conflict with Peter in Syria, we hear nothing till the third century has well begun.'

Indeed with regard to this second century evidence, how is it possible to set aside the statements of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus ? The evidence of Justin is of great weight. He was himself born at Flavia Neapolis in Samaria in 103 A.D., a place only a few miles distant from the native place of Simon Magus. His account of Simon's earlier activity and great success in the neighbourhood of his own home must be regarded as first-hand evidence, and it is in exact agreement with the other account of that earlier activity which we have in the eighth chapter of the Acts, an account which it is more than probable that St. Luke derived directly from that best of all witnesses, Philip the Evangelist. I have already pointed out that the emphasis with which St. Luke dwells upon this episode of the encounter between Peter and Simon at Samaria suggests that he had in 62his mind that later encounter at Rome, which would be fresh in the memories of the first readers of the Acts.138138See p. 38. Be this as it may, Justin was himself at Rome for some years between 150 and 160 A.D., and wrote his ‘Apology' to the Emperor Antoninus Pius in that city. In writing a defence intended for the Imperial eyes it may surely be taken for granted that Justin would not twice over have ventured (for in a slightly different form in c. 56139139προεβάλλοντο ἄλλους Σίμωνα μὲν καὶ Μένανδρον ἀπὸ Σαμαρείας οἳ καὶ μαγικὰς δυνάμεις ποιήσαντες πολλοὺς ἐξηπάτησαν καὶ ἔτι ἀπατωμένους ἔχουσι. καὶ γὰρ παῤ ὑμῖν, ὡς προέφημεν, ἐν τῇ βασιλίδι Ῥώμῃ ἐπὶ Κλαυδίου Καίσαρος γενόμενος ὁ Σίμων καὶ τὴν ἱερὰν σύγκλητον καὶ τὸν δῆμον Ῥωμαίων εἰς ποσοῦτο κατεπλήξατο ὡς θεὸς νομισθῆναι, καὶ ἀνδριάντι, ὡς τοὺς ἄλλους παῤ ὑμῖν τιμωμένους θεούς, τιμηθῆναι.. Apol. 56. he repeats the statement from c. 26 already quoted) to declare that the Magician Simon of Samaria visited Rome in the reign of Claudius and that a statue was erected in his honour and that he was worshipped as a god, unless it were well known that such had been the case. Yet a third time in his ‘Dialogue with Trypho'140140Dial. cum Trypho. 126. Justin speaks of the Simonians as an existing sect that took their name from the arch-heretic. Two points have been pressed against the evidence of Justin. The first that he states that Simon ‘had been honoured with a statue as a god in the river Tiber, (on an island) between the two bridges, having the superscription in Latin Simoni Deo Sancto, which is, To Simon the Holy God.' Now in this same island was found in the sixteenth century an inscription to the Sabine God Semo Sancus, i.e. Semoni Sanco Deo Fidio. It is of course quite possible that Justin saw this inscription, and being a Samaritan ignorant of Latin mythology mistook this for an inscription referring to Simon Magus. It was a natural mistake. That Justin was right in saying that a statue was erected to Simon and worshipped is sustained, as will be seen, by other evidence. The other point is that while Justin states that Simon was in Rome in the reign of Claudius he makes no mention of his encounter with St. Peter. The only argument here is that most 63treacherous and worthless of all arguments—the argumentum ex silentio. Justin was not writing for our instruction, but was offering a defence of Christianity to a Roman Emperor. If anyone has thought that the omission of Peter's name here was an argument against his presence in Rome in the reign of Claudius, let him read the summaries of Justin's pleading in the latest edition of the ‘Apologia' by Mr. A. W. F. Blunt (Camb. Univ. Press, 1911), and he will see that neither in the twenty-sixth nor in the fifty-sixth chapter was there any place for a reference to Peter.

The evidence of Irenaeus, who was in Rome some ten or fifteen years after Justin, is equally striking. Irenaeus writes at some length about Simon. He describes the rudimentary gnosticism of his teaching, and, like Justin, he mentions the tradition that an image was erected by Claudius Caesar to his honour in the figure of Jupiter, which the people worshipped, and he speaks of him as the father of all heretics.141141Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. (Library of Ante-Nicene Fathers, tr. by Keble), p. 68; Irenaeus speaks of the Simonians as an existing sect, i. 33. Even these testimonies to the still living fame of Simon, as a religious leader whose lofty pretensions and skilful charlatanry had made a deep impression at Rome and elsewhere, do not stand alone. The discovery in the middle of the last century of a MS. at Mount Athos containing a Iarge part of the ‘Philosophumena' or ‘Refutation of all Heresies' by Hippolytus, the learned bishop of Portus, has thrown much fresh light upon Simon and his teaching.142142Hippolytus, Philosophumenos, vi. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Hippolytus, who is described as a disciple of Irenaeus,143143Photius speaks of him as a disciple of Irenaeus. spent at least twenty years of his life at or pear Rome and also travelled widely. He devotes a long section of his sixth book, which was probably written about 225 A.D., to an account of the heresy of which Simon was the author. Of the man himself he writes thus144144Philos. vi. 15. : ‘This Simon deceiving many by his sorceries in Samaria was reproved by the Apostles and was laid under a curse, as it has been written 64in the Acts. But he afterwards abjured the faith and attempted [these practices]. And journeying as far as Rome he fell in with the Apostle, and to him, deceiving many by his sorceries, Peter offered repeated opposition.' Here then is another absolutely clear statement that Simon went to Rome and there encountered St. Peter.

Frankly then the contention that Simon is merely Paul in disguise, Paul the heretic in the eyes of all good Jews, whom the orthodox Peter is represented as triumphantly pursuing from place to place, has not a shred of early evidence behind it, and must be given up. Indeed Professor Kirsopp Lake in his recent work on the early epistles of St. Paul does not express himself a whit too strongly, when he says ‘The figure of a Judaizing St. Peter is a figment of the Tübingen critics with no basis in history.'145145Kirsopp Lake, Early Epistles of St. Paul, p. 116. See the Introduction to Dr. Bigg's First Epistle of St. Peter (Int. Crit. Commentary), pp. 52–67. So far indeed from Peter and Paul being bitterly opposed, there is every ground for believing that they worked at Rome during their latter years in the closest harmony. The First Epistle of Peter is saturated with Pauline thoughts and language, and its amanuensis was Silvanus, the companion of Paul on his second missionary journey. St. Paul twice mentions Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, as being with him during his first imprisonment, and writing to Timothy immediately before his death shows anxiety to have him at his side, because ‘he is profitable to me in the ministry.'1461462 Tim. iv. 11. Whatever misunderstandings concerning their attitude towards Judaism or divergences in practice there may have been between the two great Apostles in early days, it is evident that they have been greatly exaggerated. It was rather on questions of expediency than of principle that they differed, and the experience of years spent in earnest work had long before the end drawn them together into the friendliest co-operation.

The appearance of Simon Magus at Rome followed by Simon Peter, so far from being an extraordinary or even an 65unusual event, is one in complete accord with all that we know from non-Christian sources of the way in which during the reigns of Claudius and of Nero religious teachers, preachers, and wonder-workers from the East found their way to Rome. Oriental cults, especially the worship of Cybele and of Isis, were all the vogue. Judaism had great attractions for the Roman upper classes. Priests, magicians, soothsayers, astrologers crowded the capital and found a ready welcome. Claudius, we are told, was so struck by ‘the progress of foreign superstitions' that he thought it an act of sound political conservatism to re-establish the haruspices.147147Renan, Hibbert Lectures, p. 54. See Lehmann, Claudius und seine Zeit, p. 326: ‘Widersetzte er (Claudius) sich energisch, wiewohl erfolglos der mystischen Richtung der Zeit, welche sich namentlich in der Vorliebe für Superstitions peregrinae kundgab.' Harnack makes the statement in his ‘Expansion of Christianity' that ‘the majority of the Christians with whose travels we are acquainted made [Rome] their goal,' and he admits that there are no real grounds for doubting that Simon Magus did so.148148Harnack, Expansion of Christianity (Eng. tr.), i. 463. Of prominent Christians who were in Rome in the time of St. Peter's and St. Paul's ministry, Timothy, Apollos, Silas, Titus, Epaphras, Aristarchus, Mark and Luke are mentioned in the salutations of extant epistles, and in all probability the names of John and of Barnabas should be added to the list. The travels and experiences of Apollonius of Tyana are most instructive (even when full allowance has been made for the element of romance introduced by his biographer Philostratus), for he was an exact contemporary of the Apostles, and a kind of second Simon Magus. His vast journeys, which extended from the Ganges to the Pillars of Hercules, are a proof of the facilities with which such wonder-working teachers of philosophy and religion made their way from place to place, and the honour and respect with which they were generally received. Apollonius was in Rome in 65 and 66 A.D.149149Philostratus, Apollonius of Tyana, iv. 35–41; Justin, Irenaeus and Hegesippus were all Eastern Christians who came to Rome. Also the Jews, Josephus and Philo.


Of St. Peter's first Roman visit and preaching early tradition has handed down few details; a series, however, of witnesses affirm that Mark accompanied the Apostle to Rome and there wrote his Gospel. Both Irenaeus and John the Presbyter, as reported by Papias, speak of Mark as Peter's ‘interpreter,'150150The testimony of Irenaeus (Cont. Haer. iii. i. 1) will be found in Eusebius Hist. Eccl. v. 8; that of Papias, 39. See Chapman, Journ. of Theol. Stud. July 1905, p. 563 ff.; Harnack, Neue Untersuchungen zur Apost. Geschichte, pp. 88–93; Macchi, Critica Storica e 1'origine della Chiesa Romana, pp. 25–29. as do later writers. That Peter should have chosen John Mark to go with him is quite what one might expect from the narrative of the Acts, for Peter was clearly on terms of the closest intimacy with Mary, the mother of Mark and the aunt of Barnabas, whose house was a centre of reunion for the Christians of Jerusalem. There is no reason for thinking that this was the first time that Mark had acted as the Apostle's companion and interpreter ; his services would ‘be profitable to the ministry' in Palestine, scarcely less than in Rome, and the suggestion that he was a catechist to whom the instruction of the Apostle's Greek-speaking converts in the elements of the Gospel story was entrusted, is both plausible and probable.151151See The Composition of the Four Gospels by Rev, A. Wright, ch. iii, ‘St. Mark a Catechist.' His surname, Marcus, may be taken as indicating that his family had some Roman connexion; he may have been, like Paul and Silas, a Roman citizen. Eusebius relates that as a consequence of Peter's preaching ‘the power of Simon was soon extinguished and destroyed together with the man,' but that the Apostle's hearers were not content with listening but once ‘to the unwritten doctrine of the Divine Message, but they persisted in supplicating Mark, who was Peter's companion and whose Gospel is extant, that he should leave them also in writing a memorial of the doctrine that had been orally delivered. Nor did they cease their entreaties until they had prevailed with the man, and in this way that writing which is called the Gospel according to Mark is due to them. And they say that when the Apostle through the 67revelation of the Spirit knew what was done he was pleased with the zeal of the men and gave authority for the writing to be read publicly in the churches.'152152Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. xv.: παρακλήσεσι δὲ παντοίαις Μάρκου, οὗ τὸ Εὐαγγελίον φέρεται, ἀκόλουθον ὄντα Πέτρου λιπαρῆσαι, ὡς ἂν καὶ διὰ γραφῆς ὑπόμνημα τῆς διὰ λόγου παραδοθείσης αὐτοῖς καταλείψοι διδασκαλίας, μὴ πρότερόν τε ἀνεῖναι, ἢ κατεργάσασθαι τὸν ἄνδρα, καὶ ταύτῃ αἰτίους γενέσθαι τῆς τοῦ λεγομένου κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγελίου γραφῆς. Γνόντα δὲ τὸ πραχθὲν φασὶ τὸν ἀπόστολον, ἀποκαλύψαντος αὐτῷ τοῦ πνεύματος, ἡσθῆναι τῇ τῶν ἀνδρῶν προθυμίᾳ, κύρωσαί τε τὴν γραφὴν εἰς ἔντευξιν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. This, says Eusebius, is the account given by Clement [of Alexandria] in the sixth book of his ‘Hypotyposeis' and that it is also corroborated by Papias the bishop of Hierapolis. In other parts of his work Eusebius actually gives the quotations to which he here refers, from which it appears that he has really combined more than one passage of Clement in his statement.153153The clause above beginning φασὶ τὸν ἀπόστολον is Eusebius' own, derived not from the Hypotyposeis book vii. quoted Eccl. Hist. vi. 14, but from some other source. The words of Clement in the Hypotyposeis are remarkable—ὕπερ ἐπιγνόντα τὸν Πέτρον προτρεπτικῶς μήτε κωλῦσαι μήτε προτρέψασθαι. Eusebius seems to have had in his mind another passage of Clement from Adumb. in 1 Peter v. 13 (quoted by Harnack, Neue Untersuchungen, p. 89)—‘Marcus, Petri sectator, praedicante Petro evangelium palam Romae coram quibusdam Caesareanis equitibus et multa Christi testimonia proferente, petitus ab eis, ut possent quae dicebantur memoriae commendare, scripsit ex his, quae a Petro dicta sunt, evangelium quod secundum Marcum vocitatur.' The evidence of John, as recorded by Papias154154Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39. —‘that Mark being the interpreter of Peter wrote whatsoever he remembered with great accuracy, but not in the order in which the things were said or done by the Lord '—is interesting, for it seems to point to the Gospel in its present form having been compiled from a set of separate lections intended for public exposition and for catechetical instruction. Harnack has come to the conclusion that ‘internal indications place no impediment in the way of assigning Mark at the latest to the sixth decade of the first century.'155155Harnack, New Untersuchungen, p. 88. The difficulties in accepting the Gospel of St. Mark, as we now possess it, as the common narrative source of St. Matthew and St. Luke, appear to me well-nigh insuperable. But if we suppose that this Gospel is a revised continuous narrative formed from a number of separate lections or instructions written by Mark previously for the use of Greek-speaking converts in Judaea, the difficulty is largely removed. If St. Luke had completed the Acts in 62 A.D., it is highly probable that he composed his Gospel at Caesarea during St. Paul's captivity under Felix. Such a set of catechetical instructions correspond almost exactly to the type of διήγησις of which Luke speaks in his preface. He would find the Marcan lections, embodying as they did the teaching of St. Peter, almost certainly in the possession of such a leader among the Hellenist teachers as Philip the Evangelist, who was residing at Caesarea at the same time as Luke. But it is fairly certain that Mark was 68not at Rome during the sixth decade, and there can therefore be no objection to accepting the voice of tradition, which makes the Gospel to have been written for the use of St. Peter's Roman converts about the year 45 A.D.

The evidence of St. Jerome, as to the form of the Petrine tradition, which was current in the Rome of Pope Damasus during the latter part of the fourth century, now demands our most careful attention, for it is of great importance. His words (to which I have already referred) are: ‘Simon Peter . . . prince of the Apostles, after an episcopacy of the Antiochean Church, and after preaching to the dispersion of those of the circumcision, who had believed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, in the second year of Claudius journeys to Rome to combat Simon Magus, and there for twenty-five years he occupied the sacerdotal chair, until the last year of Nero, that is the fourteenth.'156156Simon Petrus . . . princeps Apostolorum, post episcopatum Antiochensis ecclesiae et praedicationem dispersionis eorum qui de circumcisione crediderant, in Ponto, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia et Bithynia, secundo Claudii anno ad expugnandum Simonem Magum Romam pergit, ibique viginti quinque annis cathedram sacerdotalem tenuit, usque ad ultimum annum Neronis, id est decimum quartum. De Viris Illust. i. The biographical notice of St. Peter, which appears in the edition of the ‘Liber Pontificalis' published about 530 A.D., is, as the Abbé Duchesne states,157157Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, i. 51, 119. borrowed from St. Jerome, and this notice has remained as what may be justly styled the standard Roman tradition ever since. I have said that this represents the form of that tradition as it obtained at Rome in the pontificate of Damasus (366–384). Damasus has been well named the first Christian archaeologist. Some of his many beautifully engraved inscriptions, embodying often 69the results of personal research and investigation, above the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs and in the churches of Rome are still extant.158158Marucchi, Eléments d'Archéologie Chrétienne, 226–240; Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 296. Tradition connects the name of this Pope, coupled with that of Jerome, with the compilation of the original ‘Liber Pontificalis,' as the forged letters prefixed to the work testify. Indeed so long and to such an extent did this tradition survive that in the thirteenth century and later we find the work designated as the ‘Chronica Damasi' or ‘Damasus de Gestis Pontificum.'159159Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 304. In any case Damasus did make the early history of the Roman Church his special study, and Jerome was his secretary at the time of his death in 384. Nor was this all. Jerome spent some time in his earlier life at Rome, as a student, and he has himself left on record,160160‘Dum essem puer et liberalibus studiis erudirer, solebam cum caeteris eiusdem aetatis et propositi, diebus dominicis sepulchra Apostolorum et martyrum circuire, crebroque cryptas ingredi, quae in terrarum profunda defossae, ex utraque parte ingredientium per parietes habent corpora sepultorum, et ita obscura sunt omnia, ut propemodum illud propheticum compleatur: Descendant ad infernum viventes (Ps. liv. 16); et raro desuper lumen admissum horrorem temperet tenebrarum, ut non tam fenestram quam foramen demissi luminis putes et caeca nocte circumdatis illud Virgilianum proponitur: “Horror ubique animos, simul ipsa silentia terrent.”' Migne, P.L. t. xxv. c. 375. In Ezeck. xii. 40. how at that time he visited the sepulchres of the Apostles and martyrs in the catacombs, and it must be borne in mind that in those days there were in existence very many tombs and inscriptions of the highest historical interest, which have long since been destroyed, and that others were then accessible, which have not yet been unearthed. Lastly in assaying the value of Jerome's evidence, as to the received Petrine tradition in the pontificate of Damasus, it is a matter of no small interest to know that he must have met at Rome in 382–84 and been the companion at the Papal Court of Furius Dionysius Filocalus.161161Marucchi, Eléments d'Archéologie Chrétienne, i. 230, 235; De Rossi, Roma Sotterranea, i. 118 ff, ii. 196 ff.; Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. pp. 64, 249. This man was the artist who engraved the 70Damasene inscriptions, so noted for the peculiar beauty and special character of their calligraphy. He was the illuminator and probably the editor of the Liberian or Filocalian Catalogue of the Roman Bishops, which was compiled and edited in 354 A.D. and which was the basis of the later ‘Liber Pontificalis.'162162Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, i. 4; Lipsius, ‘Die Bischofslisten des Eusebius' in ‘Neue Studien zur Papstgeschichte,' Jahrb. f. Protest. Theol. vi. 233 ff. 1880; Mommsen, ‘Ueber den Chronographen vom Jahre 354' in Abhandlungen der Philol. Hist. Classe d. K. Sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 1854; Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. ‘Early Roman Succession,' pp. 199–345; vol. ii. ‘Hippolytus of Portus,' pp. 317–477. With this Liberian catalogue it is impossible that Jerome should have been unacquainted, and the differences between its form of the Petrine tradition and that given by Jerome are of interest and will demand our consideration. What is, however, important now to note is that Jerome, the later writer, in differing from the Liberian notice of St. Peter must have done so intentionally.

The quotation given above from the ‘De Viris Illustribus' closely follows the lines of the passage from the Chronicle of Eusebius about St. Peter, which in the Hieronymian version is thus rendered—‘Peter the Apostle . . . when he had first founded the Antiochean Church, sets out to Rome, where as bishop (episcopus) of the same city he continues for twenty-five years preaching the Gospel. After Peter Linus first held the Roman Church for eleven years.'163163‘Petrus Apostolus . . . cum primum Antiochenam Ecclesiam fundasset, Romam proficiscitur, ubi Evangelium praedicans xxv annis eiusdem urbis Episcopus perseverat. Post Petrum primus Romanam ecclesiam tenuit Linus annis xi.' See Schoene, Die Weltchronik des Eusebius in ihrer Bearbeitung durch Hieronymus. The notice in the ‘De Viris Illustribus' adds the detail, which appears later in the ‘Liber Pontificalis,' that it was in the second year of Claudius that Peter arrived in Rome, and as Peter's death is asserted to have taken place in the last year of Nero, the interval gives exactly the twenty-five years of the so-called episcopacy, or, as in this case it would be better rendered, overseership of the Roman Church. The Abbé Duchesne in his monumental work on the ‘Liber 71Pontificalis,' while stating that it is only after the time of Xystus I (117–126) that there is sufficient uniformity in the catalogues to inspire confidence in the figures given for the duration of the earlier episcopates, writes: ‘As far as regards St. Peter the figure of his twenty-five years is as well attested as the figures of the years of his successors after Xystus I. I have then believed myself able to note it, but without indicating from what date one ought to count it, for there are on this point grave incertitudes.'164164Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, ccxviii: ‘En ce qui regarde Saint Pierre le chiffre de ses vingt-cinq années est aussi bien attesté que les chiffres d'années de ses successeurs depuis Xystus Ier. J'ai donc cru pouvoir le noter, mais sans indiquer, à partir de quelle date il faut le compter, car il y a, sur ce point, de graves incertitudes.' With these grave incertitudes let me now deal very briefly. The Eusebian History and Chronicle give lists of the Roman bishops, and the Chronicle the lengths of their term-years, while the Liberian or Filocalian Catalogue gives a list of bishops and their term-years, but (as I have already said) with considerable divergences. Both are based on earlier authorities—the Eusebian on the lists of Hegesippus and Irenaeus, i.e. on documents belonging to the second half of the second century; the Liberian on a chronicler, most probably Hippolytus, about fifty years later. Now both the Eusebian Chronicle and the Liberian Catalogue give twenty-five years as the term of St. Peter's episcopacy, but they differ as to the dates of its beginning and its end. We have already seen that the Eusebian date-limits are from 42 A.D. to 67 A.D.; the Liberian, however, are from 30 A.D. to 55 A.D. The Liberian chronicler states that ‘after the Lord's Ascension the most blessed Peter received the office of a bishop (episcopatum).'165165‘Post ascensum eius beatissimus Petrus episcopatum suscepit'; ‘. . . Linus fuit temporibus Neronis, a consulatu Saturnini et Scipionis' (A.D. 56). He further states that Linus succeeded him at Rome in 56 A.D. At first sight it may appear that these two sets of dates are hopelessly inconsistent.166166See the authorities above quoted: Duchesne, Mommsen, Harnack, Lipsius, Lightfoot, De Rossi, &c. That 72this is not necessarily the case, I will now endeavour to show.

First, let me point out that the Liberian Chronicler's account of the whole of the early history of the Roman episcopate is full of blunders; his errors are not confined to his statement about St. Peter. By him Clement is reckoned as the second bishop instead of the third, and Anencletus or Cletus is represented as two persons167167The evidence for the order of succession (as given by Irenaeus and Hegesippus), Peter, Linus, Anencletus (or Cletus), Clemens is very strong. Lightfoot's judgment is—‘We have to reckon with three conflicting statements, as far as regards the position of Clement in the Roman succession—a tradition, the Irenaean—a fiction, the Clementine—and a blunder, the Liberian or perhaps the Hippolytean. Under these circumstances we cannot hesitate for a moment in our verdict. Whether the value of the tradition be great or small, it alone deserves to be considered. The sequence therefore which commends itself for acceptance is Linus, Anencletus or Cletus, Clemens, Euarestus' (Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 66). instead of one. In the case of St. Peter the Chronicler apparently regards the Ascension as being the date of the assumption of a general episcopate by the Apostle, who after that date became undoubtedly the acknowledged leader of the Twelve. Moreover St. Luke emphatically mentions sojourners from Rome, Jews and proselytes as being present at the feast of Pentecost when by Peter's preaching 3000 converts were made. But what about the other date, 56 A.D.? It will be my aim now to show that this date also may be one of real historical significance in the life-work of St. Peter.

The Hieronymian-Eusebian version of the Petrine tradition is indeed, as it stands, scarcely less in conflict with the Lukan history than is the Liberian. Jerome's statement that before Peter went to Rome in 42 A.D. he had been bishop of the Church at Antioch and had preached to the Jewish Diaspora in various provinces of Asia Minor is obviously irreconcilable with the narrative in the Acts. The explanation however of all these difficulties seems to me to lie in the hypothesis of a sojourn of Peter at Rome about midway between the sojourn in the early part of Claudius and the final sojourn towards the close of Nero's reign, which ended with his martyrdom. I propose therefore to 73examine the possibilities of such an hypothesis, and to see whether any evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, exists to give it support.

The sequence of events as given in the Acts has been frequently misunderstood. In the eleventh chapter, verses 19-20, St. Luke tells us of the rapid spread of the Christian faith at Antioch through the efforts of evangelists from Cyprus and Cyrene, men who had once been among the Hellenist disciples of Stephen at Jerusalem, and further that in this company of the new converts were many Greeks as well as Jews. He then proceeds to state that when news of this was brought to the Apostles in Jerusalem, they resolved to send, in their name and as their representative, Barnabas, as being at once a prominent member of the Church at Jerusalem and a Cypriote by nationality, to take charge of this important new movement and to assume its leader-ship. Barnabas was successful in his mission and having brought Saul from Tarsus to help him in his task, by the joint efforts of these two men of special gifts and earnest zeal the growth of the Church made such conspicuous progress as to attract public notice and to gain for the new sect in the mouth of the multitude that scoffing but distinctive nickname of Christiani which was to be in the coming centuries a title of honour the profession of which would bring to thousands of martyrs terrible sufferings and death.

Between verse 26 and verse 27, however, a certain interval elapsed. The phrase ‘now in these days'—as in the opening verse of the sixth chapter—is one of those loose chronological expressions common to the Lukan writings, implying an uncertain interval of time. In this case the statement that ‘certain prophets came down from Jerusalem unto Antioch' may be taken to have suggested the insertion at this point of the episode with which Chapter xii. opens: ‘Now about that time Herod the King put forth his hands to afflict certain of the Church.' The departure of the prophets for Antioch was in fact one of the results of the persecution of Herod, and as the story of the persecution was essential to the writer's purpose he has interpolated it here in the 74midst of his Antiochean narrative, which is resumed at verse 25 of this same twelfth chapter. One of these prophets, whose name Agabus is given, is stated to have predicted the coming of a great famine over all the world, and such was the belief inspired by his utterance that the Christian community of Antioch determined to collect a contribution for the relief of the brethren that dwelt in Judaea. Now the famine, which was, in accordance with Agabus' prophecy, of wide extent throughout the Eastern portion of the Roman world,168168Sir W. M. Ramsay writes (St. Paul the Traveller, pp. 48–49): ‘The famine appears to me to be singularly well attested considering the scantiness of evidence for this period. Suetonius alludes to assiduae sterilitates causing famine prices under Claudius, while Dion Cassius and Tacitus speak of two famines in Rome, and famine in Rome implied dearth in the great corn-growing countries of the Mediterranean; Eusebius mentions famine in Greece and an inscription perhaps refers to famine in Asia Minor.' seems to have begun in Judaea in the year 45 A.D. and to have reached its height in the following year. According to Josephus169169As to the famine in Judaea Josephus is full and explicit (Ant. iii. 15. 3; xx. 2. 5 and 5. 2). The story of Queen Helena's munificence is told also by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. ii. 12). Ramsay in a note on the date of the famine says that Tiberius Alexander's entry into office cannot be fixed with absolute certainty: ‘July 45 A.D. is the earliest admissible date and 46 A.D. is far more probable' (St. Paul the Traveller, p. 68). In the article on ‘Chronology' in Hastings's Dictionary of the Bible, Mr. C. H. Turner gives 46 A.D. as the date of the visit of the Antiochean delegates. the famine took place when Tiberius Alexander was procurator in Judaea, and his term of office did not begin before the latter part of 45 A.D. As this same historian gives a circumstantial account of the relief brought personally to Jerusalem by Queen Helena, mother of Izates, King of Adiabene in 45 A.D., and of her remaining there some considerable time distributing corn that she imported from Egypt and figs from Cyprus, it is evident that the dearth lasted for at least two years. The probability is that the prophecy of Agabus was delivered some time in 44 A.D. and that with the first reports of a failure of the crops being imminent the fund in aid at Antioch was started. The raising of a sufficient sum by weekly collections would take some time, and it is not likely that the delegates Barnabas and Saul left Antioch until the spring of 46 A.D. 75was sufficiently advanced for a voyage to one of the Palestinian ports to be possible. The Feast of Pentecost would have been a very fitting time for the arrival of men bringing alms to supply the needs of those suffering from the loss of the harvest.

At this point let us carry our thoughts back to St. Peter, whom we left at Rome with Mark, as his companion and interpreter. There exists no record to tell us what was the duration of this his first sojourn in that city. At this critical stage however of the development of the Christian Church the advice and guidance of so trusted a leader must have been frequently needed both at Jerusalem and at Antioch, The longest stay that St. Paul ever made in one place was at Ephesus, where he remained for three years, and three years may be safely regarded as the extreme limit of St. Peter's absence in these opening years of the reign of Claudius.170170Both the Latin (Hieronymian) and Syriac translation of Eusebius' Chronicle make Peter to have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius and to Antioch two years later (ed. Schoene, p. 211). This two years may represent the time actually spent in Rome according to tradition. In any case the news of the famine would be sure to hasten his departure, and if, as I myself strongly hold, the second visit of Paul to Jerusalem in company with Barnabas, described in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians,171171Gal. ii. 1–10. For an eminently fair and thorough examination of the arguments for identifying the Galatian visit ‘after fourteen years' with (1) the visit of Paul and Barnabas described in Acts xi and (2) with the visit to the Council described in Acts xv, see Professor Kirsopp Lake, The Early Epistles of St. Paul, pp. 274–293. Professor Lake after stating the case for the identification with (1) says ‘To my mind it is extremely strong' (p. 281). Again after weighing the objections against (1) and (2) he concludes ‘my own view is that the objections [against] placing Gal. ii. at the time of the famine are much less serious, but I recognise that they are real, and prevent one from claiming the right to feel quite certain on the subject' (p. 293). It will be seen that, in the circumstances under which I suppose the interview to have taken place, the case for the identification is much strengthened. be identical with their mission from Antioch as the bearers of the relief fund, then in the spring of 46 A.D. they would find both Peter and Mark on their arrival already at Jerusalem. The only other member of the 76Twelve present in the Holy City at this juncture seems to have been St. John, and no more suitable opportunity could have been afforded for a private discussion of the situation raised by the admission into the Antiochean Church, without any Jewish restrictions, of a large number of Gentile converts, and of an understanding being arrived at upon the vital issues that were in question. The five principal representatives of what may be styled the old, the moderate and the new schools of Christian thought and opinion were now brought together by the discharge of a common charitable duty, and the result was an agreement on general principles and a working arrangement as to missionary spheres, which approved itself, if not to the Judaistic extremists, to the recognised leaders Peter, John and James no less than to Paul and Barnabas, as satisfactory.

The measure of Peter's satisfaction may be gathered from the fact that John Mark accompanied the two delegates on their return to Antioch, probably in the spring of 47, and that some months later, but before the period for sailing was over, Barnabas and Saul set out on their missionary journey to Cyprus, taking Mark with them. Their work in Cyprus, for they went through the whole island, would occupy them till the spring, when they crossed to Perga in Pamphylia where Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. Many reasons have been suggested as the cause of this abandonment at this time. It may have been due in part to dissatisfaction with Paul's methods of teaching, more probably to a feeling that now the Cyprian mission was over it was his duty to return once more to the side of his old leader in that new sphere of work with Antioch as its centre which Peter had probably been, to Mark's knowledge, for some time planning.172172It is a curious fact that Barnabas and Paul made no attempt to preach in Pamphylia either on the outward or the return journey, nor is there any evidence to show that Paul ever revisited that country. The idea suggests itself that Pamphylia may already have become ‘another man's sphere.' Possibly Peter himself may have paused on his voyage back from Rome to preach to the Jewish Diaspora scattered along the Southern coast of Asia Minor. If so, Mark's refusal to proceed to Pamphylia would be explained on this ground.


No tradition from early Christian times is stronger or more persistent than that which asserts that before Peter entered upon his Roman ‘episcopate,' he for seven years filled a similar office at Antioch.173173The Liber Pontificalis, both in its original form as restored by Duchesne and in its later recension, gives seven years as the length of the Petrine episcopate at Antioch. Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, i. 51, 118; also St. Gregory, Ep. vii. 40. Now if the so-called Roman episcopate be taken to date strictly from the second year of Claudius, it is quite clear that Peter did not spend seven years at Antioch previously. So it has come to pass that even those who have been willing to accept the Roman visit of 42 A.D. as historical have dismissed the Antiochean tradition as baseless fable. But in my opinion no tradition of this character can have come into existence and held its ground as this did without there being a genuine substratum of truth in it. The real difficulty is the chronological one. Can this be overcome? I believe it may be. If Peter sojourned at Rome a second time in the years 54–56 A.D., and I hope to show grounds for believing that he may have done so, then there is no reason why the seven years that preceded this (47–54 A.D.) should not have been years during which Peter made Antioch the centre of his missionary work, a starting-point for journeys to Mesopotamia in the east or even to Cappadocia and Pontus in the north, an abode from which visits to the feasts at Jerusalem could be easily undertaken. It is certain that he was in Antioch at the same time as Paul and Barnabas after the return of the latter from their first missionary journey in the autumn of 49 A.D.174174Certain, that is, if the second visit of Paul to Jerusalem be identical with that in Galatians ii, which I am now assuming. It cannot fail to strike anyone how much more fittingly the dispute between Peter and Paul falls into its place with this assumption, than if it be regarded as occurring after the Council of Jerusalem. Indeed the difficulty of regarding this meeting as happening at this later time just after the Apostolic decree had been drawn up is so overwhelmingly great that some authorities, i.e. Harnack, Zahn, and Turner (Hastings's Dict.) have felt compelled to suggest that the order of events has been inverted by St. Paul. See Kirsopp Lake, Early Epistles of St. Paul, p. 294 ff. The account, which Paul gives in the second chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, of the dispute he had 78with Peter concerning the question of eating with the Gentiles, would indeed lead one to think that the Apostle's stay at that time had been one of some duration. As St. Luke from the thirteenth chapter of the Acts and onward confines his narrative entirely to the missionary life of St. Paul, it is with gratitude that we welcome these flashes of light from the autobiographical portions of the Pauline epistles, which from time to time suddenly illumine the darkness of these early decades of the first century, through which we are pain-fully striving to grope our way, and, however evanescent, prove to us at any rate that for the moment we are walking upon the right track. There is probably no epistle which is so rich in passages of this kind as St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. It is generally agreed that this epistle was written at Ephesus towards the end of St. Paul's stay of three years in that city. Now the recent discovery of an inscription at Delphi175175See Revue d'Histoire et de la Littérature Religieuses, Mars–Avril 1911: E. Ch. Babut, p. 139 ff., describes the discovery by M. Ed. Bourget of four fragments of a letter of Claudius to the city of Delphi. In the inscription, part of which is obliterated or wanting, the twenty-sixth salutation of Claudius is mentioned and Gallio is Proconsul. M. Babut shows that the date must lie between narrow limits. Claudius had his twenty-seventh salutation on August 1, 52 A.D., and the twenty-sixth salutation probably not before April or May of that year. Also consult Adolf Deissmann's St. Paul (Eng. tr. 1912), where a facsimile of the inscription is given and the Proconsulate of Gallio forms the subject of a special Appendix, p. 235 ff. practically fixes the date of Gallio's proconsulship in Achaia as 52 A.D., and with it the chronology of this part of St. Paul's life. The date of the First Epistle to the Corinthians can therefore be given with something approaching to certainty. It was written towards the end of the year 55 A.D. Now one of the chief objects of this epistle was to reprove the Corinthians for their divisions and party spirit. There was a party there which called itself by the name of Cephas. Again there is a direct reference to the fact that Cephas was accompanied in his missionary journeys by his wife.1761761 Cor. i. 12; iii. 22; ix. 5. What other explanation can be given of such statements than the obvious one, that Peter had been paying a visit of such duration to Corinth 79as to have created a following who boasted themselves distinctively, as being the disciples of one whom they looked upon as a ‘super-eminent Apostle.'1771772 Cor. xii. 11: ὑστέρησα τῶν ὑπερλίαν ἀποστόλων. Further a chance reference is made to Barnabas, as working for his maintenance,1781781 Cor. ix. 6. a reference which would be meaningless unless the Corinthians were acquainted with Barnabas personally and had seen him so working. That Peter was really regarded in the second century as a founder of the Corinthian Church conjointly with Paul is proved by the quotation, preserved by Eusebius, from a letter of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, to Soter, bishop of Rome, who speaks of ‘the plantation of Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth. For they both together here in Corinth planted us and taught alike; and both together in Italy taught alike, and then were martyred about the same time.'179179Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. 25: ταῦτα καὶ ὑμεῖς διὰ τῆς τοσαύτης νουθεσίας τὴν ἀπὸ Πέτρου καὶ Παύλου φυτείαν γενηθεῖσαν Ῥωμαίων τεκαὶ Κορινθίων συνεκεράσατε. Καὶ γὰρ ἄμφω καὶ εἰς τὴν ἡμετέραν Κόρινθον φυτεύσαντες ἡμᾶς, ὁμοίως ἐδίδαξαν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἰς τὴν Ἰταλίαν ὁμόσε διδάξαντες, ἐμαρτύρησαν κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν καιρόν. See also Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iv. 23 and Kirsopp Lake, Early Epistles of St. Paul, p. 112.

These almost casual references preserved in the First Epistle to the Corinthians relating to an event of much significance in the history of an important Church, to which an eminent bishop of that Church bears witness as a recognised and established tradition about a century later, bring before us in a startling way how widespread were the activities of Peter and other members of the Apostolic band in those years when the narrative of the Acts is dumb as to their very existence, and therefore how little right we have to express ourselves dogmatically and without reservation upon questions of first-century Christian history, of which our knowledge is so utterly fragmentary, or to reject unceremoniously traditions which, if carefully sifted, will generally be found to contain some precious bits of authentic historical fact. The particular episode of Petrine history with which I am now dealing affords an excellent illustration of these remarks.


Granted then that the natural interpretation of certain passages of the First Epistle to the Corinthians implies that both Peter and Barnabas were in Corinth and working there in the autumn of 54 A.D., it may well be asked is it not strange that these two Apostolic men of all others should have thus gone apparently out of their way to visit a Church so recently founded by the efforts of St. Paul, and which should have been regarded as in his special charge ? The reply is that not by a single word does St. Paul make any complaint on the subject. What then is the explanation ? It is, I believe, that Peter on hearing of the death of Claudius on October 13, 54 A.D., had thought the time opportune for revisiting his Roman converts and had asked Barnabas to accompany him. They had stopped at Corinth simply as a convenient halting-place, being the half-way house between Syria and Italy. And now let us turn to tradition. There are many traditions which associate Barnabas with Rome and Italy. The forms in which they have come down to us are, like most of the fifth and sixth century Acts, Passions and Travels, full of chronological errors and contain many impossibilities and contradictions due to the later inventions and interpolations of hagiographers careless or ignorant of history and anxious only to glorify the memory of the particular saint or martyr in whom for local or other reasons they are interested. But as the learned French writer, Edmond le Blant,180180‘Les Actes des Martyrs. Supplement aux Acta Sincera de Dom Ruinart' (part 2, p. 87). who is a specialist on this subject, well says ‘These interpolations, in my opinion, ought not either to disconcert or to repel criticism. Under a layer of invention the original traits exist, and a great number of them appear on the very surface. One must extricate them patiently.' The earliest reference to Barnabas181181The traditions about Barnabas have been collected and fully treated by Braunsberger. Der Apostel Barnabas. Sein Leben and der ihm beigelegte Brief. Mainz, 1876. See also Harnack in the Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1876, No. 19, 487 ff. and Lipsius, Die Apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden, 2er Band, 2e Hälfte, 270 ff. The chief document relating to Barnabas' work first at Rome then at Milan is entitled Datiana historia Ecclesiae Mediolanensis ed. Biraghi, Milan 1848. Braunsberger's conclusion is that the preaching of Barnabas in North Italy was ‘zwar nicht sicher, aber sehr wahrscheinlich' (p. 83). 81is that found in the ‘Clementine Recognitions.'182182Hort in his lectures on the Clementine Recognitions shows that this pseud-epigraphic writing, and the Clementine Homilies, which closely resemble it, are two separate Ebionite versions of a much earlier work known as the Circuits of Peter—Περίοδοι Πέτρορ. See also Salmon's article in Smith and Wace's Dict. of Christian Biography. The date of these versions is about the end of the third century, of the Περίοδοι about a century earlier. Both had their origin in the East. This work, an Ebionite romance of a much later age than Clement the supposed writer, is prefaced by an account of Clement's early life at Rome. The author says that Clement was converted by the preaching of Barnabas, who afterwards introduced him to St. Peter. The object of the author of the ‘Recognitions' is to magnify the authority and orthodox teaching of Peter, so that the introduction here of Barnabas, who is never mentioned again, is purely gratuitous, and indeed inexplicable in such a narrative unless the fact recorded were one based on a received and ancient tradition too well known to be ignored. The mention of Barnabas' preaching has nothing to do with the story. The insertion thus of this incident without cause in an Ebionite document of Eastern origin strongly speaks for its authenticity. The traditions represent Barnabas as having preceded Peter183183In the Datiana historia the Barnabas story as told by the author, after relating Barnabas' work with Paul at Antioch and the choice made of him and Paul as Apostles to the Gentiles in the fourteenth year after Christ's Passion, and his first missionary journey, and second visit to Cyprus after his separation from Paul, proceeds to state that thereon—in the first year of Claudius, eight years after Christ's ascension—he takes ship with some of his disciples for Rome—‘velut totius orbis dominam visere cupiens,' where he, as the first Apostle, proclaims the Word of God and among others converts Clement, afterwards the third successor of Peter in the Roman episcopate (Lipsius, ii. 2, p. 311). Here it is obvious that the chronology contradicts itself. It ought to be the first year of Claudius Nero, i.e. 55 A.D. If the eight years be counted from Barnabas' appointment as an Apostle of the Gentiles, 47 A.D., we arrive at the same date. as a preacher at Rome, and it is quite possible that he may now have left Corinth some weeks or months before Peter followed him, and that one of the first-fruits of his ministry in the Imperial City was the conversion of the man who 82was to occupy so important a place in the history of the Church in Rome during the latter half of the first century.184184A prima-facie case is made out for the authenticity of the tradition of Barnabas' preaching in Rome and North Italy from the fact that it was so greatly in the interest of the upholders of the Petrine origin of the Roman Church to suppress it; as Harnack points out, its existence ‘musste dem römischen Bischofe höchst unbequem werden: denn sie drohte die einzigartige Bedeutung des Petrus für das Abendland and die einzigartige Stellung Roms im Abendlande zu gefärhrden.'—Literatur Zeitung, 1876. No. 19, 488.

If certain passages of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians have suggested that St. Peter visited Corinth in 54 A.D., certain other passages of the Epistle to the Romans, sent by St. Paul from Corinth to its destination in the early spring of 57 A.D., suggest no less strongly that he [Paul] had been recently hindered from going to Rome by the presence in that Church of one who was its founder. And here I would venture to say that we may rest assured that the principle ‘not to build on another man's foundation'185185Rom. xv. 20. was an Apostolic and not merely a Pauline rule of action. That Peter went to Corinth with any intention of interfering with Paul's great work in that town, or of placing himself before the Corinthians as a rival and superior to the Apostle of the Gentiles, is inconceivable. But just as Paul proposed in Peter's absence to pay a passing visit to Rome on his way to Spain in order that he might be refreshed by personal intercourse with those of whose faith in Christ he had heard so much, and that he might in his turn be able to impart to them some spiritual gift,186186Rom. i. 10-12, xv. 23, 24. so would Peter be anxious to break his voyage to Rome at the Isthmus of Corinth, so as to make acquaintance during a brief sojourn with a Christian community in whose first conversion and establishment as a Church his own Roman disciples, Aquila and Prisca, had played so considerable a part.

Now St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans twice emphatically declares that though he had for some time longed to visit Rome, he had been many times hindered, and the cause is plainly stated, i.e. that it was his settled practice 83not to trespass in another man's sphere of work. As I do not wish to go over old ground, I shall assume that ‘the other man' here referred to is St. Peter. But this being granted, the more often I read over these autobiographical passages from this epistle the more thoroughly am I convinced that the writer is not here simply alluding to so distant an event as the preaching of that Apostle in the Imperial City in the early days of Claudius, but to Peter being actually present at Rome in person at the times when otherwise he, Paul, might have been able to carry out his wished-for visit. For such a friendly visit of short duration need not, as I have already said, any more than the contemplated visit on the way to Spain, have been regarded as a ‘building upon another man's foundation.' The ‘often-times' of c. i. 13 and the ‘many times' of c. xv. 22 are practically confined within somewhat narrow limits. Paul after what he must have learned from Aquila and Prisca would scarcely have thought of adventuring himself in Rome before the death of Claudius. At that date be was in Ephesus, a city that was in direct and constant communication with the capital, and during the next two years he might have found several opportunities for undertaking a voyage to Rome: one, for instance, when from Ephesus he paid that second visit to Corinth of which there is no record in the Acts, but which is mentioned in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians.1871872 Cor. xii. 24 and xiii. 1. Another, and a most tempting one, when his tried friends and fellow helpers, Aquila and Prisca, returned home after the tumult. Yet a third when after leaving Ephesus he went to Macedonia and then apparently followed the Via Egnatia to Illyricum before making that third sojourn in Corinth, when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. If he were hindered from doing so, it was because precisely during this period Peter was himself in Rome.

I now turn to the evidence of the Liberian or Filocalian Catalogue of 354 A.D., which has been traced back by those who speak with the highest authority upon the subject to the lost Chronicle of Hippolytus, written about 84234 or 235 A.D.188188See pp. 49, n. 2, 71, supra. The Liberian Catalogue makes several palpable blunders in the early part of its list of the Roman bishops, as I have already said, but the most curious is that which makes the twenty-five years of St. Peter's episcopate to begin in 30 A.D. and to end in 55 A.D. Now this last date can scarcely be intended as that of St. Peter's martyrdom, for the Chronicler goes on to say that he suffered with St. Paul on June 29 in the reign of Nero, showing clearly his acquaintance with the common tradition. But the fact that the names of the Consuls (in a corrupted form) for the year 55 are correctly given is a piece of strong circumstantial evidence that this date was one of special importance in the early history of the Roman Church.189189   Petrus, ann. xxv. mens. uno, d. viiii. Fuit temporibus Tiberii Caesaris et Gai et Tiberi Claudi et Neronis, a cons. Minuci [vinicii] et Longini [A.D. 30] usque Nerine at Vero [Nerone et Vetere A.D. 55]. Passus autem cum Paulo die iii. Kal. Iulias, cons. ss, imperante Nerone.
   Linus, ann. xii. m. iiii, dies xii. Fuit temporibus Neronis, a consulatu Saturnini et Scipionis [A.D. 56] usque Capitone et Rufo [A.D. 67] (Light-foot, Apost. Fathers, I. i. p. 253).
The assertion that Linus at this time succeeded Peter as bishop supplies, I believe, a clue by which to arrive at a solution of the difficulty. Later writers and the ‘Liber Pontificalis' itself mention both Linus and Anencletus as having been ordained by Peter as bishops and as having exercised the duties of that office in his name during his lifetime,190190Hic [Petrus] ordinavit duos episcopos, Linum et Cletum, qui praesentaliter omne ministerium sacerdotale in urbe Roma populo vel supervenientium exhiberent; beatus autem Petrus ad orationem et praedicationem, populum erudiens, vacabat. . . . Hic beatum Clementem episcopum conservavit, eique cathedram vel ecclesiam omnem disponendam commisit.—Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, i. 118. See evidence of Epiphanius derived from Hegesippus, Lawlor, Eusebiana, p. 9. and there is likewise a tradition that Clement also was ordained bishop by Peter in his lifetime. This is a quite possible representation of what really took place. The date 55 A.D. occupied a permanent place in the records of the Roman Church because at this date Peter personally gave to that Church its local organisation by appointing out of the general body of presbyters an inner presbyteral council entrusted with special pastoral duties of administration and overseership, 85the members of which bore the name of episcopi, which as St. Peter himself in his first epistle tells us was virtually the equivalent of pastores. Not until after the death of St. Peter however did this administrative episcopal body deem it necessary to select one of their number to succeed him as presiding episcopus and chief pastor of the Church.

There is one event which should, I think, be connected with this visit of St. Peter in 55 A.D., of considerable interest. It has generally been assumed that the mass of the early Christians belonged to the lowest classes and that many of them were slaves. This is no doubt to a certain extent true, but not by any means altogether so. Aquila and Prisca may have belonged to the ‘freedman' class, but they were well-to-do people, and it is probable that Prisca was Roman by birth and a person of some position. Again after dismissing all that is worthless and utterly fictitious in the account given of Clement's family and their adventures in the so-called Clementine literature, that literature bears evidence that long after his death Clement was given a place apart among the men of the sub-apostolic age not merely because he was a disciple of St. Peter or the author of a well-known epistle, but because he was connected by ties of relationship with the Imperial house. It seems unlikely that Ebionite writers in Eastern lands should have gone out of their way to lay stress on this relationship, unless it had some foundation in fact. To this matter I shall return later.

The case of Julia Pomponia Graecina, the wife of Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, is exceedingly interesting. It is best told in the words of Tacitus—‘Pomponia Graecina, a distinguished lady, wife of the Plautius who returned from Britain with an ovation, was accused of some foreign superstition and handed over to her husband's judicial decision. Following ancient precedent, he heard his wife's cause in the presence of kinsfolk, involving, as it did, her legal status and character, and he reported that she was innocent. This Pomponia lived a long life of unbroken melancholy. After the murder of Julia, Drusus' daughter, by Messalina's intrigues, for forty years she wore only the 86attire of a mourner, with a heart ever sorrowful. For this, during Claudius' reign, she escaped unpunished, and it was afterwards counted a glory to her.'191191Pomponia Graecina, insignis femina, Plautio qui ovans se de Britanniis rettulit nupta ac superstitionis externae rea, mariti·iudicio permissa; isque prisco instituto, propinquis coram, de capite famaque coniugis cognovit et insontem nuntiavit. Longa huic Pomponiae aetas et continua tristis fuit; nam post Iuliam Drusi filiam dolo Messalinae interfectam per quadraginta annos non cultu nisi lugubri, non animo nisi maesto egit; idque illi imperitante Claudio impune, mox ad gloriam vertit.—Tacitus, Ann. xiii. 32. It had been long surmised that the ‘foreign superstition' of which this lady was accused was the profession of Christianity. At that time Christianity was still regarded by the Roman authorities as a mere sect of Judaism, and Judaism being a religio licita Pomponia would be entitled to acquittal. Possibly public rumour was already beginning to accuse the Christians, as distinguished from the Jews, of indulging in impure and impious orgies, but if this were the ground of the accusation, it would not be difficult to refute it. The discovery by the famous archaeologist Giovanni Battista De Rossi in 1867, in the very ancient crypts of Lucina in the catacomb of Callistus, of a Christian sepulchral inscription bearing the name, only slightly injured, of a Pomponius Graecinus is a piece of testimony of considerable weight. He may well have been a great-nephew of the Pomponia Graecina of Tacitus, for De Rossi dates the inscription as belonging to the second half of the second century. The conjecture then that Pomponia Graecina, who was not only a friend but a relative of Julia and of the Claudian family, was a Christian convert is rendered very probable. It is worthy of note that the death of Julia, when Pomponia's mourning began, was in 43 A.D. during St. Peter's first visit to Rome, and that her trial before the family tribunal occurred in 57 A.D. or about a year (according to the hypothesis I have been endeavouring to sustain) after the second visit of the Apostle. It may well have been her intercourse with him that led to this public notice being taken of her addiction to a ‘foreign superstition.'

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