« Antioch, Patriarchate of Antioch, School of Antioch, Synod of »

Antioch, School of

ANTIOCH, an´ti-oc, SCHOOL OF: A term designating, not an educational institution like the catechetical school of Alexandria, but a theological tendency deriving its influence from a number of prominent teachers. [The name is from Antioch on the Orontes, 16 m. from the Mediterranean, the famous city, the third in point of population in the Roman empire, and no mean rival of Rome in splendor. There were the groves of Daphne, where the sensual was pandered to in all ways. Yet there the first preachers of Christianity came, and it was there that the converts to the new faith were first called Christians.] A distinction must be made between an old and a new school—the former from about 270 to 360, the latter (to which the name is confined by some), after 360. The presbyter and martyr Lucian (d. 311), who had great influence as an exegete and a metaphysician, and his contemporary the presbyter Dorotheus are generally mentioned as the founders of this school, but it may even go back as far as Paul of Samosata; at least, Lucian seems to have refused his assent to Paul’s condemnation. Under altered circumstances, the cool intellectuality of the Antiochians, which shrank from the “mystery” of the incarnation, became Arianism. Arius himself, Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Asterius were disciples of Lucian; and the name of the last was frequently used by the Eusebian party to countenance their attempts at compromise. Most important, however, was Lucian’s activity in Biblical criticism. In this field his influence was directly opposed to the dogmatico-allegorical expositions of the school of Origen, and it made for historical investigation.

Of Lucian’s scholars, Arius as a presbyter in Alexandria had performed for some time the function of expounding the Scriptures, and the clever “sophist” Asterius is said to have written commentaries on the Gospels, the Psalms, and the Epistle to the Romans, of which only an unimportant fragment remains. The semi-Arian bishop Eusebius of Emesa is of more importance. Jerome attests the influence of his exegetical method on Diodorus, and calls Chrysostom “the follower of Eusebius of Emesa and Diodorus “ (De vir. ill., cxix., cxxix.). Eustathius of Antioch must be mentioned, not only for his dogmatic connection with the school (though a strict adherent 202 of the Council of Nicæa, he met the Arian conclusion from the finite qualities of Christ against the fulness of his Godhead by a sharp distinction between the divine and human natures in him, between the eternal Son and his temple), but even more for his exegesis. His celebrated treatise on the witch of Endor (De Engastrimytho) is directly opposed to the method of Origen. Diodorus of Tarsus (d. 378) may be considered the father of the school in the narrower sense. Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia were among his pupils, and the latter became the classical representative of the school. His theology is vigorous and original, a genuine offspring of the old Greek theology as seen in Origen, emphasizing strongly the freedom of the will as against the Augustinianism characteristic of Western thought. Both Diodorus and Theodore, in unison with the great doctors of their age as regards the Nicene faith, combated not only Arianism but Apollinarism. In exegesis Diodorus declares that he prefers the historical to the allegorical method; and Theodore strives with great energy for a true grammatico-historical exposition, and makes remarkable strides toward true Biblical criticism.

Theodore’s brother, Polychronius, first a monk in the cloister of St. Zebinas near Kyros, then bishop of Apamea (d. 430), was superior to Theodore as a Hebrew and Syriac scholar; his commentary on Daniel, of which considerable fragments were published by Mai in his Nova collectio, i., is distinguished by its study of the history of the period. The principles of the school of Antioch bore their fairest fruit in the thoughtful, practically edifying expositions of John Chrysostom, though both he and another distinguished writer closely akin to him, Isidore of Pelusium, make concessions to the allegorical method, or do not distinguish sharply between type and allegory. The latest writer who properly belongs to the school is the many-sided, clever, learned, but somewhat wavering Theodoret. In spite of his great dependence on and reverence for Theodore, he not only leaned in dogma to compromise, but in his exegesis he drifted away from Theodore’s principles and bowed to ecclesiastical traditionalism, abandoning a large part of the exegetical conquests of the school.

The polemical activity of the school is of no small importance. There were many of the old heretics still left in the region of its influence, as well as numerous Jews and pagans; and it fought the battles of the Church against them at a time when the other provinces were able to enjoy a large measure of peace.

(A. Harnack.)

Bibliography: L. Diestel, Geschichte des Alten Testaments in der christlichen Kirche, pp, 126-141; Jena, 1869; H. Kihn, Die Bedeutung der antiochischen Schule, Weissenburg, 1856; idem, Theodor von Mopsuestia und Junilius Africanus, Freiburg, 1879; idem, in Tübinger TQ, 1880; C. Hornung, Schola Antiochensis, Neustadt, 1864; P. Hergenröther, Die antiochische Schule, Würzburg, 1866; F. A. Specht, Der exegetische Standpunkt des Theodor und Theoderet, Munich, 1871; Neander, Christian Church, i. 674, 722, ii. 182, 346, 388-394, 493-504, 542-544, 712-722, 726-728 737-739; O. Bardenhewer, Polychronius, Freiburg, 1879; Möller, Christian Church, i. 406-409.

« Antioch, Patriarchate of Antioch, School of Antioch, Synod of »
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