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A Dictionary Of Christian Biography And Literature by Henry Wace

Letter B

Babylas, bp. of Antioch
Babylas (1), bp. of Antioch from a.d.237 or 238 until his martyrdom, a.d.250 or 251, under Decius, either by death in prison for the faith (Eus. H. E. vi.39), or by direct violence (St. Chrys. de St. Bab. c. Gentes, tom. i.); other
authorities -- Epiphanius (de Mens. xviii.), Sozomen (v.19), Theodoret (H. E. iii.6) -- simply calling him martyr, while St. Jerome (de Scriptt. Eccl. liv. lxii.) gives both accounts in different places. The Acta of Babylas (Acta SS. Jan.24), place his martyrdom under Numerian, by a confusion (according to Baronius's conjecture, ad ann.253, § 126) with one Numerius, who was an active officer in the Decian persecution (Tillemont, M. E. iii.729). The great act of his life was the compelling the emperor Philip, when at Antioch shortly after the murder of Gordian, to place himself in the ranks of the penitents, and undergo penance, before he was admitted to church privileges (katechei logos, according to Eus. H. E. vi.34, but asserted without qualification by St. Chrysostom, as above, while the V. St. Chrys. in Acta SS. Sept. tom. iv.439, transfers the story, against all probability, to Decius, and assigns it as the cause of St. Babylas's martyrdom). But his fame has arisen principally from the triumph of his relics after his death over another emperor, viz. Julian the Apostate, a.d.362. The oracle of Apollo at Daphne, it seems, was rendered dumb by the near vicinity of St. Babylas's tomb and church, to which his body had been translated by Gallus, a.d.351. And Julian in consequence, when at Antioch, ordered the Christians to remove his shrine (larnaka), or rather (according to Amm. Marcell. xxii.), to take away all the bodies buried in that locality. A crowded procession of Christians, accordingly, excited to a pitch of savage enthusiasm characteristic of the Antiochenes, bore his relics to a church in Antioch, the whole city turning out to meet them, and the bearers and their train tumultuously chanting psalms the whole way, especially those which denounce idolatry. On the same night, by a coincidence which Julian strove to explain away by referring it to Christian malice or to the neglect of the heathen priests, the temple of Apollo was struck by lightning and burned, with the great idol of Apollo itself. Whereupon Julian in revenge both punished the priests and closed the great church at Antioch (Julian Imp. Misopog. Opp. ii.97 (Paris, 1630); St. Chrys. Hom. de St. Bab. c. Gent. and Hom. de St. Bab.; Theod. de Cur. Graec. Affect. x. and H. E. iii.6, 7; Socr. iii.13; Soz. v.19, 20; Rufin. x.35; Amm. Marcell. xxii. pp.225, 226). St. Chrysostom also quotes a lamentable oration of the heathen sophist Libanius upon the event. The relics of St. Babylas were subsequently removed once more to a church built for them on the other side of the Orontes (St. Chrys. Hom. de St. Bab.; Soz. vii.10).


Bachiarius, monk
Bachiarius, a monk, early in the 5th cent, author of two short treatises printed in the Biblioth. Vet. Patr. of Galland, vol. ix. and the Patrologia of Migne, vol. xx. He is commemorated by Gennadius (c.24), who attributes to him several works, only one of which he acknowledges to have read -- viz. the Libellus de Fide Apologeticus, to satisfy the bp. of Rome of his orthodoxy, who regarded him with suspicion on account of his being a native of a country tainted with heresy. What this country was there is nothing in his Libellus to determine. Bachiarius's profession of faith is thoroughly orthodox in all leading points. Its date is fixed approximately at about the middle of the 5th cent., by his denial of the tenets of Origen regarding the soul and the resurrection life, and those of Helvidius on the perpetual virginity of the Virgin (§ 3, 4), and by his omission of the Son when speaking of the procession of the Holy Ghost. This confession is an interesting document, and will repay perusal. It was first printed by Muratori (Anecd. Latin. ii.939). He also wrote ad Januarium Liber de Reparatione Lapsi in behalf of a monk whom Januarius had expelled from the monastery of which he was the head for immorality with a nun. He rebukes Januarius and his monks for refusing to receive the monk again on his penitence.

Bachiarius has been confused by Cave, Bale, and others with Mochta, a disciple of St. Patrick. Tillemont, xvi.473-476; Cave, Hist. Lit. i.429.


Bardaisan, Syrian theologian
Bardaisan (Bardesanes). A Syrian theologian, commonly reckoned among Gnostics. Born at Edessa a.d.155, and died there a.d.222-223. His theology as known to us is doubtless a mere fraction of his actual theology. His reception of the Pentateuch, which he seemed to contradict, is expressly attested, and there is no reason to suppose that he rejected the ordinary faith of Christians as founded on the Gospels and the writings of the apostles, except on isolated points. The more startling peculiarities of which we hear belong for the most part to an outer region of speculation, which it may easily have seemed possible to combine with Christianity, more especially with the undeveloped Christianity of Syria in the 3rd cent. The local colour is everywhere prominent. In passing over to the new faith, Bardaisan could not shake off the ancient glamour of the stars, or abjure the Semitic love of clothing thoughts in mythological forms. Scarcely anything survives of his writings, for a Dialogue concerning Fate, extant in Syriac under the title |Book of the Laws of the Countries,| is by his disciple Philip. The 56 Hymns of Ephrem Syrus against Heresies are intended to refute the doctrines of Marcion, Bardaisan, and Mani, but Ephrem's criticism is harsh and unintelligent. On the whole, whatever might have come to Bardaisan through Valentinianism might as easily have come to him directly from the traditions of his race, and both alternatives are admissible. It is on any supposition a singular fact that the remains of his theology disclose no traces of the deeper thoughts which moved the Gnostic leaders. That he held a doctrinal position intermediate between them and the church is consistent with the circumstances of his life, but is not supported by any internal evidence. On this, as on many other points, we can only deplore our ignorance about a person of singular interest. -- (From H. in D. C. B.4-vol. ed.; cf. Bardenhewer, p.78.)

Barnabas, Epistle of. -- I. Authenticity. -- Is this epistle the production of the Barnabas so often associated with St. Paul; or has it been falsely connected with his name? The question is one of deep interest, bearing on the historical and critical spirit of the early Christian church.

It is admitted on all sides that the external evidence is decidedly in favour of the idea that the epistle is authentic. Clement of Alexandria bears witness to it as the work of |Barnabas the apostle| -- |Barnabas who was one of the seventy disciples and the fellow-labourer of Paul| -- |Barnabas who also preached the Gospel along with the apostle according to the dispensation of the Gentiles| (Strom. ii.7, 35; ii.20, 116; v.10, 64. Cf. also ii.6, 31 ; ii.15, 67; ii 18, 84; v.8, 52). The same may be said of Origen, who speaks of it as |the Catholic Ep. of Barnabas| (c. Cels. i.63). Eusebius disputes its canonicity, but is hardly less decided in favour of its authenticity. It is included by him at one time among the disputed, at another among the spurious books; yet there is no reason to doubt that when, in both passages, he calls it the Ep. of Barnabas, he under stands not an unknown person of that name but the Barnabas of Scripture (vi.14, iii.25). Jerome must be understood to refer to it when he tells us of an Ep. read among the apocryphal books, and written by Barnabas of Cyprus, who was ordained along with Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles (de Vir. Ill. c. vi.). In the Stichometria of Nicephorus, in the 5th cent., it is enumerated among the uncanonical books; and, at the close of that cent., a similar place is assigned to it by Anastasius Sinaita. Since it is, moreover, found in Codex ' attached to the books of N.T., there is no doubt the early Christian church considered it authentic. That she refused to allow its canonicity is little to the purpose. The very fact that many thought it entitled to a place in the canon is a conclusive proof of the opinion that had been formed of its authorship. The early Church drew a line between apostles and companions of apostles; and, although writings of the latter, such as the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke, and the Ep. to the Hebrews, were received into the canon, the connexion between the writers of these books and one or other of the apostles was believed to be such that the authority of the latter could be transferred to the former. Such a transference would be more difficult in the case of Barnabas, because, although associated at one time with St. Paul in his labours, the two had differed in opinion and separated.

It is on internal evidence that many distinguished critics have denied its authenticity. That there is great force in some at least of the arguments adduced by them from this source it is impossible to deny, yet they do not seem so irresistible as to forbid renewed consideration. They have been summed up by Hefele (Patr. Apost. p.14), and succeeding writers have added little to his statement. Of his eight arguments, five may be at once rejected: The first, that the words of Augustine regarding the Apocrypha of Andrew and John, si illorum essent recepta essent ab ecclesia, show that our epistle would have been placed in the canon had it been deemed authentic; for Andrew and John were apostles, Barnabas was not. The second, that Barnabas had died before the destruction of Jerusalem, while the epistle bears clear marks of not having been written until after that date; for this idea is no just inference from the texts referred to, Col. iv.10, I Pet. v.13, 2 Tim. iii. (iv. ?) 11, and the authority of a monk of the 6th or 9th cent. is not to be relied on. The third, that the apostles chosen by our Lord are described in c. v. as huper pasan hamartian anomoteroi; for these words are simply introduced to magnify the grace of Christ in calling not the righteous but sinners to repentance. It was an undoubted fact that the Saviour had associated with publicans and sinners, and Barnabas may mean no more than that out of that class were the apostles chosen. He may even have had the career of Saul previous to his call to the apostleship mainly in view. The fourth argument of Hefele, that the epistle betrays in c. x. so much ignorance of the habits of various animals, is not valid; for natural history was then but little known. The fifth argument of the same writer to be set aside is that Barnabas, who had travelled in Asia Minor, and lived at Antioch in Syria, could not have asserted in c. ix. that the Syrians were circumcised, when we know from Josephus (contr. Ap. i.22; Antiq. viii.10, 3) that they were not; for, however frequently this statement has been repeated, Josephus says nothing of the kind. What he says is, that a remark of Herodotus, to the effect that the Syrians who live in Palestine are circumcised, proves that historian's acquaintance with the Jews, because the Jews were the only inhabitants of Palestine by whom that rite was practised, and it must have been of them, therefore, that he was speaking, and he quotes Herodotus, and without any word of dissent, as saying that the Syrians about the rivers Thermodon and Parthenius, that is in the northern parts of Syria, did submit to circumcision. He may thus be even said to confirm the statement of our epistle.

The three remaining arguments of Hefele are more important.

(1) That the many trifling allegories of cc. v.-xi. are unworthy of one who was named the |Son of Consolation.| It is true that it is difficult to conceive how such a one could find in the numeral letters of the Greek version of the O.T. an indication of the will of Him Who had given that Testament in Hebrew to His ancient people. Yet, after all, is it not the time rather than the writer that is here in fault? It is unfair to take as our standard of judgment the principles of interpretation just now prevailing. We must transfer ourselves into the early Christian age, and remember the spirit of interpretation that then prevailed. We must call to mind the allegorical explanations of both Jewish and heathen schools, whose influence passed largely into the Christian church. Above all, we must think of the estimation in which the epistle was held for centuries, e.g. by Clement and Origen; that some would have assigned it a place in the canon; and that, even by those who denied it that place, it was regarded as a most useful and edifying work. In judging, therefore, of the ability of our author, we must turn from the form to the substance of his argument, from the shell in which he encloses his kernel of truth to that truth itself. When we do so his epistle will appear in no small degree worthy of approbation. It exhibits a high appreciation of many of the cardinal truths of Christianity, of the incarnation and death of Christ, of the practical aims of the Gospel, of the freedom and spirituality of Christian living; while the general conception of the relation of the N. T. to the Old, although in some respects grievously at fault, embodies the important principle that the Old is but the shadow of the New, and that |the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.| Throughout the epistle there are many sentences of great beauty and warmth of Christian feeling, and the description of the rebuilding of the spiritual temple in c. xvi. is most eloquent.

(2) Against its authenticity are urged, next, the numerous mistakes committed by the writer in cc. vii, viii. with regard to the rites and ceremonies of Judaism, mistakes to all appearance inconsistent with the idea that he could be a Jew, a Levite, who had lived long in Jerusalem, and must have been acquainted with the ceremonial institutions of the Jews. It is impossible not to feel the great force of the objection, or even to complain of one who, upon this ground alone, should reject the authorship of Barnabas. Let it only be remembered that these mistakes are almost equally inexplicable on the supposition that the author was not Barnabas. If such rites were not actually practised, whence did he learn their supposed existence? It is out of the question to think that they were a mere fancy of his own. And how came the great Fathers whose names have been already mentioned, how came the church at large, to value the epistle as it did if in the mention of them we have nothing but absurdity and error? We are hardly less puzzled to account for such inaccuracies if the writer was an Alexandrian Christian of heathen origin than if he were a Jew and a Levite.

(3) The third and last important argument adduced by Hefele is founded upon the unjust notions with regard to Judaism which are presented in our epistle. They are correctly so described. But it is not so clear that they might not have been entertained by one who, educated in the school of St. Paul and animated by a high sense of the spirituality and universality of the Christian faith, would be easily led, in the heat of the Judaic controversies of his day, to depreciate a system which was threatening to overthrow the distinctiveness and power of the Gospel of Christ.

To these arguments recent writers have added that the strong anti-Judaistic tendency of the epistle is inconsistent with its ascription to Barnabas, inasmuch as he erred in too great attachment to the Jewish party (Gal. ii.13). But the incident thus referred to reveals no such trait in the character of Barnabas. His conduct on that occasion was a momentary weakness by which the best may be overtaken; and it rather shews us that his position on the side of the freer party had been previously a decided one, |insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away by their dissimulation.| The incident may also have made him in time to come ashamed of his weakness, firmer and more determined than before.

To sum up the evidence, it seems to the present writer that its balance favours its composition by Barnabas more than critics have been generally willing to allow. The bearing of the external evidence upon this result is unquestionable; and, where we have such evidence, it is a sound principle that nothing but the strongest internal evidence should be permitted to overcome it. The traditions of the early church with regard to historical facts do not appear to have been so loose as is often alleged. It is difficult also to imagine how a generally accepted and firmly held tradition could arise without some really good foundation.

Finally, we are too prone to forget that the substance of Christian truth may be held by others in connexion with misapprehensions, imperfections, misinterpretations, of Scripture, absurd and foolish views, in connexion with which it would be wholly impossible for us to hold it. The authorship of Barnabas is rejected by, among others, Neander, Ullman, Hug, Baur, Hefele, Winer, Hilgenfeld, Donaldson, Westcott, Mühler, while it is maintained by Gieseler, Credner, Guericke, Bleek, Möhler, and, though with hesitation, De Wette. [The weighty judgment of bp. Lightfoot must now (1911) be added to the list in favour, and will generally be considered as decisive: see Apost. Fathers, pt. i, vol. ii. pp.503-512.]

II. The Date of the Epistle. -- External evidence does not help us here. We are thrown wholly upon the internal. Two limits are allowed by all, the destruction of Jerusalem on the one hand, and the time of Clement of Alexandria on the other -- that is, from a.d.70 to the last years of the 2nd cent. Between these two limits the most various dates have been assigned to it; the general opinion, however, being that it is not to be placed earlier than towards the close of the 1st, nor later than early in the 2nd cent. Most probably it was written only a very few years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

III. Object of the Epistle, and Line of Argument pursued in it. -- Two points are especially insisted on by the writer: first, that Judaism, in its outward and fleshly form, had never been commended by the Almighty to man, had never been the expression of God's covenant; secondly, that that covenant had never belonged to the Jews at all.

In carrying out his argument upon the first point, the writer everywhere proceeds on the idea that the worship which God requires, which alone corresponds to His nature, and which therefore can alone please Him, is spiritual, not a worship of rites and ceremonies, of places and seasons, but a worship of the heart and life. It is not by sacrifices and oblations that we approach God, Who will have no offerings thus made by man (c. ii.); it is not by keeping Sabbaths that we honour Him (c. xv.); nor is it in any temple made with hands that He is to be found (c. xvi.). The true helpers of our faith are not such things, but fear, patience, long-suffering, continence; and the |way of light| is found wholly in the exhibition of moral and spiritual virtues (c. xix.). But how was it possible to reconcile with such an idea the facts of history? Judaism had had, in time past, and still had, an actual existence. Its fasts and sacrifices, its sabbaths and temple, seemed to have been ordained by God Himself. How could it be pleaded that these things were not the expression of God's covenant, were not to be always binding and honoured? It is to the manner in which such questions are answered that the peculiar interest in our epistle belongs. They are not answered as they would have been by St. Paul. The Apostle of the Gentiles recognized the value of Judaism and of all the institutions of the law as a great preparatory discipline for the coming of the Messiah, as |a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.| There is nothing of this kind in the argument of Barnabas. Judaism has in it nothing preparatory, nothing disciplinary, in the sense of training men for higher truths. It has two aspects -- the one outward and carnal, the other inward and spiritual. The first was never intended by God; they who satisfy themselves with it are rather deceived by |an evil angel.| The second is Christianity itself, Christianity before Christ (c. ix. and passim). This view of the matter is made good partly by shewing that, side by side with the institutions of Israel, there were many passages of the Prophets in which God even condemned in strong language the outward ceremony, whether sacrifice, or fasting, or circumcision, or the temple worship (cc. ii. iii. ix. xvi.); that these things, in their formal meaning, were positively rejected by Him; and that the most important of them all, circumcision, was fully as much a heathen as a divine rite (c. ix.). This line of argument, however, is not that upon which the writer mainly depends. His chief trust is in the gnosis, that deeper, that typical and allegorical, method of interpreting Scripture which proceeded upon the principle that the letter was a mere shell, and had never been intended to be understood literally. By the application of this principle the whole actual history of Israel loses its validity as history, and we see as the true meaning of its facts nothing but Christ, His cross, His covenant, and the spiritual life to which He summons His disciples. It is unnecessary to give illustrations. What is said of Moses, that he spoke en pneumati, is evidently to be applied to the whole O. T. The literal meaning is nowhere what was really intended. The Almighty had always had a deeper meaning in what was said. He had been always thinking, not of Judaism, but of Christ and Christianity. The conclusion, therefore, could not be mistaken; Judaism in its outward and carnal form had never been the expression of God's covenant. To whom, then, does God's covenant belong? It is indeed a legitimate conclusion from, the previous argument that the Jews cannot claim the covenant as theirs. By the importance they always attached, and still attach, to outward rites they prove that they have never entered into the mind of God; that they are the miserable victims of the wiles of Satan (cc. iv. ix. xvi.). But the same thing is shewn both by Scripture and by fact -- by Scripture, for in the cases of the children of Rebekah, and of the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh, we learn that the last shall be first and the first last (c. xiii.); by fact, for when Moses broke the two tables of stone on his way down from the mount, the covenant which was at that moment about to be bestowed upon Israel was dissolved and transferred to Christians (c. xiv.).

This line of argument clearly indicates what was the special object of the epistle, the special danger against which it was designed to guard. It was no mere Judaizing tendency that was threatening the readers for whom it was intended. It was a tendency to lapse into Judaism itself. The argument of those who were endeavouring to seduce them was, |The covenant is ours| (c. iv.). These men, as appears from the tenor of the whole chapter, must have been Jews, and their statement could have no other meaning than that Judaism, as the Jews understood and lived it, was God's covenant, that it was to be preferred to Christianity, and that the observance of its rites and ceremonies was the true divine life to which men ought to be called. Yet Christians were shewing a disposition to listen to such teaching, and many of them were running the serious risk of being shattered against the Jewish law (c. iii.). With this the errors of a coarsely Judaistic life naturally connected themselves, together with those many sins of the |evil way| in which, when we take the details given of them in c. xx., we can hardly fail to recognize the old features of Pharisaism. In short, those to whom Barnabas writes are in danger of falling away from Christian faith altogether; or, if not in actual danger of this, they have to contend with those who are striving to bring about such a result, who are exalting the ancient oeconomy, boasting of Israel's nearness to God, and praising the legal offerings and fastings of the O.T. as the true way by which the Almighty is to be approached. It is the spirit of a Pharisaic self-righteousness in the strictest sense of the words, not of a Judaizing Christianity, that is before us. Here is at once an explanation of all the most peculiar phenomena of our epistle, of its polemical zeal pointed so directly against Judaism that, as Weizäcker has observed, it might seem to be directed as much against Jews as against Judaizers ; of its effort to shew that the whole O. T. cultus had its meaning only in Christ; of its denial of all value to outward Judaism; of its aim to prove that the inward meaning of that ancient faith was really Christian; of its exclusion of Jews, as such, from all part in God's covenant; and of its dwelling precisely upon those doctrines of the Christian faith which were the greatest stumbling-block to the Jewish mind, and those graces of the Christian life to the importance of which it had most need to be awakened.

IV. Authorities for the Text. -- These consist of MSS. of the Greek text, of the old Latin version, and of citations in early Christian writings. The MSS. are tolerably numerous, but the fact that, except the Sinaiticus ('), which deserves separate mention, they all lack exactly the same portion of the epistle, the first five and a half chapters, seems to shew that they had been taken from a common source and cannot be reckoned as independent witnesses. Since the discovery of Codex ' by Tischendorf a new era in the construction of the text has begun. Besides bringing to light the portion previously wanting, valuable readings were suggested by it throughout, and it is now our chief authority for the text. The old Latin version is of high value. The MS. from which it is taken is probably as old as the 8th cent., but the translation itself is supposed by Müller to have been made from a text older even than that of Codex '. It wants the last 4 chapters of the epistle. Citations in early Christian writings are extensive.

Editions and Literature. -- Valuable editions are those of Hefele, 1855 (4th ed.); Dressel, 1863; Hilgenfeld, 1866; and Müller, 1869. Dressel was the first to make use of Codex ', but of all these editors Müller seems to have constructed his text upon the most thoroughly scientific principles. The literature is very extensive. Notices of the Epistle will be found in the writings of Dorner, Baur, Schwegler, Ritschl, Lechler, Reuss, and others. The following monographs are especially worthy of notice; Hefele, Das Sendschreiben des Apostels Barnabas aufs neue untersucht, übersetzt und erklärt (Tübingen, 1840); Hilgenfeld in his Die Apostolischen Väter (Halle, 1853); Weizäcker, Zur Kritik des Barnabasbriefes aus dem Codex Sinaiticus (Tübingen, 1863); J. G. Müller's Erklärung des Barnabasbriefes, Ein Anhang zu de Wette's Exegetischem Handbuch zum neuen Testament (Leipz.1869), contains general prolegomena to the epistle, a critically constructed text, and an elaborate commentary, together with careful Excursus on all the most important difficulties. W. Cunningham, A Dissertation. on the Ep. of B. (Lond.1877). A trans. of the epistle is contained in the vol. of the Apost. Fathers in the Ante-Nicene Christian Lib. (T. & T. Clark, 10s.6d.). The ed. princeps by archbp. Ussher (Oxf.1642) has been reprinted by the Clarendon Press with a dissertation by J. H. Backhouse. The best text for English scholars is given in Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, ed. by bp. Harmer (Lond.1991), pp.237-242.


Barsumas,Syrian archimandrite
Barsumas (the Eutychian), an archimandrite of a Syrian monastery, who warmly espoused the cause of Eutyches. When, in 448, Eutyches was denounced before the local synod of Constantinople, Barsumas, who was resident in the city, raised a violent opposition to the Eastern bishops. The next year, 449, at the |Robbers' Synod| of Ephesus, Theodosius II. summoned Barsumas as the representative of the malcontent monastic party, and granted him a seat and vote among the bishops. He was the first monk allowed to act as a judge at a general council. Barsumas brought with him a turbulent band of 1000 monks to coerce the assembly, and took a prominent part in the disorderly proceedings, vociferously expressing his joy on the acquittal of Eutyches and joining in the assault on the aged Flavian by the monks and soldiers. The injuries inflicted were so serious that the venerable patriarch died three days afterwards. When with great effrontery Barsumas presented himself at the council of Chalcedon, 451, an outcry was raised against him as |the murderer of the blessed Flavian.| He actively propagated Eutychian doctrines in Syria and died 458. His disciple, Samuel, carried Eutychianism into Armenia. He is regarded among the Jacobites as a saint and worker of miracles (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. ii.4; Labbe, iv.105 seq.; Liberatus, c.12; Tillemont, xv.; Schröckh, xvii.451 seq.).


Barsumas, Nestorian bp. of Nisibis
Barsumas (the Nestorian), bp. of Nisibis and metropolitan, 435-489, who, after the suppression of Nestorianism within the empire, engaged successfully in its propagation in Eastern Asia, especially in Persia. Banished from Edessa by Rabulas, after his desertion of his former friends, Barsumas proved the chief strength and wisdom of the fugitive church. In 435 he became bp. of Nisibis, where, in conjunction with Maanes, bp. of Hardaschir, he established a theological school of deserved celebrity, over which Narses presided for fifty years. Barsumas had the skill to secure for his church the powerful support of the Persian king Pherozes (Firuz), who ascended the throne in the year 462. He worked upon his enmity to the Roman power to obtain his patronage for a development of doctrine which had been formally condemned by the emperor and his assembled bishops, representing to him that the king of Persia could never securely reckon on the allegiance of his subjects so long as they held the same religious faith with his enemies. Pherozes admitted the force of this argument, and Nestorianism became the only form of Christianity tolerated in Persia. Barsumas died in 489, in which year the emperor Zeno broke up the theological seminary at Edessa on account of its Nestorianism, with the result that it flourished still more at Nisibis. Missionaries went out from it in great multitudes, and Nestorianism became the recognized form of Christianity in Eastern Asia. The Malabar Christians are the lineal descendants of their missions. Assemanni, Bibl. Or, iii.1, 16-70; Wigram, Hist. of Assyrian Ch. c. viii. [[71]Nestorian Church.]


Basilides, Gnostic sect founder
Basilides (Basileides), the founder of one of the semi-Christian sects, commonly called Gnostic, which sprang up in the early part of the 2nd cent.

1. Biography. -- He called himself a disciple of one Glaucias, alleged to be an interpreter (ermenea) of St. Peter (Clem. Strom. vii. p.898). He taught at Alexandria (Iren. p.100 Mass.; followed by Eus. H. E. iv.7; Epiph. Haer. xxiv.1, p.68 c; cf. xxiii.1, p.62 B; Theod. Haer. Fab. i.2): Hippolytus (Haer. vii.27, p.244) in general terms mentions Egypt. Indeed Epiphanius enumerates various places in Egypt visited by Basilides; but subsequently allows it to appear that his knowledge of the districts where Basilidians existed in his own time was his only evidence. If the Alexandrian Gnostic is the Basilides quoted in the Acts of the Disputation of Archelaus and Mani (c.55, in Routh, Rell. Sac. v.196; see later, p.276), he was reported to have preached in Persia. Nothing more is known of his life. According to Epiphanius (62 B, 68 D, 69 A), he had been a fellow-disciple of Menander with Saturnilus at Antioch in Syria; but this is evidently an arbitrary extension of Irenaeus's remarks on the order of doctrines to personal relations. If the view of the doctrines of Basilides taken in this article is correct, they afford no good grounds for supposing him to have had a Syrian education. Gnostic ideas derived originally from Syria were sufficiently current at Alexandria, and the foundation of what is distinctive in his thoughts is Greek.

Several independent authorities indicate the reign of Hadrian (a.d.117-138) as the time when Basilides flourished. To prove that the heretical sects were |later than the Catholic church,| Clement of Alexandria (l.c.) marks out early Christian history into different periods: he assigns Christ's own teaching to the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius; that of the apostles, of St. Paul at least, ends, he says, in the time of Nero; whereas |the authors of the sects arose later, about the times of the emperor Hadrian (kato de peri tous k.t.l. gegonasi), and continued quite as late as the age of the elder Antoninus.| He gives as examples Basilides, Valentinus, and (if the text is sound) Marcion, taking occasion by the way to throw doubts on the claims set up for the two former as having been instructed by younger contemporaries of St. Peter and St. Paul respectively, by pointing out that about half a century lay between the death of Nero and the accession of Hadrian. Again Eusebius (l.c.) places Saturnilus and Basilides under Hadrian. Yet his language about Carpocrates a few lines further on suggests a doubt whether he had any better evidence than a fallacious inference from their order in Irenaeus. He was acquainted with the refutation of Basilides by Agrippa Castor; but it is not clear, as is sometimes assumed, that he meant to assign both writers to the same reign. His chronicle (Armenian) at the year 17 of Hadrian (a.d.133) has the note |The heresiarch Basilides appeared at these times|; which Jerome, as usual, expresses rather more definitely. A similar statement without the year is repeated by Jerome, de Vir. Ill.21, where an old corrupt reading (mortuus for moratus) led some of the earlier critics to suppose they had found a limit for the date of Basilides's death. Theodoret (l.c.) evidently follows Eusebius. Earliest of all, but vaguest, is the testimony of Justin Martyr. Writing in or soon after a.d.145, he refers briefly (Ap. i.26) to the founders of heretical sects, naming first the earliest, Simon and Menander, followers of whom were still alive; and then apparently the latest, Marcion, himself still alive. The probable inference that the other great heresiarchs, including Basilides, were by this time dead receives some confirmation from a passage in his Dialogue against Trypho (c.35), a later but probably not much later book, where the |Marcians,| Valentinians, Basilidians, Saturnilians, |and others,| are enumerated, apparently in inverse chronological order: the growth of distinct and recognized sects implies at least the lapse of some time since the promulgation of their several creeds. It seems therefore impossible to place Basilides later than Hadrian's time; and, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we may trust the Alexandrian Clement's statement that his peculiar teaching began at no earlier date.

II. Writings. -- According to Agrippa Castor (Eus. H. E. l.c.), Basilides wrote |twenty-four books (biblia) on the Gospel.| These are no doubt the Exegetica, from the twenty-third of which Clement gives an extract (Strom. iv. §§ 83 ff., pp.599 f.). The same work is doubtless intended by the |treatises| (tractatuum), the thirteenth book of which is cited in the Acta Archelai, if the same Basilides is referred to. The authorship of an actual Gospel, of the |apocryphal| class, is likewise attributed to Basilides on plausible grounds. The word |taken in hand| (epecheiresan) in Luke i.1 gives Origen occasion to distinguish between the four evangelists, who wrote by inspiration, and other writers who |took in hand| to produce Gospels. He mentions some of these, and proceeds |Basilides had even the audacity| (ede de etolmesen, more than epecheiresen) |to write a Gospel according to Basilides|; that is, he went beyond other fabricators of Gospels by affixing his own name (Hom. in Luc. i.). This passage is freely translated, though without mention of Origen's name, by Ambrose (Exp. in Luc. i.1); and is probably Jerome's authority in an enumeration of the chief apocryphal Gospels (Com. in Matt. praef. t. vii. p.3); for among the six others which he mentions the four named by Origen recur, including that of the Twelve Apostles, otherwise unknown (cf. Hieron. Dial. cont. Pelag. iii.2, t. ii. p.782). Yet no trace of a Gospel by Basilides exists elsewhere; and it seems most probable either that Origen misunderstood the nature of the Exegetica, or that they were sometimes known under the other name (cf. Hilgenfeld, Clem. Rec. u. Hom.123 ff.).

An interesting question remains, in what relation the Exegetica stand to the exposition of doctrine which fills eight long chapters of Hippolytus. Basilides (or the Basilidians), we are told (vii.27), defined the Gospel as |the knowledge of supermundane things| (e ton huperkosmion gnosis), and the idea of the progress of |the Gospel| through the different orders of beings plays a leading part in the Basilidian doctrine (cc.25 ff.). But there is not the slightest reason to think that the |Gospel| here spoken of was a substitute for the Gospel in a historical sense, any more than in St. Paul's writings. Indeed several passages (p.238, 1.28 ff.; 239, 42, 58; 240, 79 ff. of Miller), with their allusions to Rom. v.14, viii.19, 22, 23; I. Cor. ii.13; II. Cor. xii.4; Eph. i.21, iii.3, 5, 10, prove that the writer was throughout thinking of St. Paul's |mystery of the Gospel.| Hippolytus states distinctly that the Basilidian account of |all things concerning the Saviour| subsequent to |the birth of Jesus| agreed with that given in |the Gospels.| It may therefore be reasonably conjectured that his exposition, if founded on a work of Basilides himself (see § III.), is a summary of the opening book or books of the Exegetica, describing that part of the redemptive process, or of the preparation for it, which was above and antecedent to the phenomenal life of Jesus. The comments on the Gospel itself, probably containing much ethical matter, as we may gather from Clement, would have little attraction for Hippolytus.

The certain fragments of the Exegetica have been collected by Grabe (Spicil. Patr. ii.35-43), followed by Massuet and Stieren in their editions of Irenaeus; but he passes over much in Clement which assuredly has no other origin. A single sentence quoted in Origen's commentary on Romans, and given further on (p.275), is probably from the same source. In an obscure and brief fragment preserved in a Catena on Job (Venet.1587, p.345), Origen implies the existence of Odes by Basilides and Valentinus. No other writings of Basilides are mentioned.

III. Authenticity of the Hippolytean Extracts. -- In endeavouring to form a clear conception of the work and doctrine of Basilides, we are met at the outset by a serious difficulty. The different accounts were never easy to harmonize, and some of the best critics of the first half of the 19th cent. considered them to refer to two different systems of doctrine. But till 1851 their fragmentary nature suggested that the apparent incongruities might conceivably be due only to the defects of our knowledge, and seemed to invite reconstructive boldness on the part of the historian. The publication of Hippolytus's Refutation of all Heresies in 1851 placed the whole question on a new footing. Hardly any one has ventured to maintain the possibility of reconciling its ample statements about Basilides with the reports of Irenaeus and Epiphanius. Which account then most deserves our confidence?

Before attempting to answer this question it is well to enumerate the authorities. They are Agrippa Castor as cited by Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, the anonymous supplement to Tertullian, de Praescriptione, the Refutation of Hippolytus, Epiphanius, Philaster, and Theodoret, and possibly the Acta Archelai, besides a few scattered notices which may be neglected here. This ample list shrinks, however, into small dimensions at the touch of criticism. Theodoret's chapter is a disguised compilation from previous Greek writers. The researches of Lipsius have proved that Epiphanius followed partly Irenaeus, partly the lost Compendium of Hippolytus, this same work being also the common source of the Latin authors pseudo-Tertullian and Philaster. Our ultimate authorities therefore are Irenaeus (or the unknown author from whom he took this section of his work), the Compendium of Hippolytus (represented by Epiphanius [part], Philaster, and
pseudo-Tertullian), Clement and the Refutation of Hippolytus, together with a short statement by Agrippa Castor, and probably a passing reference and quotation in the Acts of Archelaus.

It is now generally allowed that the notices of Clement afford the surest criterion by which to test other authorities. Not only does his whole tone imply exact personal knowledge, but he quotes a long passage directly from the Exegetica. Is then his account, taken as a whole, consistent with other accounts? And does it agree best with the reports of Irenaeus and Hippolytus in his younger days, or with the elaborate picture drawn by Hippolytus at a later time? This second question has received opposite answers from recent critics. A majority have given the preference to Hippolytus; while Hilgenfeld (who three years before, in his earliest book, the treatise On the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, pp.125-149, had described the Basilidian system from the then known records, endeavouring with perverse ingenuity to shew their virtual consistency with each other) has prided himself on not being dazzled by the new authority, whom he holds to be in effect describing not Basilides but a late development of his sect; and Lipsius takes the same view.

It should be observed at the outset that the testimony of Clement is not quite so homogeneous as is generally assumed. Six times he criticises doctrines of |Basilides| himself; eight times he employs the ambiguous plural (hoi apo B., hoi amphi ton B.). Are we to suppose a distinction here, or is the verbal difference accidental? Both views might be maintained. The quotation from the Exegetica (Strom. iv. pp.599 f.) is a piece of moral argument on Providence, wholly free from the technical terms of Gnostic mythology. In the succeeding discussion Clement eventually uses plurals (ei . . . tis auton legoi -- peptoken he hupothesis autois -- hos phanai, apparently a misreading for hos phasin -- hos autoi legousin), which might equally imply that he employs both forms indifferently, or that he distinguishes Basilides from his followers within the limits of a single subject. The other references to |Basilides| are likewise of a distinctly ethical character, while several of the passages containing the plural name abound in technical language. Yet the distinction is not absolute on either side. |Basilides| furnishes the terms |the Ogdoad,| |the election,|
|supermundane|; while such subjects as the nature of faith, the relation of the passions to the animal soul, and the meaning of Christ's saying about eunuchs, occur in the other group, though they remind us rather of Basilides himself. In the last passage, moreover (Strom. iii. pp.508 ff.), the ambiguous plural (hoi apo B. phasi -- legousi -- 'xegountai -- phasi bis) is applied to a quotation intended to shame by contrast the immoral Basilidians of Clement's own time; and a similar quotation from Basilides's son Isidore immediately follows; the authors of the two quotations being designated as |the forefathers of their (the late Basilidians') doctrines.| It is hard to believe that mere anonymous disciples, though of an earlier date, would be appealed to in this manner, or would take precedence of the master's own son. On the whole, there can be no reasonable doubt that all the doctrinal statements in Clement concern Basilides himself, when not distinctly otherwise expressed, and depend on direct knowledge of the Exegetica. With good reason therefore they may be assumed as a trustworthy basis for the whole investigation. The most doubtful instances are the passages cited presently on the Baptism and (in the Exc. Theod.) on the descent of the Minister (diakonos), i.e. the Holy Spirit.

The range of possible contact between the quotations and reports of Clement and any of the other authorities is not large. His extant writings contain nothing like an attempt to describe the Basilidian System. The Stromates, which furnish the quotations from Basilides, expressly limit themselves to moral and practical questions (ho ethikos logos); and reserve for a future work, i.e. the lost Hypotyposes, the exposition of the higher doctrine (tes kata ten epoptiken theorian gnoseos, -- ten to onti gnostiken phusiologian) belonging to the department of knowledge which the Stoics called Physics, beginning with the Creation and leading up to Theology proper (Strom. i. p.324; iv. pp.563 f., 637; vi. pp.735 f., 827; vii.829, 902; cf. Bunsen, Anal. Antenic. i.159 ff.). Now it is precisely to this latter department that the bulk of Gnostic speculation would belong, and especially such theories as Hippolytus ascribes to Basilides; and moreover Clement distinctly promises that in the course of that loftier investigation he will |set forth in detail the doctrines of the heretics (ton heterodoxon), and endeavour to refute them to the best of his power| (iv. § 3, p.564). We have therefore no right to expect in the Stromates any cosmological or even theological matter respecting Basilides except such as may accidentally adhere to the ethical statements, the subjects treated of in the various books |against all heresies| being formally excluded by Clement. His sphere being thus distinct from theirs, the marked coincidences of language that we do find between him and Hippolytus afford a strong presumption that, if the one account is authentic, the other is so likewise. Within the narrow limits of Clement's information we meet with the phrases |primitive medley and confusion| (sunchusis), and on the other hand |separation| (differentiation) and restoration (sophia phulokrinetike, apokatastatike); with a division of the universe into stages (diastemata), and prominence given to the sphere of |super-mundane| things; with an |Ogdoad| and an |Archon|; all of these terms being conspicuous and essential in the Hippolytean representation. Above all, we hear of the amazement of the Archon on receiving |the utterance of the ministering Spirit| or |Minister| (diakonos, cf. Ecl. Theod. p.972) as being that fear of the Lord which is called the beginning of wisdom (Strom. ii. p.448) ; the utterance itself being implied to be a Gospel (euengelismenon); while Hippolytus describes the same passage as interpreted of the amazement of the Great Archon on receiving |the Gospel,| a revelation of things unknown, through his Son, who had received it from a |power| within the Holy Spirit (vii.26). The coincidences are thus proportionately great, and there are no contradictions to balance them: so that it would require strong evidence to rebut the conclusion that Clement and Hippolytus had the same materials before them. Such evidence does not exist. The coincidences between Clement and the Irenaean tradition are limited to the widely spread |Ogdoad| and a single disputable use of the word |Archon,| and there is no similarity of doctrines to make up for the absence of verbal identity. The only tangible argument against the view that Hippolytus describes the original system of Basilides is its Greek rather than Oriental character, which is assumed to be incompatible with the fundamental thoughts of a great Gnostic leader. We shall have other opportunities of inquiring how far the evidence supports this wide generalization as to Gnosticism at large. As regards Basilides personally, the only grounds for expecting from him an Oriental type of doctrine are the quotation in the Acts of Archelaus, which will be discussed further on, and the tradition of his connexion with Saturnilus of Antioch, which we have already seen to be founded on a misconception. The fragmentary notices and extracts in Clement, admitted on all hands to be authentic, are steeped in Greek philosophy; so that the Greek spirit of the Hippolytean representation is in fact an additional evidence for its faithfulness.

It may yet be asked, Did Hippolytus consult the work of Basilides himself, or did he depend on an intermediate reporter? His own language, though not absolutely decisive, favours the former alternative. On the one hand it may be urged that he makes no mention of a book, that occasionally he quotes by the words |they say,| |according to them,| and that his exposition is immediately preceded by the remark, |Let us then see how openly both Basilides and [his son] Isidore ( B. homou kai I.) and the whole band of them not merely calumniate Matthias [from whom they professed to have received records of Christ's secret teaching], but also the Saviour Himself| (c.20). Against these indications may be set the ten places where Basilides is referred to singly, and the very numerous quotations by the words |he says.| It is true that Greek usage permits the occasional use of the singular even when no one writer or book is intended. But in this case the most natural translation is borne out by some of the language quoted. The first person singular (hotan de lego, phesin, to En, ouch hoti en lego, all' hina semano touto hoper boulomai deixai, lego, phesin, hoti en holos ouden; . . . kai ou dechomai, phesin k.t.l.) proves the book in Hippolytus's hands to have been written by an original speculator; yet this very quotation is immediately followed by a comment on it with the third person plural which here at least can mean no more than that Hippolytus held the Basilidians of his own day responsible for the doctrines of his author. The freshness and power of the whole section, wherever we touch the actual words of the author, strongly confirm the impression that he was no other than Basilides himself. Thus we are led independently to the conclusion suggested by the correspondence with the information of Clement, whom we know to have drawn from the fountain-head, the Exegetica.The fancy that the book used by Hippolytus was itself the Traditions of Matthias has nothing to recommend it. The whole form is unlike that which analogy would lead us to expect in such a production. If it was quoted as an authority in the Exegetica, the language of Hippolytus is justified. Nor is there anything in this inconsistent with the fact vouched for by Clement (Strom. vii. p.898) that Basilides claimed to have been taught by Glaucias, an |interpreter| of St. Peter.

We shall therefore assume that the eight chapters of Hippolytus (vii.20-27) represent faithfully though imperfectly the contents of part at least of the Exegetica of Basilides; and proceed to describe his doctrine on their authority, using likewise the testimony of Clement wherever it is available.

IV. Doctrine. -- Basilides asserts the beginning of all things to have been pure nothing. He uses every device of language to express absolute nonentity. He will not allow the primitive nothing to be called even |unspeakable|: that, he says, would be naming it, and it is above every name that is named (20). Nothing then being in existence, |not-being God| (or Deity, ouk on theos: the article is omitted here) willed to make a not-being world out of not-being things. Once more great pains are taken to obviate the notion that |willing| implied any mental attribute whatever. Also the world so made was not the extended and differentiated world to which we gave the name, but |a single seed containing within itself all the seed-mass of the world,| the aggregate of the seeds of all its forms and substances, as the mustard seed contains the branches and leaves of the tree, or the pea-hen's egg the brilliant colour of the full-grown peacock (21). This was the one origin of all future growths; their seeds lay stored up by the will of the not-being God in the single world-seed, as in the new-born babe its future teeth and the resemblances to its father which are thereafter to appear. Its own origin too from God was not a putting-forth (probole), as a spider puts forth its web from itself. (By this assertion, on which Hippolytus dwells with emphasis, every notion of |emanation| is expressly repudiated.) Nor was there an antecedent matter, like the brass or wood wrought by a mortal man. The words |Let there be light, and there was light| convey the whole truth. The light came into being out of nothing but the voice of the Speaker; |and the Speaker was not, and that which came into being was not.|

What then was the first stage of growth of the seed? It had within itself |a tripartite sonship, in all things
consubstantial with the not-being God.| Part of the sonship was subtle of substance (leptomeres), part coarse of substance (pachumeres), part needing purification (apokatharseos deomenon). Simultaneously with the first beginning of the seed the subtle sonship burst through (diesphuxen) and mounted swiftly up |like a wing or a thought| (Odyss. vii.36) till it reached the not-being God; |for toward Him for His exceeding beauty and grace (horaiotetos) every kind of nature yearns (oregetai), each in its own way.| The coarse sonship could not mount up of itself, but it took to itself as a wing the Holy Spirit, each bearing up the other with mutual benefit, even as neither a bird can soar without wing, nor a wing without a bird. But when it came near the blessed and unutterable place of the subtle sonship and the not-being God, it could take the Holy Spirit no further, as not being consubstantial or of the same nature with itself. There, then, retaining and emitting downwards the fragrance of the sonship like a vessel that has once held ointment, the Holy Spirit remained, as a firmament dividing things above the world from |the world| itself below (22).

The third sonship continued still within the heap of the seed-mass. But out of the heap burst forth into being the Great Archon, |the head of the world, a beauty and greatness and power that cannot be uttered.| He too raised himself aloft till he reached the firmament which he supposed to be the upward end of all things. Then he became wiser and every way better than all other cosmical things except the sonship left below, which he knew not to be far better than himself. So he turned to create the world in its several parts. But first he |made to himself and begat out of the things below a son far better and wiser than himself,| for thus the not-being God had willed from the first; and smitten with wonder at his son's beauty, he set him at his right hand. |This is what they call the Ogdoad, where the Great Archon is sitting.| Then all the heavenly or ethereal creation (apparently included in the Ogdoad), as far down as the moon, was made by the Great Archon, inspired by his wiser son (23). Again another Archon arose out of the seed-mass, inferior to the first Archon, but superior to all else below except the sonship; and he likewise made to himself a son wiser than himself, and became the creator and governor of the aerial world. This region is called the Hebdomad. On the other hand, in the heap and seed-mass, constituting our own (the terrestrial) stage, |those things that come to pass come to pass according to nature, as having been previously uttered by Him Who hath planned the fitting time and form and manner of utterance of the things that were to be uttered (hos phthasanta lechthenai hupo tou ta mellonta legesthai hote dei kai hoia dei kai hos dei lelogismenou): and these things have no one to rule over them, or exercise care for them, or create them: for sufficient for them is that plan (logismos) which the not-being One planned when He was making| [the seed-mass] (24).

Such is the original cosmogony as conceived by Basilides, and it supplies the base for his view of the Gospel, as well as of the interval before the coming of the Gospel into the world. When the whole world had been finished, and the things above the world, and nothing was lacking, there remained in the seed-mass the third sonship, which had been left behind to do good and receive good in the seed; and it was needful that the sonship thus left behind should be revealed (Rom. viii.19) and restored up yonder above the Limitary Spirit to join the subtle and imitative sonship and the not-being One, as it is written, |And the creation itself groaneth together and travaileth together, expecting the revelation of the sons of God.| Now we the spiritual, he said, are sons left behind here to order and to inform and to correct and to perfect the souls whose nature it is to abide in this stage. Till Moses, then, from Adam sin reigned, as it is written; for the Great Archon reigned, he whose end reaches to the firmament, supposing himself to be God alone, and to have nothing above him, for all things remained guarded in secret silence; this is the mystery which was not made known to the former generations. But in those times the Great Archon, the Ogdoad, was king and lord, as it appeared, of all things: and moreover, the Hebdomad was king and lord of this stage; and the Ogdoad is unutterable, but the Hebdomad utterable. This, the Archon of the Hebdomad, is he who spoke to Moses and said, |I am the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and the name of God did I not make known to them| (for so, says Hippolytus, they will have it read), that is, of the unutterable God who is Archon of the Ogdoad. All the prophets, therefore, that were before the Saviour, spoke from that source (ekeithen).

This short interpretation of the times before Christ, which has evidently suffered in the process of condensation by Hippolytus, carries us at once to the Gospel itself. |Because therefore it was needful that we the children of God should be revealed, concerning whom the creation groaned and travailed, expecting the revelation, the Gospel came into the world, and passed through every principality and power and lordship, and every name that is named.| There was still no downward coming from above, no departure of the ascended sonship from its place; but |from below from the formlessness of the heap the powers penetrated (diekousin) up to the sonship| (i.e. probably throughout the scale the power of each stage penetrated to the stage immediately above), and so thoughts (noemata) were caught from above as naphtha catches fire at a distance without contact. Thus the power within the Holy Spirit |conveyed the thoughts of the sonship, as they flowed and drifted (rheonta kai pheromena) to the son of the Great Archon| (25); and he in turn instructed the Great Archon himself, by whose side he was sitting. Then first the Great Archon learned that he was not God of the universe, but had himself come into being, and had above him yet higher beings; he discovered with amazement his own past ignorance, and confessed his sin in having magnified himself. This fear of his, said Basilides, was that fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom (wisdom to |separate and discern and perfect and restore,| Clem. Strom. ii.448 f.). From him and the Ogdoad the Gospel had next to pass to the Hebdomad. Its Archon's son received the light from the son of the Great Archon, he became himself enlightened, and declared the Gospel to the Archon of the Hebdomad, and he too feared and confessed, and all that was in the Hebdomad received the light (26).

It remained only that the formlessness of our own region should be enlightened, and that the hidden mystery should be revealed to the third sonship left behind in the formlessness, as to |one born out of due time| (hoionei ektromati, I. Cor. xv.8). The light came down from the Hebdomad upon Jesus the Son of Mary. That this descent of the light was represented as taking place at the Annunciation, and not merely at the Baptism, is clearly implied in the express reference to the words of the angel in Luke i.35, |A Holy Spirit shall come upon thee,| which are explained to mean |that [? spirit] which passed from the sonship through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and the Hebdomad till it reached Mary| (the interpretation of the following words, |And a power of the Most High shall overshadow thee,| appears to be hopelessly corrupt). On the other hand, when it is described as a result of the descent of the light from the Hebdomad |upon Jesus the Son of Mary,| that He |was enlightened, being kindled in union with the light (sunexaphtheis to photi) that shone on Him,| the allusion to the traditional light at the Baptism can hardly be questioned; more especially when we read in Clement's Excerpta (p.972) that the Basilidians interpreted the dove to be |the Minister,| i.e. (see pp.270, 276) the revealing |power| within the Holy Spirit (26).

From the Nativity Hippolytus's exposition passes on at once to its purpose in the future and the final consummation. The world holds together as it is now, we learn, until all the sonship that has been left behind, to give benefits to the souls in formlessness and to receive benefits by obtaining distinct form, follows Jesus and mounts up and is purified and becomes most subtle, so that it can mount by itself like the first sonship; |for it has all its power naturally established in union (sunesterigmenen) with the light that shone down from above| (26). When every sonship has arrived above the Limitary Spirit, |then the creation shall find mercy, for till now it groans and is tormented and awaits the revelation of the sons of God, that all the men of the sonship may ascend from hence| (27). When this has come to pass, God will bring upon the whole world the Great Ignorance, that everything may remain according to nature, and that nothing may desire aught that is contrary to nature. Thus all the souls of this stage, whose nature it is to continue immortal in this stage alone, will remain without knowledge of anything higher and better than this, lest they suffer torment by craving for things impossible, like a fish desiring to feed with the sheep on the mountains, for such a desire would have been to them destruction. All things are indestructible while they abide in their place, but destructible if they aim at overleaping the bounds of Nature. Thus the Great Ignorance will overtake even the Archon of the Hebdomad, that grief and pain and sighing may depart from him: yea, it will overtake the Great Archon of the Ogdoad, and all the creations subject to him, that nothing may in any respect crave for aught that is against nature or may suffer pain. |And in this wise shall be the Restoration, all things according to nature having been founded in the seed of the universe in the beginning, and being restored at their due seasons. And that each thing has its due seasons is sufficiently proved by the Saviour's words, 'My hour is not yet come,' and by the beholding of the star by the Magi; for even He Himself was subject to the 'genesis' [nativity] of the periodic return (apokatastaseos, here used in the limited astrological sense, though above as 'restoration' generally) of stars and hours, as foreordained [prolelogismenos: cf. c.24, s. f.; x.14] in the great heap.| |He,| adds Hippolytus, evidently meaning our Lord, |is [in the Basilidian view] the inner spiritual man in the natural [psychical] man; that is, a sonship leaving its soul here, not a mortal soul, but one remaining in its present place according to nature, just as the first sonship up above hath left the Limitary Holy Spirit in a fitting place; He having at that time been clothed with a soul of His own| (27).

These last two remarks, on the subjection to seasons and on the ultimate abandonment of the immortal but earth-bound soul by the ascending sonship or spiritual man, taking place first in the Saviour and then in the other |sons of God,| belong in strictness to an earlier part of the scheme; but they may have been placed here by Basilides himself, to explain the strange consummation of the Great Ignorance. The principle receives perhaps a better illustration from what purports to be an exposition of the Basilidian view of the Gospel, with which Hippolytus concludes his report. |According to them,| he says, |the Gospel is the knowledge of things above the world, which knowledge the Great Archon understood not: when then it was shewn to him that there exists the Holy Spirit, that is the Limitary Spirit, and the sonship and a God Who is the author (aitios) of all these things, even the not-being One, he rejoiced at what was told him, and was exceeding glad: this is according to them the Gospel.| Here Hippolytus evidently takes too generally the special form under which Basilides represented the Gospel as made known to the Great Archon. Nor, when he proceeds to say that |Jesus according to them was born in the manner that we have previously mentioned,| is it clear that Basilides gave a different account of the Nativity itself from that accepted by the church, because he gave a peculiar interpretation to the angel's words. |After the Nativity already made known,| adds Hippolytus, |all incidents concerning the Saviour came to pass according to them [the Basilidians] as they are described in the Gospels.| But all this is only introductory to the setting forth of the primary principle. |These things| (apparently the incidents of our Lord's life) |are come to pass that Jesus might become the first fruits of the sorting of the things confused| (tes phulokrineseos ton sunkechumenon). For since the world is divided into the Ogdoad and the Hebdomad and this stage in which we dwell, where is the formlessness, |it was necessary that the things confused should be sorted by the division of Jesus. That therefore suffered which was His bodily part, which was of the formlessness, and it was restored into the formlessness; and that rose up which was His psychical part, which was of the Hebdomad, and it was restored into the Hebdomad; and he raised up that which belonged to the summit where sits the Great Archon (tes akroreias tou m. a.), and it abode beside the Great Archon: and He bore up on high that which was of the Limitary Spirit, and it abode in the Limitary Spirit; and the third sonship, which had been left behind in [the heap] to give and receive benefits, through Him was purified and mounted up to the blessed sonship, passing through them all.| |Thus Jesus is become the first fruits of the sorting; and the Passion has come to pass for no other purpose than this [reading gegonen e huper for gegonen hupo], that the things confused might be sorted.| For the whole sonship left behind in the formlessness must needs be sorted in the same manner as Jesus Himself hath been sorted. Thus, as Hippolytus remarks a little earlier, the whole theory consists of the confusion of a seed-mass, and of the sorting and restoration into their proper places of things so confused (27).

Clement's contributions to our knowledge of Basilides refer chiefly, as has been said, to the ethical side of his doctrine. Here |Faith| evidently played a considerable part. In itself it was defined by |them of Basilides| (hoi apo B.) as |an assent of the soul to any of the things which do not excite sensation, because they are not present| (Strom ii. p.448); the phrase being little more than a vague rendering of Heb. xi.1, in philosophical language. >From another unfortunately corrupt passage (v. p.645) it would appear that Basilides accumulated forms of dignity in celebration of faith. But the eulogies were in vain, Clement intimates, because they abstained from setting forth faith as the |rational assent of a soul possessing free will.| They left faith a matter of |nature,| not of responsible choice. So again, while contrasting the honour shewn by the Basilidians to faith with its disparagement in comparison with |knowledge| by the Valentinians, he accuses them (hoi amphi ton B.) of regarding it as |natural,| and referring it to |the election| while they apparently considered it to |discover doctrines without demonstration by an intellective apprehension| (ta mathemata anapodeiktos heuriskousan katalepsei noetike). He adds that according to them (hoi apo B.) there is at once a faith and an election of special character (oikeian) in each |stage| (diastema), the mundane faith of every nature follows in accordance with its supermundane election, and for each (? being or stage) the [Divine] gift of his (or its) faith corresponds with his (or its) hope (ii.433 f.). What |hope| was intended is not explained: probably it is the range of legitimate hope, the limits of faculty accessible to the beings inhabiting this or that |stage.| It is hardly likely that Clement would have censured unreservedly what appears here as the leading principle of Basilides, the Divine resignment of a limited sphere of action to each order of being, and the Divine bestowal of proportionally limited powers of apprehending God upon the several orders, though it is true that Clement himself specially cherished the thought of an upward progress from one height of being to another, as part of the Divine salvation (Strom. vii. p.835, etc.). Doubtless Basilides pushed election so far as to sever a portion of mankind from the rest, as alone entitled by Divine decree to receive the higher enlightenment. In this sense it must have been that he called |the election a stranger to the world, as being by nature supermundane|; while Clement maintained that no man can by nature be a stranger to the world (iv. p.639). It is hardly necessary to point out how closely the limitation of spheres agrees with the doctrine on which the Great Ignorance is founded, and the supermundane election with that of the Third Sonship.

The same rigid adhesion to the conception of natural fixity, and inability to accept Christian beliefs, which transcend it, led Basilides (ho B.) to confine the remission of sins to those which are committed involuntarily and in ignorance; as though, says Clement (Strom. iv. p.634), it were a man and not God that bestowed the gift. A like fatalistic view of Providence is implied in the language held by Basilides (in the 23rd book of his Exegetica, as quoted by Clement, Strom. iv. pp.599-603) in reference to the sufferings of Christian martyrs. In this instance we have the benefit of verbal extracts, though unfortunately their sense is in parts obscure. So far as they go, they do not bear out the allegations of Agrippa Castor (ap. Eus. H. E. iv.7, § 7) that Basilides taught that the partaking of food offered to idols, and the heedless (aparaphulaktos) abjuration of the faith in time of persecution was a thing indifferent; and of Origen (Com. in Matt. iii.856 Ru.), that he depreciated the martyrs, and treated lightly the sacrificing to heathen deities. The impression seems to have arisen partly from a misunderstanding of the purpose of his argument, partly from the actual doctrine and practices of later Basilidians; but it may also have had some justification in incidental words which have not been preserved. Basilides is evidently contesting the assumption, probably urged in controversy against his conception of the justice of Providence, that the sufferers in |what are called tribulations| (en tais legomenais thlipsesin) are to be regarded as innocent, simply because they suffer for their Christianity. He suggests that some are in fact undergoing punishment for previous unknown sins, while |by the goodness of Him Who brings events to pass| (tou periagontos) they are allowed the comfort of suffering as Christians, |not subject to the rebuke as the adulterer or the murderer| (apparently with reference to I Pet. iii.17, iv.15, 16, 19); and if there be any who suffers without previous sin, it will not be |by the design of an [adverse] power| (kat' epiboulen dunameos), but as suffers the babe who appears to have committed no sin. The next quotation attempts at some length an exposition of this comparison with the babe. The obvious distinction is drawn between sin committed in act (energos) and the capacity for sin (to hamartetikon); the infant is said to receive a benefit when it is subjected to suffering, |gaining| many hardships (polla kerdainon duskola). So it is, he says, with the suffering of a perfect man, for his not having sinned must not be set down to himself; though he has done no evil, he must have willed evil; |for I will say anything rather than call Providence (to pronoun) evil.| He did not shrink, Clement says, and the language seems too conclusive, from applying his principle even to the Lord. |If, leaving all these arguments, you go on to press me with certain persons, saying, for instance, 'Such an one sinned therefore, for such an one suffered,' if you will allow me I will say, 'He did not sin, but he is like the suffering babe'; but if you force the argument with greater violence, I will say that any man whom you may choose to name is a man, and that God is righteous; for 'no one,' as it has been said, 'is clear of defilement'| (rhupou). He likewise brought in the notion of sin in a past stage of existence suffering its penalty here, |the elect soul| suffering |honourably (epitimos) through martyrdom, and the soul of another kind being cleansed by an appropriate punishment.| To this doctrine of
metempsychosis (tas ensomatoseis) |the Basilidians| (hoi apo B.) are likewise said to have referred the language of the Lord about requital to the third and fourth generations (Exc. Theod.976); Origen states that Basilides himself interpreted Rom. vii.9 in this sense, |The Apostle said, 'I lived without a law once,' that is, before I came into this body, I lived in such a form of body as was not under a law, that of a beast namely, or a bird| (Com. in Rom. iv.549, Ru.); and elsewhere (Com. in Matt. l.c.) Origen complains that he deprived men of a salutary fear by teaching that transmigrations are the only punishments after death. What more Basilides taught about Providence as exemplified in martyrdoms is not easily brought together from Clement's rather confused account. He said that one part of what is called the will of God (i.e. evidently His own mind towards lower beings, not what He would have their mind to be) is to love (or rather perhaps be satisfied with, egapekenai) all things because all things preserve a relation to the universe (logou aposozousi pros to pan hapanta), and another to despise nothing, and a third to hate no single thing (601). In the same spirit pain and fear were described as natural accidents of things (episumbainei tois pragmasin), as rust of iron (603). In another sentence (602) Providence seems to be spoken of as set in motion by the Archon; by which perhaps was meant (see Hipp. c.24, cited above, p.272 A) that the Archon was the unconscious agent who carried into execution (within his own |stage|) the long dormant original counsels of the not-being God. The view of the harmony of the universe just referred to finds expression, with a reminiscence of a famous sentence of Plato (Tim.31 B), in a saying (Strom. v. p.690) that Moses |set up one temple of God and an only-begotten world| (monogene te kosmon: cf. Plut. ii.423 A, hena touton [ton kosmon] einai monogene to theo kai agapeton).

We have a curious piece of psychological theory in the account of the passions attributed to the Basilidians (hoi amphi ton B.). They are accustomed, Clement says (Strom. ii. p.488), to call the passions Appendages (prosartemata), stating that these are certain spirits which have a substantial existence (kat ousian uparchein), having been appended (or |attached,| or |adherent,| various kinds of close external contact being expressed by prosertemena, cf. M. Aur. xii.3, with Gataker's note, and also Tertullian's ceteris appendicibus, sensibus et affectibus, Adv. Marc. i.25, cited by Gieseler) to the rational soul in a certain primitive turmoil and confusion, and that again other bastard and alien natures of spirits grow upon these (prosepiphuesthai tautais), as of a wolf, an ape, a lion, a goat, whose characteristics (idiomata), becoming perceptible in the region of the soul (thantazomena peri ten psuchen), assimilate the desires of the son to the animals; for they imitate the actions of those whose characteristics they wear, and not only acquire intimacy (prosoikeiountai) with the impulses and impressions of the irrational animals, but even imitate (zelousi) the movements and beauties of plants, because they likewise wear the characteristics of plants appended to them; and [the passions] have also characteristics of habit [derived from stones], as the hardness of adamant (cf. p.487 med.). In the absence of the context it is impossible to determine the precise meaning and origin of this singular theory. It was probably connected with the doctrine of metempsychosis, which seemed to find support in Plato's Timaeus 42, 90 f.), and was cherished by some neo-Pythagoreans later in the 2nd cent. (cf. Zeller, Philos. d. Gr. v.198 f.); while the plurality of souls is derided by Clement as making the body a Trojan horse, with apparent reference (as Saumaise points out, on Simplic. Epict.164) to a similar criticism of Plato in the Theaetetus (184 D). And again Plutarch (de Comm. Not.45, p.1084) ridicules the Stoics (i.e. apparently Chrysippus) for a |strange and outlandish| notion that all virtues and vices, arts and memories, impressions and passions and impulses and assents (he adds further down even |acts,| energeias, such as |walking, dancing, supposing, addressing, reviling|) are not merely |bodies| (of course in the familiar Stoic sense) but living creatures or animals (zoa), crowded apparently round the central point within the heart where |the ruling principle| (to hegemonikon) is located: by this |swarm,| he says, of hostile animals they turn each one of us into |a paddock or a stable, or a Trojan horse.| Such a theory might seem to Basilides an easy deduction from his fatalistic doctrine of Providence, and of the consequent immutability of all natures.

The only specimen which we have of the practical ethics of Basilides is of a favourable kind, though grossly misunderstood and misapplied by Epiphanius (i.211 f.). Reciting the views of different heretics on Marriage, Clement (Strom. iii.508 ff.) mentions first its approval by the Valentinians, and then gives specimens of the teaching of Basilides (hoi apo B.) and his son Isidore, by way of rebuke to the immorality of the later Basilidians, before proceeding to the sects which favoured licence, and to those which treated marriage as unholy. He first reports the exposition of Matt. xix.11 f. (or a similar evangelic passage), in which there is nothing specially to note except the interpretation of the last class of eunuchs as those who remain in celibacy to avoid the distracting cares of providing a livelihood. He goes on to the paraphrase of I. Cor. vii.9, interposing in the midst an illustrative sentence from Isidore, and transcribes the language used about the class above mentioned. |But suppose a young man either poor or (?) depressed [katephes seems at least less unlikely than katopheres], and in accordance with the word [in the Gospel] unwilling to marry, let him not separate from his brother; let him say 'I have entered into the holy place [ta hagia, probably the communion of the church], nothing can befall me'; but if he have a suspicion [? self-distrust, huponoian eche], let him say, 'Brother, lay thy hand on me, that I may sin not,' and he shall receive help both to mind and to senses (noeten kai aistheten); let him only have the will to carry out completely what is good, and he shall succeed. But sometimes we say with the lips, 'We will not sin,' while our thoughts are turned towards sinning: such an one abstains by reason of fear from doing what he wills, lest the punishment be reckoned to his account. But the estate of mankind has only certain things at once necessary and natural, clothing being necessary and natural, but to ton aphrodision natural, yet not necessary| (cf. Plut. Mor.989).

Although we have no evidence that Basilides, like some others, regarded our Lord's Baptism as the time when a Divine being first was joined to Jesus of Nazareth, it seems clear that he attached some unusual significance to the event. |They of Basilides (hoi apo B.),| says Clement (Strom. i.146, p.408), |celebrate the day of His Baptism by a preliminary night-service of [Scripture] readings (prodianuktereuontes anagnosesi); and they say that the 'fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar' (Luke iii.1) is (or means) the fifteenth day of the [Egyptian] month Tybi, while some [make the day] the eleventh of the same month.| Again it is briefly stated in the Excerpta (16, p.972) that the dove of the Baptism is said by the Basilidians (hoi apo B.) to be the Minister (ho diakonos). And the same association is implied in what Clement urges elsewhere (Strom. ii. p.449): |If ignorance belongs to the class of good things, why is it brought to an end by amazement [i.e. the amazement of the Archon], and [so] the Minister that they speak of [autois] is superfluous, and the Proclamation, and the Baptism: if ignorance had not previously existed, the Minister would not have descended, nor would amazement have seized the Archon, as they themselves say.| This language, taken in conjunction with passages already cited from Hippolytus (c.26), implies that Basilides regarded the Baptism as the occasion when Jesus received |the Gospel| by a Divine illumination. The supposed descent of |Christ| for union with |Jesus,| though constantly assumed by Hilgenfeld, is as destitute of ancient attestation as it is inconsistent with the tenor of Basilidian doctrine recorded by Clement, to say nothing of Hippolytus. It has been argued from Clement's language by Gieseler (in the Halle A. L. Z. for 1823, i.836 f.; cf. K.G. i.1.186), that the Basilidians were the first to celebrate our Lord's Baptism. The early history of the Epiphany is too obscure to allow a definite conclusion on this point; but the statement about the Basilidian services of the preceding night receives some illustration from a passage of Epiphanius, lately published from the Venice MS. ii.483 Dind.: iii.632 Oehler), in which we hear of the night before the Epiphany as spent in singing and flute-playing in a heathen temple at Alexandria: so that probably the Basilidian rite was a modification of an old local custom. According to Agrippa Castor (Eus. l.c.) Basilides |in Pythagorean fashion| prescribed a silence of five years to his disciples.

The same author, we hear, stated that Basilides |named as prophets to himself Barcabbas and Barcoph, providing himself likewise with certain other [? prophets] who had no existence, and that he bestowed upon them barbarous appellations to strike amazement into those who have an awe of such things.| The alleged prophecies apparently belonged to the apocryphal Zoroastrian literature popular with various Gnostics.

From Hippolytus we hear nothing about these prophecies, which will meet us again presently with reference to Basilides's son Isidore, but he tells us (Haer. vii.20) that, according to Basilides and Isidore, Matthias spoke to them mystical doctrines (logous apokruphous) which he heard in private teaching from the Saviour: and in like manner Clement (Strom. vii.900) speaks of the sect of Basilides as boasting that they took to themselves the glory of Matthias. Origen also (Hom. in Luc. i. t. iii p.933) and after him Eusebius refer to a |Gospel| of or according to Matthias (H. E. iii.25, 6). The true name was apparently the Traditions of Matthias: three interesting and by no means heretical extracts are given by Clement (Strom. ii.452; iii.523 [copied by Eusebius, H. E. iii.29.4]; vii.882). In the last extract the responsibility laid on |the elect| for the sin of a neighbour recalls a passage already cited (p.275 B) from Basilides.

It remains only to notice an apparent reference to Basilides, which has played a considerable part in modern expositions of his doctrine. Near the end of the anonymous Acts of the Disputation between Archelaus and Mani, written towards the close of the 3rd cent. or a little later, Archelaus disputes the originality of Mani's teaching, on the ground that it took rise a long time before with |a certain barbarian| (c.55, in Routh, Rell. Sac. v.196 ff.). |There was also,| he says, |a preacher among the Persians, a certain Basilides of great [or 'greater,' antiuqior] antiquity, not long after the times of our Apostles, who being himself also a crafty man, and perceiving that at that time everything was preoccupied, decided to maintain that dualism which was likewise in favour with Scythianus,| named shortly before (c.51, p.186) as a contemporary of the Apostles, who had introduced dualism from a Pythagorean source. |Finally, as he had no assertion to make of his own, he adopted the sayings of others| (the last words are corrupt, but this must be nearly the sense). |And all his books contain things difficult and rugged.| The writer then cites the beginning of the thirteenth book of his treatises (tractatuum), in which it was said that |the saving word| (the Gospel) by means of the parable of the rich man and the poor man pointed out the source from which nature (or a nature) without a root and without a place germinated and extended itself over things (rebus supervenientem, unde pullulaverit). He breaks off a few words later and adds that after some 500 lines Basilides invites his reader to abandon idle and curious elaborateness (varietate), and to investigate rather the studies and opinions of barbarians on good and evil. Certain of them, Basilides states, said that there are two beginnings of all things, light and darkness; and he subjoins some particulars of doctrine of a Persian cast. Only one set of views, however, is mentioned, and the Acts end abruptly here in the two known MSS. of the Latin version in which alone this part of them is extant.

It is generally assumed that we have here unimpeachable evidence for the strict dualism of Basilides. It seems certain that the writer of the Acts held his Basilides responsible for the barbarian opinions quoted, which are clearly dualistic, and he had the whole book before him. Yet his language on this point is loose, as if he were not sure of his ground; and the quotation which he gives by no means bears him out: while it is quite conceivable that he may have had some acquaintance with dualistic Basilidians of a later day, such as certainly existed, and have thus given a wrong interpretation to genuine words of their master (cf. Uhlhorn, 52 f.). It assuredly requires considerable straining to draw the brief interpretation given of the parable to a Manichean position, and there is nothing to shew that the author of it himself adopted the first set of |barbarian| opinions which he reported. Indeed the description of evil (for evil doubtless is intended) as a supervenient nature, without root and without place, reads almost as if it were directed against Persian doctrine, and may be fairly interpreted by Basilides's comparison of pain and fear to the rust of iron as natural accidents (episumbainei). The identity of the Basilides of the Acts with the Alexandrian has been denied by Gieseler with some shew of reason. It is at least strange that our Basilides should be described simply as a |preacher among the Persians,| a character in which he is otherwise unknown; and all the more since he has been previously mentioned with Marcion and Valentinus as a heretic of familiar name (c.38, p.138). On the other hand, it has been justly urged that the two passages are addressed to different persons. The correspondence is likewise remarkable between the |treatises| in at least thirteen books, with an interpretation of a parable among their contents, and the |twenty-four books on the Gospel| mentioned by Agrippa Castor, called Exegetica by Clement. Thus the evidence for the identity of the two writers may on the whole be treated as preponderating. But the ambiguity of interpretation remains; and it would be impossible to rank Basilides confidently among dualists, even if the passage in the Acts stood alone: much more to use it as a standard by which to force a dualistic interpretation upon other clearer statements of his doctrine.

Gnosticism was throughout eclectic, and Basilides superadded an eclecticism of his own. Antecedent Gnosticism, Greek philosophy, and the Christian faith and Scriptures all exercised a powerful and immediate influence over his mind. It is evident at a glance that his system is far removed from any known form of Syrian or original Gnosticism. Like that of Valentinus, it has been remoulded in a Greek spirit, but much more completely. Historical records fail us almost entirely as to the personal relations of the great heresiarchs; yet internal evidence furnishes some indications which it can hardly be rash to trust. Ancient writers usually name Basilides before Valentinus; but there is little doubt that they were at least approximately contemporaries, and it is not unlikely that Valentinus was best known personally from his sojourn at Rome, which was probably (Lipsius, Quellen d. ält. Ketzergeschichte, 256) the last of the recorded stages of his life. There is at all events no serious chronological difficulty in supposing that the Valentinian system was the starting-point from which Basilides proceeded to construct by contrast his own theory, and this is the view which a comparison of doctrines suggests. In no point, unless it be the retention of the widely spread term archon, is Basilides nearer than Valentinus to the older Gnosticism, while several leading Gnostic forms or ideas which he discards or even repudiates are held fast by Valentinus. Such are descent from above (see a passage at the end of c.22, and p.272 B, above), putting forth or pullulation (imperfect renderings of probole, see p.271 B), syzygies of male and female powers, and the deposition of faith to a lower level than knowledge. Further, the unique name given by Basilides to the Holy Spirit, |the Limitary (methorion) Spirit,| together with the place assigned to it, can hardly be anything else than a transformation of the strange Valentinian |Limit| (horos), which in like manner divides the Pleroma from the lower world; though, in conformity with the unifying purpose of Basilides, the Limitary Spirit is conceived as connecting as well as parting the two worlds (cf. Baur in Theol. Jahrb. for 1856, 156 f.). The same softening of oppositions which retain much of their force even with Valentinus shews itself in other instances, as of matter and spirit, creation and redemption, the Jewish age and the Christian age, the earthly and the heavenly elements in the Person of our Lord. The strongest impulse in this direction probably came from Christian ideas and the power of a true though disguised Christian faith. But Greek speculative Stoicism tended likewise to break down the inherited dualism, while at the same time its own inherent limitations brought faith into captivity. An antecedent matter was expressly repudiated, the words of Gen. i.3 eagerly appropriated, and a Divine counsel represented as foreordaining all future growths and processes; yet the chaotic nullity out of which the developed universe was to spring was attributed with equal boldness to its Maker: Creator and creation were not confused, but they melted away in the distance together. Nature was accepted not only as prescribing the conditions of the lower life, but as practically the supreme and permanent arbiter of destiny. Thus though faith regained its rights, it remained an energy of the understanding, confined to those who had the requisite inborn capacity; while the dealings of God with man were shut up within the lines of mechanical justice. The majestic and, so to speak, pathetic view bounded by the large Basilidian horizon was well fitted to inspire dreams of a high and comprehensive theology, but the very fidelity with which Basilides strove to cling to reality must have soon brought to light the incompetence of his teaching to solve any of the great problems. Its true office consisted in supplying one of the indispensable antecedents to the Alexandrian Catholicism which arose two generations later.

V. Refutations. -- Notwithstanding the wide and lasting fame of Basilides as a typical heresiarch, no treatise is recorded as written specially in confutation of his teaching except that of Agrippa Castor. He had of course a place in the various works against all heresies; but, as we have seen, the doctrines described and criticized in several of them belong not to him but to a sect of almost wholly different character. Hippolytus, who in later years became acquainted with the Exegetica, contented himself with detecting imaginary plagiarisms from Aristotle (vii.14-20). Even Origen, who likewise seems to have known the work (if we may judge by the quotation on metempsychosis given at p.275, and by a complaint of |long-winded fabling,| aut Basilidis longam fabulositatem: Com. in Matt. xxiv.23, p.864 Ru.), shews in the few casual remarks in his extant writings little real understanding even of Basilides's errors. On the other hand, Clement's candid intelligence enables him to detect the latent flaws of principle in the Basilidian theory without mocking at such of the superficial details as he has occasion to mention. Hilgenfeld, writing (1848) on the pseudo-Clementine literature, made a singular attempt to shew that in one early recension of the materials of part of the Recognitions Simon was made to utter Basilidian doctrine, to be refuted by St. Peter, the traces of which had been partly effaced by his becoming the mouthpiece of other Gnostics in later recensions. Ritschl took the same view in the first ed. of his Entstehung d. altkath. Kirche (1850, pp.169-174); but the whole speculation vanishes in his far maturer second ed. of 1857. The theory lacks even plausibility. The only resemblances between this part of the Recognitions and either the true or the spurious Basilidianism are common to various forms of religious belief; and not a single distinctive feature of either Basilidian system occurs in the Recognitions. A brief but sufficient reply is given in Uhlhorn's Hom. u. Recog. d. Clem. Rom.1854, pp.286 ff.

VI. Isodorus. -- In the passage already noticed (Haer. vii.20) Hippolytus couples with Basilides |his true child and disciple| Isidore. He is there referring to the use which they made of the Traditions of Matthias; but in the next sentence he treats them as jointly responsible for the doctrines which he recites. Our only other authority respecting Isidore is Clement (copied by Theodoret), who calls him in like manner |at once son and disciple| of Basilides (Strom. vi.767). In this place he gives three extracts from the first and second books of Isidore's Expositions (Exegetika) of the Prophet Parchor. They are all parts of a plea, like so many put forward after the example of Josephus against Apion, that the higher thoughts of heathen philosophers and mythologers were derived from a Jewish source. The last reference given is to Pherecydes, who had probably a peculiar interest for Isidore as the earliest promulgator of the doctrine of metempsychosis known to tradition (cf. Zeller, Philos. d. Griechen, i.55 f. ed.3). His allegation that Pherecydes followed |the prophecy of Ham| has been perversely urged as a sign that he set up the prophets of a hated race against the prophets of Israel. The truth is rather that the identification of Zoroaster with Ham or Ham's son, whatever may have been its origin, rendered it easy to claim for the apocryphal Zoroastrian books a quasi-biblical sanctity as proceeding from a son of Noah, and that Isidore gladly accepted the theory as evidence for his argument. |The prophets| from whom |some of the philosophers| appropriated a wisdom not their own can be no other than the Jewish prophets. Again Clement quotes his book On an Adherent Soul (Peri prosphuous psuches) in correction of his preceding quotation from Basilides on the passions as |appendages| (Strom. ii.488). If the eight lines transcribed are a fair sample of the treatise, Isidore would certainly appear to have argued here against his father's teaching. He insists on the unity monomeres of the soul, and maintains that bad men will find |no common excuse| in the violence of the |appendages| for pleading that their evil acts were involuntary: our duty is, he says, |by overcoming the inferior creation within us (tes elattonos en hemin ktiseos) through the reasoning faculty (to logistiko), to shew ourselves to have the mastery.| A third passage from Isidore's Ethics (Strom. iii.510) is intercalated into his father's argument on I. Cor. vii.9, to the same purport but in a coarser strain. Its apparent difficulty arises partly from a corrupt reading (antechou machimes gunaikos, where gametes must doubtless be substituted for machimes, antechou meaning not |resist,| which would be anteche, as in the preceding line, but |have recourse to|); partly from the assumption that the following words hotan de k.t.l. are likewise by Isidore, whereas the sense shews them to be a continuation of the exposition of Basilides himself.

Basilides had to all appearance no eminent disciple except his own son. In this respect the contrast between him and Valentinus is remarkable. A succession of brilliant followers carried forward and developed the Valentinian doctrine. It is a singular testimony to the impression created at the outset by Basilides and his system that he remained for centuries one of the eponymi of heresy; his name is oftener repeated, for instance, in the writings of Origen, than that of any other dreaded of the ante-Nicene church except Marcion, Valentinus, and afterwards Mani. But the original teaching, for all its impressiveness, had no vitality. The Basilidianism which did survive, and that, as far as the evidence goes, only locally, was, as we have seen, a poor and corrupt remnant, adulterated with the very elements which the founder had strenuously rejected.

VII. The Spurious Basilidian System. -- In briefly sketching this degenerate Basilidianism it will seldom be needful to distinguish the authorities, which are fundamentally two, Irenaeus (101 f.) and the lost early treatise of Hippolytus; both having much in common, and both being interwoven together in the report of Epiphanius (pp.68-75). The other relics of the Hippolytean Compendium are the accounts of Philaster (32), and the supplement to Tertullian (4). At the head of this theology stood the Unbegotten (neuter in Epiph.), the Only Father. From Him was born or put forth Nûs, and from Nûs Logos, from Logos Phronesis, from Phronesis Sophia and Dynamis, from Sophia and Dynamis principalities, powers, and angels. This first set of angels first made the first heaven, and then gave birth to a second set of angels who made a second heaven, and so on till 365 heavens had been made by 365 generations of angels, each heaven being apparently ruled by an Archon to whom a name was given, and these names being used in magic arts. The angels of the lowest or visible heaven made the earth and man. They were the authors of the prophecies; and the Law in particular was given by their Archon, the God of the Jews. He being more petulant and wilful than the other angels (itamoteron kai authadesteron), in his desire to secure empire for his people, provoked the rebellion of the other angels and their respective peoples. Then the Unbegotten and Innominable Father, seeing what discord prevailed among men and among angels, and how the Jews were perishing, sent His Firstborn Nûs, Who is Christ, to deliver those Who believed on Him from the power of the makers of the world. |He,| the Basilidians said, |is our salvation, even He Who came and revealed to us alone this truth.| He accordingly appeared on earth and performed mighty works; but His appearance was only in outward show, and He did not really take flesh. It was Simon of Cyrene that was crucified; for Jesus exchanged forms with him on the way, and then, standing unseen opposite in Simon's form, mocked those who did the deed. But He Himself ascended into heaven, passing through all the powers, till He was restored to the presence of His own Father. The two fullest accounts, those of Irenaeus and Epiphanius, add by way of appendix another particular of the antecedent mythology; a short notice on the same subject being likewise inserted parenthetically by Hippolytus (vii.26, p.240: cf. Uhlhorn, D. Basilid. Syst.65 f.). The supreme power and source of being above all principalities and powers and angels (such is evidently the reference of Epiphanius's auton: Irenaeus substitutes |heavens,| which in this connexion comes to much the same thing) is Abrasax, the Greek letters of whose name added together as numerals make up 365, the number of the heavens; whence, they apparently said, the year has 365 days, and the human body 365 members. This supreme Power they called |the Cause| and |the First Archetype,| while they treated as a last or weakest product (Hysterema, a Valentinian term, contrasted with Pleroma) this present world as the work of the last Archon (Epiph.74 A). It is evident from these particulars that Abrasax was the name of the first of the 365 Archons, and accordingly stood below Sophia and Dynamis and their progenitors; but his position is not expressly stated, so that the writer of the supplement to Tertullian had some excuse for confusing him with |the Supreme God.|

On these doctrines various precepts are said to have been founded. The most distinctive is the discouragement of martyrdom, which was made to rest on several grounds. To confess the Crucified was called a token of being still in bondage to the makers of the body (nay, he that denied the Crucified was pronounced to be free from the dominion of those angels, and to know the economy of the Unbegotten Father); but it was condemned especially as a vain and ignorant honour paid not to Christ, Who neither suffered nor was crucified, but to Simon of Cyrene; and further, a public confession before men was stigmatized as a giving of that which is holy to the dogs and a casting of pearls before swine. This last precept is but one expression of the secrecy which the Basilidians diligently cultivated, following naturally on the supposed possession of a hidden knowledge. They evaded our Lord's words, |Him that denieth Me before men,| etc., by pleading, |We are the men, and all others are swine and dogs.| He who had learned their lore and known all angels and their powers was said to become invisible and incomprehensible to all angels and powers, even as also Caulacau was (the sentence in which Irenaeus, our sole authority here, first introduces Caulacau, a name not peculiar to the Basilidians, is unfortunately corrupt). And as the Son was unknown to all, so also, the tradition ran, must members of their community be known to none; but while they know all and pass through the midst of all, remain invisible and unknown to all, observing the maxim, |Do thou know all, but let no one know thee.| Accordingly they must be ready to utter denials and unwilling to suffer for the Name, since [to outward appearance] they resembled all. It naturally followed that their mysteries were to be carefully guarded, and disclosed to |only one out of 1000 and two out of 10,000.| When Philaster (doubtless after Hippolytus) tells us in his first sentence about Basilides that he was |called by many a heresiarch, because he violated the laws of Christian truth by making an outward show and discourse (proponendo et loquendo) concerning the Law and the Prophets and the Apostles, but believing otherwise,| the reference is probably to this contrast between the outward conformity of the sect and their secret doctrines and practices. The Basilidians considered themselves to be no longer Jews, but to have become more than Christians (such seems to be the sense of the obscure phrase Christianous de meketi gegenesthai for the nondum of the translator of Irenaeus can hardly be right). Repudiation of martyrdom was naturally accompanied by indiscriminate use of things offered to idols. Nay, the principle of indifference is said to have been carried so far as to sanction promiscuous immorality. In this and other respects our accounts may possibly contain exaggerations; but Clement's already cited complaint of the flagrant degeneracy in his time from the high standard set up by Basilides himself is unsuspicious evidence, and a libertine code of ethics would find an easy justification in such maxims as are imputed to the Basilidians. It is hardly necessary to add that they expected the salvation of the soul alone, insisting on the natural corruptibility of the body. They indulged in magic and invocations, |and all other curious arts.| A wrong reading taken from the inferior MSS. of Irenaeus has added the further statement that they used |images|; and this single spurious word is often cited in corroboration of the popular belief that the numerous ancient gems on which grotesque mythological combinations are accompanied by the mystic name ABRASAX were of Basilidian origin. It is shewn in D. C. B. (4-vol. ed.), art. Abrasax, where Lardner (Hist. of Heretics, ii.14-28) should have been named with Beausobre, that there is no tangible evidence for attributing any known gems to Basilidianism or any other form of Gnosticism, and that in all probability the Basilidians and the heathen engravers of gems alike borrowed the name from some Semitic mythology.

Imperfect and distorted as the picture may be, such was doubtless in substance the creed of Basilidians not half a century after Basilides had written. Were the name absent from the records of his system and theirs, no one would have suspected any relationship between them, much less imagined that they belonged respectively to master and to disciples. Outward mechanism and inward principles are alike full of contrasts; no attempts of critics to trace correspondences between the mythological personages, and to explain them by supposed condensations or mutilations, have attained even plausibility. Two misunderstandings have been specially misleading. Abrasax, the chief or Archon of the first set of angels, has been confounded with |the Unbegotten Father,| and the God of the Jews, the Archon of the lowest heaven, has been assumed to be the only Archon recognized by the later Basilidians, though Epiphanius (69 b.c.) distinctly implies that each of the 365 heavens had its Archon. The mere name |Archon| is common to most forms of Gnosticism. So again, because Clement tells us that Righteousness and her daughter Peace abide in substantive being within the Ogdoad, |the Unbegotten Father| and the five grades or forms of creative mind which intervene between Him and the creator-angels are added in to make up an Ogdoad, though none is recorded as acknowledged by the disciples: a combination so arbitrary and so incongruous needs no refutation. On the other hand, those five abstract names have an air of true Basilidian Hellenism, and the two systems possess at least one negative feature in common, the absence of syzygies and of all imagery connected directly with sex. On their ethical side the connexion is discerned with less difficulty. The contempt for martyrdom, which was perhaps the most notorious characteristic of the Basilidians, would find a ready excuse in their master's speculative paradox about martyrs, even if he did not discourage martyrdom himself. The silence of five years which he imposed on novices might easily degenerate into the perilous dissimulation of a secret sect, while their exclusiveness would be nourished by his doctrine of the Election; and the same doctrine might further after a while receive an antinomian interpretation. The nature of the contrast of principle in the theological part of the two creeds suggests how so great a change may have arisen. The system of Basilides was a high-pitched philosophical speculation, entirely unfitted to exercise popular influence, and transporting its adherents to a region remote from the sympathies of men imbued with the old Gnostic phantasies, while it was too artificial a compound to attract heathens or Catholic Christians. The power of mind and character which the remains of his writings disclose might easily gather round him in the first instance a crowd who, though they could enter into portions only of his teaching, might remain detached from other Gnostics, and yet in their theology relapse into |the broad highway of vulgar Gnosticism| (Baur in the Tübingen Theol. Jahrb. for 1856, pp.158 f.), and make for themselves out of its elements, whether fortuitously or by the skill of some now forgotten leader, a new mythological combination. In this manner evolution from below might once more give place to emanation from above, Docetism might again sever heaven and earth, and a loose practical dualism (of the profounder speculative dualism of the East there is no trace) might supersede all that Basilides had taught as to the painful processes by which sonship attains its perfection. The composite character of the secondary Basilidianism may be seen at a glance in the combination of the five Greek abstractions preparatory to creation with the Semitic hosts of creative angels bearing barbaric names. Basilidianism seems to have stood alone in appropriating Abrasax; but Caulacau plays a part in more than one system, and the functions of the angels recur in various forms of Gnosticism, and especially in that derived from Saturnilus. Saturnilus likewise affords a parallel in the character assigned to the God of the Jew as an angel, and partly in the reason assigned for the Saviour's mission; while the Antitactae of Clement recall the resistance to the God of the Jews inculcated by the Basilidians. Other |Basilidian| features appear in the Pistis Sophia, viz. many barbaric names of angels (with 365 Archons, p.364), and elaborate collocations of heavens, and a numerical image taken from Deut. xxxii.30 (p.354). The Basilidian Simon of Cyrene is apparently unique.

VIII. History of the Basilidian Sect. -- There is no evidence that the sect extended itself beyond Egypt; but there it survived for a long time. Epiphanius (about 375) mentions the Prosopite, Athribite, Saite, and |Alexandriopolite| (read Andropolite) nomes or cantons, and also Alexandria itself, as the places in which it still throve in his time, and which he accordingly inferred to have been visited by Basilides (68 c). All these places lie on the western side of the Delta, between Memphis and the sea. Nearer the end of cent. iv. Jerome often refers to Basilides in connexion with the hybrid Priscillianism of Spain, and the mystic names in which its votaries delighted. According to Sulpicius Severus (Chron. ii.46) this heresy took its rise in |the East and Egypt|; but, he adds, it is not easy to say |what the beginnings were out of which it there grew| (quibus ibi initiis coaluerit). He states, however, that it was first brought to Spain by Marcus, a native of Memphis. This fact explains how the name of Basilides and some dregs of his disciples' doctrines or practices found their way to so distant a land as Spain, and at the same time illustrates the probable hybrid origin of the secondary Basilidianism itself.

IX. Literature. -- Basilides of course occupies a prominent place in every treatise on Gnosticism, such as those of Neander (including the Church History), Baur (the same), Lipsius, and Möller (Geschichte der Kosmologie in der Christlichen Kirche). Two reviews by Gieseler (Halle A. L. Z. for 1823, pp.335-338; Studien u. Kritiken for 1830, pp.395 ff.) contain valuable matter. The best monograph founded on the whole evidence is that of Uhlhorn (Das Basilidianische System, Göttingen, 1855), with which should be read an essay by Baur (Theol. Jahrb. for 1856, pp.121-162); Jacobi's monograph (Basilidis Philosophi Gnostici Sententius, etc., Berlin 1852) being also good. Able expositions of the view that the true doctrine of Basilides is not represented in the larger work of Hippolytus Against all Heresies will be found in a paper by Hilgenfeld, to which Baur's article in reply is appended (pp.86-121), with scattered notices in other articles of his (especially in his Zeitschrift for 1862, pp 452 ff.); and in Lipsius's Gnosticismus. Three articles by Gundert (Zeitschrift f. d. Luth. Theol. for 1855, 209 ff., and 1856, 37 ff., 443 ff.) are of less importance. The lecture on Basilides in Dr. Mansel's posthumous book on The Gnostic Heresies is able and independent and makes full use of the best German criticisms, but underrates the influence of Stoical conceptions on Basilides, and exaggerates that of Platonism; and after the example of Baur's Christliche Gnosis in respect of Gnosticism generally, though starting from an opposite point of view, it suffers from an effort to find in Basilides a precursor of Hegel. Cf. Harnack, Gesch. Alt. Chr. Lit.1893, pp.157-161; Th. Zahn, Gesch. des N. T. Kanon (1888-1889), i.763-774; J. Kennedy, |Buddhist Gnosticism: the System of Basilides| (Lond.1902, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society).


Basiliscus, bp. of Comana
Basiliscus, martyr, bp. of Comana, martyred with Lucianus at Nicomedia under Maximin, a.d.312 (Pallad. Dial. de V. St. Chrys. xi., misreading, however, Maximian for Maximin). St. Chrysostom, when exiled, was received upon his journey in a |martyrium,| built some five or six miles out of Comana in memory of Basiliscus, and there died and was buried (Theod. H. E. v.30; Soz. viii.28; Pallad. as above; Niceph. xiii.37). Basiliscus is said to have been shod with iron shoes, red hot, and then beheaded and thrown into the river (Menol. in Baron. May 22).


Basilius of Ancyra, bp. of Ancyra
Basilius of Ancyra (Basileios, also called Basilas, Socr. ii.42), a native of Ancyra, originally a physician (Hieron. de Vir. Ill.89; Suidas, s.v.), and subsequently bp. of that city, a.d.336-360, one of the most respectable prelates of the semi-Arian party, whose essential orthodoxy was acknowledged by Athanasius himself, the differences between them being regarded as those of language only (Athan. de Synod. tom. i. pp.915, 619, ed. Morell, Paris, 1627). He was a man of learning, of intellectual power, and dialectical skill, and maintained an unwavering consistency which drew upon him the hostility of the shifty Acacians and their time-serving leader. The jealousy of Acacius was also excited by the unbounded influence Basil at one time exercised over the weak mind of Constantius, and his untiring animosity worked Basil's overthrow. On the deposition of Marcellus, the aged bp. of Ancyra, by the Eusebian party, on the charge of Sabellianism, at a synod meeting at
Constantinople, a.d.336, Basil was chosen bishop in his room. He enjoyed the see undisturbed for eleven years; but in 347, the council of Sardica, after the withdrawal of the Eusebians to Philippopolis, reinstated Marcellus, and excommunicated Basil as |a wolf who had invaded the fold| (Socr. ii.20). Three years later, a.d.350, the Eusebians were again in the ascendant, through the powerful patronage of Constantius, and Basil was replaced in his see by the express order of the emperor (Socr. ii.26). Basil speedily obtained a strong hold over Constantius, who consulted him on all ecclesiastical matters, and did nothing without his cognizance. He and George of Laodicea were now the recognized leaders of the semi-Arian party (Epiph. Haer. lxxiii.1). The next year, a.d.351, Basil took the chief part in the proceedings of the council that met at Sirmium, where Constantius was residing, to depose Photinus the pupil of Marcellus, who was developing his master's views into direct Sabellianism (ib. lxxi. lxxiii.; Socr. ii.30). Shortly after this we find him attacking with equal vigour a heresy of an exactly opposite character, disputing with Aetius, the Anomoean, in conjunction with Eustathius of Sebaste, another leader of the semi-Arian party. The issue of the controversy is variously reported, according to the proclivities of the historians. Philostorgius (H. E. iii.16) asserts that Basil and Eustathius were worsted by their antagonist; orthodox writers assign them the victory (Greg. Nys. in Eunom. lib. i. pp.289, 296). Basil's representations of the abominable character of Aetius's doctrines so exasperated Gallus against him that he issued an order for his execution; but on having personal intercourse with him pronounced him maligned, and took him as his theological tutor. [[72]Aetius.] Basil's influence increased, and just before Easter, a.d.358, when a number of bishops had assembled at Ancyra for the dedication of a new church that Basil had built, Basil received letters from George of Laodicea speaking with great alarm of the spread of Anomoean doctrines, and entreating him to avail himself of the opportunity to obtain a synodical condemnation of Aetius and Eunomius. Other bishops were accordingly summoned, and eighteen anathemas were drawn up. Basil himself, with Eustathius and Eleusius, were deputed to communicate these anathemas to Constantius at Sirmium. The deputies were received with much consideration by the emperor, who ratified their synodical decrees and gave his authority for their publication. Basil availed himself of his influence over Constantius to induce him to summon a general council for the final settlement of the questions that had been so long distracting the church. It was ultimately decided to divide the council into two, and Ariminum was selected for the West, and Seleucia in Isauria for the East. The Eastern council met, Sept.27, 359. Basil did not arrive till the third day. He was soon made aware that his influence with the emperor had been undermined by his Acacian rivals, and that his power was gone. When he reproved Constantius for unduly favouring them, the emperor bid him hold his peace, and charged him with being himself the cause of the dissensions that were agitating the church (Theod. ii.27). At another synod convened at Constantinople under the immediate superintendence of Constantius, Acacius found himself master of the situation and deposed whom he would. Basil was one of the first to fall. No doctrinal errors were charged against him. He was condemned on frivolous and unproved grounds, together with Cyril of Jerusalem, Eustathius of Sebaste, and other leading prelates. Banishment followed deposition. Basil was exiled to Illyria (Soz. iv.24; Philost. v.1). On the accession of Jovian, a.d.363, he joined the other deposed bishops in petitioning that emperor to expel the Anomoeans and restore the rightful bishops; but Basil seems to have died in exile (Socr. iii.25).

Athanasius speaks of his having written peri pisteos (Athan. de Synod. u.s.). Ittigius (de Haer. p.453) defends him from the charge of Arianism. Jerome identifies him, but unjustly, with the Macedonian party (Tillemont, vol. vi. passim).


Basilius of Ancyra, a presbyter
Basilius of Ancyra, a presbyter who became a martyr under Julian a.d.362. During the reign of Constantius he had been an uncompromising opponent of Arianism. He was more than once apprehended by the provincial governors, but recovered his liberty. The Arian council under Eudoxius at Constantinople in 360 forbade him to hold any ecclesiastical assembly. The zeal of Basil was still further quickened by the attempts of Julian to suppress Christianity. Sozomen tells us that he visited the whole of the adjacent district, entreating the Christians everywhere to be constant to the faith and not to pollute themselves with sacrifices to idols (Soz. H. E. v.11). He was apprehended and put to the torture. On the arrival of Julian at Ancyra, Basil was presented to him, and after having reproached the emperor with his apostasy was further tortured. Basil's constancy remained unshaken, and after a second interview with Julian, in which he treated the emperor with the greatest contumely, he suffered death by red-hot irons on June 29 (Soz. H. E. v.11; Ruinart, Act. Sinc. Martyr. pp.559 seq.; Tillemont, vii.375 seq.).


Basilius, bp. of Caesarea in Cappadocia
Basilius, bp. of Caesarea in Cappadocia, commonly called Basil the Great, the strenuous champion of orthodoxy in the East, the restorer of union to the divided Oriental church, and the promoter of unity between the East and the West, was born at Caesarea (originally called Mazaca), the capital of Cappadocia, towards the end of 329. His parents were members of noble and wealthy families, and Christians by descent. His grandparents on both sides had suffered during the Maximinian persecution, his maternal grandfather losing both property and life. Macrina, his paternal grandmother, and her husband, were compelled to leave their home in Pontus, of which country they were natives, and to take refuge among the woods and mountains of that province, where they are reported to have passed seven years (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. p.319). [[73]Macrina.] His father, whose name was also Basil, was an advocate and teacher of rhetoric whose learning and eloquence had brought him a very large practice. Gregory Nazianzen speaks of this elder Basil in terms of the highest commendation as one who was regarded by the whole of Pontus as |the common instructor of virtue| (Or. xx. p.324). The elder Basil and Emmelia had ten children, five of each sex, of whom a daughter, Macrina, was the eldest. Basil the Great was the eldest son; two others, Gregory Nyssen and Peter, attained the episcopate. Naucratius the second son died a layman. Four of the daughters were well and honourably married. Macrina, the eldest, embraced a life of devotion, and exercised a very powerful influence over Basil and the other members of the family. [[74]Macrina, (2).] Basil was indebted for the care of his earliest years to his grandmother Macrina, who brought him up at her country house, not far from Neocaesarea in the province of Pontus (Bas. Ep.210, § 1). The date of Basil's baptism is uncertain, but, according to the prevalent custom, it was almost certainly deferred until he reached man's estate. For the completion of his education, Basil was sent by his father first to his native city of Caesarea (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. p.325). >From Caesarea he passed to Constantinople (Bas. Epp.335-359; Liban. Vita, p.15), and thence to Athens, where he studied during the years 351-355, chiefly under the Sophists Himerius and Prohaeresius. His acquaintance with his fellow-student and inseparable companion Gregory Nazianzen, previously begun at Caesarea, speedily ripened at Athens into an ardent friendship, which subsisted with hardly any interruption through the greater part of their lives. Athens also afforded Basil the opportunity of familiar intercourse with a fellow-student whose name was destined to become unhappily famous, the nephew of the emperor Constantius, Julian. The future emperor conceived a warm attachment for the young Cappadocian, with whom -- as the latter reminds him when the relations between them had so sadly changed -- he not only studied the best models of literature, but also carefully read the sacred Scriptures (Epp.40, 41; Greg. Naz. Orat. iv. adv. Julian, pp.121 seq.). Basil remained at Athens till the middle or end of 355, when with extreme reluctance he left for his native city. By this time his father was dead. His mother, Emmelia, was residing at the village of Annesi, near Neocaesarea. Basil's Athenian reputation had preceded him, and he was received with much honour by the people of Caesarea, where he consented to settle as a teacher of rhetoric (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. p.334). He practised the profession of a rhetorician with great celebrity for a considerable period (Rufin. ii.9), but the warnings and counsels of Macrina guarded him from the seductions of the world, and eventually induced him to abandon it altogether and devote himself to a religious life (Greg. Nys. u.s.). Basil, in a letter to Eustathius of Sebaste, describes himself at this period as one awaked out of a deep sleep, and in the marvellous light of Gospel truth discerning the folly of that wisdom of this world in the study of which nearly all his youth had vanished. His first care was to reform his life. Finding, by reading the Gospels, that nothing tended so much toward perfection as to sell all that he had and free himself from worldly cares, and feeling himself too weak to stand alone in such an enterprise, he desired earnestly to find some brother who might give him his aid (Ep.223). No sooner did his determination become known that he was beset by the remonstrances of his friends entreating him, some to continue the profession of rhetoric, some to become an advocate. But his choice was made, and his resolution was inflexible. Basil's baptism may be placed at this epoch. He was probably baptized by Dianius, bp. of Caesarea, by whom not long afterwards he was admitted to the order of reader (de Spir. Sancto, c. xxix.71). Basil's determination in favour of a life of devotion would be strengthened by the death of his next brother, Naucratius, who had embraced the life of a solitary, and about this period was drowned while engaged in works of mercy (Greg. Nys. de Vit. S. Macr. p.182). About a.d.357, when still under thirty, Basil left Caesarea to seek the most celebrated ascetics upon whose life he might model his own; visiting Alexandria and Upper Egypt, Palestine, Coelesyria, and Mesopotamia. He records his admiration of the abstinence and endurance of the ascetics whom he met, their mastery over hunger and sleep, their indifference to cold and nakedness, as well as his desire to imitate them (Ep.223, § 2). The year 358 saw Basil again at Caesarea resolved on the immediate carrying out of his purpose of retiring from the world, finally selecting for his retreat a spot near Neocaesarea, close to the village of Annesi, where his father's estates lay, and where he had passed his childhood under the care of his grandmother Macrina. To Annesi his mother Emmelia and his sister Macrina had retired after the death of the elder Basil, and were living a semi-monastic life. Basil's future home was only divided from Annesi by the river Iris, by which and the gorges of the mountain torrents a tract of level ground was completely insulated. A wooded mountain rose behind. There was only one approach to it, and of that he was master. The natural beauties of the spot, with its ravines, precipices, dashing torrents, and waterfalls, the purity of the air and the coolness of the breezes, the abundance of flowers and multitude of singing birds ravished him, and he declared it to be more beautiful than Calypso's island (Ep.14). His glowing description attracted Gregory for a lengthy visit to study the Scriptures with him (Ep.9), together with the commentaries of Origen and other early expositors. At this time they also compiled their collection of the |Beauties of Origen,| or |Philocalia| (Socr. iv.26; Soz. vi.17; Greg. Naz. Ep.87). In this secluded spot Basil passed five years, an epoch of no small importance in the history of the church, inasmuch as it saw the origin under Basil's influence of the monastic system in the coenobitic form. Eustathius of Sebaste had already introduced monachism into Asia Minor, but monastic communities were a novelty in the Christian world, and of these Basil is justly considered the founder. His rule, like that of St. Benedict in later times, united active industry with regular devotional exercises, and by the labour of his monks over wide desert tracts, hopeless sterility gave place to golden harvests and abundant vintages. Not the day only but the night also was divided into definite portions, the intervals being filled with prayers, hymns, and alternate psalmody. The day began and closed with a psalm of confession. The food of his monks was limited to one meal a day of bread, water, and herbs, and he allowed sleep only till midnight, when all rose for prayer (Ep.2, 207). On his retirement to Pontus, Basil devoted all his worldly possessions to the service of the poor, retaining them, however, in his own hands, and by degrees divesting himself of them as occasion required. His life was one of the most rigid asceticism. He had but one outer and one inner garment; he slept in a hair shirt, his bed was the ground; he took little sleep, no bath; the sun was his fire, his food bread and water, his drink the running stream (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. p.358; Greg. Nys. de Basil. p.490). The severe bodily austerities he practised emaciated his frame and ruined his already feeble health, sowing the seeds of the maladies to which in later years he was a martyr. His friend describes him as |without a wife, without property, without flesh, and almost without blood| (Greg. Naz. Or. xix. p.311). Basil's reputation for sanctity collected large numbers about him. He repeatedly made missionary journeys through Pontus; his preaching resulting in the founding of many coenobitic industrial communities and monasteries for both sexes, and in the restoration of the purity of the orthodox faith (Rufin. ix.9; Soz. vi.17; Greg. Nys. de Basil. p.488). Throughout Pontus and Cappadocia Basil was the means of the erection of numerous hospitals for the poor, houses of refuge for virgins, orphanages, and other homes of beneficence. His monasteries had as their inmates children he had taken charge of, married persons who had mutually agreed to live asunder, slaves with the consent of their masters, and solitaries convinced of the danger of living alone (Basil, Regulae, 10, 12, 15).

After two years thus spent Basil was summoned from his solitude in 359 to accompany Basil of Ancyra and Eustathius of Sebaste, who had been delegated by the council of Seleucia to communicate the conclusions of that assembly to Constantius at
Constantinople. Basil seems from his youth and natural timidity to have avoided taking any part in the discussions of the council that followed, 360, in which the Anomoeans were condemned, the more orthodox semi-Arians deposed, and the Acacians triumphed. But when Constantius endeavoured to force those present to sign the creed of Ariminum, Basil left the city and returned to Cappadocia (Greg. Nys. in Eunom. pp.310, 312; Philost. iv.12). Not long after his return George of Laodicea arrived at Caesarea as an emissary of Constantius, bringing with him that creed for signature. To Basil's intense grief, bp. Dianius, a gentle, undecided man, who valued peace above orthodoxy, was persuaded to sign. Basil felt it impossible any longer to hold communion with his bishop, and fled to Nazianzus to find consolation in the society of his dear friend Gregory (Ep.8, 51). He denied with indignation the report that he had anathematized his bishop, and when two years afterwards (362) Dianius was stricken for death and entreated Basil to return and comfort his last hours, he at once went to him, and the aged bishop died in his arms.

The choice of Dianius's successor gave rise to violent dissensions at Caesarea. At last the populace, wearied with the indecision, chose Eusebius, a man of high position and eminent piety, but as yet unbaptized. They forcibly conveyed him to the church where the provincial bishops were assembled, and compelled the unwilling prelates first to baptize and then to consecrate him. Eusebius was bp. at Caesarea for 8 years (Greg. Naz. Or. xix.308, 309).

Shortly before the death of Dianius, Julian had ascended the throne (Dec.11, 361), and desired to surround himself with the associates of his early days (Greg. Naz. Or. iv.120). Among the first whom he invited was his fellow-student at Athens, Basil. Basil at first held out hopes of accepting his old friend's invitation; but he delayed his journey, and Julian's declared apostasy soon gave him sufficient cause to relinquish it altogether. The next year Julian displayed his irritation. Receiving intelligence that the people of Caesarea, so far from apostatizing with him and building new pagan temples, had pulled down the only one still standing (Greg. Naz. Or. iii.91, xix.309; Socr. v.4), he expunged Caesarea from the catalogue of cities, made it take its old name of Mazaca, imposed heavy payments, compelled the clergy to serve in the police force, and put to death two young men of high rank who had taken part in the demolition of the temple. Approaching Caesarea, he dispatched a minatory letter to Basil demanding a thousand pounds of gold for the expenses of his Persian expedition, or threatening to rase the city to the ground. Basil, in his dauntless reply, upbraids the emperor for apostasy against God and the church, the nurse and mother of all, and for his folly in demanding so vast a sum from him, the poorest of the poor. The death of Julian (June 26, 363) delivered Basil from this imminent peril.

One of the first acts of bp. Eusebius was to compel the reluctant Basil to be ordained priest, that the bishop might avail himself of Basil's theological knowledge and intellectual powers to compensate for his own deficiencies. At first he employed him very largely. But when he found himself completely eclipsed he became jealous of Basil's popularity and treated him with a marked coldness, amounting almost to insolence, which awoke the hostility of the Christians of Caesarea, whose idol Basil was. A schism was imminent, but Basil, refusing to strengthen the heretical party by creating divisions among the orthodox, retired with his friend Gregory to Pontus, where he devoted himself to the care of the monasteries he had founded (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. pp.336, 337; Soz. vi.15).

Basil had passed about three years in his Pontic seclusion when, in 365, the blind zeal of the emperor Valens for the spread of Arianism brought him back to Caesarea. As soon as it was known that Valens was approaching that city, the popular voice demanded the recall of Basil as the only bulwark against the attack on the true faith and its adherents meditated by the emperor. Gregory acted the part of a wise mediator, and Basil's return to the bishop was effected (Greg. Naz. Ep.19, 20, 169; Or. xx. p.339). Treating Eusebius with the honour due to his position and his age, Basil now proved himself, in the words of Gregory, the staff of his age, the support of his faith; at home the most faithful of his friends; abroad the most efficient of his ministers (ib.340).

The first designs of Valens against Caesarea were interrupted by the news of the revolt of Procopius (Amm. Marc.26, 27). He left Asia to quell the insurrection which threatened his throne. Basil availed himself of the breathing-time thus granted in organizing the resistance of the orthodox against the Eunomians or Anomoeans, who were actively propagating their pernicious doctrines through Asia Minor; and in uniting the Cappadocians in loyal devotion to the truth. The year 368 afforded Basil occasion of displaying his large and universal charity. The whole of Cappadocia was desolated by drought and famine, the visitation pressing specially on Caesarea. Basil devoted his whole energies to helping the poor sufferers. He sold the property he had inherited at the recent death of his mother, and raised a large subscription in the city. He gave his own personal ministrations to the wretched, and while he fed their bodies he was careful to nourish their souls with the bread of life (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.340-342; Greg. Nys. in Eunom. i.306).

Eusebius died towards the middle of 370 in Basil's arms (Greg. Naz. Or. xix.310, xx.342). Basil persuaded himself, not altogether unwarrantably, that the cause of orthodoxy in Asia Minor was involved in his succeeding Eusebius. Disappointed of the assistance anticipated from the younger Gregory, Basil betook himself to his father, the aged bp. of Nazianzus of the same name. The momentous importance of the juncture was more evident to the elder man. Orthodoxy was at stake in Basil's election. |The Holy Spirit must triumph| (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.342). Using his son as his scribe, he dictated a letter to the clergy, monks, magistrates, and people of Caesarea, calling on them to choose Basil; another to the electing prelates, exhorting them not to allow Basil's weakness of health to counterbalance his marked pre-eminence in spiritual gifts and in learning (Greg. Naz. Ep.22, 23). No orthodox prelate had at that time a deservedly greater influence than Eusebius of Samosata. Gregory wrote to him and persuaded him to visit Caesarea and undertake the direction of this difficult business (Bas. Ep.47). On his arrival, Eusebius found the city divided into two opposite factions. All the best of the people, together with the clergy and the monks, warmly advocated Basil's election, which was vigorously opposed by other classes. The influence and tact of Eusebius overcame all obstacles. The people warmly espoused Basil's cause; the bishops were compelled to give way, and the triumph of the orthodox cause was consummated by the arrival of the venerable Gregory, who, on learning that one vote was wanting for the canonical election of Basil, while his son was still hesitating full of scruples and refused to quit Nazianzus, left his bed for a litter, had himself carried to Caesarea at the risk of expiring on the way, and with his own hands consecrated the newly elected prelate, and placed him on his episcopal throne (Greg. Naz. Ep.29, p.793, Or. xix.311, xx.343) Basil's election filled the orthodox everywhere with joy. Athanasius, the veteran champion of the faith, congratulated Cappadocia on possessing a bishop whom every province might envy (Ath. ad. Pallad. p.953, ad Joann. et Ant. p.951). At Constantinople it was received with far different feelings. Valens regarded it as a serious check to his designs for the triumph of Arianism. Basil was not an opponent to be despised. He must be bent to the emperor's will or got rid of. As bp. of Caesarea his power extended far beyond the limits of the city itself. He was metropolitan of Cappadocia, and exarch of Pontus. In the latter capacity his authority, more or less defied, extended over more than half Asia Minor, and embraced as many as eleven provinces. Ancyra, Neocaesarea, Tyana, with other metropolitan sees, acknowledged him as their ecclesiastical superior.

Basil's first disappointment in his episcopate arose from his inability to induce his dear friend Gregory to join him as his coadjutor in the government of his province and exarchate. He consented at last for a while, but soon withdrew. Difficulties soon thickened round the new exarch. The bishops who had opposed his election and refused to take part in his consecration, now exchanged their open hostility for secret opposition. While professing outward union, they withheld their support in everything. They treated Basil with marked slight and shewed a complete want of sympathy in all his plans (Ep.98). He complains of this to Eusebius of Samosata (Epp.48, 141, 282). This disloyal behaviour caused him despondency and repeated attacks of illness. He overcame all his opponents in a few years by firmness and kindness, but their action had greatly increased the difficulties of the commencement of his episcopate.

Basil had been bishop little more than twelve months when he was brought into open collision with the emperor Valens, who was traversing Asia Minor with the fixed resolve of exterminating the orthodox faith and establishing Arianism. No part of Basil's history is better known, and in none do we more clearly discern the strength and weakness of his character. |The memorable interview with St. Basil,| writes Dean Milman, |as it is related by the Catholic party, displays, if the weakness, certainly the patience and toleration of the sovereign -- if the uncompromising firmness of the prelate, some of that leaven of pride with which he is taunted by St. Jerome | (Hist. of Christianity, iii.45). Valens had never relinquished the designs which had been interrupted by the revolt of Procopius, and he was now approaching Caesarea determined to reduce to submission the chief champion of orthodoxy in the East. His progress hitherto had been one of uniform victory. The Catholics had everywhere fallen before him. Bithynia had resisted and had become the scene of horrible tragedies. The fickle Galatia had yielded without a struggle. The fate of Cappadocia depended on Basil. His house, as the emperor drew near, was besieged by ladies of rank, high personages of state, even by bishops, who entreated him to bow before the storm and appease the emperor by a temporary submission. Their expostulations were rejected with indignant disdain. A band of Arian bishops headed by Euippius, an aged bishop of Galatia and an old friend of Basil's, preceded Valens's arrival with the hope of overawing their opponents by their numbers and unanimity. Basil took the initiative, and with prompt decision separated himself from their communion (Bas. Epp.68, 128, 244, 251). Members of the emperor's household indulged in the most violent menaces against the archbishop. One of the most insolent of these was the eunuch Demosthenes, the superintendent of the kitchen. Basil met his threats with quiet irony, and was next confronted by Modestus, the prefect of the Praetorium, commissioned by the emperor to offer Basil the choice between deposition or communion with the Arians. This violent and unscrupulous imperial favourite accosted Basil with the grossest insolence. He refused him the title of bishop; he threatened confiscation, exile, tortures, death. But such menaces, Basil replied, were powerless on one whose sole wealth was a ragged cloak and a few books, to whom the whole earth was a home, or rather a place of pilgrimage, whose feeble body could endure no tortures beyond the first stroke, and to whom death would be a mercy, as it would the sooner transport him to the God to Whom he lived. Modestus expressed his astonishment at hearing such unusual language (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.351; Soz. vi.16). |That is,| replied Basil, |because you have never before fallen in with a true bishop.| Modestus, finding his menaces useless, changed his tone. He counselled prudence. Basil should avoid irritating the emperor, and submit to his requirements, as all the other prelates of Asia had done. If he would only yield he promised him the friendship of Valens, and whatever favours he might desire for his friends. Why should he sacrifice all his power for the sake of a few doctrines? (Theod. iv.19). But flattery had as little power as threats over Basil's iron will. The prefect was at his wit's end. Valens was expected on the morrow. Modestus was unwilling to meet the emperor with a report of failure. The aspect of a court of justice with its official state and band of ministers prepared to execute its sentence might inspire awe. But judicial terrors were equally futile (Greg. Nys. in Eunom. p.315). Modestus, utterly foiled, had to announce to his master that all his attempts to obtain submission had been fruitless. |Violence would be the only course to adopt with one over whom threats and blandishments were equally powerless| (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. p.350). Such Christian intrepidity was not without effect on the feeble, impressionable mind of Valens. He refused to sanction any harsh measures against the archbishop, and moderated his demands to the admission of Arians to Basil's communion. But here too Basil was equally inflexible. To bring matters to a decided issue, the emperor presented himself in the chief church of Caesarea on the Epiphany, a.d.372, after the service had commenced. He found the church flooded with |a sea| of worshippers whose chanted psalms pealed forth like thunder, uninterrupted by the entrance of the emperor and his train. Basil was at the altar celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice, standing, according to the primitive custom, behind the altar with his face to the assembled people, supported on either hand by the semicircle of his attendant clergy. |The unearthly majesty of the scene,| the rapt devotion of the archbishop, erect like a column before the holy table, the reverent order of the immense throng, |more like that of angels than of men,| overpowered the weak and excitable Valens, and he almost fainted away. When the time came for making his offering, and the ministers were hesitating whether they should receive an oblation from the hand of a heretic, his limbs failed him, and but for the aid of one of the clergy he would have fallen. Basil, it would seem, pitying his enemy's weakness, accepted the gift from his trembling hand (ib. p.351) The next day Valens again visited the church, and listened with reverence to Basil's preaching, and made his offerings, which were not now rejected. The sermon over, Basil admitted the emperor within the sacred veil, and discoursed on the orthodox faith. He was rudely interrupted by the cook Demosthenes, who was guilty of a gross solecism. Basil smiled and said, |We have, it seems, a Demosthenes who cannot speak Greek; he had better attend to his sauces than meddle with theology.| The retort amused the emperor, who retired so well pleased with his theological opponent that he made him a grant of lands for the poor-house Basil was erecting (Theod. iv.19; Greg. Naz. Or. xx.351; Bas. Ep.94). The vacillating mind of Valens was always influenced by the latest and most imperious advisers, and when Basil remained firm in his refusal to admit them to his communion, the Arians about the emperor had little difficulty in persuading him that he was compromising the faith by permitting Basil to remain, and that his banishment was necessary for the peace of the East. The emperor, yielding to their importunity, ordered Basil to leave the city. Basil at once made his simple preparations for departure, ordering one of his attendants to take his tablets and follow him. He was to start at night to avoid the risk of popular disturbance. The chariot was at his door, and his friends, Gregory among them, were bewailing so great a calamity, when his journey was arrested by the sudden and alarming illness of Galates, the only son of Valen and Dominica. The empress attributed her child's danger to the Divine displeasure at the treatment of Basil. The emperor, in abject alarm, sent the chief military officials of the court, Terentius and Arinthaeus, who were known to be his friends, to entreat Basil to come and pray over the sick child. Galates was as yet unbaptized. On receiving a promise that the child should receive that sacrament at the hands of a Catholic bishop and be instructed in the orthodox faith, Basil consented. He prayed over the boy, and the malady was alleviated. On his retiring, the Arians again got round the feeble prince, reminded him of a promise he had made to Eudoxius, by whom he himself had been baptized, and the child received baptism from the hands of an Arian prelate. He grew immediately worse, and died the same night (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.352, 364; Theod. iv.19; Socr. iv.26; Soz. iv.16; Eph. Syr. apud Coteler. Monum. Eccl. Graec. iii.63; Rufin. xi.9). Once more Valens yielded to pressure from the unwearied enemies of Basil. Again Basil's exile was determined on, but the pens with which Valens was preparing to sign the decree refused to write, and split in his agitated hand, and the supposed miracle arrested the execution of the sentence. Valens left Caesarea, and Basil remained master of the situation (Theod. iv.19; Ephr. Syr. u.s. p.65). Before long his old enemy Modestus, attacked by a severe malady, presented himself as a suppliant to Basil, and attributing his cure to the intercessions of the saint, became his fast friend. So great was Basil's influence with the prefect that persons came from a distance to secure his intercession with him. We have as many as six letters from Basil to Modestus in favour of different individuals (Bas. Epp.104, 110, 111, 279, 280, 281; Greg. Naz. Or. xx. pp.352, 353).

The issue of these unsuccessful assaults was to place Basil in a position of inviolability, and to leave him leisure for administering his diocese and exarchate, which much needed his firm and unflinching hand. His visitation disclosed many irregularities which he sternly repressed. The chorepiscopi had admitted men to the lower orders who had no intention of proceeding to the priesthood, or even to the diaconate, but merely to gain immunity from military service (Ep.54). Many of his suffragans were guilty of simony in receiving a fee for ordination (Ep.55). Men were raised to the episcopate from motives of personal interest and to gratify private friends (Ep.290). The perilous custom of unmarried priests having females (suneisaktai, subintroductae) residing with them as |spiritual sisters| called for reproof (Ep.55). A fanatic deacon, Glycerius, who had collected a band of professed virgins, whom he forcibly carried off by night and who wandered about the country dancing and singing to the scandal of the faithful, caused him much trouble (Epp.169, 170, 171). To heal the fountain-head, Basil made himself as far as possible master of episcopal elections, and steadily refused to admit any he deemed unworthy of the office. So high became the reputation of his clergy that other bishops sent to him for presbyters to become their coadjutors and successors (Ep.81). Marriage with a deceased wife's sister he denounced as prohibited by the laws both of Scripture and nature (Ep.160). Feeble as was his health, his activity was unceasing. He visited every part of his exarchate, and maintained a constant intercourse by letter with confidential friends, who kept him informed of all that passed and were ready to carry out his instructions. He pushed his episcopal activity to the very frontiers of Armenia. In 372 he made an expedition by the express command of Valens, obtained by the urgency of his fast friend count Terentius, to strengthen the episcopate in that country by appointing fresh bishops and infusing fresh life into existing ones (Ep.99). He was very diligent in preaching, not only at Caesarea and other cities, but in country villages. The details of public worship occupied his attention. Even while a presbyter he arranged forms of prayer (euchon diataxeis), probably a liturgy, for the church of Caesarea (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.340). He established nocturnal services, in which the psalms were chanted by alternate choirs, which, as a novelty, gave great offence to the clergy of Neocaesarea (Ep.207). These incessant labours were carried out by one who, naturally of a weak constitution, had so enfeebled himself by austerities that |when called well, he was weaker than persons who are given over| (Ep.136). His chief malady, a disease of the liver, caused him repeated and protracted sufferings, often hindering him travelling, the least motion bringing on a relapse (Ep.202). The severity of winter often kept him a prisoner to his house and often even to his room (Ep.27). A letter from Eusebius of Samosata arrived when he had been 50 days ill of a fever. |He was eager to fly straight to Syria, but he was unequal to turning in his bed. He hoped for relief from the hot springs| (Ep.138). He suffered |sickness upon sickness, so that his shell must certainly fail unless God's mercy extricate him from evils beyond man's cure| (Ep.136). At 45 he calls himself an old man. The next year he had lost all his teeth. Three years before his death all remaining hope of life had left him (Ep.198). He died, prematurely aged, at 50. Seldom did a spirit of so indomitable activity reside in so feeble a frame, and, triumphing over weakness, make it the instrument of such vigorous work for Christ and His church.

In 372 a harassing dispute with Anthimus, bp. of Tyana, touching ecclesiastical jurisdiction, led to the chief personal sorrow of Basil's life, the estrangement of the friend of his youth, Gregory of Nazianzus. The circumstances were these. Towards the close of 371 Valens determined to divide Cappadocia into two provinces. Podandus, a miserable little town at the foot of mount Taurus, was at first named as the chief city of the new province, to which a portion of the executive was to be removed. The inhabitants of Caesarea entreated Basil to go to Constantinople and petition for the rescinding of the edict. His weak health prevented this, but he wrote to Sophronius, a native of Caesarea in a high position at court, and to Aburgius, a man of influence there, begging them to use all their power to alter the emperor's decision. They could not prevent the division of the province, but did obtain the substitution of Tyana for Podandus (Epp.74-76). Anthimus thereupon insisted that the ecclesiastical division should follow the civil, and claimed metropolitan rights over several of Basil's suffragans. Basil appealed to ancient usage in vain. Anthimus called a council of the bishops who had opposed Basil's election and were ready to exalt his rival. By flattery, intimidation, and even the removal of opponents, Anthimus strengthened his faction. Basil's authority was reduced to a nullity in one-half of his province (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.355; Epp.31, 33; Bas. Ep.259). Basil appealed to his friend Gregory, who replied that he would come to his assistance, though Basil wanted him no more than the sea wanted water. He warned Basil that his difficulties were increased by the suspicions created by his intimacy with Eustathius of Sebaste and his friends, whose reputation for orthodoxy was more than doubtful (Greg. Naz. Ep.25). On Gregory's arrival the two friends started together for the monastery of St. Orestes on mount Taurus, in the second Cappadocia, the property of the see of Caesarea, to collect the produce of the estate. This roused Anthimus's indignation, and despite his advanced age, he occupied the defile, through which the pack-mules had to pass, with his armed retainers. A serious affray resulted, Gregory fighting bravely in his friend's defence (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.356; Ep.31, Carm. i.8). Basil erected several new bishoprics as defensive outposts against his rival. One of these was near St. Orestes at Sasima, a wretched little posting-station and frontier custom-house at the junction of three great roads, hot, dry, and dusty, vociferous with the brawls of muleteers, travellers, and excisemen. Here Basil, disregarding Gregory's delicate temperament, determined to place him as bishop. Gregory's weaker character bowed to Basil's iron will, and he was most reluctantly consecrated. But Anthimus appointed a rival bishop, and Gregory took the earliest opportunity of escaping from the unwelcome position which he could only have maintained at the risk of continual conflict, and even bloodshed. [[76]Gregory Nazianzen; Anthimus.] A peace was ultimately patched up, apparently through the intercession of Gregory and the mediation of Eusebius of Samosata and the senate of Tyana. Anthimus was recognised as metropolitan of the new province, each province preserving its own revenues (Bas. Epp.97, 98, 122). Gregory attributed Basil's action to a high sense of duty, but could never forget that he had sacrificed his friend to that, and the wound inflicted on their mutual attachment was never healed, and even after Basil's death Gregory reproaches him with his unfaithfulness to the laws of friendship. |This lamentable occurrence took place seven years before Basil's death. He had before and after it many trials, many sorrows; but this probably was the greatest of all| (Newman, Church of the Fathers, p.144).

The Ptochotropheion, or hospital for the reception and relief of the poor, which Basil had erected in the suburbs of Caesarea, afforded his untiring enemies a pretext for denouncing him to Helias, the new president of the province. This establishment, which was so extensive as to go by the name of the |New Town,| he kaine polis (Greg. Naz. Or. xx. p.359), and subsequently the |Basileiad| after its founder (Soz. vi.34), included a church, a palace for the bishop, and residences for his clergy and their attendant ministers; hospices for the poor, sick, and wayfarers; and workshops for the artisans and labourers whose services were needed, in which the inmates also might learn and practise various trades. There was a special department for lepers, with arrangements for their proper medical treatment, and on these loathsome objects Basil lavished his chief personal ministrations. By such an enormous establishment Basil, it was hinted, was aiming at undue power and infringing on the rights of the civil authorities. But Basil adroitly parried the blow by reminding the governor that apartments were provided in the building for him and his attendants, and suggesting that the glory of so magnificent an architectural work would redound to him (Ep.84).

Far more harassing and more lasting troubles arose to Basil from the double dealing of Eustathius, the unprincipled and timeserving bp. of Sebaste. [[78]Eustathius of Sebaste.] Towards the middle of June 372, the venerable Theodotus, bp. of Nicopolis, a metropolitan of Lesser Armenia, a prelate of high character and unblemished orthodoxy, deservedly respected by Basil, had invited him to a festival at Phargamon near his episcopal see. Meletius of Antioch, then in exile in Armenia, was also to be there. Sebaste was almost on the road between Caesarea and Nicopolis, and Basil, aware of the suspicion entertained by Theodotus of the orthodoxy of Eustathius, determined to stop there on his way, and demand a definite statement of his faith. Many hours were spent on fruitless discussion until, at three in the afternoon of the second day, a substantial agreement appeared to have been attained. To remove all doubt of his orthodoxy, Basil requested Theodotus to draw up a formulary of faith for Eustathius to sign. To his mortification not only was his request refused, but Theodotus plainly intimated that he had now no wish for Basil's visit. While hesitating whether he should still pursue his journey, Basil received letters from his friend Eusebius of Samosata, stating his inability to come and join him. This at once decided him. Without Eusebius's help he felt himself unequal to face the controversies his presence at Nicopolis would evoke, and he returned home sorrowing that his labours for the peace of the church were unavailing (Epp.98, 99). A few months later the sensitive orthodoxy of Theodotus prepared another mortification for Basil. In carrying out the commands of Valens, mentioned above, to supply Armenia with bishops, the counsel and assistance of Theodotus as metropolitan was essential. As a first step towards cordial co-operation, Basil sought a conference with Theodotus at Getasa, the estate of Meletius of Antioch, in whose presence he made him acquainted with what had passed between him and Eustathius at Sebaste, and his acceptance of the orthodox faith. Theodotus replied that Eustathius had denied that he had come to any agreement with Basil. To bring the matter to an issue, Basil again proposed that a confession of faith should be prepared, on his signing which his future communion with Eustathius would depend. This apparently satisfied Theodotus, who invited Basil to visit him and inspect his church, and promised to accompany him on his journey into Armenia. But on Basil's arrival at Nicopolis he spurned him with horror (ebdeluxato) as an excommunicated person, and refused to join him at either morning or evening prayer. Thus deserted by one on whose co-operation he relied, Basil had little heart to prosecute his mission, but he continued his journey to Satala, where he consecrated a bishop, established discipline, and promoted peace among the prelates of the province. Basil well knew how to distinguish between his busy detractors and one like Theodotus animated with zeal for the orthodox faith. Generously overlooking his former rudenesses, he reopened communications with him the following year, and visiting Nicopolis employed his assistance in once more drawing up an elaborate confession of faith embodying the Nicene Creed, for Eustathius to sign (Bas. Ep.125). Eustathius did so in the most formal manner in the presence of witnesses, whose names are appended to the document. But no sooner had this slippery theologian satisfied the requirements of Basil than he threw off the mask, broke his promise to appear at a synodical meeting called by Basil to seal the union between them and their respective adherents, and openly assailed him with the most unscrupulous invectives (Epp.130, 244). He went so far as to hold assemblies in which Basil was charged with heterodox views, especially on the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, and with haughty and overbearing behaviour towards his chorepiscopi and other suffragans. At last Eustathius pushed matters so far as to publish a letter written by Basil twenty-five years before to the heresiarch Apollinaris. It was true that at that time both were laymen, and that it was merely a friendly letter not dealing with theological points, and that Apollinaris had not then developed his heretical views and stood high in the esteem of Athanasius. But its circulation served Eustathius's ends in strengthening the suspicion already existing against Basil as a favourer of false doctrine. The letter as published by Eustathius had been disgracefully garbled, and was indignantly repudiated by Basil. By a most shameful artifice some heretical expressions of Apollinaris, without the author's name, had been appended to Eustathius's own letter accompanying that attributed to Basil, leading to the supposition that they were Basil's own. Basil was overwhelmed with distress at being represented in such false colours to the church, while the ingratitude and treachery of his former friend stung him deeply. He restrained himself, however, from any public expression of his feelings, maintaining a dignified silence for three years (Bas. Epp.128, 130, 224, 225, 226, 244). During this period of intense trial Basil was much comforted in 374 by the appointment of his youthful friend Amphilochius to the see of Iconium. But the same year brought a severe blow in the banishment of his intimate and confidential counsellor Eusebius of Samosata. At the end of this period (375) Basil, impelled by the calumnies heaped upon him on every side, broke a silence which he considered no longer safe, as tending to compromise the interests of truth, and published a long letter nominally addressed to Eustathius, but really a document intended for the faithful, in which he briefly reviews the history of his life, describes his former intimacy with Eustathius, and the causes which led to the rupture between them, and defends himself from the charges of impiety and blasphemy so industriously circulated (Bas. Epp.223, 226, 244). It was time indeed that Basil should take some public steps to clear his reputation from the reckless accusations which were showered upon him. He was called a Sabellian, an Apollinarian, a Tritheist, a Macedonian, and his efforts in behalf of orthodoxy in the East were continually thwarted in every direction by the suspicion with which he was regarded. Athanasius, bp. of Ancyra, misled by the heretical writings that had been fathered upon him, spoke in the harshest terms of him (Ep.25). The bishops of the district of Dazimon in Pontus, giving ear to Eustathius's calumnies, separated themselves from his communion, and suspended all intercourse, and were only brought back to their allegiance by a letter of Basil's, written at the instance of all the bishops of Cappadocia, characterized by the most touching humility and affectionateness (Ep.203). The alienation of his relative Atarbius and the church of Neocaesarea, of which he was bishop, was more difficult to redress. To be regarded with suspicion by the church of a place so dear to himself, his residence in youth, and the home of many members of his family, especially his sainted grandmother, Macrina, was peculiarly painful. But the tendency of the leading Neocaesareans was Sabellian, and the emphasis with which he was wont to assert the distinctness of the Three Persons was offensive to them. They took umbrage also at the favour he shewed to monasticism, and the nocturnal services he had established. Basil wrote in terms of affectionate expostulation to them, and took advantage of the existence of his brother Peter's monastic community at Annesi to pay the locality a visit. But as soon as he was known to be in the neighbourhood a strange panic seized the whole city; some fled, some hid themselves; Basil was everywhere denounced as a public enemy. Atarbius abruptly left the synod at Nicopolis on hearing of Basil's approach. Basil returned, mortified and distressed (Epp.126, 204, 207, 210). Besides other charges Basil was widely accused of denying the proper divinity of the Holy Spirit. This charge, which, when made by some Cappadocian monks, had been already sternly reproved by Athanasius (Ath. ad. Pall. ii.763, 764), was revived at a later time on the plea that he had used a form of the doxology open to suspicion, |Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit| (de Spir. Sanct. c.1, vol. iii. p.3). Self-defence was again reluctantly forced on the victim of calumny. He prayed that he might be deserted by the Holy Ghost for ever if he did not adore Him as equal in substance and in honour (homoousion kai homotimon) with the Father and the Son (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.365). Similar charges made at the festival of St. Eupsychius in 374 led Amphilochius to request him to declare his views, which he did in his treatise de Spiritu Sancto (§ 1; Ep.231). Maligned, misrepresented, regarded with suspicion, thwarted, opposed on all hands, few champions of the faith have had a heavier burden to bear than Basil. The history of the Eastern church at this period is indeed little more than a history of his trials and sufferings. But his was not a nature to give way before difficulties the most tremendous and failures the most disheartening. The great object he had set before himself was the restoration of orthodoxy to the Eastern church, and the cementing of its disorganized fragments into one compact body capable of withstanding the attacks of hostile powers. This object he pursued with undaunted perseverance, notwithstanding his feeble health, |which might rather be called the languor of a dying man.| Cut to the heart by the miserable spectacle which surrounded him, the persecution of the orthodox, the triumphs of false doctrine, the decay of piety, the worldliness of the clergy, the desecration of the episcopate by ambition and covetousness, rival bishops rending asunder the venerable church of Antioch, Christians wasting in mutual strife the strength that should have been spent in combating the common foe, feeling himself utterly insufficient in his isolation to work the reformation he desired, Basil had looked round eagerly for effectual aid and sympathy. He naturally turned first to that |great and apostolic soul who from boyhood had been an athlete in the cause of religion,| the great Athanasius (Epp.69, 80, 83). In the year 371 he begged his assistance in healing the unhappy schism of Antioch by inducing the Western Church to recognize Meletius, and persuading Paulinus to withdraw. He called on him to stir up the orthodox of the East by his letters, and cry aloud like Samuel for the churches (Epp.66, 69). In his request about Antioch, Basil |was inviting Athanasius to what was in fact impossible even to the influence and talents of the primate of Egypt; for being committed to one side in the dispute he could not mediate between them. Nothing then came of the application| (J. H. Newman, Church of the Fathers, p.105). Basil had other requests to urge on Athanasius. He was very desirous that a deputation of Western prelates should be sent to help him in combating the Eastern heretics and reuniting the orthodox, whose authority should overawe Valens and secure the recognition of their decrees. He asked also for the summoning of a council of all the West to confirm the decrees of Nicaea, and annul those of Ariminum (Epp.66, 69).

Basil next addressed himself to the Western churches. His first letter in 372 was written to Damasus, bp. of Rome, lamenting the heavy storm under which almost the whole Eastern church was labouring, and entreating of his tender compassion, as the one remedy of its evils, that either he, or persons like-minded with him, would personally visit the East with the view of bringing the churches of God to unity, or at least determining with whom the church of Rome should hold communion (Ep.70). Basil's letters were conveyed to Athanasius and Damasus by Dorotheus, a deacon of Antioch, in communion with Meletius. He returned by way of Alexandria in company with a deacon named Sabinus (afterwards bp. of Piacenza) as bearer of the replies of the Western prelates. These replies were full of expressions of sympathy, but held out no definite prospect of practical help. Something, however, was hoped from the effect of Sabinus's report on his return to the West, as an eye-witness of the lamentable condition of the Eastern church. Sabinus was charged with several letters on his return to Italy. One, bearing the signatures of thirty-two Eastern bishops, including besides Basil, Meletius of Antioch, Eusebius of Samosata, Gregory Nyssen, etc., was addressed to the bishops of Italy and Gaul; another was written in Basil's own name to the bishops of the West generally. There were also private letters to Valerian of Aquileia and others. These letters have a most distressing picture of the state of the East. |Men had learnt to be theorists instead of theologians. The true shepherds were driven away. Grievous wolves, spoiling the flock, were brought in instead. The houses of prayer were destitute of preachers, the deserts full of mourners. The faithful laity avoided the churches as schools of impiety. Priestly gravity had perished. There was no restraint on sin. Unbelievers laughed, the weak were unsettled. . . . Let them hasten to the succour of their brethren, nor allow the faith to be extinguished in the lands whence it first shone forth| (Ep.93). A Western priest, Sanctissimus, who visited the East towards the end of 372 -- whether travelling as a private individual or deputed by Damasus is uncertain -- again brought assurances of the warm attachment and sincere sympathy of the Italian church; but words, however kind, were ineffectual to heal their wounds, and Basil and his friends again sent a vehement remonstrance, beseeching their Western brethren to make the emperor Valentinian acquainted with their wretched condition, and to depute some of their number to console them in their misery, and sustain the flagging faith of the orthodox (Epp.242, 243). These letters, transmitted by Dorotheus -- probably a different person from the former -- were no more effectual. The only point gained was that a council -- confined, however, to the bishops of Illyria -- was summoned in 375 through the instrumentality of Ambrose, by which the consubstantiality of the Three Persons of the Trinity was declared, and a priest named Elpidius dispatched to publish the decrees in Asia and Phrygia. Elpidius was supported by the authority of the emperor Valentinian, who at the same time promulgated a rescript in his own name and that of his brother Valens, who dared not manifest his dissent, forbidding the persecution of the Catholics, and expressing his desire that their doctrines should be everywhere preached (Theod. iv.8, 9). But the death of Valentinian on Nov.17, 375, frustrated his good intentions, and the persecution revived with greater vehemence.

The secret of the coldness with which the requests for assistance addressed by the Eastern church were received by the West was partly the suspicion that was entertained of Basil's orthodoxy in consequence of his friendship with Eustathius of Sebaste and other doubtful characters, and the large-heartedness which led him to recognize a real oneness of belief under varying technical formulas, but was principally due to his refusal to recognize the supremacy of the bp. of Rome. His letters were usually addressed to the bishops of the West, and not to the bp. of Rome individually. In all his dealings Basil treats with Damasus as an equal, and asserts the independence of the East. In his eyes the Eastern and Western churches were two sisters with equal prerogatives; one more powerful than the other, and able to render the assistance she needed, but not in any way her superior. This want of deference in his language and behaviour offended not Damasus only, but all who maintained the supremacy of Rome. Jerome accused Basil of pride, and went so far as to assert that there were but three orthodox bishops in the East -- Athanasius, Epiphanius, and Paulinus (ad Pammach.38). His appeals proving ineffectual, Basil's tone respecting Damasus and the Western prelates changed. He began to suspect the real cause of the apathy with which his entreaties for aid had been received, and to feel that no relief could be hoped from their |Western superciliousness| (tes dutikes ophruos), and that it was in vain to send emissaries to |one who was high and haughty and sat aloft and would not stoop to listen to the truth from men who stood below; since an elated mind, if courted, is sure to become only more contemptuous| (Epp.215, 239). But while his hope of assistance from the West lessened, the need for it increased. The persecution of the orthodox by the Arians grew fiercer. |Polytheism had got possession. A greater and a lesser God were worshipped. All ecclesiastical power, all church ordinances, were in Arian hands. Arians baptized; Arians visited the sick; Arians administered the sacred mysteries. Only one offence was severely punished, a strict observance of the traditions of the Fathers. For that the pious were banished, and driven to deserts. No pity was shewn to the aged. Lamentations filled the city, the country, the roads, the deserts. The houses of prayer were closed; the altars forbidden. The orthodox met for worship in the deserts exposed to wind and rain and snow, or to the scorching sun | (Epp.242, 243). In his dire extremity he once more appealed to the West, now in the language of indignant expostulation. |Why,| he asks, |has no writing of consolation come to us, no visitation of the brethren, no other of such attentions as are due to us from the law of love? This is the thirteenth year since the war with the heretics burst upon us. Will you not now at last stretch out a helping hand to the tottering Eastern church, and send some who will raise our minds to the rewards promised by Christ to those who suffer for Him?| (Ep.242). These letters were dispatched in 376. But still no help came. His reproaches were as ineffectual as his entreaties. A letter addressed to the Western bishops the next year (377) proves that matters had not really advanced a single step beyond the first day. We find him still entreating his Western brethren in the most moving terms to grant him the consolation of a visit. |The visitation of the sick is the greatest commandment. But if the Wise and Good Disposer of human affairs forbids that, let them at least write something that may comfort those who are so grievously cast down.| He demands of them |an authoritative condemnation of the Arians, of his enemy Eustathius, of Apollinaris, and of Paulinus of Antioch. If they would only condescend to write and inform the Eastern churches who were to be admitted to communion and who not, all might yet be well| (Ep.263). The reply brought back by the faithful Dorotheus overwhelmed him with sorrow. Not a finger was raised by the cold and haughty West to help her afflicted sister. Dorotheus had even heard Basil's beloved friends Meletius and Eusebius of Samosata spoken of by Damasus and Peter of Alexandria as heretics, and ranked among the Arians. What wonder if Dorotheus had waxed warm and used some intemperate language to the prelates? If he had done so, wrote Basil, let it not be reckoned against him, but put down to Basil's account and the untowardness of the times. The deep despondency which had seized Basil is evidenced by his touching words to Peter of Alexandria: |I seem for my sins to prosper in nothing, since the worthiest brethren are found deficient in gentleness and fitness for their office from not acting in accordance with my wishes | (Ep.266).

Foiled in all his repeated demands, a deaf ear turned to his most earnest entreaties, the council he had begged for not summoned, the deputation he had repeatedly solicited unsent, Basil's span of life drew to its end amid blasted hopes and apparently fruitless labours for the unity of the faith. It was not permitted him to live to see the Eastern churches, for the purity of whose faith he had devoted all his power, restored to peace and unanimity. |He had to fare on as he best
might -- admiring, courting, but coldly treated by the Latin world, desiring the friendship of Rome, yet wounded by her superciliousness -- suspected of heresy by Damasus, and accused by Jerome of pride| (Newman, Church of the Fathers, p.115).

Some gleams of brightness were granted to cheer the last days of this dauntless champion of the faith. The invasion of the Goths in 378 gave Valens weightier cares than the support of a tottering heresy, and brought his persecution of the orthodox to an end on the eve of his last campaign, in which he perished after the fatal rout of Hadrianople (Aug.9, 378). One of the first acts of the youthful Gratian was to recall the banished orthodox prelates, and Basil had the joy of witnessing the event so earnestly desired in perhaps his latest extant letter, the restoration of his beloved friend Eusebius of Samosata (Ep.268). Basil died in Caesarea, an old man before his time, Jan.1, 378, in the 50th year of his age. He rallied before his death, and was enabled to ordain with his dying hand some of the most faithful of his disciples. |His death-bed was surrounded by crowds of the citizens, ready,| writes his friend Gregory, |to give part of their own life to lengthen that of their bishop.| He breathed his last with the words |Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.| His funeral was attended by enormous crowds, who thronged to touch the bier or the hem of his funeral garments, or even to catch a distant glimpse of his face. The press was so great that several persons were crushed to death, almost the object of envy because they died with Basil. Even Jews and pagans joined in the general lamentations, and it was with some difficulty that the bearers preserved their sacred burden from being torn to pieces by those who were eager to secure a relic of the departed saint. He was buried in his father's sepulchre, |the chief priest being laid to the priests; the mighty voice to the preachers; the martyr to the martyrs| (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.371, 372). In person he was tall and thin, holding himself very erect. His complexion was dark, his face pale and emaciated with close study and austerities; his forehead projecting, with retiring temples. A quick eye, flashing from under finely arched eyebrows, gave light and animation to his countenance. His speech was slow and deliberate. His manner manifested a reserve and sedateness which some of his contemporaries attributed to pride, others to timidity. Gregory says, |It was the self-possession of his character, and composure and polish, which they called pride,| and refers not very convincingly to his habit of embracing lepers as a proof of the absence of superciliousness (Or. xx.360). Basil's pride, indeed, was not the empty arrogance of a weak mind; but a well-grounded confidence in his own powers. His reserve arose partly from natural shyness -- he jestingly charges himself with |the want of spirit and sluggishness of the Cappadocians| (Ep.48) -- partly from an unwillingness to commit himself with those of whom he was not sure. It is curious to see the dauntless opponent of Modestus and Valens charged with timidity. The heretic Eunomius after his death accused him of being |a coward and a craven skulking from all severer labours,| and spoke contemptuously of his |solitary cottage and close-shut doors, and his flustered look and manner when persons entered unexpectedly| (Greg. Nys. adv. Eunom. i. p.318). Philostorgius also speaks of Basil as |from timidity of mind withdrawing from public discussions | (H. E. iv.12). The fact seems to be that Basil was like many who, while shewing intrepid courage when once forced into action, are naturally averse from publicity. He was a great lover of natural beauty, as shewn by his letters. The playful turn of his mind is also seen in many passages of his familiar letters, which sufficiently vindicate him from the charge of austerity of character. In manner he united Oriental gravity with the finished politeness of the Greeks, and sedateness with sweetness; his slightest smile was commendation, and silence was his only rebuke (Greg. Naz. Or. xx.260, 261).

The voice of antiquity is unanimous in its praise of Basil's literary works (Cave, Hist. Lit. i.239). Nor has the estimate of modern critics been less favourable. |The style of Basil,| writes Dean Milman, |did no discredit to his Athenian education. In purity and perspicuity he surpasses most of the heathen as well as Christian writers of his age| (Hist. of Christianity, iii.110).

The works of Basil which remain may be classed as: I. Expository, II. Dogmatic, III. Moral, IV. Epistolary, V. Liturgical.

I. Expository. -- Cassiodorus records that Basil wrote commentaries on almost all the books of Holy Scripture. The greater part of these are lost. Those that remain are --

1. Hexaemeron. -- Nine Homilies on the Six Days' Work of Creation. This is the most celebrated of all his works.

2. Seventeen Homilies on the Psalms. -- These were preached ad populum. The first, on the Psalms generally, was translated by Rufinus, and is found prefixed to St. Augustine's Commentaries. The only other homilies that have reached us are those on Ps.7, 14 (two), 28 (two), 29, 32, 33, 37, 44, 45, 48, 59, 61, and 114 (two).

3. Commentaries on the first Sixteen Chapters of Isaiah, a continuous work.

II. Dogmatic.

1. Five books against Eunomius. -- Commended by Jerome (egregii libri), Gregory Nazianzen, and Photius (exairetoi logoi).

2. On the Holy Spirit, addressed to Amphilochius and written at his request.

3. On Baptism, two books.

4. Homilies.

III. Moral and Ascetic.

1. Homilies, against envy, drunkenness, anger, on fasting, etc. A very sensible admonition to a young man how to read the books of heathen writers with profit (Homil.24), included among these homilies, has been frequently translated and separately published, among others by abp. Potter, 1694. Several homilies are in honour of local martyrs, St. Julitta, St. Barlaam, St. Mammas, etc.

2. On true Virginity, a treatise addressed to Letoius, bp. of Melitene, rejected by Garnier on internal evidence, but generally accepted.

3. Ascetic Writings. including -- (a) Prefatory Discourse; (b) Discourse on the Renunciation of Worldly Goods; (c) On the Ascetical Life; (d) On Faith; (e) On the Judgment of God, a prologue to the Ethics; (f) Ethics or Morals, under 80 heads, compiled from N.T. ; (g) On the Monastic Institutions, including logos asketikos, and hupotuposis askeseos; (h) The Greater Monastic Rules, horoi kata platon, 55 in number (in the form of Basil's answers to questions of his monks), with a proem; (i) The Lesser Rules, horoi kata epitomen, 313 in number, in the same form of question and answer; (k) Animadversions on Delinquent Monks and Nuns, a very early example of a Poenitentiale; (1) Monastic Constitutions, asketikai diataxeis, in 34 chapters.

IV. Epistolary. -- In addition to those just mentioned we have a collection of no fewer than 365 letters addressed by Basil to his private and official correspondents, including two attributed to the emperor Julian and twelve to Libanius (cf. F. Loofs, Eustathius von Sebaste und die Chronologie der Basilianischen Briefe, Halle, 1897). Excerpts from some Letters of Basil from papyrus MSS. were published by H. Landwehr: Greek MS. from Fayoum, 1884.

V. Liturgical. -- There is no reason to call in question the universal tradition of the East, that Basil was the composer of a liturgy. Those offices, however, which have come down to us under his name have been so largely interpolated at many different periods, that it is impossible to ascertain the correct text of the liturgy as drawn up by him. There are three chief editions of the Liturgy bearing Basil's name: (1) the Greek or Constantinopolitan, (2) the Syriac, translated into Latin by Masius, (3) the Alexandrian, found in Coptic, Greek, and Arabic, which versions concur in establishing one text. Of these, the Constantinopolitan furnishes the surest materials for ascertaining the genuine form.

The standard edition is the Benedictine, pub. at Paris, 1721-1730, by Julian Garnier, in 3 vols. fol., reprinted by Migne, Patr. Gk. vol.29-32. In Pitra's Analecta (Paris, 1888) some Fragmenta Ascetica and Epitimia, and in Psalmos were ascribed to Basil. An English translation of some selected works and letters and useful Prolegomena are given in Post-Nicene Fathers (Wace and Schaff) by W. Blomfield Jackson, 1895. A revised text of the treatise On the Holy Spirit with notes and intro. is pub. by the Clarendon Press. A cheap popular Life by R. T. Smith is pub. by S.P.C.K. in their Fathers for Eng. Readers.


Basilius, friend of Chrysostom
Basilius, the intimate friend of Chrysostom, with whom he resolved on the adoption of an ascetic life, and whose consecration to the episcopate he secured by a strange deception. His see is unknown, but was probably near Antioch.


Basilius of Cilicia, presbyter of Antioch
Basilius of Cilicia, presbyter of Antioch and bp. of Irenopolis in Cilicia, c.500; the author of an Ecclesiastical History in three books, from a.d.450 to the close of Justin's reign. Photius speaks disparagingly of it (Cod.42). He also wrote a violent book against Joannes Scythopolitanus, and Photius (Cod.107) says its object was to oppose the doctrine of the union of the two natures in Christ.


Basilius, bp. of Seleucia
Basilius, bp. of Seleucia, in Isauria, and metropolitan, succeeded Dexianus, who attended the council at Ephesus, and therefore after 431. He is erroneously identified by Photius with the early friend of Chrysostom, who must have been considerably his senior (Tillemont, xv. p.340). He is very unfavourably known from the vacillation he displayed with regard to the condemnation of Eutyches. He took a leading part in the council at Constantinople in 448, at which Eutyches was condemned; and the next year, when the fidelity of the acts of the council was called in question, was one of the commission appointed to verify them (Labbe, Concil. vol. iv.182, 230). But at the |Robbers' Synod| held at Ephesus a few months later his courage gave way, and he acquiesced in the rehabilitation of Eutyches, and retracted his obnoxious language. Before long he returned to orthodoxy, and in 450 affixed his signature to the famous Tome of pope Leo, on the Incarnation. At the council of Chalcedon, 451, the imperial commissioners proposed his deposition, together with that of other prelates who had aided in restoring Eutyches. But Basil submitted, concurred in the condemnation of Eutyches, and his offence was condoned (ib.553, 604, 787).

His extant works comprise 39 homilies (17 on O.T. and 22 on N.T. ), the titles and subjects being given by Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. lib. v. c.19, 10. Four on John xi., published as his, prove to be the work of St. Chrysostom. A Homily on the Transfiguration was added to the series in the ed. of the Jesuit Dausqueius, in 1604. A prose work on The Life and Miracles of St. Thecla has been attributed to him; but not only does the style differ, and savour of a later age, but we learn from Photius that Basilius wrote St. Thecla's life in verse. Another supposititious work is the Demonstratio contra Judaeos, which appears in the Heidelberg ed. of 1596. Basil's homilies shew much oratorical power and skill in the use of figurative language. He does not lose sight of perspicuity, but overburdens his style with metaphors. He not unfrequently reminds us of Chrysostom, though greatly his inferior in power. His homilies were first pub. in Gk. by Commelin, Lugd. Bat.1596, 8vo; and in Latin by Claud. Dausqueius, 1604, 8vo. They are in the Bibl. Patr. Colon. v. and Lugd. Bat. viii.1677. They were also printed at the end of the works of Gregory Thaumaturgus, Paris, 1672, fol. (Phot. Cod.168 ; Tillemont, Mém. eccl. xv.340, seq. et passim; Cave Hist. Litt.441).


Beda, historian
Beda, more correctly Baeda, The Venerable. [Note. -- Though not properly coming within the period of this condensed ed., Dr. Stubbs's valuable art. is retained as Bede is the classical historian of the English Church for so much of our proper period. -- Ed.] Bede was born on the estate given by Ecgfrith, king of Northumbria, to Benedict Biscop for the foundation of his sister monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, probably, however, before the lands were so bestowed; for the Wearmouth estate was given in 674, and the Jarrow one in 682, whilst the birth of Bede seems satisfactorily fixed to 673. The place of his birth is uncertain, for whilst tradition and local history fix it at Jarrow, there is no positive evidence. Nor are the names of his parents preserved. He himself, writing, as may be reasonably concluded, immediately on the completion of his History in 731, describes himself then as in his 59th year; this would fix his birth in 673; but as he lived until 735, and the passage may have been added at any time between 731 and 735, his birth has been sometimes put as late as 677. Mabillon, however, whose arguments are sound and whose conclusion has been generally received, accepts 673. At the age of 7 Bede was handed over by his relations to the care of Benedict Biscop, who had not, in 680, begun the buildings at Jarrow, but had just returned from Rome bringing the arch-chanter John. Bede was educated in one or both of the sister monasteries, and after Benedict's death he passed under the rule of Ceolfrith. At the age of 19 he was ordained deacon by John of Beverley, then bp. of Hexham, and in his 30th year received the priesthood from the same prelate; as John ceased to be bp. of Hexham in 705, and the later date for Bede's birth would place his ordination as priest in 706 at the earliest, this conclusively favours the earlier date; in which case he was ordained deacon in 691 and priest in 702. From his admission to the joint monastery to his death he remained there employed in study and devotional exercises, and there is no evidence that he ever wandered further than to York, which he visited shortly before his death. In the valuable MS. Cotton, Tiberius A. xv. fo.50, which is not later than the 10th cent., is preserved a letter of pope Sergius to Ceolfrith, desiring him to send to Rome |religiosum famulum Dei N. venerabilis monasterii tui,| to assist in the examination of some points of ecclesiastical discipline. This letter was very early believed to refer to Bede; and by the time of William of Malmesbury had begun to be read, |religiosum Dei famulum Bedam, venerabilis monasterii tui presbyterum|; the name of Bede resting on the authority of William of Malmesbury only, and the word presbyterum on an interlineation in the Cotton MS. as well. If presbyterum be authentic, it is a strong argument against the identification of Bede, for he was not ordained priest until 702, and Sergius died in 701; but it is not essential to the sense, rests apparently on an interpolation, and if genuine may be a mistake of the pope. Intercourse between Wearmouth and Rome was nearly continuous at this time, and there is no more likely monk under Ceolfrith's rule than Bede. Some monks of the monastery went to Rome in 701 (Bede, de Temporum Ratione, c.47), and brought a privilege from Sergius on their return (Hist. Abbat. c.12), but Bede was not among them. The invitation was probably meant for Bede, and perhaps the acceptance of it was prevented by the death of Sergius. Whether Bede's studies were mainly at Wearmouth or at Jarrow is not important; as he died and was buried at Jarrow, he probably lived there chiefly, but the two houses were in strict union, and he was equally at home in both. Under the liberal and enlightened ministration of Benedict Biscop and Ceolfrith, he enjoyed advantages perhaps not elsewhere available in Europe, and perfect access to all existing sources of learning in the West. Nowhere else could he acquire at once the Irish, Roman, Gallican, and Canterbury learning; that of the accumulated stores of books which Benedict had bought at Rome and at Vienna; or the disciplinary instruction drawn from the monasteries of the continent as well as from the Irish missionaries. Amongst his friends and instructors were Trumbert, the disciple of St. Chad, and Sidfrid, the fellow-pupil of St. Cuthbert under Boisil and Eata; from these he drew the Irish knowledge of Scripture and discipline. Acca, bp. of Hexham and pupil of St. Wilfrid, furnished him with the special lore of the Roman school, martyrological and other; his monastic learning, strictly Benedictine, came through Benedict Biscop from Lerins and many other continental monasteries; and from Canterbury, with which he was in friendly correspondence, he probably obtained instruction in Greek, in the study of the Scriptures, and other refined learning. His own monastery offered rest and welcome to learned strangers like abbot Adamnan (Bede, H. E. v.21), and Bede lost no opportunity of increasing his stores.

He describes the nature of his studies, the meditation on Scripture, the observance of regular discipline, the care of the daily singing in church, |semper aut discere, aut docere, aut scribere dulce habui.| These were the occupations of his youth. After his ordination he devoted himself to selecting from the Fathers passages suitable for illustration and edification, and, as he says modestly, added contributions of his own after the pattern of their comments.

The list of his works given at the conclusion of his History, Bede seems to have arranged in order of relative importance, not of their composition; and most of them afford only very slight indications of the dates of writing. Probably the earliest of his writings are the more elementary ones, on Orthography, the Ars Metrica and the de Natura Rerum. The Ars Metrica is dedicated to Cuthbert, a |conlevita,| which seems to fix the date of writing before 700 (Opp. ed. Giles, vi.78). The de Temporibus, the latest date of which is 702, may have followed almost immediately, and the de Natura Rerum has been referred to the same date. The de Sex aetatibus Saeculi was written 5 years later to be read to Wilfrid. The whole of the commentaries are later; they are all dedicated to bp. Acca, who succeeded his master Wilfrid in 709. The Commentaries on the Apocalypse, the Catholic Epp., and Acts, came first. Then that on St. Luke; that on Samuel followed, 3 books of it being written before the death of Ceolfrith in 716; that on St. Mark many years after. De Temporum Ratione is assignable on internal evidence to 726. Before the History come the Life of Cuthbert and of the abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow which are referred to in the greater work. The History was completed in 731, after which only the Ep. ad Egbertum seems to have been written. The work on which he was employed at the time of his death was the translation of St. John's Gospel.

Bede's attainments were very great. He certainly knew Greek (H. E. v.24) and some Hebrew. He knew Vergil, Ovid, Lucan, Lucretius, Terence, and a host of smaller poets. Homer he quotes once, perhaps at second-hand. He knew nearly all the second-rate poets, using them to illustrate the Ars Metrica. The earlier Fathers were, of course, in familiar use. The diversity and extent of his reading is remarkable: grammar, rhetoric, poetry, hagiography, arithmetic, chronology, the holy places, the Paschal controversy, epigrams, hymns, sermons, pastoral admonition and the conduct of penitents; even speculations on natural science, on which he specially quotes Pliny, employed his pen, besides his great works on history and the interpretation of Scripture. On all these points his knowledge was thoroughly up to the learning of the day; his judgment independent and his conclusions sound. He must have had good teachers, a good library, and an insatiable desire for learning. These qualifications fitted him for the remarkable place he holds in literature.

By promoting the foundation of the school of York, he kindled the flame of learning in the West at the moment that it seemed to be expiring both in Ireland and in France. This school transmitted to Alcuin the learning of Bede, and opened the way for culture on the continent, when England was relapsing into barbarism under the terror of the Danes. It is impossible to read the more popular writings of Bede, especially the Ecclesiastical History, without seeing that his great knowledge was coupled with the humility and simplicity of the purest type of monasticism. Employed on a theme which, in the prevailing belief of miraculous stories, could scarcely be treated of without incurring the charge of superstition, he is eminently truthful. The wonders he relates on his own account are easily referred to natural causes; and scarcely ever is a reputed miracle recounted without an authority. His gentleness is hardly less marked. He is a monk and politician of the school of Benedict Biscop, not of that of Wilfrid. The soundness and farsightedness of his ecclesiastical views would be remarkable in any age, and especially in a monk. His letter to Egbert contains lessons of wisdom, clear perception of abuses, and distinct recommendation of remedies, which in the neglect of observance of them might serve as a key for the whole later history of the Anglo-Saxon church. It breathes also the purest patriotism and most sincere love of souls. There is scarcely any father whose personal history is so little known, and whose personal character comes out in his writings so clearly as does that of Bede in this letter, and in his wonderful History.

Loved and honoured by all alike, he lived in a period which, at least for Northumbria, was of very varied character. The wise Aldfrid reigned during his youth and early manhood, but many years of disquiet followed his death, and even the accession of his friend Ceolwulf in 731 did not assure him of the end of the evils, the growth of which, since king Aldfrid's death, he had watched with misgivings. His bishops, first John of Beverley, and after the few years of Wilfrid's final restoration, Acca his friend and correspondent, and his abbots, first Ceolfrith and then Huaetbert, were men to whom he could look up and who valued him. His fame, if we may judge from the demand for his works immediately after his death, extended wherever English missionaries or negotiators found their way, and must have been widespread during his life. Nearly every kingdom of England furnished him with materials for his history: a London priest searched the records at Rome for him; abbot Albanus transmitted him details of the history of the Kentish church; bp. Daniel, the patron of Boniface, supplied the West Saxon; the monks of Lastingham, the depositories of the traditions of Cedd and Chad, reported how Mercia was converted; Esi wrote from East Anglia, and Cynibert from Lindsey.

Soon after visiting Egbert at York in 734 his health began to fail; and by Easter, 735, he had become asthmatic. But he laboured to the last, and, like Benedict Biscop, spent the time of unavoidable prostration in listening to the reading and singing of his companions. When he could, he continued the work of translation, and had reached the 9th verse of John vi. on the day he died. As the end approached, he distributed the few little treasures he had been allowed to keep in his chest, a little pepper, incense, and a few articles of linen; then, having completed the sentence he was dictating, he desired to be propped up with his face towards his church. He died repeating the Gloria Patri. The day is fixed by the letter of Cuthbert, who details the events of his deathbed to his friend Cuthwin, May 26, 735. He was buried at Jarrow where he died; his relics were in the 11th cent. removed to Durham, and in 1104 were found in the same coffin with those of St. Cuthbert. The story of his epitaph and the tradition of the bestowal of the title of Venerable is too well known and too apocryphal to be repeated here. For the subsequent fate of his remains see Cuthbert. Alcuin has preserved one of his sayings: |I know that the angels visit the canonical hours and gatherings of the brethren; what if they find not me there among the brethren? Will they not say, Where is Bede: why does he not come with the brethren to the prescribed prayers?| (Alc. Ep.16, ed. Migne).

Of the legendary or fictitious statements about Bede, the following are the most important: his personal acquaintance with Alcuin which is impossible; his education and sojourn at Cambridge, on which see Giles, PP. Eccl. Angl. i. lxx. seq.; his visits to Italy and burial at Genoa or at Rome, which seem to belong to another person of the same name, (ib. i. cvi.), and the legendary statements about his title of Venerable (ib. i. ci.). For a detailed investigation of these, and the alleged authorities for them, see Gehle's learned monograph, Disp. Hist. Theol. de Bed. Ven. (Leyden, 1838), pp.2-4, 17-21, and for the fallacies as to the date of Bede's death, ib. pp.31 seq.

Bede's own list of his works may be rearranged as follows:

(1) Commentaries on O.T. -- viz. Gen.4 books, derived chiefly from Basil, Ambrose, and Augustine; the Tabernacle, 3 books; Sam.3 books; the Building of the Temple, 2 books; on Kings, 30 questions dedicated to Nothelm; Prov.3 books; Canticles, 7 books; on Isa., Dan., the 12 minor prophets, and part of Jer., extracts from Jerome; on Ezra and Neh.3 books; on the Song of Habakkuk, 1 book; on Tobit, 1; chapters of lessons on the Pentateuch, Josh., and Judges; Kings, Job, Prov. Eccles. Canticles, Isa., Ezra, and Neh.

(2) Commentaries on N.T.: St. Mark, 4 books; St. Luke, 6 books; 2 books of homilies on the Gospels; Acts, 2 books; a book on each Catholic Ep.; 3 books on the Apocalypse, Lessons on the whole N.T. except the Gospels.

(3) Letters: de Sex Aetatibus; de Mansionibus filiorum Israel; de eo quod ait Esaias |et claudentur, etc.|; de Ratione Bissexti; de Aequinoctio.

(4) Hagiographies: on St. Felix, rendered from the poem of Paulinus; on Anastasius, a revised trans. from the Greek; on St. Cuthbert, in verse and prose; the abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow; the History of the English Church; the Martyrology.

(5) Hymns and epigrams.

(6) Scientific books: de Natura Rerum, de Temporibus, de Temporum Ratione.

(7) Elementary books: on Orthography, Ars Metrica, Schemato, and Trope.

Besides these he wrote translations into English, none of which are extant, from the Scriptures; Retractationes on the Acts; the Letter to Egbert; and a book on penance is ascribed to him.

Bede's collected works, including many not his, were pub. at Paris, 1544; Basle, 1563; Cologne, 1612, 1688; and by Dr. Giles (Lond. and Oxf.) in 1843; and in Migne's Patr. xc.-xcv.


All study of Bede must henceforth begin with Mr. C. Plummer's monumental edition of the historical writings Baedae Opera Historica (Clarendon Press, 1896). It contains the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, the Historia Abbatum, the Ep. ad Egbertum, and the anonymous Historia Abbatum. An excellent introduction presents a critical survey of Bede's works with large references in footnotes to modern authorities. The student should consult the index in vol. ii.418 for the frequent allusions scattered throughout the two vols. to the various writings of Bede. For the text of works other than historical reference must still be made to Migne's Patr. Lat. (vols.94-95), or to Dr. J. A. Giles's Patres Ecclesiae Anglicanae (vols.1-12). A critical edition of, at all events, the Biblical words of Bede is still a desideratum. Dr. Giles edited some of the smaller treatises 50 years ago, and Mr. Edward Marshall published Bede's Explanation of the Apocalypse in 1878; but with these exceptions few, if any, of his writings have in recent years appeared separately. In the 16th and 17th cents. homilies and other works were frequently printed. Reference may be made on this point to the art. Bede in the 4-vol. ed. of this Dict. Translations of the historical books were made by Dr. Giles in 1840, Mr. Gidley in 1870, and by Miss A. M. Sellar in 1907. The last named is the most useful for the student. It is a revision of Dr. Giles, and his work is in turn based upon Mr. Stevens (1723). The notes in Mayor and Lumby's ed. of H. E. iii. and iv. (Camb. Univ. Press) are learned and important. Reference should also be made to Lives of Bede by Bp. Browne (1879) and Canon H. D. Rawnsley (1904), and to the general treatment of Bede and his times in Dr. Bright's Chapters from Early English Church Hist. (pp.335-338), and Dr. W. Hunt's History of the English Church (vol. i. pp.205-208). A monograph on |Place Names in the English Bede and the Localization of the MSS.,| by Thomas Miller, was contributed to Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Culturgeschichte der germanischen Völker (Strassburg, 1896). The important question of the chronological order of Bede's works is discussed by Mr. Plummer, op. cit. (i. cxlv.-clix.).


Benedictus of Nursia, abbott of Monte Cassino
Benedictus of Nursia. St. Benedict, abbot of Monte Cassino (|Abbas Casinensis|), called |patriarch of the monks of the West,| lived during the troubled and tumultuous period after the deposition of Augustulus, when most of the countries of Europe were either overrun by Arians or still heathen. There were many monks in southern Europe, but without much organization till Benedict reformed and remodelled the monastic life of Europe (Mab. Ann. I. i.). The principal, almost sole, authority for the life of St. Benedict are the Dialogues of Gregory the Great. The genuineness of these has been questioned, but without sufficient cause.

Benedict was born about a.d.480 at Nursia (Norcia), anciently belonging to the Sabines (|frigida Nursia,| Virg.), an episcopal city in the duchy of Spoleto in Umbria. His parents were of the higher class (|liberiori genere,| Praef. Dial.). A later writer gives their names, Euproprius and Abundantia (Petr. Diac. de Vir. Ill. i.). The ruins of the ancestral palace are shewn at Norcia, with a crypt, the reputed birthplace of Benedict (Mab. Ann. i.4). He was sent as a boy to be educated at Rome; but soon, shocked by the immorality of his companions, fled, followed by his nurse (Cyrilla; Petr. D. de Vir. Ill. i.), to Ahle (Effide), on the Anio (Teverone), about forty miles from Rome (Dial. ii.1). Thence he retired to a cave at Sublaqueum (Subiaco), where he lived as a hermit in almost utter isolation for some years, visited only from time to time by a priest of the neighbourhood, Romanus (Dial. ii.1). The cave, the well-known |il Sagro Speco,| is shewn about three miles of very steep ascent above the town of Subiaco, and the traditionary spot marked by a monastery, once famous for its library and for the first printing press in Italy, where the youthful anchoret rolled naked in the thorn-bushes to overcome sensual temptations (Mab. Ann. i.8). The fame of his sanctity spreading abroad, Benedict was invited, his youth notwithstanding, by the monks of a neighbouring monastery (at Vicovarro) to preside over them, and very reluctantly consented. Soon, however, their laxity rebelled against his attempts at reformation (he seems thus early to have shewn the organizing faculty for which he became afterwards so remarkable), and he abdicated, after miraculously escaping being poisoned by them (Dial. ii.3). He retired to his cave; and undertook the superintendence of youths, among whom were two who became foremost among his followers, Maurus and Placidus, sons of Roman patricians (Dial. ii.4). Here he founded, it is said, twelve monasteries, each of twelve monks with a |father| at the head of them (Dial. ii.3). Of these only two remain, |Il Sagro Speco| and |Sta. Scholastica|; the rest being in ruins, or merely oratories (Mab. Ann. ii. x). That of |Sta. Scholastica,| so named after Benedict's sister, enjoys special privileges, and takes precedence among the Benedictine foundations even of Monte Cassino, as of older date (Alb. Butler, Lives of the Saints). Several of the miracles ascribed to Benedict are connected with Subiaco. But, after some time, finding his work continually hindered by the machinations of a dissolute priest, Florentius, he removed, probably c.530 (Mab. Ann. iii.5), with some of his disciples to Monte Cassino (Dial. ii.8), destined to become illustrious as the headquarters of the great Benedictine order, and as a stronghold of learning and liberal arts even in the darkest ages. The mountain, with a town and stream at its base, all of the same name, stands on the borders of what were formerly Latium and Campania, nearer to Naples than Rome, a few miles from the birthplace of the great Dominican, Thomas Aquinas. Some ruins of an old Roman amphitheatre mark the site of the town, near the modern St. Germano; the little stream flows into the Rapido, a tributary of the Garigliano (Liris). The summit of the mountain three miles above the town, and even at the present time inaccessible to carriages, was crowned, before the arrival of Benedict, by a temple of Apollo; frequented even then by the rustics (Dial. i.8), although the existence of a bp. of Cassino is indicated by the list of bishops present at the Roman Council, a.d.484 (Mab. Ann. iii.5). On this precipitous eminence, looking down on the plains washed by the peaceful Liris (|taciturnus amnis,| Hor.), and backed by the wild crags of the Abruzzi Benedict set himself with new vigour to carry out his plans of a revival of monasticism. The miraculous intervention of which Gregory hands down the story (Dial. ii.9, 10) is not necessary to explain how the missionary spirit of Benedict and his monks overthrew the image and altar of Apollo, and reared shrines of St. John Evang. and St. Martin, the founder of monasticism in France, within the very walls of the Sun-god's temple -- it was customary to reconsecrate, not to destroy, pagan edifices (Greg. M. Ep. xi.76) -- where now stands one of the most sumptuous of Italian churches. Here Benedict commenced the monastery destined to a world-wide reputation. Here for 12 years or more he presided over his followers; here he is believed to have composed the Benedictine Rule, in the same year, it is said, in which the schools of Athens were suppressed, and his famous Code was promulgated by Justinian; and from this sequestered spot he sent forth his emissaries not only to Anxur (Terracina, Dial. ii.22), but beyond the borders of Italy to Sicily (Mab. Ann. iii..25). Mabillon considers the narrative in Greek by Gordianus of the Mission of Placidus into Sicily spurious, but the mission itself beyond doubt. Not many years elapsed before this and other similar foundations were richly endowed with lands and other offerings (Greg. M. Ep. iii.3).

It was in the vicinity of Monte Cassino that Benedict confronted and rebuked the ferocious Totila (a.d.542) at the head of his victorious Ostrogoths (Dial. ii.14, 15), and that he was wont to cheer his solitude by brief and rare interviews with his beloved sister, Scholastica, herself a recluse at no great distance (ib.33). He is said to have been summoned to a synod at Rome (a.d.531) by Boniface II. (Cave, Hist. Litt. on the authority of a codex in Bibl. Vat. by Ant. Scrip. Mon. Cas., Eleg. Abb. Cas. p.25). His death is variously computed from 539 (Schol. Bened. in Honor. August. iii.30 ap. Fabr. Bibl. Eccl.) to a.d.543 (Trithem, de Vir. Ill. c.300, ap. Fabr.; cf. Clint. Fast. Rom. and Mab. AA. SS. O.S.B. Praef.). Some few writers assign a yet later date. His sister (his twin-sister according to Trithemius, but cf. Mab. Ann. iii.14) shortly predeceased him. She is called abbess by Bertharius, Abb. Cas. in the 8th cent. (ib.); but probably lived alone (cf. Greg. M. Dial. iii.7, 14), or as one of a sisterhood. The words |ad cellam propriam recessisset| are ambiguous (Dial. ii.34; cf. Act. Sanct. Feb.10).

The character of St. Benedict may be best estimated from his Regula Monastica, if, as indeed is reasonable to suppose, it was his composition. In contrast to monastic rules already in existence, chiefly of Eastern origin, it breathes a spirit of mildness and consideration, while by the sanction for the first time given to study it opened the way for those literary pursuits which afterwards developed themselves so largely within convent walls. The account of the great Reformer's tender affection for his sister, and of his withdrawal before opposition at Subiaco, seems to give verisimilitude to the traditionary portraits of him, as of gentle though dignified aspect. His demeanour before Totila, the strict rule under which he kept others as well as himself (Dial. ii.23, etc.), and his severity in repressing the slightest disobedience (24, 28, etc.) testify to his practical insight into character (20), as well as to his zeal and courage. In Dial. iii.161 he is said (like Anthony) to have reproved a hermit who had chained himself to a rock, in these words, |Brother, be bound only by the chain of Christ!| The character of the Benedictine Order, by the specialities which have always distinguished it from other religious orders, attest the sagacious and liberal character of its founder. Fleury thinks he was not ordained, although he preached (Eccl. Hist. xxxii.15). The idea of his being a priest is modern (Mab. Ann. O.S.B. v.122; Murat. Scr. Ital. iv.27).

Some, probably not all, of the remains of St. Benedict were transferred from his shrine at M. Cassino to the Benedictine abbey at Floriacum (Fleury), on the Loire, in the 7th cent. or at a later date (Mab. Acta, ii.339). The question is discussed at length in AA. SS. Boll.21 Mar. iii.299-301, and in Mab. AA. SS. O.S.B. Saec. ii.337-352.

For his life, see Greg. M. Dial. lib. ii. in Migne's Patr. lxvi., also in Mabillon's Acta Sanctorum O.S.B. Saec. i., in Muratori, Script. Rer. Italic. iv., and elsewhere. Vita S. Benedicti (in verse), by Marcus Poeta, said to be a disciple of St. Benedict, in Mab. AA. SS. Saec. i.; cf. Pauli Diac. Histor. Langobard. i.26; see also Grégoire le Grand, la vie de St. Benoit, etc., par Jos. Mege, Par.1734, 4to; Mab. Ann. O.S.B. i. viii., Acta Sanctorum (Bolland.), 21 Mar. iii. Bened. Haefteni, Commentar. in Vit. S. Bened. For a more complete catalogue of hymns, sermons, etc., on St. Benedict see Potthast s.v. Among modern biographies see Le pitture dello Zingaro nel chiostro di S. Severino in Napoli pubblicate per la prima volta a dilucidate da Stanislao d'Aloe (Napoli, 1846, 4to); also Tosti St. Ben., historical discourse on his life from the Italian (Lond.1896), and Essays on Tosti's Life (Lond.1896). In a new ed. of the English trans. of Montalembert's Monks of the West (Lond.6 vols.1896) is an introduction by Dom Gasquet on the Rule. A convenient ed. of the Rule, by D. H. Blair, with Eng. translation, was pub. at Lond. and Edin. (2nd. ed.), 1896.


Benedictus I., pope
Benedictus I., pope, called by the Greeks Bonosus (Evagr. Sc. H. E. v.16), son of Boniface, a Roman, was elected successor to John III. on June 3, 574 (Jaffé, Regesta Pont.; the dates given by Baronius are erroneous; cf. Clinton, F. R. ii.543, on the causes of discrepancy in the pontifical chronology). During his pontificate Italy was harassed by the invasion of the Lombards. Though they never actually penetrated into the city of Rome, they ravaged the suburbs, violated the cemeteries, and persecuted the Christians. Misery and famine ensued, and Rome was only relieved eventually by a corn fleet from Egypt, dispatched at the pope's request by the emperor Justin. Benedict died in July 578, and was buried on the last day of that month in St Peter's. He was succeeded by Pelagius II. (Anastas. Liber. Pontif.; cf. Paul. Diac. de Gestis Long. ii.10, ap. Muratori, i.). According to Ciacconius (Vitae Pont. Rom.) his memory was eulogized by Gregory the Great. His restoration of certain lands to the Abbot of San Marco at Spoleto rests on the same authority (Greg. Op. ii.950, ed. Bened.); see generally Baronius, sub annis 575-577; Labbe, Concil. vol. v.).


Bertha, wife of Ethelbert, king of Kent
Bertha (Bercta), wife of Ethelbert, king of Kent. She was daughter of Caribert, king of Paris, by his wife Ingoberga (Greg. Turon. iv.26, ix.26), and lost her father in 575, her mother in 589. The date of her marriage is unknown, but it was probably after the death of her mother, although Bede speaks of the king receiving her |a parentibus.| Ethelbert was still a heathen, and on his marriage it was made a condition that his wife should be allowed to enjoy the exercise of her own religion, and should be attended by a bishop. Liudhard, or Letard, who is called by the Canterbury historians bp. of Senlis (Thorn, ed. Twysden, 1767), was chosen to accompany her, and the remains of the church of St. Martin, at Canterbury, were allotted for Christian worship (Bede, H. E. i.26). It was partly, no doubt, by her influence that Ethelbert was induced to receive the Roman mission and to be baptized. Pope Gregory, in 601, when sending Mellitus to reinforce Augustine's company, addressed a letter to Bertha, in which he compliments her highly on her faith and knowledge of letters, and urges her to make still greater efforts for the spread of Christianity. He also ascribes the conversion of the English mainly to her, and compares her to the empress Helena (St. Greg. Epp. xii.29; Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, iii.17, 18). The date of her death is unknown. She was buried in the porch of St. Martin, in the church of SS. Peter and Paul (Bede, H. E. ii.5). Ethelbert seems to have married again after her death. She was the mother of Eadbald, who succeeded to the throne on Ethelbert's death, and of Ethelburga, who, in 625, was married to Edwin, King of Northumbria. As her son was unbaptized in 616, it is probable that she found considerable difficulty in promoting Christianity in her own family, or else that she died whilst her children were very young. Elmham (ed. Hardwick, p.110) says she took part in founding the monastery of St. Augustine, at Christmas, 604, but this is merely traditional; and the latest trustworthy trace of her is St. Gregory's letter of 601.


Beryllus, bp. of Bostra
Beryllus, bp. of Bostra, in Arabia, known in his day as one of the most learned teachers of the church. He conceived heretical views as to the person of our blessed Lord, to consider which a synod assembled at Bostra, a.d.244. The bishops unanimously condemned his teaching, and declared that Christ at His Incarnation was endowed with a human soul (Socr. H. E. iii.7), but were unable to convince Beryllus of his error. Origen, however, who, having been recently degraded from Holy Orders and excommunicated at Alexandria, was then residing at Caesarea, had been invited to the synod, and by his intellectual superiority, dialectical skill, and friendly moderation succeeded in proving to Beryllus the unsoundness of his tenets, and in leading him back to the orthodox faith. For this, according to Jerome, he received the thanks of Beryllus in a letter extant in his time. Our only authority as to the tenets of Beryllus is a somewhat obscure passage of Eusebius, H. E. vi.33, and a fragment of Origen's commentary on the Epistle to Titus, found in the apology of Pamphilus, Orig. Opp. tom. iv. p.22, ed. Bened., which have led to very opposite conclusions. These may be seen in Dorner, where the whole question is discussed at length. His views were Monarchian, and are identified by Schleiermacher with those of the Patripassians, and by Baur with those of Artemon and the neo-Ebionites. According to Dorner, Beryllus occupies a middle place, forming a connecting link between the Patripassians and Sabellius. The leading ideas of his teaching as developed by Dorner from Eusebius were as follows: (1) there existed a patrike theotes in Christ, but not an idia theotes: (2) Christ had no independent existence in a circumscribed form of being of His own (kat' idian housias perigraphen), before His Incarnation (epidemia). (3) Subsequently to His Incarnation, He Who had been identified with the patrike theotes became a circumscribed Being possessed of an independent existence; the being of God in Christ being a circumscription of the theotes of the Father, i.e. of God Himself. According to Eusebius, H. E. vi.20, Beryllus was the author of epistles and treatises displaying considerable elegance. Hieron. de Script. Eccl. No. lx.; Niceph. H. E. v.22; Neander ii. pp.350 ff.; Gieseler, v. p .219; Dorner, Person of Christ, First Period, Second Epoch, § i. c.2, div. i. vol. ii. pp.35-45, Clark's trans.; Schröckh, iv.38; Mosheim, de Reb. Christ. ante Constant. p.699; Ullman, Comment. de Beryll. Bost. (Hamb.1835); Fock, Diss. de Christolog. Beryll. Bost. (1843).


Blandina, martyr
Blandina, martyr, a female slave, reckoned as the chief among the martyrs of Lyons, in that, although weakest in body, she suffered longest and most bravely the most various and prolonged torture. Among other things she was stretched upon a cross and thrown to wild beasts, which, however, refused to touch her; and finally she was tied up in a net and gored to death by a bull. (Eus. H. E. v.1; Eucher. Lugdun. Hom. inter Hom. Euseb. Emesen. xi.; Greg. Tur. de Glor. Martt. xlix.; Baron. June 2.)


Boëthius, Anicius Manlius Severinus
Boëthius, (Boetios, Procop.) Anicus Manlius Severinus. This honourable name, invested by the church for so many centuries with a halo of sanctity, can hardly be excluded from a Dictionary of Christian Biography, though some criticism in modern times has tended to distinguish the Roman senator, the author of the Consolatio Philosophiae, from the writer of certain theological treatises which bear his name, and upon the genuineness of which depends his claim to be enrolled among the martyrs of Christendom. These works, (i.) de Sancta Trinitate, (ii.) Utrum Pater et Filius Substantialiter Praedicentur, (iii.) de Duabus Naturalis et una Persona Christi, contra Eutychen et Nestorium, (iv.) Fidei Confessio seu brevis Institutio Religionis Christianae, based upon the Aristotelian Categories, and compiled in great measure from the writings of St. Augustine, being concerned entirely with abstract questions of dogma, offer but little to compare with the Consolatio, into which the mind and heart of its author were manifestly thrown; nevertheless Hand (Encyclopädie, v. Ersch. u. Gruber, in voce) has endeavoured to shew that they are alien in point of philosophy as well as in the method of thought and expression from the undoubted writings of Boëthius. For instance, although philosopher and theologian alike demonstrate the substantial as opposed to the accidental nature of God, Boëthius (ad Arist. Categ. c.4) maintains Aristotle's distinction of substances, whereas the author of the first theological treatise insists upon the substantial indifference of the three persons in the Trinity. Again, while Boëthius translates the ousia of Aristotle by substantia, the author of the third treatise adopts the later rendering essentia, while he also follows ecclesiastical writers in his use of the words substantia (hupostasis) and persona (prosopon). The arguments of Hand have been controverted by Gustave Baur (de Boëth. Christianae Fidei Assertore, c.1), but the theory of a second Boëthius, whom Hand supposes to have been confounded at an early date with the philosopher, so far from being refuted, has suggested the still more plausible conjecture of Obbarius (Proleg. ad Consol. Phil. p. xxxvii. Jenae, 1843) that another Severinus was the author of the works in question, and that to this person, and not to the author of the Consolatio, belong the honours of martyrdom in defence of the Catholic faith. In support of this conjecture there are the facts: (i.) That no author is known to mention the theological works of Boëthius before Alcuin (de Proc. Spir. Sancti, p.752), who flourished nearly three centuries after his death. (ii.) That although the tradition was current in the Middle Ages, from Paulus Diaconus (8th cent.) downwards, that Boëthius laid down his life in his zeal for the Catholic faith against the Arian invaders of Italy, this is not his own account of his fall from court favour nor is it supported by any contemporary writer. (iii.) That in the epitaph of Gerbertus, bp. of Ravenna, afterwards pope Sylvester II., inscribed upon the monument raised in his honour by Otho III., a.d.996, no mention is made of martyrdom or of canonization (Migne, Patr. vol., 139, p.287). (iv.) That while the church of Rome knows nothing of St. Boëthius, the festival of St. Severinus has been held on Oct.23 ever since the 8th cent., in the neighbourhood of Ticinum, where Boëthius is popularly believed to have been executed. The double clue runs throughout the history of Boëthius, as derived from various sources; the same twofold character, half secular, half ecclesiastical, pervades the whole; and hence the unusual number of so-called fables mingled with the best authenticated facts -- e.g: --

(1) The wife of Boëthius was unquestionably Rusticiana, the daughter of the senator Symmachus (Cons. Phil. ii.3, 4; Procop. Goth. iii.20), by whom he had two sons, Aurelius Anicius Symmachus and Anicius Manlius Severinus, who were consuls a.d.522 (Cons. Phil. ii.3, 4); but tradition makes him to have been also the husband of Elpis, a Sicilian lady and the authoress of two hymns in the Breviary [Elpis], and by her to have had two sons, Patricius and Hypatius, Greek consuls a.d.500.

(2) According to his own statement, Boëthius was imprisoned (Cons. Phil. x. ii. metr.24) at a distance of 500 miles from Rome (ib. i.4); according to other accounts he was simply exiled, a confusion which no doubt arose from the epitaph of the said Elpis, in which she is said (Burm. Anth. Lat. tom. ii. epigr.138) to have followed her husband into banishment.

(3) His fall and death is mixed up by Paulus Diaconus and other writers, who are followed among modern writers by Bähr (Rom. Lit. p.162) and Heyne (Censar. Ingenii, etc., Boeth.), with the constrained embassy of pope John to Constantinople on behalf of the Arians of the East, which is said to have resulted in the suspicion of his treachery and finally in his death; whereas Boëthius was put to death, according to others (Anonym. Vales., etc.), before the embassy, or at least before the return of the pope, a.d.525, and as he himself implies (Cons. Phil. i.4), on suspicion of conspiracy, not against Arianism, but for the restoration of the liberty and power of the senate.

(4) Two distinct accounts exist of his execution, one stating that he was beheaded at Ticinum (Anast. Vit. Pontif. in Johanne I.; Aimoin, Hist. Franc. ii.1), where he was imprisoned, according to popular tradition, in a tower still standing at Pavia in 1584 (Tiraboschi, iii. l.1, c.4); another relating (Anonym. Vales. p.36, in Gronov. ed. Amm. Marcell.) that he was confined along with Albinus in the baptistery of a church, and soon afterwards executed |in agro Calventiano,| first being tortured by a cord tightly twisted round his forehead, and then beaten to death with a club.

(5) He is claimed by the church as a saint and martyr under the name of Severinus, the friend of St. Benedict (Tritenhem, ap. Fabric. Bibl. Lat. iii.15), and the worker of a miracle at his death (Martianus Rota, vid. Boëth. in usum Delphin.), but of all this his contemporaries knew nothing, and no hint of it appears until three centuries after his death, when he also becomes the author of four dogmatic treatises on the mysteries of the Trinity.

Whether or not this double tradition has grown out of the history of two distinct individuals, there can be little doubt that to obtain a true estimate of the character and writings of Boëthius, the author of the Consolatio must be distinguished from Severinus, saint and martyr, or whoever else was the writer of the above-mentioned theological works. It remains for us briefly to notice the most authentic facts of the philosopher's life, and to inquire how far his thoughts were coloured by the contemporaneous influence of Christianity, or exercised an influence in their turn upon the religious thought of the Middle Ages.

Boëthius was born between the years a.d.470-475, as is inferred from his contemporary Ennodius (Eucharisma de Vitâ suâ), who says that he himself was sixteen when Theodoric invaded Italy, a.d.490. As a wealthy orphan (Cons. Phil. ii.3) Boëthius inherited the patrimony and honours of the Anician family, was brought up under the care of the chief men at Rome (ib. ii.3), and became versed in the erudition of his own country and likewise in that of Greece. In the words of his friend Cassiodorus, |The geometry of Euclid, the music of Pythagoras, the arithmetic of Nicomachus, the mechanics of Archimedes, the astronomy of Ptolemy, the theology of Plato, and the logic of Aristotle,| were translated and illustrated for the benefit of the Romans by his indefatigable pen (Var. i. Ep.45). Nor was he less distinguished for his virtue. His purse was ever open to the poor of Rome (Procop. Goth. I. i.). He exerted his authority and eloquence on behalf of the oppressed provincials (Cons. Phil. i.4). Such conspicuous merit was at first appreciated by Theodoric. He received the title of patrician while still a youth (ib. i.3), became consul a.d.510, and princeps senatus (Procop. Goth. I. i.), was employed in the important station of master of the offices (Anonym. Vales. p.26), in which post his scientific knowledge and mechanical skill were turned to ample account (Cassiod. Ep. i.10, 45, ii.40), and reached the summit of his fortune on the day when, supported by his two sons, who had just been inaugurated in the consulship, he pronounced a panegyric upon Theodoric and gratified the populace with a largess (Cons. Phil. ii.3). But a reverse was at hand. The philosopher had exerted himself to rescue the state from the usurpation of ignorance; the senator had opposed his integrity to the tyranny and avarice of the barbarians who did not in general share the moderation of their leader. His expression, |palatini canes| (ib. i.4), shews his uncompromising spirit against their iniquities; and it is not surprising that the courage and sympathy he shewed in pleading the cause of Albinus, a senator who was accused of |hoping the liberty of Rome| (ib.), joined to other similar conduct, and misrepresented by his foes, at length poisoned the mind of Theodoric, who seems to have appointed one Decoratus, a man of worthless character, to share and control the power of his favourite (ib. iii.4). As to the existence of any widespread conspiracy to overthrow the Ostrogothic rule there is but very faint evidence, and against this must be set down his own indignant self-justification (ib. i.4). A sentence of confiscation and death was passed upon him by the senate without a trial; he was imprisoned in the Milanese territory, and ultimately executed in one of the ways named above, probably about the 50th year of his age, a.d.520-524. His father-in-law, Symmachus, was involved in his ruin (Procop. Goth. I. i.), and his wife, Rusticiana, reduced to beggary (ib. iii.20). The remorse of Theodoric, which came too late to save |the last of the Romans,| is the natural and tragic finish to a story which has too many parallels in history.

It was during his imprisonment that Boëthius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a work described by Gibbon as |a golden volume, not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully.| It is a dialogue in prose and verse (a species of composition suggested probably by the medleys of Petronius and Capella) between the author and his visitant, Philosophy, whom he represents as a woman of reverend mien and varying stature, upon the borders of whose vesture were woven the letters P and Th, symbolizing no doubt the Platonic division of philosophy into praktike and theoretike. Those who regard the |Consolation| as the work of a Christian have not unnaturally been perplexed by its total silence as to the distinctive faith of Christianity, and have been forced to suppose it incomplete (Bertius, Lips.1753), or to interpret it allegorically (Gervais, vid. Schröckh, Hist. Eccles. xvi.118). It breathes a spirit of resignation and hope, but so does the Phaedo. It is based upon a firm belief in Providence, but it is only in his poetic flights that the author's language seems to savour of a belief in a personal God (Cons. Phil. iii. metr.9), his faith never elsewhere rising higher than Theism, and occasionally passing into Pantheism (ib. iii.12, et pass.). He asserts the efficiency of prayer, but the injunction thereto is drawn from the Timaeus and not from the N.T. (ib. iii.9), while the object of his aspirations is not the stephanos zoes or dikaiosunes of the Apostle, but the summum bonum of the Greek philosopher. He has been thought to betray an acquaintance with the Christian idea of heaven (ib. i.5, iii.12, iv.1, v.1), but his patria is the peace of the philosophic mind, not the politeuma en ourano huparchon. In short, the whole work, with the exception of words and phrases which merely imply an acquaintance with Christian writers, might have been written, so far as theology is concerned, by Cicero himself. The works of Boëthius prove his intimate knowledge of Greek literature, and were for centuries the only vehicle by which Greek philosophy penetrated to the West; but his chief work is now of value only as serving, along with the poetry of Claudian and Ausonius, to mark the point of contact between the thought of heathendom and the faith of Christianity. That from the 6th to the 14th cent. its author was invested with a monopoly of philosophic greatness was natural in the utter decay of learning, but it was the excess of darkness which made his light of brightness sufficient to shine across the ages till it paled in the rising splendour of the revival of letters.

His works are: de Consolatione Philosophiae libri v.; in Porphyrii Isagogen a Victorino Translatam Dialogi ii.; in eandem a se ipso Latine Translatam libri v.; in Categorias Aristotelis libri ii.; in Ejusdem Librum peri hermeneias lib. i.; Editionis secundae libri vi.; Analyticorum Aristotelis Priorum et Posteriorum libri iv.; Topicorum Aristotelis libri viii.; in Aristotelis Topica libri viii. (not extant); Introductio in Syllogismos Categoricos; de Syllogismis Hypotheticis libri ii.; de Divisione; de Definitione; de Differentiis Topicis libri iv.; in Topica Ciceronis libri vi.; Elenchorum Sophisticorum libri ii.; de Arithmeticâ libri ii.; de Musicâ libri v.; de Geometriâ libri ii.; also two short treatises entitled respectively |de Rhetoricae Cognatione,| and |Locorum Rhetoricorum Distinctio,| discovered by cardinal Mai in a MS. of the 11th cent. Doubtful works: de Unitate et Uno; de Bono, de Hebdomadibus; all of which are dedicated to pope John.

The most complete ed, of his works is in Migne's Patr. Lat., which is a collation of the best edd. The best edd. of the Consolatio are those of Theod. Obbarius (Jenae, 1843) and R. Peiper (Leipz.1871), the latter including the theological works and prolegomena. The most interesting trans. is that into Anglo-Saxon by Alfred the Great, edited by W. J. Sedgefield (Lond.1899). See also G. Boissier, |Le Christianisme de Boëce| in Journal des savants (Paris, 1899).

The chief ancient authorities for the life of Boëthius are the epistles of his contemporaries Cassiodorus and Ennodius, and the History of Procopius. The best modern authorities are Hand, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclop.; and for an opposite view of his religious faith, Gustave Baur, de Boëth. Christianae Fidei Assertore (Darmst.1841); Heyne, Censura Boëth. de Cons. Phil. (Gotting.1805), in Opusc. Academ. vi.142 ; the |Prologomena de Boëthii vitâ et scriptis| to the ed. of the Cons. Phil. by Obbarius; A. Hildebrand, Boëthius und seine Stelling zum Christenthum (Regussburg, 1885); and H. F. Stewart, Boëthius, an Essay (Edin.1891).


Bonifacius I., pope
Bonifacius I., pope and saint, successor of Zosimus, a Roman, son of a priest, Jocundus, has been identified with Boniface the priest, the papal representative at Constantinople during the time of Innocent I. (Baronius s.a.405, § 15, cf.
Bianchi-Giovini, Storia dei Papi, i.353). Zosimus died on Dec.26, 418. On the 28th Boniface was elected bishop in the Church of St. Theodora by a majority of the clergy and people, and consecrated next day in the church of St. Marcellus. Previously, however, a small body of the clergy, contrary to the command of the prefect Symmachus, had shut themselves up in the Lateran, and as soon as the burial of Zosimus took place, proclaimed Eulalius the archdeacon pope. Three bishops (including the bp. of Ostia) assisted at the consecration of Eulalius, nine at that of Boniface. Symmachus reported to the emperor Honorius in favour of Eulalius. Honorius decided accordingly, and ordered Boniface to quit the city, but ultimately pronounced in his favour. This was the third disputed election (see full account, with all the documents, in Baronius s.a.419; Jaffé, Regesta). Personally, Boniface is described as an old man at the time of his appointment, which he was unwilling to accept, of mild character, given to good works (Anastasius, Lib. Pont.). In the contest against Pelagius, Boniface was an unswerving supporter of orthodoxy and Augustine. [[81]Pelagius] Two letters of the Pelagians had fallen into the pope's hands, in both of which Augustine was calumniated. Boniface sent them promptly by the hands of Alypius to Augustine himself, that he might reply to them. His reply, contained in the |Quatuor libri contra duas Epp. Pelagianorum| (Opp. x.411, Ben. ed.; cf. Repr. ii.61 in vol i.), is addressed to Boniface, and bears testimony to the kindness and condescension of his character. Boniface was strenuous in enforcing the discipline of the church. Thus he insisted that Maximus, bp. of Valence, should be brought to trial for his misdemeanours before the bishops of Gaul (see letter in Labbe, Conc. ii.1584). So also in the case of the vacancy of the see of Lodève he insisted on a rigid adherence to the decrees of the council of Nicaea, that each metropolitan, and in this case the metropolitan of Narbonne, should be supreme within his own province, and that the jurisdiction conferred by his predecessor Zosimus on the bp. of Arles should be of none effect (Labbe, ib.1585). On the significance of this transaction as regards the history of the relation of the pope to the metropolitans, see Gieseler, Ecc. Hist. i. § 92 (p.265, Eng. trans.). Nor was he less strenuous in his assertion of the rights of the Roman see. Following the policy of his predecessors, Siricius and Innocent, he vindicated the supremacy of his patriarchate over the province of Eastern Illyria. The people of Corinth had elected a certain Perigenes bishop, and sent to Rome to ask the pope to ratify the election. Boniface refused to entertain their request until sent through the hands and with the consent of the papal legate, Rufus, archbp. of Thessalonica. The party in Corinth opposed to Perigenes appealed to the Eastern emperor. Theodosius decreed that canonical disputes should be settled by a council of the province with appeal to the bp. of Constantinople. Boniface immediately complained to Honorius that this law infringed the privileges of his see, and Theodosius, on the request of his uncle, annulled it. Proposals, however, had actually been made for the convocation of a provincial council to consider the Corinthian election. To check this tendency to independence, and to defeat the rival claims of Constantinople, Boniface forthwith addressed letters to Rufus, to the bishops of Thessaly, and to the bishops of the entire province. Rufus was exhorted to exercise the authority of the Roman see with all his might; and the bishops were commanded to obey him, though allowed the privilege of addressing complaints concerning him to Rome. |No assembly was to be held without the consent of the papal vicar. Never had it been lawful to reconsider what had once been decided by the Apostolic see| (see documents in Labbe, iv.1720 sqq.). Among the lesser ordinances attributed to him by Anastasius the most important is that whereby he forbade slaves to be ordained without the consent of their masters. Boniface died on Sept.4, 422, and was buried, according to the Martyr. Hieronym. (ap. Jaffé, Reg.), in the cemetery of St. Maximus, according to Anastasius in that of St. Felicitas (cf. Ciacconius, Vat. Pont. who gives several epitaphs). He was succeeded by Celestine I. His letters are given by Labbe, vol. iv.; Migne, Patr. vol. xx.; Baronius. (Cf. Jaffé, Regesta and App. pp.932, 933, where spurious letters and decrees attributed to Boniface are given).


Bonifacius II., pope
Bonifacius II., pope, successor to Felix IV., of Roman birth but Gothic parentage, son of Sigisbald or Sigismund, was elected bp. of Rome on Sept.17, 530, and consecrated five days later in the basilica of Julius (Jaffé, Regesta Pont.). At the same time a rival party in the basilica of Constantine elected and consecrated Dioscorus. The Roman church was saved from schism by the death of Dioscorus a few weeks afterwards; but Boniface carried his enmity beyond the grave, and anathematized his dead rival for simony (cf. Cassiodorus, Var.9, Ep.5). This anathema was subsequently removed by Agapetus I. It has been conjectured (by Baronius, Labbe, Cave, etc.) that the double election was brought about by Athalaric the Gothic king, that he might have an opportunity to intervene after the example of Theodoric, and place a partisan of his own upon the papal throne.
[[82]Theodoricus (3); Felix III. (cf. Gieseler, Eccl. Hist. i. § 115, p.340 Eng. trans. and reff.).] The pontificate of Boniface is chiefly remarkable for the bold measure proposed and carried by him at a council at St. Peter's, by which he was empowered to nominate his own successor. Accordingly he nominated the deacon Vigilius (subsequently pope, 537), and obtained the consent of the clergy thereto. Shortly afterwards, however, another council met and annulled the previous decree as contrary to the canons. Boniface acknowledged his error and publicly burned the document with his own hands. Some (e.g. Bianchi-Giovini, Storia dei Papi, ii.165) have conjectured that Boniface acted throughout as the tool of the unprincipled Vigilius; others (e.g. Baronius, Milman, etc.) that the object of Boniface was to prevent for the future the interference of the Gothic king, and that it was the Gothic king that compelled him to rescind the decree. It would have been equally difficult, however, to have brought the clergy and people of Rome to tolerate such a scheme. Of the pontificate of Boniface there is little else to record. A petition was presented to him (in which he is styled |Universal Bishop|) by Stephen, archbp. of Larissa, metropolitan of Thessaly, complaining of the encroachments of the patriarch of Constantinople, who had suspended Stephen from his office. The result of the council held is unknown, but there can be little doubt that Boniface followed the policy of his predecessors in this matter and asserted the authority of the Roman see over the whole of the province of Illyria (see documents in Labbe, Conc. iv.1690 seq., also Bonifacius I.). He died in Oct.532, and was buried on the 17th in St. Peter's. He was succeeded by John II. (see generally Anastasius, Lib. Pont.; Labbe, Conc. iv.1682 sqq.; Baronius, sub annis; Migne, Patr. lxv.).


Bonosus, founder of Bonosiani sect
Bonosus, the founder of the sect of the Bonosiani, was bp. of Sardica in Illyria at the end of the 4th cent. (Tillemont, x.754). Bonosus is only known to us as holding the same views with Helvidius with regard to the perpetual virginity of the mother of our Lord, and as to His brethren, whom he affirmed to have been the natural offspring of Joseph and Mary. At the synod of Capua, convened by Valentinian, a.d.391, to settle the rival claims of Flavian and Evagrius to the see of Antioch, opportunity was taken to lay an accusation against Bonosus. The synod was unwilling to consider the question, and transferred it to Anysius, the bp. of Thessalonica and metropolitan, and his suffragans, who, as a neighbour of Bonosus, might be supposed to be more fully acquainted with the merits of the case (Labbe, ii.1033). Bonosus was condemned for heretical teaching, deposed, and his church closed against him. Bonosus consulted Ambrose, who recommended patience and submission. This prudent counsel was not followed, and the difference was exaggerated into a schism, which lasted into the 7th cent. Bonosus and his followers were widely accredited with heretical views respecting the conception and person of Christ. Mercator calls him an Ebionite, and a precursor of Nestorius (Dissert. i. de Haeres. Nestor. § 6, ii.315). But the Bonosians were more usually charged with Photinianism (Gennadius, de Eccl. Dogm. c.52, |Photiniani qui nunc vocantur Bonosiaci|). Whether these charges were well grounded, or were based on the general unpopularity of the sect, it is impossible to determine. Their baptism was pronounced valid by the 17th canon of the second synod of Arles, a.d.445, on the ground that, like the Arians, they baptized in the name of the Trinity (Labbe, iv.1013). But Gregory the Great, in a letter to the Irish bishops (Ep. lib. ix.61), includes them in those whose baptism the church rejected because the name of the Trinity was not invoked (cf. Gennadius, de Eccl. Dogm., u.s.). They on their part rebaptized those who joined them. The third council of Orleans, a.d.538, ordained that they who did so should be arrested by the royal officers and punished. The Bonosians were anathematized by pope Vigilius (Ep. xv.; Labbe, v.333).


Bosphorius, bp. of Colonia
Bosphorius, bp. of Colonia in Cappadocia Secunda, a confidential friend and correspondent of Gregory Nazianzen and Basil the Great. His episcopate was prolonged through at least 48 years (Pallad. c.20, p.203), and must have commenced in 360. From the letters of Gregory we learn that he and Bosphorius had lived together in youth, laboured together, and grown old together (Greg. Ep.141, 227). He had great influence over the gentler nature of Gregory, who speaks of him with the highest respect, both for the purity of his faith and the sanctity of his life, as well as for his successful exertions in bringing back wanderers to the truth, acknowledging the benefit he had derived, both as hearer and teacher, from him (Ep.164, 225). He persuaded Gregory to remain at Nazianzus after his father's death, and to accept the unwelcome charge of the see of Constantinople. Gregory bitterly complained of his unscrupulous importunity, but yielded (Ep.14, 15). In 383 Bosphorius was accused of unsoundness in the faith -- a charge which greatly distressed Gregory, who wrote urgently in his behalf to Theodore of Tyana, Nectarius, and Eutropius (Ep.225, 227, 164). Basil addressed to him a letter denying the charge of having excommunicated his bp. Dianius (Ep. li.). He attended the second oecumenical council at Constantinople in 381 (Labbe, ii.956). Palladius speaks with gratitude of the sympathy shewn by him towards the bishops banished in 406 for adherence to Chrysostom's cause (Pallad. c.20, p.203).


Brigida, abbess of Kildare
Brigida (5), V., abbess of Kildare -- Feb.1, 523. The designation |Fiery Dart| seems peculiarly appropriate for |the Mary of Ireland,| who, although her fame on the continent is eclipsed by the greater reputation there of her namesake the widow-saint of Sweden, yet stands forth in history with a very marked individuality, though the histories that have come down to us are mainly devoted to a narrative of the signs and wonders which God wrought by her. As to her Acts, Colgan has published six Lives in his Trias Thaumaturga, and the Bollandists five. It is more difficult to trace the historical points in St. Bridget's life than to recount the legendary accretions which testify to a basis of fact, could we but find it after so many centuries. In the legend there is no little beauty, and in almost all we find an undercurrent of true human feeling and deep Christian discernment. (See some of them given at length in Bp. Forbes's Kal. Scott. Saints, 288 seq., from Boëce, Breviary of Aberdeen, and Colgan's Tr. Thaum. For a full and critical account of her life, see Lanigan, Eccl. Hist. Ir. i.68, 335, and chaps. viii. and ix. passim; Todd, Book of Hymns, i.65 seq.; O'Hanlon, Ir. Saints, ii.1 seq.; Baring-Gould, Lives of the Saints, ii.14 seq.) Her chief residence was the monastery of Kildare, |cella quercus,| which she founded; but affiliated houses of both men and women (|de utroque sexu|) were raised all over the country, she being abbess above all other abbesses, and the bishop with her at Kildare being similarly above all bishops in her other monasteries. Montalembert (Monks of the West, Edin. ii.393-395) gives an account of St. Brigida and her monasteries, and places her birth at a.d.467 and her death at a.d.525. He says, |There are still 18 parishes in Ireland which bear the name of Kilbride or the Church of Bridget| (ib. ii. p.395, n.). The Irish annals, however, vary as to the date of her death, but the most probable, and resting on highest authority, is a.d.523 (O'Conor, Rer. Hib. Scrip. iv.13; Bp. Forbes, Kal. Scott. Saints, 287). In Scotland the cultus of this saint was very extensive, her dedications being chiefly found in the parts nearest to Ireland and under Irish influence. (For a short list see Bp. Forbes, Kal. Scott. Saints, 290-291.)


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