Friday, May 07, 2010

The nonexistent early papacy

I've made a few comments in a thread over at Green Baggins, and I thought I'd pass some of that along here, in a somewhat edited form.

The “succession lists” of the bishops of Rome were created after the fact, for apologetic purposes, using names that were known to have existed in the various sees. Paul Johnson cites a number of successions in various cities that are a total mess. Irenaeus’s is probably the “cleanest” list. He uses a list created by Hegesippus (166 ad). But Irenaeus’s list has definite problems as well. “Peter and Paul founded and organized the church at Rome,” he says. But Peter’s presence can barely be attested there, whereas Paul has quite a bit of biblical history in Rome.

1 Clement is not much aware of Peter’s activities in Rome (“many trials”), but he knows and relates great detail about Paul: “seven times in chains … driven into exile … stoned … preached in the east and west … having reached the farthest limits of the west … testimony before rulers …” (96 ad?, 1 Clement 5)

Marcion in 144 faced only “presbyters and teachers,” in the synod that was challenging him, even though he had donated more than 200,000 sesterces to the church there, and it was being returned to him. If someone had donated $200,000 to your church, and you had to return it, would you be there? Or would you allow a session of your elders to handle it? The authority in those years was merely “presbyters and teachers.”

William Lane, in his essay “Roman Christianity during the Formative Years from Nero to Nerva,” from the volume “Judaism and Christianity in First-Century Rome” (Donfried and Richardson), notes:

Ignatius and Hermas provide evidence that even in the first decades of the second century Rome was not centrally organized under the administrative authority of a single bishop. In six of his seven [thought to be legitimate] letters, Ignatius insists on the importance of the office of bishop. His silence in regard to this pastoral concern in the Letter to the Romans is explained best by the absence of a monarchical bishop in Rome. Hermas refers only to “the elders who preside over the church.” The existence of several house churches only loosely connected with one another throughout Rome [see also Romans 16] suggests why diversity, disunity, and a tendency toward independence were persistent problems in the early history of the Christian communities in Rome. (213)


It should also be noted that of these presbyters in Rome, Hermas says, they “quarrel about status and honor. (Shepherd of Hermas, Vis. 3.9.7-10; Sim 8.7.4-6). “They had a certain jealousy of one another over questions of preeminence and about some kind of distinction. But they are all fools to be jealous of one another regarding preeminence.”

I’ve cited a document dated from the third century, cited by Daniel William O’Connor, “Peter in Rome,” suggesting that it was Paul, not Peter, who ordained Linus, whose name appears as first in all the succession lists:

This version also contains a list of those ordained by the apostles: “First in Jerusalem, James …. And in Antioch, first, Evodius [ordained] by Peter; and after him Ignatius, by Paul …. And in the Church of Rome, first, Linus [ordained] by Paul; and after him Clement, who was ordained by Peter.” …. The Ethiopic version, preserved by the Monophysite Church of Abyssinia, thus protected the traditional place of Paul in the Roman Church, which had been deemphasized since the beginning of the third century. [This document] reveals some knowledge of a relationship of both Peter and Paul to the Roman Church, but is not specific as to the character of such relationship. The two apostles are not mentioned specifically as either founders or bishops, but simply as apostles. … While the document is late and reflects use of the [apocryphal] Acts of Peter, the dual, undefined leadership of both Peter and Paul in Rome seems to be an echo of a second century tradition such as is found in Clement of Rome and Ignatius.



Shotwell and Loomis write, in the introduction of their work, “See of Peter,” (which discusses virtually every reference or “proof text” that has been used in defense of an early papacy), that

“with reference to the Petrine doctrine, however, the Catholic attitude is much more than a “pre-disposition to believe.” That doctrine is the fundamental basis of the whole papal structure. … That Peter went to Rome and founded there his See, is just as definitely what is termed in Catholic theology a “dogmatic fact.” It has been defined by an eminent Catholic theologian as “historical fact so intimately connected with some great Catholic truths that it would be believed even if time and accident had destroyed all the original evidence therefore.” (Shotwell and Loomis, “See of Peter,” 1927, from the introduction)


And, well, yes, in the intervening years, historical study has very much “destroyed all the original evidence.” I've written extensively about some of the historical research that is simply discrediting Roman accounts of the early church. My hope is to put more of that up for review here, but for now, I'd just like to paint with broad brush strokes.

It is no wonder, as Roger Collins writes, that in the fourth and fifth centuries, after the Roman Bishops had become the focus of attention (because of Constantine), “It is no coincidence that the first systematic works of papal history appear at the very time the Roman church’s past was being reinvented for polemical purposes.” (Collins, “Keepers of the Keys of Heaven,” pg 82).

In spite of the forgeries and simply the rewriting of history, Joseph Ratzinger, in his work "Called to Communion," says that the early church "faithfully developed" the primacy.


If anyone thinks I am being a bit overstated, this is from Robert Reymond, “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith,” pg 818:

Rome’s exegesis of Matthew 16 and its historically developed claim to authoritative primacy in the Christian world simply cannot be demonstrated and sustained from Scripture itself. This claim is surely one of the great hoaxes foisted upon professing Christendom, upon which false base rests the whole papal sacerdotal system.


Not only can Rome's claims NOT be demonstrated from Scriptures, but the historical sources I've found strongly suggest that the papacy was more a case of Luke 14:8: "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place."

I pray for the day when someone tells the Bishop of Rome, "go sit in a lower place."

Roman bishops, with the full knowledge and consent of the Roman emperors, took, stole, usurped a place of honor in the church that was not theirs. And once the Roman emperors passed out of Rome, the Roman bishops were in a place to twist arms, to commit murder, to put out forgeries in pursuit of their own power.

For example, several times, prior to Constantine, Roman clergy were exiled from Rome because they were fighting over the bishop's seat. Once the emperors were out of the way, "Pope" Damasus could, for example, kill 137 followers of his opponent, with impunity. See Roger Collins, "Keepers of the Keys to the Kingdom" and also here.


The Council of Nicea, no doubt reflecting current understanding of the authority structure in place in the Christian world for nearly 300 years, gave Rome and Alexandria equivalent authority within their respective spheres. The Council of Constantinople explicitly stated that honor was due to Rome because it was the old capital of the empire. Canon 28 of the council of Chalcedon, which essentially repeated what Constantinople had said, was just plain ignored and rejected by Pope Leo I. But by that time, there was no other authority in Rome, secular or otherwise, to suggest otherwise.

I've already alluded to Rome's predisposition to "re-write" history in its own favor, here.


But there is compelling evidence that Roman bishops accepted the honor that was due that city for being the capital, but they lied, killed, and twisted it for their own ambitions.

53 comments:

Jennie said...
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Constantine said...

Hi John,

A belated congratulations to you on your matriculation to Beggars All. You are a great addition, indeed. (Congrats to Mr. Swan, as well, for a wise supplement to his already robust offering!)

I sense a kindred spirit with you since we are the same age, same professional background (marketing), same upbringing (Roman Catholic) and beneficiaries of the same saving work of the Holy Spirit who drew us to the wonderful Gospel of God’s grace! We also share a robust interest in the truth about the papacy, although our libraries are rather complementary. So, I greatly look forward to your future writings and to learning from you on this topic!

It is amazing to me – as I’m sure it was to you at first – the amount of Catholic scholarship that now dares speak the truth of the matter. I offer here only a few from my recent research:

“The study of the history of the Roman primacy has shown that Catholics must resign themselves to the fact that the New Testament does not support claims for Peter’s position of primacy, nor for succession to that position, nor for papal infallibility…Consequently, no historical foundation exists in the New Testament to justify the papal primacy. The concept of this primacy is, rather, a theological justification of a factual situation which had come about earlier and for other reasons.”

Ohlig, Karl-Heinz. Why We Need the Pope: The Necessity and Limitations of Papal Primacy. Trans. Dr. Robert C. Ware. St. Meinrad, Indiana, USA. Abbey Press, 1975. Trans. of Braucht die Kirche einen Papst?. Germany, 1973.

(Dr. Ohlig is the professor of Religious Studies and the History of Christianity at the University of Saarland (Saarbrucken), Germany.)

And the much maligned Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology, at the Catholic University of Notre Dame:

“Peter was a figure of central importance among the disciples of the Lord…Nevertheless, the terms primacy…and jurisdiction…are probably best avoided when describing Peter’s role in the New Testament. They are postbiblical, indeed, canonical, terms.”

McBrien, Richard P. Catholicism. San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.

And the far greater maligned friend of Benedict XVI:

“The Eastern patriarchs and metropolitans certainly still (in the sixth century) regarded the pope as bishop of the old imperial capital and sole patriarch of the West. But as such he was first among equals. And this was not, say, because of a special biblical promise or a legal authority, but as always, because of the tombs of the two chief apostles, Peter and Paul….””

Fr. Hans Küng, . The Catholic Church: A Short History.

Best wishes, again, and keep up the good fight!

Peace.

Matthew Bellisario said...

"You are a great addition, indeed. (Congrats to Mr. Swan, as well, for a wise supplement to his already robust offering!)"

You mean another clone to throw out Red Herring arguments that don't measure up to any serious scrutiny. If that is a great addition, then I will grant you that one. It is a historical fact that there were bishops in Rome form the earliest times of Christianity being established in Rome. Just because there may have been more than one bishop in Rome in the early Church has no bearing on whether or not one was the successor of Peter. Do you know how many bishops are in Rome now? More than one, so what? There is still a successor of Peter. Before John Bugger starts calling people liars he better look at his own midget minded arguments first.

Ben M said...
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Gojira said...

Good post John! I have really enjoyed reading you the past couple of days!

Matthew, do you normally not engage the posts you leave comments about?

David Waltz said...

>>It is amazing to me – as I’m sure it was to you at first – the amount of Catholic scholarship that now dares speak the truth of the matter.>>

I think you need to adjust the “now” portion of your comment—John Henry Newman back in 1845 pointed out:

“When the Church, then, was thrown upon her own resources, first local disturbances gave exercise to Bishops, and next ecumenical disturbances gave exercise to Popes; and whether communion with the Pope was necessary for Catholicity would not and could not be debated till a suspension of that communion had actually occurred. It is not a greater difficulty that St. Ignatius does not write to the Asian Greeks about Popes, than that St. Paul does not write to the Corinthians about Bishops. And it is a less difficulty that the Papal supremacy was not formally acknowledged in the second century, than that there was no formal acknowledgment on the part of the Church of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity till the fourth. No doctrine is defined till it is violated.

And, in like manner, it was natural for Christians to direct their course in matters of doctrine by the guidance of mere floating, and, as it were, endemic tradition, while it was fresh and strong; but in proportion as it languished, or was broken in particular places, did it become necessary to fall back upon its special homes, first the Apostolic Sees, and then the See of St. Peter.”

While on the issue of doctrinal development, whilst Genevanists are quick to point out the absence of a developed papacy in the early church, most (in my experience) turn a blind-eye to the absence of a developed doctrine of the Trinity…

Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

David Waltz: No doctrine is defined till it is violated.

This is such a cop-out, especially when used about the papacy. The papacy was not a doctrine; it was supposedly the visible leadership of the visible church. Even now, Matthew Bellisario wants to say there was a "bishop" in Rome from the earliest times. You (and he) can't have it both ways.

If indeed, the papacy was not "developed" till it was violated, why was it not "developed" when the Quartodecimans "violated" obedience to Victor's attempts to excommunicate them in the 190's? Why wasn't it developed when Cyprian and Firmilian rejected Stephen's attempts to claim authority in 250? Why wasn't it "developed" in 325 when the Emperor called all the bishops of the world together, and their ruling had no idea at all about a papacy?

Matthew Bellisario -- if there indeed was a "bishop" in Rome, why was he not present at the trial of Marcion -- who had donated huge amounts of money, and had taken large numbers of people? Where was the "bishop" when Hermes' presbyters were fighting among themselves? Why wasn't this strong leader there to quell the dispute?

But in fact, the history of the church in that city is far more complicated than either of these accounts suggest (Newman or Bellisario). And I'll tell you, the histories of the church in that city are virtually unanimous along the lines that I've provided.

Constantine said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your note.

Of course, you are right about Newman.

The point I was making was more a reflection of the censorship imposed by Rome on post-Vatican I Catholic scholarship. Given the dossiers kept on priests by local bishops which were forwarded to Rome, the Index of Forbidden Books, etc. - all from the mid -1800's until well after Vatican II, it was not possible for an honest Romish scholar to publish, without fear of retribution. John Courtney Murray is but one example among many.

Grace and peace to you, too.

John Bugay said...

Constantine, thanks again for your support and friendship. I'm looking forward to learning from you as well.

I've generally tried to stay away from someone like Kung. I read his work, but I don't quote it, because when you mention his name, he's such a controversial figure, that he himself becomes the issue, and then the real issue doesn't really get discussed.

Though I hadn't heard of Ohlig. I appreciate the heads-up on that. I'll definitely give that a look.

Constantine said...

Before John Bugger starts calling people liars he better look at his own midget minded arguments first.

All this from a guy who, just three days ago posted a sermon on criticism!!!!!

And I quote, “The sermon that Fr. Fryar FSSP gave this past Sunday was a hard hitting one that addresses each and every one of us, it deals with criticism.”

I guess “each and every one of us” excludes Bellisario the Belligerent.

And this….

“What do we talk about now if we can't criticize anyone? “

Exactly.

Catholic – heal thyself…..and go listen to your own sermon!

John Bugay said...

Gojira, it's good to meet you, thanks for your kind comments. I hope we have a chance to talk some more.

John Bugay said...

Jennie, thanks, I've deleted the bad comments. Welcome to Beggars All!

John Bugay said...

Matthew B -- When someone starts calling me names, as you did, I take it as a sure sign that I've gotten under their skin. Thanks for showing off.

John Bugay said...

Ben: St. Paul, specifically addressing the Catholics at Rome, says: "the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." (Rom. 16:20) Quick question: Has this prophecy been fulfilled?

I dunno, Ben, you tell me.

John Bugay said...

David W: While on the issue of doctrinal development, whilst Genevanists are quick to point out the absence of a developed papacy in the early church, most (in my experience) turn a blind-eye to the absence of a developed doctrine of the Trinity…

There was not an "absence" of doctrine, as you say. The risen Jesus was worshipped as God from day one, and the entire church knew about the Holy Spirit. What was lacking was the verbiage to say just how these interacted. But all the knowledge was there. One small piece was missing.

With regard to the papacy, the whole thing was just not there.

Congar described how a "tradition" worked. "For tradition to exist -- tradition understood as the environment in which we receive the Christian faith and are formed by it -- it must be borne by those who, having received it, lived by it and pass it on to others, so that they may live by it in their turn." ("Meaning of Tradition," 24)

But the concept that someone in Rome was in charge of the whole church -- that was just a foreign idea to someone like Cyprian and Firmilian -- even after the time when Roman bishops started making noises in that direction. And as I said, with virtually all of the bishops in the church in attendance, certainly SOMEBODY would have spoken up for the pope in Rome. But nobody had a clue. The raw material was not anywhere to be found.

John Bugay said...

That last paragraph should have said, "At Nicea, with virtually all of the bishops in the church in attendance, certainly SOMEBODY would have spoken up for the pope in Rome. But nobody had a clue.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Excuse me John, you are the one making claims like, "But there is compelling evidence that Roman bishops accepted the honor that was due that city for being the capital, but they lied, killed, and twisted it for their own ambitions." So you are the one attacking and making false claims that you cannot prove, not I. All I did was point this fact out.

John Bugay said...

Matthew -- Think of me as a reporter -- I merely aggregate and publish these materials, these "claims" as you say. Think of the works that I cite as well-researched, peer-reviewed, and probably among the leading works in the field.

You are welcome to interact with them. Of course, you are also welcome to continue doing what you're doing as well.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John asked, "if there indeed was a "bishop" in Rome, why was he not present at the trial of Marcion -- who had donated huge amounts of money, and had taken large numbers of people? Where was the "bishop" when Hermes' presbyters were fighting among themselves? Why wasn't this strong leader there to quell the dispute?"

Why does the Pope have to be present at every dispute? How does this bring forth any ammunition as to the existence of the papacy? Is the Pope present at every dispute that happens in Rome today? No, but he is still the Pope. Not a convincing argument I am afraid.

John Bugay said...

Matthew -- Marcion was big time. He's in all the history books, 1900 years later. That was a LOT of money for what was basically a missionary outpost of the church (compared with the Eastern church of the day). If there had been a monarchical bishop in charge, he'd either have been there, or he'd have failed badly to be the "successor of Peter."

But that's a moot point. Virtually no one today (except for a few wishful-thinking holdouts like yourself) believes there was anything like a monarchical bishop in Rome in the year 144.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John says, "If there had been a monarchical bishop in charge, he'd either have been there..."

That is simply pure conjecture on your part. You have no idea what was going on at the time and whether or not the successor of St Peter would have been able to address it. This type of argumentation would not be upheld in a court of law as any kind of substantial evidence. Nice try, but this is nonsense.

John Bugay said...

I told you, that was a moot point. I'll stand behind the accounts of the historians.

Since you're not convinced, I'll try to go into a little bit more detail in future posts.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John says, "I'll stand behind the accounts of the historians."

Yes, the historians of your choosing who seem to agree with some of what you say. There are plenty who do not. Your argument from historical authority is not a sound argument either since we can pit historians against one another all day long.

John Bugay said...

Yes, the historians of your choosing who seem to agree with some of what you say. There are plenty who do not.

Find someone. Show me.

David Waltz said...

Hello John,

You wrote:

>>David Waltz: No doctrine is defined till it is violated.

This is such a cop-out, especially when used about the papacy. The papacy was not a doctrine; it was supposedly the visible leadership of the visible church. Even now, Matthew Bellisario wants to say there was a "bishop" in Rome from the earliest times. You (and he) can't have it both ways.>>

Me: Uhhh…not my words; they are from the pen of the other John (Newman).

As for whether or not Rome had a monarchical bishop in the first century, it is irrelevant to Newman’s argument.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Constantine,

Thanks much for the clarification; the "now" now (grin) makes sense.


Grace and peace,

David

Matthew Bellisario said...

J.E Darras, and D.P. Gueranger to name two. How many do I have to have in order to illustrate the point that an appeal to historical authority is not an an adequate argument?

John Bugay said...

David -- I know it was Newman. But appealing to Newman's words on that is the cop-out.

I didn't just leave it with the small snipped you quoted, either. I said why it was a cop-out.

Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. Newman's comment is like that. The "doctrine" of the papacy kept getting violated, over and over again. By individuals of the stature of Polycarp and Firmilian and Cyprian and the council of Nicea. There was constant rejection. But they kept bringing it up. Having an emperor give you lots of money genuinely helps the "development" process too.

All of a sudden, you've got Damasus killing 137 of Ursinus's followers, and voila, you've got "development"!

If someone wants to base his religion on a story that thin, I really do feel sorry for him.

David Waltz said...

Hello again John,

You said:

>>There was not an "absence" of doctrine, as you say.>>

Me: I did not say the above John—here is what I actually said: “the absence of a developed doctrine of the Trinity”—a very important distinction.

Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

J.E Darras, and D.P. Gueranger to name two.

These guys lived in the early 19th century. They had no idea of the contemporary historical research that's been done. Would you like to try again?

Ben M said...
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John Bugay said...

Me: I did not say the above John—here is what I actually said: “the absence of a developed doctrine of the Trinity”—a very important distinction.

It's not that important a distinction given the respective understandings of the Trinity at the time, and the papacy.

You are talking about the definitions from two councils in the case of the Trinity. And those events were important, and those definitions were important, but not in the sense that they added significantly to the understanding.

Those same councils, Nicea and Constantinople, actually "defined" something quite different with respect to the nonexistent papacy.

Popes actually had to resist and overturn both the understanding of what the bishop of Rome was, and the conciliar "definitions" in order for there to be anything like a papacy.

John Bugay said...

Ben: WOW John, you don't know if the prophecy of Romans 16:20 has been fulfilled or not??? (better get your cracked scholars right on this one!). LOL!

Well, Ben, I never know what you're going to come up with, so I figured I'd let you just run with it.

There were some in Paul's day who had been teaching that the second coming of Christ had actually occurred. I wasn't sure if you were in that camp or not.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John says, "These guys lived in the early 19th century. They had no idea of the contemporary historical research"

First of all an appeal to modern scholarship is not a sound argument. You have to prove that what they wrote is not tenable, rather than dismissing their work because it was not written in the time period that you John, want it to be written in. They refuted the same nonsense back in their time as you are presenting here. These are not new arguments. If you would have bothered to do some research you would have noticed that they both lived at the end of the nineteenth century, when most modern historical scholarship had already come into play. Get your facts straight. You John, try again.

Ben M said...
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Richard Froggatt said...

Matthew, you should apologize to John. You are out of line. You do Catholicism a dis-service when you malign people the way you are doing here. This post is thoughtful, whether right or wrong, it deserves some respect.

Richard

John Bugay said...

Matthew -- Darras's dates are given as 1825-1878. Gueranger lived 1805-1875. In both cases, they "lived" in the early 19th century. The fact that you are so eager to pounce on anything really does show the weakness of your position.

You are characterizing this in a completely wrong way. This is not "scholar vs. scholar." In this case, because of what went into building the legends of the papacy, what comes before is not necessarily foundational to what comes later. And I'll show you how that works: in his history of the papacy, Eamon Duffy notes that "pious legends" about Peter were created and repeated and reported by "some of the greatest minds of the early church."

Many of these legends have been clearly shown to be just that: legends, forgeries, and worse, and very much of this has been made public in the days since Darras and Guaranger lived.

I'm glad to find someone so vociferous as you are to repeat the stories of the early papacy as loudly as you do. I grew up being taught that, and believing that, there were popes going all the way back. There was no hint that the papacy "developed," at least at a popular level, when I was a Catholic in the 1960's. My mom, a graduate of a Catholic high school in the 1950's, quoted Matthew 16:18 for me: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Catholic Church." That's how it was understood in those days.

But now, for a theologian of Ratzinger's stature to just openly talk about "development" of the papacy, is a genuine and huge concession, to the boastfulness that Rome always exhibited, up to and including the years of Vatican II.

John Bugay said...

Hi Rich, good to see you again.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

The nonexistent early papacy

I thought this post might be about Apostle Peter and whether he did found the church in Rome.

Anyways, here's an off-topic inquiry that was spurred by the recent and ongoing abuse scandal in the RCC, and a solution that's been proffered by liberal Catholics: Let priests get married.

Every Catholic scholar will stipulate that Apostle Peter was married. They also stipulate that Peter was the first Pope of Rome. So if the first pope was married, then why not have priests and bishops and whoever else get married too?

I'm unclear about the prohibition against marriage for clergy by the Vatican when the very first pope was married. (I'm excluding Anglican Use parishes and Byzantine Catholic parishes which do permit their clergy to be married).

Lvka said...

John Bugay contradicting himself without noticing it:


Ignatius and Hermas provide evidence that even in the first decades of the second century Rome was not centrally organized under the administrative authority of a single bishop. [...] Hermas refers only to “the elders who preside over the church.” [...] It should also be noted that of these presbyters in Rome, Hermas says, they “quarrel about status and honor. (Shepherd of Hermas, Vis. 3.9.7-10; Sim 8.7.4-6). “They had a certain jealousy of one another over questions of preeminence and about some kind of distinction. But they are all fools to be jealous of one another regarding preeminence.”


For example, several times, prior to Constantine, Roman clergy were exiled from Rome because they were fighting over the bishop's seat. Once the emperors were out of the way, "Pope" Damasus could, for example, kill 137 followers of his opponent, with impunity.


[word-verif. = "plato"]

John Bugay said...

Lvka: John Bugay contradicting himself without noticing it:

Not sure what you see as a contradiction. Early second century, the Roman church was led by a network of presbyters in a network of house churches and these presbyters fought among themselves as to who was greatest.

Referring to this statement: several times, prior to Constantine, Roman clergy were exiled from Rome because they were fighting over the bishop's seat. -- in the midst of great periods of persecutions, Roman bishops were still fighting with each other. 

"In 235, two rival bishops of Rome, Pontianus (230-235) and Hippolytus (c.217-235) were exiled from the city by the emperor Maximin 1 because of street fighting between their followers." (Roger Collins, "Keepers of the Keys of the Kingdom," pg. 25)

and …

"Because of the house-church system, such rival bishops could co-exist for as long as they had the backing of some of the city's many Christian groups. But the divisions usually resulted in violent clashes between the partisans of the two claimants, and in all cases the imperial government intervened to end the bloodshed and to send one or both of the rivals into exile, as happened in 235, and would do so again in 306/7 and 308." (26)

Note that in 150 they were fighting, and in 235 they were fighting, and in 306-308 they were still fighting. See a pattern? This last two incidents mentioned were during the fierce period of persecution known as "the Great Persecution," brought on by the emperor Diocletian and continued under his successors, until Constantine.

The pattern continued; as I mentioned, Damasus, "a man of much practical shrewdness and self-assertive energy" (Shotwell and Loomis, pg 595), became pope as his followers "launched an assault on the Julian basilica, seizing control of it after three days of streetfighting. When the backers of Ursinus (Damasus's opponent) occupied the Liberian basilica, it too was stormed. In the aftermath of the fighting, a neutral contemporary reported that the bodies of 137 men and women were found in the church." Collins 52). This last datum was originally reported by Owen Chadwick, "Catholicism and History: The Opening of the Vatican Archives, Cambridge 1978, pgs 110-116.

This is one reason, Matthew Bellisario, why your 19th century historians are not likely to have the whole story of the early papacy.

I doubt that we have it now, but we know more today than "the faithful" did in the 19th century.

Lvka said...

Not sure what you see as a contradiction.


So infighting does not exclude the existence of bishops in the second case, but it does so in the first.

Still not noticing the self-contradiction here?

John Bugay said...

Lvka: The monarchical bishop in Rome did not "develop" prior to the middle of the second century. Saying that "presbyters fought over who was greatest" does not indicate the presence of a bishop as you might think of one today.

beowulf2k8 said...

Marcion never faced any synod unless it was the Jerusalem council that he talks about in Galatians.

beowulf2k8 said...

subscribing

Lvka said...

I didn't say it indicates the presence of a bishop: YOU said it indicates the LACK of a bishop. (Which would then contradict your second story, of worse infightings still occuring during the time of bishops).

John Bugay said...

Marcion "himself provokes " a Roman "synod of presbyters and teachers in July 144." (Lampe, "From Paul to Valentinus, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries."

A ship-owner by trade, he had established a "permanent residence" in Rome around 140. "When Marcion entered the Roman church, he generously donated 200,000 sesterces to its members, which was returned to him when he separated from them later" (Lampe citing Tertullian De Praescr 30). When he left Rome, the money was returned to him.

John Bugay said...

Lvka: eventually a bishop did emerge. This obviously happened some time between the two incidents you are referring to.

Lvka said...

Obviously...

beowulf2k8 said...

Bugay, please provide proof from ancient sources that there was a synod.

According to Epipianus' tall tale Marcion began as a Catholic and was excommunicated by his own father, then he went to Rome where he was not recognized as one of the faithful because the presbyters were not free to recognize a man already excommunicated elsewhere. There is NO mention of a synod. And what is more, the notion that Rome had intimate knowledge of what went on in Sinope, as to who was excommunicated there and who wasn't, is laughable at this time in the early second century.

Then there is the fact that this story differs from other versions, like for example the one in which Marcion IS recognized in Rome and allowed to teach even publicly in the churches there for a long period of time before being excommunicated for the first time by the Roman authorities.

So by whom and when was he excommunicated? In Sinope by his father before coming to Rome, or in Rome a long while after he had already been functioning as what the Catholics would call a "priest" within the very Catholic churches of Rome?

And for what was he excommunicated? For beginning in Rome to teach some 'heretical' doctrine or for having seduced a virgin back in Pontus? And if for seducing a virgin in Pontus is this seducing of a virgin literal as in Epiphanius' version (i.e. having sex out of wedlock) or is it figurative as in Tertullian's version (i.e. the church in Pontus is the spotless virgin which Marcion seduced).

The fact remains despite all the idiotic stories about Marcion being a Catholic who got excommunicated that he was not ever a Catholic. Tertullian even goes so far as to claim that he has a letter from Marcion stating that Marcion began as a Catholic and that Marcion repented on his death bed and embraced pure Catholicism.

What we have is grasping at the wind by Catholic writers in a vain attempt to prove Marcion to be a lapsed Catholic. But the fact is that he was a Jew who converted directly to the very form of Christianity that he championed totally passing the "go" of Catholicism. This is how his followers understood him, but the Catholics concocted all sorts of lies about his supposed prior 'orthodoxy' and deathbed repentances and excommunications and such-like.

beowulf2k8 said...

And one more comment as to the absurdly false nature of the Catholic stories about Marcion's life, Can anyone here really believe that if you give a gift of a large sum of money to the Catholic church in Rome and then get excommunicated by them a few years later that they will just return the money?

There are probably women reading this who have been excommunicated by Rome for divorcing their husbands, or men for divorcing their wives. Did Rome return any of the tithes you paid in the past?

Then why he double hockey sticks would you believe that Rome would have returned Marcion's money? The story is absurd on its face and proven to be made up by Tertullian and company who were not perfectly honest men.

John Bugay said...

Beowulf, I have no reason to doubt my sources about Marcion.

beowulf2k8 said...

You mean you don't have the capacity to think.