Reviews of Books

1895 English Historical Review  
So far as they are concerned with the perseontion of Christianity in the early empire (Professor Ramsay's is concerned with a good many other things as well), both these books appear to hare owed the impulse which brought them into being to Mommsen's famous essay on ' Der Religionsfrevel nach romischem Recht,' in the Historische Zeittchrift for 1890. Mommsen's essay, itself occasioned by the appearance of the first volume (no second volume has as yet appeared) of K. J. Neumann's important book
more » ... n ' Der romische Staat und die aligflmpiTio Kirche bis auf Diocletian,' which had been published earlier in that year, was chiefly devoted to an exposition of the view that Christianity came under no definite law against which it offended; that the purely religious offence did not come into Roman law at all, and that there was no quaestio under which it could be tried; but that the magistrates commonly acted against the Christians in virtue of the summary coercitio which was inherent in the very conception of the magisterial power. This coercitio, or summary intervention of the magistrate against a publicly disobedient person or disturber of public order, is not a conception which it is easy to bring home to Englishmen; but perhaps our punishment for ' contempt of court' may be regarded as a vestige of it. It took place, according to MmtiTngfln, without fixed name for the alleged offence, without fixed procedure, and without fixed penalty. The personality of the official concerned and the popular feeling of the moment were consequently all-important. The Roman government, says Mommsen, was constantly pressed to treat Christianity as a crime, but on the whole resisted. Christianity was not a public danger. Its ununiversal tendencies worked in well with the universal Hellenic culture and imperial citizenship, and were not objectionable. The impracticable Sabbath privileges were not claimed by the Christians. They made no difficulties about military service. 1 They were not-in this early is surely right in taking this view, and Mr. Hardy (p. 48) wrong in the contrary. See Tertnllian, ApoL 42. It is tine that TertolL D* Cor. at University of Arizona on July 15, 2015 Downloaded from 1895 REVIEWS OF BOOKS 547 period before episcopal government and oecumenical councils-centralised, and therefore not dangerous. The Boman government was very tolerantly disposed towards them; it was the masses that were fn.nn.tir.Ally hostile. Thatsdchiich Hberwog entschieden die Tohranz. The doubts thrown on the genuineness of Hadrian's rescript to Fundanus (laying down that the Christians must be punished for non-religious offences only 2 ) show only, according to Mommsen, how little the moderns as a rule understand the attitude of the Boman government towards Christianity. There were martyrdoms, but few. Origen expressly says so (oXiym earn nxpovc *<" orpocpa iwxfn6firjroi vrip ri/c Xpurrtarir tvaijliitiQ TiBri'iaioi, 'Contra Celo.' iii. 1), and most of them were no doubt due to the blind fanaticism'of the mob. It was not till the third century, he nmintnina, that barbarous emperors like Decius, Valerian, Galerius, themselves adopted that fanaticism. Mr. Hardy takes over Mommsen's theory of coercitio and attaches much importance to it. It is no doubt useful to explain the vagueness and irregularity of the proceedings against the Christians, if they really were vague and irregular. Sut I agroe with Mr. Headlam 3 in thin l n*nvenior' should be ' procurator;' * Galatia should be ' the GtJntic province.' See Classical Iterirw, viii. 31X3. w Erpotilor, viii. 5. at University of Arizona on July 15, 2015 Downloaded from REVIEWS OF BOOKS 553 about which is breathed in the Acts-does not exist. But why were Lycaonians, &c., called Galatians ? Because they were all members of the great Roman province of Galatia, which included far more than Galatia proper. There was only one common name for the whole territory-Galatia; only one common name for the whole population-Galatians. How, asks Professor Bamsay, could you call the 'Rntn^n colonists of Pisidian Antioch ' Pisidians' ? You might as well call them 'bandits' at once. Or how could you call the people of Iconium ' Phrygians,' a term which to the Boman ear had the connotation almost of' slaves' ? Lystra, again, as a Boman colony, was a bulwark of the province Galatia, and ite citizens might therefore well be called Galatians, but not Lycaonians, as if they were common subjects of King Antiochus. But the great point is that there was no other common name available, and that it was necessary to make shift with TaXnrai, just as we have to make shift with 'Britons.' As Oskar Holtzmnrm says, 17 St. Paul could hardly have substituted for £ aroifroi raAiirut, £ dediptH Hiaifax rac Aia-durec! The other strong, though comparatively familiar, evidence, adduced by Professor Bamsay, 0. Holtzmann, Weiszacker, and Professor Bendall" need not here be discussed. If Professor Bamsay had been content to hold that the balance of evidence was in favour of the South Galatian theory, while admitting that it had difficulties of its own, probably no one would have gainsaid him. But, as usual, it is a case with him of all or nothing. He tries to prove that all the evidence is on his side, and he conspicuously fails. No fair-minded person can read the controversy between Professor Bamsay and Dr. Chase in the Expositor without coming to th'e conclusion that in that ' barren logomachy' (Professor Ramsay's very superfluous nickname for a discussion which, by the nature of the case, turned largely upon words, and which, as he originally stated it before any one attacked him, turntd largely upon words) Dr. Chase got decidedly the best of it. In Acts xvL 6, r,)>> ty.vyiar and TaXaritiir x»P ar > •p»y««* is> no more an adjective, as Professor Bamsay declares it to be, than it is in the companion phrase of Acts xviii. 8, n)y>' x**9 uy tn < */"T""'-I' is simply impossible to separate the two passages, and to say that Qpvyiar is a substantive in one of them, and an adjective in the other. The absence of the article before roXuncilr XW/KI* is adequately explained by Dr. Chase as due to the fact that the adjective and noun in reality coalesce to form one conception-as it were, united by a hyphen. That being so, Socrates,' EccL Hist' v. 21 -oi is rift Qtioyitti «u VuXarlac op/ii/itroi -is a sound parallel to Acts xvL 6. Luke iii. 1, which Mr. Chase discovered, is even closer -DTC 'IroopG/ac cat Tptr<2«( \vpat. Professor Bamsay tried to invalidate it, first by alleging that Ituraea and Trachonitia meant the same country, just as he contends is the case with the two limbs of n)r Qpvyia* ia< rakam^r %'V ar y and was duly refuted by Dr. G. A. Smith; secondly, by denying that 'Iroopala was ever found as a substantive in any but very late Greek. But the Appian passage (' BelL Civ.' v. 7) is conclusive to the contrary. Mendelssohn's critical edition shows that the best manuscripts read rqr 'Wuvfaiar, and only an inferior group reads Tof-iittra, emended by Musgrave into Professor Ramsay's 'Iroppaimr. As for the " Zniscknft far Kinhtngttchicld*, xir. 842. •» Expositor, Ix. 254 ft)IL at University of Arizona on July 15, 2015 Downloaded from
doi:10.1093/ehr/x.xxxix.546 fatcat:4jmbdjwaprhvfb7o5gjhifuzzu