So to start this out, lets attempt to make a profile …and in doing so, lets bring to attention the accusatory remarks to make note of within the whole context of this writing.
We should also note this is something Eusebius feels necessary to bring to everyone’s attention in his times, despite the founder of this heresy Theodotus of Byzantium (notice the location) also known as Theodotus “the Tanner” who existed in a time prior to Eusebius, but actually was dealt with between the times of “Pope” Victor I (who excommunicated Theodotus, but himself being heretical being hostile to Quartodecimanism, and the Bishop of Ephesus), and Polycrates of Ephesus (who rejected the central authority of the Roman Church …which I agree) between 189 to 199 AD
…but this all is a side note to keep in mind while we consider to ourselves if this is being readdressed because this practice continued, of which Caius fills in the gap by denouncing its followers and listing their habits. Also is Eusebius bringing this up to explain how the Roman Church was infiltrated under the brand of “Catholic”, or “Orthodox”? …apart from what was formally called The Apostolic Faith?
(note the canons of the Nicene Creed along with the Creed that BOLDLY say “..the Catholic, AND the Apostolic Church” as if they are TWO different institutions.)
(As for personal opinion note: We also disagree with Eusebius on issues of Ecclesiastical based Roman Centralization, the allowing of Roman State/Empire Nationalism into the Church, and his rejection of the more primitive Quartodecimanism tradition of the Apostles …we don’t think him to be heretical in his “Semi-Arian” position, as others do)
Lets begin with the first accusatory statement and work our way to the last:
“..was persuaded BY THEM to let himself BE CHOSEN BISHOP OF THIS HERESY, on the understanding that he should receive FROM THEM a salary..”
So here from the start, we notice that these guys have no problems instituting new “Bishops”, and unlike the Apostolic Tradition that is known as “Jethros advice to Moses” in Exodus 18 where a Judge/Bishop is elected by God’s affirmation, before the higher judges of thousands among The Nation Israel …in contrast these guys simply just needed the approval of just TWO “followers” …which is a noted commonality of Alexander of Alexandria who appointed “Bishops” at his whim, taking with him a recorded 20 to 30 of “his Bishops” to the well known council, from his province …Eusebius only took two bishops, which were not appointed by himself. Which is a big difference, showing that “the vote” was rigged from the beginning …as if The Rock of YHVH’s Living Words allow themselves to be voided through ecumenical consensus, “may it never be!”
So from this we should note the disrespect of the office of “Bishop”, that to them, it is contemptuously treated as common, and that they are willing to cough up the money to pay their “Bishops” …as the practice still holds e.g. (Acts 8:18-23) ..Simon Magus did not want to just have the Holy Spirit, he wanted the power to give it.
“The sacred Scriptures THEY have BOLDLY FALSIFIED, and the canons of the ancient faith THEY HAVE REJECTED, and Christ THEY HAVE IGNORED, not inquiring what the sacred Scriptures say, but laboriously seeking to discover what form of syllogism might be contrived to ESTABLISH THEIR IMPIETY.”
In other words they are willing to reject The TANAKH (called the Old Testament) at face value, and constantly look instead for allegories in them that fit their made-up, counterfeit doctrines …which also makes the implication that both “ignoring Christ”, and the TANAKH adhered to some form of Marcionism, and Valentinianism possibly exalting the letters of Paul while disassociating them from the Teaching of Messiah Yeshua, and those of Moses and the Prophets which Paul is teaching about in His Letters.
Also it should be noted that this is written BEFORE our known “cannon” was established by Rome …much evidence supports that 1Enoch is Cannon within the Bible itself, and is verified as such by Ethiopic Cannon, but so is much of the Apocrypha too, which was supported as Cannon by the Ante Nicene Writers …so why were those discarded, and disregarded? And why on the word of unbelieving 1100AD Masoretic practitioners of Judaism, do we now denounce many Cannon books of scripture within Protestant denominations? …well, its because they are part of this too.
“..leaving the Holy Scriptures of God, THEY STUDY GEOMETRY, AS MEN WHO ARE OF THE EARTH, and speak of the earth, and ARE IGNORANT OF HIM WHO COMES FROM ABOVE. Euclid, indeed, is laboriously measured by some of them, and Aristotle and Theophrastus ARE ADMIRED; and Galen, forsooth, IS PERHAPS EVEN WORSHIPED BY SOME OF THEM. But as TO THOSE MEN who abuse THE ARTS OF THE UNBELIEVERS to establish THEIR OWN heretical doctrine, and by the craft of the impious [they] adulterate the simple faith of the divine Scriptures, what need is there to say that these are not near the faith? For this reason is it THEY have boldly laid their hands upon the divine Scriptures, ALLEGING THAT THEY HAVE CORRECTED THEM ..”
This is common among those who are impartial to righteousness, and YHVH’s Standard of Law in Holy Scripture …worldly philosophy, which sadly is preserved in many Christian denominations through modern Apologetic discourse. But yes, after reading the writings of The Church “Fathers” after 400 AD, it seems that’s ALL they do, they dance around The Truth in the parts that conflict, while making a grand spectacle of themselves in the areas of Scriptural doctrine where their heresy agrees for a pretense, and are more worried about preserving the philosophical tenants of Platonist, and Neoplatonist doctrine …why? Well, seeing they are now a “brand” of The Roman Empire (later, The Holy Roman Empire) its only fitting that they represent THEIR NATION properly …despite that YHVH has charged ALL NATION to drink of the cup of Babylon …which causes madness. So thus, they too turn the simple Way of Truth into a madness more suitable to themselves.
The philosophical rantings of Euclid’s philosophical geometry, and Aristotle’s schools logic and metaphysics, and Theophrastus’ grammar cults, and the well cherished Galen, a “philosopher physician” …all of them Platonist, all of them pagans, all of them still pushed, and taught today as pillars of academia …ever wonder why?
“..THEIR DISCIPLES were VERY ZEALOUS in inserting the corrections, as they call them, i.e., the corruptions made by each of THEM.”
Like Jerome and Rufinus? …oh yes, they were “very zealous” to make “corrections” as they call them. And when you are given a work written by many notable Ante Nicene Writers …guess who translated those work into Latin for you, and guess which ones are always handed to you for open study? …ones translated by either Jerome, or Rufinus …why is that?
I will write their open, and bold confessions of this practice in another article: (will put future link here)
“they are not consistent even with themselves. For one may compare those which were formerly prepared by them with those which have been afterwards corrupted with a special object, and many discrepancies will be found. And as to the great audacity implied in this offense, it is not likely that even they themselves can be ignorant of that. For either they do not believe that the divine Scriptures were dictated by the Holy Spirit, and are thus infidels; or THEY THINK THEMSELVES WISER THAN THE Holy Spirit, and what are they then, but demoniac’s?”
Yes this is another symptom of heresy …thinking themselves more wise than YHVH. One of those guys (among many) is Hippolytus, which you can read about here.
Ironically he too around the time Ciaus wrote this just so happened to be a key player within these controversies ..which is something we could discuss in greater depth in another article some time.
“..And some of THEM did not even think it worth while to corrupt them; but simply DENYING THE LAW, AND THE PROPHETS for the sake of THEIR LAWLESS AND IMPIOUS DOCTRINE, UNDER THE PRETEXT OF GRACE, they sunk down to the lowest abyss of perdition.”
And here we come to the CROWNING DOCTRINE, the grand “apple of the eye” of ALL transgressors of YHVH’s Law, and Messiah Yeshua’s Commands …That “Grace” nullifies The Law, that “Grace” replaces obedience, and that the proof of FAITH THROUGH WORKS is an enemy to “Grace” …yes, it is the precious doctrine of “Imputed Righteousness” without repentance. That turning away from sin, is no longer defined as repentance, but emotional agreement, and belief is repentance. Nope, according to them “sin” has no definition other than that …unless they are angry with you for something corporately, yeah, they will murder and slander you falsely under a defined “sin” …only then, but still not defining it for themselves as they continue to walk “LAWLESSLY” …but I digress.
Now this is Eusebius’ version for full context. The Caius fragments however may come from an Eusebian original which we have today, but it may not, however the context we have is this here:
“For they say that all those of the first age, and the apostles themselves, both received and taught those things which these men now maintain; and that the truth of Gospel preaching was preserved until the times of Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop in Rome from Peter, and that from his successor Zephyrinus the truth was falsified. And perhaps what they allege might be credible, did not the Holy Scriptures, in the first place, contradict them. And then, besides, there are writings of certain brethren older than the times of Victor, which they wrote against the heathen in defense of the truth, and against the heresies of their time: I mean Justin and Miltiades, and Tatian and Clement, and many others, in all which divinity is ascribed to Christ. For who is ignorant of the books of Irenaeus and Melito, and the rest, which declare Christ to be God and man? All the psalms, too, and hymns of brethren, which have been written from the beginning by the faithful, celebrate Christ the Word of God, ascribing divinity to Him. Since the doctrine of the Church, then, has been proclaimed so many years ago, how is it possible that men have preached, up to the time of Victor, in the manner asserted by these? And how are they not ashamed to utter these calumnies against Victor, knowing well that Victor excommunicated Theodotus the tanner, the leader and father of this God-denying apostasy, who first affirmed that Christ was a mere man? For if, as they allege, Victor entertained the very opinions which their blasphemy teaches, how should he have cast off Theodotus, the author of this heresy?
I shall, at any rate, remind many of the brethren of an affair that took place in our own time, an affair which, had it taken place in Sodom, might, I think, have been a warning even to them. There was a certain confessor, Natalius, who lived not in distant times, but in our own day. He was deluded once by Asclepiodotus, and another Theodotus, a banker. And these were both disciples of Theodotus the tanner, the first who was cut off from communion on account of this sentiment, or rather senselessness, by Victor, as I said, the bishop of the time. Now Natalius was persuaded by them to let himself be chosen bishop of this heresy, on the understanding that he should receive from them a salary of a hundred and fifty denariia month. Connecting himself, therefore, with them, he was on many occasions admonished by the Lord in visions. For our merciful God and Lord Jesus Christ was not willing that a witness of His own sufferings should perish, being without the Church. But as he gave little heed to the visions, being ensnared by the dignity of presiding among them, and by that sordid lust of gain which ruins very many, he was at last scourged by holy angels, and severely beaten through a whole night, so that he rose early in the morning, and threw himself, clothed with sackcloth and covered with ashes, before Zephyrinus the bishop, with great haste and many tears, rolling beneath the feet not only of the clergy, but even of the laity, and moving the pity of the compassionate Church of the merciful Christ by his weeping. And after trying many a prayer, and showing the weals left by the blows which he had received, he was at length with difficulty admitted to communion.
The sacred Scriptures they have boldly falsified, and the canons of the ancient faith they have rejected, and Christ they have ignored, not inquiring what the sacred Scriptures say, but laboriously seeking to discover what form of syllogism might be contrived to establish their impiety. And should any one lay before them a word of divine Scripture, they examine whether it will make a connected or dis-joined form of syllogism; and leaving the Holy Scriptures of God, they study geometry, as men who are of the earth, and speak of the earth, and are ignorant of Him who comes from above. Euclid, indeed, is laboriously measured by some of them, and Aristotle and Theophrastus are admired; and Galen, forsooth, is perhaps even worshiped by some of them. But as to those men who abuse the arts of the unbelievers to establish their own heretical doctrine, and by the craft of the impious adulterate the simple faith of the divine Scriptures, what need is there to say that these are not near the faith? For this reason is it they have boldly laid their hands upon the divine Scriptures, alleging that they have corrected them. And that I do not state this against them falsely, any one who pleases may ascertain. For if any one should choose to collect and compare all their copies together, he would find many discrepancies among them. The copies of Asclepiades, at any rate, will be found at variance with those of Theodotus. And many such copies are to be had, because their disciples were very zealous in inserting the corrections, as they call them, i.e., the corruptions made by each of them. And again, the copies of Hermophilus do not agree with these; and as for those of Apollonius, they are not consistent even with themselves. For one may compare those which were formerly prepared by them with those which have been afterwards corrupted with a special object, and many discrepancies will be found. And as to the great audacity implied in this offense, it is not likely that even they themselves can be ignorant of that. For either they do not believe that the divine Scriptures were dictated by the Holy Spirit, and are thus infidels; or they think themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and what are they then but demoniacs? Nor can they deny that the crime is theirs, when the copies have been written with their own hand; nor did they receive such copies of the Scriptures from those by whom they were first instructed in the faith, and they cannot produce copies from which these were transcribed. And some of them did not even think it worth while to corrupt them; but simply denying the law and the prophets for the sake of their lawless and impious doctrine, under pretexts of grace, they sunk down to the lowest abyss of perdition. ~(Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, volume 28.)
Consider this post an open draft …I have much to add to it, linking scripture, and getting all the kinks out.