Bishop of Antioch around A.D. 200. Consecrated a man named Palut to be the bishop of the capital.

[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, Palut, Serapion[/tags]


3 thoughts on “Serapion

  1. Rich Post author

    Yeah, this entry’s a little anemic. Sorry about that.

    Here’s more:

    Serapion, ordained bishop of Antioch in the eleventh year of the emperor Commodus, wrote a letter to Caricus and Pontius on the heresy of Montanus, in which he said “that you may know moreover that the madness of this false doctrine, that is the doctrine of a new prophecy, is reprobated by all the world, I have sent to you the letters of the most holy Apollinaris bishop of Hierapolis in Asia.” He wrote a volume also to Domnus, who in time of persecution went over to the Jews, and another work on the gospel which passes under the name of Peter, a work to the church of the Rhosenses in Cilicia who by the reading of this book had turned aside to heresy. There are here and there short letters of his, harmonious in character with the ascetic life of their author. (CHURCH FATHERS: De Viris Illustribus (Jerome), viewed 2/7/2007)

    Serapion, Bishop of Antioch about 180 AD, forbade the use of the spurious Gospel of Peter in his diocese with the word: “For our part, brethren, we both receive Peter and the other apostles as Christ, but the writings which falsely bear their names we reject, as men of experience, knowing that such were not handed down to us.” (Introduction to 2 Peter and Jude, viewed 2/7/2007)

    Serapion (died ~211), eighth bishop of Antioch, wrote that the Gospel of Peter should be rejected on the grounds that it had not been “handed down to us.” (The Second Century, viewed 2/7/2007)

    “Mention should be made of Serapion, bishop of Antioch toward the end of the second century. He discovered that the Gospel of Peter was in use in the church at Rhossus, and although he seems not to have known the book, he at first allowed the church to continue to read it. When he later read the book and found that it was promoting heresy, he forbade its use. Clearly his permission to use it was predicated on the view that it was harmless, not that it was authoritative. He wrote, ‘For our part, brethren, we receive both Peter and the other apostles as Christ, but the writings which falsely bear their names we reject, as men of experience, knowing that such were not handed down to us.” [cited by Eusebius, HE 6.12.3] There is, of course, a further difference in that we are now dealing with a spurious gospel, not a spurious epistle. But it is important to notice that Serapion made a sharp distinction between the apostolic writings he received wholeheartedly (“as Christ”) and those that “falsely bear their names.” The latter, if harmless, might be used, but they were not canonical. They had no place among the authoritative Scriptures. [CMMM:369] (James Still’s “Critique of New Testament Reliability and ‘Bias’ in NT Development”–my initial response)

    The spurious books on the other hand, were for the most part condemned as being forged by false teachers. It was not uncommon for an author to claim a book to be written by an Apostle, when in reality it was the work of forgery. This was done, so that the book would gain “universal acceptance.” For instance, the “Acts of Paul” was fabricated along these lines, and the “author was therefore deposed from his office as presbyter in one of the churches in Asia.”21 In another instance, while one of the early churches was utilizing a book with Peter’s name on it, it became clear that it was by nature spurious: “when Bishop Serapion heard that the church at Rhossus was using the Gospel of Peter; and that it had been “tinged with docetism (it implies that he [Jesus] did not really suffer), then he decided that he ought to pay the church of Rhossus a pastoral visit to make sure that it had not been led astray by this heterodox teaching.”22

    It should be stated, however, that among the spurious books that Eusebius mentions such as the Didache, Shepherd of Hermas, and Epistle of Barnabas; these books were considered by many to be great works of devotion, but were not to be considered canonical. They were considered uncanonical because they were not apostolic in origin. It would be fair to say that if the writings of the early church were not limited on the basis or criteria of “apostolic authority,” then the Church would have been forced to consider a slough of other books, which ultimately would have affected the canonization process. (The American Journal of Biblical Theology, “The Canon of the New Testament“, viewed 02/07/2007)

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