Sabbath to Sunday
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The Resurrection- Appearances and the Origin of Sunday Observance

Rome and the Origin
of Sunday

Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday

Sun-Worship and the Origin of Sunday

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Chapter 6


Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., Andrews University

In examining the possible origin of Sunday observance among primitive Jewish-Christians, we have just concluded that it is futile to seek among them for traces of its origin, because of their basic loyalty to Jewish religious customs such as Sabbath-keeping. We shall therefore direct our search for the origin of Sunday to Gentile Christian circles. We would presume that these, having no previous religious ties with Judaism and being now in conflict with the Jews, would more likely substitute for Jewish festivities such as the Sabbath and Passover new dates and meaning. 

The adoption of new religious feast days and their enforcement on the rest of Christendom could presumably be accomplished in a Church where the severance from Judaism occurred early and through an ecclesiastical power which enjoyed wide recognition. The Church of the capital of the empire, whose authority was already felt far and wide in the second century, appears to be the most likely birth-place of Sunday observance.1 To test the validity of this hypothesis, we shall now proceed briefly to survey those significant religious, social and political conditions which prevailed both in the city and in the Church of Rome. 

Predominance of Gentile Converts

Paul’s addresses in his Epistle to the Romans, particularly the last chapters, presuppose that the Christian community of Rome was composed primarily of a Gentile—Christian majority (chapters 11, 13) and a Judaeo-Christian minority (14f.). "I am speaking to you Gentiles" (11:13), the Apostle explicitly affirms, and in chapter 16 he greets the majority of believers who carry a Greek or Latin name.2 The predominance of Gentile members and their conflict with the Jews, inside and outside the Church, may have necessitated a differentiation between the two communities in Rome earlier than in the East.  

Leonard Goppelt, in his study on the origin of the Church, supports this view when he writes: "The Epistle presupposes in Rome, as one would expect, a Church with a Gentile.Christian majority (11,13) and a Judaeo-Christian minority (14f.) This co-existence of the two parties provoked some difficulties comparable to those known at Corinth at the same time . . . The situation of the Church of Rome in relationship to Judaism, as far as the Epistle to the Romans allows us to suspect, is similar to the one presented us by the post-Pauline texts of Western Christianity: a chasm between the Church and Synagogue is found everywhere, one unknown in the Eastern churches which we have described above. Judaism does not play any other role than the one of being the ancestor of Christianity."3 

The Jewish-Christians, though a minority in the Church of Rome, seem to have provoked "disputes" (Rom. 14:1) over questions such as the value of the law (2 :17), the need for circumcision (2 :25-27), salvation by obedience to the law (chs. 3, 4, 5), the need to respect special days and to abstain from unclean food (chs. 14-15). However, the predominance of Gentile members primarily of pagan descent, and their conflict with the Judaeo-Christians inside the Church and with Jews outside, may have indeed contributed to an earlier break from Judaism in Rome than in the Orient. The abandonment of Sabbath-keeping and the adoption of Sunday could then represent a significant aspect of this process of differentiation. 

Early Differentiation between Jews and Christians

In the year A.D. 49 the Emperor Claudius, according to the Roman historian Suetonius (ca. A.D. 70-122), "expelled the Jews from Rome since they rioted constantly at the instigation of Chrestus"4 (a probable erroneous transcription of the name of Christ). 5 The fact that on this occasion converted Jews like Aquila and Priscilla were expelled from the city together with the Jews (Acts 18 :2) proves, as Pierre Batiffol observes, "that the Roman police had not yet come to distinguish the Christians from the Jews."6 Fourteen years later, however, Nero identified the Christians as being a separate entity, well distinguished from the Jews. The Emperor, in fact, according to Tacitus (ca. A.D. 55-120), "fastened the guilt [i.e. for arson upon them] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abomination, called Christians by the populace."7 

This recognition on the part of the Romans of Christianity as a religious sect distinct from Judaism seems to be the natural result of attempts made on both sides to differentiate themselves in the eyes of the Roman authorities. If initially Christians identified themselves with Jews to benefit from the protection which the Roman law accorded to the Jewish faith and customs, toward the sixties, as F. F. Bruce observes, "it was no longer possible to regard Christianity (outside Palestine) as simply a variety of Judaism."8 The Jews themselves may have taken the initiative to dissociate from the Christians, whose majority in the empire was now composed of uncircumcised. 

The circumstances seem to have been favorable to force such a distinction particularly in Rome. After the year 62, in fact, Jewish influence was present in the imperial court in the person of the Empress Poppea Sabina, a Jewish proselyte and friend of the Jews, whom Nero married that year.9 A. Harnack thinks in fact that Nero in order to exculpate himself from the people’s accusation of having provoked the fire, at the instigation of the Jews, put the blame on the Christians.10 It is a fact that though the Jewish residential district of Trastevere was not touched by the fire, as P. Batiffol remarks, "the Jews were not suspected for an instant of having started it; but the accusation fell on the Christians: they were, then, notoriously and personally distinct from the Jews."11  

The Christians did not forget the role played by the Jews in the first imperial and bloody persecution they suffered, and the Fathers did not hesitate to attribute to them the responsibility of having incited Nero to persecute the Christians.12 

The fact that the Christians "by 64 A.D.," as F. F. Bruce comments ‘‘were clearly differentiated at Rome . . ." while it "took a little longer in Palestine (where practically all Christians were of Jewish birth)"13 is a significant datum for our research on the origin of Sunday. This suggests the possibility that the abandonment of the Sabbath and adoption of Sunday as a new day of worship may have occurred first in Rome as part of this process of differentiation from Judaism. Additional significant factors present in the Church of Rome will enable us to verify the validity of this hypothesis. 

Anti-Judaic Feelings and Measures

Following the death of Nero the Jews who for a time had experienced a favorable position soon afterwards became unpopular in the empire primarily because of their resurgent nationalistic feelings which exploded in violent uprisings almost everywhere. The period between the first (A.D. 66-70) and second (A.D. 132-135) major Jewish wars is characterized by numerous anti-Jewish riots (as in Alexandria, Caesarea and Antioch) as well as by concerted Jewish revolts which broke out in places such as Mesopotamia, Cyrenaica, Palestine, Egypt and Cyprus.14 They made their last pitch to regain national independence, but it resulted in the desolation of their holy city, in the loss of their country and consequently in their being no longer strictly a natio but simply a homeless people with a religio. 

The description that the Roman historian Dio Cassius (ca. A.D. 150-220) provides of these uprisings reveals the resentment and odium that these provoked in the mind of the Romans against the Jews. For example, of the Cyrenaica revolt he writes: 

"Meanwhile the Jews in the region of Cyrene had put a certain Andreas at their head, and were destroying both the Romans and the Greeks. They would eat the flesh of their victims, make belts for themselves of their entrails, anoint themselves with their blood and wear their skins for clothing; many they sawed in two, from the head downwards; others they gave to wild beasts, and still others they forced to fight as gladiators. In all two hundred and twenty thousand persons perished. In Egypt, too, they perpetrated many similar outrages, and in Cyprus...."15 

Christians often suffered as victims of these outbursts of Jewish violence, seemingly because they were regarded as traitors of the Jewish faith and political aspirations and because they outpaced the Jews in the conversion of the pagans. Justin, for instance, reports: "In the recent Jewish war, Barkokeba .ordered that only the Christians should be subjected to dreadful torments, unless they renounced and blasphemed Jesus Christ."16 

Roman measures and attitudes. The Romans who had previously not only recognized Judaism as a religio lecita but who had also to a large extent shown respect (some even admiration) for the religious principles of the Jews,17 at this time reacted against them militarily, fiscally and literarily. Militarily, the statistic of bloodshed as provided by contemporary historians, even allowing for possible exaggerations, is a most impressive evidence of the Roman’s angry vengeance upon the Jews. Tacitus (ca. A.D. 33-120), for instance, gives an estimate of 600,000 Jewish fatalities for the A.D. 70 war.18  

In the Barkokeba war, according to Dio Cassius (ca. A.D. 150-235), 580,000 Jews were killed in action, besides the numberless who died of hunger and disease. "All of Judea," the same historian writes, "became almost a desert."19 Besides military measures, Rome at this time adopted new political and fiscal policies against the Jews. Under Vespasian (A.D. 69-79) both the Sanhedrin and the office of the High Priest were abolished and worship at the temple site was forbidden. Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), as we noted earlier, went so far as to prohibit any Jew, under the threat of death, to enter the area of the new city. Moreover he outlawed the practice of the Jewish religion and particularly the observance of the Sabbath.20 

Also significant was the introduction by Vespasian (A.D. 69-79) of the fiscus judaicus, which was intensified by Domitian (A.D. 81-96) first, and by Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) later.21 This Jewish "fiscal tax" of a half shekel, which previously had formed part of the upkeep of the temple of Jerusalem, was now excised for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus even from those, according to Suetonius (ca. A.D. 70-122) "who without publicly acknowledging that faith yet lived as Jews."22 Christian members could easily have been included among them. E. L. Abel aptly points out that "although the amount was insignificant, the principle was important since no other religious group in the Roman society paid such a tax. It was clearly discriminatory and marked the beginning of the social deterioration of the Jews in society."23 

The sources do not inform us of any specific action taken by the Christians at this time to avoid the payment of such a discriminatory tax. However we may suspect, as S. W. Baron perspicaciously remarks, that in connection with this redefinition of the fiscal obligations as resting only upon professing Jews, the growing Christian community secured from Nerva exemption from the tax and, indirectly, official recognition of the severance of its ties with the Jews’ denomination.24 

The introduction of Sunday worship in place of "Jewish" Sabbath..keeping—the latter being particularly derided by several Roman writers of the time—could well represent a measure taken by the leaders of the Church of Rome to evidence their severance from Judaism and thereby also avoid the payment of a discriminatory tax. 

The Roman intelligentsia also resumed at this time their literary attaok against the Jews. Cicero, the renowned orator, in his defense of Flaccus—a prefect of Asia who had despoiled the Jewish’ treasure—already a century earlier (59 B.C.) had immortalized his attack against Judaism, labeling it a "barbaric superstition."25 In the following years literary anti-Semitism was kept scarcely alive by the few sneers and jibes of Horace (65-8 B.C.), Tibullus (d. ca. 19 B.C.), Pompeius Trogus (beginning of first century A.D.) and Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 65).26 With Seneca (ca. 4 B.C.–A.D. 65) however a new wave of literary anti-Semitism surged in the sixties, undoubtedly reflecting the new mood of the time against the Jews. This fervent stoic railed against the customs of this "accursed race—sce!eratissime gentis," and especially their Sabbath-keeping: "By introducing one day of rest in every seven, they lose in idleness almost a seventh of their life, and by failing to act in times of urgency they often suffer loss."27 

Persius (A.D. 34-62) in his fifth satire presents the Jewish customs as the first example of superstitious beliefs. The Jewish Sabbath, particularly, is adduced as his first proof that superstition enslaves man.28 In a fragment attributed to Petronius (ca. A.D. 66), the Jew is characterized as worshiping "his Pig-god" and as cutting "his foreskin with a knife" to avoid "expulsion by his people—exemptus populo" and to be able to observe the Sabbath.29 The anonymous historians who wrote about the history of the Great War (A.D. 66-70) of the Jews with the Romans,. according to Josephus "misrepresented the facts, either from flattery of the Romans or from hatred of the Jews."30 

Quintilian (ca. A.D. 35-100) alludes to Moses as the founder "of the Jewish superstition" which is pernicious to other people.31 Similarily for Martial (ca. A.D. 40-104) the circumcised Jews and their Sabbath are a synonym of degradation.32 Plutarch (ca. A.D. 46-1 19) labeled the Jews as a superstitious nation and singled out their Sabbath-keeping (which he regarded as a time of drunkenness) as one of the many barbarian customs adopted by the Greeks.33 Juvenal, in a satire written about A.D. 125, pitied the corrupting influence of a Judaizing father who taught his son to eschew the uncircumcised and to spend "each seventh day in idleness, taking no part in the duties of life." 34 Tacitus (ca. A.D. 55-120), whom Jules Isaac labels as "the most beautiful jewel in the crown of anti-Semitism,"35 surpassed all his predecessors in bitterness. The Jews, according to this historian, descend from lepers expelled from Egypt and abstain from pork in remembrance of their leprosy (a disease which, according to prevailing beliefs, was common among pigs). Their indolence on the Sabbath commemorates the day they left Egypt. "All their customs," Tacitus writes, "are perverse and disgusting" and as a people they are "singularly prone to lust."36 

After Tacitus, as F. L. Abel points out, "anti-Jewish literaturc declined."37 The historian Dio Cassius (ca. A.D. 130-220) is perhaps an exception. In describing the Cyrenaican Jewish uprising (ca. A.D. 115), Dio expresses, as we read earlier, his resentment and hatred against the Jews, presenting them as ~avages who ate their victims’ flesh and smeared their blood on themselves.38 The fact that practically all the above mentioned writers lived in the capital city most of their professional lives and wrote from there, suggests that their contemptuous remarks about the Jews—particularly against their Sabbath-keeping—reflect the general Roman attitude prevailing toward them, especially in the city. (We should not forget that the Jews were a sizable community estimated by most scholars at about 50,000 already at the time of Augustus.)39  

"The feeling against the Jews was strong enough" for instance, as F. F. Bruce writes, "to make Titus, when crown prince, give up his plan to marry Berenice sister of Herod Agrippa the Younger."40 The Prince, in fact, because of the mounting hostility of the populace toward the Jews, was forced, though "unwillingly—invitus," to ask her to leave Rome. 41 

That hostility toward Jews was particularly felt at that time in Rome, is indicated also by the works of the Jewish historian Josephus. He was in the city from ca. A.D. 70 to his death (ca. 93) as a pensioner of the imperial family, and he felt the compulsion to take up his pen to defend his race from popular calumnies. In his two works, Against Apion and Jewish Antiquities, he shows how the Jews could be favorably compared to any nation in regard to antiquity, culture and prowess. 

Christian Measures and Attitudes. In the light of these repressive policies and hostile attitudes prevailing toward the Jews (particularly felt in the capital city), what measures did the Church of Rome take at this time to clarify to the Roman authorities her severance with Judaism? Any change in the Christians’ attitude, policies or customs needs to be explained not solely on the basis of the Roman-Jewish conflict, but also in the light of the relationship which Christians had both with Rome and with the Jews. To this we shall briefly address our attention before considering specific changes in religious observances which occurred in the Church of Rome. 

A survey of the Christian literature of the second century bears out that by the time of Hadrian most Christians assumed an attitude of reconciliation toward the empire, but toward the Jews they adopted a policy of radical differentiation. Quadratus and Aristides, for instance, for the first time addressed treatises (generally called "apologies") to Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) to explain and defend the Christian faith. The early apologists, as J. Lebreton notes, "believed in and worked for the reconciliation of the Church to the Empire."42 

Though they were unable to provide a definite formula of reconciliation with the Empire, as A. Puech brings out, they were confident that the conflict was not incurable.43 Undoubtedly their positive attitude must have been encouraged by the Roman policy toward Christianity, which particularly under Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) and Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161) may be defined as one of "relative imperial protection."44 Hadrian, in fact, as Marcel Simon observes, while "he reserved his severity for the Jews, . . . he felt himself attracted with sympathy for Christianity." In his Rescriptus the Emperor provided that no Christian was to be accused on the basis of public calumnies. 

On the other hand, how different at that time was the attitude of many Christian writers toward the Jews! A whole body of anti-Judaic literature was produced in the second century condemning the Jews socially and theologically. It is beyond the scope of the present study to examine this literature. The following list of significant authors and/or writings which defamed the Jews to a lesser or greater degree may serve to make the reader aware of the existence and intensity of the problem: The Preaching of Peter, The Epistle of Barnabas, Quadratus’ lost Apology, Aristides’ Apology, The Disputation between Jason and Papiscus concerning Christ, Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho, Miltiades’ Against the Jews ‘(unfortunately lost), Apollinarius’ Against the Jews (also perished), Melito’s On the Passover, The Epistle to Diognetus, The Gospel of Peter, Tertullian’s Against the Jews, Origen’s Against Celsus 45 

F. Blanchetiere, in his scholarly survey of the problem of anti-Judaism in the Christian literature of the second century, persuasively concludes: "From this survey, it results that "the Jewish problem" regained interest by the thirties of the second century, that is, Hadrian’s time. In fact, the writings of the Apostolic Fathers give the impression of almost a total lack of interest of their authors for such a question. Meanwhile at that time the Kerugma Petrou felt the necessity to clarify the relationship between Jews and Christians. With the Epistle of Barnabas [which he dates ca. A.D. 135] appeared a whole group of writings, treatises and dialogues, a whole literature "Against the Jews—Adversos Judaeos" attacking this or that Jewish observance, when it is not a question of the foundation of Judaism itself. Moreover we must notice that the Eastern Roman areas have not been equally involved."46 

While disparaging remarks about the Jews and Judaism are already present in earlier documents, 47 it is not until the time of Hadrian that there began with the Epistle of Barnabas the development of a "Christian" theology of separation from and contempt for the Jews. The Fathers at this time, as F. Blanchetière aptly states, "did not feel any longer like Paul ‘a great sorrow and constant pain’ in their hearts, nor did they wish any longer to be ‘anathemas’ for their brethren... Without going to the extreme example of abusive language as used by the author of the Epistle to Diognetus, Justin, in the same manner as Barnabas, only knew that Israel throughout its history had been hard-hearted, stiff-necked and idolatrous . . . Israel, murderer of the prophets, is guilty of not having recognized the Son of God . . . It is only justice, therefore, that Israel be collectively and indistinctly struck, condemned and cursed."48 

The adoption of this negative attitude toward the Jews can be explained (but not necessarily justified!) by several circumstances existing particularly at the time of Hadrian. First, the relationship between Rome and the Jews was extremely tense. The latter, as we noted earlier, were subjected to repressive and punitive measures.49 Secondly, a conflict existed between the Church and the Synagogue. Christians were not only barred from the synagogues, but often denounced to the authorities and, whenever possible, directly persecuted by the Jews 50  

Thirdly, a certain degree of imperial protection was granted to the Christians. Possibly Rome recognized that Christians had no nationalistic aspirations and consequently posed no political threat.51 Fourthly, the influence of Judeo-Christians was felt within the Church. By insisting on the literal observance of certain Mosaic regulations, these encouraged dissociation and resentment.52 

Such circumstances invited Christians to develop a new identity, not only characterized by a negative attitude toward Jews, but also by the substitution of characteristic Jewish religious customs for new ones. These would serve to make the Roman authorities aware that the Christians, as Marcel Simon emphasizes, "liberated from any tie with the religion of Israel and the land of Palestine, represented for the empire irreproachable subjects."53 This internal need of the Christian community to develop what may be called an "anti-Judaism of differentiation" found expression particularly in the development of unwarranted criteria of Scriptural hermeneutic through which Jewish history and observances could be made void of meaning and function. 

Regarding Jewish history, it is noteworthy that while the Apostolic Fathers do not make explicit or implied references to it, the Apologists reinterpret and interrelate past and present Jewish history (often by using an a posteriori scriptural justification) to prove the historic unfaithfulness of the Jews and consequently the justice of their divine rejection. 54 Barnabas, for instance, attempts to demolish the historical validity of Judaism by voiding its historical events and institutions of their literal meaning and reality. Though the covenant, for example, was given by God to the Jews, "they lost it completely just after Moses received it" (4 :7) because of their idolatry and it was never reoffered to them.  

For Barnabas the ancient Jewish economy has lost its sense or rather makes no sense. Justin similarly by a tour de force establishes a causal connection between the "murdering of Christ and of His prophets" by the Jews, and the two Jewish revolts of A.D. 70 and 135, concluding that the two fundamental institutions of Judaism, namely circumcision and the Sabbath, were a brand of infamy imposed by God on the Jews to single them out for punishment they so well deserved for their wickedness.55 Melito, whom E. Werner calls "the first poet of deicide,"56 in his PaschalHomily, in highly rhetorical fashion reinterprets the historical Exodus Passover to commemorate the "extraordinary murder" of Christ by the Jews: 

"You killed this one at the time of the great feast. (v. 92) God has been murdered,  
the King of Israel has been destroyed  
by the right hand of Israel.  
O frightful murder!  
O unheard of injustice! (vv. 96-97) 57 

The history of Israel is viewed therefore as a sequel of infidelities, of idolatries (particularly emphasized are Baal Peor and the golden calf) and of murders (of the righteous, of the prophets and finally of Christ). Consequently the misfortunes of the Jews, especially the destruction of the city, their expulsion and dispersion and their punishment by Rome, represent a just and divine chastisement. 

This negative reinterpretation of Judaism, motivated, as we have succinctly described above, by factors present inside and outside the Church, particularly affected the attitude of many Christians toward Jewish religious observances. In view of the fact that Judaism has rightly been defined as an "orthopraxis" (deed rather than creed) and that religious observances such as the circumcision and the Sabbath were not only outlawed by Hadrian’s edict but also consistently attacked and ridiculed by Greek and Latin authors, it should not surprise one that many Christians severed their ties with Judaism by substituting for distinctive Jewish religious observances such as the Sabbath and the Passover, new ones. In this process, as we shall now see, the Church of Rome, where, as we noted above, the break with Judaism occurred earlier and where anti-Judaic hostilities and measures were particularly felt, played a leadership role. This can be best exemplified by a study of her stand on the Sabbath and Passover questions. 

The Church of Rome and the Sabbath

The adoption and enhancement of Sunday as the exclusive new day of worship presupposes the abandonment and belittling of the Sabbath. We would presume therefore that the Church where Sunday worship was first introduced and enforced adopted some measures to discourage Sabbath observance. While it must be admitted that we have evidence for the observance of both days, particularly in the East, 58 this must be viewed as a compromise solution on the part of those who wished to retain the old Sabbath while at the same time accepting the new Sunday worship. Their very concern to preserve some type of Sabbath observance disqualifies them as pioneers of Sunday-keeping, since they could hardly have championed the new day while trying to retain the old. 

In the Church of Rome the situation was substantially different. Not only was Sunday worship urged there, but concrete measures were also taken to wean Christians away from any veneration of the Sabbath. These we shall now consider, endeavoring to identify those motives which may have caused such a course of action. 

We shall start our investigation with Justin Martyr (ca. A.D. 100- ca. 165), who taught and wrote in Rome by the middle of the second century. While prior to him Ignatius in Asia Minor (ca. A.D. 110) and Barnabas at Alexandria (ca. A.D. 135) explicitly upbraided Sabbath-keeping, it is Justin who provides the most devastating and systematic condemnation of the Sabbath and the first explicit account of Christian Sunday worship. Since in the subsequent chapter we shall closely examine Justin’s views on the Sabbath and Sunday, here we need only to state his position59 

The Sabbath for Justin is a temporary ordinance, derived from Moses, which God did not intend to be kept literally, for He Himself "does not stop controlling the movement of the universe on that day." He imposed it solely on the Jews as a mark to single them out for punishment they so well deserved for their infidelities."60 The acceptance of this thesis makes God guilty, to say the least, of discriminatory practices, inasmuch as He would have given ordinances for the sole negative purpose of singling out Jews for punishment. 

Someone could argue that Justin’s position does not necessarily reflect the attitude of the whole Church of Rome toward the Sabbath, especially since Rome was the crossroads of all ideas. While this caution deserves attention, it is well to note that Justin does not represent a solitary voice in Rome against the Sabbath. Similar views were expressed by the renowned heretic, Marcion, who at that time (ca. A.D. 144) established his headquarters in Rome. The influence of Marcion’s anti-Judaic and anti-Sabbath teachings was felt far and wide.61 More than half a century later, Tertullian still found it necessary to defend the Christians in North Africa from the influence of Marcions teaching by producing his longest treatise, Against Marcion, which he revised in three successive editions.62  

In Rome particularly, as Justin testifies, "many have believed him [i.e. Marcion] as if he alone knew the truth."63 Regarding the Sabbath, according to Epiphanius Marcion ordered his followers "to fast on Saturday justifying it in this way: Because it is the rest of the God of the Jews... we fast in that day in order not to accomplish on that day what was ordained by the God of the Jews."64 

How would fasting on the Sabbath demonstrate hatred against the "evil" God of the Jews? The answer is to be found in the fact that for the Jews the Sabbath was anything but a day of fast or of mourning. Even the strictest Jewish sects objected to fasting on the Sabbath. The rabbis, though they differed in their views regarding the time and number of the Sabbath meals, agreed that food on the Sabbath ought to be abundant and good. The following statement epitomizes perhaps the typical rabbinic view: "Do you think that I (God) gave you the Sabbath as burden? I gave it to you for your benefit.’ How? Explained Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba, ‘Keep the Sabbath holy with food, drink and clean garment, enjoy yourself and I shall reward you."65 

That the early Christians adopted this Jewish custom is implied, for instance, by Augustine’s rhetorical remark, when referring to the Sabbath, he says: "Did not the tradition of the elders prohibit fasting on the one hand, and command rest on the other?" 66 Further support can be seen in the opposition to the Sabbath fast by Christians in the East and in some important Western areas, such as in Milan at the time of Ambrose (d. A.D. 397), and in certain churches and regions of North Africa.67 The transformation of the Sabbath from a day of feasting and joy to a day of fasting and mourning, as we shall see, represents a measure taken by the Church of Rome to degrade the Sabbath in order to enhance Sunday worship.68 

It should be noted that Justin and Marcion, though they differ in their theological interpretation of the Sabbath, both share the same anti-Sabbath attituae: the former devaluates the theological meaning of the day, making it the trademark of Jewish wickedness; the latter deprives the day of its physical and psychological pleasures to show contempt to the God of the Jews. 

Marcion was expelled from the Church of Rome because of his dualistic-Gnostic views, but the custom of fasting on the Sabbath was retained. In fact, the historical references from Pope Callistus (A.D. 217-222), Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 170-236), Pope Sylvester (A.D. 402-417), Pope Innocent 1 (A.D. 401-417), Augustine (A.D. 354-430) and John Cassian (ca. A. D. 360-435) all present the Church of Rome as the champion of the Sabbath fast, anxious to impose it on other Christian communities as well.69 

Did the Church of Rome borrow the custom directly from Marcion? It would seem strange that the Church would have adopted a custom advocated solely by a heretic whom she disfellowshiped, and whose motivations for the Sabbath fast were mostly unacceptable. It seems more likely that some, at least, already practiced Sabbath fasting in Rome prior to Marcion’s arrival. It has been suggested in fact that the weekly Sabbath fast originated as an extension of the annual Holy Saturday of Easter season when all Christians fasted. Tertullian and Augustine, for instance, associated the two, but while they approved of the annual paschal Sabbath fast, they condemned the fasting of the weekly Sabbath which Rome and a few Western Churches practiced. "You sometimes," Tertullian writes, "continue your station [i.e. fast] even over the Sabbath, a day never to be kept as a fast except at the Passover season."70 

Since Easter-Sunday, as we shall soon show, was apparently introduced first in Rome in the early part of the second century to differentiate the Christian Passover from that of the Jews, it is possible that the weekly Sabbath fast arose contemporaneously as an extension of the annual paschal Sabbath fast. If this was the case, Sabbath fasting was introduced prior to Marcion’s arrival in Rome, and he exploited the new custom to propagate his contemptuous views of the God of the Jews.  

That the weekly Sabbath fast was introduced early in Rome is clearly implied by a statement of Hippolytus (written in Rome between A.D. 202-234) which says: "Even today (kai gar nun) some... order fasting on the Sabbath of which Christ has not spoken, dishonoring even the Gospel of Christ."71 While it is difficult to establish whether Hippolytus was referring to Bishop Callistus’ decretal concerning the Sabbath fast or to some Marcionites against whom he wrote a treatise (possibly to both?), the expression even today" clearly presupposes that the custom had been known for some time, presumably since the introduction of Easter-Sunday. 72 

Hippolytus does not explain who are those who "order fasting on the Sabbath." However, since a liturgical custom such as Sabbath fasting could be rightfully enjoined only by official ecclesiastical authority, and since Bishop Callistus, according to the Liber Pontificales, did intensify at that time a seasonal Sabbath fast, it would seem reasonable to assume that the writer was indirectly referring to the very hierarchy of the Roman Church as responsible for the ordinance. It might be objected that Hippolytus, by disapproving the custom, weakens the argument of a widespread Sabbath fast in Rome. The objection loses force, however, when we consider the writer’s cultural background and position in Rome. In fact, even though he lived in Rome under the pontificate of Zephyrinus (A.D. 199-217), Callistus (A.D. 217-222), Urban (A.D. 222-230) and Pontianus (A.D. 230-235), he was neither a Roman nor a Latin. His language, philosophy and theology were Greek.73 Furthermore, after he lost the election to the Papal See (Callistus was elected instead in A.D. 217), he headed a dissident group and was consecrated antipope. His condemnation of those who ordered the Sabbath fast could then be explained in the light of his Eastern origin and orientation (Sabbath fast was generally condemned in the East because of the existing veneration for the day) 74 and of his conflicts with the hierarchy of the Church of Rome. In other words, both personal and theological reasons could have motivated Hippolytus to oppose the Sabbath fast which by the decretal of Callistus at that time was enjoined particularly as a seasonal fast. 

The Roman custom of fasting on the Sabbath was not however unanimously accepted by Christians everywhere. Opposition to it, in fact, seems to have been known even in Rome, as indicated by Pope Siricius’ condemnation (A.D. 384-398) of a certain priest, Jovinianus, who according to the Pope, "hates the fastings . . . saying they are superfluous; he has no hope in the future."75 Augustine, who wrote at length and repeatedly on the subject, limits the practice of Sabbath fasting prevailing in his day to "the Roman Christians and hitherto a few of the Western communities.76 John Cassian (d. ca. A.D. 440) similarly confines the Sabbath fasting custom to "some people in some countries of the West, and especially in the city [i.e., Rome]."77 

Most scholars agree that the custom originated in Rome and that from there it spread to certain Western communities. It should be added that Rome maintained such a custom until the eleventh century, in spite of repeated protests by the Eastern Church. Mario Righetti in his scholarly History of Liturgy notes for instance that "Rome and not a few Gallican churches, in spite of the lively remonstrances of the Greeks, which were refuted by the polemic works of Eneas of Paris (d. 870 A.D.) and Retrannus of Corby (d. A.D. 868), preserved the traditional Sabbath fast until beyond the year A.D. 1000."78 

R. L. Odom has persuasively brought out that the Roman insistence on making the Sabbath a day of fast contributed significantly to the historic break between the Eastern and Western Christian Church which occurred in A.D. 1054.79 The fact that the Sabbath fast seemingly originated in Rome is however of relatively little value to our present research, unless we understand why such a practice arose in the first place and what causal relationship exists between it and the origin of Sunday. 

The sources usually present the Sabbath fast as the "prolon gation—superpositio" of that of Friday, making both fasting days commemorative of the time, when to use Tertullian’s phrase, "the Bridegroom was taken away," that is, when Christ was under the power of death.80 The Easter-Friday and Sabbath fasts were however designed to express not only sorrow for Christ’s death, but also contempt for its perpetrators, namely the Jews.  

In two related documents, the Didascalia Apostolorum (dated in the earlier half of the third century) and the Apostolic Constitutions (ca. A.D. 375), Christians are in a similar vein enjoined to fast on Easter-Friday and Saturday "on account of the disobedience of our brethren [i.e., the Jews] ... because thereon the People killed themselves in crucifying our Saviour,81 . . . because in these days . . . He was taken from us by the Jews, falsely so named and fastened to the cross."82  

In the light of the close nexus existing between the annual Paschal Sabbath fast and the weekly one,83 it is reasonable to conclude that the latter originated in Rome as an extension of the former, not only to express sorrow for Christ’s death but also to show contempt for the Jewish people and particularly for their Sabbath.84 Pope Sylvester (A.D. 314-335) in a historic statement, often quoted by his successors in defence of the Roman Sabbath fast, clearly supports this conclusion: "If every Sunday is to be observed joyfully by the Christians on account of the resurrection, then every Sabbath on account of the burial is to be regarded in execration of the Jews (exsecratione Judaeorum). In fact all the disciples of the Lord had a lamentation on the Sabbath, bewailing the buried Lord, and gladness prevailed for the exulting Jews. But sadness reigned for the fasting apostles. In like manner we are sad with the saddened by the burial of the Lord, if we want to rejoice with them in the day of the Lord’s resurrection. In fact, it is not proper to observe, because of Jewish customs, the consumption of food (destructiones ciborum) and the ceremonies of the Jews"85 

In this statement Pope Sylvester places in clear contrast the difference in theological meaning and manner of observance between Sabbath and Sunday. Christians are enjoined to mourn and abstain from food on the Sabbath, not only on account of the burial" of Christ, but also to show contempt for the Jews (exsecratione Judaeorum), and for their Sabbath feasting (destructiones ciborum).86 Apparently the Sabbath fast was intended also to provide greater honor and recognition to Sunday: "We are sad [on the Sabbath]". . . Pope Sylvester wrote, "to rejoice... in the day of the Lord’s resurrection." 

Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau (ca. A.D. 304), present-day Austria, similarly emphasizes the same function of the Sabbath fast when he writes: "On the seventh day... we are accustomed to fast rigorously that on the Lord’s day we may go forth to our bread with giving thanks."87 The sadness and hunger which Christians experienced even more severely on the Sabbath, because their fasting had already started on Friday,88 were designed therefore to predispose the Christians to enter more eagerly and joyfully into the observance of Sunday and on the other hand, as stated by Victorinus, to avoid "appearing to observe the Sabbath with the Jews, of which the Lord of the Sabbath Himself, the Christ, says by His prophets that His soul hateth."89 

A strict Sabbath fast would naturally preclude also the celebration of the Eucharist, since the partaking of its elements could be regarded as breaking the fast. While some Christians opposed such a view, believing rather that the reception of the Lord’s Supper made their fast more solemn,90 in Rome we know for certain that Saturday was made not only a day of fasting, but also a day in which no eucharistic celebration and no religious assemblies were allowed. Pope Innocent I (A.D. 402417) in his famous letter to Decentius which was later incorporated into the Canon Law, establishes that "as the tradition of the Church maintains, in these two days [Friday and Saturday] one should not absolutely (penitus) celebrate the sacraments."91 Two contemporary historians, namely Sozomen (ca. A.D. 440) and Socrates (ca. A.D. 439) confirm Innocent I’s decretal. The latter writes, for instance, that "although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this."92 

Socrates does not explain why in Rome and Alexandria there were no eucharistic celebrations on the Sabbath; he states however that the custom went back to "an ancient tradition." This would allow us to suppose that the proscription of the celebration of the Mass and the injunction of fasting, because of their close nexus, may well have originated contemporaneously, possibly early in the second century as part of the effort to break away from Jewish rites.93  

Sozomen’s description of the customs prevailing in his day is strikingly similar to the one of Socrates, though he speaks only of religious assemblies, without reference to any eucharistic celebration. He confirms however that while "the people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week," such a "custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria."94 

In the light of this cumulative evidence, it appears that the Church of Rome played a key role in early Christianity in emptying the Sabbath of its theological-liturgical significance and in urging the abandonment of its observance.95 The injunction to fast on the Sabbath, accompanied by the prohibition to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and to hold religious meetings on this day, represent definite measures taken by the Church of Rome, on the one hand, to wean Christians away from the veneration of the Sabbath, and, on the other hand, to enhance Sunday worship exclusively. The reason for such an intransigent attitude toward Jewish institutions such as Sabbath-keeping can be found in the need for a radical differentiation from Judaism which was particularly felt in the early part of the second century.  

We noted above how the fiscal, military, political and literary attaoks and measures of the Romans against the Jews encouraged Christians to sever their ties with the latter. This was particularly true in Rome where most Christian converts were of pagan extraction and experienced an earlier differentiation from the Jews than in the East.96 The change of the date and manner of observance of Jewish festivals such as the Sabbath and Passover would help to clarify to the Roman authorities their distinction from Judaism. The adoption of Easter-Sunday, which we shall now consider, furnishes an additional indication to support this thesis. 

Rome and the Faster-Controversy

The Origin of Easter-Sunday. The historian Eusebius (ca. A.D. 260-340) provides a valuable dossier of documents regarding the controversy which flared up in the second century over the date for the celebration of the Passover."97 There were of course two protagonists of the controversy. On the one side, Bishop Victor of Rome (A.D. 189-199) championed the Easter-Sunday custom (i.e., the celebration of the feast on the Sunday usually following the date of the Jewish Passover) and threatened to excommunicate the recalcitrant Christian communities of the province of Asia which refused to follow his instruction.98  

On the other side, Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus and representative of the Asian Churches, strongly advocated the traditional Passover date of Nisan 14, commonly called "Quartodeciman Passover." Polycrates, claiming to possess the genuine apostolic tradition transmitted to him by the Apostles Philip and John, refused to be frightened into submission by the threats of Victor of Rome. 

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (from ca. A.D. 176), according to Eusebius, intervened as peacemaker in the controversy. In his letter to Victor, Irenaeus not only displays a magnanimous spirit, but also endeavors to show to the Roman Bishop that the predecessors of Soter, namely, "Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus and Telesphorus and Sixtus," even though "they did not observe it [i.e., the Quartodeciman Passover] . . . were none the less at peace with those from the dioceses in which it was observed."99 By stating that Soter’s predecessors did not observe the Quartodeciman Passover, Irenaeus implies that they also, like Victor, celebrated Easter on Sunday. By tracing the controversy back to Bishop Sixtus (ca. A.D. 116-ca. 126), mentioning him as the first non-observant of the Quartodeciman Passover, Irenaeus suggests that Passover began to be celebrated in Rome on Sunday at his time (ca. A.D. 116-126).  

To conclude this from this passing reference of Irenaeus may be rightly deemed hazardous. There are however complementary indications which tend to favor this possibility. Bishop Sixtus (ca. A.D. 116-ca. 126), for instance, administered the Church of Rome right at the time of Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) who, as we noted earlier, adopted a policy of radical repression of Jewish rites and customs.100 These repressive measures would encourage Christians to substitute for customs regarded as Jewish, new ones. In Jerusalem, we noticed, the Judaeo-Christian members and leaders were at that time expelled from the city together with the Jews, and were replaced by a new Gentile group. It was also at that historical moment that, according to Epiphanius, the Easter-controversy arose. The Bishop of Cyprus writes, "the controversy arose after the time of the exodus (ca. A.D. 135) of the bishops of the circumcision and it has continued until our time." 101 

If, as Epiphanius implies, the controversy was provoked by the introduction after A.D. 135 of the new Easter-Sunday celebration which a significant number of Quartodeciman Christians rejected, then Sixtus could very well have been the initiator of the new custom, since he was Bishop of Rome only a few years before. Some time must be allowed before a new custom becomes sufficiently widespread to provoke a controversy. The references of Irenaeus and Epiphanius appear then to complement one another. The former suggests that Easter-Sunday originated in Rome under Sixtus and the latter that the new custom was introduced in Jerusalem by the new Greek bishops, thus provoking a controversy. Both events occurred at approximately the same time. 

Marcel Richard endeavors to show that the new day was introduced at this time not by the Church of Rome but by the Greek bishops who settled in Jerusalem. Owing to Hadrian’s prohibition of Jewish festivals, they would have pioneered the new Easter-Sunday date to avoid appearing "Judaizing" to the Roman authorities.102 While we accept Richard’s conclusion that Easter-Sunday was first introduced in Hadrian’s time, we find it hard to believe that it was the new Gentile leadership of the Jerusalem Church that introduced the new custom and to cause a large segment of ‘Christianity to accept it especially at a time when the Church in the city had fallen into obscurity. There is a wide consensus of opinion among scholars that Rome is indeed the birthplace of Easter-Sunday. Some, in fact, rightly label it as "Roman-Easter."103 This is suggested not only by the role of the Church of Rome in enforcing the new custom and by Irenaeus’ remarks,104 but also by later historical sources. In two related documents, namely the conciliar letter of the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325)105 and Constantine’s personal conciliar letter addressed to all bishops, 106 the Church of Rome is presented as the prime example to emulate on the matter of Easter-Sunday, undoubtedly because of her historical position and role in championing its observance. 

Easter-Sunday and Weekly Sunday. What is the relationship, one may ask, between the annual Easter-Sunday and the weekly Sunday? Were the two feasts regarded perhaps as one similar feast that celebrated at different times the same resurrection event, or were they considered as two different feasts which fulfilled different objectives? If the two were treated as one similar feast, it would seem plausible to suppose that the birthplace of Easter-Sunday could well be also the place of origin of the weekly Sunday observance, since possibly the same factors acted in the same place to cause the contemporaneous origin of both. 

In numerous patristic testimonies the weekly and annual Easter-Sunday are treated as basically the same feast commemorating the same event of the resurrection. In a document attributed to Irenaeus it is specifically enjoined not to kneel down on Sunday nor on Pentecost, that is, the seven weeks of the Easter period, "because it is of equal significance with the Lord’s day."107 The reason given is that both feasts are a symbol of the resurrection." Tertullian confirms that custom but adds the prohibition of fasting as well: "On Sunday it is unlawful to fast or to kneel while worshiping. We enjoy the same liberty from Easter to Pentecost."108 F. A. Regan comments on the text, saying: "In the season extending from Easter to Pentecost, the same custom was followed, thus showing the relation between the annual and weekly feasts."109 

Origen explicitly unites the weekly with the yearly commemoration of the resurrection: "The resurrection of the Lord is celebrated not only once a year but constantly every eight days."110 Eusebius similarly states: "While the Jews faithful to Moses, sacrificed the Passover lamb once a year . . . we men of the New Covenant celebrate every Sunday our Passover."111  

Pope Innocent I, in a letter to Bishop Decentius of Gubbio, confirms the unity existing between the two feasts: "We celebrate Sunday because of the venerable resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, not only at Easter but in actuality by the single weekly cycle [i.e. every Sunday]."112 

In the light of these representative statements, it would appear that when the weekly and yearly Easter-Sunday gained acceptance, they were regarded by many as one feast that commemorated at different times the same event of the resurrection. Though the resurrection is not presented in earlier sources as the dominant motivation for Sunday observance, there seems to be no question as to the basic unity of the two festivities. 

At this point it is important to ascertain what in Rome caused the abandonment of the Quartodeciman Passover and the introduction of Easter-Sunday. We would presume that the same causes motivated also the repudiation of the Sabbath and the introduction of Sunday-keeping, since the latter was regarded by many Christians as an extension of the annual Easter. (Today Italians still refer to Sunday as "pasquetta"—which means little Easter.) 

Scholars usually recognize in the Roman custom of celebrating Easter on Sunday instead of the 14th of Nisan, to use J. Jeremias’ words, "the inclination to break away from Judaism."113 J. B. Lightfoot holds, for instance, that Rome and Alexandria adopted Easter-Sunday to avoid "even the semblance of Judaism."114 M. Righetti, a renowned liturgist, points out also that Rome and Alexandria, after "having eliminated the Judaizing Quartodeciman tradition, repudiated even the Jewish computations, making their own time calculations, since such a dependence on the Jews must have appeared humiliating." 115  

The Nicene conciliar letter of Constantine explicitly reveals a marked anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the Quartodeciman Passover. The Emperor, in fact, desiring to establish a religion completely free from any Jewish influences, wrote: "It appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul Let us then have nothing in common with the detestabte Jewish crowd: for we have received from our Saviour a different way . . . Strive and pray continually that the purity of your souls may not seem in anything to be sullied by fellowship with the customs of these most wicked men... All should unite in desiring that which sound reason appears to demand, and in avoiding all participation in the perjured conduct of the Jew"116 

The anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the Jewish reckoning of Passover could not have been expressed more explicitly and forcefully than in the letter of Constantine. Nicaea represents the culmination of a controversy initiated two centuries earlier and motivated by strong anti-Judaic feelings and one which had Rome as its epicenter. The close nexus existing between Easter-Sunday and weekly Sunday~ presupposes that the same anti-Judaic motivation was also primarily responsible for the substitution of Sabbath-keeping by Sunday worship.  

Several indications have already emerged in the course of our study supporting this conclusion. We noticed, for instance, that some Fathers reinterpreted the Sabbath as the trademark of Jewish unfaithfulness. Specific anti-Sabbath measures were taken particularly by the Church of Rome. The ‘Sabbath was made a day of fasting to show, among other things, contempt for the Jews. Similarly, to avoid appearing to observe the day with the Jews, the eucharistic celebration and religious assemblies were forbidden on the Sabbath. Additional evidence on the role played by anti-Judaism in the abandonment of Sabbath observance will be submitted in chapters seven and nine. 

The Primacy of the Church of Rome

In the course of our investigation various indications have emerged which point to the ‘Church of Rome as the one primarily responsible for liturgical innovations such as Easter-Sunday, weekly Sunday worship and Sabbath fasting. But the question could be raised, did the Church of Rome in the second century already exert sufficient authority through her Bishop to influence the greater part of Christendom to accept new festivities? To answer this question, it is necessary to verify the status she enjoyed particularly in the second century. 

The process of affirmation of the primacy of the Bishop and of the Church of Rome in the early Church is difficult to trace, primarily because the sources available report facts or events but do not define the jurisdictional authority exerted at that time by the Church of Rome. However, history teaches us that the authority of Metropolitan Sees was defined not prior to but after their actual establishment.117 For the purpose of our study we shall make no attempt to define the nature or extent of the jurisdictional authority of the Roman Church, but simply to describe what appears to be the status quo of the situation in the second century. 

About the year A.D. 95, Clement, Bishop of Rome, wrote a letter to the Church of Corinth to settle a discord which had broken out within the Church and had resulted in the deposition of the presbyters (ch. 47). The prestige of the Roman Church in this case is implied by the resolute and in some cases even threatening tone of the letter that expects obedience (cf. chs. 47 :1-2; 59 :1-2).118 As J. Lebreton observes: "Rome was conscious of its authority, and the responsibility which this involved; Corinth also recognized it and bowed to it. Batiffol has described this intervention as ‘the Epiphany of the Roman Primacy’ and he is right."119 

The fact that the letter was highly respected and regularly read not only in Corinth but in other churches as well, so that it came to be regarded by some as inspired, implies, as Karl Baus notes, "the existence in the consciousness of non-Roman Christians of an esteem of the Roman Church as such which comes close to according it a precedence in rank."120 

Ignatius, few years later (about A.D. 110-117) in his Letter to the Romans, similarly attributes unusual honorific and fulsomely respectful epithets to the Church of Rome (cf. Prologue). While in his Epistles to the other Churches Ignatius admonishes and warns the members, in his Letter to the Romans he expresses only respectful requests. The singular veneration of the Bishop of Antioch for the Roman Church is evident when he says: "You have never envied any one; you have taught others. What I desire is that what you counsel and ordain may always be practiced" (Romans 3 :1).  

In his prologue Ignatius describes the Church of Rome as being "worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthily pure and preeminent in love." In his final recommendation he requests: "Remember in your prayers the church of Syria, which has God for its pastor in my place. Jesus Christ alone will oversee it, together with your love" (Romans 9 :11). Though these statements do not define the actual jurisdictional power exerted by the Church of Rome, nevertheless they do indicate that Ignatius at the beginning of the second century attributed to her a precedence of prestige and honor. 

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (from ca. A.D. 178), whom we have already met as peacemaker in the Easter-controversy, in his book Against Heresies (composed under the pontificate of Pope Eleutherus—A.D. 175-189), describes the Church of Rome as "the very great, the very ancient and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul."121 He then states categorically: "For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority (potentior principalitas) that is, the faithful everywhere."122  

Irenaeus’ high regard for the office and authority of the Bishop of Rome is best exemplified in his embassy to Bishop Eleutherus (A.D. 175-189) intended to solicit his intervention in the Montanist heresy which was disturbing the peace of the churches of Gaul, as well as in his letter to Bishop Victor (A.D. 189-199) on the Quartodeciman problem.123 In the latter instance, it is worth noting that though Irenaeus protested against Victor’s excommunication of the Asiatics, as P. Batiffol aptly observes, "he did not dream of questioning Victor’s power to pronounce this excommunication."124 

The Bishop of Rome demonstrated his unsurpassed authority when enforcing the Roman-Eas cer. Asian Bishops such as Polycarp and Polycrates, though they refused to accept the Roman custom, nevertheless both took cognizance of the request of the Roman Bishops. The former felt the compulsion in A.D. 154 to go personally to Anicetus of Rome to regulate the Passover question and other matters. The latter complied with the order of Victor to summon a council. "I could mention the bishops who are present," Polycrates wrote him in about A.D. 196, "whom you required me to summon and I did so."125  

When notified of the Asian bishops’ refusal to accept Easter-Sunday, Victor drastically "declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicated."126 This is perhaps the most explicit evidence of the authority of the Roman Bishop to enforce a new custom, and even to cut off from the communion of the Church an entire dissident community. P. Batiffol aptly comments in this matter that "It is Rome alone that Ephesus answers and resists. We see the authority Rome exercises in this conflict. Renan has said appropriately in reference to this case: ‘The Papacy was born and well born.’"127 

The undisputed authority exerted by the Church of Rome through her Bishop could be further substantiated by later instances such as: Pope Victor’s excommunication of the Monarchian Theodotus; Tertullian’s statement that from the Church of Rome "come into our hands the very authority of apostles themselves;"128 Callistus’s (A.D. 217-222) excommunication of the heretic Sabellius; Pope Stephen’s (A.D. 245-7) rehabilitation of Basilides of Emerita in spite of his deposition by Cyprian; Cyprian’s request to Pope Stephen to depose Marcion of Arles, a convinced follower of Novatian. Other indications could be added such as the designation of the Church of Rome as the "Chair of Peter—Cathedra Petri" by the Muratorian fragment, by Cyprian and by Firmilian of Caesarea; the role played by the Pope in the question of the lapsed as well as of the heretical baptism; 129 the introduction and enforcement by the Church of Rome of the date December 25 for the celebration of Christmas.130 

In the light of these indications the Church of Rome seems to have emerged to a position of pre-eminence already in the second century. The Roman Pontiff was in fact the only ecclesiastical authority widely recognized and capable of influencing the greater part of Christendom (even though some churches rejected his instructions) to accept new customs or observances. 

Conclusion. The role that the Church of Rome played in causing the abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday has been underestimated, if not totally neglected, in recent studies. If one recognizes, as admitted by 0. Cullmann, that "in deliberate distinction from Judaism, the first Christians selected the first day of the week,"131 then Rome emerges as the most logical place for the origin of Sunday. It is there that we found both the circumstances and the authority necessary to accomplish such a liturgical change. P. V. Monachino in the conclusion of his dissertation on the Pastoral Care at Milan, Carthage and Rome in the Fourth Century acknowledges the role of leadership in the West by the Church of Rome. He writes, "we do not think to err if we affirm that the place where this type of pastoral care had been elaborated was the city of Rome, though we must recognize for Milan some influence from the Orient."132 C. S. Mosna specifically admits that Rome was influential in causing the disappearance of the veneration of the Sabbath. He states, "perhaps in this [i.e. disappearance of Sabbath] the example of Rome, which never had any special cult on the Sabbath, must have been influential."133 These conditions did not exist in the East where Jewish influence survived longer, as evidenced by the survival of a veneration for the Sabbath and of respect for the Jewish reckoning of the Passover. 134 

Our investigation so far has established that Sunday observance arose, as W. D. Davies states, "in conscious opposition to or distinction from the Jewish Sabbath."135 We have found that the change in the day of worship seems to have been encouraged, on the one hand, by the social, military, political and literary anti-Judaic imperial policies which made it necessary for Christians to sever their ties with the Jews, and, on the other hand, by the very conflict existing between Jews and Christians.  

The Church of Rome, whose members, mostly of pagan extraction, experienced a break from the Jews earlier than in the East and where the unpopularity of the Jews was particularly great, appears to have played a leading role in inducing the adoption of Sunday observance. This we found indicated not only by the introduction and enforcement of the new Easter-Sunday festivity (closely related to the weekly Sunday) but also by the measures Rome took to devaluate the Sabbath theologically and practically. The Sabbath was in fact re-interpreted to be a temporary institution given to the Jews as a sign of their unfaithfulness. Therefore Christians were enjoined to show their dissociation from the Jewish Sabbath by fasting on that day, by abstaining from the Lord’s supper and by not attending religious assemblies. 

In view of the fact that anti-Judaism has emerged as a primary factor which contributed to the introduction of Sunday observance in the place of Sabbath, it is now important to more fully verify its presence and influence in the Christian literature of the early part of the second century. 


1. The role of leadership of the Church of Rome in the second century is discussed below pp. 207-211.  

2. This per se is not a decisive argument, since, as Harry J. Leon demonstrates from archeological inscriptions of ancient Rome, many Jews preferred Latin and Greek names. He submits a compilation of 254 examples of Latin names and 175 examples of Greek names used by Jews in ancient Rome (The Jews of Ancient Rome, 1960, pp. 93-121). That the majority of the members in Rome were pagan converts is clearly indicated by Paul’s statement in Romans 1:13-15, where he says: "I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome . . . in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles" (emphasis supplied). Apparently this Gentile — Christian community of Rome had limited contacts with the Jews prior to Paul’s arrival. This is suggested, for instance, by the fact that when Paul met with the Jewish leaders three days after his arrival, they told him: "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brethren coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you" (Acts 28:21). Marta Sordi, Il Cristianesimo e Roma, 1965, pp. 65-72, argues persuasively on the basis of several statements of Paul (Phil. 1:12-14; 4:22; 1:17; Col. 4:10-11), of the inscription of lucundus Chrestianus (a servant of the daughter-in-law of Tiberius) and of Tacitus’ testimony (Annales 12, 32) regarding Pomponia Graecina (the wife of Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, and an early convert to Christianity), that a "clear separation" existed between the Church and the synagogue in Rome. Christians apparently gathered in the home of converted nobles "avoiding any conflict with the local Judaism" (p. 69). Apparently Paul came in conflict with Jewish circles, since he could name only three "men of the circumcision among his fellow workers" (Col. 4:10-11). 

3. Leonard Goppelt, Les Origines de l’Église, 1961, pp. 202-203.  

4. Suetonius, Claudius 25, 4; H. J. Leon (fn. 2), pp. 23f., advocates an earlier date (closer to A.D. 41); some scholars however think that "Chrestus" is simply the name of an agitator and it has therefore no relation to the Christian propaganda; see Marta Sordi (fn. 2), pp. 64f.; see also S. Benko, "The Edict of Claudius of A.D. 49 and the Instigator Chrestus," Theologische Zeitschrift 25 (1969): 406-418. Dio Cassius (A.D. 150-235), Historia 60, 6, does not mention Claudius’ expulsion, but refers to an edict which prohibited the Jews from gathering according to their customs. 

5. Tacitus, Annales 15, 44, in his report of the Neronian persecution, spells the name in such a manner. On the evolution of the name, see A. Labriolle, "Christianus," Bulletin du Cange 5 (1929-1930): 69-88; A. Ferrua, "Christianus sum," La Civiltà Cattolica 2 (1933): 552-556; and 3 (1933):13-26; Tertullian in his Apology 3 chides the pagans, saying: "[The namel Christian . . . is wrongly pronounced by you ‘Chrestianus’ (for you do not even say accurately the name you despise)." 

6. Pierre Batiffol, Primitive Catholicism, 1911, p. 19. This hypothesis is supported, for instance, by the attitude of the proconsul of Achaia, Anneus Novatus Gallio, brother of Seneca, who upon hearing the ruler of the synagogue accusing Paul of being a renegade of the law, said: "since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves" (Acts 18:15; cf., 13:29; 24:5). 

7. Tacitus, Annales 15,44. 

8. F. F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, 1958, p. 140; Leonard Goppelt (fn. 3), p. 42, similarly remarks: "In the imperial city Christians are distinguished from Jews by A.D. 64, but not as early as A.D. 49. The State’s recognition of their separate status occurred somewhere between these two dates according to the Roman sources. 

9. Flavius Josephus, Life 3, relates that in A.D. 63 while visiting Rome he was introduced to the Empress, who showed a liking for him. In Antiquities 22, 8, 11, he mentions that she was a Jewish proselyte. Cf. Tacitus, His toria 1,22. 

10. A. von Harnack, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, 1908, pp. 51, 400. J. Zeiller, The History of the Primitive Church, 1949, I, p. 372, also entertains this possibility. He asks: "Did the protégés of Poppea admitted into the circle immediately surrounding the emperor, think that they would serve Nero as well as themselves ‘by pointing out as the authors of the crime the Christians’ who took pleasure, it was said . . . ‘in the ideas of heavenly vengeance, a universal conflagration, and the destruction of the world" 

11. P. Batiffol (fn. 6), p. 20; Ernest Renan, The Antichrist, 1892, p.112 similarly observes: "The Roman usually confounded the Jews and the Christians. Why was the distinction so clearly made on this occasion? Why were the Jews, against whom the Romans had the same moral antipathy and the same religious grievances as against the Christians, not meddled with at this time?" He suggests that the "Jews had a secret interview with Nero and Poppea at the moment when the Emperor conceived such a hateful thought against the disciples of Christ" (bc. cit.). 

12. Cf., Tertullian, Apology 21; Commodian, Carmen apologeticum, PL 5, 865; Justin Martyr, Dialogue 17, 3; a text in Clement’s letter To the Corinthians (5:2) could preserve the remembrance of the hostile Jewish Intervention: "Because of jealousy and envy the greatest and most upright pillars of the church [i.e., Peter and Paul] were persecuted and condemned unto death" (trans. by K Goodspeed, The Apostolic Fathers, An American Translation, 1950, p. 51). J. Zeiller (fn. 10), p. 373, pointedly observes: 

"In any case, from that day the Christians began to be distinguished by the Roman authorities from the Jews, who remained in possession of their privileges, while Christians were arrested, judged and condemned." Peter Richardson, Israel in the Apostolic Church, 1969, p. 47, underlines the fact that while the Romans took notice of Christianity after its separation from Judaism, it was actually the Jewish persecution, being "an intra muros controversy," which had the more creative role, obliging Christians to become a separate entity and to cause themselves to be recognized as such by the Roman authorities. 

13. F.F. Bruce (fn. 8), p. 157. 

14. For a concise account of the Jewish insurrections and wars, see Giuseppe Ricciotti, The History of Israel, n. d., II, pp. 402-461; Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, 1940, II, p. 393; see also the well documented account by A. Fuks, "The Jewish Revolt of 115-117," Journal of Roman Studies 51 (1861):98-104. 

15. Dio Cassius, Historia 69, LCL, p. 421; cf., the similar account given by Eusebius, HE 4,2 and Chronicon 2, 164. 

16. Justin Martyr, I Apology 31, 6, trans. by Thomas B.. Falls, Writings of Saint Justin Martyr, The Fathers of the Church, 1948, p. 67 (hereafter cited as, Falls, Justin’s Writings); cf. Dialogue 110. 

17. See, above p. 102, fn. 35. 

18. Tacitus, Historiae 5, 13; Josephus, Wars of the Jews 6, 9, 3 specifies that 97,000 Jews were taken captive and 1,000,000 were either killed or perished during the siege. 

19. Dio Cassius, Historia 69, 13; he acknowledges, however, that even the Roman army suffered great losses. Hadrian, in fact, in his letter to the Senate omitted the customary opening expression, "If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the legions are in health" (bc. cit.). 

20. See above pp. 160-1, fns. 79-80. Some scholars maintain that sacrifices still continued at the temple after A.D. 70, though in a reduced form; cf. K. W. Clark, "Worship in the Jerusalem Temple after A.D. 70," NTS 6 (1959-1960): 269-280; see also J. R. Brown, The Temple and Sacrifice in Rabbinic Judaism, 1963. On the pathetic attempts of the Jews to visit their ruins, see Jerome, Commentarius in Zephanaiam 1. 15-16, PL 25, 1418f.; other patristic sources are analyzed by R. Harris, "Hadrian’s Decree of Expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem," Harvard Theological Review 19 (1926): 199-206; cf. also W. D. Gray, "Founding of Aelia Capitolina," American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 39 (1922-1923): 248-256. 

21. J. Zeiller (fn. 10) pp. 384-385, remarks concerning Domitian: "His antipathy toward the Jews was in harmony with his financial necessities, for his Tresaury was exhausted after the excessive expenses he had incurred in the embellishment of Rome. Accordingly, he caused to be levied with great strictness the tax of the didrachma." 

22. Suetonius, Domitianus 12, LCL, p. 365; the historian relates how as a youth he had personally witnessed "a man ninety years old examined before the procurator and a very crowded court, to see whether he was circumcised" (ibid., p. 366); Heinrich Graetz (fn. 14, p. 389, points out: "Severe, however, as he was toward the Jews, Domitian was doubly hard toward the proselytes and suffered them to feel the full weight of his tyrannical power"; cf. also E. M. Smallwood, "Domitian’s Attitude toward the Jews and Judaism," Classical Philology 51 (1956):1-14. Nerva (A.D. 96-98) as one of the first acts of his administration "removed the shameful [extortion] of the Jewish tax," as it reads on the legend of a coin he struck to commemorate the occasion; see Dio Cassius, Historia 58, 1-2. Under Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), according to Appian, a contemporary his. torian, the Jews were subjected at that time to a "poll-tax... heavier than that imposed upon the surrounding people" (Roman History, The Syrian Wars 50, LCL, p. 199. 

23. Ernest L. Abel, The Roots of Anti-Semitism, 1943, p. 97. 

24. S. W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 1952, II, p. 106. Baron also notes that "unlike the later period, when capitation taxes became universal, a head tax at that time had by itself a discriminatory character" (ibid., p. 373, fn. 20). The author provides bibliographical references of special studies on the Roman capitation tax (bc. cit.). 

25. Cicero, Pro Flacco 28, 67. In his oration he said: "The practice of their sacred rites was at variance with the glory of our empire, the dignity of our name, the custom of our ancestors. But now it is even more so, when that nation by its armed resistance has shown what it thinks of our rule; how dear it was to the immortal gods is shown by the fact that it has been conquered, let out for taxes, made a slave" (ibid., 28, 69; the translation of this and of the subsequent texts of Roman authors, is taken from the convenient collection of Menahem Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, 1974, I, p. 198). 

26. Horace ridicules Jewish superstitions and in one instance he mentions the case of his friend Aristius Fuscus who refused to discuss some private affairs with him, saying: "‘I’ll tell you at a better time. Today is the thirtieth day, a Sabbath. Would you affront the circumcised Jews?’ ‘I have no scruples,’ said I. ‘But I have. I am a somewhat weaker brother, one of many. You will pardon me; I’ll talk another day’" (Sermones 1, 9, 65-70, M. Stern [fn. 24], p. 325; cf. also pp. 323, 324, 326, for other examples). Tibullus in a poem blames himself for leaving in Rome his beloved Delia. He regrets not having sought excuses such as portents against the journey, presaging birds or the day of Saturn: "Either birds or words of evil omen were my pretexts, or there was the accursed day of Saturn to detain me" (Ca rmina 1, 3:16-18, Stern [fn. 24], p. 319). For the identification of Saturn with the Jewish Sabbath, see Tacitus, Historiae 5, 4. Ovid in three references urges not to let the Jewish Sabbath hinder activities: "Persist, and compel your unwilling feet to run. Hope not for rain, nor let foreign sabbath stay you, nor Allia well-known for its ill-luck" (Remedia Amoris 219-220; cf., Ars Amatoria 1, 75.80; 413416, M. Stem [fn. 24], pp. 348-349). Pompeius Trogus in his distorted reconstruction of Jewish history makes the well-known statement that the ancestors of the Jews were lepers and that Moses "from a seven days’ fast in the desert of Arabia, for all time, consecrated the seventh day, which used to be called Sabbath by the custom of the nation, for a fast-day, because that day had ended at once their hunger and their wanderings" (Historiae Philippicae 36 in Justin’s Epitoma 1:9-3 :9, M. Stern [fn. 25], pp. 337-338). 

27. Seneca, De Superstitiones, cited by Augustine, The City of God 6, 11. Seneca also says: "Meanwhile the customs of this accursed race have gained such influence that they are now received throughout all the world. The vanquished have given laws to their victors." He then adds what he thought of Jewish sacred institutions: ‘The Jews, however, are aware of the origin and meaning of their rites. The greater part of the people go through a ritual not knowing why they do so" (loc. cit., M. Stem [fn. 25], p. 431). 

28. Persius, Saturae 5, 176-184. 

29. Petronius, Fragmenta 37. The passage reads: "The Jew may worship his pig-god and clamour in the ears of high heaven, but unless he also cuts back his foreskin with the knife, he shall go forth from the people and emigrate to Greek cities, and shall not tremble at the fasts of Sabbath imposed by law" (M. Stern [fn. 25], p. 444; cf. also texts on pp. 442-443). On the misconception of the Sabbath as a fast day, see Pompeius Trogus [fn. 25] and Suetonius, Divus Augustus 76. 

30. Josephus, War of the Jews 1, 2. He further criticizes these historians for representing "the Romans as a great nation, and yet they continually depreciate and disparage the actions of the Jews" (Ibid., 1, 7-8). Minucius Felix in his Octavius 33, 2-4 mentions Antonius Julianus, possibly the procurator of Judea in A.D. 70, who wrote on the Jewish war: "Consult Antonius Julianus on the Jews, and you will see that it was their own wickedness which brought them to misfortune, and that nothing happened to them which was not predicted in advance, if they persisted in rebelliousness" (M. Stern [fn. 25], p. 460). 

31. Quintillian, Institutio oratoria 3, 7, 21, M. Stern (fn. 25), p. 513: 

"The vices of the children bring hatred on their parents; founders of the cities are detested for concentrating a race which is a curse to others, as for example the founder of the Jewish superstition." 

32. Martial, Epigrammata 4, 4, mentions the odor "of the breath of fasting Sabbatarian women" among the most offensive stenches. For other references of Martial, see M. Stern (fn. 24), pp. 523-529. Damocritus (first century A.D.), another military historian, according to Suda, wrote a work On Jews, in which "he states that they used to worship an asinine golden head and that every seventh year they caught a foreigner and sacrificed him. They used to kill him by carding his flesh into small pieces" (Suda, Damocritus, M. Stern [fn. 24], p. 531). 

33. Plutarch, De superstitione 3, M. Stern (fn. 24)’, p. 549: "‘Greeks from barbarians finding evil ways!’ Euripides, The Trojan Women, 764, because of superstition, such as smearing with mud, wallowing in filth, keeping the Sabbath [sabbatismos —cf. Heb. 4:9]." Plutarch associates the Sabbath with the Dionysiac feasts: "I believe that even the feast of the Sabbath is not completely unrelated to Dionysius. Many even now call the Bacchants Sabi and utter that cry when celebrating the god.... You would not be far off the track if you attributed the use of this name Sabi to the strange excitement that possesses the celebrants. The Jews themselves testify to a connection with Dionysius when they keep the Sabbath by inviting each other to drink and enjoy wine" (Questiones convivales 4, 6,2, M. Stern [fn. 25], pp. 557-558). 

35. Juvenal, Satirae 14, 96-106. Juvenal not only repeats the common charges against Jewish customs (Sabbath, circumcision, horror for the porcine flesh and worship of the sky) but also denounces the exclusive spirit and solidarity of the Jews (cf. Tacitus, fn. 35). He rues the unfortunate offspring who "accidentally has had as a Father a Sabbathkeeper: he will worship only the clouds and the divinity of the sky and will make no distinction between human flesh and that of pork, which his father does not eat. In the same way he is circumcised. Brought up to despise the Roman laws, he only learns, observes and respects the Jewish law and all that Moses has handed down in a mysterious book: not to show the way to a traveller who does not practice the same ceremonies, not point out a well to the uncircumcised. The cause of all this is that his father spends each seventh day in idleness, taking no part in the duties of life" (bc. cit.; cf. Theodore Reinach, Textes d’auteurs Grecs et Romains relatif s au Judaisme, 1963, pp. 292-293; additional statements of Juvenal [Satirae 3, 5, 10; 3,5,296; 6, 156; 6,542] are given on pp. 290-293). 

35. Jules Isaac, Genése de l’Antisémitisme, 1956, p. 46. 

36. Tacitus, Historiae 55. The passage continues attacking particularly the Jewish apartheid policy: "The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contribution and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful." Tacitus adds: "Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice [i. e., circumcision], and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children and brethren. Still they provide for the increase of their numbers" (trans. by A. J. Church and W. J. Brodribb, The Annals and the Histories by P. C. Tacitus, 1952, p. 295). 

37. Ernest L. Abel (fn. 23), p. 79. 

38. See above fn. 15. 

39. For a discussion of the Jewish population in Rome in the early Empire see Harry J. Leon (fn. 2), p. 135, fn. 1. 

40. F. F. Bruce (fn. 8), p. 267; 5. W. Baron (fn. 24), p. 203, similarly states: "The anti-Jewish feeling in Rome and Italy also rose to a considerable height the moment this group of foreigners [i.e., the Jews] started to proliferate rapidly. With their special way of life, they were a strange element, even in the cosmopolitan capital. The literature of the age reflects the partly contemptuous and partly inimical attitude prevailing among the educated classes in the imperial city." 

41. Suetonius’ expressive invitus invitam (Titus 7, 1, 2) indicates that the separation was difficult for both of them. Titus’ love affair with Berenice is also reported by Dio Cassius, Historia 66, 15, 3-4 and by Tacitus, Historiae 2, 2; cf. E. Mireaux, La Reine B!r~nice, 1951; J. A. Crook, American Journal of Archaeology 72 (1951), pp. 162f. 

42. J. Lebreton, La Chiesa Prim itiva, l957, p. 540. 

43. A. Puech, Les Apologistes grecs du IIe siécle de notre ère, 1912, p. 5. 

44. Hadrian’s attitude toward Christianity is revealed primarily by his Rescriptus to Minucius Fundanus written probably about 125-126. The Emperor did not prohibit the prosecution of the Christians, but he demanded that the accusation be made before a tribunal in a regular process. Popular protestations against the Christians were not to be accepted and false accusers were to be severely punished (The Rescriptus is quoted by Justin, I Apologia 68 and by Eusebius, HE 4,9). While Hadrian’s Rescriptus is somewhat ambiguous in his formulation, perhaps intentionally, basically however the Emperor manifested a moderate attitude toward Christianity; for some significant studies on Hadrian’s Rescriptus, see C. Callewaert, "Le rescrit d’Hadrien à Minucius Fundanus," Revue d’histoire et de littérature religieuse 8 (1903):152-189; Marta Sordi, "I rescritti di Traiano e Adriano sui cristiani," Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 14 (1960). 359-370; W. Schmid, "The Christian Reinterpretation of the Rescript of Hadrian," Maya 7 (1953): if. According to Lampridius, an authority not too convincing, Hadrian was disposed to offer Christ a place in the Pantheon (see Vita Alexandri Seven 43, 6). 

45. For an excellent survey of Christian anti-Jewish literature of the second century, see F. Blanchetiére, "Aux sources de l’anti-judaïsme chrdetien," Revue d’Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuse 53 (1973): 353-398. In the Preaching of Peter (Kerygma Petrou), of which we possess only a few fragments dated in the first half of the second century, the Jewish worship of God is rejected as absurd as that of the Greeks: "Neither worship him in the manner of the Jews; for they also, who think that they alone know God, do not understand, worshipping angels and archangels, the months and the moon. And when the moon does not shine, they do not celebrate the so-called first Sabbath . . . What has reference to the Greeks and Jews is old. But we are Christians, who as a third race worship him in a new way" (E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, 1965, II, p. 100). Regarding Quadratus, our only information is Eusebius’ statement that he addressed to Hadrian "a discourse con. taming an apology for our religion, because certain wicked men had attempted to trouble Christians" (HE 4, 3, 2, NPNF 2nd, I, p. 175). If the "wicked men," as argued by H. Graetz (Geschichte der Juden, 1911, IV, p. 169), are Jews spreading slanderous reports about the Christians, then the apology could have been a refutation of Jewish charges. The Apology of Aristides (dated A.D. 143; cf. J. R. Harris, The Apology of Aristides, 1891, pp. 6-13) though it commends Jewish monotheism and philanthropy, condemns their worship as irrational: "In their imagination they conceive that it is God they serve; whereas by their mode of observance it is to the angels and not to God that their service is rendered :—as when they celebrate sabbaths and the beginning of the months . . . which things, however, they do not observe perfectly" (ch. 14, Syriac, ANF X, p. 276). All that we know of The Disputation between Jason and Papiscus is what Origen (ca. A.D. 248) wrote to refute Celsus (ca. A.D. 178), a heathen philosopher of Rome, who affirmed that the treatise "was fitted to excite not laughter, but hatred." Origen confutes the charge saying that "if it be impartially perused, it will be found that there is nothing to excite even laughter in a work in which a Christian [i.e., Jason] is described as conversing with a Jew on the subject of the Jewish Scriptures, and proving that the predictions regarding Christ fitly apply to Jesus" (Against Celsus 4, 52, ANF IV, p. 251). This work, as noted by F. Blanchetière (art. cit., p. 358) could be "a forerunner of or at least a parallel attempt to the Dialogue of Justin." Miltiades, a contemporary of Justin, according to the account of Eusebius, "composed [treatises] against the Greeks and against the Jews, answering each of them separately in two books" (HE 5,17, 3, NPNF 2nd, I, p. 234). Note that now Judaism and paganism are treated in two distinct apologies, undoubtedly because of their importance. This appears as a new development. About Apollinarius, Eusebius reports that besides the Apology addressed to Marcus Aurelius, he wrote five books: "Against the Greeks, On Truth, a first and second book, and Against the Jews also in two books" (HE 4, 27, 1). It is noteworthy that Apollinarius devotes two treatises Against the Jews and only one Against the Greeks. On Melito see above pp. 82-84, and on Justin Martyr see below pp. 223f. The Epistle to Diognetus (dated by H. I. Marrou ca. A.D. 200) provides us with an exceptional and eloquent testimony of the definite break which had taken place between the Church and the Synagogue and of the prevailing contemptuous attitude of Christians against the Jews. Jewish sacrificial worship is labelled "an act of folly" (ch. 3). "As to their scrupulosity concerning meats, and their superstition as respects the Sabbaths, and their boasting about circumcision and their fancies about fasting and the new moons, which are utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice,—I do not think that you require to learn anything from me" (ch. 4, ANF I, p. 26; cf., H.I., Marrou, A Diognéte, SC 33, pp. 112.114). In the fragments of the Gospel of Peter (ca. A.D. 180) the Jews are portrayed as executing the condemnation and crucifixion of Christ mercilessly (cf. 2 :5; 3 :6-9; 6 :21; 12 :50, E. Hennecke, op. cit., I, pp. 184-186). Tertullian’s Adversus Judaeos is the first systematic attempt to refute Judaism which has come down to us. Less versed in Judaism than Justin, Tertullian endeavors to demonstrate the obsoleteness of the Mosaic dispensation. Origen (ca. A.D. 248) formulates explicitly the doctrine of the divine punishment of the Jewish race: "We say with confidence that they will never be restored to their former condition. For they committed a crime of the most unhallowed kind, in conspiring against the Saviour of the human race in that city where they offered up to God a worship containing the symbols of mighty mysteries. It accordingly behooved the city where Jesus underwent these sufferings to perish utterly, and the Jewish nation to be overthrown and the invitation to happiness offered them by God to pass to others,—the Christians" (Against Celsus 4, 12, ANF IV, p. 506). For a convenient survey of later anti-Jewish literature, see A. Lukyn Williams, Adversus Judaeos, A Bird’s-Eye View of Christian Apologiae until the Renaissance, 1935. 

46. F.Blanchetière (fn. 45), p. 361 (emphasis supplied). 

47. The Didache, for instance, warns Christians not to fast "on the same days with the hypocrites, for they fast on Monday and Thursday, but you must fast on Wednesday and Friday. And do not pray like the hypocrites, but pray thus as the Lord commanded in his gospel" (8:1-2, trans. by E. J. Goodspeed, The Apostolic Fathers, 1950, pp. 14, 15). The use of the New Testament designation of the Scribes and Pharisees ("hypocrites"—Matt. 2313-19), implies that the reference is directed against the Jewish leadership. Ignatius (ca. A.D. 110) also in his letters io several Christian communities of Asia Minor, warns repeatedly against Judaizing (see below, p. 213). 

48. F. Blanchetière (fn. 45), pp. 396-397. The author notes that between the patristic literature of the first and that of the second century, there is more of a break than a continuity. He finds this break in several ways. First in the sources of inspiration. The Apologists do not use the Gospels or the Pauline epistles, but almost exclusively the invectives of the Old Testament prophets against the unfaithfulness of the Israelites. Secondly, there is a break in the theme of the plan of salvation. While in the New Testament salvation is extended to all people, for Barnabas and Justin, for instance, after the apostasy of Israel of the golden calf, the Jewish people are purely and simply rejected: "The law is not any longer a teacher as for Paul, but a medicine to be used only by the Jews." Thirdly, there is a break in attitude and style. Though in the New Testament there are some virulent remarks against certain factions of Judaism, in the Apologists of the second century there is only a uniform and consistent condemnation of the Jewish peonle and Judaism. Finally, there is a break in perspective. There is no more crying over Jerusalem for the rejection of salvation, but condemnation (see Barnabas, Justin, Diognetus, Melito) of Israel as murderer of the prophets and despiser of the Son of God. A valuable discussion of the "Theology of Separation" is provided also by Edward H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews, 1965, pp. 35-43; cf., also Le6n Poliakov, The History of Anti-Semitism, pp. 17-25. 

49. See above pp. 171f. 

50. Justin Martyr, Dialogue 17, 1 laments the fact that the Jews falsely represent the Christians, accusing them as traitors and sacrilegious: "The other nations have not treated Christ and us, His followers, as unjustly as have you Jews, who, indeed, are the very instigators of that evil opinion they have of the Just One and of us, His disciples." In chapter 96 of the same work, Justin adds: "In your synagogues you curse all those who through Him have become Christians, and the Gentiles put into effect your curse by killing all those who merely admit that they are Christians" (Falls, Justin’s Writings, pp. 173 and 299). The existence of a general climate of mistrust and hostility is indicated by recurring expressions such as: (1) "You hate us" (I Apology 36: Dialogue 39,1; 82,6; 133,6; 136,2; 134,5); (2) "You curse us" (Dialogue 16,4; 93,4; 95,4; 108, 3; 123, 6; 133, 6); (3) "Jesus . . . whose name you profane, and labour hard to get it profaned over all the earth" (Dialogue 120, 4); (4) "You accuse Him of having taught those godless, lawless, and unholy doctrines which you mention to the condemnation of those who confess Him to be Christ" (Dialogue 108, 3; cf. 47, 5); (5) "Our teachers [Rabbis] laid down a law that we should have no intercourse with any of you, and that we should not have even any communication with you on these questions" (Dialogue 38, 1; 112,4; 93, 5). The hostility in some instances reached the point of putting the Christians to death, whether directly as during the Barkokeba revolt (Dialogue 16,4; 95,4: 133, 6; I Apology 31) or indirectly by helping the Romans (Dialogue 96,2; 110, 5; 131, 2). Cf. also Tertullian, Scorpiace 10: "The synagogues of the Jews— fountains of persecution"; cf. Ad Nationes 1, 14; Origen, Contra Celsum I, reports at length the accusations which Celsus’ Jews launched against the Christians. 

51. It is noteworthy that, according to Eusebius, Domitian tried for political plotting the relatives of Christ, but after examining them "he let them go, and by a decree put a stop to the persecution of the Church" (HE 3,20,7); see above fn. 43. 

52. Justin reports, for instance, that there were Jewish Christians who "compelled those Gentiles who believe in this Christ to live in all respects according to the law given by Moses" (Dialogue 47, ANE I, p. 218). The extreme anti-Judaic movement of Marcion also contributed to develop an anti-Judaism of differentiation; see below pp. 189f. 

53. M. Simon, Verus Israel: études sur les relations entre chrétiens et juifs dans l’empire romain, 1964, p. 128, Robert M. Grant, Augustus to Constantine, 1970, pp. 104-105, points out that the apologetic movement started under Hadrian, prompted by the Hellenizing efforts of the Emperor and by the effects of the Barkokeba revolt. Leon Poliakov (fn. 47), p. 21, similarly remarks: "At the time of Hadrian’s prohibition of the circumcision and of the bloody Barkokeba rebellion in 135, the first Christian apologists were attempting to prove that the Christians, having no link with Israel and the land of Judea, were irreproachable subjects of the empire." 

54. For a concise and cogent analysis of the apologists’ reinterpretation of Jewish history, see F. Blanchetiere (fn. 44), pp. 373-385. 

55. Cf. Dialogue 16, 1 and 21, 1. These and other passages are quoted and discussed below, pp. 226-7. F. Blanchetiere (fn. 44), p. 377, observes that Justin is the first to establish "an explicit link between the defeat of the rebellions of 70 and 135 and their consequences—ruin of Jerusalem, deportation, implantation of non-Jewish population in Palestine— on the one hand and their direct responsibility for the death of Christ on the other" (cf. p. 382). 

56. E. Werner, Hebrew Union College Annual 37 (1966): 191-210. The formulae used by Melito, according to Werner, are particularly strong, explicit and unique. 

57. Translation by Gerald F. Hawthorne, "A New English Translation of Melito’s Paschal Homily," in Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, ed. G. F. Hawthorne, 1972, pp. 171-172. A. T. Kraabel expresses a legitimate surprise when he says: "I am unable to explain how a generation could read the Peri Pascha without calling attention to the implications of this . . . prolonged, bitter, personal attack on Israel" ("Melito the Bishop and the Synagogue at Sardis: Text and Context," Studies Presented to George M. A. Han fmann, 1971, p. 81). Kraabel explains that the bitterness of Melito’s attack was caused "by the size and power of the [Sardis] Jewish community" (ibid., p. 83). 

58. For references on the observance of both Sabbath and Sunday in the East, see below p. 234. 

59. The view of Ignatius, Barnabas and Justin on the Sabbath-Sunday question is discussed in chapter VII. 

60. Justin Martyr, Dialogue 23, 3; 29, 3; 16, 1; 21, 1. These texts are quoted and discussed below, pp. 223f. 

61. K. Bihlmeyer and H. Tuechle, Storia della Chiesa, 1969, I, p. 186, remark that Marcion’s Church irradiated its influence "in length and breadth with a surprising rapidity, in a special way in the East as far as Persia and Armenia, thus surpassing in extension and importance all other Gnostic groups." 

62. Tertullian argues against Marcion concerning the Sabbath saying: "even if as being not the Christ of the Jews, He [i.e., Christ of the N.T.] displayed a hatred against the Jews’ most solemn day, He was only professedly following the Creator, as being His Christ, in this very hatred of the Sabbath; for He exclaims by the mouth of Isaiah: "Your new moons and your Sabbaths my soul hateth" (Against Marcion 1, 1, ANF III, p. 271). The thrust of Tertullian’s lengthy and elaborate arguments, presented particularly in books 1, 2, 4, 5 of Against Marcion, is to show, contrary to what Marcion taught, that the type of Sabbath-keeping originally intended by the God of the Old Testament is identical to Christ’s teachings regarding it. There is therefore no contradiction but harmony between the teachings of the Old Testament and of the New Testament regarding Sabbath-keeping, inasmuch as they both derive from the same God who was the God of both dispensations. Note, however, that in his attempt to defend the oneness of the God of the Old and of the New Testament, Tertullian reduces the Sabbath to an institution which God has always despised. He does so by equating arbitrarily Isaiah 1:13 (a popular testimonium) with Christ’s attitude toward the Sabbath. 

63. Justin Martyr, I Apology 58, ANF I, p. 182; cf. I Apology 26, ANF I, p. 171: "Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive, ... by the aid of devils, has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies." The influence of Marcion was apparently so strongly felt in Rome even half a century later as to call for a refutation of his teachings by Hippolytus. Eusebius (HE 6, 22) and Jerome (De Viris illustribus 61) mention the treatise Against Marcion which Hippolytus wrote, but which, unfortunately, has not come down to us. 

64. Epiphanius, Adversus haereses 42, 3, 4; cf. Tertullian, Against Marcion 4, 12. 65. Yerushalmi, Shabbat 15, 3, quoted by Nathan A. Barack, A History of the Sabbath, 1965, p. 182, fn, 70; Barack provides additional sources and a good treatment of the Sabbath meals (ibid., pp. 100 and 182; cf. Judith 8:6; Jubilees 50:10,12,13; CDC 11:4,5; SB 1, p. 611ff.  

66. Augustine, Epistle to Casulanus 36, 6, NPNF 1st, 1, p. 267. 

67. The fact that in Milan Christians did not fast on the Sabbath is attested by the advice Ambrose gave to Monica, Augustine’s mother: "When I am here [i.e., in Milan] I do not fast on Saturday; but when I am in Rome, I do" (Augustine, Epistle to Casulanus 36, 32; NPNF 1st, I, p, 270; cf. also Augustine’s Epistle to Januarius 54, 3, Paulinus, Vita Ambrosii, ch. 38; the same difference existed in North Africa in the time of Augustine. In fact the Bishop writes: "It happens, especially in Africa, that one church, or the churches within the same district, have some members who fast and others who do not fast on the seventh day" (Epistle to Casulanus 36, 32, NPNF 1st, I, p. 270); Tertullian, referring to the Montanists, says that they did not fast "the Sabbaths and the Lord’s days" (On Fasting 15, ANF 112); Tertullian indicates the existence in North Africa of a similar divergence on the matter of kneeling on the Sabbath—a practice closely allied in meaning to that of the fast; see On Prayer 23; for an analysis of the Sabbath fast in Early Christianity, see Kenneth A. Strand, Essays on the Sabbath in Early Christianity, 1972, pp. 9-15, 25-43. 

68. F. A. Regan, Dies Dominica, p. 60, raises a significant question: "Thus while protecting the practices of the Church from false and misleading influences, nevertheless the Church of the East was very solicitous in preserving the special reverence due to both Saturday (the Sabbath), and the Lord’s Day. How is it then, one may rightly ask, that the day which the Church of the West kept as a fast day, the Church of the East celebrated as a festival?" Following the indications of J. Bingham, Regan explains that the veneration of the Sabbath in the East was due to both the influence of the new converts from the Synagogue and a reaction against the teaching of Marcion who fasted on the Sabbath to show his contempt for the God of the Old Testament whom he considered evil. J. Bingham, The Antiquities of the Christian Church, 1878, 111, p. 1139, points out: "The Jews being generally the first converts to the Christian faith, they still retained a mighty reverence for the Mosaic institutions, and especially for the Sabbath, as that which had been appointed by God Himself, as the memorial of his rest from the work of creation, settled by their great master, Moses, and celebrated by their ancestors for so many ages, as the solemn day of their public worship, and were therefore very loath it should be wholly antiquated and laid aside"; Joseph A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, Its Origin and Development, trans. by F. A. Brunner, 1959, I, p. 246, holds that the respect for the Sabbath in the East was a means of defence of the Christian community against the Manichean doctrine concerning the wicked nature of created matter; C. W. Dugmore, The Influence of the Synagogue upon the Divine Office, 1944, p. 38, believes that veneration for the Sabbath im the East "was reinforced continually by converts from Judaism"; P. Cotton, From Sabbath to Sunday, 1933, p. 66, similarly writes: "The East was more conservative, more closely in touch with Judaism and Judaistic Christianity." 

69. On Callistus, see Le Liber Pontificalis, texte, introduction et commentaire, ed. L. Duchesne, 1955, I, p. 141; Hippolytus, In Danielem commentarius 4, 20, 3, GCS I, p. 234; Sylvester, cited by S. R. E. Humbert, Adversus Graecorum calunrnias 6, PL 143, 936; Augustine, Epistle to Casulanus 36, 6, NPNF 1st, I, p. 267: "The Roman Church and some other churches, though few, near to it or remote from it observe a fast on that day." Innocent I, Ad Decentium, Epist. 25, 4, 7, PL 20, 555: "We do not deny the fast of the sixth day, but we affirm that it is to be kept even on the Sabbath." John Cassian, Institutes 3, 10, NPNF 2nd, XI, p. 218: "Some people in some countries of the West, and especially in the city [i.e., Rome]... think that a dispensation from fasting ought certainly not to be allowed on the Sabbath, because they say that on this day the Apostle Peter fasted before his encounter with Simon (Magus)." Cassian’s own comment is that Peter did not intend to establish a permanent canonical rule but fasted in view of the particular emergency of the time. Augustine similarly reports that though many thought that Peter instituted the Sabbath fast, yet, he adds, "many Romans maintain that it is false" (Epistle to Casulanus 36, 21, PL 33, 1168). 

70. Tertullian, On Fasting 14, ANE IV, p. 112; Augustine similarly associates the fasting of the weekly Sabbath fast with the annual paschal Sabbath fast. He explains, however, that while the weekly Sabbath fast was kept only by "the Church of Rome and some churches in the West . . . once a year, namely at Easter, all Christians observed the seventh day of the week by fasting" (Epistle to Casulanus 36, 31, NPNF 1st, I, p. 270). The fact that the weekly Sabbath fast, which only Rome and a few Western Churches kept, is related by Augustine to the annual one, strongly suggests that the former possibly developed as an extension of the latter. As W. Rordorf well observes, since "the whole of western Christendom by this time [i. e., Tertullian’s time] fasted on Holy Saturday, it would have been easy to have hit upon the idea of fasting on every Saturday (just as every Sunday was a little Easter)" (Sunday, p. 143). Rordorf suggests also that Tertullian’s position against the Sabbath fast may well reflect "Montanist influence" (Sunday, p. l45); K. A. Strand establishes by a chronological and comparative analysis of Tertullian’s writings that Tertullian’s attitude toward the Sabbath evolved from negative initially, to positive in his later Montanist period (fn. 66, pp. 25-42); the same prohibition to fast on the Sabbath with the exception of the annual Paschal Sabbath fast, is found in the Apostolic Constitutions 5, 15, 20 and in the Apostolic Canons 64. 

71. Hippolytus, In Danielem commentarius 4,20,3, GCS I, p. 234, Hippolytus’ statement "Even today they are ordering (xcd y&p v~3v) the fast on the Sabbath" can hardly be construed to allude to the seasonal fast enjoined by Callistus, since the verb (present indicative) indicates a practice continuing from the past to the present. 

72. The date of composition of Hippolytus’ Commentary on Daniel is given by various scholars between A.D. 202 and 234; see Johannes Quasten, Patrology, 1953, II, p. 171. 

73. Cf. Johannes Quasten (fn. 72), II, pp. 163-165. 

74. See above fn. 68. 

75. Siricius, Epistula 7, Adversus Jovinianuni, PL 13, 1168. 

76. Augustine, Epistle to Casulanus 36, 27, NPNF 1st, I, p. 268; again in par. 4 of the same letter Augustine limits the practice of the Sabbath fast to "the Roman Christians, and hitherto a few of the Western communities." 

77. John Cassian, Institutes 3,10, NPNF 2nd, II, 218. 

78. M. Righetti, L’Anno liturgico, manuale di storia liturgica, 1969, II, p. 39. 

79. R. L. Odom, "The Sabbath in A.D. 1054," AUSS 1 (1963): 74-80. 

80. Tertullian, On Fasting 13, ANF IV, p. 111; L. Duchesne, Christian Worship: Its Origin and Evolution, 1927, p. 231, argues that the Roman Saturday fast originated as a prolongation of the weekly Friday fast. He bases his conclusion on the fact that the Sabbath fast is commonly designated as "the prolongation—superpositio" or by similar expressions which imply that it was regarded as the continuation of the Friday fast; cf. Victorinus of Pettau, On the Creation of the World 5; Tertullian, On Fasting 14; Canon 26 of the Council of Elvira (Mansi II, p. 10). 

81. Didascalia Apostolorum 14, 19, trans. H. Connolly, 1929, pp. 184 and 190. W. Rordorf points out that "in the Didascalia the institution of the Sabbath is interpreted as a ‘preventive punishment’ of the Jewish people" (Sabbat, p. 40). The Sabbath, in fact, according to the Didascalia, was laid upon the Jews as a perpetual "mourning for their destruction" (ibid., p. 190). Justin, as we shall see, regards the Sabbath in a similar fashion (see below p. 226). 

82. Apostolic Constitutions 5, 18, ANF VII, p. 447. The anti-Judaic motivations for the paschal Sabbath fast appear again in the same document. For instance, while fasting, Christians are "to bewail over them [i.e., the Jews], because when the Lord came they did not believe on Him, but rejected His doctrine" (5, 15, p. 445). Epiphanius also affirms: "In fact the very apostles establish: ‘when they [i.e., the Jews] feast, we should mourn for them with fasting, because in that feast they fastened Christ on the Cross" (Adversus haereses 70, 11, PG 42, 359-360). P. Cotton, From Sabbath to Sunday, 1933, p. 67, remarks: "We may well assume that anti-Jewish considerations, so prominent in Victorinus, were by no means absent as a factor in hastening the observance of the Sabbath fast"; similarly Righetti comments: "One notices in some churches in the East, as well as in Rome and Spain, a strong tendency to emphasize the Sabbath with a fast, probably because of a certain anti-Semitism, as Victorinus of Pettau in Stiria (d. ca. A.D. 300) leaves us to suppose" (fn. 87, p. 195); see also the texts and comments that follow. 

83. See above fn. 69. 

84. C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, p. 204, suggests that "the weekly Sabbath fast developed from the fast of Holy Saturday, since Sunday was regarded as a little commemoration of the resurrection. 

According to Epiphanius (Adversus haereses 42, 3, 3), this could have been influenced by Marcion’s hate for the Jewish Sabbath as well as for the ancient law." 

85. S. R. E. Humbert. Adversus Graecorum calumnias 6, PL 143, 937 (emphasis supplied). This treatise was composed in the form o~"a debate about the year 1054 by Cardinal Humbert. The Cardinal had been sent by Pope Leo IX early in 1054 as papal nuncio to Constantinople to endeavor to bring back the Greeks into conformity with the religious practices of the Roman (Latin) Church. The mission however did not succeed. The treatise was composed as a further attempt to dissuade the Greeks from holding on to certain divergent religious practices such as the veneration of the Sabbath. The significance of the document for our study is twofold: (1) it substantiates the existing divergent attitude toward the Sabbath between the East and the West; (2) it quotes the earlier testimony of Pope Sylvester (ca. AD. 314-335) which offers additional insights into the motivations for the Sabbath fast. The authenticity of Pope Sylvester’s statement is confirmed (1) by the fact that Humbert quotes accurately other documents such as the famous decretal of Innocent I (see fn. 90) and (2) by the fact that Popes like Hadrian I (Epist. 70, ad Egilam Episcopum, PL 98, 335) and Nicolas I (Epist. 152, Ad Hincma rum, PL 119, 115f) refer to Sylvester’s statement to defend the Roman Sabbath fast. 

86. Augustine, Epistle to Casulanus 36,4, NPNF 1st, I, p. 266, refutes the charge of an anonymous Roman Metropolitan who claimed that those Christians who eat their meals on the Sabbath "are sons of the bond-woman ... and prefer Jewish rites to those of the Church." These charges are indicative of the unusual effort put forth by the Church of Rome to discourage the veneration of the Sabbath, regarded as a Jewish institution. 

87. Victorinus, On the Creation of the World, 5, ANF VII, p. 342. 

88. Note that Victorinus (fn. 86) admonishes also to "fast rigorously on the parasceve [i.e., Friday]." The same injunction is found in the Didascalia Apostolorum 21 where Christians are exhorted to fast on "Friday and the Sabbath" for what the Jews did to Christ, but to "eat and make good cheer, and rejoice and be glad [on Sunday], because that the earnest of our resurrection, Christ, is risen" (Connolly, p. 190); Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea (Mansi 2:570) orders "that Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord’s day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians." In these texts the order to fast or to work on the Sabbath seems to be designed on the one hand to depreciate the Sabbath and on the other hand to enhance the prestige and the solemnity of Sunday. We may wonder in what way the Friday fast contributed to avoiding any semblance of Jewish Sabbath observance. The answer seems to be found in the fact that the extension of the Friday fast over the Sabbath made the fast of the second day particularly severe. L. Duchesne (fn. 79), p. 233, notes that "the Sabbath fast was most severe, since no food could have been eaten since the Thursday night." 

89. Victorinus, see fn. 86. 

90. This was the view of Tertullian, On Prayer 19, ANE III, p. 68. To reconcile the keeping of the fast with the partaking of the Eucharist, Tertullian suggested to those who were troubled in their conscience, to take the "Lord’s Body" home and to eat it after the completion of the fast (bc. cit.). 

91. Innocent I, Ad Decentium, Epist. 25, 4,7, PL 20, 555; the letter is passed into the Corpus Juris, c. 13, d. 3 De Consecratione. 

92 Socrates, Ecclesiastical History 5, 22; NPNF 2nd, II, p. 132. 

93. See above pp. 177f. and below pp. 205-207. 

94. Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History 7, 19, NPNF 2nd, II, p. 390. 

95. C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, p. 330, aptly remarks: "In the weekly liturgical celebrations, Rome differentiated herself from all the Eastern communities as well as from many in the West, drawing nearer somewhat to the usages of Alexandria. First of all, Friday and Saturday were non-liturgical as far as the celebration of the Eucharist is concerned. Already concerning Alexandria, the testimony of Socrates has been reported. While in all the Churches of the Christian World it was customary to celebrate the Eucharist on the Sabbath, the Alexandrians and the Romans, on account of an ancient tradition, refused to do so; this information is confirmed by Sozomen. Further on, while in all the Churches of the Orient, at Milan and in Africa because of the veneration for the Sabbath day one would not fast, at Rome and in Spain on the contrary such a day was consecrated to fasting." He also suggests that Rome influenced the disappearance of the veneration of the Sabbath: "Perhaps in this the example of Rome (which never had any special cult on the Sabbath) must have acted and been influential" (ibid., p. 354). 

96. See above pp. 165-167. 

97. Eusebius’ account of the Easter controversy is found in his HE 5,23-24. 

98. It is difficult to accept Eusebius’ claim that with the exception of "the dioceses of Asia, ... the churches throughout the rest of the world" celebrated Easter on Sunday (HE 5,23,1) when we consider the following facts: (1) Pope Victor (ca. A.D. 189-199) demanded the convocation of councils in various provinces to codify the Roman Easter (Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 8) obviously because a divergent custom existed. (2) The bishops of Palestine who assembled together to discuss the matter, according to Eusebius, "treated at length the tradition concerning the passover" and then they formulated a conciliar letter which was sent "to every diocese that we [i.e., the bishops] may not be guilty toward those who easily deceive their own souls" (HE 5,25, 1). The lengthy discussion and the formulation of a conciliar letter aimed at persuading and preventing the resistance of the dissidents (possibly Judaco-Christians who had not been invited to the Council) again indicates that in Palestine by the end of the second century there were still Christians who persisted in the observance of the Quartodeciman Passover. (3) The following testimonies of the Fathers indicate a wider observance of the Quartodeciman Passover than conceded by Eusebius: Epistola Apostolorunt 15; two fragments from two works of Hippolytus (one of them was on the Holy Easter) preserved in the Chronicon Paschale 6 (PG 92, 79) where he states: "Consider therefore in what the controversy consists ..." This would imply that the controversy was still alive in his time and feh possibly in Rome; Athanasius of Alexandria, who mentions the "Syrians, Cilicians, and Mesopotamians" as observant of the Quartodeciman Passover (see his de Synodis 1, 5 and ad Afros Epistola Synodica 2); Jerome, who paraphrases a statement from Irenaeus’ work, On the Paschal Controversy, where the latter warns Pope Victor not to break the unity with "the many bishops of Asia and the East, who with the Jews celebrated the Passover, on the fourteenth day of the new moon" (see De Viris Illustribus 35, NPNF, 2nd, III, p. 370); a fragment of Apollinarius, Bishop of Hierapolis (ca. A.D. 170) from his work on Easter, preserved in the Chronicon Paschale 6 (PG 92, 80-81), where it says: "The 14th Nisan is the true Passover of our Lord, the great Sacrifice; instead of the lamb, we have the Lamb of God"; Severian, Bishop of Gabala (f 1. ca. A.D. 400), who strongly attacks those Christians who still maintained the Jewish Passover ritual (see his Homilia 5 de Pascha, ed. J. B. Aucher [Venice: 1827], p. 180; Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis (ca. A.D. 315-403) deals extensively with the Quartodeciman controversy in his Adversus haereses 50 and 70. The Bishop suggests in various instances that the Quartodeciman custom, which he calls "heresy," was widespread. He writes, for instance: "And another heresy, namely the Quartodeciman, arose—rose up again) in the world—anekupse palim to kosmo" (Adversus haereses 50, 1, PG 41, 883). On the basis of these testimonies we would concur with Jean Juster’s comment that Eusebius is guilty of "wilful obscurity" when minimizing and limiting the observance of the Quartodeciman Passover only to the dioceses of Asia (Les Juifs dans l’empire romain, 1965, p. 309, fn. 3). 

99. Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 14. 

100. Hadrian’s repressive policy toward the Jews is discussed above pp. 159-62. 

101. Epiphanius, Adversus haereses 70,9 PG 42, 355-356; the passage is examined in my Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, 1975, pp. 45-52; cf. above p. 161. 

121. M. Richard, "La question pascale au IIe siècle," L’Orient Syrien 6 (1961):185-188. Richard’s view that Easter-Sunday was first introduced by the Greek bishops of Jerusalem is difficult to accept, not only because these did not enjoy sufficient authority to influence the greater part of Christianity, but also because the necessity of a differentiation from Judaism arose, as we have seen, earlier in Rome than in Palestine. However, Richard’s conclusion that the Easter-controversy started at the time of Hadrian with the introduction of Easter-Sunday, deserves credibility, since our informer, Epiphanius, a native of Palestine, was interested in the traditions of his country and possessed documents which have since disappeared. He mentions, for instance, the conflict between Alexander of Alexandria and Crescentius on the problem of Passover, which is not reported by others (Adversus haereses 70, 9, PG 42, 356B). For a thorough analysis of the thesis of Richard, see Christine Mohrmann, "Le conflict pascal au lie siécle," Vigiliae Chris tianae 16 (1962): 154-171; see also p. Nautin, Lettres et écrivains chrètiens des IIe et IIIe siècles, 1961, pp. 65-104. 

102. The expression "Roman—Easter" as a designation of Easter-Sunday is frequently used by C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, pp. 117, 119, 333; cf. also M. Righetti (fn. 78), II, pp. 245-246. This does not mean that in Rome only Easter-Sunday was observed. A statement of Irenaeus suggests otherwise. He says: "The presbyters before thee who did not observe it [i.e., the Quartodeciman Passover], sent the Eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it" (cited by Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 15). The Eucharist (a small piece of consecrated bread called "Fermentum"), was in fact sent by the Bishop of Rome as a symbol of communio to the main churches—tituli—-inside and outside the city and to not-too-faraway bishops (for a discussion of the problem, see C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, p. 333; V. Monachino, La Cura pastorale a Milano, Cartagine e Roma nel secolo IV, 1947, p. 281; L. Hertling, Communio, 1961, p. 13; cf. Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica 22). The fact that the Eucharist was sent to Quartodeciman Christians living in Rome or in its outlying districts, indicates not only that they were present in Rome, but also that the predecessors of Victor had maintained Christian fellowship with them. C. J. Hefele explains the aversion of Victor against the Quartodeciman Passover as a reaction against a certain Blastus, who according to Tertullian (De prescriptione 53) "wanted to introduce Judaism secretly" (A History of the Christian Councils, 1883, I, pp. 312-313). Canon 14 of the Council of Laodicea forbade the sending of the Eucharist to other parishes, which shows that the custom prevailed till the fourth century. 

104. Eusebius writes that the churches which celebrated Easter on Sunday, leaned on an "apostolic tradition" (HE 5, 23, 1). Irenaeus, however, though a supporter of the Roman—Easter, does not refer to the Apostles, but to "earlier times—kai polu," mentioning specifically Bishop Sixtus (ca. A.D. 116-125) as the first non-observant of the Quartodeciman Passover. It is possible then that "earlier times" might refer to Sixtus’ time. W. Rordorf, "Zum Ursprung des Osterfestes am Sonntag," Theologische Zeitschrift 18 (1962):167-189, argues for the apostolic origin of the Roman Easter. B. J. Van Der Veken, "De primordis liturgiae paschalis," Sacris Erud. (1962): 500f., holds, on the contrary, that while the Quartodeciman Passover has an effective apostolicity, less probable is that of the Roman—Easter. Kenneth A. Strand (see Three Essays on Early Church with Emphasis on the Roman Province of Asia, 1967, pp. 33-45), advances persuasive arguments in support of the thesis that possibly "Rome and other places where Peter and Paul labored did indeed receive from these apostles a Sunday-Easter tradition, whereas Asia received from John a Quartodeciman observance" (p. 36). Strand’s arguments are basically the following: (1) The 364-days fixed solar "priestly" calendar used by various sectarian groups like the Qumranites where the day of omer or first fruit was celebrated always on Sunday, could well have been adopted by a segment of Early Christianity. (2) A Roman innovation could not have "so successfully and universally supplanted an apostolic tradition at so early a period, especially at a time when the flow of Christian tradition was still definitely from East to West rather than vice versa" (p. 35). (3) Irenaeus, reared in Asia, a disciple of John and defender of the apostolic tradition, would hardly have yielded to the Quartodeciman tradition for the Easter-Sunday, if the latter had no apostolic authority. (4) The geographical distribution of the two customs given by Eusebius (supposedly only the Asian Christians observed the Quartodeciman Passover) fits with the geographical sphere of influence traditionally attributed to Peter and Paul. While it must be admitted that these arguments have been cogently formulated, it would seem to us that they do not take into account the following facts: (1) Various sources (see above fns. 97 and 102) suggest that the Quartodeciman Passover was far more widespread than Eusebius is willing to admit. In fact, prior to Pope Victor’s time, it seems to have been practiced by some Churches even in Rome (see fn. 102). The fact that Irenaeus refers to "the presbyters before Soter" (Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 14), by-passing the latter, as examples of Bishops who allowed the observance of the Quartodeciman Passover, suggests that the change in the Roman policy on the Easter question took place at the time of Soter. L. Duchesne, a renowned Hellenist, notes in this regard that "under Soter, successor of Anicetus, the relations seem to have been more tense" (Histoire ancienne de l’Église, 1889, I, p. 289. In Gaul, however, the two divergent Easter celebrations seem to have co-existed, even at the time of Irenaeus, without causing major problems. In fact Irenaeus testifies: "We also live in peace with one another and our disagreement in the fast confirms our agreement in the faith" (HE 5, 24,13). (2) The Easter controversy, as we have noticed (see above pp. 161-2), according to Epiphanius, "arose after the time of the exodus of the bishops of the circumcision" (PG 42, 355, 356). This statement seems to imply that prior to that time, Easter-Sunday was unknown in Palestine and probably was practiced only by a few Christians in the rest of the world. If this were so, then Irenaeus’ reference to Sixtus (ca. A. D. 115-125) as the first non-observer of the Quartodeciman Passover (HE 5,24, 14) should be regarded not as a passing or casual example, but rather as accurate historical information. (3) It is rather inconceivable that a man like Paul could have been influenced by a sectarian calendar that laid stress on days and that he should have introduced it in the areas where he labored, since, as P. K. Jewett notes, "he is the only New Testament writer who warns his converts against the observance of days (Col. 2:17; Gal. 4:10; Rom. 14:6)" (Lord’s Day, p. 56). Furthermore, it should be noticed that Paul respected the normative Pharisaic-rabbinic calendar as is indicated by the fact that he hastened to be at Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16; cf., I Cor. 16:8). In fact Paul’s free public ministry ended (ca. A.D. 58-60) at the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost, while undergoing the rite of purification to demonstrate to the Jewish brethren that he also was living "in observance of the law" (Acts 21:25; see above pp. 148-51). (4) Concerning Irenaeus, while on the one hand it is true that he had been reared in Asia and that he was a defender of the apostolic succession, on the other hand it should be noted (a) that he always advocated peace and compromise as indicated not only by his letter to Bishop Victor but also by his embassy to Bishop Eleutherus, Victor’s predecessor, on behalf of the Montanists (see Eusebius, HE 5,4, 1; 5, 3, 4); (b) that he had studied in Rome and was serving the Church in the West (Bishop of Lyons from ca. A.D. 177); (c) that he greatly respected and supported the Church of Rome founded "by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul" and with which "every church should agree, on account of its preeminent authority" (Adversus haereses 3, 2, ANF I, 415). (5) The authority that the Bishop of Rome exerted by the end of the second century should not be underestimated. It is worth noting that even though Polycrates disagreed with Victor on the observance of the Passover, he complied with the Bishop’s order to summon a council. In fact he states: "I could mention the bishops who are present whom you required me to summon and I did so" (Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 8). Similarly Irenaeus did not challenge Victor’s right to excommunicate the Asian Christians, but only advised a more magnanimous attitude (see below pp. 207f.). (6) The conflict and tension between Judaism and the Empire, which became particularly acute under Hadrian, may well have induced Bishop Sixtus to take steps to substitute those distinctive Jewish festivities as the Passover and the Sabbath with new dates and theological motivations, in order to avoid any semblance of Judaism. The anti-Judaic motivations for both the Paschal and weekly Sabbath fast would seem to provide additional support to this hypothesis (see above. pp. 193f.). All these indications seem to challenge and discredit the hypothesis of an apostolic origin of the Roman—Easter tradition. 

105. The conciliar decree of the Council of Nicaea specifically enjoined:  

"All the brethren in the East who formerly celebrated Easter with the Jews, vdll henceforth keep it at the same time as the Romans, with us and with all those who from ancient times have celebrated the feast at the same time with us" (Ortiz De Urbina, Nicèe et Constantinople, 1963, I, p. 259; cf. Socrates, Historia Ecclesiastica 1,9). 

106. Constantine, after having deplored the disagreements existing concerning such a renowned feast, exhorts all the bishops to embrace "the practice which is observed at once in the city of Rome, and in Africa; throughout Italy, and in Egypt" (Eusebius, Life of Constantine 3, 19, NPNF 2nd, I, p. 525); cf. Chronicon Paschale, PG 92, 83 where it is reported that Constantine urged all Christians to follow the custom of "the ancient church of Rome and Alexandria."  

107. Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus 7, ANF I, pp. 569-570. 

108. Tertullian, De Corona 3,4, CCL 2, 1043; in the treatise On Idolatry  14, Tertullian, referring to the pagans, similarly writes: "Not the Lord’s  day, not Pentecost, even if they had known them, would they have shared  with us; for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians"  (ANF III, p. 70). 

109. F. A. Regan, Dies Dominica, p. 97. 

110. Origen, Homilia in Isaiarn 5, 2, GCS 8, 265, 1. 

111. Eusebius, De solemnitate paschali 7, 12, PG 24, 701A; cf. also 706C. 

112. Innocent I, see fn. 90; cf. Athanasius, Epistolae paschales, PG 

26, 1389. 

113. J. Jeremias, "Pascha" TDNT V. p. 903, fn. 64.  

114. J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, 1885, II, part I, p. 88. The full statement reads: "In the Paschal controversy of the second century the bishops of Jerusalem, Caesarea, Tyre and Ptolemais ranged themselves not with Asia Minor, which regulated the Easter festival by Jewish passover, but with Rome and Alexandria, thus avoiding even the semblance of Judaism." 

115. M. Righetti (fn. 78), II, p. 246. 

115. Eusebius, Life of Constantine 3, 18-19, NPNF 2nd, I, pp. 524-525 (emphasis supplied). The letter is found also in Socrates, Historia Ecclesiastica 1,9; Theodoret, Historia Eccl,esiastica 1, 10. The anti-Judaic motivation for the adoption of a new Easter date is explicitly expressed also in an earlier document, Pseudo-Cyprian, De Pascha computus, trans. G. Ogg, 1955, where paragraph I says: "we desire to show ... that Christians need at no time ... to walk in blindness and stupidity behind the Jews as though they did not know what was the day of Passover . . ." (written ca. A.D. 243). 

117. A fitting example is provided by the development of the patriarchal authority of the Bishop of Constantinople. At the Council held in that city in A.D. 381, he was given honorary pre-eminence after the Bishop of Rome, and in 451, in spite of the objections of the Pope, patriarchal powers were formally conferred upon him (canon 28); cf. Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (1908), s.v. "Constantinople," by S. Vailhe. 

118. Clement says, for instance: "If any disobeys what has been said by him [i.e., Christ] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no slight transgression or danger" (59:1-2, trans. by E. Goodspeed, The Apostolic Fathers, 1950, p. 78). Irenaeus acknowledges Clement’s authority when he writes: "In the time of this Clement the Church of Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians" (Adversus haereses 3,3,3, ANF 1, p. 416). 

119. J. Lebreton and J. Zeiller (fn. 10), p. 413. 

120. Karl Baus, From the Apostolic Community to Constantine, 1965, p. 152. 

121. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 3, 3, 1, ANF 1, p. 415. 

122. Loc. cit. 

123. On Irenaeus’ mission regarding the Montanist heresy, see Eusebius, HE 5, 3, 4 and 5, 4, 1; on his intervention on the Easter controversy, see Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 12-18. 

124. P. Batiffol (fn. 6), p. 227, writes concerning the excommunication that Bishop Victor pronounced against Polycrates: "The Bishop of Rome condemns their observance of Easter as a usage that is against the Canon of the Apostolic faith, and he cuts them off, not from the Roman, but from the Catholic communion. He is conscious then, that such a sentence on his part is legitimate. Irenaeus protests against the excommunication of the Asiatics, it is true, but he does not dream of questioning Victor’s power to pronounce this excommunication." 

125. Eusebius, HE 5, 24, 8 (emphasis supplied). 

126. Eusebius, HE 5,24, 9, NPNF 2nd, I, p. 242. Some argue that Eusebius does not really say that Victor excommunicated the Asiatic churches. It is hard, however, to understand Eusebius’ words to mean anything else than that he did actually cut off communion with them. This is also what Socrates says in his His toria Ecclesiastica 5, 22. 

127. P. Batiffol (fn. 6), p. 225. 

128. Tertullian, On Prescription Against Heretics 26, ANF III, p. 260. 

129. For a concise discussion of these various historical episodes expressing the consciousness of a preeminent position of the Roman church, see Karl Baus (fn. 119), pp. 355-360; cf. Giuseppe D’Ercole, Communio-Collegialità-Primato e sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum dai Vangeli a Costantino, 1964, pp. 157-205, who provides also an extensive bibliography; Jean Colson, L’Épisco pat catholique, 1963. 

130. The role of the Church of Rome in the adoption of December 25 as the date for the celebration of Christmas is discussed below, pp. 256-61. 

131. 0. Cullmann, Early Christian Worship, 1966, p. 10. 

132. P. V. Monachino (fn. 103), p. 407. Leonard Goppelt, Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Times, 1970, p. 126, writes concerning the role of Rome as follows: "The Church of Rome had already gained a certain superiority early in the history of the Church. It became prominent as the church of the capital of the world (Rom. 1:8, 16:16), as the meeting point of the entire Church (cf. the greetings in Rom. 16; Col. 4; I Peter 5:13), as the abode of Peter and Paul (Ignatius, Romans 4, 3; 1 Clem. V. 4f.), and as the first great church to suffer as martyr (Rev. 17:6). Because of all this, as Luke points out she became to a certain extent the successor of Christian Jerusalem, and as I Clement demonstrates, she thus assumed the responsibility for other churches." 

133. C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, p. 354. 

134. Bruce Metzger acknowledges that the need for Christians in the West to separate from the Jews provides "a reasonable historical explanation" for "the difference between East and West in the observance of the Sabbath.... In the West, particularly after the Jewish rebellion under Hadrian, it became vitally important for those who were not Jews to avoid exposing themselves to suspicion; and the observance of the Sabbath was one of the most noticeable indications of Judaism. In the East, however, less opposition was shown to Jewish institutions" (Studies in the Lectionary Text of the Greek New Testament, 1944, II, sec. 3, p. 12). 

135. W. D. Davies, Christian Origins and Judaism, n.d., p. 74

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