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


Rome and the Origin
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Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday

Sun-Worship and the Origin of Sunday

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FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY:  
A HISTORICAL INVESTIGATION OF THE RISE OF SUNDAY OBSERVANCE IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY 

Chapter 7

ANTI-JUDAISM AND THE ORIGIN OF SUNDAY

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., Andrews University

Ignatius, Barnabas and Justin, whose writings constitute our major source of information for the first half of the second century, witnessed and participated in the process of separation from Judaism which led the majority of the Christians to abandon the Sabbath and adopt Sunday as the new day of worship. Their testimonies therefore, coming from such an early period, assume a vital importance for our inquiry into the causes of the origin of Sunday observance 


Ignatius

According to Irenaeus, Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch at the time of Trajan (A.D. 98-117).1 The Bishop argues "against the Judaizing tendencies of his territory, which, not far geographically from Palestine, had suffered the influences of the synagogue and of the Judaeo-Christians."2 His language suggests that the separation from Judaism was in progress, though the ties had not yet been severed.3 In fact the tenacious survival and veneration of Jewish institutions such as the Sabbath is explicitly mentioned by this author. For instance, in his Epistle to the Magnesians Ignatius writes, "For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor. For the most divine prophets lived in accordance with Jesus Christ (ch. 8:1,2)." 

In the following chapter he refers again to these Old Testament prophets "who lived in ancient ways" and who "attained a new hope, no longer sabbatizing but living according to the Lord’s life (or Lord’s day—meketi sabbatizontes kata kuriaken zoen zowntes)."5 The necessity to renounce Jewish customs is again urged in chapter 10:3, where the warning is given that "it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like the Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism but Judaism in Christianity." In his letter to the Philadelphians the Bishop similarly admonishes that "if anyone expounds Judaism to you, do not listen to him. For it is better to hear Christianity from a man who is circumcised than Judaism from one who is uncircumcised" (ch. 6 :1). 

These frequent recommendations to abandon the practice of Judaism imply a strong leaning toward Jewish practices within the Christian communities of Asia Minor. In this climate it is hardly conceivable that a radical break from Sabbath keeping had already taken place. On the other hand, the condemnation of Jewish practices such as "sabbatizing," that is, the observance of the Sabbath according to Jewish manner, 6 and the exhortation "to live according to the life of the Lord," in the course of time may well have motivated the adoption not only of a way of life but even of a day of worship which would be different from the one of the Jews. The introduction of Sunday-keeping could then be part of the process of differentiation from Judaism which became necessary for reasons mentioned earlier. 

Was Sunday already observed by few or by many in the province of Asia at the time of Ignatius (ca. A.D. 115)? This can hardly be established by the problematic passage of Magnesians 9:1. The key sentence "no longer sabbatizing but living according to the Lord’s life (or Lord’s day)," in recent times has been subjected to considerable scrutiny by various scholars.7  

To read in the passage a reference to Sunday, it is necessary either to insert the substantive "day—hemeran" or to assume that the latter is implied by the usage of a cognate accusative. But, as pointed out by Fritz Guy, "in the seven letters there is no appearance of such a cognate accusative construction."8 This would be the only exception. Moreover the noun "life—zoen" is present in the oldest extant Greek manuscript (Codex Mediceus Laurentinus); thus "Lord’s life" is the most likely translation. 

More significant still is the context. As Kenneth A. Strand concisely and incisively remarks, "Regardless of what "Lord’s Day" may have meant either in Magnesia or in Antioch and regardless of whether or not Ignatius intended a cognate accusative, the context reveals that it is not the early Christians who are pictured as ‘no longer sabbatizing,’ but that it is the Old Testament prophets who are described . . . Surely Ignatius knew that the Old Testament prophets observed the seventh day of the week, not the first! The contrast here, then, is not between days as such, but between ways of life—between the Jewish ‘sabbatizing’ way of life and the newness of life symbolized for the Christian by Christ’s resurrection."9  

The "sabbatizing" then which Ignatius condemns, in the context of the conduct of the prophets, could hardly be the repudiation of the Sabbath as a day, but rather, as R. B. Lewis, asserts, "the keeping of the Sabbath in a certain manner—Judaizing."10 This in fact is the sense which is explicitly given to the text in the interpolated long recension: 

"Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness.11 . . . But let every one of you keep the Sabbath in a spiritual manner, rejoicing in the meditation on the law, not in the relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, nor walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them."12 

The fact that Ignatius urges Christians to stop "practicing Judaism" (Magnesians 8:1) or "living like the Jews" (10:3) and to follow the example of the prophets in not judaizing on the Sabbath, implies that many Christians were still following traditional Jewish customs, especially in the matter of Sabbathkeeping. If such were the case, it would hardly seem reasonable to presume that Christians in Asia had already radically abandoned the Sabbath and were observing solely Sunday. 

Let us note, on the other hand, that Ignatius, by urging Christians to differentiate themselves from Jewish practices such as "sabbatizing," offers us significant insight on how the existence of anti-Judaizing attitudes and efforts contributed to the adoption of Sunday observance. We have indications, however, that in the East the substitution of the Sabbath by Sunday worship was gradual since Jewish observances there constituted, as A. P. Hayman points out, "a perennial attraction . . . for the Christian."13  

The constant influx of converts from the synagogue may well have contributed to maintain a constant admiration toward Jewish rites like the Sabbath.14 Numerous Eastern Fathers in fact fought constantly against the Sabbath which many Christians observed in addition to Sunday.15 In the West, particularly in Rome, however, we have found that the break with Judaism occurred earlier and more radically, causing the replacement of Jewish festivities such as the Sabbath and Passover. 


Barnabas

The Epistle of Barnabas, dated by the majority of the scholars between A.D. 130 and 138,16 was written by a pseudonymous Barnabas probably at Alexandria, a cosmopolitan cultural center where the conflict between Jews and Christians was particularly acute 17 Two major reasons make the epistle important for our present investigation. First, because it does contain the first explicit reference to the observance of Sunday, denominated as "eighth day." Secondly, because it reveals how the social and theological polemics and tensions which existed at that time between Jews and Christians played a key role in the devaluation of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday by many Christians. 

A careful reading of the Epistle of Barnabas reveals that the author purposes to demonstrate the total repudiation on the part of God of Judaism as a true religion. While Ignatius condemns the "judaizing" of some Christians, Barnabas rejects totally "Judaism" both as a theological and a social system. It would seem that the author’s attacks are directed particularly, as A. Harnack observes, "against Judaizing Christians who probably wanted to safeguard Jewish religious beliefs and customs."18 In fact, Barnabas categorically condemns those Christians who leaned toward a position of compromise with the Jews, saying, "take heed to yourselves and be not like some, piling up your sins and saying that the covenant is theirs as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it . . ." (4 :6-7).19 

In order to persuade these Judaizing Christians to abandon Jewish beliefs and practices, Barnabas launches a twofold at tack against the Jews: he defames them as a people and he empties their religious beliefs and practices of any historical validity by allegorizing their meaning. As a people, the Jews are described as "wretched men" (16:1) who were deluded by an evil angel (9:5) and who "were abandoned" by God because of their ancient idolatry (5 :14). They drove "his prophets to death" (5 :12) and they crucified Christ "setting him at naught and piercing him and spitting upon him" (7:9).  

As to the fundamental Jewish beliefs (such as the sacrificial system, the covenant, the promised land, the circumcision, the levitical laws, the Sabbath and the temple) the writer endeavors to demonstrate that they do not apply literally to the Jews, since they have a deeper allegorical meaning which finds its fulfillment in Christ and in the spiritual experience of the Christians.20 The writer however, as J. B. Lightfoot points out, even though he "is an uncompromising antagonist of Judaism, . . . beyond this antagonism he has nothing in common with the anti-Judaic heresies of the second century."21 W. H. Shea rightly observes in fact that "on many of the cardinal beliefs of Christendom the author is quite orthodox."22 

The repudiation of and separation from Judaism on the part of Barnabas represents then, not the expression of a heretical movement, but a necessity felt by the Christian community of Alexandria. However, the allegorical method and extreme attitude of the writer testifies, as J. Lebreton aptly remarks, "not indeed to the deep thought of the Church, but, at least, to the danger which Judaism constituted for it, and the Church’s reaction to the danger."23  

The depreciation of the Sabbath and the introduction of the "eighth day" is part of this attempt which the author makes to destroy the strongholds of Judaism. His reasoning deserves attention. He writes: "1. Further, then, it is written about the sabbath also in the Ten Words which God uttered to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai, ‘And treat the sabbath of the Lord as holy with clean hands and a pure heart.’ 2. And in another place he says, ‘If my sons keep the sabbath, I will let my mercy rest upon them.’ 3. He mentions the sabbath at the beginning of the creation: ‘And in six days God made the works of his hands, and ended on the seventh day, and he rested on it and made it holy.’ 4. Observe, children, what ‘he ended in six days’ means. This is what it means, that in six thousand years the Lord will bring all things to an end, for a day with him means a thousand years. He himself bears me witness, for he says, ‘Behold, a day of the Lord will be like a thousand years.’ Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be brought to an end. 5. ‘And he rested the seventh day’ means this: When his Son comes and destroys the time of the lawless one, and judges the ungodly and changes the sun and moon and stars, then he will rest well on the seventh day. 6. Further he says, ‘You shall treat it as holy, with clean hands and a pure heart.’ If, then, anyone can now, by being pure in heart, treat as holy the day God declared holy, we are entirely deceived. 7. Observe that we will find true rest and treat it as holy only when we shall be able to do so having ourselves been made upright and had the promise fulfilled, when there is no more disobedience, but all things have been made new by the Lord. Then we shall be able to treat it as holy, after we have first been made holy ourselves. 8. Further he says to them, ‘Your new moons and sabbaths I cannot endure.’ You see what it means: it is not the present sabbaths that are acceptable to me, but the one that I have made, on which, having brought everything to rest, I will make the beginning of an eighth day, that is, the beginning of another world. 9. This is why we also observe the eighth day with rejoicing, on which Jesus also arose from the dead, and having shown himself ascended to heaven (ch. 15)."24 

Three basic arguments are advanced by Barnabas to invalidate Sabbath observance: 

(1) The rest of the seventh day is not a present experience but an eschatological rest that will be realized at the coming of Christ when all things will be changed (vv. 4-5). 

(2) The sanctification of the Sabbath is impossible for man at the present time since he himself is impure and unholy. This will be accomplished in the future "after we have first been made holy ourselves" (vv. 6-7). 

(3) God has explicitly declared , "Your new moons and sabbaths I cannot endure"; therefore the present sabbaths are not acceptable to Him, but only the one which is future. This will mark the beginning of the eighth day, that is, of a new world (v. 8). 

With these arguments Barnabas, "utilizing this weapon of allegorical exegesis,"25 empties the Sabbath of all its validity for the present age, endeavoring to defend the church from the influence of such an important Jewish institution. His effort to supersede the Sabbath by means of these intricate allegorical and eschatological argumentations is an implicit recognition of the influence that the Sabbath was still exerting in the Christian community of Alexandria. The "eighth day" is inserted at the end of chapter 15 as an appendix to the discussion on the Sabbath, and two basic justifications are given for its "observance": 

(1) The eighth day is the prolongation of the eschatological Sabbath: that is, after the end of the present age symbolized by the Sabbath, the eighth day marks "the beginning of another world" (v. 8). "This is why spend (agomen) even (dio kai) the eighth day with rejoicing" (v. 9). 

(2) The eighth day is "also (en he kai) the day on which Jesus rose from the dead" (v. 9). 

The first theological motivation for the observance of Sunday is of an eschatological nature. The eighth day, in fact, represents "the beginning of a new world." It is here that appears the incoherence of the author—perhaps acceptable at that time. While, on the one hand, he repudiates the present Sabbath inasmuch as this would have a millennaristic-eschatological significance, on the other hand he justifies the observance of the eighth day by the same eschatological reasons advanced previously to abrogate the Sabbath. 

It is noteworthy that Barnabas presents the resurrection of Jesus as the second or additional motivation. Sunday is observed because on that day "Jesus also (en he kai) rose from the dead" (v. 9). Why is the resurrection mentioned as the additional reasons for observing Sunday? Apparently because such a motivation had not yet acquired primary importance.  

Barnabas in fact, in spite of his sharp anti-Judaism, justifies the "observance" of the eighth day more as a continuation of the eschatological Sabbath than as a commemoration of the resurrection. This bespeaks a timid and uncertain beginning of Sunday-keeping. The theology and terminology of Sunday are still dubious. There is no mention of any gathering nor of any eucharistic celebration. The eighth day is simply the prolongation of the eschatological Sabbath to which is united the memory of the resurrection. 

Later in our study it will be shown that Sunday was initially denominated "eighth day" not only because it epitomized the eschatological Christian hope of a New World, but above all because in the growing conflict between the Church and Synagogue it best expressed the fulfillment and supersedure of Judaism (of which the Sabbath was a symbol) by Christianity.26 Jerome (ca. A.D. 342-420), for instance, explicitly interprets the symbolism of the seventh and eighth days as the transition from the Law to the Gospel, when he writes that "after the fulfillment of the number seven, we rise through the eighth to the Gospel."27 

The polemic arguments presented by Barnabas both to invalidate the Sabbath and to justify the eighth as the continuation and replacement of the seventh, reveal how strong antiJudaic feelings motivated the adoption of Sunday as a new day of worship. However, his paradoxical argumentation, his failure to distinguish clearly between the seventh and the eighth eschatological periods, and his uncertain theology of Sunday all seem to indicate that a distinct separation between Judaism and Christianity as well as between Sabbath and Sunday observance had not yet taken place, at least in Alexandria.28 


Justin Martyr

Philosopher and Christian martyr, of Greek culture and extraction,29 Justin Martyr offers us the first extensive treatment of the Sabbath and the first detailed description of Sunday worship. The importance of his testimony derives, above all, from the fact that our author, a trained and professing philosopher, in the treatment of the problem of the Sabbath, as F. Regan observes, "does strive for a perceptive and balanced approach."30 Moreover, since he lived, taught and wrote his Apologies and Dialogue with Trypho in Rome under the reign of Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161), he allows us a glimpse of how the problem of Sabbath and Sunday was felt in the capital city.31 His assessment of both is indeed valuable to our in vestigation. 

The attitude of Justin toward the Jewish Sabbath appears conditioned both by his concept of the Mosaic Law, and by his feeling toward the Jews—the latter having possibly colored the former. Barnabas, of Jewish extraction, with his allegorical method attempted to empty such Jewish institutions as the Sabbath and circumcision of all temporal and historical value, attributing to them exclusive spiritual or eschatological significance. Justin, on the contrary, being of Gentile origin, ignored the moral and corporal value of the Mosaic legislation, and regarded the law, as James Parkes states, "an unimportant portion of the Scriptures, a temporary addition to a book otherwise universal and eternal, added because of the special wickedness of the Jews."32 For example, to Trypho, Justin explains: We, too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all your festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and your hardness of heart.33 

While Paul recognizes the educative value of the ceremonial law, Justin considers it "in a negative manner as the punishment for the sins of Israel."34 He confirms this thesis repeatedly. After arguing, for instance, that the holy men before Moses35 did not observe either the Sabbath or the circumcision, he concludes: "Therefore, we must conclude that God, who is immutable, ordered these and similar things to be done only because of sinful men."36 The Sabbath then, according to Justin, is a temporary ordinance deriving from Moses, enjoined to the Jews on account of their unfaithfulness for a time, precisely until the coming of Christ.37 

The acceptance of this thesis is indispensable for Justin, in order to safeguard the immutability and the coherence of God. He explains: "If we do not accept this conclusion, then we shall fall into absurd ideas, as the nonsense either that our God is not the same God who existed in the days of Henoch and all the others, who were not circumcised in the flesh, and did not observe the Sabbaths and other rites, since Moses only imposed them later; or that God does not wish each succeeding generation of mankind always to perform the same acts of righteousness. Either supposition is ridiculous and preposterous. Therefore we must conclude that God, who is immutable, ordered these and similar things to be done only because of sinful men."37 

The Christian Church has never accepted such a false thesis. To say for instance that God commanded the circumcision and the Sabbath solely on account of the wickedness of the Jews "as a distinguishing mark, to set them off from other nations and from us Christians" so that the Jews only "might suffer affliction,"38 makes God guilty, to say the least, of discriminatory practices. It would imply that God gave ordinances with the sole negative purpose of singling out the Jews for punishment. Unfortunately it is with this frame of mind that Justin argues for the repudiation of the Sabbath. The following are his basic arguments: 

(1) Since "before Moses there was no need of Sabbaths and festivals, they are not needed now, when in accordance with the will of God, Jesus Christ, His Son, has been born of the Virgin Mary, a descendant of Abraham."39 The Sabbath therefore is regarded by Justin as a temporary ordinance, deriving from Moses, enjoined on the Jews because of their unfaithfulness, and designed to last until the coming of Christ. 

(2) God does not intend the Sabbath should be kept, since "the elements are not idle and they do not observe the Sabbath,"40 and He Himself "does not stop controlling the movement of the universe on that day, but He continues directing it then as He does on all other days."41 Moreover the Sabbath commandment was violated in the Old Testament by many persons such as the chief priests who "were commanded by God to offer sacrifices on the Sabbath, as well as on other days."42 

(3) In the new dispensation Christians are to observe a perpetual Sabbath not by idling during one day but by abstaining themselves continually from sin: "The New Law demands that you observe a perpetual Sabbath, whereas you consider yourselves pious when you refrain from work on one day of the week, and in doing so you don’t understand the real meaning of that precept. You also claim to have done the will of God when you eat unleavened bread, but such practices afford no pleasures to the Lord our God. If there be a perjurer or thief among you, let him mend his ways; if there be an adulterer, let him repent; in this way he will have kept a true and peaceful Sabbath."43 

(4) The Sabbath and circumcision are not to be observed since they are the signs of the unfaithfulness of the Jews, imposed on them by God to distinguish and separate them from other nations: "The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and your cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of your land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men . . . As I stated before, it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the Sabbath as a mark."44 

One wonders what caused Justin to strike at institutions such as the Sabbath and circumcision and to make these—the symbol of the national Jewish pride—the mark of the divine reprobation of the Jewish race. Is it possible that this author was influenced by the intense anti-Judaic hostilities which we found present particularly in Rome? A reading of Dialogue leaves us without doubt. Though Justin apparently seeks to dialogue dispassionately and sincerely with Trypho,45 his superficial description and negative evaluation of Judaism, together with his vehement attacks on the Jews, reveals the profound animosity and hatred he nourished toward them.  

He does not hesitate, for instance, to make the Jews responsible for the defamatory campaign launched against the Christians: "You have spared no effort in disseminating in every land bitter, dark, and unjust accusations against the only guiltless and just light sent to men by God . . . 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.... You are to blame not only for your own wickedness, but also for that of all others."46 

The curse that was daily pronounced by Jews in the synagogue against Christians apparently contributed to heighten the tension. Justin protests repeatedly against such practice: "To the utmost of your power you dishonor and curse in your synagogues all those who believe in Christ.... In your synagogues you curse all those who through them have become Christians, and the Gentiles put into effect your curse by killing all those who merely admit that they are Christians."47 

The Jewish hostilities toward the Christians seem to have known intense degrees of manifestation at certain times. Justin says for instance, "You do all in your power to force us to deny Christ."48 This provoked an understandable resistance and resentment on the part of the Christians. "We resist you and prefer to endure death," Justin replies to Trypho "confident that God will give us all the blessings which He promised us through Christ."49 The presence of such a profound resentment against the Jews, particularly felt in Rome, would naturally lead Christians like Justin to strike at a cardinal Jewish institution like the Sabbath and turn it, as F. Regan remarks, into a mark to single them out for punishment they so well deserved for their infidelities."50 

This repudiation and degradation of the Sabbath presupposes the adoption of a new dayof worship. What better way to evidence the Christians’ distinction from the Jews than by adopting a different day of worship? It is a fact worth noting that in his exposition of the Christian worship to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, Justin twice underlines that the assembly of the Christians took place "on the day of the Sun:" "On the day which is called Sunday (te tou eliou legomene hemera) we have a common assembly of all who live in the cities or in the outlying districts, and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the Prophets are read, as long as there is time. 

Sunday, indeed, is the day on which we all hold our common assembly because it is the first day on which God, transforming the darkness and prime matter, created the world; and our Saviour Jesus Christ arose from the dead on the same day. For they crucified him on the day before that of Saturn, and on the day after, which is Sunday, he appeared to his Apostles and disciples, and taught them the things which we have passed on to you also for consideration."51 

Why does Justin emphasize that Christians worship "on the day of the Sun"? In view of his resentment toward the Jews and their Sabbath, is it not plausible to assume that he did so to make the Emperor aware that Christians were not Jewish rebels but obedient citizens? Bearing in mind, as will be shown in the next chapter, that the Romans already at that time venerated the day of the Sun, Justin’s explicit and repeated reference to such a day could well represent a calculated effort to draw the Christians closer to the Roman customs than to those of the Jews. This appears substantiated by the very reasons he advances to justify Sunday observance. We shall synthesize the three basic ones as follows: 

(1) Christians assemble on the day of the Sun to commemorate the first day of creation "on which God, transforming the darkness and prime matter, created the world." (67, 7). Is the nexus between the day of the Sun and the creation of light on the first day a pure coincidence? It hardly seems so, especially since Justin himself in his Dialogue with Trypho explicitly compares the devotion pagans render to the Sun with that which Christians offer to Christ who is more radiant than the sun: "It is written that God once allowed the Sun to be worshiped, and yet you cannot discover anyone who ever suffered death because of his faith in the Sun. But you can find men of every nationality who for the name of Jesus have suffered and still suffer all kinds of torments rather than deny their faith in Him. For His word of truth and wisdom is more blazing and bright than the might of the sun, and it penetrates the very depths of the heart and mind."52 

Christians apparently noticed early the coincidence between the creation of light on the first day and the veneration of the Sun which took place on the self-same day. As J. Danidlou well remarks, "the day consecrated to the Sun was found to coincide with the first day of the Jewish week and so with the Christian Lord’s Day. . . . Sunday was seen as a renewal of the first day of creation."53 One wonders what encouraged the association of the two themes. Is it possible that Christians in their search for a day of worship distinct from the Sabbath (the mark of Jewish unfaithfulness) perceived in the day of the Sun a valid substitute since its rich symbology could effectively express Christian truth? Such an hypothesis will be examined in the following chapter. 

(2) Christians worship on the day of the Sun, because it is the day in which "our Saviour Jesus Christ arose from the dead. . . . For they crucified him on the day before that of Saturn, and on the day after, which is Sunday, he appeared to his Apostles and disciples" (67, 7). The resurrection of Christ was already felt to be a valid motivation for assembling on the day of the Sun to offer worship to God. But, as W. Rordorf admits, "in Justin’s First Apology (67, 7) the primary motivation for the observance of Sunday is to commemorate the first day of creation and only secondarily, in addition, the resurrection of Jesus."54 The resurrection, presented by both Barnabas and Justin as a additional reason for keeping Sunday, will however gradually become the fundamental motivation for Sunday worship.55 

(3) Christians observe Sunday because being the eighth day it "possesses a certain mysterious import, which the seventhday did not possess.56 For instance, Justin claims that circumcision was performed on the eighth day because it was a "type of the true circumcision by which we are circumcised from error and wickedness through our Lord Jesus Christ who arose from the dead on the first day of the week."57 Further, the eight persons saved from the flood at the time of Noah "were a figure of that eighth day (which is, however, always first in power) on which our Lord appeared as risenfrom the dead."58 

Let us note that while in his exposition of the Christian worship to the Emperor, Justin repeatedly emphasizes that Christians gather on the day of the Sun (possibly, as we suggested, to draw them closer to Roman customs in the mind of the Emperor), in his polemic with Trypho the Jew, Justin denominates Sunday as the "eighth day," in contradistinction to and as a supersedure of the seventh-day Sabbath.59 The two different designations could well epitomize two significant factors which contributed to the change of the Sabbath to Sun-day, namely, anti-Judaism and paganism.  

We might say that while the prevailing aversion toward Judaism in general and toward the Sabbath in particular caused the repudiation of the Sabbath, the existing veneration for the day of the Sun oriented Christians toward such a day both to evidence their sharp distinction from the Jews and to facilitate the acceptance of the Christian faith by the pagans. This conclusion will become increasingly clear in the next two chapters where we shall examine the influence of Sun-worship and the early theology of Sunday. 

Conclusion. This brief analysis of the texts of Ignatius, Barnabas and Justin has confirmed the presence in their respective communities (Antioch, Alexandria, Rome) of strong anti-Judaic feelings which, augmented by social tensions and theological convictions, created the necessity of avoiding any semblance of Judaism. 

Iguatius at Antioch condemns the "judaizing" of some Christians and particularly their "sabbatizing" (that is, the observance of the Sabbath according to the manner of the Jews), enjoining Christians "to live according to the life of the Lord." Although, according to our evaluation, the text of Magnesians 9, 1 refers to the "Lord’s life" rather than to the "Lord’s day," this does not minimize the fact that the condemnation of "sabbatizing" and the invitation "to live not according to Judaism," indicate that a separation from Judaism was being urged. These conditions undoubtedly encouraged the adoption of Sunday worship in order to force a clearer distinction from the Jews. 

Barnabas in Alexandria, in his effort to neutralize the influence of Jewish customs, assumes a radical position, repudiating, with his allegorical method, the historic validity of Jewish practices and beliefs and "denying purely and simply that the literal practice of the Sabbath had ever been the object of a commandment of God."60 He empties the Sabbath of its significance and obligation for the present age in order to present the eighth day as its legitimate continuation and replacement. 

Finally, the testimony of Justin, coming from Rome, confirms what we have already gathered from other sources, namely the existence, particularly in the capital city, of deep anti-Judaic feelings. These apparently influenced Justin in reducing the Sabbath to "the very sign of the reprobation of the Jewish people."61 The adoption of a new day of worship appears to have been motivated by the necessity to evidence a clear dissociation from the Jews. 62  

Is it not true even today that the different worship day of the Moslem, the Jew and the Christian makes the distinction among them altogether more noticeable? The diversity of motivations advanced by Justin to justify Sunday worship (the creation of light on the first day, the resurrection of Christ, the eighth day of the circumcision, the eight souls of the ark, the fifteen cubits—seven plus eight— of water that covered the mountains during the flood) reflects the effort being made to justify a practice only recently introduced. As the controversy between Sabbath and Sunday subsided and the latter became solidly established, the resurrection emerged as the dominant reason for its observance. 

The investigation conducted so far suggests that the primary causes that contributed to the forsaking of the Sabbath and to the adoption of Sunday are to a large degree social and political in nature. The social tension that existed between Jews and Christians as well as the Roman anti-Jewish policy greatly conditioned Christians in their negative evaluation of significant Old Testament institutions like the Sabbath. 

A question however has remained unanswered, namely, why was Sunday rather than another day of the week (such as Wednesday or Friday, for example) chosen to evidence the Christian separation from Judaism? To answer this question, we shall examine in the two following chapters, first, the possible influence of Sun-worship with its related day of the Sun, and second the Christian motivation for both the choice and observance of Sunday. 


NOTES TO CHAPTER 7

1.Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 5, 2, 8, 4. 

2. C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, p. 95 

3. W. Rordorf, Sunday, p. 140, observes with regard to Magnesians 9, 1, that "the real importance of this passage from Ignatius, ... is that it provides contemporary evidence that many Gentile Christians were being tempted to observe the Sabbath." 

4. The translation used of Ignatius’ letters is that of E. J. Goodspeed, The Apostolic Fathers, 1950, with the exception of Magnesian 9, 1, which is our own. 

5. This concept of a spiritual Christian movement within the Old Testament, of which the prophets were exponents and examples, may seem to us unrealistic, but is indicative of Ignatius’ profound respect for the Old Testament. F. A. Regan, Dies Dominica, p. 26, notes in this regard: "Ignatius’ insistence on the role of the prophets in preparing the way for Christ and the Church, evidences the prevailing spirit of the authors of Christian Antiquity in their deep reverence for those saintly characters of the Old Testament and their inspired message." 

6. See below fns. 10, 11. 

7. Cf. Fritz Guy, "The Lord’s Day in the Letter of Ignatius to the Magnesians," AUSS 2 (1964):1-17; Richard B. Lewis, "Ignatius and the Lord’s Day," AUSS 6 (1968): 46-59; Wilfrid Scott, "A Note on the Word KYPIAKH in Rev. 1:10," NTS 12 (1965): 72.73; Kenneth A. Strand, "Another Look at ‘Lord’s Day’ in the Early Church and in Rev. 1:10," NTS 13 (1965): 174-181; C. W. Dugmore, "Lord’s Day and Easter," Neotestamen tica et Patristica in honorem sexagenarii 0. Cullmann, 1962, pp. 272-281; Robert A. Kraft, "Some Notes on Sabbath Observance in Early Christianity," AUSS 3 (1965): 27-28. 

8. Fritz Guy (fn. 7, p. 16). 

9. Kenneth A. Strand, Three Essays on Early Church History, 1967, p. 45; cf. his longer study cited in fn. 7. 

10. R. B. Lewis (fn. 7), p. 50; Kenneth A. Strand (fn. 9), p. 45, similarly points out that "the contrast here then is not between days as such, but between ways of life—between the Jewish ‘sabbatizing’ way of life and the newness of life symbolized for the Christian by Christ’s resurrection"; Robert A. Kraft (fn. 7), remarks in a similar vein: "It is certainly illegitimate to see behind this context a simple (I) Sabbath! Sunday controversy. It is rather a contrast of two different ways of living—one apart from ‘grace’ (‘judaizing’), the other in the power of the resurrection life." 

11. Pagan and Christian authors constantly condemned the idleness and the feasting which characterized Jewish Sabbath-keeping. Plutarch (ca. A.D. 40-120) places the Jewish "Sabbath-keeping—sabbatismos" among the existing wicked superstitions (De superstitione 3). He upbraids especially their drinking (Questiones convivales 4, 6, 2) and their sitting "in their places immovable" on the Sabbath (De superstitione 8; see above pp. 173-6 fns. 24 to 39, for additional references of pagan authors). The author of the Epistle to Diognetus denounces the Jewish "superstition as respects the Sabbaths." He labels as "impious" the Jewish teachings that God "forbade us to do what is good on the Sabbath days" (ch. 4; ANE I, p. 26; cf. Justin, Dialogue 29, 3; Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 6, 16, 141,7; Syriac Didascalia 26; Epiphanius, Adversus haereses 66, 23,7; Chrysostom, De Christi divinitate 4). In the light of these constant denunciations, the "sabbatizing" condemned by Ignatius represents the fanatical and superstitious Jewish Sabbath-keeping, which apparently attracted both pagans (cf. Tertullian, Ad Nationes 1, 13) and Christians. 

12. Pseudo-Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians 9, ANF I, pp. 62-63. 

13. A. P. Hayman, ed., and trans., The Disputation of Sergius the Stylite Against a Jew, CSCO 339, p. 75. It is interesting to notice the rationale adopted by those Syrian Christians who, for instance, "gave oil and unleavened bread to the synagogue" (22:12). Sergius quotes them as saying: "If Christianity is good, behold, I am baptized as a Christian. But if Judaism is also, behold, I will associate partly with Judaism that I might hold on to the Sabbath" (22,15, p. 77—emphasis supplied). Hayman offers a significant comment to this text: "It is possible to cite evidence proving that the Disputation of Sergius the Stylite is witnessing here to a situation endemic in Syria from the first to the thirteenth century A.D. From the warning of the Didascalia in the third century to the canons of the Jacobite church in the thirteenth, the Christian authorities strove to counteract the perennial attraction of Jewish observances for Christians. Not only in Syria, but throughout the Orient, and occasionally in the West, the Church was perpetually confronted with the problem of Judaising Christians as Marcel Simon’s comprehensive study of the phenomenon has demonstrated. The Church’s anti-Jewish polemic was motivated, not by any abstract theological considerations, but by a very real threat to its position" (ibid., p. 75). 

14. Regarding the observance of the Sabbath in the early Church, see above the discussion on the Jerusalem Church and the Nazarenes, pp. 135f.; Gospel of Thomas 27: "[Jesus said]: If you fast not from the world, you will not find the kingdom; if you keep not the Sabbath as Sabbath, you will not see the Father" (E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, 1963, I, p. 514). The "Jewish-Christian" tendencies of this Gospel favor a literal interpretation of Sabbath observance; Justin Martyr in his Dialogue 47 differentiates between those Jewish-Christians who do and those who do not compel Gentiles to observe the Sabbath, thus clearly implying the existence of Sabbath-keeping Christians; Martyrdom of Poiycarp 8, 1 records that Polycarp’s death occurred on "a festival Sabbath day." The phrase could well reflect Sabbath observance among some Christians in Asia Minor, in spite of their hostile attitude to the Jews exhibited by the document (see 12:2; 13:1); see below pp. 234-235 for a discussion of additional references from the Syriac Didascalia and of the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. 

15. Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea (ca. A.D. 360) explicitly condemns the veneration of the Sabbath and enjoins working on such a day in order to show a special respect for Sunday: "Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, honouring rather the Lord’s day by resting, if possible, as Christians. However if any shall be found judaizing, let them be anathema from Christ" (Mansi II, pp. 569, 570). Canon 16 however recognizes the special nature of the Sabbath since it prescribes that "the Gospels along with other scriptures be read on the Sabbath": cf. also Canons 49, 51; Athanasius, Epistolae festales 14, 5 PG 26, 1421, exhorts his readers not to fall back again into Sabbath observance; cf. De Sabbatis et circumcisione 5, PG 28, 139; also Ps-Athanasius, Homilia de semente 13, PG 28, 162; Cyril, Catecheses 4, 37, PG 33, 502, warns the catechumens not to fall back into the Jewish religion; Basil considers heretics those who advocate the observance of the Sabbath, Epistula 264,4, PG 32, 980; Epistula 265,2, PG 32, 988; John Chrysostom denounces strongly those Christians who visited the synagogues and celebrated Jewish feasts, particularly the Sabbath, Adversus Judaeos 1, PG 48, 843, 856 and 941; Gregory of Nyssa, Adversus eos qui castigationes aegre ferunt, PG 46, 309, considers the two days Sabbath and Sunday as brothers, and says: "With which eyes do you look at the Lord’s Day, you who have dishonored the Sabbath? Do you perhaps ignore that the two days are brothers and that if you hurt one, you strike at the other?" Palladius (ca. AD. 365425), in his history of early monasticism, known as Lausiac History, refers repeatedly to the observance of both Sabbath and Sunday (7, 5; 14, 3; 20, 2; 25, 4; 48, 2); for other references, see C. Butler, The Lausiac History of Palladius II, Texts and Studies 6, 1904, pp. 198f. 

16. Cf. Johannes Quasten, Patrology, 1953, I, pp. 90-91; E. Goodspeed, Apostolic Fathers, 1950, p. 19; William H. Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," AUSS 4 (July 1966): 150; J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, 1890, I, part 1, p. 349; A. L. Williams, "The Date of the Epistle of Barnabas," Journal of Theological Studies 34 (1933): 337-346. 

17. J. B. Lightfoot comments in this regard: "The picture... which it presents of feuds between Jews and Christians is in keeping with the state of the population of that city [Alexandria], the various elements of which were continually in conflict" (The Apostolic Fathers, 1926, p. 240). 

18. Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1908, ed. s. v. "Barnabas" by A. Harnack; cf. also Constantin von Tischendorf, Codex Sinaiticus, ed. 8, n. d., p. 66, who similarly points out: "it is addressed to those Christians who, coming out of Judaism, desired to retain, under the New Testament, certain peculiarities of the Old  

19. James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and Synagogue, 1934, p. 84, observes: "The whole of the epistle of Barnabas is an exposition of the Church as the true Israel. It is heresy even to try and share the good things of promise with the Jews. In tones of unusual gravity, and with a special appeal, the author warns his hearers against such mistaken generosity." 

20. W. H. Shea (fn. 16), pp. 154-155, provides a concise summary of Barnabas’ systematic attack against Jewish fundamental beliefs. 

21. J. B. Lightfoot (fn. 17), p. 239. 

22. W. H. Shea (fn. 16), p. 151; see fn. 10, where the author enumerates the fundamental orthodox Christian doctrines found in the writing of Barnabas. 

23. J. Lebreton and J. Zeiller, The History of the Primitive Church, 1949, I, p. 442. The same author offers a reasonable explanation for the vigorous reaction of Barnabas against the danger of Judaism: "We must remark in conclusion that this Jewish danger and the strong reaction against it, can be explained by what we know of the great influence of the Jews at Alexandria: previous to the Christian preaching this great influence is shown by the lite and work of Philo; in the first centuries of the Christian era it continued and threatened the church: it was at Alexandria above all that the apocryphal Gospels, with their Judaizing tendencies, were read" (ibid., p. 443, fn. 10). 

24. Translation by E. Goodspeed (fn. 16), pp. 40-41. 

25. J. Lebreton (fn. 23), p. 441; the author observes that "Barnabas was only following the example of numerous Jewish exegetes, who likewise allegorized the law" (loc. cit.); cf. Phibo, De migratione Abrahami 89. 

26. See below chapter IX, pp. 285f. 

27. Jerome, In Ecclesiastem II, 2, PL 23, 1157. 

28. C. S. Mosna, Storia della domenica, p. 26, aptly remarks that Barnabas’ intricate and irrational argumentation is indicative "of the effort which Judaeo-Christians were making to justify their worship." 

29. Tertullian denominates him, "philosopher and martyr" (Adversus Valentinianus 5). In the first chapter of I Apologia, Justin introduces himself as "Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, of the city of Flavia Neapolis in Syria-Palestine"; cf. Eusebius, HE 4, 11,8. 

30. F. A. Regan, Dies Dominica, p. 26. 

31. Eusebius, HE 4, 12, 1: "To the Emperor Titus Aelius Adrian An toninus Pius Caesar Augustus ... I, Justin, son of Priscus... present this petition"; Johannes Quasten (fn. 16), p. 199, with reference to the two Apologies, writes: "Both works are addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius. It seems that St. Justin composed them between the years 148.161, because he remarks (Apology I, 46): ‘Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Quirinus.’ The place of composition was Rome." Concerning the Dialogue, Quasten observes: "The Dialogue must have been composed after the Apologies, because there is a reference to the first Apology in chapter 120" (ibid., p. 202). Even though Eusebius (HE 4, 18, 6) indicates Ephesus as the place where the conversation was held, probably at the time of the Barkokeba revolt, mentioned in chapters 1 and 9 of the Dialogue, it is evident that the Dialogue does not report the exact disputation held about 20 years before. It would seem reasonable to assume that Justin makes of an actual disputation which he held, merely the framework of his Dialogue, which, however, he writes in the light of the situation in Rome at that time. The fact that he writes the Dialogue in Rome and not in Ephesus, twenty years after its occurrence, is indicative of the necessity which Justin felt to take up his pen to defend Christianity from Jewish accusations in Rome. 

32. James Parkes (fn. 19), p. 101; cf. Dialogue 19 and 22. 

33. Justin, Dialogue 18, 2, Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 175. 

34.W. Rordorf, Sabbat, p. 37, fn. 1. 

35. In chapter 19 of the Dialogue Justin cites specifically Adam, Abel, Noah, Lot and Melchisedek. In chapter 46 he submits a somewhat different list of names. 

36. J. Daniélou, Bible and Liturgy, p. 234, comments on Justin’s reasoning, saying: "We can see from the foregoing that God could suppress the Sabbath without contradicting Himself in any way, since He was led to institute it only because He was forced to do so by the wickedness of the Jewish people, and in consequence He had the desire to make it disappear as soon as He had accomplished His purpose of education." 

37. Justin, Dialogue 23, 1, 2, Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 182. 

38. Justin, Dialogue 16, 1 and 21, 1. 

39. Justin, Dialogue 23, 3, Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 182. 

40. Loc. cit. 

41. Justin, Dialogue 29, 3. 

42. Loc. cit. 

43. Justin, Dialogue 12, 3, Falls, Jus tin’s Writings, p. 166. 

44. Justin, Dialogue 16, 1 and 21, 1, Falls, Justin’s Writings, pp. 172, 178. The mention of circumcision and the Sabbath by Justin, as distinguishing marks designed to prohibit the Jews "to enter your city of Jerusalem" (Dialogue 16), seems to be an implicit reference to Hadrian’s decree which forbade every Jew from entering the city (cf. Dialogue 19, 2-6; 21, 1; 27, 2; 45, 3; 92, 4); in chapter 92 of the Dialogue the reference to Hadrian’s edict appears even more explicit. In fact Justin plainly states that the circumcision and the Sabbath were given because "God in His foreknowledge was aware that the people [i.e., the Jews] would deserve to be expelled from Jerusalem and never be allowed to enter there" (Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 294); Pierre Prigent similarly comments that, according to Justin, the circumcision and the Sabbath were given to Abraham and to Moses because "God foresaw that Israel would deserve to be expelled from Jerusalem and not to be allowed to dwell there" (Justin et l’Ancien Testament, 1964, p. 265 and p. 251. 

45. Someone could argue that some of the friendly overtures of Justin toward the Jews are indicative not of tension, but of friendly relations which existed between the Jews and the Christians. Does not Justin entertain the possibility (which, however, as he admits, other Christians rejected) that the converted Jews who kept on observing the Mosaic Law could be saved, as long as they did not persuade Gentiles to do the same? (Dialogue 47). Does not Justin call the Jews "brethren" (ibid., 96) and promise "remission of sins" to those who repented? (ibid., 94). Does not Justin say that in spite of the fact that the Jews curse the Christians and force them to deny Christ, yet "we [i.e., the Christians] pray for you that you might experience the mercy of Christ"? (ibid., 96). While, on the one hand, it cannot be denied that Justin prayed for and appealed to the Jews as individuals to repent and accept Christ, on the other hand, it must be recognized that Justin’s concern for the salvation of the sincere Jews did not change their status as a people from enemies to friends. In fact in the very next sentence of chapter 96 of the Dialogue, Justin explains the reason for the Christian’s attitude: "For He [i.e., Christ] instructed us to pray even for our enemies." There is no doubt as to the Jews being the Christians’ enemies. Justin explains, however, that the hostile attitude of the Jews toward the Christians is none else than the continuation of their historical opposition to and rejection of God’s truth and messengers. In chapter 133, for instance, after having reiterated the traditional rebellious attitude of the Jews toward the prophets, he states: "Indeed, your hand is still lifted to do evil, because, although you have slain Christ, you do not repent; on the contrary, you hate and (whenever you have the power) kill us ... and you cease not to curse Him and those who belong to Him, though we pray for you and for all men, as we were instructed by Christ, our Lord. For He taught us to pray even for our enemies, and to love those that hate us, and to bless those that curse us" (Falls, Justin’s Writings, pp. 354-355). While Christians, then, prayed for the conversion of the Jews, they recognized at the same time, as Justin says, that the Jews did not repent and that as a people they were "a useless, disobedient and faithless nation" (Dialogue 130). "The Jews," Justin affirms elsewhere, "are a ruthless, stupid, blind, and lame people, children in whom there is no faith" (Dialogue 27). Such a negative evaluation of the Jews and of Judaism reflects the existence of an acute conflict both between Jews and Christians and between Jews and Empire. We noticed, in fact, how Justin interprets the Sabbath and circumcision as the marks of unfaithfulness imposed by God on the Jews so that they only might suffer punishment and be "expelled from Jerusalem and never be allowed to enter there" (Dialogue 92, see above fn. 44). It might be worth noticing also that Justin’s appeals to the Jews in the context of a systematic condemnation of their beliefs and practices, is similar to Celsus’ appeal to the Christians to participate in the public life and pray for the Emperor, in the context of the most systematic and vehement demolition of the fundamental truths of Christianity. Could it be that Justin and Celsus (both professional philosophers) used sensible appeals to make their attacks appear more reasonable? 

46. Justin, Dialogue 17, Falls, Justin’s Writings, pp. 174, 173; the fact that the Jewish authorities actively engaged in publicizing calumnies against the Christians is substantiated (1) by Justin’s threefold repetition of the accusation (cf. Dialogue 108 and 117); (2) by the similar reproach made by Origen (Contra Celsum 6, 27; cf. ibid., 4, 32); (3) by Eusebius’ testimony who claimed that he found "in the writing of the former days that the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem sent round apostles to the Jews everywhere announcing the emergence of a new heresy hostile to God, and that these apostles, armed with written authority, confuted the Christians everywhere" (In Isaiam 18, 1, PG 24, 213A); (4) by the debate between the Jew and the Christian preserved by Celsus, which perhaps contains the most complete catalogue of the typical accusations hurled by the Jews at the Christians at that time. For further discussion of the role of the Jews in the persecution of the Christians, see W. H. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church, 1965. pp. 178-204. 

47. Justin, Dialogue 16 and 96, Falls, Justin’s Writings, pp. 172, 299; the fact that Justin refers at various times to the curse that was daily pronounced against the Christians (see chapters 47; 93; 133) daily in the synagogues, suggests that the practice was well known and widespread at that time. Epiphanius (Adversus haereses 1, 9) and Jerome (In Isaiam 52, 5) confirm the existence of the practice at their time; see also above pp. 35-38. 

48. Justin, Dialogue 96, Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 299; it is worth noting that, according to Justin, Jewish proselytes in comparison with ethnic Jews preserved a double portion of hatred for the Christians. He writes: "The proselytes... blaspheme His name twice as much as you [i.e., Jews] do and they, too, strive to torture and kill us who believe in Him, for they endeavor to follow your example in everything" (Dialogue 122, Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 337). 

49. Justin, Dialogue 96. 

50. F. A. Regan, Dies Dominica, p. 26; cf. Dialogue 19,2-4; 21, 1; 27, 2; 45,3; 92,4. 

51. Justin, I Apology 67, 3-7, Falls, Justin’s Writings, pp. 106-107 (emphasis supplied). 

52. Justin, Dialogue 121, Falls, Justin’s Writings, p. 335; cf. Dialogue 64 and 128. 

53. J. Daniélou, Bible and Liturgy, pp. 253 and 255; the causal relationship between the day of the Sun and the origin of Sunday is investigated in the next chapter, see especially pp. 261f. 

54. W. Rordorf, Sunday, p. 220. 

55.The role of the resurrection on the origin of Sunday is considered in chapter IX, pp. 270-3. 

56. Justin, Dialogue 24, 1. 

57. Justin, Dialogue 41,4. 

58. Justin, Dialogue 138, 1; the reference to the "eight souls" occurs in the New Testament in I Peter 3 :20 and II Peter 2:5. J. Dani~lou perceives a justification for the eighth day even in Justin’s reference (cf. Dialogue 138) to the "fifteen cubits" of water that covered the mountains during the flood ("Le Dimanche comme huiti~me jour," Le Dimanche, Lex Orandi 39, 1965, p. 65). 

59. J. Daniélou, Bible and Liturgy, p. 257, comments sagaciously that the symbolism of the eighth day like that of the first day "was used by the Christians to exalt the superiority of the Sunday over the Sabbath." Note that Justin uses the Old Testament, both to maintain the thesis that the Sabbath was a temporary institution, introduced as the sign of reprobation of the Jewish people, and to prove the superiority of Sunday over the Sabbath. The Fathers, we shall notice (see below pp. 28Sf.), found additional "proof" texts in the Old Testament to justify the validity of the eighth day and to use its symbolism as an effective polemic! apologetic device in the Sabbath/Sunday controversy. 

60. J. Danielou, Bible and Liturgy, pp. 230-231. 

61. Ibid., p. 233. 

62. The anti-Judaic motivations for the repudiation of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday appear in the subsequent patristic literature. The probative value of later texts is however inferior, inasmuch as they constitute the second moment of reflection on a phenomenon which had already occurred. By way of appendix to the material considered in this chapter we might mention few later texts. These may serve to corroborate the conclusions which have emerged. Origen (ca. A.D. 185-254) sees in the manna which did not fall on the Sabbath day a preference given by God himself to Sunday over the Sabbath already at the time of Moses: "If then it is certain according to the Scriptures that God made the manna rain on the Lord’s Day and ceased on the Sabbath, the Jews ought to understand that our Lord’s day was preferred to their Sabbath and it was then indicated that the grace of God did not in any way descend from heaven in their Sabbath day, nor the heavenly bread, which is the Word of God, came to them. ... However on our Sunday the Lord makes rain continually manna from heaven." (In Exodum homiliae 7, 5, GCS 29, 1920); the author of the Epistle to Diognetus severely denounces the observances of the Sabbath and Jewish festival as an "impious" superstition (ch. 4); in the Syriac Didascalia (ca. A.D. 250) the Sabbath is interpreted as a perpetual mourning imposed by God on the Jews in anticipation of the evil which they would have done to Christ: "He [Moses] knew by the Holy Spirit and it was commanded him by Almighty God, who knew what the people were to do to His Son and His beloved Jesus Christ, as even then they denied Him in the person of Moses, and said: ‘Who hath appointed thee head and judge over us?’—therefore he bound them beforehand with mourning perpetually, in that he set apart and appointed the Sabbath for them. For they deserve to mourn, because they denied their Life and laid hands upon their Saviour and delivered Him to death. Wherefore, already from that time there was laid upon them a mourning for their destruction" (ch. 21, Connolly, pp. 190-191). The author of this document then proceeds to prove in a subtle manner that those "who keep the Sabbath imitate mourning" (bc. cit.). Undoubtedly this was an impressive way to discourage Sabbath-keeping. Eusebius attributes to the unfaithfulness of the Jews the reason for the transference of the feast of the Sabbath to Sunday: "On account of the unfaithfulness of these [Jews] the Logos has transferred the feast of the Sabbath to the rising of the light, and he has transmitted to us, as a figure of the true rest, the day of the Saviour, the day which belongs to the Lord, the first day of light, in which the Saviour of the world, after having accomplished all His works among men, and obtained victory over death, passed through the doors of heaven" (Commentaria in Psalmos 91, PG 23, 1169). F. A. Regan, Dies Dotninica, p. 56, rightly points out that Eusebius was a victim of "gross exaggeration" in affirming that "it was Christ Himself who instituted the transfer." Perhaps Eusebius himself recognized that he had crossed the limits of the credible, since a few paragraphs later he contradicts what he had previously stated, saying: "Verily, all the rest, all that was prescribed for the Sabbath, we have transferred to the Lord’s Day, inasmuch as it is the most important, the one which dominates, the first and the one who has more value than the Sabbath of the Jews (tou Ioudaikos sabbatou timioteras)" (ibid., PG 23, 1172). For other references see above fn. 15 and below pp. 285f.


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