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Lucian of Antioch

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Estimated Range of Dating: 210-245 A.D.

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Information on Lucian of Antioch

Quasten writes, "Lucian was not a prolific writer. Jerome refers to his 'small treatise on faith' (De vir. ill. 77) without indication of its contents. He was a Hebrew scholar and corrected the Greek version of the Old Testament from the original. This revision of the Septuagint was adopted by the greater number of the churches of Syria and Asia Minor from Antioch to Byzantium, and was highly esteemed (Jerome, Praef. in Paral.; Adv. Ruf. 2,27). Large fragments of it are extant in the writings of St. John Chrysostom and Theodoret. Lucian extended his textual criticism to the New Testament also, but limited it most probably to the four Gospels." (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 388)

T. Böhm writes, "Lucian is often said to have been the founder of Antiochene exegesis by making a literal interpretation of the scriptures. But the sources (especially Eusebius and Philostorgius) do not say this. The formation of a school in Antioch began only with Diodorus and Theodore." (Dictionary of Early Christian Writings, p. 388)

Enrico Norelli writes, "Eusebius mentions the martyrdom of Lucian of Antioch at Nicomedia under Maximus Daia on January 7, 312 (Hist. eccl. 9.6.3). Rufinus added to his Latin translation of the Ecclesiastical History the apology delivered by Lucian on that occasion; its authenticity is uncertain. Lucian has traditionally been regarded as the inaugurator of the Antiochene exegetical school with its literalist tendency, but in fact that school was begun by Diodorus of Tarsus (see vol. II of this history). Lucian was a teacher of Arius and many of the latter's followers, who liked to call themselves 'Collucianists.' Lucian seems to have taught a strongly subordinationist Christology, thereby anticipating the Arian doctrine. On the other hand, the statement by Bishop Alexander of Alexandria in a letter written a decade after Lucian's death seems untrustworthy (the letter is in Theodoret, Hist. eccl. 1.4). According to the letter, Lucian was successor to Paul of Samosata; it may be that Lucian's subordinationism was intended to offset the monarchianism of Paul and, as a result, ended up devaluing the Son, but from an opposite point of view." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, vol. 1, p. 312)

T. Böhm writes, "An influential theory, based on various sources (Arius [Doc. 1]; Alexander Alex. [Doc 14]; Marius Victorinus [adv. Arium 1.43]; Epiphanius [anc. 33.4]; and Philostorgius [h.e. 2.3; 14.3.15]), maintained that Lucian was a precursor of Arius; it included a literal exegesis that does not in fact provably represent Arius. In almost a vicious circle, the theories seek to derive from Arius and other "Lucianists" a doctrine of Lucian that they then apply as a means of determining the views of Arius. But the theory of an influence of Lucian on Arius must be abandoned. In addition, there are clear differences between Arius and the other Lucianists and among the latter themselves, so that an attempt to recognstruct the teaching of Lucian must fail." (Dictionary of Early Christian Writings, p. 388)

Enrico Norelli writes, "Lucian's critical work on the text of the Greek Bible was important; it was at the source of the 'Antiochene text,' from which in turn the 'Byzantine' text derived." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, vol. 1, p. 312)

T. Böhm writes, "an effort has been made to discover a Lucianic recension of the LXX and the NT Koine, which formed the basis of the textus receptus. But, for one thing, the criteria are unclear for determining how this recension could have been made by Lucian (the relationship to the Hexapla is also unclear). For another, what is regarded as typical of Lucian can be seen prior to Lucian (Philo, Josephus, Clement Alex., papyri of the 1st and 2nd c., etc.). The effort to find a Lucianic recension must be regarded as a failure." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, pp. 388-389)

T. Böhm writes, "Finally, the Ekthesis of the Antiochene Enkainia synod (341) is regarded as a confession of Lucian that either goes back directly to Lucian and uses a baptismal creed of Lucian, or at least can be traced back to Lucian through literary criticism. Against this theory is the fact that in the pre-Arian period there were no local baptismal creeds. In addition, the Ekthesis seems in many respects to resemble the theology of Asterius the Sophist and thus to be Nicene. It is uncertain whether the document came from the circle of Eusebius of Nicomedia, which used Aseterian theology and traditional elements. A linking of the Ekthesis to Lucian could have served to give the work a theological legitimacy in homoiousian circles." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 388)

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