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Methodius

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Treatise
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Greek
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Estimated Range of Dating: 270-312 A.D.

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Information on Methodius

Quasten writes, "One of the most distinguished adversaries of Origen was Methodius. As he is not mentioned in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, little is known of his life. According to F. Diekamp, he was most proobably bishop of Philippi in Macedonia, but he must have spent a considerable period of his life in Lycia, so that for a long time he was thought to have been bishop of Olympus, a little town in Lycia. he died a martyr A.D. 311, evidently in Chalcis in Euboea." (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 129)

Enrico Norelli writes, "Little is known of the life of Methodius, of whom Eusebius says nothing. According to Jerome (Vir. ill. 83), Methodius was bishop first of Olympus in Lycia, then of Tyre, and died a martyr at Chalcis in Greece at the end of the last persecution (311-312). The same writer says that others dated Methodius's death to the persections of Decius or Valerius, but this possibility seems excluded by the fact that Jerome cites a work of Methodius against Porphyry, which can only have been written after 270. But even the remainder of what Jerome says is doubtful; perhaps he confused the writer with a martyr of the same name. Other sources assign various episcopal sees to Methodius; the tendency today is to say that he was not a bishop. We must therefore be content to regard him as a Christian teacher in Lycia toward the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth, if the tradition about his martyrdom in 312 is trustworthy." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, vol. 1, p. 313)

J. Pauli writes, "The Symposion seu convivium virginum, written in an elegant style and modeled on Plato's Symposium, gives a comprehensive introduction to various areas of Christian doctrine and attests to Methodius's vision of a completion of Platonism by Christianity. Ten virgins, taking part in a banquet in the garden of Virtue, each starting from a citation of scripture, praise not Eros but Parthenia as the perfect ideal of Christian life (though marriage is not rejected). The divine image in human beings is restored by chastity/virginity; the body then obeys the soul. At the end of the work, Thecla sings a marriage hymn in 24 strophes to Christ the bridegroom (an archetype of virginity: archiparthenos) and his bride the church." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 422)

Quasten writes, "The Slavonic version [of The Treatise on Free Will] bears the title On God, Matter and Free Will, and this corresponds more to the contents. It aims to prove in the form of a dialogue that the free will of man is responsible for evil. The bad cannot be thought of as originating in God nor is it uncreated matter nor eternal like God. In the course of the discussion, Methodius rejects origen's idea of an indefinite succession of worlds. It seems that the treatise is directed against the dualistic system of the Valentinians and other Gnostics. the greater part of the work is extant in Greek in fragments, and the whole text, except for a few lacunae, in the Slavonic version. Furthermore, it is extensively quoted by Eznik of Kolb, the Armenian apologist of the fifth century, in his Refutation of the Sects, and thus large passages are preserved for us translated into his native language." (Patrology, vol. 2, pp. 133-134)


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