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Chapter Two "Manichaean" Charge and Countercharge in Priscillian's Tractates

1. On the date of Priscillian's trial and execution, see Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila , pp. 132-38. The dating of these events has traditionally hinged on the date of Ambrose's second mission to Trier, which took place during the closing phases of the trial (Ambrose, Ep. 24). Chadwick surveys scholarly arguments for dating Ambrose's second mission anytime from the spring of 384 to the spring of 387 (pp. 135-36 n. 3); he himself suggests the summer of 386 as the most probable date for Ambrose's second mission, noting that 385 is also a possibility (p. 137). More recently, A. R. Birley has reopened the question, suggesting that Sulpicius Severus' Life of Martin provides evidence that Priscillian's trial did not begin before 386; he further argues that Ambrose's second mission, and therefore the end of Priscillian's trial, can most plausibly be dated to 387 ("Magnus Maximus and the Persecution of Heresy," Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library 66 [1983-84]: 29-33). Finally, the work of Daniel Williams further supports dating Ambrose's second mission, and therefore the trial of Priscillian, to the period after Easter of 386 ("The Ecclesiastical Politics of Ambrose of Milan: His Two Embassies to Trier" [paper delivered to the North American Patristic Society, May 1994]; see also Daniel H. Williams, Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts [Oxford University Press, forthcoming], chs. 7 and 8). [BACK]

2. Severus' depiction of the controversy in political rather than theological terms is influenced not only by his choice of genre and rhetorical strategy but also by contemporary ecclesiastical politics and personal circumstances. Fontaine offers a brilliant treatment of Severus' relation to the models of classical historiography, focusing particularly on his use of Sallust's portrait of Catiline to create a condemning depiction of both Priscillian and his opponents as political conspirators ("L'Affaire Priscillien," pp. 355-92). On the factionalism of the fifth-century ecclesiastical politics of Gaul, see Mathisen, Ecclesiastical Factionalism . [BACK]

3. Van Dam, Leadership , p. 95. [BACK]

4. Priscillian, Liber ad Damasum episcopum = Tract. 2, 34-43. [BACK]

5. Priscillian, Liber apologeticus = Tract. 1, 3-33; id., Liber de fide et de apocryphis = Tract. 3, 44-56. [BACK]

6. Priscillian, Tract . 3, 51.8-9; id., Tract. 1, 10.24, 24.8, 26.2, 27.27, 33.12-13. [BACK]

7. Severus, Chron . 2.48. [BACK]

8. The letter's account of the conflict at Merida presents a potential problem for the argument for Priscillian's authorship, since it refers from a distinctly episcopal point of view to events that almost certainly took place before Priscillian's ordination. Thus D. G. Morin proposes that Instantius was in fact the author of the second tractate ("Pro Instantio: Contre l'attribution à Priscillien des opuscula du manuscrit de Würzburg," Revue bénédictine 30 [1913]: 167-72). Josef Martin refutes Morin's arguments and supports the traditional attribution of the letter to Priscillian ("Priscillianus oder Instantius?" Historisches Jahrbuch 47 (1927): 237-51), and in more recent years, Ramos y Loscertales ( Prisciliano , pp. 112-17) and Chadwick ( Priscillian of Avila , pp. 31-32, 69), among others, have likewise deemed Priscillian the most probable author of the Letter to Damasus ; Vollman considers Priscillian's authorship possible, if not probable ("Priscillianus," cols. 556-57). In further support of Priscillian's authorship of the second tractate, I argue that it is precisely the account of the conflict at Merida in the Letter to Damasus that most closely reflects Priscillian's concerns and point of view; the episcopal voice with which he recounts the events is part of his overall effort to buttress the authority of his own episcopacy (see also Ramos y Loscertales, Prisciliano , pp. 64-70). [BACK]

9. Severus, an ascetic who was himself vulnerable to charges of Manichaeism, makes no mention of Manichaeism in his account of the Priscillianist controversy, referring obliquely to "heresy" or "gnosticism" instead ( Chron. 2.46-51) [BACK]

10. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 39.17-18. Compare Priscillian's account of the events leading up to the Council of Saragossa; there, too, he portrays his supporters as living peaceably when disputes suddenly arose from without (ibid., 34.19-35.7). [BACK]

11. Ibid., 39.18-23. [BACK]

12. Ibid., 39.23-28. Cf. Priscillian's opinion on the necessity for moral purity in the bishop: "Quia episcopus inreprehensibilis esse debeat" ( Can. Ep. Pauli 45). [BACK]

13. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 35.5-7. [BACK]

14. A letter of Siricius of Rome suggests that the issue of clerical celibacy and specifically the begetting of children by bishops, presbyters, and deacons, was being hotly debated in Spain circa 385 ( Ep. 1 Ad Himerium Episcopum Tarraconensem ). Although the Roman bishop's letter makes no explicit mention of the Priscillianists, it is possible that the debate over clerical celibacy was in fact an aspect of the Priscillianist controversy. Chadwick speculates that "if Himerius of Tarraco's letter to Rome is understood to refer even obliquely to the Priscillianist affair, then the charge can be expected to be that Hydatius had cohabited with his wife or even that she had secretly produced an infant, such evidence of conjugal acts being felt to be unsuitable in a bishop." He goes on to suggest that moral delicacy motivated Priscillian's silence: "The nature of the charge Priscillian cannot bring himself to mention" ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 31). This latter suggestion is not convincing, given both the importance of this charge for Priscillian's defense and the overall sophistication of Priscillian's rhetoric in this letter. The fact that Priscillian fails to specify the charges brought against Hydatius surely indicates that it was not in his interest to do so. [BACK]

15. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 43.6-7. [BACK]

16. Ibid., 40.1. [BACK]

17. Chadwick suggests that the two Lusitanian bishops were simply performing their duty in intervening in the conflict: "the responsibility for judgement necessarily lay in the hands of the other bishops of Lusitania" ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 31). But other Lusitanian bishops were apparently able to remain silent and uninvolved, and I find it difficult not to see Instantius' and Salvianus' intervention as remarkably assertive, if not outright aggressive. [BACK]

18. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 40.1-8. [BACK]

19. Ibid., 40.5. [BACK]

20. Vollman suggests rather that it was Hydatius' bias or prejudice that illegitimated his authority in this matter ("Priscillianus," col. 503). He calls attention to a parallel passage in Severus' text-- si ipsi suspecti habantur (Severus, Chron. 2.49)--which he interprets to indicate that the bishops at the Council of Bordeaux should have referred the matter to other bishops, rather than to the emperor, "if they themselves were considered suspicious." [BACK]

21. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 40.7-8. [BACK]

22. Ibid., 40.10-13. [BACK]

23. Puech suggests that Hydatius was not far from wrong if he sensed that there was a conspiracy against his episcopacy ("Les Origines du Priscillianisme," p. 183). Chadwick likewise considers it probable that Instantius and Salvianus were attempting to depose Hydatius and consecrate a successor, perhaps Priscillian himself ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 31-33). [BACK]

24. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 40.11-21. [BACK]

25. Ibid., 40.21-27. [BACK]

26. This is also the view of Vollman ("Priscillianus," col. 503). Babut sees Priscillian as originally part of the Meridan laity, but places his elevation to the episcopacy before the events at Merida ( Priscillien , p. 85). Ramos y Loscertales differs; he makes a sharp distinction between the opposition to Hydatius in Merida--which in his view was only among the clergy--and in the congregations of Instantius and Salvianus--which in his view was dominated by certain lay people, among whom was the itinerant teacher Priscillian ( Prisciliano , pp. 64, 115-16). [BACK]

27. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 42.21-23. [BACK]

28. Severus, Chron. 2.47. [BACK]

29. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 40.27-41.2. [BACK]

30. It would not have been the first time in Meridan history that a bishop had been deposed by a group of moral rigorists. Cyprian writes in 257 to the Meridan deacon and laity who had deposed and replaced a bishop whose behavior during persecution compromised his moral purity; maintaining that a people have the right not only to choose worthy bishops but also to separate themselves from sinful bishops, Cyprian supports the Meridan deposition in the face of opposition from Stephen of Rome ( Ep. 67). [BACK]

31. Severus, Chron. 2.47. [BACK]

32. Severus accuses Hydatius and Ithacius of rash behavior in appealing to the civil authorities: "sed parum sanis consiliis saeculares judices adeunt" ( Chron. 2.47). He is still more disapproving of the Spanish bishops' collaboration with the civil trial at Trier that resulted in the execution of Priscillian and several of his followers ( Chron. 2.49-51). [BACK]

33. Contemporary laws promulgated in the west include Codex Theodosianus 16.5.3 (372), 16.5.4 (376-380), 16.5.5 (379). An anti-Manichean law issued in Rome in 389--later than the Spanish controversy itself but predating the composition of Severus' Chronicle --echoes Severus' statement that the heretics were expelled, not only from their churches or cities, but from the whole world (Severus, Chron. 2.47; Codex Theodosianus 16.5.19). [BACK]

34. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 41.2-3. [BACK]

35. Severus, Chron. 2.48. [BACK]

36. Vollman finds it most likely that Hydatius sought simply to have standing laws against Manichaeans and other heretics enforced, e.g., Codex Theodosianus 16.5.3, 5, 7, 9 ("Priscillianus," col. 504). Aline Rousselle offers a more detailed interpretation of the processes followed in securing Priscillian's exile, attempting to harmonize the evidence of Priscillian's Letter to Damasus , Severus' Chronicle , and contemporary sources for secular and ecclesiastical law. She suggests that Hydatius requested that the local administration expel Priscillian and his associates from their churches as heretics immediately after the Council of Saragossa; they refused, probably because no one had actually been condemned by name at the council. Next, suppressing Priscillian's name, Hydatius appealed to the emperor for a more general ruling against heretics; his appeal may have been responsible for the issuance by Gratian of Codex Theodosianus 16.5.4 (commonly dated 376-80). Subsequently, the civil authorities in Spain decided to apply the rescript to expel Priscillian and his followers, who were at this point designated "pseudo-bishops and Manichaeans" ("Quelques aspects politiques de l'affaire priscillianiste," Revue des études anciennes 83 [1981]: 86-87). Note that Rousselle's identification of Codex Theodosianus 16.5.4 as (at least indirectly) anti-Priscillianist in origin is questionable; while scholars have traditionally identified this as a piece of anti-Arian legislation betraying the influence of Ambrose on Gratian, Gunther Gottlieb has persuasively argued that it is instead to be read as anti-Donatist in intention ( Ambrosius von Mailand und Kaiser Gratian [Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1973], pp. 63-68). [BACK]

37. It has often been assumed that Hydatius' apparent role in the process was based on his authority as the "metropolitan" bishop of Lusitania, under whose jurisdiction the sees of Instantius, Salvianus, and Priscillian probably fell. The events of the Priscillianst controversy do not, however, indicate that such authority was consistently acknowledged. Manuel C. Díaz y Díaz notes, "On a l'habitude de parler de diocèses et de provinces qui dépendraient des sièges épiscopaux ou métropolitains, ce qui s'accorde avec la situation générale dans la deuxième moitié du iv e siècle. Mais . . . il me semble difficile de prouver que la notion même de territoire ait une certaine consistence pendant le iv e siècle dans la Péninsule" ("L'Expansion du christianisme," p. 92). See also the summary remarks of Jean Gaudemet in regard to the institution of the authority of the metropolitan bishop in Spain: ''L'organisation métropolitaine y fut tardive. . . . Le métropolitain et la nécessité de son concours aux élections épiscopales n'apparaissent qu'au cours du v e siècle" ( L'Église dans l'Empire romain (iv e - v e siècles [Paris: Sirey, 1955], pp. 387-88). [BACK]

38. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 41.3-5. [BACK]

39. Ibid., 41.7-13. [BACK]

40. Severus, Chron. 2.47. [BACK]

41. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 41.10-11; Severus, Chron. 2.48. [BACK]

42. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 36.13-39.16, 41.21-42.12 [BACK]

43. Ibid. 3, 44-56. [BACK]

44. E.g., ibid. 2, 35.15-19, 35.21-22, 39.20-21, 40.7-8, 42.19-21. [BACK]

45. Ibid., 35.23-24. [BACK]

46. Ibid. 1, 3-33. [BACK]

47. Puech suggests that it is not merely difficult but impossible ("Les Origines du Priscillianisme," p. 185). [BACK]

48. Martin argues against Morin ("Pro Instantio," pp. 153-72) that the first tractate was composed by Priscillian in the period before the Council of Saragossa, without being written specifically for that council ("Priscillianus oder Instantius," pp. 237-51). More recently, Chadwick has supported the theory that the Apology was written by Priscillian as a layperson in the period before the Council of Saragossa, although he understands the document to have been addressed to the council itself ( Priscillian of Avila , pp. 47-51). [BACK]

49. Babut argues that the Apology represents the profession of the Meridan laity--with Priscillian as ghostwriter--referred to in the Letter to Damasus ( Priscillien , pp. 143-46). Ramos y Loscertales differs with Babut on a number of points of interpretation of the Meridan conflict but agrees that the period between the councils of Saragossa and Bordeaux, and specifically the period immediately following the conflict at Merida, is the most likely setting for the Apology ; he further suggests that the confident tone of the work makes a date immediately after Priscillian's ordination probable ( Prisciliano , pp. 112-17). [BACK]

50. Morin, following J. Dierich ("Die Quellen zur Geschichte Priscillians" [diss., Breslau, 1897], pp. 35-40), argues that the Apology was directed to the Council of Bordeaux and furthermore proposes that Instantius was the author of the tractate ("Pro Instantio," pp. 153-72). Among the supporters of Morin's theory is D'Alès ( Priscillien et l'Espagne chrétienne ). More recently, Vollman has judged it likely that the Apology was written either during the period between Gratian's rescript and its appeal or in preparation for the Council of Bordeaux; he, however, considers episcopal authorship highly improbable and suggests that the tractate was composed by a lay follower of Priscillian ("Priscillianus," col. 558). [BACK]

51. The Apology is sufficiently different in style and tone from the Letter to Damasus that some scholars have found it difficult to attribute the two to the same author. Vollman notes, "Ich halte für ausgemacht, dass Tr. I nicht von P[riscillianus] stammt, für höchst wahrscheinlich, dass Tr. I und II nicht den gleichen Verfasser haben und für wahrscheinlich, dass der Verfasser [des Tr. I] ein Laie, oder besser, ein nichtbischöflicher Kleriker ist" ("Priscillianus," cols. 557-58). Nevertheless, there are good reasons to attribute the Apology , as well as the Letter to Damasus , to Priscillian, and the differences between the two works can be attributed to differences in audience and circumstance of composition rather than diverse authorship. Note that Vollman's conviction that Priscillian is not the author of the Apology rests primarily on his dating of the Apology to a period after Priscillian's episcopal ordination; I suggest that this dating is faulty, however, and that the document was most likely composed by Priscillian before his ordination. [BACK]

52. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 43.10. [BACK]

53. Ibid. 1, 4.8-11. [BACK]

54. Severus, Chron. 2.46. [BACK]

55. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 4.11-5.4; 6.10-11; 5.6-8; 4.2-4; 3.12-4.8. Cf. the closing lines of Priscillian's preface to the Can. Ep. Pauli , in which he protests that he has "faithfully made the content of the scriptures open, being the enemy of no one." [BACK]

56. Tract. 1, 3.6-7 (cf. 1, 14.5 and 33.7); 4.2; 6.14-17. [BACK]

57. Ibid., 5.10; cf. 3, 49.8. [BACK]

58. Chadwick suggests that the "Binionite" heresy was coined by Priscillian in response to accusations that he was a "Unionite," pointing out that the term "Unionita" is applied to Sabellius by a work falsely attributed to Jerome ( Indiculus de haeresibus ), which may be based on the Apology of Ithacius ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 87). However, there is in fact no evidence that Priscillian's unitive theology was an issue in the controversies of his lifetime. In 400, trinitarian issues were implicitly raised in the demand of the Council of Toledo that the Galicians Symphosius and Comasius condemn Priscillian's statement that the Son is innascibilis ( Exemplar , ll. 27-37, 52-58). It was not until the second decade of the fifth century that Orosius explicitly charged Priscillian with trinitarian errors: "Trinitatem autem solo verbo loquebatur, nam unionem absque ulla existentia aut proprietate adserens sublato 'et' patrem filium spiritum sanctum hunc esse unum Christum docebat" ( Commonitorium de errore Priscillianistarum et Origenistarum 2). Several mid-fifth-century documents that also stem from Galicia associate Priscillianism with the failure to distinguish adequately between the persons of the Trinity and consequently with the claims that either God suffered or the man Jesus did not suffer. But Abilio Barbero de Aguilera argues that the anti-Priscillianist Regula fidei falsely attributed to the Council of Toledo (400) is in fact a mid-fifth-century revision of a fourth-century document reflecting the trinitarian concerns of an earlier, pre-Priscillianist era; the redacted Regula fidei in turn shaped the anti-Priscillianist Commonitorium and Libellus that Turibius of Astorga addressed to Leo of Rome (preserved only in Leo, Ep. 15) and the anti-Priscillianist chapters of the Council of Braga (561) ("El priscilianismo: ¿Herejía o movimiento social?" 25-41). [BACK]

59. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 6.19-7.26. [BACK]

60. See, e.g., the Longer Latin Formula of Abjuration , chs. 2, 6, 7, and 8 (Alfred Adam, Texte zum Manichäismus [Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1954], pp. 90-93). [BACK]

61. A letter of Siricius of Rome refers to controversy in Spain over the rebaptism of heretics ( Ep. 1 Ad Himerium Episcopum Tarraconensem 2 [385]), and Priscillian's strong emphasis on baptism and his general "rigorist" stance make it at least plausible that he was one of those who denied the validity of heretical baptism. [BACK]

62. Contrast the view of Chadwick, who seems to assume that all errors denounced by Priscillian reflect accusations against him: "The nature of the heresies disowned . . . makes it evident that the Priscillianists are accused of a Patripassian doctrine of God, a docetic Christology, Manichaeism, studies in heretical apocrypha, and nocturnal orgies, whether magical or sexual" ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 47; see also pp. 90-91). [BACK]

63. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 7.23-8.4. [BACK]

64. Chadwick suggests that the Physiologus "supplies an almost exact illustration of the doctrine which Priscillian so elaborately disowns." In this work, scriptural animals are interpreted as symbols of God, Christ, and the Spirit, as well as of the ascetic conflict with temptation. To Chadwick, it seems likely that the Priscillianists studied and admired such a work; their "elaborate disowning," then, responds only to malicious caricatures of the work, not to the work itself ( Priscillian of Avila , pp. 92-94). Alternatively, Priscillian might genuinely have disagreed with those parts of the Physiologus that interpret animals positively. However, without any firm date for the Physiologus , the suggestion of any possible Priscillianist use of or opposition to the work remains extremely speculative. [BACK]

65. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 13.14-16. [BACK]

66. Ibid., 9.15-19. [BACK]

67. Ibid., 12.21-23. [BACK]

68. Ibid., 12.19-21; cf. 1, 13.23, and 3, 47.25 and 51.13. [BACK]

69. Ibid. 1, 8.16-17; cf. 28.8. [BACK]

70. Ibid. 1, 9.25-27; cf. 1, 19.22, 6, 69.10-11 and 80.1-2, 8, 87.7-10. [BACK]

71. Ibid. 1, 9.27-10.1. [BACK]

72. In his Liber de fide et de apocryphis , Priscillian explicitly opposes Hydatius' demand that all apocryphal literature be condemned, citing the divine command to "search the scriptures" ( Tract. 3, 51.8-13). Cf. the parallel invocation of John 5.39 in Tract. 3, 47.25. [BACK]

73. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 15.1-6 (cf. Pss. 80.13 and 91.13); 1, 18.7-8 (cf. Rev. 13.1). [BACK]

74. Nag Hammadi Codex II 1, pp. 10, 11, 24; English trans., F. Wisse, in Nag Hammadi Library , pp. 110, 111, 118. We know that the Apocryphon of John circulated in various versions; both a long and a short version are extant in Coptic translations of Greek originals, and Irenaeus seems to have known a work similar to, but not identical with any of, these versions (F. Wisse, "Introduction to the Apocryphon of John," in The Nag Hammadi Library in English , 3d ed., ed. J. M. Robinson [San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988], pp. 104-5). That Latin translations may have circulated is not out of the question, especially if they were used by the Manichaeans as well. [BACK]

75. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 10.24; 13.20-21. [BACK]

76. Ibid., 14.5-14. [BACK]

77. Ibid., 16.9-26. [BACK]

78. Commonitorium de errore Priscillianistarum et Origenistarum 2. It is not certain whether the fragment of Priscillian's letter is authentic, whether Orosius quotes it fairly in context, or whether the system outlined in the fragment and in Orosius' supplementary description would have been considered particularly reprehensible by most of Priscillian's Christian contemporaries (Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila , pp. 191-202). [BACK]

79. E. R. Dodds describes late-antique cosmology with an emphasis on its most dualistic articulations ( Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety [New York: Norton, 1965], pp. 5-7). See also Jean Pépin's discussion of more positive ancient religious attitudes toward the cosmos ("Cosmic Piety," in Classical Mediterranean Spirituality , ed. A. H. Armstrong [New York: Crossroad, 1986], pp. 408-35). [BACK]

80. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 16.13. Cf. the more explicit references to Ecclus. 17.31 in 1, 23.1-2, and 5, 64.1. [BACK]

81. Ibid. 6, 78.22-24. [BACK]

82. Anti-astrological polemics in the Greek church commonly took the form both of questioning the validity of astrology per se and of proclaiming that Christ has freed humanity from the domination of the heavenly powers. See Utto Riedinger, Der heilige Schrift im Kampf der griechischen Kirche gegen die Astrologie von Origenes bis Johannes von Damaskos (Innsbruck: Universitätsverlag, 1956). Chadwick suggests that the second argument--which concedes a limited validity to the astrological science--was less common in the west, in which context Priscillian's language may have appeared more radical ( Priscillian of Avila , pp. 200-201). However, the very proliferation of Christian anti-astrological arguments in the west in the last quarter of the fourth century indicates that many Christians did not fully reject astrological speculations; see, e.g., David Hunter's discussion of the context of Ambrosiaster's late-fourth-century De fato ("Ambrosiaster, Astral Fatalism, and the Prehistory of the Pelagian Controversy" [paper delivered at the North American Patristic Society Conference, 1990]). [BACK]

83. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 17.29-18.9. [BACK]

84. Ibid., 18.28. [BACK]

85. Nag Hammadi Codex II 1, p. 24; trans. Wisse, in Nag Hammadi Library , pp. 118-19. [BACK]

86. See Samuel N. C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China: A Historical Survey (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), pp. 16-17. [BACK]

87. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 18.29-22.12. [BACK]

88. This argument is developed at length in ibid. 3, 44-56. [BACK]

89. Ibid., 1, 22.10-12. [BACK]

90. Ibid., 30.14 and 17. Cf. 3, 46.22-26. [BACK]

91. Ibid. 3, 56.6-7. [BACK]

92. Ibid., 46.28-47.1. [BACK]

93. Ibid. 1, 22.13-23.4. [BACK]

94. Chadwick remarks that "it is even possible that the wretched man wrote his own death-warrant by these two fierce anti-Manichaean sentences" ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 97). [BACK]

95. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 41.16-17; id., Can. Ep. Pauli 46. [BACK]

96. E.g., Codex Theodosianus 9.16.1 (319-20), 9.16.4 (357), 9.16.5 (357; 356), 9.16.7 (364), 9.16.8 (370; 373). Hermann Funke gives an overview of anti-magical legislation under the fourth-century Christian emperors, concluding that it did not deviate significantly from pre-Christian legislation ("Majestäts- und Magieprozesse bei Ammianus Marcellinus," Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 10 [1967]: 146-51). [BACK]

97. Priscillian, Tract. 2, 39.8-10. [BACK]

98. Ibid. 1, 23.4-21. [BACK]

99. Ibid. 1, 23.22-24.5. [BACK]

100. Ibid., 24.1-3. [BACK]

101. Ibid., 24.10-11. [BACK]

102. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila , pp. 51-52. [BACK]

103. Ibid., p. 54-55. [BACK]

104. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 25.25-26.12. [BACK]

105. Severus, Chron. 2.50. [BACK]

106. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 24.13-14. [BACK]

107. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila , p. 55. [BACK]

108. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 23.1-2; cf. 5, 64.1, 1, 16.13, and 6, 78.22-24. [BACK]

109. Ibid. 1, 24.3. [BACK]

110. Ibid., 28.15-16; 28.24-26. [BACK]

111. Ibid., 29.13-15; 30.13-15; 31.21-24. [BACK]

112. On this last point, see Peter Brown's classic study, The Making of Late Antiquity (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978). [BACK]

113. Rebecca Lyman notes of the cosmological issues implicit in the Arian controversy that there, too, ''the primary theological issue was . . . transcendence and the alienation of material existence" ( Christology and Cosmology: Models of Divine Activity in Origen, Eusebius, and Athanasius [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993], p. 139). [BACK]

114. Clark, Origenist Controversy , p. 245. [BACK]

115. Ibid., pp. 4, 9. [BACK]

116. Note that the seeming paradox of a "cosmology" expressed in "uncosmological" terms results in part from a certain slippage in my own application of the terminology of "cosmology," which in common theological usage may refer either more narrowly to an account of the creation and/or the structure of the universe or more broadly to a religious "worldview'' or a basic theological "model" articulated within the context of a "worldview" (see, e.g., Cosmology and Theology , ed. D. Tracy and N. Lash, Concilium 166 [New York: Seabury Press, 1983], p. vii, and Lyman, Christology and Cosmology , pp. 3-6). Such slippage is, however, legitimate where it is the case that a particular theological worldview or model is implicit in a particular view of creation, and vice versa; thus, Rebecca Lyman argues that ancient Christian cosmology should not be marginalized as "philosophical" or, worse yet, "heretical," but that "a more helpful course is to consider early cosmology as the theological model that reveals basic assumptions about the nature and relation of God and humanity" ( Christology and Cosmology , p. 5). In the case of Priscillian, as we shall see, to speak of the human being is to speak implicitly of the cosmos, which is in turn to address the broader issue of the relationship of the material and the divine, of the human person and God, of creation and redemption. [BACK]

117. Clark, Origenist Controversy , p. 246. [BACK]

118. Clark is explicit about her interest in the intersection of "theory (theology) and praxis (liturgical and ascetic practice)" (ibid., p. 4). Her discussion of eucharistic dimensions of the anthropomorphite controversy is particularly illumining (pp. 50, 63-66, 105-16, 156-57); she also firmly grounds the anti-Origenism of Epiphanius, Theophilus, and Jerome in late-fourth- and early-fifth-century debates over asceticism, marriage, and reproduction (pp. 94-100, 113-51). [BACK]

119. Priscillian, Tract. 5, 63.23-25); cf. 6, 73.9-10, 7, 83.24-84.1. [BACK]

120. Ibid. 5, 63.17-23. [BACK]

121. Ibid., 63.25-27. [BACK]

122. Ibid., 64.83-86. [BACK]

123. Ibid. 6, 73.3-13. [BACK]

124. Ibid., 93.3-12. [BACK]

125. Cf. ibid. 5, 65.27-66.3 [BACK]

126. Ibid. 6, 73.3-18. [BACK]

127. For this language I am indebted to Patricia Cox Miller, who adapts Jean Vernant's analysis of archaic Greek constructions of the human body and applies it to the Christian desert literature, suggesting that these pre- and postclassical periods have in common both "a comparative standard for perceiving human identity" and the "use of the image of a divine, 'dazzling' body as the privileged signifying ground of that 'dim' human identity" (''Desert Asceticism and 'The Body from Nowhere,'" Journal of Early Christian Studies 2 [1994]: 137-53, 140). [BACK]

128. Priscillian, Tract. 7, 82.7-84.17. [BACK]

129. Miller explicitly distinguishes the anthropological assumptions of the desert literature from "the Platonic, and later Cartesian, dichotomous model of human composition that splits the person into a positive soul or mind housed in a negative body construed as a prison or mechanistic object in space" ("Desert Asceticism," p. 140). Cf. Brown's parallel suggestion that late-ancient thought was marked, not so much by a sharpened dichotomy of soul and body, as by a sense of the distance separating the "soul" and the "true soul'' or heavenly genius ( Making of Late Antiquity , pp. 68-69). [BACK]

130. Priscillian, Tract. 5, 67.12-18. [BACK]

131. For an "Origenist" view of the soteriological function of scripture, see, e.g., Priscillian's discussion of scripture's threefold operation in ibid. 6, 70.7-71.3. Chadwick speculates that Priscillian would have absorbed Origen's doctrine of scripture via Hilary, although Origen's use of the Pauline trichotomy as an exegetical principle is not found in the extant works of Hilary ( Priscillian of Avila , p. 71 n. 1). Mark Vessey provides a nuanced discussion of the convergence of understandings of Christian reading and writing in the works of Hilary, on the one hand, and the Priscillianist tractates and Pauline canons, on the other, attributing such convergence not only to the direct influence of Hilary's writings on Priscillianist circles, but also to a shared Christian literary heritage fed by both Alexandrian traditions of "ascetical gnosis" and "a shared background of western ideas of Bible-study and Christian utterance" ("Ideas of Christian Writing in Late Roman Gaul" [D. Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1988], pp. 11-34). [BACK]

132. Priscillian, Tract. 3, 44.3-5; 45.23-24; 51.7-15; 56.6-7. [BACK]

133. Priscillian, Can. Ep. Pauli , prol. Mark Vessey has pointed out to me that the Pauline canons seem to represent an interesting precursor to the western genre of monastic "rules"; their literary form, which mediates between scriptura and regula , thus appears to offer a parallel expression of the tractates' conviction that a true reading of scripture is inevitably productive of an ascetic "orthodoxy." [BACK]

134. Van Dam here has Martin of Tours in mind, but his point is more generally applicable ( Leadership , p. 61). [BACK]

135. Priscillian, Tract. 4, 58.6-9. [BACK]

136. Severus, Chron. 2.46, 47; cf. Jerome, Ep. 133.4. [BACK]

137. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 3.9; Jerome, De viris inlustribus 123; Severus, Chron. 2.51. [BACK]

138. Priscillian, Tract. 1, 3.9. [BACK]

139. The Spanish poet Latronianus may already have been among Priscillian's supporters at this point; see Severus, Chron. 2.51, and Jerome, De viris inlustribus 122. [BACK]

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