Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Amillennialism of Caius [A.D. 200]

Caius was a presbyter of Rome in the early Second Century. Though there aren’t many of his writings left for us today, we have enough to form a conclusion about his views on the millennium.
On the Millennium
“But Cerinthus, too, through revelations written, as he would have us believe, by a great apostle, brings before us marvelous things, which he pretends were shown him by angels; alleging that after the resurrection the kingdom of Christ is to be on earth, and that the flesh dwelling in Jerusalem is again to be subject to desires and pleasures. And being an enemy to the Scriptures of God, wishing to deceive men, he says that there is to be a space of a thousand years for marriage festivals.” (Caius Fragment from a Dialogue or Disputation Against Proclus)

Another interesting fragment from Caius deals with the dating of the Shepherd of Hermas, a subject of most importance concerning eschatology, but unfortunately difficult to arrive at a consensus on.

On the dating of the Shepherd of Hermas
“The Epistle of Jude, indeed, and two belonging to the above-named John - or bearing the name of John - are reckoned among the Catholic epistles. And the book of Wisdom, 604 written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. We receive also the Apocalypse of John and that of Peter, though some amongst us will not have this latter read in the Church. The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time. Of the writings of Arsinous, called also Valentinus, or of Miltiades, we receive nothing at all. Those are rejected too who wrote the new Book of Psalms for Marcion, together with Basilides and the founder of the Asian Cataphrygians.” (Caius Fragment from Canon Muratorianus)

Caius was clearly amillennial, and a staunch opponent of Montanism.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

That second quote is especially interesting, regarding the canon of Scripture.