We’ve been looking at 2nd century Christian apologists for several months and after this post will move into the 3rd century. There are several more apologists to mention. Even though we don’t know as much about them as we do other Christians of that era, each played an important role in the early years of the Church.
Papias of Hierapolis
Papias reportedly lived in the latter part of the 1st century and early part of the 2nd century AD and was one of the early bishops of Hierapolis, which was located near Laodicea. Paul mentioned the church at Hierapolis in his letter to the Colossians –
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.” Colossians 4:12-13
Most of what we know about Papias comes from the writings of Irenaeus and Eusebius. Irenaeus wrote that Papias was “a friend of Polycarp.” Irenaeus, who was also a 2nd century apologist and knew Polycarp, wrote that Papias had five books “in common circulation” called “an Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord.” We do not have copies of the Oracles, so the fragments from Irenaeus are helpful in knowing what Papias wrote.
You can read more about the Fragments of Papias here.
Apollianaris of Hierapolis
Claudius Apollianaris is believed to have become bishop of Hierapolis after Papias. What we know about Apollianaris comes from the writings of Jerome, Eusebius, Theodore and others. He was reportedly held in high esteem and well known for his writings against heretics of the 2nd century. Apollinaris wrote five books against pagans, two against the Jews, two on “Truth.” He also wrote an Apologia for Christians addressed to Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
You can read more about the Fragments of Apollinaris here.
What we know about Hegesippus comes from the writings of Eusebius and Jerome. Hegesippus reportedly wrote books about the tradition of Apostolic preaching, church history, and some apologia against the heresies of Marcion and the Gnostics.
You can read more about the Fragments of Hegesippus here.
What we know about Rhodon comes from the writings of Eusebius, Philip of Side and Jerome. Rhodon wrote during the latter part of the 2nd century. Jerome said that Rhodon was a student of Tatian and wrote a polemic against the Marcions titled Solutions. Philip wrote that Rhodon was head of a Christian school in Alexandria and possibly in Pamphylia after the school moved.
You can read more about the Fragments of Rhodon here.
Pantaenus of Alexandria
What we know about Pantaenus comes from the writings of Eusebius and Jerome. Pantaenus was the head of the catechetical school of Alexandria in the latter part of the 2nd century. He reportedly also traveled as a missionary and may have reached as far as India. Clement of Alexandria became head of the school after Pantaenus’ death in about 200 AD.
You can read more about Pantaenus of Alexandria here.
Theophilus of Caesarea
Theophilus of Caesarea was a bishop at the church of Caesarea Maritima during the latter part of the 2nd century. He was a teacher of Clement of Alexandria and also involved in the Quartodeciman controversy concerning the date of celebrating Paschal/Easter.
You can read more about Theophilus of Caesarea here.
Other 2nd Century Apologists
Join us next time as we look at some of the leading Christian apologists of the 3rd Century.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.