Catholic dating beliefs
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Although T really contains more than twelve articles, it has always been customary to maintain the twelvefold division which originated with, and more strictly applies to, R.A few of the more debated items call for some brief comment. From the language of Tertullian it is contended that R originally omitted the word ; thus, "I believe in one God Almighty".
This fact, joined with the intrinsic improbability of the story, and the surprising silence of the New Testament and of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, leaves us no choice but to regard the circumstantial narrative of Rufinus as unhistorical.
Moreover, he declares that "they for many just reasons decided that this rule of faith should be called the Symbol", which Greek word he explains to mean both , that is to say an offering made up of separate contributions. 390), the letter addressed to Pope Siricius by the Council of Milan (Migne, P. let credit at least be given to the Symbol of the Apostles which the Roman Church always preserves and maintains inviolate." The word in this sense, standing alone, meets us first about the middle of the third century in the correspondence of St. Firmilia, the latter in particular speaking of the Creed as the "Symbol of the Trinity", and recognizing it as an integral part of the rite of baptism (Migne, P. It should be added, moreover, that Kattenbusch (II, p.
L., XVI, 1213) supplies the earliest known instance of the combination ("Creed of the Apostles") in these striking words: "If you credit not the teachings of the priests . 80, note) believes that the same use of the words can be traced as far back as Tertullian.
(3) Though no uniform type of Creed can be surely recognized among the earlier Eastern writers before the Council of Nicaea, an argument which has been considered by many to disprove the existence of any Apostolic formula, it is a striking fact that the Eastern Churches in the fourth century are found in possession of a Creed which reproduces with variations the old Roman type.
This fact is full admitted by such Protestant authorities as Harnack (in Hauck's Realencyclopädie, I, 747) and Kattenbusch (I, 380 sq.; II, 194 sqq., and 737 sq.).
(4) Furthermore note that towards the end of the second century we can extract from the writings of St.
Irenæus in southern Gaul and of Tertullian in far-off Africa two almost complete Creeds agreeing closely both with the old Roman Creed (R), as we know it from Rufinus, and with one another.
This legend dates back to the sixth century (see Pseudo-Augustine in Migne, P. L., XXI, 337) gives a detailed account of the composition of the Creed, which account he professes to have received from earlier ages ().
L., XXXIX, 2189, and Pirminius, ibid., LXXXIX, 1034), and it is foreshadowed still earlier in a sermon attributed to St. L., XVII, 671; Kattenbusch, I, 81), which takes notice that the Creed was "pieced together by twelve separate workmen". Although he does not explicitly assign each article to the authorship of a separate Apostle, he states that it was the joint work of all, and implies that the deliberation took place on the day of Pentecost.
Thus, taking the document as a whole, we may say confidently, in the words of a modern Protestant authority, that "in and with our Creed we confess that which since the days of the Apostles has been the faith of united Christendom" (Zahn, Apostles' Creed, tr., p, 222).
The question of the apostolicity of the Creed ought not to be dismissed without due attention being paid to the following five considerations: (1) There are very suggestive traces in the New Testament of the recognition of a certain "form of doctrine" (, Romans ) which moulded, as it were, the faith of new converts to Christ's law, and which involved not only the word of faith believed in the heart, but "with the mouth confession made unto salvation" (Romans 10:8-10).
Had the "De Virginibus Velandis" been destroyed, we should have declared that Tertullian knew nothing of the clause "suffered under Pontius Pilate". (5) It must not be forgotten that while no explicit statement of the composition of a formula of faith by the Apostles is forthcoming before the close of the fourth century, earlier Fathers such as Tertullian and St.