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The Internal Development Of The

The characteristic Eastern and Western conceptions of Christianity began
to be clearly differentiated in the early years of the third century. A
juristic conception of the Church as a body at the head of which, and
clothed with authority, appeared the bishop of Rome, had, indeed, become
current at Rome in the last decade of the second century on the occasion
of the Easter controversy, which had ended in an estrangement between the
previously closely affiliated churches of Asia Minor and the West,
especially Rome ( 38). Western theology soon became centred in North
Africa under the legally trained Tertullian, by whom its leading
principles were laid down in harmony with the bent of the Latin genius (
39). In this period numerous attempts were made to solve the problem
arising from the unity of God and the divinity of Christ, without recourse
to a Logos christology. Some of the more unsuccessful of these attempts
have since been grouped under the heads of Dynamistic and of Modalistic
Monarchianism ( 40). At the same time Montanism was excluded from the
Church ( 41), as subversive of the distinction between the clergy and
laity and the established organs of the Church's government, which in the
recent rise of a theory of the necessity of the episcopate (see above,
27) had become important. In the administration of the penitential
discipline ( 42) the position of the clergy and the realization of a
hierarchically organized Church was still further advanced, preparatory
for the position of Cyprian. At the same time as these constitutional
developments were taking place in the West, and especially in North
Africa, there occurred in Egypt and Palestine a remarkable advance in
doctrinal discussion, whereby the theology of the apologists was developed
in the Catechetical School of Alexandria, especially under the leadership
of Clement of Alexandria and Origen ( 43). In this new speculation a vast
mass of most fruitful theological ideas was built up, from which
subsequent ages drew for the defence of the traditional faith, but some of
which served as the basis of new and startling heresies. Corresponding to
the intellectual development within the Church was the last phase of
Hellenic philosophy, known as Neo-Platonism ( 44), which subsequently
came into bitter conflict with the Church.

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