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The Biblical Hermeneutics of Noetus of Smyrna

Authors
  • Morales, Xavier
Type
Published Article
Journal
Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Nov 27, 2023
Volume
27
Issue
3
Pages
391–412
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/zac-2023-0024
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Articles
License
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Abstract

Noetus of Smyrna, who probably lived at the end of the 2d century, was proclaimed the father of modalism by the history of dogmas. His character, eclipsed by his successors to the role of the main representative of modalism (Sabellius or Marcellus of Ancyra), remains enigmatic. The two main documentary sources, Against Noetus (Contra Noetum) and Refutation of All Heresies (Refutatio omnium haeresium), give a discordant presentation of him: defender of a naïve interpretation of biblical monotheism or inventor of a Christian heracliteism? This article, after a brief historical introduction, studies the scriptural hermeneutics of the Smyrniot to show that Noetus is not a simplistic exegete or a narrow-minded theologian. His theology of divine identity, which it is wrong to call modalism, is based on an intelligent analysis of the Scriptures.

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