Satanology of the Apostolic Fathers: Quadratus

The early second century Christian apologist Quadratus is known only by a fragment of his work quoted by the fourth century Christian historian Eusebius.1

‘OUR Saviour’s works, moreover, were always present: for they were real, consisting of those who had been healed of their diseases, those who had been raised from the dead; who were not only seen whilst they were being healed and raised up, but were afterwards constantly present. Nor did they remain only during the sojourn of the Saviour on earth, but also a considerable time after His departure; and, indeed, some of them have survived even down to our own times.’2

This fragment is insufficient a witness from which to draw comprehensive conclusions on Quadratus’ beliefs concerning supernatural evil. However, it does present a completely non-mythological astheniology; people are said to have been ‘healed of their diseases’ and ‘healed’, but there is no reference to demon possession or illness resulting from affliction by Satan or demons; the text itself is completely non-mythological. This is remarkable for a text written during an era in which Christian demonology had become well developed and astheniology typically used demonic possession as an explanatory recourse.

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  1. ‘The Quadratus Fragment, an apology belonging to the period 120–30, is addressed to Emperor Hadrian (117–38). Only a fragment has survived. At its heart stands a reference to witnesses to Christ.’, Henning Paulsen, “Apostolic Fathers,” in The Encyclopedia of Christianity (ed. Geoffrey William Fahlbusch, Erwin; Bromiley; vol. 1, 5 vols.; Grand Rapids, MI; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999), 113; ‘His date is known only from Eusebius’ Chronicle and Church History, and the latter work contains the one known fragment of the apology. Eusebius had the whole work, but cited it only to indicate Quadratus’ intelligence, “apostolic orthodoxy,” and early date. The passage cited contrasts the genuine healings and raisings from the dead of “our Savior” with those of another person whose miracles were only in semblance or had temporary effects, or else with a “seeming” Savior who accomplished no permanent achievements. Quadratus said that those healed or raised from the dead lived on “for a considerable time” after the “departure” of the Savior. In consequence, “some of them survived even to our own day,” that is, presumably up to the time of Quadratus’ birth (Hist. Eccl. 4.3.1–2).’, Robert M. Grant, “Quadratus,” in The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (ed. David Freedman; vol. 5; The Anchor Bible Reference Library; Yale University Press, 1992), 582. []
  2. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., “Remains of the Second and Third Centuries: Quadratus, Bishop of Athens,” in Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, the Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages (trans. B. P. Pratten; vol. 8; The Ante-Nicene Fathers; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 749. []

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