Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lesson 19 St. Phillip

Philip was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Later Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who proselytized in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia. He was martyred by crucifixion in the city of Hierapolis. In the Catholic Church, the feast day of Saint Philip, along with Saint James, has traditionally been observed on 1 May, but was moved to 11 May, the next free day, in 1955 due to the addition of Saint Joseph the Workman. In 1970, with the suppression of many feasts during the revision of the calendar, it was placed on 3 May. Members of the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrate it on November 14. Many churches in the Anglican Communion continue to celebrate it on 1 May.
Gnostic Christians appealed to the apostolic authority of Philip, ascribing a number of gnostic texts to him, most notably the Gospel of Philip from the Nag Hammadi library.
Philip the Apostle is not to be confused with Philip the Evangelist from the Book of Acts.
New Testament
The Gospel of John describes Philip's calling as a disciple of Jesus.[1] The narrative of Philip's call as a disciple describes him as being from the city of Bethsaida, and connects him to Andrew and Peter, who were from the same town.[2] It further connects him to Nathaniel (sometimes identified with Bartholomew), by describing how Philip introduced Nathaniel to Jesus.[3] The authors of the Synoptic Gospels also describe Philip as a disciple of Jesus.[4]
Of the four Gospels, Philip figures most prominently in the Gospel of John. His two most notable appearances in the narrative are as a link to the Greek-speaking Jewish community (Philip introduces members of this community to Jesus[5]); and during the Last Supper when he asked Jesus to see the Father, providing Jesus the opportunity to teach about the unity of the Father and the Son.[6]
Philip is always listed fifth among the apostles (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14 and Acts 1:13).
Christian Tradition
Christian stories about Philip's life and ministry can be found in the extra-canonical writings of later Christians than in the New Testament. One of the most reliable fragments of knowledge about Philip comes from the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, Clement, who states that Philip was married, had children, and one of his daughters was also married.[7] Other legendary material about Philip can be misleading, as many hagiographers conflated Philip the Apostle with Philip the Evangelist. The most notable and influential example of this is the hagiography of Eusebius, in which Eusebius clearly assumes that both Philips are the same person.[8] As early as 1260, Jacobus de Voragine noted in his Golden Legend that the account of Philip's life given by Eusebius was not to be trusted.[9]
Later stories about Philip's life can be found in the anonymous Acts of Philip, probably written by a contemporary of Eusebius.[10] This non-canonical book recounts the preaching and miracles of Philip. Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamme and Bartolomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria.[11] Included in the Acts of Philip is an appendix, entitled "Of the Journeyings of Philip the Apostle: From the Fifteenth Act Until the End, and Among Them the Martyrdom." This appendix gives an account of Philip's martyrdom in the city of Hierapolis.[12] According to this account, through a miraculous healing and his preaching Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamme all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside down, and Philip preached from his cross. As a result of Philip's preaching the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross.
In the Unity Church, Philip is the Apostle associated with the power of dominion, or power, as per Charles Fillmore's The Twelve Powers of Man.
The Greek Acts of Philip (Acta Philippi) is an unorthodox episodic apocryphal mid-to late fourth-century [1] narrative, originally in fifteen separate acta,[2] that gives an accounting of the miraculous acts performed by the Apostle Philip, with overtones of the genre of Romance.
Some of these episodes are identifiable as belonging to more closely related "cycles".[3] Two episodes recounting events of Philip's commission (3 and 8) have survived in both shorter and longer versions. There is no commission narrative in the surviving texts: Philip's authority rests on the prayers and benediction of Peter and John and is explicitly bolstered by a divine epiphany, in which the voice of Jesus urges "Hurry Philip! Behold, my angel is with you, do not neglect your task" and "Jesus is secretly walking with him".(ch. 3).
The Acts of Philip is most completely represented by a text[4] discovered in 1974 by François Bovon and Bertrand Bouvier in the library of Xenophontos monastery on Mount Athos in Greece.[5] The manuscript dates from the fourteenth century but its language identifies it as a copy of a fourth century original.[5] Many of the narratives in the manuscript were already known from other sources, but some were hitherto unknown.[6] The narrative claims that Jesus sent out a group of followers to spread his message. The followers were Philip, Bartholomew, and— a leading figure in the second half of the text— woman named Mariamne, who is identified in the text as Philip's sister, and who. Bovon previous claim that that Mariamne could be identical to Mary Magdalene.[5] However, following the Discovery Channel's popularized speculations in The Lost Tomb of Jesus, Bovon publicly distanced himself from its claims, withdrawing his published assertion (Bovon 2002) that the Mariamne of the Talpiot tomb discussed in The Lost Tomb of Jesus is the same person,[7] writing in an open letter to the Society of Biblical Literature:
the Mariamne of the Acts of Philip is part of the apostolic team with Philip and Bartholomew; she teaches and baptizes: Philip baptizes men, Mary baptizes women. In the beginning, her faith is stronger than Philip's faith. This portrayal of Mariamne fits very well with the portrayal of Mary of Magdala in the Manichean Psalms, the Gospel of Mary, and Pistis Sophia. My interest is not historical, but on the level of literary traditions. I have suggested this identification in 1984 already in an article of New Testament Studies.[8]
The text discovered by Bovon also described a community that practised vegetarianism and celibacy.[5] Women in the community wore men's clothes and held positions of authority comparable to men, serving as priests and deacons.[5] The community used a form of the eucharist where vegetables and water were consumed in place of bread and wine.[9] Among lesser miraculous accomplishments of the group were the conversion of a talking leopard and a talking goat,[5] as well as the slaying of a dragon.[10] "Speaking animals as helpers of the apostles are familiar figures in the apostolic Acts" (Czachesz 2002).
The manuscript discovered by Bovon has been published in a French translation. An English translation was planned "within a few years" (as of 2000).[5] Previous English translations, such as in M.R. James are based on collections of fragments known from before Bovon's discovery.
Like the brothers, Peter and Andrew, Philip was a native of Bethsaida on Lake Genesareth (John 1:44). He also was among those surrounding the Baptist when the latter first pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God. On the day after Peter's call, when about to set out for Galilee, Jesus met Philip and called him to the Apostolate with the words, "Follow me". Philip obeyed the call, and a little later brought Nathaniel as a new disciple (John 1:43-45). On the occasion of the selection and sending out of the twelve, Philip is included among the Apostles proper. His name stands in the fifth place in the three lists (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16) after the two pairs of brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John. The Fourth Gospel records three episodes concerning Philip which occurred during the epoch of the public teaching of the Saviour:
Before the miraculous feeding of the multitude, Christ turns towards Philip with the question: "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" to which the Apostle answers: "Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little" (vi, 5-7).
When some heathens in Jerusalem came to Philip and expressed their desire to see Jesus, Philip reported the fact to Andrew and then both brought the news to the Saviour (xii, 21-23).
When Philip, after Christ had spoken to His Apostles of knowing and seeing the Father, said to Him: "Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us", he received the answer: "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also" (xiv, 8-9).
These three episodes furnish a consistent character-sketch of Philip as a naïve, somewhat shy, sober-minded man. No additional characteristics are given in the Gospels or the Acts, although he is mentioned in the latter work (i, 13) as belonging to the Apostolic College.
The second-century tradition concerning him is uncertain, inasmuch as a similar tradition is recorded concerning Philip the Deacon and Evangelist -- a phenomenon which must be the result of confusion caused by the existence of the two Philips. In his letter to St. Victor, written about 189-98, bishop Polycrates of Ephesus mentions among the "great lights", whom the Lord will seek on the "last day", "Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, who is buried in Hieropolis with his two daughters, who grew old as virgins", and a third daughter, who "led a life in the Holy Ghost and rests in Ephesus." On the other hand, according to the Dialogue of Caius, directed against a Montanist named Proclus, the latter declared that "there were four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip, at Hieropolis in Asia where their and their father's grave is still situated." The Acts (xxi, 8-9) does indeed mention four prophetesses, the daughters of the deacon and "Evangelist" Philip, as then living in Caesarea with their father, and Eusebius who gives the above-mentioned excerpts (Hist. Eccl., III, xxxii), refers Proclus' statement to these latter. The statement of Bishop Polycrates carries in itself more authority, but it is extraordinary that three virgin daughters of the Apostle Philip (two buried in Hieropolis) should be mentioned, and that the deacon Philip should also have four daughters, said to have been buried in Hieropolis. Here also perhaps we must suppose a confusion of the two Philips to have taken place, although it is difficult to decide which of the two, the Apostle or the deacon, was buried in Hieropolis. Many modern historians believe that it was the deacon; it is, however, possible that the Apostle was buried there and that the deacon also lived and worked there and was there buried with three of his daughters and that the latter were afterwards erroneously regarded as the children of the Apostle. The apocryphal "Acts of Philip," which are, however purely legendary and a tissue of fables, also refer Philip's death to Hieropolis. The remains of the Philip who was interred in Hieropolis were later translated (as those of the Apostle) to Constantinople and thence to the church of the Dodici Apostoli in Rome. The feast of the Apostle is celebrated in the Roman Church on 1 May (together with that of James the Younger), and in the Greek Church on 14 November. [Editor's Note: The feast is now celebrated on 3 May in the Roman Church.]

No comments: