Pantænus

, a Christian philosopher, of the Stoic sect, flourished in the second century. Some say he was born in Sicily, others at Alexandria, of Sicilian parents. He is said to have taught the Stoic philosophy in the reign of Commodus, from A. D. 180, in the school of Alexandria; where from the time of St. Mark, founder of that church, there had always been some divine who explained the Holy Scriptures. The Ethiopians having requested Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria, to send a proper person to instruct them in the Christian religion, he sent Pantænus who gladly undertook the mission, and acquitted himself very worthily in it. It is said, that he found the Ethiopians already tinctured with the truth of Christian faith, which had been declared to them by St. Bartholomew; and that he saw the gospel of St. Matthew in Hebrew, which had been left there by that apostle. St. Jerome says, that Pantænus brought it away with him, and that it was still to be seen in his time in the Alexandrian library; but this story is not generally credited, since no good reason can be given, why St. Bartholomew should leave a Hebrew book with the Ethiopians. Pantænus,

1 Cbaufepie.*-—Niceron, vol. IX. —Tiraboschi.Saxii Onomast.
| upon his return to Alexandria, continued to explain the sacred books under the reign of Severus and Antoninus Caracalla, and did great service to the church by his discourses. He composed some “Commentaries” upon the Bible, which are lost. Theodoret informs us that Pantænus first started the remark, which has been followed by many interpreters of the prophecies since, “That they are often expressed in indefinite terms, and that the present tense is frequently used both for the preterite and future tenses.” We may form a judgment of the manner in, which Pantænus explained the Scriptures, by that which Clemens Alexandria as, Origen, and all those have observed, who were trained up in the school of Alexandria. Their commentaries abound with allegories; they frequently leave the literal sense, and find almost every where some mystery or other; in the explaining of which, they usually shew more erudition than judgment. Mil ner observes, that the combination of Stoicism with Christianity must have very much debased the sacred truths; and we may be assured that those who were disposed to follow implicitly the dictates of such an instructor as Pantænus, must have been furnished by him with a clouded light of the gospel. Cave is of opinion that Pantænus’s death occurred in the year 213. 1
1 Cave, vol. I.Dupin. Lardner’s Works. Milner’s Cb. Hist.