Theophilus

, of Antioch, a writer and bishop of the primitive church, was educated a heathen, and afterwards converted to Christianity. Some have imagined that he is the person to whom St. Luke dedicates the “Acts of the Apostles;” but this is impossible, as he was not ordained bishop of Antioch till the year 170, and he governed this church twelve or thirteen years, at the end of which be died. He was a vigorous opposer of certain heretics of his time, and composed a great number of works, all of which are lost, except three books to Autolycus, a learned heathen of his acquaintance, who had undertaken to vindicate his own religion against that of the Christians. The first book is properly a discourse between him and Autoly* cus, in answer to what this heathen had said against Christianity. The second is to convince him of the falshood of his own, and the truth of the Christian religion. In the third, after having proved that the writings of the heathens are full of absurdities and contradictions, he vindicates the doctrine and the lives of the Christians from those false and scandalous imputations which were then brought against them. Lastly, at the end of his work, he adds an historical chronology from the beginning of the world to his own time, to prove, that the history of Moses is at once the most ancient and the truest; and it appears from this little epitome, that he was well acquainted with profane history. In these books are a great variety of curious disquisitions concerning the opinions of the poets and philosophers, but few things in them relating immediately to the doctrines of the Christian religion, the reason of which is, that having composed his woiks for the conviction of a Pagan, he insisted rather on the external evidences of Christianity, vis better adapted, in his opinion, to the purpose. His style is elegant, and he was doubtless a man of considerable | parts and learning. These boots were published, with a Latin version, by Conradus Gesner, at Zurich, in 154-6. They were afterwards subjoined to Justin Martyr’s works, printed at Paris in 1615 and 1636; then published at Oxford, 1684, in 12mo, under the inspection of Dr. Fell; and, lastly, by Jo. Christ. Wolfius, at Hamburgh, 1723, in 8vo. It has been said, that this Theophilus of Antioch was the h’rst who applied the term Trinity to express the three persons in the Godhead. 1

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Dupin.—Cave, voL l.—Mosheim.—Lardner’s Works.