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Macarius Magnes


Oriental bishop and apologist, flourished early 5th century. He is author of a dialogue in five books called the Apocriticus, or Response, to the pagans. Macarius is identified by photius as an opponent of john chrysostom at the Synod of the oak in 403 (biblical codex, 59), and he is said to have condemned Heraclides of Ephesus, one of the bishops whom John Chrysostom had consecrated. Nothing is known of his origin or career. His apology represents a fictitious five day dispute with a pagan philosopher; it proves of considerable value for preserving verbatim texts of what seems to be a later redaction of the 3rd century work Against the Christians (15 books) by the philosopher Porphyry. Only half of the Apocriticus has been preserved (2.74.30). It was used in the 9th century iconoclast controversy and is cited at some length by the 16th century Jesuit F. Torres (Turrianus). Its interest centers on the type of objection brought against Christianity in early times: the criticism of Old and New Testament texts, and attacks against the doctrines of the Incarnation, Redemption, and the monarchy of God. L. duchesne thought the pagan philosopher quoted was the Neoplatonist Hierocles of Bithynia; but A. von Harnack and later scholars agree that it must be Porphyry. One fragment of a homily on Gn 3.21 by Macarius has also been preserved; other fragments attributed to him are spurious.

Bibliography: j. quasten, Patrology, 3 v. (Westminster 1950) 3:486488. b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef, from 5th German ed. (New York 1960) 388. g. bardy, Dictionnaire de thélologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350) 9.2:145659. l. duchesne, De Macario Magnete (Paris 1877). t. w. crafer, Journal of Theological Studies, 15 (191314) 360395, 481512; tr., The Apocriticus of Macarius Magnes (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge 1919). a. b. hulsen, Porphyry's Work Against the Christians (New Haven 1934).

[f. x. murphy]

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