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Nepos of Arsinoë


Third-century Millenarianist and bishop of Arsinoë (modern Medinet El Faiyûm, Egypt); author of liturgical hymns and of a Judaizing view of the Apocalypse called a Refutation of the Allegorists. Though lost, this book is described by Eusebius of Caesarea (Hist. eccl., 7.24, 25) as having been refuted by Bp. dionysius of alexandria (d. 265) in a two-volume tract, On Promises. Nepos propounded a Millenaristic viewpoint in which he interpreted the promises made to the saints in the Scriptures as due to be fulfilled on this earth during a 1,000-year reign of the just, in which man's physical powers would be given full satisfaction. Dionysius first held a three-day conference to dispel the effects of this doctrine among the Egyptian bishops, then wrote his refutation. But the disciples of Nepos apparently initiated several schismatic movements that explain the Church's generally reticent attitude toward allegorical interpretation of the Scripture. Nepos's views also witness to the continuance of Judaistic tendencies in the Church of the third century.

Bibliography: j. kirchmeyer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 7:878. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 11.1:6869. j. quasten, Patrology, 3 v. (Westminster, Md. 1950) 2:103104. l. gry, Le Millénarisme (Paris 1904) 101107. c. l. feltoe, ed., The Letters of Dionysius of Alexandria (Cambridge, Eng. 1904) 106126.

[j. bentivegna]

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