Tag Archives: Catechesis

Origin of the Apostles Creed : Part 3

 

A formula containing in brief statements, or “articles,” the fundamental tenets of Christian belief, and having for its authors, according to tradition, the Twelve Apostles.

I. ORIGIN OF THE CREED

Throughout the Middle Ages it was generally believed that the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, while still under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, composed our present Creed between them, each of the Apostles contributing one of the twelve articles. This legend dates back to the sixth century (see Pseudo-Augustine in Migne, P.L., XXXIX, 2189, and Pirminius, ibid., LXXXIX, 1034), and it is foreshadowed still earlier in a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose (Migne, P.L., XVII, 671; Kattenbusch, I, 81), which takes notice that the Creed was “pieced together by twelve separate workmen”. About the same date (c. 400) Rufinus (Migne, P.L., XXI, 337) gives a detailed account of the composition of the Creed, which account he professes to have received from earlier ages (tradunt majores nostri). Although he does not explicitly assign each article to the authorship of a separate Apostle, he states that it was the joint work of all, and implies that the deliberation took place on the day of Pentecost. Moreover, he declares that “they for many just reasons decided that this rule of faith should be called the Symbol”, which Greek word he explains to mean both indicium, i.e. a token or password by which Christians might recognize each other, and collatio, that is to say an offering made up of separate contributions. Continue reading


The Apostles Creed : Part 1

Historical Catholic tradition states that the twelve apostles are the authors of the creed that bears their name. According the early church, the twelve composed the creed with each apostle adding a clause to form the whole. Though scholars today argue against this tradition many continue to think of the creed as apostolic in nature because its basic teachings are agreeable to the theological formulations of the apostolic age.

Though the current form appears to stem from about 700 AD, segments of it are found in Catholic writings dating as early as the second century. The most important predecessor of the Apostles’ Creed was the Old Roman Creed, which was probably formalized during the second half of the second century.

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