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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Eznik, Armenian Doctor of the Church

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Eznik ( Eznig, Esnig ), an Armenian doctor of the church in the 5th cent. His native place was Koghb or Kolp (whence he was called the Kolpensian), and he was a disciple of the patriarch Sahak (Isaac) and Mjesrop, the praeceptor Armeniae . Besides his mother tongue he understood Persian, Greek, and Syriac. During long journeys through Syria, Mesopotamia, and Greece he added to his theological learning, becoming thoroughly acquainted with ecclesiastical literature. Later he was made a bishop, and as such took part in the synod of Artashast, a.d. 450, which repelled the demands of the Persian viceroy, Mihr-Nersh, that the Armenians should adopt Zoroastrianism, in an epistle marked with dignity, courage, and faith.

He died an aged man, as bp. of Bagrewand (Pakrewand) in the province of Airerat (cf. Neumann, Geschichte der Armenischen Literatur , pp. 42 seq.). His main work is The Destruction of False Doctrines , still preserved in the Armenian original (pub. by the Mechitarists of St. Lazarus in the collection of Armenian classics, Venice, 1826). There is a good German trans. by J. M. Schmid (Leipz. 1900), Biblioth. der alten armen. Lit. i. The whole is divided into 4 books—the 1st combats the Gentile doctrine of the eternity of matter, the 2nd the Zoroastrian religion, the 3rd Greek philosophy, the 4th the Gnostic sect of the Marcionites. The immediate occasion of the work was the conflict between Armenian Christianity and Parsism. The 4th book is of value for the history of heresy. The representation given of the Marcionite doctrine of Principias, and the various myths concerning the origin of the human race, its corruption by matter, the mission of Christ, His crucifixion, descent into hell, and victory over the Demiurge, contain much peculiar and characteristic, but much also belonging to the later developments, not the original forms, of Marcionitism.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Eznik, Armenian Doctor of the Church'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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