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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Lucanus (1)

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Lucanus (1), or Lucianus, Marcionite ( Lucanus, Pseudo-Tert. 18; Philast. 46, and so probably their source, the Syntagma of Hippolytus; Tertull. de Resur. Carn. 2; Λουκᾶνος , Orig. cont. Cels. ii. 27; on the other hand, Λουκιανός Hippol. Ref. vii. 37; Epiph. Haer. 43). The former is the better attested form, and more likely to have been altered into the other. The Lucianites are reckoned as a sect distinct from the Marcionites, as well by Origen as by Hippolytus and his followers; but lack of authentic report of any important difference in doctrine leads us to believe that Lucanus did not separate from Marcion, but that after the latter's death Lucanus was a Marcionite teacher (probably at Rome), whose celebrity caused his followers to be known by his name rather than by that of the original founder of the sect. They may have been so called in contradistinction to the Marcionites of the school of Apelles, who approached more nearly to the orthodox. Origen's language ( οἶμαι ) implies that he had no very intimate knowledge of the teaching of Lucanus; he will not speak positively as to whether Lucanus tampered with the Gospels. Epiphanius owns that, the sect being extinct in his time, he had difficulty in obtaining accurate information about it. Tertullian alone (u.s. ) seems to have direct knowledge of the teaching of Lucanus. He accuses him of going beyond other heretics who merely denied the resurrection of the body, and of maintaining that not even the soul would rise, but some other thing, neither soul nor body. Neander (Ch. Hist. ii. 189) interprets this to mean that Lucanus held that the ψυχή would perish and the πνεῦμα alone be immortal; and possibly this may be so, though Tertullian's language would lead us to attribute to Lucanus a theory more peculiar to himself than this would be. Some commentators, taking a jest of Tertullian's too literally, have, without good reason, ascribed to Lucanus a doctrine of transmigration of souls of men into bodies of brutes. They have, however, the authority of Epiphanius ( Haer. 42, p. 330) for regarding this doctrine as one likely to be held by a Marcionite. Lucanus has been conjectured to be the author of the apocryphal Acts which bore the name of LEUCIUS, and Lardner treats the identification as certain. Even, however, if it were certain that the Acts of Leucius were Marcionite, not Manichean, and as early as the 2nd cent., there is no ground for this identification but the similarity of name.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Lucanus (1)'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
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