What Do You Think About This Tradition?

There is a tradition that the Apostle’s Creed originated with the apostles each contributing an article of the Creed. Rufinus gives an interpretation of the Aposlte’s Creed that was known to him in 309 AD, which he says is from apostolic tradition. There are 11 articles to this form:

**It seems desirable to give the original Latin and English versions of the Creed of Aquileia, on which Rufinus makes his commentary. The words or letters which are peculiar to this creed are put in italics.

Credo in Deo Patre omnipotenti invisibili et impassibili (I believe in God the Father Almighty, invisible and impassible)

Et in Jesu Christo, unico Filio ejus, Domino nostro (And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord)

Qui natus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine (Who was born from the Holy Ghost, of the Virgin Mary)

Crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato, et sepultus (Was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried)

Descendit ad inferna; tertia die resurrexit a mortuis (He descended to hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead)

Ascendit in cœlos; sedet ad dexteram Patris; (He ascended to the heavens; he sits at the right hand of the Father)

Inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos; (Thence he is to come to judge the quick and the dead)

Et in Spiritu Sancto (And in the Holy Ghost)

Sanctam Ecclesiam (The Holy Church)

Remissionem peccatorum (The remission of sins)

Hujus carnis resurrectionem (The resurrection of this flesh) **


This is what Rufinus mentions:

To the foregoing is added " Invisible and Impassible." I should mention that these two words are not in the Creed of the Roman Church. They were added in our Church, as is well known, on account of the Sabellian heresy, called by us “the Patripassian,” that, namely, which says that the Father Himself was born of the Virgin and became visible, or affirms that He suffered in the flesh. To exclude such impiety, therefore, concerning the Father, our forefathers seem to have added these words, calling the Father “invisible and impassible.” For it is evident that the Son, not the Father, became incarnate and was born in the flesh, and that from that nativity in the flesh the Son became “visible and passible.” Yet so far as regards that immortal substance of the Godhead, which He possesses, and which is one and the same with that of the Father, we must believe that neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Ghost is “visible or passible.” But the Son, in that He condescended to assume flesh, was both seen and also suffered in the flesh. Which also the Prophet foretold when he said, “This is our God: no other shall be accounted of in comparison of Him. He has found out all the way of knowledge, and has given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward He showed Himself upon the earth, and conversed with men.”

So he does say: “they were added in our church” (meaning his community, since they were Catholic) in response to a specific heresy. I don’t think these two words come from the Apostles.

I’m also interested in finding out more if there is a specific position of the Magisterium on this matter, but I’d avoid adding these words, since we don’t find them in the Apostle’s Creed, nor in the Athanasian Creed, nor in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

The date of 307-309 AD is in question, because Rufinus lived in the last years of of the 4th century, so he probably wrote the explanation of the Apostle’s Creed between 390-400 AD.
Where Rufinus received his copy of the Apostle’s Creed, and from where we do not know.

Catholic Answers has a very good historical development of the Creed:

They do not think that it is likely that the Apostle’s Creed originated from the apostles, but I would hesitate to presume as much, since one could presume that apostolic traditions were originally given orally.

The Didache is another document that seems to be of Jewish/apostolic origins. Even the Jewish Encyclopedia presumes that it was originally a Jewish document for the teaching of proselytes, which was later most likely adapted by Christianity.


God’s peace


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