Melito of Sardis
(Late 3rd of 2nd Century)

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MELITO OF SARDES (Sardis), the only bishop of that place mentioned in the literary monuments of the first three centuries, flourished in the middle of the second century, and acquired great fame by his activity in the church and in literature. Of his numerous works, only fragments have come down to us, collected by Routh, in his Reliquiae Sacrae, i.; but both Eusebius and Jerome have given complete lists of them. Besides the celebrated Apology of Christianity as the true philosophy, which he dedicated to Marcus Aurelius, and of which fragments have been preserved by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., iv. 26), there is ascribed to him another apology, of which a Syrian translation was discovered by Tattam in a monastery in the Nitrian desert, and edited by Cureton, in Spicil Syr. and by Pitra-Renan, in Spicil. Solesmense; but its authorship is very doubtful. In the introduction to his commentaries he has given the first Christian list of the canon of the Old Testament: he excludes the Books of Esther and Nehemiah, and the Apocrypha. The curious notice by Origen, that he ascribed corporality to God, and found the likeness of God in the human body, is, on account of its brevity, very difficult to explain. Perhaps he, like Tertullian, considered corporality and substantiality as identical ideas, a view which might arise very naturally as an opposition to the spiritualistic vagueness of the Gnostics. Many works have been falsely ascribed to him, as, for instance, the Clavis Melitonis, edited by Cardinal Pitra, in the Spicil. Solesmense, ii. and iii. It probably belongs to the latter part of the eleventh century. A sect of Melitonians is probably a later fiction. [For an excellent study of Melito and his writings, see HARNACK: Texte u. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Altchrist. Lit., Bnd i. (Leipzig, 1882), pp. 240-278.]

Steitz, "MELITO OF SARDES," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn, Vol. 3. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. p.1464.


Article in Journal or Book T.P. Halton & R.D. Sider, "A Decade of Patristic Scholarship 1970-1979," The Classical World, Vol. 76 (1982-1983): 125-127.

Primary Sources

Book or monograph Eusebius, Church History 4.26.1-14; 5.24.5; 5.28.5; 6.13.9.
Book or monograph Stuart G. Hall, Melito of Sardis, On Pascha and Fragments. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Hbk. ISBN: 0198268114. pp.150.
Book or monograph Jerome, Lives of Illustrius Men 24.

Secondary Sources

Article in Journal or Book C. Bonner, "The Homily on the Passion by Melito, Bishop of Sardis, and some Fragments of the Apocryphal Ezechiel," Verbum Domini 27 (1950): 254 n. 247.
Article in Journal or Book Henry Chadwick, "A Latin Epitome of Melito's Homily on the Pascha," Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 11 (1960): 76-82.
Article in Journal or Book Lynn H. Cohick, "Melito of Sardis's Peri Pascha and Its Israel," Harvard Theological Review 91.4 (1998): 351-372.
Book or monograph Lynn H. Cohick, The Peri Pascha Attributed to Melito of Sardis: Setting, Purpose, and Sources. Brown Judaic Studies, 327. Providence: Brown University, 2000. Hbk. ISBN: 1930675038. pp.187.
Book or monograph F.L. Cross, The Early Christian Fathers. Studies in Theology 1. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1960. Hbk. pp.103-109.
Article in Journal or Book J. Ligon Duncan, "The Covenant Idea in Melito of Sardis: An Introduction and Survey," Presbyterion 28.1 (2002): 12-33.
Article in Journal or Book Stuart G. Hall, "The Melito Papyri," Journal of Theological Studies 19.2 (1968): 476-508.
Article in Journal or Book Stuart G. Hall, "Melito in the Light of the Passover Haggadah," Journal of Theological Studies 22.1 (1971): 29-46.
Article in Journal or Book Thomas Halton, "The Death of Death in Melito, Peri Pascha," Irish Theological Quarterly 36.3 (1969): 169-173.
Article in Journal or Book Gerald F. Hawthorne, "Christian Baptism and his Contribution of Melito of Sardis," David E. Aune, ed. Studies in the New Testament and Early Christian Literature: Essays in Honor of Allen P. Wikgren. Leiden: Brill, 1997. Hbk. ISBN: 9004035044. pp.241-251.
On-line Resource Fragments of Melito of Sardis (Peter Kirby)
Article in Journal or Book R.A. Kraft, Barnabas' Isaiah Text and Melito's Paschal Homily," Journal of Biblical Literature 80 (1961): 371-373.
Article in Journal or Book Henry M. Knapp, "Melito's Use of Scripture in Peri Pascha: Second Century Typology," Vigiliae Christianae 54.4 (2000): 343-374.
Article in Journal or Book A.T. Kraabel, "Melito the Bishop and the Synagogue at Sardis: Text and Context," D.G. Mitten, et al, eds. Studies Presented to George M.A. Haufmann. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1971. pp.77-85
Article in Journal or Book J.I.H. McDonald, "Some Comments on the Form of Melito's Paschal Homily," Studia Patristica 12 (1975): 104-12.
Article in Journal or Book Andrew Michael Manis, "Melito of Sardis: Hermeneutic and Context," Greek Orthodox Theological Review 32.4 (1987): 387-401.
Article in Journal or Book F.W. Norris, "Melito's Motivation," Anglican Theological Review, Vol. 68 (1986): 16-24.
Sign-up to Perlego and access book instantly David Ivan Rankin, From Clement to OrigenDavid Ivan Rankin, From Clement to Origen. The Social and Historical Context of the Church Fathers. London: Routledge, 2016. ISBN: 9781317132424. pp.182. [Sign-up to Perlego and access book instantly]
Article in Journal or Book Alistair Stewart Sykes, "Melito's Anti-Judaism," Journal of Early Christian Studies 5.2 (1997): 271-283.
Article in Journal or Book Thomas Forsyth Torrance, "Dramatic Proclamation of the Gospel: Homily on the Passion by Melito of Sardis," Greek Orthodox Theological Review 37.1-4 (1992): 147-163.
Article in Journal or Book B.G. Tsakonas, "The Usage of the Scriptures in the Homily of Melito of Sardis on the Passion," Theol (A) 38 (1967): 609-20.
Article in Journal or Book E. Werner, "Melito of Sardes, the First Poet of Deicide," Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 37 (1966): 191-210.
Article in Journal or Book Albert Wifstrand, "The homily of Melito on the Passion," Vigiliae christianae 2.4 (Oct. 1948): 201-223.
Article in Journal or Book Richard C. White, "Melito of Sardis: Earliest Christian Orator?" Lexington Theological Quarterly 2.3 (1967): 82-91.
Article in Journal or Book Richard C. White, "Melito of Sardis - An Ancient Worthy Reappears," Lexington Theological Quarterly 14.1 (1979): 6-18.
Article in Journal or Book Robert L. Wilken, "Melito, the Jewish Community in Sardis, and the Sacrifice of Isaac," Theological Studies, 37.1 (1976): 53-69.
Article in Journal or Book D.F. Winslow, "The Polemical Christology of Melito," Studia Patristica 17 (1982): 765-76.


On-line Resource St. Melito (A.A. MacErlean)

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