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«0450-0550 – Gennadius Massiliensis – Liber De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis Lives of Illustrious Men this file has been downloaded from ...»

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The translator has examined nearly 90 mss. and secured more or less readings from nearly all with reference to an exact table. The readings of several are extensive enough to have pretty nearly the value of full collations. Quotations are occasionally made from these (e.g. from 10, 21, 29, 32, 40, etc.) but practically quotations from the eight mentioned mss. cover the evidence and without a table more would rather obscure than otherwise.

There is no opportunity here to discuss the relative value of these used. It may be said however that they are the oldest mss., and include pretty much all the oldest. Though age itself is by no means conclusive, the fact that they certainly represent several independent groups makes it safe to say that a consensus of seven against one or even six against any two (with certain reservations) or in the case of Gennadius of 5 against 2 is conclusive for a reading. As a matter of fact against many readings of Herding and even of Vallarsi, are arranged all these mss., and against some nearly all or even every ms. seen, e.g. Her. p. 73 d. 12 reads morti dari with Migne-Fabricius but all these mss. have mutandam and so 91. 22 “seven” for “eight.” On p. 161. 7. Her. omits Asyncritus against mss. and all modern eds., so 44. 3. “Ponti,” 51. 7 “ut quidem putant;” 77. 25. “firmare” and a score of other places.

Of course this is not enough evidence or discussion for a critical scholastic text but for the practical illustrative purpose in hand will serve. Any evidence which does not give a well digested genealogy of mss. and the evidence for their classification must be reckoned as incomplete,—all that the above evidence can claim to do, is to give the translator’s judgment respecting the readings and illustrative evidence, but it is not probable that the completed table will alter many (if any) of these readings which are given in view of a tentative table which will likely prove final.

The Translation itself. The plan of this work includes (a) a translation, in which the translator has tried to give a fair representation of the text in a not too ragged form but has failed to improve on the original. The works were written as science rather than literature and have many facts but no style. The translator has therefore aimed rather at representing these facts than at producing a piece of polite literature. (b) Notes are subjoined including, first the brief biographical data which every one wants first to orient himself by, secondly textual notes, and thirdly, occasional explanatory notes.

NPNF (V2-03) Philip Schaff from Greek into Latin, On the Seraphim, On Osanna, On the prudent and the prodigal sons, On three questions of the ancient law, Homilies on the Song of Songs two, Against Helvidius, On the perpetual virginity of Mary, To Eustochius, On maintaining virginity, one book of Epistles to Marcella, a consolatory letter to Paula On the death of a daughter, three books of Commentaries on the epistle of Paul to the Galatians, likewise three books of Commentaries on the epistle to the Ephesians, On the epistle to Titus one book, On the epistle to Philemon one, Commentaries on Ecclesiastes, one book of Hebrew questions on Genesis, one book On places in Judea, one book of Hebrew names, Didymus on the Holy Spirit, which I translated into Latin one book, 39 homilies on Luke2569On Psalms 10 to 16, seven books, On the captive Monk, The Life of the blessed Hilarion.

I translated the New Testament from the Greek, and the Old Testament from the Hebrew,2570 and how many Letters I have written To Paula and Eustochius I do not know, for I write daily. I wrote moreover, two books of Explanations on Micah, one book On Nahum, two books On Habakkuk, one On Zephaniah, one On Haggai, and many others On the prophets, which are not yet finished, and which I am still at work upon.2571

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Chapter I.

James,2573 surnamed the Wise, was bishop of Nisibis the famous city of the Persians and one of the confessors under Maximinus the persecutor. He was also one of those who, in the Nicean council, by their opposition overthrew the Arian perversity of the Homoousia. That the blessed Jerome mentions this man in his Chronicle as a man of great virtues and yet does not place him in his catalogue of writers, will be easily explained if we note that of the three or four Syrians whom he mentions he says that he read them translated into the Greek. From this it is evident that, at that period, he did not know the Syriac language or literature and therefore he did not know a writer who had not yet been translated into another language. All his writings are contained in twenty-six books namely On faith, Against all heresies, On charity towards all, On fasting, On prayer, On particular affection towards our neighbor, On the resurrection, On the life after death, On humility, On penitence,2574 On satisfaction, On virginity, On the worth2575 of the soul, On circumcision, On the blessed grapes, On the saying in Isaiah, “the grape cluster shall not be destroyed,” That Christ is the son of God and consubstantial with the Father, On chastity, Against the Nations, On the construction of the tabernacle, On the conversation of the nations, On the Persian kingdom, On the persecution of the Christians. He composed also a Chronicle of little interest indeed to the Greeks, but of great reliability in that it is constructed only on the authority of the Divine Scriptures.

It shuts the mouths of those who, on some daring guess, idly philosophize concerning the advent

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On penitence. A few mss. read “patience” for “penitence” but the only one which the translator has been able to find which gives both is one at Wolfenbüttel dated 1460, nor is it in the earliest editions (e.g.) Nürn. Koburger 1495, Paris 1512).

But the later editions (Fabricius, Herding) have both.

worth, mss. generally; feeling, editions generally.

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of Antichrist, or of our Lord. This man died in the time of Constantius and according to the direction of his father Constantine was buried within the walls of Nisibis, for the protection evidently of the city, and it turned out as Constantine had expected. For many years after, Julian having entered Nisibis and grudging either the glory of him who was buried there or the faith of Constantine, whose family he persecuted on account of this envy, ordered the remains of the saint to be carried out of the city, and a few months later, as a matter of public policy, the Emperor Jovian who succeeded Julian, gave over to the barbarians the city which, with the adjoining territory, is subject unto the Persian rule until this day.

Chapter II.

Julius,2576 bishop of Rome, wrote to one Dionysius a single epistle On the incarnation of Our Lord, which at that time was regarded as useful against those who asserted that, as by incarnation there were two persons in Christ, so also there were two natures, but now this too is regarded as injurious for it nourishes the Eutychian and Timothean heresies.

Chapter III.

Paulonas,2577 the Presbyter, disciple of the blessed deacon Ephraim a man of very energetic character and learned in the holy scriptures was distinguished among the doctors of the church while his master was still living and especially as an extemporaneous orator. After the death of his master, overcome by love of reputation, separating himself from the church, he wrote many things opposed to the faith. The blessed Ephraim when on the point of death is reported to have said to him as he stood by his side—See to it, Paulonas that you do not yield yourself to your own ideas, but when you shall think that you understand God wholly, believe that you have not known,—for he felt beforehand from the studies or the words of Paulonus, that he was investigating new things, and was stretching out his mind to the illimitable, whence also he frequently called him the new Bardesanes.

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Vitellius2578 the African, defending the Donatist schism wrote Why the servants of God are hated by the world, in which, except in speaking of us as persecutors, he published excellent doctrine.

He wrote also Against the nations and against us as traditors of the Holy Scriptures in times of persecution, and wrote much On ecclesiastical procedure. He was distinguished during the reign of Constans son of the emperor Constantinus.

Chapter V.

Macrobius2579 the Presbyter was likewise as I learned from the writings of Optatus, afterwards secretly bishop of the Donatians in Rome. He wrote, having been up to this time a presbyter in the church of God, a work To confessors and virgins, a work of ethics indeed, but of very necessary doctrine as well and fortified with sentiments well fitted for the preservation of chastity. He was distinguished first in our party in Africa and afterwards in his own, that is among the Donatians or Montanists at Rome.

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Heliodorus2580 the Presbyter wrote a book entitled An introductory treatise on the nature of things, in which he showed that the beginning of things was one, that nothing was coaeval with God, that God was not the creator of evil, but in such wise the creator of all good, that matter, which is used for2581 evil, was created by God after evil was discovered, and that nothing material whatever can be regarded as established in any other way than by God, and that there was no other creator than God, who, when by His foreknowledge He knew that nature was to be changed,2582 warned of punishment.

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Pachomius2583 the monk, a man endowed with apostolic grace both in teaching and in performing miracles, and founder of the Egyptian monasteries, wrote an Order of discipline suited to both classes of monks, which he received by angelic dictation. He wrote letters also to the associated bishops of his district, in an alphabet concealed by mystic sacraments so as to surpass customary human knowledge and only manifest to those of special grace or desert, that is To the Abbot Cornelius one, To the Abbot Syrus one, and one To the heads of all monasteries exhorting that, gathered together to one very ancient monastery which is called in the Egyptian language Bau, they should celebrate the day of the Passover together as by everlasting law. He urged likewise in another letter that on the day of remission, which is celebrated in the month of August, the chief bishops should be gathered together to one place, and wrote one other letter to the brethren who had been sent to work outside the monasteries.

Chapter VIII.

Theodorus,2584 successor to the grace and the headship of the above mentioned Abbot Pachomius, addressed to other monasteries letters written in the language of Holy Scripture, in which nevertheless he frequently mentions his master and teacher Pachomius and sets forth his doctrine and life as examples. This he had been taught he said by an Angel that he himself might teach again. He likewise exhorts them to remain by the purpose of their heart and desire, and to restore to harmony and unity those who, a dissension having arisen after the death of the Abbot, had broken the unity by separating themselves from the community. Three hortatory epistles of his are extant.

Chapter IX.

Oresiesis2585 the monk, the colleague of both Pachomius and Theodorus, a man learned to perfection in Scripture,2586 composed a book seasoned with divine salt and formed of the essentials of all monastic discipline and to speak moderately, in which almost the whole Old and New Testament is found set forth in compact dissertations—all, at least, which relates to the special needs of monks. This he gave to his brethren almost on the very day of his death leaving, as it were, a legacy.

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Macarius,2587 the Egyptian monk, distinguished for his miracles and virtues, wrote one letter which was addressed to the younger men of his profession. In this he taught them that he could serve God perfectly who, knowing the condition of his creation, should devote himself to all labours, and by wrestling against every thing which is agreeable in this life, and at the same time imploring the aid of God would attain also to natural purity and obtain continence, as a well merited gift of nature.

Chapter XI.

Evagrius2588 the monk, the intimate disciple of the above mentioned Macarius, educated in2589 sacred and profane literature and distinguished, whom the book which is called the Lives of the fathers mentions as a most continent and erudite man, wrote many things of use to monks among which are these: Suggestions against the eight principal sins. He was first to mention or among the first at least to teach these setting against them eight books taken from the testimony of the Holy Scriptures only, after the example of our Lord, who always met his tempter with quotations from Scripture, so that every suggestion, whether of the devil or of depraved nature had a testimony against it. This work I have, under instructions, translated into Latin translating with the same simplicity which I found in the Greek. He composed also a book of One hundred sentiments for those living simply as anchorites, arranged by chapters, and one of Fifty sentiments for the erudite and studious, which I first translated into Latin. The former one, translated before, I restored, partly by retranslating and partly by emendation, so as to represent the true meaning of the author, because I saw that the translation was vitiated and confused by time. He composed also a doctrine of the common-life suited to Cenobites and Synodites,2590 and to the virgin consecrated to God, a little book suitable to her religion and sex. He published also a few collections of opinions very obscure and, as he himself says of them, only to be understood by the hearts of monks, and these likewise I published in Latin. He lived to old age, mighty in signs and miracles.

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