« AnteriorContinuar »
The fact is, that the fathers carried on their dise putes with so much rage and violence, that many even of the more moderate of them, in reading the works of their opponents, could not keep their hands from the margin. And these marginal animadversions being introduced, from various motives, by subsequent transcribers, into the text, render it sometimes contradictory, and sometimes un
those who are in power, than it is for those who are not so, to adulterate books in this way. And ease and probability of success are great additional temptations to engage in any undertaking, And on this ground, if there were no other, I should be inclined to think that Oudin spoke the truth, when he said : Longe meliori fide in editionibus patrum agunt Lutherani et Calvinistæ, quam Pontificii, quibus omnia corrumpendi occasionem et necessitatem præbent indices expurgatorii Romani, ad corruptiones et adulteria operum ejusmodi jussu Romanorum pontificum compositi. (Oudini, Comment de Script. Ecclesiast. Vol. i. p. 987.) But I am of opinion that it is not wilful fraud, but rather marginal annotation, which has been the most fertile source of adulterating the works of the ancients, and especially the fathers. Readers, of all sorts, not only heretics and orthodox, among the different parties of christians, but, perhaps, occasionally, even infidels, both pagans and jews, wrote their remarks upon, and made their additions to, what they perused in the original author. And then some subsequent scribe, or bookseller, advanced these notes into the text, believing that they properly belonged to it, or at least without any conviction to the contrary, and, perhaps, little solicitous to make any inqui. ries, which might end in depriving them of a plausible pretence of offering for sale a fuller edition of an esteemed author.
The foregoing reasoning, respecting the corruption of Origen by the heretics, will apply also to what is said by Photius, Rufinus, and Le Clerc, about the similar corruption of Clemens Alexandrinus. See Bibliothéque Universelle, vol. x. p. 223229.
intelligible, till they are again rejected, and then, what was before dark as Erebus, often becomes more intelligible than convincing. Sometimes these interpolations, being observed by later readers, or editors, not to incorporate cordially, in their crude state, with the original text, have undergone an alteration in their constituent parts, in order to produce an amalgamation. And thus the case often becomes hopeless and without remedy. The evil is seen, but the disease is too complicated for human sagacity to cure.
In their preaching, too, and expounding, it was the custom of these fathers, from idleness, from an affectation of learning, from a zeal for orthodoxy, and from other causes, to rake together, without judgment, whatever they could amass to make up a homily or a lecture, which was afterwards, by themselves or others, sent abroad into the world as the work of one man, with perhaps some celebrated name affixed to it, forming a heterogeneous compound, which it would puzzle an dipus to unriddle.
Then in the translations which the latin fathers made from the Greeks, sometimes of whole works, and sometimes of parts, or detached scraps only, and which they published sometimes as the productions of the original authors, and sometimes as their own, they altered and interpolated passages without the least scruple, in any way they thought would suit their purpose, generally to make them what they called orthodox; and without minding at all how they were to be afterwards delivered to the world,
whether as their own productions, or those of ano. ther. Rufinus acknowledged and boasted that this was the way in which he had translated Origen.* He translated Eusebius in the same way, without acknowledgment. Many others were equally dishonest, not only in translating, but in quoting and publishing, the works of their predecessors. f
* In the preface to his translation of Origen's book weps apgewo which may be seen in the 4th volume, part ii. p. 339, of the Benedictine edition of Jerome's works. Of Rufinus's Version of Origen, Huet says : Nam ejus scripta interpretans, ita addi. tamentis et detractionibus vexavit et corrupit ut Origenem in Origene desideres. Huetii Origeniana, lib. iii. cap. i. ll. 3. See also book 2d. chap. iij. . 5 and 10; and likewise what Huet says of another latin translator of Origen's Commentary on Matthew. Illum si ad græcum quem damus, contextum exegeris, Deus bone, quod interpretationis monstrum comperies! Totas paginas, tota folia assuta, tota detracta deprehendes. Ib. lib. iii. i. s. 1.
+ The Latins seem to have outdone the Greeks (though these were no mean proficients in the art) in every
mode of corrupting christianity ; and especially in this mode of disguising, misrepresenting, and corrupting the works and opinions of preceding writers. No faith whatever is to be placed in any old latin translation of a greek ecclesiastical writer. Besides Origen and Eusebius, before mentioned, Irenæus seems also to have suffered terribly in this way; as likewise Clemens Alexandrinus. On sait que lorsque les Latins traduisoient quelque chose des Grecs, ils étoient fort sujets à y faire les changemens qu'ils trouvoient à propos.
A l'égard d'une partie des Hypotyposes de Clément, Cassiodore parle ainsi :
.. Il y a beaucoup de choses subtiles ; mais aussi quelques-unes qu'il a avancées, sans y bien prendre garde. Nous l'avons fait traduire en latin, en sorte qu'ayant oté ce qui pouvoit scandaliser, on pût lire avec plus de sureté sa doctrine ainsi purifiée. “Ubi multa “ quidem subtiliter sed aliqua incautè locutus est, quæ nos ita
The public creeds, liturgies, and councils, were all notoriously corrupted. The catenas, the orthodoxographas, and the, bibliotheças, compiled for ostentation and for sale, often the works of mercenary scribes and booksellers, are mere masses of corruption, interpolation, confusion, and contradiction, of which the parts seem to have been assigned, at random, right or wrong, to any authors whose names were fitted to the purposes, not of the honest, but dishonest, compilers.
These causes, when added to the bigotry, igno. rance, darkness, and profligacy of those ages in which the later fathers lived, and to the little care and judgment employed in editing the works of any of them, and in preserving and purifying them, from time to time, from the errors which time and transcription alone would introduce,* may serve to shew your correspondent, to whom I now bid adieu, that much more caution and discrimination are requisite to read these writers, and to make a right use of what we read, than I can find displayed in any one of his letters. “ transferri fecimus in latinum, ut exclusis quibusdam offendi“ culis, purificata doctrina ejus securior posset hauriri.” De Institut. divinar. literar. cap. viii. p. 543. edit. 1679. Bibliothéque Universelle, vol. x. p. 229.
* At ferendum illud erat, si non eo accessisset malorum hoc minum nequitia, errores suos malis artibus propugnantium, et alienis operibus adulteras manus inferentium. Huer Origeniana, 1. 111. c. i. s. 3.
+ If your friend is disposed to pursue this study of the fathers, I would advise him, by way of preparation for it, to read carefully Daillé's book, De usu Patrum ; and I would recommend K
the latin edition, which contains many things not to be found either in the original french edition, or in the english, which is translated from it. From this last version, however, I will transcribe a few words which, I think, are expressed in a way very suitable to your friend's case. They are taken from the fourth chapter of the first part, which treats, particularly of those corruptions we have been considering, and proves at large what I have but briefly touched upon. “ Thou hast gone along “ innocently, perhaps, reading these books of the ancients, and “ believing thou there findest the pure sense of antiquity; and “ yet thou seest here, that from the beginning of the sixth cen
tury, they have made no scruple of cutting off from the most “ sacred books they had, whatsoever was not agreeable to the
gust of the times. And therefore, though we had no more “ against them than this, it were, in my judgment, a sufficient “ reason to move us to go on here very warily, and, as they " say, with a stiff rein through this whole business.” Page 49. edit. 1651.