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question, written by the bishops assembled at Rome,
, u which had Victor's name prefixed.
Jerom in his Catalogue says: · Victor, the thirteenth • bishop of the city of Rome, wrote about the question of * Easter, and other small pieces. He governed the church ten years under the emperor Severus. In his Chronicle Jerom says, that in his time there were extant w some books of Victor concerning religion, which were tolerably well • written :' though perhaps he speaks rather of the bulk than of the merit of his books: they are not in being now. There are extant, however, some letters ascribed to him, but * without ground, as is generally allowed.
XVI. Bacchylus, bishop of Corinth, successor of the fore-mentioned Dionysius, is mentioned by Eusebius, with Polycrates bishop of Ephesus, Serapion bishop of Antioch, and others, “ who y had left testimonies of the orthodoxy of • '
their faith in writing. He afterwards speaks of a letter written by Bacchylus, about the time of celebrating Easter. Jerom in his Catalogue says: “ Bacchylus, bishop of Corinth, who flourished in the time of the emperor Severus, wrote a an elegant book about Easter in the name of all • the bishops in Achaia.' I suppose he means the epistle mentioned by Eusebius.
XVII. Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea, and Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, are likewise inentioned by b Eusebius in the fore-cited place, together with those who had testified the orthodoxy of their faith by their writings. Afterwards he says, that there is extant an epistle (about the
c question of Easter] in the name of the bishops of Palestine assembled in council, over whom presided Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea, and Narcissus, bishop of Je* rusalem.' Eusebius" has mentioned some particulars of this letter, and transcribed a passage out of it.
Jerome says, “that Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea in • Palestine, in the time of Severus, composed, together with * the other bishops of that country, a very useful synodical
epistle against those who kept Easter, with the Jews, on • the fourteenth day of the moon.'
" Και των επι Ρωμης δε ομοιως αλλη περι τε αυτου ζητήματος, επισκοπον Butopa dnlovoa. L. v. c. 23. p. 190. D.
" Cap. 34. Cujus mediocria de religione extant volumina. p. 171. * Vid. Basnage, Annal. 192. sect. 8. Pagi, Critic. in Baron. 196. sect. 3. Tillemont, Mem. Ecc. T. iii. St. Victor, Article viii. y H. E. 1. v. c. 22. p. 190. A. B.
2 Ib. c. 23. p. 291. A, Elegantem librum scripsit. De V. I. c. 44. 6 H. E. 1. v. c. 22.
c Ibid. c. 23. d Ibid. c. 25.
e De V. I. c. 43.
Jerom has no particular article in his Catalogue for Narcissus. He speaks of him, however, in the chapter of Alexander, who was afterwards colleague or coadjutor of Narcissus in the church of Jerusalem. Narcissus lived to 8 a great age. There are several remarkable stories concerning him in " Eusebius, which we may have occasion to take notice of some other time.
There have been published • Acts of the council of Cæsarea, concerning the Question of keeping Easter.' But they are with good reason suspected, and rejected, by i several learned men, as not genuine.
XVIII. Having given, beside catholic writers, a short history of Bardesanes, whom Eusebius does not allow to have been completely orthodox, and others called an heresiarch, I shall conclude this chapter with Symmachus.
Before the nativity of our Saviour there was no other Greek version of the books of the Old Testament, but that called the Version of the Seventy. In the time of Origen there were, beside that, the versions of Aquila, (who lived in the reign of Adrian,) Theodotion, Symmachus, and two or three others which are anonymous: though these last seem not to have contained a translation of all the Old Testament, but of some particular books only.
The exact age of Symmachus is not certain, some reckoning him a writer of the second, others of the third century. It is likewise disputed, which version of the Old Testament was first made; that of Theodotion, or Syminachus. Petavius thinks k Theodotion's was first in the order of time: Hody,' and most other learned men, are of a different opinion. I shall put down here only an observation ofn Hody: It is not easy to determine the year, or the reign, in which either Theodotion or Symmachus made their versions; but it is certain that Theodotion's was published before Irenæus wrote his work · Against Here- sies, because he is there cited. And it is probable that Symmachus had not then published bis version; because,
f De V. I. c. 62.
8 Vid. Hieron. ibid. et Eus. H. E. 1. vi. c. 11. h Ibid. c. 9, 11.
i Vid. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. T. V. p. 194. Tillemont, Mem. Ecc. T. iji. P. 1. p. 177 et 479. Bruxelles.
k Annot. ad Epiph. de Mensuris et Ponderibus, cap. 16. i De Biblior. Text. Orig. I. iv. p. 579.
m This point may be seen argued in Du Pin, Dissertation Prelim. I. i. c. vi. sect. 5. Huet, Origeniana, p. 256. Montfaucon, Præliminaria in Hexapla Origenis. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. T. ii. p. 336, &c. Tillemont, Mem. Ecc. T. iii. Origene, Art. viii. et note x. beside Hody, as above, I. iv. See likewise Dodwell, Diss. Iren. iv. c. 40.
n Ibid. p. 580. m.
when Irenæus quotes Aquila and Theodotion, he makes no mention of Symmachus, though there was the same reason for mentioning him as the other too. This argument seeins to me sufficient to show, at least, that Irenæus was not acquainted with the version of Symmachus, if it was then published.
I speak of Symmachus at the end of the second century, which is very little different from Cave's computation, who has fixed the time of his flourishing at the first year of the third century.
Epiphanius 9 says, that Symmachus was a Samaritan, and one of those whom they call • wise men :' but meeting with some disappointment in his ambitious views among bis own people, he turned Jew. He must have been converted afterwards to christianity, for Eusebius' and others: call hiin an Ebionite : and it is not improbable, that this is what Epiphanius means, when he says Symmachus turned Jew; he considering Ebionitism as a sort of Judaism. According to some" ancient authors, the Ebionites, or some branch of them, were called Symmachians from him.
I enlarge no farther on the history of Symmachus, which may be seen in Hody, who has likewise collected a great number of ancient testimonies relating to hiin. Our chief concern at present is with a passage of Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History.
Having given an account of Origen's labours in the Old Testament, and particularly of the editions of his Tetrapla and Hexapla; in the former of which were the versions only of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, together with that of the Seventy; Eusebius proceeds in the following chapter : . Moreover it ought to be observed, that Symmachus, one of those interpreters, was an Ebionite. These Ebi*onites are such as say, Christ was of Joseph and
Mary, and suppose him to have been a mere inan : and • contend that the law ought to be kept after the manner of * the Jews, as we have before shown. And to this day
w • L. iii. c. 21. al. 24.
p Hist. Lit. p. 64. * Συμμαχος της Σαμαρειτης των παρ' αυτοις σοφων, κ. λ. De Mens. et Pond. c. 16. p. 172. B. Vid. et_Synopsin_Scriptur. apud Athanas. T. ii.
r Euseb. H. E. I. vi. c. 17. Dem. Ev. I. vii. cap. 1.
s Hieronym. De Vir. Ill. cap. 54. Suidas, V. Spıyevns. Theodoret. Hær. Fab, I. ii. cap. i. + Vid. Monifauçon, Præliminaria in Origenis Hexapla, p. 51.
Ambrosius seu quis alius in prologo commentariorum in epistolam ad Galatas : et Augustinus in lib. i. contra Crescen. cap. 31. Vid. Vales. ad Euseb. vi. 17.
"Ubi supra, l. iv. c. 1. sect. 7. * Και υπομνηματα δε τε Συμμαχο εισετι νυν φερεται εν οις δοκει προς το κατα Α' ατθαιον αποτεινομενος ευαγγελιoν, την δεδηλομενην αίρεσιν κρατυνειν.
p. 316. C.
• there are extant commentaries of Symmachus in which * • he endeavours to support the fore-mentioned heresy, from ' the gospel according to Matthew. These, together with • Symmachus's other translations of the scripture, Origen • bad, as he informs us, from one Juliana : who, he says • likewise, received those books from Symmachus himself.'
Valesius Y contends, that the words above cited ought to be thus translated : « There are still extant commentaries of
Symmachus, in which, disputing strongly against Mat*thew's gospel, he seems to confirm the foresaid heresy.' He does not deny that the Ebionites received St. Matthew's gospel : but he says, their gospel of Matthew was corrupted and mutilated ; and he supposes, therefore, that in this work Syminachus disputed against our authentic genuine gospel of St. Matthew.
But Valesius has made few converts to this opinion ; most other learned men understanding this passage agreeably to the version which I have given of it. And in favour of this sense? it has been alleged, that this passage was so translated by a Rufinus, and was so understood in the same manner b by Jerom: not to insist here on Nicephorus Callisti, Suidas, or others, who have taken it in this sense. It is possible, indeed, that the gospel according to Matthew, used by Symmachus, varied in some things from our gospel ; but how far, or in what particulars, we cannot so much as pretend to make a conjecture: though if Symmachus was of that branch of the Ebionites, which said that
Ταυτα δε ο Ωριγενης μετα και αλλων εις τας γραφας ερμηνείων του Συμμαχο, σημαινει παρα Ιαλιανης τινος ειληφεναι' ήν και φησι παρ' αυτου Συμμαχου τας Bißrovç diadeçaoba. Eus. H. E. l. vi. cap. 17.
* The original words are εν οις δοκει---κρατυνειν: which have been generally understood by modern interpreters
, as if Eusebius only said, that Symmachus seems to confirm the foresaid heresy,' supradictam hæresin
adstruere videtur,' Montfaucon has a learned observation upon the force of the Greek word; and corrects this interpretation : Cum sexcentis exemplis probetur to dokel, maxime apud scriptores ecclesiasticos, non minuere affirmationem; quâ de re vide onomasticum nostrum ad Athanasii opera, in voce DOKEl. Prælimin. in Origenis Hexapla, p. 83. y Ad locum Eusebii.
2 Vid. Hody, ibid. 585, 586. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. T. ii. p. 338, 339. Ittigius in Dissertat. de Hæresiarchis, p. 72. Tillemont, Mem. Ecc. T. ii. P. i. Les Ebionites, p. 198; and note 2. Montfaucon, Præliminaria in Origenis Hexapla, p. 13.
a Eusebii verba sic vertit Rufinus : Sed et commentarios quosdam Symmachus conscripsit, in quibus conatur de evangelio secundum Matthæum auctoritatem suæ hæreseos confirmare. Apud Hodium, ibid.
Aquilæ scilicet Pontici Proselyti, et Theodotionis Ebionæi, et Symmachi ejusdem dogmatis, qui in evangelium quoque kata Martalov scripsit commentarios, de quo et suum dogma confirmare conatur. De V. I. Origen.
Jesus was born of Joseph and Mary, (as Eusebius seems to hint, and Theodoreto expressly says,) it might be suspected that he did not receive the first chapter of St. Matthew's gospel. If this work of Syınmachus were now extant, it would be a curiosity. It would, in all probability, give us a great deal of light into the notions of the Ebionites, and satisfy us how far the gospel of Matthew, which they used, was genuine or corrupted; and what respect they had for the other gospels; and how far they owned the authority of Paul, or the other twelve apostles of Christ.
Eusebius adds: “ These, [commentaries,] together with Symmachus's other translations (or interpretations] of the scriptures, Origen had, as he informs us, from Juliana.' By these other translations' Hodyd understands some cominents, or expositions of the scripture, different from the Greek version of the Old Testament made by Symmachus : but he owns, at the same time, that Rufinus understood these words of the version. They are so understood likewise bye Cave, andf Dodwell, and others. I think this sense cannot be well disputed: especially, if we consider that there were two 5 editions of the version of Symmachus: though if there were but one edition of that version, the words of Eusebius, taken in connection with what precedes, could not be understood, in my opinion, of any thing but the version which Symmachus had made of the Old Testament.
Hody thinks that Symmachus was not only an interpreter of the Old Testament, but likewise an expositor of the New : and that not barely on account of bis commentaries upon the gospel of St. Matthew, mentioned by Eusebius, but for some exposition of St. Paul's epistles. This supposition is founded upon a passage of Agobardus, bishop of Lyons in the beginning of the ninth century. I shall put the passage in the margin ; but I apprehend no certain
1 c De Hær. Fab. I. ii. cap. 1.
1 Cum dicit μετα των αλλων ερμηνειων, cum aliis interpretationibus,' perspicuum est intelligi non translationem ; quod putavit Rutinus, sed ex
• positiones quasdam scripturarum. Rufinus postrema ea sic vertit : “ Hæc * ipse Origines cum interpretatione ipsius Symmachi scribit se apud Julianam quandam reperisse.' Hod. ibid. p. 587. e Hist. Lit. P. i. p. 64.
f Dissert. Iren. iv. c. 40. Vid. et Fabric. Bibl. Gr. T. ii.
8 Sic Hieronymus in Jer. 32. et in Nahum, c. 3. ab Hodio laudatus, ibid. p. 586.
Symmachum non modo ut interpretem V. Testainenti, verum etiam ut expositorem Novi, commemorare videtur Agobardus. Epist. ad Fredegisum, cap. xi. [conferatur cap. ix.] • Hæc omnia idcirco dicimus, ut appareat,
quia quam injuste a vobis criminamur, cum dicitis nos reprehensores aposto• lorum et divinarum scripturarum esse tam injuste; vel potius, multo injus