Quote. Kato. Jerome’s Understanding of Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament. 2013.

Jerome is well known as one of the greatest Church Fathers who studied Hebrew and biblical exegesis under his Jewish teachers in Bethlehem and translated the Old Testament from the original Hebrew text into Latin. This image of Jerome, however, can easily change when we examine the history of research related to him.

Gustave Bardy suggested that while Jerome claimed that his Jewish teachers had taught him their exegesis, he, in fact, had plagiarized it from Greek predecessors such as Origen and Eusebius. Jerome, who mastered Greek while living in Syria and Asia Minor, spent a lot of time reading the works of Origen and Eusebius and translated some of them into Latin. According to Bardy, Jerome learned Jewish interpretations of the Bible from their works but pretended to have learned them from his Jewish teachers in order to boast about his knowledge of Hebrew. Moreover, Pierre Nautin considered Jerome’s linguistic competence in Hebrew to be quite low. According to Nautin, Jerome knew so little Hebrew that he had no choice but to depend on his Greek predecessors. Nautin was generally sceptical about Jerome’s statements. For instance, he concluded that Jerome’s correspondence with Pope Damasus I was a complete fiction created to lend authority to his own remarks. In addition, Nautin believed that the Latin Bible which Jerome claimed to have translated from the original Hebrew text was no more than a second-hand translation from the Hexaplaric (recension of the) LXX.

On the other hand, especially from the viewpoint of the Jewish studies, Jay Braverman and Benjamin Kedar-Kopfstein noted that Jerome was deeply indebted to his Jewish teachers for his exegesis. Further, contrary to Nautin’s view, they estimated Jerome’s competence in Hebrew to be high. Kedar-Kopfstein, for instance, indicated that some interpretations of rabbinic literature and medieval Jewish exegetes were reflected in the passages of the Vulgate, which Jerome seemed to have mistranslated. In other words, it was not Jerome’s low competence in Hebrew but his rather close relationship with Jewish teachers of the time that made passages different in the Vulgate from what they were in the Masoretic text. Furthermore, scholars of Biblical studies, such as Edmund F. Sutcliffe and James Barr, tried to restore the ancient pronunciations of Hebrew words as they were before the Masoretic text by using Jerome’s Latin transliteration. They obviously could not have conducted their research without being convinced of Jerome’s competence in Hebrew.

Following the history of research on Jerome, we are confronted by two questions. First, were all of Jerome’s exegeses plagiarized from his Greek predecessors? Second, what was Jerome’s competence in Hebrew? To answer these questions we first need to consider Jerome’s understanding of Old Testament quotations in the New Testament (hereafter Quot.). When passages of the Old Testament are quoted in the New Testament, the wordings of some differ from those of the LXX which was the Old Testament for Christians in antiquity. Regarding these passages, Jerome claimed that their sources were not the LXX but the original Hebrew text. According to him, whenever the Evangelists and Paul quoted any passages of the Old Testament, they always chose the Hebrew text and translated it into Greek. If this assertion is correct and is based on an accurate knowledge of Hebrew, Jerome’s originality of exegesis and his competence in Hebrew is likely to be confirmed. Accordingly, we will analyse seven texts of Jerome (See section II), especially his Ep. 57, or Liber de optimo genere interpretandi, written c.395. In these texts, Jerome provides examples which indicate that the source of the Quot. was not the LXX but the Hebrew text.

Teppei Kato. ‘Jerome’s Understanding of Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament‘, in Vigiliae Christianae 67, pp. 289-292. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013.

Quote. Louis Bukowski. La réincarnation selon les Pères de l’Eglise. 1928.

Carpocrate, originaire d’Alexandrie, enseignait vers la moitié du deuxième siècle, que toute chose prend son commencement dans un être inconnu et sans nom. De cet être émane la multitude des esprits. Une partie de ces esprits se révolta et créa le monde visible. Primitivement, les âmes humaines n’avaient pas de corps et c’est comme châtiment de leur péché qu’elles furent enfermées dans des corps humains. Elles ne peuvent atteindre le bonheur que par le retour à leur existence primitive. Pour y parvenir, elles ont le souvenir de leur ancien état et le mépris de tous les droits du monde visible, institués par les démons. C’est pourquoi chaque âme humaine doit passer par toutes les épreuves et s’exercer à toutes les fonctions, même à celles qui sont reconnues comme mauvaises, car il n’y a pas moralement de différence substantielle entre le bien et le mal, cette différence n’existe que dans la pensée humaine. Si, pendant une vie terrestre, l’âme n’a pas tout éprouvé, elle doit, en quittant son corps, se réincarner successivement, « jusqu’à ce qu’elle ait payé le dernier quart d’un as » (Mt., 5, 26). C’est dans ces mots du Christ que Carpocrate trouvait la confirmation positive de sa théorie.
Saint Irénée, se conformant à la méthode de son adversaire, base sa critique, partie sur la raison, partie sur les textes bibliques. Pour repousser le principe antinomistique de Carpocrate, qui nie la différence substantielle entre le bien et le mal, le saint évêque trouve suffisant de rappeler que le Christ a absolument défendu, non seulement l’accomplissement, mais même le désir de certains actes, qu’il a menacé de damnation éternelle ceux qui les commettent, et que, par contre, il promettait pour d’autres oeuvres la récompense de la béatitude éternelle.
Contre la réincarnation, il en appelle à l’expérience, notamment au manque absolu de souvenir de la vie antérieure. Si les âmes passaient réellement d’un corps dans un autre, elles devraient conserver le souvenir de leur vie précédente dans tous ses détails, autrement elles se trouveraient exposées, en revivant la même vie, à répéter inutilement tout ce qu’elles ont déjà accompli.
Un tel manque de souvenirs serait de plus incompréhensible. L’homme se souvient de ses songes, même quand le sommeil est très court ; comment ne se souviendrait-il pas de ce qu’il a accompli à l’état de veille pendant toute la durée de sa vie antérieure?

Louis Bukowski. La réincarnation selon les Pères de l’Eglise. Gregorianum, Vol. 9, No. 1 (1928), pp. 75-76.

Quote. Ralph V. Turner. ‘Descendit Ad Inferos’ […]. 1966.

Pope Gregory wrote scores of letters that circulated widely throughout Christendom, and there is one among them in which he discussed Christ’s descent into hell. He wrote to two officers of the church at Constantinople regarding their preaching that Jesus had released from punishment all those in hell who acknowledged him as God. Gregory wrote that he wanted them to believe far differently, for the truth was that Christ delivered only those who had believed that he would come and had observed his commandments. He advised them, “Only hold the true faith taught by the Catholic Church: that the Lord on his descent into hell only released from its confines those who in their fleshly existence had been guarded by his grace in faith and in good works.” This emphasis upon good works had been lacking in Augustine’s exposition on the salvation of the ancients; but absent from Gregory’s work was Augustine’s doubt over the location of the ancient elect, for he was confident that they waited in hell for Christ’s coming. However, the Pope shared with St. Augustine the belief that if Christ had preached to all the souls in hell, it would have given sinners an unjust advantage over the faithful.
Gregory buttressed his teaching with the authority of Philastrius, a IVth-century bishop who had compiled a catalogue of heresies, Diversarum Hereseon Liber. He had labelled as heretics those, such as Clement and Origen, who say that Christ revealed himself to all the souls in hell and granted salvation to those who acknowledged him there. St. Gregory noted that St. Augustine had concurred in this condemnation. In sum, Gregory’s view was that Christ descended into hell to free those ancients who had believed that he would come and had spent their lives in faith and good works. Whether he felt that this limited salvation to the Jews or included pagans as well is left uncertain in his writings.

Ralph V. Turner. ‘Descendit Ad Inferos’: Medieval Views on Christ’s Descent into Hell and the Salvation of the Ancient Just. Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Apr. – Jun., 1966), pp. 178-179.

Quote. Roger Collins. ‘Visigothic Spain 409-711’, “Books and Readers: The Legacy of Africa”. 2004.

In the seventh century the Spanish church appears intellectually outstanding. It produced a succession of authors of theological, literary, and liturgical texts that were unparalleled, at least in the West, at this time. Many of the writers were also leading figures in the political life of the period, especially the bishops of Seville and Toledo, and most of them were involved in the impressive series of ecclesiastical councils held in Spain during the course of the century. The works of several of them, most notably Isidore of Seville (died 636) and Julian of Toledo (died 690) subsequently circulated widely outside the Iberian peninsula, as would the Hispana collection of canon-law texts, in the compiling of versions of which both these bishops were probably involved. Other authors of the Visigothic period, such as Ildefonsus of Toledo (died 667) and the monastic founder Fructuosus of Braga (died c.670) may have been less well known outside the Iberian peninsula, but within it their writings remained influential for centuries. The largely anonymous liturgical legacy of the Spanish church of the Visigothic period was outstanding for both its literary and theological qualities, and continued in use until finally suppressed in favor of Romano-Frankish traditions in the late eleventh century.
The variety of texts produced in the century and a quarter between the conversion of Reccared and the Arab conquest included works of history, devotional and dogmatic theology, biblical studies, poetry, monastic rules, saints’ lives, polemics, and educational texts, in addition to canon law and liturgy. Many of these items were not original, in that they consisted of rearranged excerpts from the works of earlier writers, thought to be particularly authoritative. But the compiling of them required the existence of libraries containing substantial collections of books. It would be wrong to assume that the often rare and early texts thus used by the authors of the Visigothic period would have been easily available to them, or would have survived in the peninsula from the later Roman period. The evidence for the marked lack of intellectual activity in Spain in the intervening centuries would argue against such a view. What has been called “the Isidoran Renaissance,”from the central role played in it by Isidore of Seville, depended on the presence in Spain by the late sixth century of very specific literary resources. How they came to be there requires an explanation, and it is one that involves looking outside the Iberian peninsula to some contemporary events in Byzantium and Africa.
Around 578/9 a young man from Scallabis (modern Santarém), called John but of Gothic origin, returned home after spending seven years in Constantinople. According to the brief account of him by Isidore of Seville, he had gone there to study. It is noteworthy that despite the ongoing war between the Visigothic kings and the Byzantine forces in Spain, it was clearly possible for a Goth to travel to Constantinople without difficulty, and that Latin literary studies were still being cultivated there.
Isidore’s words are not the only proof that Latin learning was still actively promoted in Byzantium. A Latin poet, Flavius Corippus, who had written a verse panegyric on one of the imperial viceroys of his native province of Africa, was encouraged by his literary success to move to Constantinople in search of patronage. There he wrote another panegyric on the accession of Justin II in 565, which tactfully omitted any hint of opposition to the new emperor’s supposedly unanimous selection by senate, army, and people. Whether this gained him the rewards he sought is not known.
Other Latin authors were also present in Constantinople for rather different reasons. These were bishops from Africa and Italy who were being detained there for opposing the emperor’s theological policies. Several of them wrote works to send to their supporters in the West, urging continued resistance to the emperor’s theology. They also recorded the ill-treatment they had received, which they saw as a modern counterpart to the imperial persecution of the early Christian confessors and martyrs.

Roger Collins. ‘Visigothic Spain 409-711’, Chp. 6: “Books and Readers: The Legacy of Africa”, pp. 147-149. Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Quote. John D. Niles. Bede’s Cædmon, ‘The Man Who Had No Story’. 2006.

When one examines Bede’s tale of Caedmon with Irish tale-type 2412B in mind, the resemblance of its plot to that structural pattern is quite evident. Equally obvious is that Bede’s tale departs from that type in regard to some important details. These points of divergence will be worth attention in due time, but first the tale as Bede tells it should be summarised. Since an exact and neutral précis of this account is required, rather than trying to provide one myself I will draw on Daniel Paul O’Donnell’s summary of Bede’s chapter.(FN[9]) His entire summary will be cited (with one incidental omission in paragraph 4) even though, as is important to keep in mind, the parallel I am adducing pertains only to the first two of his four paragraphs. Likewise, the text of Caedmon’s Hymn is included here, as in O’Donnell’s summary, even though it is only peripherally relevant to my claims:
1. According to Bede, Caedmon was an old lay herdsman in the religious community of Streanxshalch (Whitby Abbey). Although the singing of vernacular songs was a customary entertainment at the abbey, Caedmon himself never learned to sing, and, as a result, used to leave feasts before he could be called upon to do so. Having left such a gathering one night and returned to his stables, Caedmon fell asleep, whereupon he was addressed in his dream by “someone” (Bede uses the Latin indefinite pronoun quidam), who asks him to sing for him. Explaining that he cannot, and, indeed, that he has just left the feast for that reason, Caedmon at first refuses. When the visitor insists, however, he gives in. Asking for a subject, he is told, Canta […I principium creaturarum, “Sing […] about the beginning of created things.” Almost immediately he begins his famous Hymn, which Bede paraphrases in Latin for the benefit of his readers:

Nunc laudare debemus auctorem regni caelestis,
potentiam Creatoris et consilium illius,
facta Patris gloriae: quomodo ille,
cum sit aeternus Deus, omnium miraculorum auctor extitit,
qui primo filiis hominum caelum pro culmine tecti,
dehinc terram Custos humani generis oninipotens creauit.

[Now we must praise the Maker of the heavenly kingdom, the power of the Creator and his counsel, the deeds of the Father of glory and how He, since he is the eternal God, was the Author of all marvels and first created the heavens as a roof for the children of men and then, the almighty Guardian of the human race, created the earth.]

2. When Caedmon awakes, he remembers everything that happened to him. He adds additional verses to his song and reports his vision and his new skill to his steward. Brought to the abbess, Caedmon describes his dream and sings his Hymn. He is then assigned a sacred text to translate into verse overnight by way of a test. When he proves himself able to do so, he is ordered to join the religious community.
3. In the course of his training, it is discovered that Caedmon’s gift extends to all holy subjects: upon hearing a passage of church history or doctrine, Bede tells us, Caedmon is able after a brief period to turn his lessons into carmen dulcissimum, “most melodious verse.” In addition to the Hymn, his works are said to include poems on a wide range of subjects: the creation of the world, the beginnings of mankind, the biblical Genesis, the flight from Egypt and entry into the promised land, the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the teachings of the apostles, the terrors of hell, joys of heaven, and an account of God’s gifts to mankind.
4. The last part of Bede’s account concerns Caedmon’s exemplary life in the abbey. […] Bede reports that Caedmon was humble and obedient to the monastic rule and extremely zealous in his work against those who were not. After an illness of fourteen days, he is said to die like a saint: able to predict the hour of his own death, Caedmon asks to be moved to the hospice in which the terminally ill are lodged even though his own condition seems anything but serious. He gathers his friends and servants around him and asks if they have any outstanding quarrels with him. Told that they do not, he prays briefly, asks for the Blessed Sacrament, and finally expires just before nocturn.
Readers following my present argument may disregard paragraphs 3 and 4 of the preceding summary, which tell of Caedmon’s later career and death. This part of Bede’s history is steeped in the topoi of hagiography, as others have pointed out (Shepherd 1954; Wieland 1984; Stanley 1998). Paragraphs 1 and 2, however, mirror the structure of Irish tale-type 2412B. In the Irish tale, a man withdraws from company because he cannot sing or tell a tale; he has a remarkable experience of some kind; he returns to that same company to perform a song or story based on his strange experience; and he is recognised as a person who will always be known by that song or story (my italics). In Bede’s account, Caedmon withdraws from company because of embarrassment about his lack of poetic talent; that night he has a remarkable dream-vision and spontaneously produces a fully formed song; the next day he performs his song before the company of monks, to their amazement and delight; and thereafter he is recognised as the author of his Hymn, a work that preserves his fame even today.

John D. Niles. Bede’s Cædmon, ‘The Man Who Had No Story’ (Irish Tale-Type 2412B), Folklore, August 1, 2006, Vol. 117, Issue 2, pp. 143-144.

Quote. Einar Thomassen. Valentinian Ideas About Salvation as Transformation. 2009.

In his violent attack on the Valentinians in Book 31 of the Panarion, Bishop Epiphanius, amongst other grievances, also ridicules their views on resurrection:
They deny the resurrection of the dead, uttering some senseless fable about it not being this body that rises, but another one which comes from it and which they call “spiritual” (μὴ τὸ σῶμα τοῦτο ἀνίστασθαι, ἀλλ’ ἕτερον μὲν ἐξ αὐτοῦ, ὃ δὴ πνευματικὸν καλοῦσι). But [salvation belongs?] only to those among them who are spiritual, and to those called “psychic” –provided, that is, the psychics act justly. But those called “material”, “carnal” and “earthly” perish utterly and are in no way saved. Each substance proceeds to what emitted it: the material is given over to matter and what is carnal and earthly to the earth. (Pan. 31.7.6–7; trans. P. R. Amidon)
It is somewhat amusing that what Epiphanius here calls a “senseless fable” of the Valentinians in fact seems to be sound Pauline doctrine. The spiritual body that rises from the present one as a new and transformed being is precisely what Paul speaks about in 1 Cor 15:44: σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν, ἐγείρεται σῶμα πνευματικόν. In other words, the Valentinians appear to have held a view of the resurrection that was more in agreement with Paul than was the doctrine professed by the heresy-hunting bishop.

Einar Thomassen. ‘Valentinian Ideas About Salvation as Transformation’. In “Ekstasis – Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages”, 1 – ‘Metamorphoses’, p. 169. 2009.

Article. Il Vaticano II all’interno della «traditio ecclesiae»: La prospettiva patristica. Daniele Gianotti. 2012

Il Vaticano II all’interno della «traditio ecclesiae».
La prospettiva patristica.
Daniele Gianotti
Rivista di scienze religiose
(Molfetta), 26 (2012) 329-346


Il contributo si propone di indicare i tratti principali dell’influsso avuto sul concilio Vaticano II dal «ressourcement» patristico del Novecento. Dopo aver richiamato le discussioni in merito alla vigilia del Vaticano II e nei primi dibattiti conciliari, vengono indicati tre snodi centrali, nei quali il riferimento ai Padri della Chiesa ha giocato un ruolo importante: l’inizio della discussione sul de Ecclesia, l’adozione dello «schema Philips», il dibattito sulla collegialità episcopale. Nella parte conclusiva, vengono indicati alcuni aspetti più significativi dell’ecclesiologia patristica accolta dal Vaticano II.

Article available here.

Quote. Henry Chadwick. Boetius. 1981.

The preface to Boethius’ Institutio arithmetica implies an intention to write introductions to all four mathematical disciplines. Declarations of intent are not always fulfilled. At one time Augustine intended to write treatises on all seven liberal arts, but he completed only his projects on grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, something on geometry, and the six well­ known books on music. His Grammar was already lost from his own library at Hippo before he came to write his Retractations (i, 6) near the end of his life. A comparable misfortune seems early to have struck Boethius’ writings on geometry and, especially, astronomy.
Nothing by Boethius on astronomy has been transmitted by the medieval manuscript tradition, nor is any such work mentioned by Cassiodorus in his Institutiones. In the tenth century Gerbert of Aurillac, to be Pope Sylvester II from 999 to his death in 1003, speaks of Boethius as author of eight books on astronomy (astrologia) which he had seen in a manuscript at Bobbio. But the work (if really that by Boethius) failed to find copyists. Students preferred to find their astronomy in Macrobius’ commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio or from Martianus Capella or from Cassiodorus. However, one likely model for Boethius’ treatise is the summary of Ptolemy’s Mathematike Syntaxis (the `Almagest’) composed by Proclus, a work which is still extant, though not edited since L. Allatius’ edition (Leyden, 1635). If Boethius’ work followed this precedent, he will have taken the earth as the static centre of a spherical cosmos, the Ptolemaic system assumed in his commentary on the Categories (212BC), and will have explained how the heavenly bodies move in relation to it; the solar year and its relation to the lunar months; the design and use of the astrolabe (an instrument in whose use Ammonius’ high skill is reported by Simplicius, In de Caelo, p. 462, 20); eclipses, fixed stars, the precession of the equinoxes; finally the courses of the planets. How far he comprehended Ptolemy’s trigonometry we cannot guess, and it is idle to speculate further. The allusion to Ptolemy’s astronomical geography in the Consolation of Philosophy (ii, 7, 4) as a work specially studied by Boethius is no doubt to be interpreted as an allusion to Boethius’ treatise on the subject.

Henry Chadwick. Boetius. ‘The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosphy’, II – Liberal Arts in the Collapse of Culture. Geometry and Astronomy, p. 102. Clarendon Paperbacks, 1981.

Gumerlock. Mark 13:32 and Christ’s Supposed Ignorance: Four Patristic Solutions. 2007.

Trinity Journal 28 (2007):205-213
Mark 13:32 and Christ’s Supposed Ignorance:
Four Patristic Solutions


Referring to the time of His Second Coming, Jesus is recorded as saying, “But of
that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father
alone” (Mark 13:32, NASB. The word alone is italicized because it was supplied by the
translator). The church fathers spilled much ink explaining this statement of the Lord,
most often because of its import regarding Christology.2 Since the passage allegedly
presents Christ as ignorant, the Arians of the early church, who denied that the Son was
consubstantial with the Father, used it as a proof-text for their belief in a less-than-divine
Son of God.3 On the other hand, those who held to Nicene orthodoxy and believed that
Jesus was fully God and possessed all the attributes of divinity, including omniscience,
responded to the Arians with Colossians 3:2, “In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge.” The adherents of Nicene orthodoxy, besides asserting Christ’s omniscience,
also had to make sense out of Mark 13:32, which seemed to teach that Jesus was ignorant
of at least one detail concerning the future, i.e. the time of His return. To solve the
theological dilemma of the omniscient Son of God not knowing the time of His own
Second Coming, the church fathers proposed a variety of explanations. This article
presents and evaluates four of their solutions—the philological solution of Basil of
Caesarea, two “figures of speech” solutions offered by Augustine of Hippo and Gregory
of Tours respectively, and the anthropological solution of Athanasius of Alexandria.

Article kindly provided by Francis X. Gumerlock, through his website.

Rendiconti della Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei: Artigos relacionados à língua aramaica.

Rendiconti della Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
30/09/2012 por Philipos 

Nesta página estarei colocando links de artigos relacionados à língua aramaica publicados no periódico Rendiconti della Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche e que estejam livremente disponíveis na internet.

View list here.

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