Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: He says I shew Origen to be heretical, yet condemns me.
29. But I must deal with you once more by quoting your own words. You say of me in that invective of yours 2986 that I have by my translation shewn that Origen is a heretic while I was a Catholic. The words are: “That is to say, I am a Catholic, but he whom I was translating is a heretic.” Yes you say it, I have read it. Well then, if, as you tell us, the result of my whole work is to show that I am a Catholic and Origen a heretic, what more do you want? Is not your whole object gained if Origen is proved a heretic and I a Catholic? If you bear witness that I have said this and have thus given you satisfaction by the whole of my work, what cause of accusation against me remains? What purpose was served by that Invective of yours against me? If I proved Origen to be a heretic and myself a Catholic, was I right or not? If I was, then why do you subject to blame and accusation what was rightly done? But, if it was not right that Origen should be called a heretic, why do you make a charge against me on that head? What need was there for you to translate in a worse sense what I had already translated according to your principles, though in a less elegant style? Especially what need was there for you to play your readers false, and, when they expected one thing, for you to do another? They imagine that you are acting in opposition to those who defend Origen as Catholic; but the person whom you combat and accuse is the man who you say has pronounced him a heretic. Perhaps it was for this that you invited me to do penance; and I had misunderstood you. But even of this I must say that I could not repent, if my repentance implied that I thought all things which are found in his works are catholic. Whether what is uncatholic is his own or, as I think, inserted by others, God only knows: at all events these things, when brought to the standard of the faith and of truth are wholly rejected by me. What then is it that you want me to say? That Origen is a heretic? That is what you say that I have done, and you blame it. That he is a catholic then? Again you make this a ground of accusation against me. Point out more clearly what you mean; possibly there is something which you can find out that lies between the two. This is all the wit that you have gathered from the acuteness of Alexander and Porphyry and Aristotle himself: This is the issue of all the boasting which you make of having from infancy to old age been versed and trained in the schools of rhetoric and philosophy, that you set forth with the intention of pronouncing sentence on Origen as a heretic, and in the very speech in which you are delivering judgment turn upon the man whom you are addressing and accuse him because he also has shown Origen to be a heretic. I beg all men to note that there is in all this no care for the faith or for truth, no earnest thought of religion and sound judgment; there is nothing but the practised lust of evil speaking and accusing the brethren which works in his tongue, nothing but rivalry with his fellow men in his heart, nothing but malice and envy in his mind. So much is this the case that, before any cause of ill feeling existed, and I spoke of you with praise as my brother and colleague, you nevertheless were angry at my advances. Forgive me for not knowing that you were what the Greeks call acatonomastos (ακατονόμαστος), one whom no one dares to address by name. Still, I wonder that you should call upon me to condemn what you complain of me for branding as wrong.
Namely, Ep. lxxxiv. c. 7.
Next: His pretence that the Apology for Origen is not by Pamphilus needs no answer.
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