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.: Others did not translate the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν because they did not know Greek.
31. But I must come to that head of his inculpation of me which is most injurious and full of ill-will; nay, not of ill-will only but of malice. He says: Which of all the wise and holy men before us has dared to attempt the translation of these books which you have translated? I myself, he adds, though asked by many to do it, have always refused. But the fact is, the excuse to be made for those holy men is easy enough; for it by no means follows because a man of Latin race is a holy and a wise man, that he has an adequate knowledge of the Greek language; it is no slur upon his holiness that he is wanting in the knowledge of a foreign tongue. And further, if he has the knowledge of the Greek language, it does not follow that he has the wish to make translations. Even if he has such a wish, we are not to find fault with him for not translating more than a few works, and for translating some rather than others. Every man has power to do as he p. 475 likes in such matters according to his own free will or according to the wish of any one who asks him to make the translation. But he brings forward the case of the saintly men Hilary and Victorinus, the first of whom, though well-known as a commentator, translated nothing, I believe, from the Greek; while the other himself tells us that he employed a learned presbyter named Heliodorus to draw what he needed from the Greek sources, while he himself merely gave them their Latin form because he knew little or nothing of Greek. There is therefore a very good reason why these men should not have made this translation. That you should have acted in the same way is, I admit, a matter for wonder. For what further audacity, what larger amount of rashness, would have been required to translate those books of Origen, after you had put almost the whole of their contents into your other works, and, indeed, had already published in books bearing your own name all that is said in those which you now declare worthy of blame?
Next: Jerome's translation of the Scriptures impugned.
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