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.: Jerome's translation of the Scriptures impugned.
32. Perhaps it was a greater piece of audacity to alter the books of the divine Scriptures which had been delivered to the Churches of Christ by the Apostles to be a complete record of their faith by making a new translation under the influence of the Jews. Which of these two things appears to you to be the less legitimate? As to the sayings of Origen, if we agree with them, we agree with them as the sayings of a man; if we disagree, we can easily disregard them as those of a mere man. But how are we to regard those translations of yours which you are now sending about everywhere, through our churches and monasteries, through all our cities and walled towns? are they to be treated as human or divine? And what are we to do when we are told that the books which bear the names of the Hebrew Prophets and lawgivers are to be had from you in a truer form than that which was approved by the Apostles? How, I ask, is this mistake to be set right, or rather, how is this crime to be expiated? We hold it a thing worthy of condemnation that a man should have put forth some strange opinions in the interpretation of the law of God; but to pervert the law itself and make it different from that which the Apostles handed down to us,—how many times over must this be pronounced worthy of condemnation? To the daring temerity of this act we may much more justly apply your words: “Which of all the wise and holy men who have gone before you has dared to put his hand to that work?” Which of them would have presumed thus to profane the book of God, and the sacred words of the Holy Spirit? Who but you would have laid hands upon the divine gift and the inheritance of the Apostles?
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