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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 264 Chapter XVII.—The Translator Symmachus. 1894

As to these translators it should be stated that Symmachus was an Ebionite. But the heresy of the Ebionites, as it is called, asserts that Christ was the son of Joseph and Mary, considering him a mere man, and insists strongly on keeping the law in a Jewish manner, as we have seen already in this history. 1895 Commentaries of Symmachus are still extant in which he appears to support this heresy by attacking the Gospel of Matthew. 1896 Origen states that he obtained these and other commentaries of Symmachus on the Scriptures from a certain Juliana, 1897 who, he says, received the books by inheritance from Symmachus himself.



On Symmachus, see the previous chapter, note 4.


In Bk. III. chap. 27. For a discussion of Ebionism, see the notes on that chapter.


On the attitude of the Ebionites toward the Canonical Gospel of Matthew (to which of course Eusebius here refers), see ibid. note 8. All traces of this work and of Symmachus’ “other interpretations of Scripture” (λλων εἰς τὰς γραφὰς ἑρμηνειῶν), mentioned just below, have vanished. We must not include Symmachus’ translation of the Old Testament in these other works (as has been done by Huet and others), for there is no hint either in this passage or in that of Palladius (see next note) of a reference to that version, which was, like those of Aquila and Theodotion, well known in Origen’s time (see the previous chapter).


This Juliana is known to us only from this passage and from Palladius, Hist. Laus. 147. Palladius reports, on the authority of an entry written by Origen himself, which he says he found in an ancient book (ν παλαιοτ€τῳ βιβλί& 251· στιχηρῷ), that Juliana was a virgin of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, and that she gave refuge to Origen in the time of some persecution. If this account is to be relied upon, Origen’s sojourn in the lady’s house is doubtless to be assigned, with Huet, to the persecution of Maximinus (235–238; see below, chap. 28, note 2). It must be confessed, however, that in the face of the absolute silence of Eusebius and others, the story has a suspicious look.

Next: Chapter XVIII

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