Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: Chapter IEarly Church Fathers Index Previous Next
p. 36 Book II.
Chapter I.—Introduction containing the Reason for the Authors Revision of his First and Second Books.
Rufinus, who wrote an Ecclesiastical History in Latin, 261 has erred in respect to chronology. For he supposes that what was done against Athanasius occurred after the death of the Emperor Constantine: he was also ignorant of his exile to the Gauls and of various other circumstances. Now we in the first place wrote the first two books of our history following Rufinus; but in writing our history from the third to the seventh, some facts we collected from Rufinus, others from different authors, and some from the narration of individuals still living. Afterward, however, we perused the writings of Athanasius, wherein he depicts his own sufferings and how through the calumnies of the Eusebian fiction he was banished, and judged that more credit was due to him who had suffered, and to those who were witnesses of the things they describe, than to such as have been dependent on conjecture, and had therefore erred. Moreover, having obtained several letters of persons eminent at that period, we have availed ourselves of their assistance also in tracing out the truth as far as possible. On this account we were compelled to revise the first and second books of this history, using, however, the testimony of Rufinus where it is evident that he could not be mistaken. It should also be observed, that in our former edition, neither the sentence of deposition which was passed upon Arius, nor the emperors letters were inserted, but simply the narration or facts in order that the history might not become bulky and weary the readers with tedious matters of detail. But in the present edition, such alterations and additions have been made for your sake, O sacred man of God, Theodore, 262 in order that you might not be ignorant what the princes wrote in their own words, as well as the decisions of the bishops in their various Synods, wherein they continually altered the confession of faith. Wherefore, whatever we have deemed necessary we have inserted in this later edition. Having adopted this course in the first book, we shall endeavor to do the same in the consecutive portion of our history, I mean the second. On this let us now enter.
Rufinus Historia Ecclesiastica, in two books, begins with Arius and ends with Theodosius the Great. It is not very accurate, but written largely from memory. It is dedicated to Chromatius, bishop of Aquileja, and translated into Greek by Gelasius and Cyril of Jerusalem. On the edition used by Socrates, see Introd. and I. 12, note 1. Cf. also on his knowledge of Latin, II. 23, 30, and 37.36:262
ὦ ἱερὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπε Θεόδωρε; cf. Introd. p. x, also VI. Introd. and VII. 48.
Next: Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, and his Party, by again endeavoring to introduce the Arian Heresy, create Disturbances in the Churches.
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