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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Jerome's complaint of new doctrines may be retorted on himself.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

36. I will address the Master in one of his own phrases. 2883 Why, after nearly four hundred years, do you give such teachings as these to the Latin people with their peaceable and simple minds! Why do you inflict on unaccustomed ears new-sounding words, which no one finds in the writings of the Apostles? I beseech you, spare the ears of the Romans, spare that faith which the Apostle praised. 2884 Why do you bring out in public what Peter and Paul were unwilling to publish? Did not the Christian world exist without any of these things until—not as you say I made my translations, but up to the time when you wrote what I have quoted, that is till some fifteen years ago? For what is this teaching of yours, that in the world to come there will still be risings and fallings,—that some will go forward and some go back? If that be true, then what you say, that in this world life is either acquired or lost, is not true; unless it has some occult meaning. I do not find that you repent of any of these doctrines which these commentaries contain. Again, you teach that the Church is to be understood as being one body made up not of men only but of angels and all the powers of heaven. You say in commenting on the passage of the same book, in which the words occur 2885 “And gave him to be head over all the Church,” a little way down: “The Church may be understood as consisting not of men alone, but also of angels, and of all the powers, and p. 455 reasonable creatures.” Again, you say that souls, because in that former life they knew God, now know him not as one previously unknown, but as though after having forgotten him they came to recognize him again. These are the words used in a passage of the same book:

“The words which he uses “In the knowledge of him” 2886 some interpret by recalling that between γνωσις and επίγνωσις (Gnosis and Epignosis) that is, between knowing and recognition there is this difference, that Knowing has reference to things which we did not know before and have since begun to know, while Recognition has to do with those things which we afterwards remember. Our souls, then, they say, have a kind of apprehension of a former life, after they have been cast down into human bodies, and have forgotten God their Father; but now we know him by revelation, according to that which is written: 2887 “All the ends of this world shall remember and turn to the Lord;” and there are many similar passages.”



Jerome, Letter lxxxiv, 8.


Rom. i. 8


Eph. i. 22


Eph. i. 17


Ps. xxii. 27

Next: Chapter 38