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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: In his “Best mode of Translation” he relies on the opinions of Cicero and Horace.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

8. Take the treatise which 2944 he entitles “On the best mode of translating,” though there is nothing in it except the addition of the title which is of the best, for all is of the worst; and in which he proves those to be heretics with whom he is now in communion, thus incurring the condemnation of our Apostle (not his, for those whom he calls ‘his’ are Flaccus and Tully) who says, “He who judges 2945 is condemned if he eat.” In that treatise, which tells us that no works of any kind reasonably admit of a rendering word for word (though he has come round now to think such rendering reasonable) 2946 he inserts whole passages from a work of Cicero. 2947 But had he not said, “What has Horace to do with the Psalter, or Maro with the Gospels, or Cicero with the Apostle? Will not your brother be offended if he sees you sitting in that idol temple?” Here of course he brings himself in guilty of idolatry; for if reading causes offence, much more does writing. But, since one who turns to idolatry does not thereby become wholly and completely a heathen unless he first denies Christ, he tells us that he said to Christ, as he sat on the judgment seat with his most exalted angel ministers around him, “If I ever hereafter read or possess any heathen books, I have denied thee,” and now he not only reads them and possesses them, not only copies them and collates them, but inserts them among the words of Scripture itself, and in discourses intended for the edification of the Church. What I say is well enough known to all who read his treatises, and requires no proof. But it is just like a man who is trying to save himself from such a gulf of sacrilege and perjury, to make up some excuse for himself, and to say, as he does: “I do not now read them, I have a tenacious memory, so that I can quote various passages from different writers without a break, and I now merely quote what I learned in my youth.” Well: if some one were to ask me to prove that before the sun rose this morning there was night over the earth, or that at sunset the sun had been shining all day, I should answer that, if a man doubted about what all men knew, it was his business to shew cause for his doubts, not for me to shew cause for my certainty. Still in this instance, where a man’s soul is at stake, and the crime of perjury and of impious denial of Christ is alleged, a condemnation must not be thought to be a thing of course, even though the facts are known and understood by all men. We are not to imitate him who condemns the accused before they have undergone any examination; and not only without a hearing, but without summoning them to appear; and not only unsummoned, but when they are already p. 464 dead; and not only the dead, but those whom he had always praised, till then; and not only those whom he had praised, but whom he had followed and had taken as his masters. We must fear the judgment of the Lord, who says 2948 “Judge not and ye shall not be judged,” and again, “With what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.” Therefore, though it is really superfluous, I will bring against him a single witness, but one who must prevail, and whom he cannot challenge, that is, once more, himself and his own writings. All can attest what I say in reference to this treatise of his; and my assertion about it seems to be superfluous; but I must make use of some special testimony, lest what I say should seem unsatisfactory to those who have not read his works.



Letter lvii.


Discerns it. Vulg. Rom. xiv. 23. He that doubteth A.V.


In the translation of the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν made by Jerome for Pammachius and Oceanus, he rendered word for word.


Letter lvii. 5.


Matt. 7:1, 2

Next: He confesses his obligations to Porphyry.

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