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.: Chapter 27a
27 a. I ask whether you can produce anything which I have written, by which you may convict me of having fallen into heresy even in my youth,—anything of such a character as the heresies of which, though you will not confess it, you now stand convicted. I said that I had followed or imitated you in your system of translating, in that alone and in nothing else. Yet you say that by this I have done you all the injury which you complain of. I followed you in such things as I saw that you had done in the Homilies on the Gospel according to Luke. Take the passage: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” When you found that the Greek Commentary had something relating to the Son of God which was not right, you passed it over; whereas the words about the Spirit, which as you may remember, are expressed in the ordinary way, you not only did not pass over but added a few words of your own to make the expression more clear. And so in the note on the words, 2984 “Behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into my ears, the babe leaped in my womb,” you render: “Because this was not the beginning of his substance,” and you add of your own the words “and nature,” though both these and a thousand other things in your translations of these homilies or those on Isaiah or Jeremiah, but more particularly in those on Ezekiel, you have now withdrawn. But, in certain places where you found things relating to the faith, that is the Trinity, expressed in a strange manner, you left out words at your discretion. This mode of translation we have both of us observed, and if any one finds fault with it, it is you who ought to make answer, since you made use of it before me. But now the practice which you blame is undoubtedly one for which you may yourself incur blame. The practice of translating word for word you formerly pronounced to be both foolish and injurious. In this I followed you. You can hardly mean that I am to repent of this because you have now changed your opinion, and say that you have translated the present work with literal exactness. In previous cases you took out what was unedifying in matters of faith, though you did so in such a way as not to excise them wholly nor in all cases. For instance, in the Homilies on Isaiah, at the Vision of God 2985 Origen refers the words to the Son and the Holy Spirit; and so you have translated, adding, however, words of your own which would make the passage have a more acceptable sense. It stands thus: “Who are then these two Seraphim? My Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit:” but you add of your own, “And do not think that there is any difference in the nature of the Trinity, when the functions indicated by the several persons are preserved.” The same thing I have done in a great many cases, either cutting out words or bending them into a sounder meaning. For this you bid me do penance. I do not think that you are of this opinion as regards yourself. If then on this ground no penitence is due from either of us, what other things are there of which you invite me to repent?
Luke i. 44472:2985
Next: Chapter 28
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