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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Preface.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Jerome’s Apology for Himself Against the Books of Rufinus.

Addressed to Pammachius and Marcella from Bethlehem, a.d. 402.


Book I.

The documents which Jerome had before him when he wrote his Apology were (1) Rufinus’ Translation of Pamphilus’ Apology with the Preface prefixed to it and the book on the Falsification of the Books of Origen, (2) the Translation of the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν and Rufinus’ Preface, (3) The Apology of Rufinus addressed to Anastasius (see p. 430), and (4) Anastasius’ letter to John of Jerusalem (p. 432 Apol. ii, 14, iii, 20). He had also other letters of Anastasius like that addressed to the Bishop of Milan (Jerome Letter 95. See also Apol. iii, 21). But he had not the full text of Rufinus’ Apology (c. 4, 15). He received letters from Pammachius and Marcella, at the beginning of the Spring of 402, when the Apology written at Aquileia at the end of 400 had become known to Rufinus’ friends for some time. They had been unable to obtain a full copy, but had sent the chief heads of it, and had strongly urged Jerome to reply. At the same time his brother Paulinianus who had been some three years in the West, returned to Palestine by way of Rome, and there heard and saw portions of Rufinus’ Apology, which he committed to memory (Apol. i, 21, 28) and repeated at Bethlehem. To these documents Jerome replies.

The heads of the First Book are as follows.

1. It is hard that an old friend with whom I had been reconciled should attack me in a book secretly circulated among his disciples.

2. Others have translated Origen. Why does he single me out?

3. He gave me fictitious praise in his Preface to the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν. Now, since I defend myself, he writes 3 books against me as an enemy.

4, 5. He spoke of me as united in faith with him; but what is his faith? Why are his books kept secret? I can meet any attack.

6. I translated the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν because you demanded it, and because his translation slurred over Origen’s heresies.

7. My translation put away ambiguities, and showed the real character of the book, and of the previous translation.

8. My translation of Origen’s Commentaries created no excitement; his first translation, of Pamphilus’ Apology, roused all Rome to indignation.

9. But the work was really Eusebius’s, who tells us that Pamphilus wrote nothing.

10. After the condemnation of Origen by Theophilus and Anastasius, it would be wise in Rufinus to give up this pretended defence.

11. I had praised Eusebius as well as Origen only as writers; and was forced to condemn them as heretics. Why should this be taken amiss?

12. I wrote a friendly letter to Rufinus, which my friends kept back.

13. There is nothing to blame in my getting the help of a Jew in translating from the Hebrew.

14. There is nothing strange in my praising Origen before I knew the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν

p. 483 15. The accusations seem inconsistent, but I knew them only by report.

16. The office of a commentator.

17. We must distinguish methods of writing, and not expect a vulgar simplicity in the various compositions of cultured men.

18. My assertion was true, that Origen permitted the use of falsehood.

19. The accusation about a mistranslation of Ps. ii is easily explained.

20. In the difficulties of the translator and the commentator we must get help where we can.

21. In the Commentary on Ephesians I acted straightforwardly in giving the views of Origen and others.

22. As to the passage “He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world.”

23. As to the passage “Far above all rule and authority &c.”

24. As to the passage “That in the ages to come &c.”

25. As to “Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ.”

26. As to “The body fitly framed &c.”

27. I quoted Origen’s views as, “According to another heresy.”

28, 29. As to “Men loving their wives as their own bodies.”

30. To the charge of reading secular books I reply that I remember what I learned in youth.

31. Also, a promise given in a dream must not be pressed. Why should such things be raked up by old friends against one another?

32. I am right in my contention that all sins are remitted in baptism.

Next: Chapter 1

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