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.: Had you translated honestly, you would not have had Origen's heresies imputed to you.
14. Now I ask you this: Who may have blamed you for having either added or changed or taken away certain things in the books of Origen, and have put you to the question like a man on the horse-rack; 3174 Are those things which you put down in your translation bad or good? It is useless for you to simulate innocence, and by some silly question to parry the force of the true inquiry. I have never accused you for translating Origen for your own satisfaction. I have done the same, and so have Victorinus, Hilary, and Ambrose; but I have accused you for fortifying your translation of a heretical work by writing a preface approving of it. You compel me to go over the same ground, and to walk in the lines I myself have traced. For you say in that Prologue that you have cut away what had been added by the heretics; and have replaced it with what is good. If you have taken out the false statement of the heretics, then what you have left or have added must be either Origens, or yours, and you have set them down, presumably, as good. But that many of these are bad you cannot deny. “What is that,” you will say, “to me?” You must impute it to Origen; for I have done no more than alter what had been added by the heretics. Tell us then for what reason you took out the bad things written by the heretics and left those written by Origen untouched. Is it not clear that parts of the false doctrines of Origen you condemned under the designation of the doctrines of heretics, and others you accepted because you judged them to be not false but true and consonant with your faith? It was these last about which I inquired whether those things which you praised in your Preface were good or bad: it was these which you confessed you have left as perfectly good when you cut out all that was worst; and I thus have placed you, as I said, on the horse-rack, so that, if you say that they are good, you will be proved to be a heretic, but if you say they are bad, you will at once be asked: “Why then did you praise these bad things in your Preface?” And I did not add the question which you craftily pretend that I asked; “Why did you by your translation bring evil doctrines to the ears of the Latins?” For to exhibit what is bad may be done at times not for the sake of teaching them but of warning men against them: so that the reader may be on his guard not to follow the error, but may make light of the evils which he knows, whereas if unknown they might become objects of wonder to him. Yet after this, you dare to say that I am the author of writings of this kind, whereas you, as a mere translator would be going beyond the translators province if you had chosen to correct anything, but, if you did not correct anything, you acted as a translator alone. You would be quite right in saying this if your translation of the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν had no Preface; just as Hilary, when he translated Origens homilies took care to do it so that both the good and evil of them should be imputed not to the translator but to their own author. If you had not boasted that you had cut out the worst and left the best, you would, in some way or other, have escaped from the mire. But it is this that brings to nought the trick of your invention, and keeps you bound on all sides, so that you cannot get out. And I must ask you not to have too mean an opinion of the intelligence of your readers nor to think that all who will read your writings are so dull as not to laugh at you when they see you let real p. 527 wounds mortify while you put plasters on a healthy body.
Equuleus, the little horse, an instrument of torture.
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