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.: My ignorance of many natural phenomena is no excuse for your ignorance as to the origin of souls. You ought, according to your boasting dream to know everything. The thing of most importance was forgotten in your cargo of Eastern wares.
30. Your Apology says that there are three opinions as to the origin of souls: one held by Origen, a second by Tertullian and Lactantius (as to Lactantius what you say is manifestly false), a third by us simple and foolish men, who do not see that, if our opinion is true, God is thereby shewn to be unjust. After this you say that you do not know what is the truth. I say, then, tell me, whether you think that outside of these three opinions any truth can be found so that all these three may be false; or whether you think one of these three is true. If there is some other possibility, why do you confine the liberty of discussion within a close-drawn line? and why do you put forward the views which are false and keep silence about the true? But if one of the three is true and the two others false, why do you include false and true in one assertion of ignorance? Perhaps you pretend not to know which is true in order that it may be safe for you, whenever you may please, to defend the false. This is the smoke, these are the mists, with which you try to keep away the light from mens eyes. You are the Aristippus 3191 of our day: you bring your ship into the port of Rome full of merchandize of all kinds; you set your professorial chair on high, and represent to us Hermagoras 3192 and Gorgias 3193 of Leontinum: only, you were in such a hurry to set sail that you left one little piece of goods, one little question, forgotten in the East. And you cry out with reiteration that you learned both at Aquileia and at Alexandria that God is the creator of both our bodies and our souls. This then, forsooth, is the pressing question, whether our souls were created by God or by the devil, and not whether the opinion of Origen is true that our souls existed before our bodies and committed some sin because of which they have been tied to these gross bodies; or whether, again, they slept like dormice in a state of torpor and of slumber. Every one is asking this question, but you say nothing about it; nobody asks the other, but to that you direct your answer.
Of Cyrene. A disciple of Socrates, founder of the Cyrenaic sect, the precursors of the Epicureans.534:3192
Rhetorician of Rhodes.534:3193
Statesman and Sophist, came to Athens on a mission b.c. 327, and settled there.
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