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NPNF2-03. Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, & Rufinus: Historical Writings
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5. Let us understand what was the wrong done by my friend31653165    Necessarius. This no doubt applies to Eusebius of Cremona or to Paulinian, Jerome’s brother, (Jer. Ap. 1, 21, 28.) See Ruf. Ap. i, 19, where a similar charge is made. who, you say ‘falsified parts of your papers when they had not yet been corrected nor carried to completion, and it was the more possible to falsify them because very few if any as yet possessed them.’31663166    Quoted from Rufinus’ letter to Jerome, now lost. I have already said, and I now repeat, with protestations in the presence of God, that I did not approve his accusing you, nor of any Christian accusing another Christian; for what need is there that matters which can be corrected or set right in private should be published abroad to the stumbling and fall of many? But since each man lives for his own gullet, and a man does not by becoming your friend become master of your will, while I blame the accusing of a brother even when it is true, so also I cannot accept against a man of saintly character this accusation of falsifying your papers. How could a man who only knows Latin change anything in a translation from the Greek? Or how could he take out or put in anything in such books as the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν, in which everything is so closely knit together that one part hangs upon another, and anything that may be taken out or put in to suit your will must at once show out like a patch on a garment? What you ask me to do, it is for you to do yourself. Put on at least a small measure of natural if not of Christian modesty in your assertions; do not despise and trample upon your conscience, and imagine yourself justified by a show of words, when the facts are against you. If Eusebius bought your uncorrected papers for money in order to falsify them, produce the genuine papers which have not been falsified: and if you can shew that there is nothing heretical in them, he will become amenable to the charge of forgery. But, however much you may alter or correct them, you will not make them out to be catholic. If the error existed only in the words or in some few statements, what is bad might be cut off and what is good be substituted for it. But, when the whole discussion31673167    That is in Origen’s Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν proceeds on a single principle, namely, the notion that the whole universe of reasonable creatures have fallen by their own will, and will hereafter return to a condition of unity: and that again from that starting point another fall will begin: what is there that you can amend, unless you alter the whole book? But if you were to think of doing this, you would no longer be translating another man’s work but composing a work of your own.

However, I hardly see which way your argument tends. I suppose you mean that the papers being uncorrected and not having undergone a final revising were more easily falsified by Eusebius. Perhaps I am stupid; but the argument appears to me somewhat foolish and pointless. If the papers were uncorrected and had not undergone their final revision, the errors in them must be imputed not to Eusebius but to your sloth and delay in putting off their correction; and all the blame that can be laid upon him is that he circulated among the body of Christians writings which you had intended in course of time to correct. But if, as you assert, Eusebius falsified them, why do you put forward the allegation that they were uncorrected, and that they had gone out before the public without their final revision? For papers whether corrected or uncorrected are equally susceptible of falsification. But, No one, you say possessed these books, or very few. What contradictions this single sentence exhibits! If no one had these books, how could they be in the hands of a few? If a few possessed them, why do you state falsely that there were none? Then, when you say that a few had them, and by your own confession the statement that no one had them is overthrown, what becomes of your complaint that your secretary was bribed with money? Tell us the secretary’s name, the amount of the bribe, the place, the intermediary, the recipient. Of course the traitor has been cast off from you, and one convicted of so great a crime has been separated from all familiarity with you. Is it not more likely to be true that the copies of the work which Eusebius obtained were given him by those few friends whom you speak of, especially since these copies agree and coincide with one another so completely that there is not the difference of a single stroke. We might ask also whether it was quite wise to give a copy to others which you had not yet corrected? The documents had not received their last corrections, and yet other men possessed these errors of yours which needed correction. Do you not see that your falsehood will not hold together? Besides, what profit was there for you, at that particular moment—how would it have helped you in escaping from the condemnation of the bishops—that the book which was the subject of discussion should be open to everyone, and that you should thus be refuted by your own words? From all this it is clear, according to the epigram of the famous orator, that you have a good will for a lie, but not the art of framing it.


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