On Illustrious Men

On Illustrious Men

Hardcover

$39.95
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, September 20

Overview

Often cited as a source of biographical information on ancient Christian authors, On Illustrious Men provides St. Jerome's personal evaluations of his forebears and contemporaries, as well as catalogs of patristic writings known to him. Heterodox writers and certain respected non-Christians (Seneca, Josephus, and Philo) are included in this parade of luminaries, which begins with the apostles and concludes with St. Jerome himself and a list of his own works prior to 393, the year in which On Illustrious Men was composed.

St. Jerome produced this work in his monastery at Bethlehem, to which he had retreated after his precipitous exit from Roman ecclesiastical politics. He had, however, maintained correspondences with several of his former associates, such as Dexter (the son of Pacian, bishop of Barcelona), to whom he addressed the work. Relying heavily on Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, St. Jerome attempts to demonstrate the erudition and nobility of character which render Christianity immune to the criticisms of its cultured despisers.

Since this work can be regarded as the patrology textbook of its day, its translator, Thomas P. Halton, has continued St. Jerome's mission by compiling bibliographical data on recent editions, translations, and studies of ancient writings mentioned in On Illustrious Men. Extensive footnote material and appendices furnish a wealth of information useful for patristic research. In addition, an index to all of the Fathers of the Church volumes published to date, listed by individual authors, appears in this, the hundredth volume of the series.

Thomas P. Halton is the Margaret H. Gardiner Professor of Greek at the Catholic University of America. He has served as the general editor of the Fathers of the Church series since 1983.

"A faithful translation of Jerome's 'Who's Who' of the ancient church, beginning with Simon Peter and concluding with Jerome himself. . . . Jerome's accounts are fascinating, filled with keen insight into some cases and characteristic spleen in others. The text itself, then, is well worth reading. . . . It is also extremely useful for the extensive annotations provided by Halton. . . . [Halton provides] massive bibliographic aid throughout the translation. It is this that will make this handy little book indispensable for anyone interested in early Christian history."—Heythrop Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813201009
Publisher: Catholic University of America Press
Publication date: 11/28/1999
Series: Fathers of the Church Series
Pages: 150
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

ON ILLUSTRIOUS MEN


THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA PRESS

Copyright © 1999 THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA PRESS
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8132-0100-9


Chapter One

I. SIMON PETER

SIMON PETER, THE SON OF JOHN, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the ones who are scattered, the believers from the circumcision, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years, until the last, that is, the fourteenth, year of Nero.

2. At Nero's hands he received the crown of martyrdom, being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.

3. He wrote two epistles which are called Catholic, the second of which, on account of its difference from the first in style, is considered by many not to be his.

4. Then, too, the Gospel according to Mark, who was his disciple and interpreter, is ascribed to him.

5. On the other hand, the books

of which one is entitled his Acts, another, his Gospel, a third, his Preaching, a fourth, his Revelation, a fifth, his Judgment, are rejected as apocryphal.

6. Buried at Rome in the Vatican near the Triumphal Way, he is venerated by the whole world.

II. JAMES, THE BROTHER OF THE LORD

JAMES, WHO IS CALLED the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary, the sister of the mother of the Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, was after the Lord's passion at once ordained bishop of Jerusalem by the apostles.

2. He wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles, and even this is claimed by some to have been published by someone else under his name, and gradually as time went on to have gained authority.

3. Hegesippus, who lived near the apostolic age, in the fifth book of his Commentaries, writing of James, says:

"After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed were called James.

4. "This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no meat, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed.

5. "He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments, but linen, and went alone into the temple and prayed on bended knees on behalf of the people, so much so that his knees were supposed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees."

He says also many other things, too numerous to narrate.

6. But Josephus also, in his Antiquities, Book 20, and Clement in his [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Outlines, Book 7, mention that on the death of Festus, who reigned over Judea, Albinus was sent by Nero as his successor. 7. Before he had reached his province, Ananus the high priest, the youthful son of Ananus of the priestly class, taking advantage of the state of anarchy, assembled a council and publicly tried to force James to deny that Christ is the Son of God. When he refused, Ananus ordered him to be stoned. 8. Cast down from a pinnacle of the temple, his legs broken, but still half alive, raising his hands to heaven, he said, "Lord forgive them for they know not what they do." Then, struck on the head by a club, of a kind with which fullers are accustomed to wring out garments, he died.

9. This same Josephus records the tradition that James was of such great sanctity and reputation among the people that the downfall of Jerusalem was believed to be a result of his death.

10. He it is of whom the apostle Paul writes to the Galatians, "No one else of the apostles did I see except James the brother of the Lord," and shortly after the event the Acts of the Apostles bear witness to the matter.

11. Also the gospel which is called the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and which I have recently translated into Greek and Latin, and of which also Origen frequently makes use, after the account of the resurrection of the Savior says,

12. "The Lord, however, after he had given his grave clothes to the servant of the priest, appeared to James, for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he drank the cup of the Lord until he should see him rising again from among those that sleep";

13. And again, a little later, it says, "'Bring a table and bread,' said the Lord." And immediately it is added, "He brought bread and blessed and broke it and gave to James the Just and said to him, 'My brother, eat your bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among those that sleep.'"

14. And so he ruled the church of Jerusalem for thirty years, that is, until the seventh year of Nero, and was buried near the temple from which he had been cast down. His [tombstone with its] inscription was well known until the siege of Titus and the end of Hadrian's reign. Some of our writers think he was buried on Mount Olivet, but they are mistaken.

III. MATTHEW, SURNAMED LEVI

MATTHEW, SURNAMED LEVI, first publican, then apostle, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek, though by what author is uncertain.

2. Moreover, the Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Caesarea which Pamphilus the martyr so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of Syria, who use it.

3. In this it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his own account or in the person of our Lord the Savior, quotes the testimonies of the Old Testament, he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint, but the Hebrew.

4. Wherefore these two forms exist: "Out of Egypt have I called my son," and "for he shall be called a Nazarene.

IV. JUDE, THE BROTHER OF JAMES

JUDE, THE BROTHER OF JAMES, left a short epistle which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles, and because in it he quotes from the apocryphal book of Enoch, it is rejected by many.

2. Nevertheless, by age and use it has gained authority and is reckoned among the Holy Scriptures.

V. PAUL, FORMERLY CALLED SAUL

PAUL, FORMERLY CALLED SAUL, an apostle over and above the number of the twelve apostles, was of the tribe of Benjamin and the town of Giscalis in Judea. When this was captured by the Romans he moved with his parents to Tarsus [in Cilicia].

2. Sent by them to Jerusalem to study law, he was educated by Gamaliel, a most learned man, whom Luke mentions.

3. But after he had been present at the death of the martyr Stephen, and had received letters from the high priest of the temple for the persecution of those who believed in Christ, he proceeded to Damascus, where, constrained to faith by a revelation, as it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, he was transformed from a persecutor into a vessel of election.

4. As Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus, was the first to believe in his preaching, he took his name from him because he had subdued him to faith in Christ, and having been joined by Barnabas, after traversing many cities, he returned to Jerusalem, and was ordained apostle to the Gentiles by Peter, James, and John.

5. And because a full account of his life is given in the Acts of the Apostles, I only say this: that the twenty-fifth year after our Lord's passion, that is, the second of Nero, at the time when Festus, Procurator of Judea, succeeded Felix, he was sent bound to Rome, and, remaining for two years in free custody, disputed daily with the Jews concerning the coming of Christ.

6. It ought to be understood that at his first defense, the power of Nero having not yet been consolidated, nor his wickedness erupted to such a degree as the histories relate concerning him, Paul was liberated by Nero, that the gospel of Christ might be preached also in the West, as he himself writes in the Second Epistle to Timothy, at the time when he was about to be put to death and dictated his epistle while in chains:

7. "At my first defense no one took my part, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their account. But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me; that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and that all the Gentiles might hear, and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion"-clearly indicating Nero as lion on account of his cruelty. And in the following he says, "The Lord delivered me from the mouth of the lion," and again shortly, "The Lord delivered me from every evil work and will save me unto his heavenly kingdom," for indeed he felt within himself that his martyrdom was near at hand;

8. For in the same epistle he announced, "for I am already being offered and the time of my departure is at hand." He then, in the fourteenth year of Nero on the same day as Peter, was beheaded at Rome for Christ's sake and was buried in the Ostian Way, the thirty-seventh year after our Lord's passion.

9. He wrote nine epistles to seven churches:

To the Romans, one, To the Corinthians, two, To the Galatians, one, To the Ephesians, one, To the Philippians, one, To the Colossians, one, To the Thessalonians, two; and besides, these to his disciples, To Timothy two, To Titus, one, To Philemon, one.

10. The epistle which is called the Epistle to the Hebrews is not considered to belong to him, on account of its difference from the others in style and language, but it is reckoned either, according to Tertullian, to be the work of Barnabas, or, according to others, to be by Luke the evangelist or by Clement afterwards bishop of the church at Rome, who, they say, arranged and adorned the ideas of Paul in his own language, though, to be sure, since Paul was writing to Hebrews and was in disrepute among them, he may have omitted his name from the salutation on this account. He being a Hebrew wrote Hebrew, that is, his own tongue and most fluently,

11. While the things which were eloquently written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek, and this is the reason why it seems to differ from other epistles of Paul. Some read also a letter To the Laodiceans, but it is rejected by everyone.

VI. BARNABAS, SURNAMED JOSEPH

BARNABAS FROM CYPRUS, surnamed Joseph the Levite, ordained apostle to the Gentiles with Paul, wrote one Epistle, valuable for the edification of the church, which is reckoned among the apocryphal writings.

2. Afterwards he separated from Paul on account of John, a disciple also called Mark, but nonetheless exercised the work of preaching the Gospel laid upon him.

VII. LUKE THE EVANGELIST

LUKE, A PHYSICIAN of Antioch, as his writings indicate, was not unskilled in the Greek language. An adherent of the apostle Paul and companion of all his journeying, he wrote a Gospel, concerning whom the same Paul says, "We send with him a brother whose praise in the gospel is among all the churches," and to the Colossians, "Luke, the dearly beloved physician, salutes you," and to Timothy, "Luke only is with me."

2. He also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title, Acts, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], of the Apostles, a history which extends to the second year of Paul's sojourn at Rome, that is, to the fourth year of Nero, from which we learn that the book was composed in that same city.

3. Therefore, the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the whole fable about the lion having been baptized by him we reckon among the apocryphal writings, for how is it possible that the inseparable companion of the Apostle in his other affairs should have been ignorant of this thing alone. Moreover, Tertullian, who lived close to those times, mentions a certain presbyter in Asia, an adherent of the apostle Paul, who was convicted by John of having been the author of the book, and who, having confessed that he had done this for love of Paul, resigned his office of presbyter.

4. Some suppose that whenever Paul in his epistle says, "according to my gospel," he means the book of Luke and that Luke not only had learned the gospel from the apostle Paul, who had not been with the Lord in the flesh, but also from the other apostles.

5. He declares this also at the beginning of his work, saying, "Even as they delivered unto us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word." So he wrote the Gospel as he had heard it, but composed the Acts of the Apostles as he himself had seen.

6. He was buried at Constantinople, to which city, in the twentieth year of Constantius, his bones, together with the remains of Andrew the apostle, were transferred.

VIII. MARK THE EVANGELIST

MARK, THE DISCIPLE and interpreter of Peter, wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome, embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard it, he approved it and issued it to the churches to be read by his authority, as Clement, in the sixth book of his [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record.

2. Peter also mentions this Mark in his First Epistle, figuratively indicating Rome under the name of Babylon: "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, salutes you; and so does my son Mark."

3. So, taking the Gospel which he himself had composed, he went to Egypt, and, first preaching Christ at Alexandria, he formed a church with such great continence in doctrine and life that he constrained all followers of Christ to his example.

4. Philo, then, most eloquent of the Jews, seeing the first church at Alexandria still following Jewish customs, wrote a book on their manner of life as something creditable to his nation, and, as Luke says that "the believers at Jerusalem had all things in common," so he recorded what he saw was done at Alexandria, under the learned Mark.

5. He died in the eighth year of Nero and was buried at Alexandria, leaving Annianus as his successor.

IX. JOHN, THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST

JOHN, THE APOSTLE whom Jesus loved most, the son of Zebedee, and brother of the apostle James, whom Herod, after our Lord's passion, beheaded, most recently of all, at the request of the bishops of Asia, wrote a Gospel against Cerinthus and other heretics, and especially against the then-arising doctrine of the Ebionites, who assert that Christ did not exist prior to Mary. On this account he was compelled to maintain His divine birth.

2. But there is said to be yet another reason for this work, in that, when he had read the volumes of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he approved, indeed, the substance of the history and declared that the things they said were true, but that they had given the history of only one year, the one, that is, which follows the imprisonment of John and in which he was put to death.

3. So, skipping this year, the events of which had been set forth by these, he related the events of the earlier period before John was shut up in prison, so that it might be manifest to those who should diligently read the volumes of the four Evangelists. This also takes away the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the discrepancy, which seems to exist between John and the others.

4. He wrote also one Epistle which begins as follows: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard and seen with our eyes, what we have explored and (what) our hands have touched concerning the word of life," which is esteemed by all who are men of the church or of learning.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from ON ILLUSTRIOUS MEN Copyright © 1999 by THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA PRESS. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Editorial Foreword....................xi
Abbreviations....................xiii
Select Bibliography....................xix
Introduction....................xxiii
Preface....................1
1. Simon Peter....................5
2. James, the brother of the Lord....................7
3. Matthew, surnamed Levi....................10
4. Jude, the brother of James....................11
5. Paul, formerly called Saul....................12
6. Barnabas, surnamed Joseph....................15
7. Luke the evangelist....................15
8. Mark the evangelist....................17
9. John, the apostle and evangelist....................19
10. Hermas....................21
11. Philo the Jew....................23
12. Lucius Annaeus Seneca....................26
13. Josephus, son of Matthew....................28
14. Justus of Tiberias....................30
15. Clement the bishop....................31
16. Ignatius the bishop....................32
17. Polycarp the bishop....................35
18. Papias the bishop....................36
19. Quadratus the bishop....................39
20. Aristides the philosopher....................40
21. Agrippa Castor....................41
22. Hegesippus the historian....................42
23. Justin the philosopher....................43
24. Melito the bishop....................46
25. Theophilus the bishop....................48
26. Apollinaris the bishop....................49
27. Dionysius the bishop....................50
28. Pinytus the bishop....................51
29. Tatian the heresiarch....................51
30. Philip the bishop....................53
31. Musanus....................54
32. Modestus....................54
33. Bardesanes the heresiarch....................55
34. Victor the bishop....................56
35. Irenaeus the bishop....................57
36. Pantaenus the philosopher....................59
37. Rhodo, the disciple of Tatian....................60
38. Clement the presbyter....................61
39. Miltiades....................64
40. Apollonius....................64
41. Serapion the bishop....................66
42. Apollonius the senator, another one....................67
43. Theophilus, another bishop....................68
44. Bacchylus the bishop....................68
45. Polycrates the bishop....................69
46. Heraclitus....................70
47. Maximus....................71
48. Candidus....................71
49. Apion....................72
50. Sextus....................72
51. Arabianus....................73
52. Judas....................73
53. Tertullian the presbyter....................74
54. Origen, surnamed Adamantius, the presbyter....................77
55. Ammonius....................82
56. Ambrose the deacon....................83
57. Trypho, the pupil of Origen....................84
58. Minucius Felix....................84
59. Gaius....................85
60. Beryllus the bishop....................86
61. Hippolytus the bishop....................87
62. Alexander the bishop....................90
63. Julius the African....................91
64. Geminus the presbyter....................92
65. Theodorus, surnamed Gregory, the bishop....................93
66. Cornelius the bishop....................94
67. Cyprian the bishop....................95
68. Pontius the deacon....................98
69. Dionysius the bishop....................98
70. Novatian the heresiarch....................102
71. Malchion the presbyter....................103
72. Archelaus the bishop....................104
73. Anatolius the bishop....................105
74. Victorinus the bishop....................105
75. Pamphilus the presbyter....................107
76. Pierius the presbyter....................108
77. Lucian the presbyter....................109
78. Phileas the bishop....................110
79. Arnobius the rhetorician....................110
80. Firmianus the rhetorician, surnamed Lactantius....................111
81. Eusebius the bishop....................113
82. Reticius the bishop....................115
83. Methodius the bishop....................116
84. Juvencus the presbyter....................117
85. Eustathius the bishop....................118
86. Marcellus the bishop....................119
87. Athanasius the bishop....................120
88. Antony the monk....................122
89. Basil the bishop....................122
90. Theodorus the bishop....................123
91. Eusebius, another bishop....................124
92. Triphylius the bishop....................125
93. Donatus the heresiarch....................125
94. Asterius the philosopher....................127
95. Lucifer the bishop....................127
96. Eusebius, another bishop....................128
97. Fortunatianus the bishop....................129
98. Acacius the bishop....................130
99. Serapion the bishop....................131
100. Hilary the bishop....................132
101. Victorinus the rhetorician....................135
102. Titus the bishop....................136
103. Damasus the bishop....................137
104. Apollinaris the bishop....................138
105. Gregory the bishop....................139
106. Pacian the bishop....................140
107. Photinus the heresiarch....................140
108. Phoebadius the bishop....................141
109. Didymus the Blind....................142
110. Optatus the bishop....................144
111. Acilius Severus the senator....................145
112. Cyril the bishop....................146
113. Euzoius the bishop....................147
114. Epiphanius the bishop....................148
115. Ephrem the deacon....................149
116. Basil, another bishop....................150
117. Gregory, another bishop....................151
118. Lucius the bishop....................153
119. Diodore the bishop....................154
120. Eunomius the heresiarch....................155
121. Priscillian the bishop....................156
122. Latronianus....................157
123. Tiberianus....................157
124. Ambrose the bishop....................158
125. Evagrius the bishop....................159
126. Ambrose, the disciple of Didymus....................160
127. Maximus, at first philosopher, then bishop....................160
128. Another Gregory, also a bishop....................161
129. John the presbyter....................162
130. Gelasius the bishop....................163
131. Theotimus the bishop....................164
132. Dexter, son of Pacian, now praetorian prefect....................165
133. Amphilochius the bishop....................165
134. Sophronius....................166
135. Jerome the presbyter....................167
Appendix 1 (Origen)....................175
Appendix 2 (Tertullian)....................178
Appendix 3 (Cyprian)....................185
Appendix 4 (Ambrose)....................187
Appendix 5 (Chronology)....................190
Appendix 6 (Alphabetical List)....................193
Index of Proper Names....................197
Index of Greek Terms....................202
Index to the Fathers of the Church Series....................204

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews