The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

By Henry Chadwick | Go to book overview

45 Jerome and Rufinus: Controversy About Origen

Jerome (Hieronymus) from Dalmatia and Rufinus of Aquileia, born at nearby Concordia, were old friends who shared the aspiration to make good Greek theology accessible to an ignorant Latin world. To help western Christians acquire a sense of their tradition, Jerome composed, after the manner of Suetonius, the Lives of Illustrious men (392/3) with brief biographies of Christian writers, and translated the Chronicle of Eusebius, continued down to 378. Jerome briefly sat at the feet of Didymus the Blind at Alexandria (ep. 50. 1; in Osee, prol.), a disciple of Origen's way of writing biblical commentaries whose own expositions have been partly recovered in consequence of a papyrus find near Cairo in 1941, thereby showing how much Jerome owed to him. At Antioch he studied exegesis under Apollinaris (ep. 84. 3). In 379 he had been at Constantinople listening to Gregory of Nazianzos (ep. 52. 8; in Esai. 3. 6. 1), and Gregory is a probable voice to have directed him towards Origen's expositions of scripture. He met Gregory of Nyssa, who read him his refutation of Eunomius, and also Amphilochius of Iconium. Like other Latin contemporaries, he could not bring himself to mention the council of Constantinople of 381. Augustine wrote to remonstrate against his use of Origen, Didymus, and Apollinaris, whose reputation for orthodoxy was uncertain (ep. 116. 23). Jerome was not much disposed to pay serious attention to criticism from the younger African, 'the new wealth of Africa', especially when Augustine criticized his (Origenist) commentary on Galatians 2, where he saw the dissension between Peter and Paul as edifying playacting.


Origen's Biblical Exegesis

Jerome found excellent matter in Origen's exegesis of scripture and in his impassioned sermons, and decided to make some Latin translations. They would be valuable guides for western exegetes. 'The interpretation of scripture is the one art where all claim to be masters', he wrote ironically (ep. 53. 7). Origen could teach the point that biblical commentaries are not

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The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Church in Ancient Society iii
  • Prefatory Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Followers of Jesus 5
  • 2: The Jewish Matrix 13
  • 3: Jews and Christians Survive Rome's Crushing of Revolts 21
  • 4: The Hebrew Scriptures in the Church 27
  • 5: Interpreting Scripture 32
  • 6: Apostles and Evangelists 43
  • 7: Women Among Jesus' Followers 53
  • 8: 'Barnabas', Jewish Christianity, Trouble at Corinth 56
  • 9: Ignatius of Antioch 65
  • 10: Didache 84
  • 11: Marcion 89
  • 12: Justin 93
  • 13: Irenaeus of Lyon 100
  • 14: The New Testament Text 108
  • 15: Celsus: A Platonist Attack 110
  • 16: Montanism: Perpetua 114
  • 17: Tertullian, Minucius Felix 118
  • 18: Clement of Alexandria 124
  • 19: Julius Africanus 130
  • 20: Hippolytus and Liturgy 132
  • 21: Origen 135
  • 22: Cyprian of Carthage 145
  • 23: Dionysius of Alexandria 161
  • 24: Paul of Samosata 166
  • 25: Mani 170
  • 26: Plotinus, Porphyry 173
  • 27: Diocletian and the Great Persecution; Rise of Constantine 176
  • 28: Constantine 190
  • 29: The Seeds of Reaction 201
  • 30: The Church at Prayer 212
  • 31: Athanasius, Marcellus, and the Gathering Storm 226
  • 32: A Fiasco at Serdica 240
  • 33: Religious Division 254
  • 34: Athanasius' Return 260
  • 35: Constantius' Double Council of Unity 279
  • 36: Julian and the Church 295
  • 37: Damasus, Siricius, Papal Authority, Synesius of Cyrene 314
  • 38: Basil of Caesarea (Cappadocia) 331
  • 39: Ambrose 348
  • 40: Ambrosiaster 379
  • 41: Donatism 382
  • 42: Monks: The Ascetic Life 394
  • 43: Messalians 411
  • 44: Schism at Antioch 415
  • 45: Jerome and Rufinus 433
  • 46: Pelagius, Caelestius, and the Roman See in Gaul and North Africa 446
  • 47: Julian of Eclanum 464
  • 48: Augustine 473
  • 49: John Chrysostom 479
  • 50: Innocent I and John Chrysostom's Honour 499
  • 51: The Christological Debate, I 515
  • 52: The Christological Debate, Ii 538
  • 53: The Christological Debate, Iii 557
  • 54: The Aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon 592
  • 55: Justinian, Origen, and the 'Three Chapters' 612
  • 56: The Ancient Oriental Churches 628
  • 57: The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West 633
  • 58: Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) 658
  • 59: Worship After Constantine 675
  • 60: Pilgrims 684
  • 61: Penance 688
  • Further Reading 694
  • Dates of Roman Emperors 714
  • Index 721
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