Page images
PDF
EPUB

the fracture of the stone, that, in the latter portion especially, a considerable scope is afforded for conjectural restoration; and we must refer our readers to the Excursus itself for the various suggestions that are made, and also to the very learned and interesting illustrations of the inscription, from other like remains, and froin the practices of antiquity, which Dom Pitra brings together.

It will be seen, that the two Sacraments form the chief subject of the first part, and that high value is placed on them as the sources of spiritual grace. The Christian is addressed as the offspring of Christ, the heavenly iyovs, made such in Baptism, and feeding on Him in the Eucharist. The latter part is evidently a prayer for himself, and it would seem that an address to his parents to remember him, formed a part of it according to Dom Pitra's restoration ; according to Dr. Wordsworth's it is throughout only a prayer for himself :

'Ixoùs, xaspé poc, åpa Aldaiw, déorota, oua
Σου έλθ' ήγητηρ, σε λιτάζω, φώς το θανόντων
'Adávatov, owTep, twuộ kexaplouéve Ouuậ,
Συν μοι αεί και μείνουν ένα στήθεσσιν έμοισιν.

"Ιλαθι και δούλου μνήσεο Πεκτορίου. How this restoration is to be reconciled to the letters which remain, we do not well see. Dom Pitra's readings have the advantage of agreeing with what is actually inscribed on the stone; and the address to the parents does not go beyond a very simple expression of natural piety.

We pass now to the body of the work.

I.-PAPIas. The first article is a fragment in Armenian, from a MS. of the twelfth century, in the library of the Armenian Convent of S. Lazarus at Venice. It is the well-known passage from Papias, as cited by S. Irenæus, lib. v. c. 33, recording a sort of parable which Papias or other elders, who had seen S. John the Apostle, said that they had heard from him as the words of our Lord. After the introductory words of S. Irenæus we read :

“The days shall come in which vines shall grow up, each having ten thousand main-branches, and on every main-branch ten thousand arms, and on every arm ten thousand shoots, and on every shoot ten thousand bunches, and on every bunch ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed shall give twenty-five cups (Lat. measures) of wine. And if any one take hold of a holy bunch, another bunch shall cry out, “I am better, take me, and through me bless the Lord." And in like manner a grain of corn shall send out ten thousand ears, and every ear shall have ten thousand grains, and every grain five bushels of fine flour; and all other fruitbearing trees, and seeds, and herbs, according to their own fitness in order. And all the animals that feed on those things which are taken from the earth, shall be in peace, and in concord with each other, and gentle, and shall be subject to man in all obedience.'-P. 2.

Lion No. 1. PP the fourthf our Lo

There are a few points in this passage to which we shall refer presently. But before commenting on the fragment itself, we must refer to the observations made by the Editor on this extract, in the Prolegomena, No. 1. pp. iv. V. The passage itself, as Irenæus states, is taken out of the fourth book of a work of Papias, called an 'Exposition of the Sayings of our Lord,' which was in five books. The Editor seems to cherish a fond hope that this work was extant at a comparatively recent period; that it was preserved among the Syrians, and thence transmitted together with Irenæus to the Armenians; that it existed in Latin in England in the middle ages; and was preserved in the cloister of the Church of Nismes in the thirteenth century, and seen by Trithemius at the end of the fourteenth. It is our business, as fair critics, to do something towards dispelling this illusion; an illusion which has been in some degree encouraged by others; for much of what Dom Pitra says, is cited from Gallandi; and we think what we have to adduce ought to settle the question for ever.

a. As to the Armenian Version of Papias' work. There is not a shadow of ground for supposing that such a version ever existed. The portion of Papias which Dom Pitra prints in Armenian, is, as its title and the opening words show, a portion out of the work of Irenæus, consisting chiefly of this citation from Papias. Irenæus was translated into Armenian; and as part and parcel of his book, this portion of Papias existed in Armenian. That is all which this Armenian fragment proves.

b. Of the Latin Version, supposed to have existed in England in the middle ages, Dom Pitra says: “Quin, si fides fragmento . quodam Bodleiano, ad Britannos usque, seris sæculis, devec· tum est.' Grabe, in his Spicilegium Sæc. ii. p. 34, printed a passage in Latin, which enumerates and distinguishes the Marys mentioned in the New Testament. He found this in a MS. volume in the Bodleian, which consists of extracts of various kinds, written, he says, at Osney Abbey, A.D. 1302, 1303. The only ground Grabe had for attributing this extract to Papias was, that overagainst the beginning of the extract was written, in the margin, Papia. From Grabe, the passage was reprinted as a Fragment of Papias in Gallandi (“Bibliotheca Patrum,' tom. i.), by Dr. Routh in his . Reliquiæ,' vol. i. p. 16, ed. 2, and possibly by others. We will first observe on the very hasty inference of Dom Pitra, that such an extract implies the existence of the entire work among those by whom that extract was transcribed. We must protest against such a preposterous conclusion. Nothing surely is more common, than for extracts to be made from Greek Fathers by other writers in Catenas or other works now lost, from which extracts the Latin translations were made, which we have received in transcripts made in the middle ages. Had this passage been really a portion of Papias' book, it would not by any means have proved, that it was taken by the Monks of Osney out of a Latin translation of the entire work of this companion of the Apostles; or that they enjoyed the possession of so great a treasure. They might have copied the translation of the fragment—which itself had been preserved only as a fragment. But, in fact, it is not a fragment of Papias of Hierapolis at all, but of another Papias, who is distinguished as Papias Grammaticus, and is placed by Oudin (De Script. Eccles. vol. ii.) as having flourished about A.D. 1050. His great work was a Latin Dictionary or Lexicon, which was highly esteemed in the middle ages, and was frequently printed just before 1500; whether after that date we do not know. It has now, therefore, acquired a value from a very different cause from that which led to its being highly esteemed of old. It has gained a fictitious value as a rare book, owing to its ceasing to be valued for its intrinsic merits. It has become a black-letter treasure. A copy exists in the Bodleian, purchased comparatively recently, printed in 1491. Any one who has access to such a copy, will find the passage in question under the head Maria. We do not blame those who have followed Grabe, for they naturally relied on his information; the more so as he was well aware of the existence of this other Papias, and noticed, at this place in his Spicilegium, that another Bodleian MS., entitled • Excerpta ex Papia,' was a collection of extracts from this very dictionary.' Probably, Grabe had not the opportunity of testing the frag. ments which he found in the Osney Book. So much for the existence of a Latin translation of the work of Papias of Hierapolis in England.

[graphic]

C. The evidence that it was extant in the Church of Nismes, A.D. 1219, which Dom Pitra extracts from Gallandi, is an entry in an inventory of the possessions of that Church at that date, which is taken from Menard's · Histoire Civile, Ecclésiastique, et Littéraire de la Ville de Nismes,' vol. i. “Preuves de l'Histoire,' p. 67; it is thus printed by Dom Pitra : 'Item inveni in claustro librum Papiæ, librum de Verbis Domini.' On which Dr. Routh very naturally exclaims, · Rem, si nullus error huic narrationi inest, notabilem !' The error which he suspected we hope to prove. The words, as cited by Dom

i Grabe's words are: 'Priora vero ex Papiæ nostri libris deprompta esse exinde colligo, quia initio horum verborum ad marginem expresse adscriptum lego : Papia. Cæterum quæ Cod. 1752, qui est Digbæi 151, in catalogo signantur, E.ccerpta de Papia, sunt vocabula, ex Dictionario alterius Papiæ, exeunte sæculo xii. fiorentis, descripta.

placed alogue there anegues, &osum;

Pitra, from Gallandi, look very like a description of Papias' work, on the Words of our Lord, εξήγησις λογίων Κυριακών. But let us look at the Inventory itself, as printed by Menard : • Item inveni in claustro duo responsalia; duo officialia; et • librum concathenatum ad farestol, in quo Psalterium, cum colletaneo et officiali; et librum dominicalem; librum Papie; librum de Verbis Domini; librum spissum; Matheum, pas*sionarium qui vocatur Galazanegues, &c.' It will be observed, that in the Catalogue there is a senticolon after Papie, as is usually placed after each separate book; not a comma, as printed by Dom Pitra. Papie, we need scarcely remind our readers, is a common middle-age mode of writing for Papiæ. This then indicates not one book,' a thick book of Papias, on the Words of our Lord,' but three books, ' a book of Papias ; a book De Verbis Domini ; a thick book;' of which the second, we can have no doubt, is S. Augustine's Homilies De Verbis Doinini ;' since his treatises are repeatedly entered without his name, as being well known; thus, further on in the Catalogue, after “Origenes super quinque libros Mosis ;' comes, • librum de Trinitate, et de multis aliis usque ad librum de vera • Religione;'-again, ‘Enchiridion et Prosperum in uno vo• lumine.' The Catalogue itself is a curiosity; it seems to be made without any bibliographical accuracy, being chiefly a list of goods and chattels, in which the books occur in that light only, as in an appraisement. We think we may safely say, that there is no evidence that this book of Papias' is the work of Papias of Hierapolis; we have no doubt that it was the great Dictionary of the cloister of that day, the work of Papias the Grammarian.

d. As for any imagined confirmation of the notion, that it was the work of the Apostolical Papias, from the words of Trithemius, who says, there is extant Papias' Explanatio Sermonum Domini, in five books;' and adds, that he had not seen any other writings of his—(to say nothing of the difference of title from the imagined 'librum de Verbis Domini')—the note of Fabricius on the place entirely dissipates any such view; he shows that this is Trithemius' usual mode of stating that he found a work of this title recorded as having existed, i.e, in Jerome, and had not met with the names of any others.

We wish that the Editors of the Spicilegium had referred to the original sources of the evidence-if evidence it can be called -for the existence of this work of Papias in the middle ages. It existed in Greek in the time of Jerome, and he did not consider himself qualified, so he says, to translate it. This of itself makes it sufficiently improbable that it was ever translated. A reference to Grabe's Spicilegium, to the Nismes Inventory in Menard, and to Trithemius in the best edition of the Scriptores Ecclesiastici, with Fabricius' notes, would have shown how utterly baseless was the fabric of this vision.

It is a troublesome work to test the truth of stories of this kind; it requires no great wit, but the same kind of perseverance in looking into minute details which is necessary for sifting into the original grounds of any rumour which has been accepted as truth by the world; the responsibility of ascertaining the truth rests on those who promulgate or propagate it. This holds good in a still stronger degree when any one publishes a work as the genuine production of a given writer or age. It is his business to sift the evidence, not that of the public. The first editor is the person who' ought to go through the labour of examination and research necessary for establishing the genuineness of a book. For, once published under a given name as genuine, it naturally is received as such.

With respect to the interpretation of this remarkable fragment of the Apostolic age, we entirely concur in what the Editor justly observes, that it must be understood spiritually. Whether it does or does not, or in whatever degree it does represent any teaching of our Lord's, the teaching is in this instance clearly parabolical. But what is most interesting in this part of the Prolegomena is, that Dom Pitra takes occasion, in noticing that such is the character of the passage, to give us a foretaste of the contents of a curious treatise which is to form a considerable portion of his next volume, the so-called Key of Melito-a key, that is, to the figurative language, and so a guide to the prophetical and spiritual interpretation of Holy Scripture. Melito was Bishop of Sardis in the middle of the second century. He was a copious and a beautiful writer. Eusebius, and from him S. Jerome, give a list of his works; and some fragments of them remain, of which the most notable are the extract from his Apology addressed to the Emperor Antoninus, expostulating under the increased rigour of persecution, and his catalogue of the books of the Old Testament. Now, Eusebius mentions amongst his writings, the Key-ń Kreis: Claris, as S. Jerome calls it, translating the word.' To what this was a Key they do not say, nor is there, we believe, any ancient evidence whatever as to what the subject of the work was, nor do any writers on spiritual interpretation éver refer to it. There are extracts from Melito taken out of Catenas by Grabe, in his Spicilegium, which might very well be supposed to have formed part of a work on spiritual interpretation, being on the ram caught in the thicket, and other circumstances of the sacrifice of Isaac. That a work should have been written

« PreviousContinue »