A list of the works of Origen (Jerome, Letter 33)

A correspondent kindly sent me some extracts of a English translation of Henri Crouzel’s book on Origen.[1]  On p.37-38 I find an English translation of the list of Origen’s works, as given by Jerome in letter 33.  This is very useful information, and I reproduce it below.

On Genesis 13 books;[3] assorted homilies 2 books; on Exodus scholia; on Leviticus scholia; Stromateis 10 books; on Isaiah 36 books; also on Isaiah scholia; on Hosea about Ephraim 1 book; on Hosea a commentary; on Joel 2 books; on Amos 6 books; on Jonah 1 book; on Micah 3 books; on Nahum 2 books; on Habakkuk 3 books; on Zephaniah 2 books; on Haggai 1 book; on the beginning of Zechariah 2 books; on Malachi 2 books; on Ezekiel 29 books. Scholia on the Psalms from the first to the fifteenth;[4] also a book on each of the Psalms[5] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 24, 29, 38, 40. On Psalm 43, 2 books; on Psalm 44, 3 books; on Psalm 45 1 book; on Psalm 46, 1 book; on Psalm 50, 2 books; on Psalm 51, 1 book; on Psalm 51, 1 book; on Psalm 53, 1 book; on Psalm 57, 1 book; on Psalm 58, 1 book; on Psalm 59, 1 book; on Psalm 62, 1 book; on Psalm 63, 1 book; on Psalm 64, 1 book; on Psalm 65,1 book; on Psalm 68, 1 book; on Psalm 70, 1 book; on Psalm 71, 1 book; on the beginning of Psalm 72, 1 book; on Psalm 103, 2 books. On the Proverbs 3 books; on Ecclesiastes scholia; on the Song of Songs 10 books and two other volumes which he wrote in his youth; on the Lamentations of Jeremiah five volumes. Also the Monobibla;[6] four books On Principles;[7] two books On the Resurrection and two others on the Resurrection which are dialogues; a book on certain problems of the Proverbs; the dialogue against Candidus the Valentinian; a book on martyrdom.

Of the New Testament; on Matthew 25 books; on John 32 books;[8] scholia on certain parts of John, 1 book; on Luke 15 books; on the epistle of the apostle Paul to the Romans 15 books; on the epistle to the Galatians 15 books;[9] on the epistle to the Ephesians 3 books; on the epistle to the Philippians 1 book; on the epistle to the Colossians 2 books;[10] on the first epistle to the Thessalonians 3 books;[11] on the second epistle to the Thessalonians 1 book; on the epistle to Titus 1 book; on the epistle to Philemon 1 book.

Also homilies on the Old Testament: on Genesis 17;[12] on Exodus 8;[13] on Leviticus II;[14] on Numbers 28; on Deuteronomy 13; on Jesus, son of Nave (Joshua) 26; on the book of the Judges 9; on the Passover 8; on the first book of the Kings 4;[15] on Job 22; on the Proverbs 7; on Ecclesiastes 8; on the Song of Songs 2; on Isaiah 32; on Jeremiah 14;[16] on Ezekiel 12. A homily on Psalms 3, 4, 8, 12, 13; 3 on Psalm 15; on the Psalms 16, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27; 5 on Psalm 36; 2 on Psalms 37, 38, 39; 1 on Psalms 49, 51; 2 on Psalm 52; 1 on Psalm 54; 7 on Psalm 67; 2 on Psalm 71; 3 on Psalms 72 and 73; 1 on Psalms 74 and 75; 3 on Psalm 76; 9 on Psalm 77; 4 on Psalm 79; 2 on Psalm 80; 1 on Psalm 81; 3 on Psalm 82; 1 on Psalm 83; 2 on Psalm 84; 1 on Psalms 85, 87, 108, 110; 3 on Psalm 118; 1 on Psalm 120; 2 on Psalms 121, 122. 123,  124; 1 on Psalms 125, 127, 128, 129, 131; 2 on Psalms 132, 133, 134; 4 on Psalm 135; 2 on Psalm 137; 4 on Psalm 138; 2 on Psalm 139; 3 on Psalm 144; 1 on Psalms 145, 146, 147, 149, Scholia on the whole Psalter.

Homilies on the New Testament: on the Gospel of Matthew 25; on the Gospel of Luke 39; on the Acts of the Apostles 17; on the second epistle to the Corinthians 11[17] on the epistle to the Thessalonians 2;[18] on the epistle to the Galatians 7; on the epistle to Titus 1; on the epistle to the Hebrews 18. A homily on peace. A (homily) of exhortation to Pionia. On fasting. On cases of monogamy and trigamy[19] 2 homilies. At Tarsus[20] 2 homilies. Also scholia by Origen. Two books of letters from Firmilian,
Gregory and various persons: the epistles of the synods of Origen’s case are in Book II. Nine books of letters from him to various people; the letter in defence of his works is in Book II.

I imagine the footnotes that Crouzel gives are also useful:

3. Eusebius says 12: HE VI. XXIV, 2.
4. Perhaps it should be to the twenty-fifth: cf. Eusebius’s Iist below.
5. The psalms are numbered according to the Greek, not the Hebrew, system.
6. Etymologically: books (or Bible) only. We have no idea what that meant.
7. The famous Peri Archon or De Principiis.
8. 22 according to Eusebius HE VI, XXIV, 1: but we have Books XXVIII and XXXII.
9. This figure is certainly wrong. The von der Goltz codex only speaks of five volumes
covering the whole of the epistle and notes the verses commented on in each volume. See E. von der Goltz, Eine textkritische Arbeit des zehnten bezw. sechsten Jahrhundert. Texte und Untersuchungen XVII 4. Leipzig, 1899. p. 95. Jerome also mentions five books in Letter 112 to Augustine, §4.
10. In reality 3 books of which the von der Goltz codex notes the verses on which each
comments: see previous note.
11. A long passage of the third book is quoted in Latin translation by Jerome in Letter 119 to Minervius and Alexander, §§9-10 .
12. Sixteen homilies are usually reproduced but a Homily XVII is given in PG 13. 253-262: its text is the same as that of part of the De Benedictionibus Pamarchorum of Rufinus and it is eliminated as unauthentic for that reason, a faker being thought to have made up a homily of Origen out of that passage of Rufinus. I confess myself sceptical about this solution and think the opposite equally plausible: the early Fathers having no idea of literary etiquette – shown in numerous cases, the typical examples being Ambrose of Milan – Rufinus may well have sent to Paulinus of Nob who was asking for a treatise one which began by reproducing a homily by Origen which Rufinus had himself translated. In Letter 72 to Evangelus Jerome mentions a homily on Melchisedec which is no longer extant.
13. We have 13 of them.
14. We have 16 of them.
15. That is of Samuel.
16. These are the 14 that Jerome translated, but we have 22 and also in the Philocalia fragments of homilies 21 and 39.
17.  Perhaps we should read the ‘first epistle’, for we have numerous fragments on it published by Cl. Jenkins in the Journal of Theological Studies IX-X, 1908-1909.  Jerome says in Letter 48 to Pammachius §3 that Origen gave long expositions of this epistle. On the other hand we have no fragments on 2 Corinthians.
18. First or second?
19. These words mean in the primitive Church those who have been married once and
those who have been married three times successively. Three simultaneous marriages would have been illegal in the Greco-Roman world .
20. There is no other evidence of a stay by Origen in Tarsus. From this point on we
reproduce the text as corrected by P. Nautin.

Isn’t it odd that nobody has ever thought it worthwhile to produce an English translation of all of Jerome’s letters?  This awkward, difficult man stands at the foot of all western biblical studies, and is of incredible importance for the history of Christianity in the west.  Yet the majority of his works – written in simple Latin – remain untranslated.

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  1. [1]H. Crouzel, Origen, tr. A.S. Worrall, T&T Clark, 1989.

Augustine to Jerome on the inspiration of scripture

An interesting article at ThinkTheology.co.uk draws together some useful quotations from St. Augustine on the inspiration of scripture.

The quotations come from Augustine’s letter 82, addressed to St. Jerome himself.

For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it.

As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason.

I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine. I do not need to say that I do not suppose you to wish your books to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error … (82.3)

But you will say it is better to believe that the Apostle Paul wrote what was not true, than to believe that the Apostle Peter did what was not right. On this principle, we must say (which far be it from us to say), that it is better to believe that the gospel history is false, than to believe that Christ was denied by Peter; and better to charge the book of Kings with false statements, than believe that so great a prophet, and one so signally chosen by the Lord God as David was, committed adultery in lusting after and taking away the wife of another, and committed such detestable homicide in procuring the death of her husband.

Better far that I should read with certainty and persuasion of its truth the Holy Scripture, placed on the highest (even the heavenly) pinnacle of authority, and should, without questioning the trustworthiness of its statements, learn from it that men have been either commended, or corrected, or condemned, than that, through fear of believing that by men, who, though of most praiseworthy excellence, were no more than men, actions deserving rebuke might sometimes be done, I should admit suspicions affecting the trustworthiness of the whole oracles of God. (82.5)

The translation is the 19th century one, which may be found online here.

I have never collected ancient statements concerned with the inspiration of scripture; doing so would certainly be an interesting and useful exercise.  But I do recall another passage of Augustine on scripture which deserves quotation here.  It is from De genesim ad litteram (On Genesis, literally expounded), book 2, chapter 9:

It is frequently asked what our belief must be about the form and shape of heaven according to Sacred Scripture. Many scholars engaged in lengthy discussions on these matter, but the sacred writers with their deeper wisdom have omitted them. Such subjects are of no profit for those who seek beatitude, and, what is worse, they take up precious time that ought to be given to what is spiritually beneficial. What concern is it of mine whether heaven is a sphere and the earth is enclosed by it and suspended in the middle of the universe, or whether heaven like a disk above the earth covers it on one side?

But the credibility of Scripture is at stake, and as I have indicated more than once, there is danger that a man uninstructed in divine revelation, discovering something in Scripture or hearing from it something that seems to be at variance with the knowledge that he has acquired, may resolutely withhold his assent in other matters where Scripture presents useful admonitions, narratives, or declarations. Hence, I must say briefly that in the matter of the shape of heaven the sacred writers knew the truth, but that the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men these facts that would be of no avail to their salvation.

This translation is as translated by J.H.Taylor, 1982.

All of this is sensible stuff.

We must always remember that there are only two groups of Christians; those whose ultimate authority is the word of scripture, and those who have come to think it is not the ultimate authority, and so, inevitably, give the last word elsewhere — invariably to the world, then to the flesh, and finally to the devil.  It is not enough to mean well; we must think well also.  It isn’t very clever to be so clever that we talk ourselves out of salvation.

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Jerome’s Commentary on Jonah – online in English

I discovered today that there is online a thesis containing an English translation of Jerome’s Commentary on Jonah.  It was made by Timothy Michael Hegedus in 1991.  It’s here.  I am OCR’ing the PDF as I write!

I learned about this via AWOL.  There is a website Open Access Theses and Dissertations.  This is a portal to other online sites of dissertations.  A query on “Eusebius” quickly brought up the item.

Magic!

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Mithras and Jerome

A comment draws my attention to E. H. Henckel, De philtris.[1]  On page 39, there is an interesting statement.

Magnam vim Basilidiani suo Deo ABRASAX (quem Basilides pro summo habebat numine, nomine prorsus fictitio; Sed quod litteris contineret numerum dierum, quos annus habet absolutus: unde & B. Hieronymi suspicio erat, Abraxas esse non alium, quam Persarum Mithram, hoc est, Solem, qui annuo cursu hoc spatium conficit. …

The Basilidians [assigned] the great power to their god ABRAXAS (whom Basilides considered the greatest divinity, under a fictitious name; but because the letters contained the number of days in a complete year: from which also the blessed Jerome suspected that Abraxas was no other than Mithras of the Persians, i.e the sun, which in the course of the year completes this total. …

This is a reference to Jerome’s Commentary on Amos, book 5, ch. 9-10, which may be found amid all the other literary testimonies to Mithras here:

Basilides gives to the omnipotent god the uncouth name of Abraxas, and asserts that according to the Greek letters and the number of the cycle of the year this is comprehended in the sun’s orbit. The name Mithra, which the Gentiles use, gives the same sum with different letters.  (Geden)

Geden’s footnote explains:

I.e. Μειθπας = 40 + 5 + 10 + 9 + 100 + 1 + 200 = 365; Ἀβράξας = 1 + 2 + 100 + 1 + 60 + 1 + 200 = 365.

Numerology attracts a certain kind of mind, and it’s something to be aware of.

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  1. [1]Frankfurt, 1590

A letter of Jerome to Eustochia, on the fall of Rome

I happened to come across the French translation of letters of Jerome online here — the menu on the left hand side divides them by date into several pages — and was struck by one, written in 410, to Eustochia, which mentions the fall of Rome and noble Romans turning up at Bethlehem who have lost everything.

Here’s a quick translation from the French (and why is there no translation into English of all Jerome’s letters?) —

Nothing exists that has no end; and yet the long succession of past ages must in no way be considered as the completion of anything.  Every author will run dry, unless he has amassed in advance the materials from good works, from works that have a claim to have a future, aimed at a sort of eternity and do not foresee a limit in time to their usefulness.  But let us hold on to these elementary truths: everything that is born dies; everything that can reach a peak declines.  And again: there is no work of man which reaches old age.  Who would ever have thought that Rome, that Rome which conquered in every part of the world, would collapse; that she would be at the same time the mother and the tomb of all peoples; that she would be enslaved in her turn, she who counted among her slaves the orient, Egypt and Africa?  Who would have thought that the obscure Bethlehem would see illustrious beggars at its doors, once loaded with every kind of wealth?

Since we cannot help them, let us pity them at least to the bottom of our hearts, and let us mingle our tears with their tears.   Bent under the load of our holy labours, but all the while unable to avoid a profound grief in seeing those who mourn,  and while bemoaning those who weep, we have continued with our commentary on Ezekiel, and we are nearly at the end, and we really want to finish our work on the Holy Scriptures.  It’s not about talking about the projects, but about executing them.  So then, encouraged by your repeated invitations, O Eustochia, virgin of Christ, I return to my interrupted work, and I defer to your wishes in my haste to finish the third volume.  But before starting, I commend myself to your goodwill, as well as the goodwill of those who condescend to read me; asking you to have more regard to my good intentions than my actual powers.  The former are part of the frailty of man, the latter depend on the holy will of God.

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Jerome’s Commentarioli in Psalmos exists in English

An email from Andrew Eastbourne reveals that the Commentarioli does indeed exist in English already:

It looks like this Tractatus / Homily is in a FotC volume (The Homilies of Saint Jerome: 1-59 On the Psalms, translated by M. L. Ewald — “preview” at least in the US at http://books.google.com/books?id=2MBHW1WHAbsC ; in case it’s not available elsewhere, I’m attaching a screen cap) — and from “Quasten” it appears that Morin was basically convincing in arguing for Jerome’s authorship…

The screen grab of the portion we were discussing is here:

Jerome on Ps 1

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Jerome, Letter to Hedibia, complete online

James Snapp Jr. has kindly run the old French translation of Jerome’s Letter to Hedibia (ep. 130) through Google translate, smartened it up a bit, and made it freely available in the public domain.  It’s here.  Many thanks, James!

As machine translators improve, there will be real public benefit in efforts like this.  Yes, we should translate from the original.  But the fact is that vast amounts of stuff exists in French which few anglophones can read, and which won’t get a translation directly.  Particularly for amateurs and enthusiasts, making a translation and placing it online really increases public interest in texts.

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