Leontius of Byzantium, Against the frauds of the Apollinarists – now online in English

The 6th century Chalcedonian theologian, Leontius of Byzantium, is most likely the author of a compilation of texts by the 4th century heretic, Apollinarius of Laodicea, entitled “Against the frauds of the Apollinarists”.  What was happening was that Monophysite polemicists were using these texts for anti-Chalcedon arguments.  The texts themselves were circulating under the names of respectable authors such as Pope Julius I or Gregory Nazianzen.  Leontius tracked down the original comments by Apollinarius and his disciples, and compiled a set of them, so that their ideas could be recognised.

Bryson Sewell has kindly translated it into English for us, from the text printed by Angelo Mai and reprinted in the Patrologia Graeca.

I have uploaded the translation to the Additional Fathers site here.  In addition I have uploaded a PDF of the translation (plus the word .doc file) to Archive.org here.

This translation is public domain.  Do whatever you like with it, personal, educational or commercial.

If you would like to help me commission further translations, why not use the donate button on the right, or purchase a copy of my CD from here.


Who translated Leontius of Byzantium, Adversus fraudes Apollinistarum, into Latin?

The project to translate Leontius of Byzantium, Adversus fraudes Apollinistarum, goes on.  We’re using the text in Migne, Patrologia Graeca 86, and making reference to the parallel Latin translation.  But who wrote the latter?  And when?

According to the table of contents in PG 86, the text is a reprint of an edition by Angelo Mai,[1] while the Latin is by “Canisius”.

A search for Canisius gives us a certain Petrus Canisius, whose dates are 1521-1597.  There is a Catholic Encyclopedia article about him here. He was a Dutchman named Pieter Kanis, a Jesuit, and was made a saint in the 20th century.  The Wikipedia article relates a charming anecdote about him, that:

If you treat them right, the Germans will give you everything. Many err in matters of faith, but without arrogance. They err the German way, mostly honest, a bit simple-minded, but very open for everything Lutheran. An honest explanation of the faith would be much more effective than a polemical attack against reformers. — Burg, Kontroverslexikon, Essen, 1903, p.224.

Being aware of the likely accuracy of a Wikipedia quotation and reference, I felt obliged to verify it.  I see the 1905 edition of Burg starts an article on Canisius on p.224, but I am unable to see this ‘quote’ in that article.  Let us hope that it is true, and that he did say this.

In Smith’s elderly Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, (1846) vol. 2, p.756, we find mention of our work, and Canisius, in a list of works by a certain Leontius of Byzantium:

3. Liber adversus eos qui proferunt nobis quaedam Apollinarii, falso inscripta nomine Sanctorum Patrum seu Adversus Fraudes Apollinistarum.  4.  Solutiones Argumentatiorum Severi. 5.  Dubitationes hypotheticae et definientes contra eos qui negant in Christo post Unionem duas veras Naturas.  These pieces have not been printed in the original, but Latin versions from the papers of Franciscus Turrianus were published by Canisius in his Lectiones Antiquae, vol. iv (or vol. i, p.525 &c., ed. Basagne), and were reprinted in the Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. ix. fol. Lyon, 1677, and in the above-mentioned volume of the Bibliotheca of Galland.

But a search for Lectiones Antiquae reveals a Henricus Canisius, of Ingolstadt, in a copy of vol. 4 dated 1603 here, which contains our work (annoyingly, the PDF download is monochrome and unreadable, while the online version is colour).  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia he was the nephew of Petrus Canisius, and died in 1610.

In the 1603 edition, the start of Adversus fraudes Apollinistarum may be found here, which the table of contents lists as f.106.  It states, roundly:

Leontii Byzantini.  Adversus eos qui proferunt nobis quaedam Apollinarii, falso inscripta nomine sanctorum patrum. Nunc primum ex ms. in lucem editus. Interprete Francisco Turriano Societatis Iesu.

Leontius of Byzantium.  Against those who profer to us certain works of Apollinarius, falsely inscribed with the name of the holy fathers.  Now edited for the first time from a manuscript.  Translated by Franciscus Turrianus, S.J.

I can find nothing to explain why Turrianus’ translation was used, but he is clearly named as the translator.  There is plenty, though, about Lutheranism, which explains the context of these publications.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Turrianus, or Francesco Torres (d.1584), was yet another Jesuit, who translated masses of Greek texts, not without accusations of lack of critical judgement, nor of mistranslation to do down protestants.

So Turrianus is our translator.  It would be nice to know something about him, and what manuscript he worked from!

  1. [1]Angelo Mai, Spicilegium Romanum, vol. 10, 1839, part 2, p.128-145. 

From my diary

I’ve asked a colleague to translate for us Leontius of Byzantium, Adversus fraudes Apollinistarum (Against the forgeries of the Apollinarists) (CPG 6817, PG 86, col. 1948-1976).  This is fourteen and a half columns of Migne, and may well be interesting.  The circulation of banned works under other names was an inevitable consequence of the intolerance in the 5th century, and it will be very interesting to see what Leontius uses by way of criteria for identifying these things.

I’m preparing for my trip to Rome.  I’ve made a list of Mithraic monuments that I hope to photograph.  It looks as if I may be able to go to Ostia Antica as well!

On a less pleasant note, I’ve had to add additional security code to the Mithras site.  The incessant attempts to hack my site show up in the log, and are sobering to see.

Rather foolishly – for I don’t enjoy reviewing books – I have agreed to review Tony Burke’s, Ancient gospel or modern forgery, the volume of papers from the “Secret Mark” conference.  Wipf and Stock have started to send me stuff. 

It will be interesting to see if any substantive reply has emerged to Stephen C. Carlson’s crushing demolition of the book.  Carlson suggested that the book was a scholarly hoax rather than a forgery; a distinction of real importance, but not always noted by either his supporters or opponents.