I Remember Indeed that one of These People, when He was Convicted of Having Falsified this Passage, Answered Me that it was So in the Greek, but that I Had, of Purpose, Changed it in the Latin. I do not Indeed, Treat this as a Serious Accusation Because, Though what they Say is Untrue Yet, Even Supposing that the Words did Stand So in the Greek, and I had Changed them in the Latin, this is Nothing More than I had Said in My Preface that I Should Do. If I had done this with the view of Making an Expression which in the Greek was Calculated to Make Men Stumble Run More Suitably in the Latin, I Should have Been Acting Only According to My Expressed Purpose and Plan. But I Say to My Accusers You Certainly did not Find These Words in the Latin Copies of My Work. Whence Then did it Come into the Papers from which He was Reading? I, the Translator, did not So Write It. Whence Then came the Words which You who have Got no Such Words of Mine Turn into a Ground of Accusation? am I to be Accused on the Ground of Your Forgeries? I Put the Matter in the Plainest Possible Way. There are Four Books of the Work which I Translated; and in These Books Discussions About the Trinity Occur in a Scattered Way, Almost as Much as one in Each Page. Let any Man Read the Whole of These and Say Whether in any Passage of My Translation Such an Opinion Concerning the Trinity Can be Found as that which they Calumniously Represent as Occurring in this Chapter. If Such an Opinion Can be Found, Then Men May Believe that this Chapter Also is Composed in the Sense which they Pretend. But if in the Whole Body of These Books no Such Difference of the Persons of the Trinity Exists Anywhere, Would not a Critic be Mad or Fatuous if He Decided, on the Strength of a Single Paragraph, that a Writer had Given his Adherence to a Heresy which in the Thousand or So Other Paragraphs of his Work He had Combated? but the Circumstances of the Case are by Themselves Sufficient to Shew the Truth to any one who Has his Wits About Him. For if this Man had Really Found the Passage in Question in My Papers, and had Felt a Difficulty in what He Read, He Would of Course have Brought the Documents to Me and have at once Asked for Explanations, Since, as You Well Know, we were Living as Neighbours in Rome. Up to that Time we Often Saw one Another, Greeted one Another as Friends, and Joined Together in Prayer; and Therefore He Would Certainly have Conferred with Me About the Points which Appeared to Him Objectionable; He Would have Asked Me How I had Translated Them, and How they Stood in the Greek. CI am Sure that He Would have Felt that He had Enjoyed a Triumph if He could have Shown that through his Representations I had Been Induced to Correct Anything that I had Said or Written. Or, if He had Been Driven by his Mental Excitement to Expose the Error Publicly Instead of Correcting It, He Certainly Would not have Waited Till I had Left Rome to Attack Me, when He Might have Faced Me There and Put Me to Silence. But He was Deterred by the Consciousness that He was Acting Falsely; and Therefore He did not Bring to Me as their Author the Documents which He was Determined to Incriminate, but Carried them Round to Private Houses, to Ladies, to Monasteries, to Christian Men one by One, Wherever He Might Make Trouble by his Ex Parte Statements. And He did this Just when He was About to Leave Rome, So that He Might not be Arraigned and Made to Give an Account of his Actions. Afterwards, by the Directions, as I am Told, of his Master, He Went About all through Italy, Accusing Me, Stirring up the People, Throwing Confusion into the Churches, Poisoning Even the Minds of the Bishops, and Everywhere Representing My Forbearance as an Acknowledgment that I was in the Wrong. Such are the Arts of the Disciple. Meanwhile the Master, Out in the East, who had Said in his Letter to vigilantius "Through My Labour the Latins Know all that is Good in Origen and are Ignorant of all that is Bad," Set to Work Upon the Very Books which I had Translated, and in his New Translation Inserted all that I had Left Out as Untrustworthy, So that Now, the Contrary of what He had Boasted Has Come to Pass. The Romans by his Labour Know all that is Bad in Origen and are Ignorant of all that is Good. By this Means He Endeavours to Draw not Origen Only but Me Also under the Suspicion of Heresy: and He Goes on Unceasingly Sending Out These Dogs of his to Bark against Me in Every City and Village, and to Attack Me with their Calumnies when I am Quietly Passing on a Journey, and to Attempt Every Speakable and Unspeakable Mischief against Me. What Crime, I Ask You, have I Committed in Doing Exactly what You have Done? if You Call Me Wicked for Following Your Example, what Judgment must You Pronounce Upon Yourself? Jerome, Letter Lxi, C, Passage which Shows that Jerome had Adopted Much the Same Method as Rufinus in Translating Origen. CBut Now I Will Turn the Tables and Put My Accuser to the Question. Tell Me, O Great Master, if There is Anything to Blame in a Writer, is the Blame to be Laid on one who Reads or Translates his Works? Heaven Forbid, He Will Say; Certainly Not; Why do You Try to Circumvent Me by Your Enigmatical Questions? am not I Myself Both a Reader and a Translator of Origen? Read My Translations and See if You Can Find any one of his Peculiar Doctrines in Them; Especially any of those which I Now Mark for Condemnation. When Driven to the Point He Says:
20. I remember indeed that one of these people, when he was convicted of having falsified this passage, answered me that it was so in the Greek, but that I had, of purpose, changed it in the Latin. I do not indeed, treat this as a serious accusation because, though what they say is untrue yet, even supposing that the words did stand so in the Greek, and I had changed them in the Latin, this is nothing more than I had said in my Preface that I should do. If I had done this with the view of making an expression which in the Greek was calculated to make men stumble run more suitably in the Latin, I should have been acting only according to my expressed purpose and plan. But I say to my accusers You certainly did not find these words in the Latin copies of my work. Whence then did it come into the papers from which he was reading? I, the translator, did not so write it. Whence then came the words which you who have got no such words of mine turn into a ground of accusation? Am I to be accused on the ground of your forgeries? I put the matter in the plainest possible way. There are four books of the work which I translated; and in these books discussions about the Trinity occur in a scattered way, almost as much as one in each page. Let any man read the whole of these and say whether in any passage of my translation such an opinion concerning the Trinity can be found as that which they calumniously represent as occurring in this chapter. If such an opinion can be found, then men may believe that this chapter also is composed in the sense which they pretend. But if in the whole body of these books no such difference of the persons of the Trinity exists anywhere, would not a critic be mad or fatuous if he decided, on the strength of a single paragraph, that a writer had given his adherence to a heresy which in the thousand or so other paragraphs of his work he had combated? But the circumstances of the case are by themselves sufficient to shew the truth to any one who has his wits about him. For if this man had really found the passage in question in my papers, and had felt a difficulty in what he read, he would of course have brought the documents to me and have at once asked for explanations, since, as you well know, we were living as neighbours in Rome. Up to that time we often saw one another, greeted one another as friends, and joined together in prayer; and therefore he would certainly have conferred with me about the points which appeared to him objectionable; he would have asked me how I had translated them, and how they stood in the Greek. c21. I am sure that he would have felt that he had enjoyed a triumph if he could have shown that through his representations I had been induced to correct anything that I had said or written. Or, if he had been driven by his mental excitement to expose the error publicly instead of correcting it, he certainly would not have waited till I had left Rome to attack me, when he might have faced me there and put me to silence. But he was deterred by the consciousness that he was acting falsely; and therefore he did not bring to me as their author the documents which he was determined to incriminate, but carried them round to private houses, to ladies, to monasteries, to Christian men one by one, wherever he might make trouble by his ex parte statements. And he did this just when he was about to leave Rome, so that he might not be arraigned and made to give an account of his actions. Afterwards, by the directions, as I am told, of his master, he went about all through Italy, accusing me, stirring up the people, throwing confusion into the churches, poisoning even the minds of the bishops, and everywhere representing my forbearance as an acknowledgment that I was in the wrong. Such are the arts of the disciple. Meanwhile the master, out in the East, who had said in his letter to Vigilantius "Through my labour the Latins know all that is good in Origen and are ignorant of all that is bad," set to work upon the very books which I had translated, and in his new translation inserted all that I had left out as untrustworthy, so that now, the contrary of what he had boasted has come to pass. The Romans by his labour know all that is bad in Origen and are ignorant of all that is good. By this means he endeavours to draw not Origen only but me also under the suspicion of heresy: and he goes on unceasingly sending out these dogs of his to bark against me in every city and village, and to attack me with their calumnies when I am quietly passing on a journey, and to attempt every speakable and unspeakable mischief against me. What crime, I ask you, have I committed in doing exactly what you have done? If you call me wicked for following your example, what judgment must you pronounce upon yourself?

Jerome, Letter lxi, c, 2; a passage which shows that Jerome had adopted much the same method as Rufinus in translating Origen. c22. But now I will turn the tables and put my accuser to the question. Tell me, O great master, if there is anything to blame in a writer, is the blame to be laid on one who reads or translates his works? Heaven forbid, he will say; certainly not; why do you try to circumvent me by your enigmatical questions? Am not I myself both a reader and a translator of Origen? Read my translations and see if you can find any one of his peculiar doctrines in them; especially any of those which I now mark for condemnation. When driven to the point he says:"If you wish thoroughly to see how abhorent the very suggestion of such doctrines has always been to me, read my Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, and you will see from what I have written there what an opinion I formed of him from reading and translating his works." [2858]

I ask, can we accept this man as a great and grave teacher, who in one of his works praises Origen and in another condemns him? who in his Introductions calls him a master second only to the Apostles, but now calls him a heretic? What heretic, I ask, was ever called a master of the churches? "It is true, he replies, I was wrong about this but why do you go on bringing up this unfortunate Preface [2859] against me? Read my Commentaries, and especially those which I have designated." Is there any one who will think this satisfactory? He has composed a great many books, in almost all of which he trumpets forth the praises of Origen to the skies: these books through all these years have been read and are being read by all men: many of these readers after accepting his opinions have left this world and gone into the presence of the Lord. They hold the opinion about Origen which they had learnt from the statements of this man, and they departed in hope that, according to this man's assurance, they would find him there as a master second only to the Apostles; but if we are to trust his present writings, they have found him in a state of condemnation, among the impious heretics and the heathen. Is this man now to turn round from his former contention, and to say, "For some thirty years I have been, in my studies and in my writings, praising Origen as equal to the Apostles, but now I pronounce him a heretic?" How is this? Has he come upon some new books of his which he had never read before? Not at all. It is from these same sayings of Origen that he formerly called him an Apostle and now calls him a heretic. But it is impossible that this should really have been so. For either he was right in his former praises, and his judgment has since been perverted by some kind of extreme ill feeling, and in that case no attention is to be paid to him; or else his former praises were mistaken, and he is now condemning himself, and in that case what judgment does he think others will pass upon him, when, according to the words of the Apostle, [2860] he passes condemnation on himself.

22 (a). But, "Surely," he says, "this judgment is done away with since I have repented." Not so fast! We all err, it is true, and especially in word; and we all may repent of our errors. But can a man do penance, and accuse others, and judge and condemn them, all in the same moment? That would be as if a harlot who had abstained from her harlotry for a night or two, should feel called upon to begin writing laws in favour of chastity, and not only to enact these laws, but to proceed to throw down the monuments of all the women who have died, because she suspected that they had led lives like her own. You do penance for having formerly been a heretic, and you do right. But what has that to do with me who never was a heretic at all? You are right in doing penance for your error: but the true way of doing penance is, not by accusing others but by crying for mercy, not by condemning but by weeping. For what sincerity can there be in penitence when the penitent makes a decree of indulgence for himself? He who repents of what he has spoken ill does not cure his wound by speaking ill again, but by keeping silence. For thus it is written: [2861] "Thou hast sinned, be at peace." But now you first bring yourself in a criminal, then you absolve yourself from your crime, and forthwith change yourself from a criminal into a judge. This may be no trouble to you who thus mock at us, but it is a trouble to us if we suffer ourselves to be mocked by you.


[2858] The words are not quoted literally from Jerome's letter to Pammachius and Oceanus (Ep. 84. c. 2) the passage referred to; but they give the sense fairly well. See also the letter to Vigilantius (lxi. c. 2).

[2859] Proefati unculam. That is, the Preface to Origen's Song of Songs, in which he says that Origen has not only surpassed every one else, but also in this work has surpassed himself.

[2860] Perhaps from 1 Corinthians 11:29, or Romans 14:23

[2861] Possibly a kind of paraphrase of our Lord's words to the woman taken in adultery. John 8:11

18 this is the chief
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