Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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by M. Stuart. And. 1836. S.—H. A. Schott, Isagoge Historico-Critica in Libros Nov. Feed. Sacr. Jen. 1830. 8.

^ 282. It would be impious sacrilege to speak of the writings just named only as a
part of the general mass of literary productions. It must not be forgotten that they
constitute, taken in connection with the sacred books of the Jews, a series of authen-
tic communications from God to man; they are, if the expression can be allowed, the
second volume oi divine inspiration. There is irresistible evidence, that they are from
the pens of men who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and contain the
infallible rule of faith and practice for us as the intelligent moral subjects of the Great
Ruler of the universe. By the principles of these books we are each to be tried at the
day of final judgment, and each to receive his eternal retribution. It is only by giving
earnest heed to these books, that we can cleanse our ways from sin, or obtain part in
the hfe and immortality which they and they only have brought to light. " The law
of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." — Yet these writings should be noticed as
included among those mental productions of antiquity, which are presented to us in the
language of the Greeks, especially as the literary importance and influence of the New
Testament has been too generally overlooked. It is often interesting to the scholar to
consider how the writings of a distinguished individual, a Homer, a Plato, an Aristotle
or a Bacon, have given a cast to the general mind through distant ages; how a single
production has affected the thoughts and feelings, and modified the whole character, of
many successive generations. Viewed in this hght, no work of human genius suggests
so interesting a train of reflections as the inspired writings of Christianity. No work or
class of works has operated so powerfully or so extensively on the human mind, none
has effected so much in arousing the latent energies of intellect, in preparing it to put
forth splendid and successful efforts in the various departments of science and Uterature.
Cf. P. IV. % 83.

^ 283. The writings which next fall under our notice, following the order of time.^
are those which are ascribed to the Apostolical Fathers. Barnabas, Clemens Roma-
nus. Hermas, Polycarp and Ignatius, are included under this denomination. Bar-
nabas was a native of the island of Cyprus, was educated at Jerusalem, in the school of
Gamaliel, and was for some time a companion of the Apostle Paul. The letter extant
under his name is chiefly an argument addressed to the Jews, showing that the Mosaic


law had been abolished by Christ, and a purely spiritual service substituted instead ot

their ceremonial rites and sacrifices. I'he work left by Hennas, is styled Fastor or

Shepherd, consisting of three Parts; viz. 12 commands, 12 similitudes, and 4 visions.
The commands are so many practical positions or principles laid down and illustrated.
The visions and similitudes are fanciful and puerile in the extreme, and little worthy of

attention except as they indicate the great sincerity and piety of the author. ^The only

genuine remains of Clemtnt of Rome are two epistles to the Corinthians, and concerning
the second of these there is reason to doubt. They are altogether of a practical cha-
racter, exhorting the Corinthians to cultivate the Christian virtues and to manifest in
their deportment the superior excellence of the Christian laith. Clement enjoyed dis-
tinguished reputation, and on this account several works by later writers were ascribed
to him in order to give them currency ; as the Apostolic Canovs, the Apostolic Consti-
tutions, the Eecognltions, and the Clementines. These works, although spurious,
afford much useful and curious information respecting the state of Christian society,

opinions, and views in the period to which they belong. Polycarp and Ignatius are

both remembered as venerable and heroic martyrs. The former at the age of more
than eighty years died at Smyrna, bound to the stake ; the latter, at about the same

age, was devoured by lions in the Amphitheatre at Rome. The only fragment of

Polycarp is an epistle to the Philippians, applauding their faith, enforcing the doctrine
of the resurrection, giving precepts to the different classes in the church, and warning

its members against errors in belief and sins in practice. A large number of epistles

are extant ascribed to Ignatius. Only seve?i of them are considered as genuine; one
of them was a letter of Christian friendship to Polycarp, and the others were pastoral
addresses to different churches, written after he commenced his fatal journey from

Antioch to Rome, a prisoner of the emperor Trajan. These various remains of the

Apostohcal Fathers were held in high estimation by the primitive Christians. Some
of them were occasionally read whh the Holy Scriptures in the religious assemblies on
the Sabbath.

The best edilicn of the writings of the Apostolical Fathers is that of /. B. Coteleriw (as emeoded by J. CUncus) Gr. k Lat
Amst. 1724. 2 vols, fol.— An English translation was published by Jlbp. Wake. Reprinted, Lond. 1817. — An account of their lives
may be found In Cave't History of the Primitive Fathers. Lond. 1697. fol. — See also Moaheim, translated by Murdoch, (New Ha-
Ten, 1832. 3 vols. 8.) IsL vol. p. 89. On the Apostolic Constitutions, cf. CoUman, ChrisL Antiquities, p. 36, 476.

% 284. In the 2d and 3d centuries, as was perfectly natural, there appeared a num-
ber of spurious productions, which claimed to be from the Apostohcal Fathers and
others, who had been active in the introduction and first promulgation of Christianity.
Many of these were undoubtedly wrhten with the best intentions, and perhaps were
understood by their first readers as asserting a fictitious origin not expected to be be-
lieved or allowed, according to a law which has existed in the republic of letters from

time immiemorial. Among the fabrications alluded to we must rank the Apostles'

Creed, a beautiful little summary of doctrine, which is still regarded whh great respect.
To the same class belong the books styled the Eevelatio7i and the Freachi7ig of St.
Peter, the latter of which contains, together with some interesting matter, many ridicu-
lous statements and anecdotes. A still bolder fiction is found in the two Edessan
Epistles, which purport to be a letter from Abgarus, king of Edessa, sent to Jesus
Christ, and the answer returned to him by the Savior. The story is briefly, that
Abgarus in a dangerous sickness wrote to implore relief, and that Christ sent back a
gracious reply, accompanied with a present of his picture, which was miraculously im-
pressed upon a handkerchief by Christ himself. Besides pieces of this description,
there were several professed biographies of the Savior, crowded with the most puerile
superstitions and absurdities, but in some instances exhibiting the marks of a hvely and

truly poetical imagination. The collection of writings termed the Apocryphal Tes-

tament is composed of such productions as have just been mentioned ; productions per-
fectly consonant to the circumstances of the age and the character of the times ; when
the Savior and the Apostles had been so long departed, that their lives and actions
might be embellished by exaggeration and fiction, and the reading class among Chris-
tians had become so numerous, and the general curiosity so awakened, as to create an
increased demand for writings relating to their common faith and the history of their
Founder and his companions.

Many of these works have perished. Those extant were collected and published by /. .4. Fabricius, in his Codex Jlpocryphvi
Kovi Testamenti. Hamb. 1719-43. 2 vols. 8.— An apocryphal book, purporting to be the .Sct3 o the Apostle Thomas, was lately
discovered at Paris, and was published by Jo. Car. Thilo, (Thomse Apostoli Ada). Lpz. 1822. S.—ThUo commenced an ed. of the
Ap'iCT. N. Tat. Lips. I S32. 8. learned and celebrated.— An English translation of most of these productions was published, entitled
Thi Apocryphal New Ttstamait, &c. Lond. 1820. 8.— Cf. Borne, before cited, vol. i. Appendix No. V.

^ 285. The works, which have thus far been noticed, proceeded chiefly from men
comparatively illiterate. But in the 2d century, and still more in the 3d, Christiana
could rank among their advocates and writers many distinguished scholars and philoso •
phers, particularly of the Greeks. Very early, however, arose two opposite opinion^
respecting the importance of human attainments. A considerable class of Christians
utterly disapproved of the study of science and philosophy, as useless and inconsistent


with the design of Christianity. Another class warmly advocated such study as per
fectly proper and highly useful, especially to those who aspired to be public teachers
of rehgion. The latter opinion gradually gained the ascendancy, and the sciences,
which had been taught in the pagan schools, were at length to a considerable extent
introduced into the Christian semniaries. (Cf. P. IV. '^ S3.) But Philosophy constituted
the principal study thus derived, and nearly all the Christian writers, wlio remain to
be noticed in the glance we are now taking, will come under the general name of phi-
losophers. None of them wrote treatises expressly philosophical ; but many of them
were philosophers by profession before they were converted to Christianity, and after-
wards continued the same pursuits, while all of them studied more or less the pagan
systems, and employed the doctrines of philosophy in whatever they wrote in support
of their own religion. — The Fathers down to (Jrigen have been termed Platonizing,
because they generally preferred the system of Plato and adopted many of his views.
Justin Martyr and Irenaeus were the most distinguished of this class. Origen and most
of the early Greek Fathers after him have been termed Eclectic, because they em-
braced the system of Ammonius, to which we have already alluded (^ 181). Some of
the Fathers were partial to the doctrines of other sects, particularly the Stoics ; but the
Eclectic philosophy became altogether the most popular among Christians as well as
pagans. The views of the Fathers were, however, in many points pecuhar to them-
selves, and formed what might be called a Christian philosophy (cf § 183, 466). The
productions of the writers whose philosophical studies and partialities have thus been
hinted at, may be classed under the several heads of Biblical, Controversial, Doctrinal,
Historical, and Homiletical writings.

^ 286. The early Christians attached great importance to Biblical studies. The
writings of both the Old and New Testament they endeavored not only to explain to
their children and to those who attended their public assemblies, but also to circulate
among all the heathen around them. For this purpose, versions were very early made
into several of the diH'erent languages then spoken. Much care and labor were ex-
pended also in collecting various copies, in correcting the versions in use, and publish-
ing more perfect editions. iMany of the Fathers engaged in these efforts with ardor,
but the palm of pre-eminent zeal and diligence belongs to Origen. His Polyglott,
usually called the Hexapla, has been considered one of the most astonishing monu-
ments of philological industry, and the loss of it is still deeply lamented by every sacred

interpreter. Harmonies of the Gospils were likewise among the biblical compositions

of the age. That of Tatian, about the middle of the 2d century, is the earliest on

record ; it was called To ha Toraapiov or 'Mo^'ortaaapov. But the most important and

numerous productions of this general class were Cummentnries. In the 2d century,
Theophilus of Antioch wrote on the Gospels; Clemens Alexandrinus, on the Epistles;
Justin ]Martyr, on the Apocalypse. In the 3d century we find among the commen-
tators, Hippolytus, Gregory "^Phaumaturgus, and Origen, the most prolific and most
distinguished of them all. These authors understood but very imperfectly the true
principles of interpretation. Justin Martyr adopted the Jewish idea of a double mean-
ing belonging to one and the same passage, and made a constant endeavor in his expo-
sitions to ascertain a hiddeii and remote sense in addition to the literal. The same
princi{:>le was embraced by Origen, who incorporated it with notions borrowed from
the allegorizing Platonists, and spread it out into a system, which soon led its founder
and his followers into endless labyrinths of mystical extravagance.

Respecting the early versions, consult Home's Introd. P. i. ch. v. sect. 1. \i, i.— Gerard's Institutes of Bibl. Crit. Bost 1S2S. 8.
eh. iv. § 4, 5, 6.— An account of Origen's Hexapla is given by Home, vol. ii. p. 171. Cf. Stuart, Dissertations on studying the
Orig. Languages of the Bible, Note C. — A particular description of the six Greek versions in the Hexapla of Origen is given by
Epiphartius, who lived in the latter part of the 4th century, in his Treatise on IVcights and Measures ; a treatise which w as writ-
ten for the purpose of elucidating the Scriptures, and which isslill useful. II is given in D. Petavius, S. E piphani i Opera,

Lat. Par. 1622. 2 vols. fol. repr. Col. 1682. 2 vols. fol. On the early harmonists and commentators. Home, ii. p. 479, 741.— Oq

the Christian poetical writings, cf. Warton, Hist. Eng. Poetrj', iii. 193.— Poetae Christian! Grsci. Par. 1609. 8. Cf. Scholl, His-
toire Abregee de la Litterature Grecque Sacree. Par. 1832. S.

§ 287. The Controversial writings of the early Greek Christians constitute an inte-
resting part of their literature. They consist of books designed either for heretics, or

for Jews, or for pagan Gentiles. The errors of the various classes of heretics and

schismatics were opposed by a great number of writers whose books are lost ; but the
five books of Irenasus, in which he examines and refutes the doctrines of the whole
body of them, are still extant, partly in the original Greek and partly in a Latin version.
— The chief work from the Greek Fathers in controversy with the Jews, which now
remains, is the curious dialogue of Justin Martyr whh Trypho Judoeus; although Sera-
pion of Antioch and other Christian doctors wrote particular treatises against them. —
The polemical writings intended for Gentile readers were chiefly apologies for Chris-
tians, or exhortations to pagans ; great numbers of which were composed before the
time of Constantine. The most distinguished authors were Justin Martyr, Tatian,
Clemens Alexandrinus, Athenagoras, and Theophilus of Antioch. But the Fathers
were also called upon to answer particular attacks upon Christianity made by heathen
iiuthors* Origen puulished a triumphant reply to Celsus, Methodius to Porphyry, and


Eusebius to Hierocles and Philostratus (cf. ^ 255 b. 2). In these compositions they

exposed the unsatisfactory and contradictory doctrines of the Greek philosophy, de-
monstrated the vastly superior nature of the Christian rehgion, and defended its dis-
ciples from the numerous aspersions cast upon their character ; thus they contributed
much to promote that mighty change which ultimately took place in the complete ex-
tirpation of the old mythology and the establishment of the Christian faith.

The best editions of Irenaeus are those of/. E. Grabe, Oi(. 1702. fol. and Ren. Masiutt, 2d ed. Par. 1734. fol.— Of the dia^
lofue of J u s t i n, a good edition is that of S. Jtbb, Lond. 1719. 8. with his apologies. It is given in the ediliou of his works by P.
Maranus, (Maran). Par. 1742. fo!.— Also iu F. Oberth.Ur, Opera Patrum Grxc. ("Gr. & Lst.) Wilrtzb. 1777-94. 20 vols. 8. This it
called poor by Prof. Sean, having often a " text corrupt and translation false ; yet it is " cheap, of very good type, and of conve-
nient form."— Ta lia n, by n'orth, Gt. k Lit Oxf. 1700. 8.— A th enagoras, by £. OecAatre, Gr. & Lai. Cxf 1706. 8.— CI »•
mens Alexandrinu3,by/. Potter, Gr. t Lat Lond. 1715. 2 vols, fol.— Th e o p h i 1 u s, by /. CAr. fVolf, Gr. & Lat. Hamb
1724. 8.— We may also refer to the work entitled Sanctorum Patrum Opera polemica de veritatis Rel. Christ, contra Gentiles at
Judaeos. W.trtzb. 1778. 4 vols. 8.— Cf. Murdoch's Mosheim, vol. i. 144.

English Translations. — "There is no English translation of Irenaeus." A. Clarke (as cited 5 293), vol. i. p. 108.— Justin"
The two .ipnlogies for Christians, by W. Reeves. Lond. 2d ed. 1716. 2 vols.— The Dialogue with Trypho, by H. Brounie. Lond.

1755. 2 vols. 8. The Exhortation to the Gentiles, by T. Moses. Lond. 1757. 8.— A t h e n a g o r a s, by Z). Humphries. Loud.

1714. 8. including both the Apology for the Christians, and the treatise on the resurrection. — C 1 e m e n s Alex. "No English
translation has yet been given of any part of St. Clement's works, which is much to be regretted. A translation of his Ptdagoiue,
would be particularly useful." CVoris, as above cited, p. 127.— Th eo p h i lus. 'By J. Betty. Oxf. 1722. 8.— Of r igen's eigh:
books against Celsus, there is a good French translation by Biiuhereau. Amst. 1700. 4.

§ 288. The chief Historical writer among the Christian authors, who come under
notice in the period before us, was Eusebius. He hved in the time of Constantine,
was one of the most accomplished scholars of the age, and left enduring monuments
of his learning and dihgenoe in different departments of study. His Universal Historv
has already been mentioned as falling within the circle of classical literature {% 239).
It was written, however, for the purpose of confirming the historical books of the Old
Testament, and is a very valuable help and guide in the perplexing labyrinths of an-
cient chronology. The Greek text is lost ; but we possess a Latin translation by
Jerome, and also an Armenian version (cf. § 236) as old as the 5th century. His Eccle-
siastical History, 'EKK'Xrjaiaa-iicri 'luropia, is justly ranked among the most valuable
remains of Christian antiquity, being our principal source of information respecting the
affairs of the church in the first centuries. It consists of 10 books., and extends from
the origin of Christianity to A. D. 324. His Life of Constantine, in 4 books, although
abounding with eulogium, is yet of much value. One of his greatest works is tliat
entitled Et'ayytXKc/lfj d-noki'^iijjs TrpotrapacrKEvij , Prepparatio Evangelica, in 15 books. Its
object is to show, how vastly superior the Gospel is to all the pagan systems. The
work styled F.vaYye\i>cfi drroSet^ig, Demonstratio Eva7igelica, is also celebrated, as con-
taining the proofs of the credibility and authority of the Christian religion. It con-
sisted of 20 books, of which only 10 are preserved. Both these works might perhaps
be ranked among the controversial writings, to which we have alluded.

The best edition of the Universal History is that of Mai and Zohrab, Mil. ISIS. 2 vols. 4. containing the Greek fragments, and a
Latin translation from the Armenian version.— The Armenian version, with a new Latin transl. was published by /. B. Aucher
Ven. 1818. 2 vols. 4— G. B Nieiuhr has a memoir on the Armen. version, in his Kleine Historische und Philologische Schriften,
- J. ScaKgcr attempted to reconstruct the Greek text, and published the collected fragments in his Thesaurus Temporum. (2d ed.)

Lugd. Bat. 1658. fol. The Ecclesiastical History; best, F. A. Heinrichen. Lpz. 1827. 3 vols. 8. with copious notes.— .Rearfing',

Gr. & Lai. Camb. 1S20. 3 vols. fol. Containing also the other early Greek eccles. historians, Socrates, Sozowen, Theodoret, fyc. —
A French translation is given in Cousin. Histoires de I'Eglise, ecrites par Eusebe, Socrale, Sozoraene, et Theodoret. Par. 1675.
4 vols. 4.— An English translation was published, Lond, 1683. fol.— A recent one, entitled 77!£ Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius
Pamphilus, translated from the original by the Rev. C. F. Cruse, A. M. Assistant Professor in the University of Pennsylvania, wa«

published at Philadelphia, 1S33. 8. Life cf Constantine ; best, Heinrichen. Lpz. 1830. 8. Prsep. Evangelica; Vige^Tjis, Gr.

i. Lat. Par. 162S. fol. Reprinted, Lpz. 1688. Demons. Evangel. ; Figerus, Gr. & Ut. Par. 162S. Reprinted, Lpz. 16S8.— See

SchSll, Hist. Litt. Gr. vii. 8.

§ 289. A few Doctrinal treatises made their appearance as early as the 2d century ;
but there seems to have been nothing like an attempt at systematic theology until the
third, when Origen published his /o?ir hooks of Elements or frst principles, flepl 'Apxuv,
illustrating the doctrines of the gospel after a philosophical manner. Other works of
a similar character soon followed, and essays and discussions altogether too numerous
to be m_entioned, on various points of faith and practice, of theology and of morals,
were given to the church.

The name of Athanasius must not here be passed in silence ; he has justly been
pronounced one of the greatest men of whom the church can boast. " His life, his
struggles, his genius," says an elegant French writer {Villemain), "did more for the
advancernent of Christianity than all the power of Constantine. Trained, as it were,
in the midst of rehgious dissensions, renowned while young in the Council of Nice,
chosen patriarch of Alexandria by the suffrage of an enthusiastic people, exiled by
Constantine, proscribed by Constance, persecuted by Julian, threatened with death
under Valens, he ended his life in the very patriarchate from which he had repeatedly
been driven. I'he writings of such a man, it is easily seen, are not the writings of a
mere theologian. If he often contended on points of deep obscurity, his aim was lo
establish that religious unity of which he well understood the value and the power.'
6y 2z'Z


The chief theme of his doctrinal discussions was the subject of the Trinity, on which
he most vigorously opposed the notions of Arius. The celebrated compend or formula
of Christian doctrine long ascribed to him, and still usually called the Atha?ms2an
Creed, " is now generally allowed not to have been his, but to have been deduced from
his works."

The Greek text of 0ri?en'R First Principlet is chiefly lost; we have a Latin version made by Rufinus in the 4th century, first
ublished separately by E. R Rtdepejining, Lips. 1837. 8, with notes.— ri g e n's fVorliJ, by (the Benedictines Charles ^ Charles
Vincent) De la Rue. Par. 1733-59. 4 vols. fol. Reprinted, by OftcrfAWr. WUrtzb. 1780. 15 vols. 8. This has been ranked as the
best edition. A new ed. containini; the whole of De la Roe. and said to be better, is now in progress, by C. H. E. Tjmmwtzsck.

Berl. 1S3I-39. vol. i.-vii. 12. The best ed. of the works of A thanasius is that o( Bern, de Monte-Falconis {Montfatuon),

Gr. & Lat. Par. 1698. 2 vols. fol. — Some pieces (ofuscula), not contained in this, are given in the 2d vol. of Montfaucon-s Biblioth.
Fatr. Grac. Par. 1706.— Cf. Harks. Int. in Hist. Ling. Gr. vol. iii. p. 225.— yakmain, as cited § 292. 1.—/. A. Mohler. Alhanasius

&c Mainz, 1S27. 2 vols. 8. "The writings attributed to Athanasius may be divided into three classes, genuine, dubious, and

supposititious ; amounting in the whole to upwards of one hundred distinct treatises." Clarke, as cited § 293.

§ 290. The last class of writings mentioned, as included in the Christian literature
of these early ages, was the Homiletical. The Homily of the primitive church held nearly
that place in the public worship, which the sermon does at the present day ; it was the
address of the rehgious teacher to the audience assembled, and intended for their in-
struction and improvement. But it differed widely in its character from the modern
sermon. It was neither a labored discussion of a single subject, nor a critical inter-
pretation and illustration of a single text; but a rapid exposition of a whole context, or
a full chapter, or even a larger portion of scripture ; combining in a manner quite irre-
gular and accidental, the most various matter, ddctrinal, philosophical, critical, and

practical. The eloquence of the pulpit, contemplated in its origin, progress, and

effects, presents truly one of the most interesting topics of study in the whole history
of the human mind. The subject, however, comes before us in this place only so far
•jis relates to the remains of sacred oratory which exist in the language of the Greeks.
These, it is much to be regretted, are comparatively few until after the time of Con-

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 118 of 153)