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Tyrannius Rufinus

Roman priest, writer and theologian

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After study at Rome, where he met Jerome (later a saint and one of the doctors of the Western Church), Rufinus entered a monastery at Aquileia. Jerome often visited the monastery, and the two became close friends.

About 373 Rufinus began to study the writings of Origen, one of the Greek doctors of the church. In the early 390s Rufinus and Jerome became involved in a controversy over Origen's teachings, by this time suspected by orthodox theologians of injecting heretical elements into theology. In 393 both men were charged with Origenist leanings, but Rufinus refused to make formal abjuration of the alleged errors, while Jerome readily did so. The discord between the men continued during the next year, abated by 397, and then flared soon afterward into a bitter quarrel when Rufinus published in Rome a translation of Origen's De principiis (“On First Principles”) and wrote a preface representing Jerome to be an admirer of Origen. Thereafter, Rufinus was subjected to merciless abuse from Jerome. Rufinus' orthodoxy was questioned, and he was obliged to write an Apologia to Pope Anastasius, who had summoned him to Rome.

For the remainder of his life Rufinus devoted himself to literary pursuits, translating numerous biblical commentaries and homilies by Origen, an Apologia for Origen by the learned teacher and martyr Pamphilus, sermons by Saints Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus, and the history of the early church by the scholar Eusebius; none of these works survive in complete texts. Whenever he suspected that works that he was in the process of translating had been altered by unorthodox theologians, Rufinus did not hesitate to shorten or paraphrase the original text. His own writings include a commentary on the Apostles' Creed that exemplified contemporary catechetical instruction and provided the earliest continuous Latin text of the creed.

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With over twenty volumes, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a momentous achievement. Originally gathered by Philip Schaff, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a collection of writings by classical and medieval Christian theologians. The purpose of such a collection is to make their writings readily available. The entire work is divided into two series, each with fourteen volumes. The second series focuses on a variety of important Church Fathers, ranging from the fourth century to the eighth century. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers are comprehensive in scope, and provide keen translations of instructive and illuminating texts from some of the great theologians of the Christian church. These spiritually enlightening texts have aided Christians for over a thousand years, and remain instructive and fruitful even today!

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