« Caesarius, bishop of Arles Caesarius, friend of Chrysostom Cainites »

Caesarius, friend of Chrysostom

Caesarius (7). Among the works attributed to Chrysostom is a treatise entitled ad Caesarium Monachum Epistola contra Apollinaristas.We only possess it in a Latin translation, though a few fragments of the Greek original are found in Anastasius and John Damascene and elsewhere. This tract, the literary history of which is very curious, is of disputed authenticity. If it is genuine, Caesarius had embraced a religious life from his childhood and become a monk; his piety had secured Chrysostom's affection, and at one time he had lived with him. Meeting with some Apollinarists, he purchased a book by Apollinarius which led him eagerly to embrace those views. The intelligence caused great grief to Chrysostom, then in exile at Cucusus, who sent him this letter to refute the Apollinarian heresy. It contains a celebrated passage illlustrating the doctrine of the two distinct natures in the one person of Jesus Christ by reference to the holy Eucharist, in which he speaks of the nature of bread as remaining in that which by the sanctifying grace of God is freed from the appellation of bread and thought worthy to be called the body of the Lord. This passage was adduced in controversy about the year 1548 by Peter Martyr, who deposited a transcript of it in archbp. Cranmer's library. After Cranmer's death this document was lost, and Martyr was accused of having forged it (Perron, de l’Euchar. 381–3). His reputation was cleared by the rediscovery by Emeric Bigot, in a Florentine library, of doubtless the very MS. which Martyr, himself a Florentine, had used. Bigot in 1680 printed the epistle with Palladius's Life of Chrysostom. Previous to publication, through the influence of two censors of the Sorbonne, Louis XIV. ordered the leaves containing the letter to be cancelled. For an account of the mutilation see Mendham's Index of Pope Gregory XVI. xxxii.–xxxiv. But Bigot having made known his discovery to literary friends, Allix (preface to Anastasius in Hexaemeron, 1682) protested against the suppression, and the cancelled leaves were printed by le Moyne, Varia Sacra, 1685, by Wake, 1686, and by Basnage, 1687. The Jesuit Harduin published the epistle in 1689, accepting it as Chrysostom's, and vindicating the consistency of its doctrine with that of his church. It is accepted as genuine by Tillemont and Du Pin. The genuineness was first assailed by Le Quien (1712) in the preface to his edition of John of Damascus, and his arguments were adopted and enlarged by Montfaucon. Maffei found a Greek fragment also at Florence, professing to be from Chrysostom, the first sentence of which is identical with one in this letter, but proceeding to illustrate its doctrine by two similes not found in the Latin. The extract was printed by Basnage in Canisius's Lectiones Antiquae (Antwerp, 1725), pp. 283–287. The second paragraph may be taken from a different work, but the MS. gives no indication of a change of author. Perhaps the Latin does not represent the whole of the letter. Against the genuineness it is urged that Caesarius is not mentioned elsewhere by Chrysostom, though the letter implies that they had been intimate from youth; that the style (if so little of the Greek allows us to judge) is rugged and abrupt, and the tone more scholastic than is common with Chrysostom; that the earliest Greek author who quotes it as Chrysostom's is of the 7th cent., though we should expect it to have been used in the Eutychian disputes, and quoted in the Acts of the 4th, 5th, and 6th councils. Le Quien also urged that language is used which is not heard of until employed by Cyril of Alexandria in controversy with Nestorius. Montfaucon, however, has produced precedents for much of this language from Athanasius, and has clearly proved that the letter was directed not against Eutychianism, but against Apollinarianism; and with much probability he identifies the work assailed with a work of Apollinarius quoted by Eulogius (ap. Photium, Cod. 230, p. 849). This being so, we are more inclined to accept the letter as written while the Apollinarian disputes were raging than, as Montfaucon conjectures, forged a century or two afterwards for use in the Eutychian controversy, since one of the arguments against its genuineness is that there is no evidence that it ever was so used. On the controversy as to the genuineness, see the authorities referred to by Fabricius, Bibl. Gr., ed. Harles, i. 699 ; Chrys. iii. 747–760, and xiii. 496, ed. Migne; iii. 736–746, ed. Montfaucon; Tillemont, vii. 629, and xi. 340–343; Routh, Opuscula, ii. (479–488).


« Caesarius, bishop of Arles Caesarius, friend of Chrysostom Cainites »


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