« Victor Vitensis Victor, bishop of Capua Victor Tununensis »

Victor, bishop of Capua

Victor (47), bp. of Capua, apart from his writings is known only by his epitaph, which states that he died in Apr. 554, after an episcopate of about 13 years from Feb. 541 (Ughelli, vi. 306).

Writings.—I. He is best known from his connexion with the Codex Fuldensis (F), after the C. Amiatinus the most ancient and valuable MS. of the Vulgate, transcribed by his direction and afterwards corrected by him. The MS. is remarkable for containing the Gospels in the form of a Harmony. In his preface he relates that a MS. without a title had come into his hands containing a single Gospel composed of the four. Inquiring into its authorship, he concludes, though with some doubt, that it was identical with the works of TATIANUS (T), which by a blunder he calls Diapente instead of Diatessaron. So little was known till 1876 of the Diatessaron that it was generally supposed that Victor was mistaken. It was known that the Diatessaron began with John i. 1, whereas F begins with the preface from Luke. But Mösinger's ed. in 1876 of Aucher's Latin trans. of the Armenian version of EPHRAIM Syrus's Commentary on the Diatessaron (E), followed by Zahn's Forschungen zur Geschichte des Neutestamentlichen Kanons, i. (Z), made known the contents and arrangements of the Diatessaron sufficiently to show that the archetype of F was formed by taking T and substituting for each Syriac fragment in Tatian's mosaic the corresponding fragment from the Vulgate, the adapter occasionally altering the order and inserting passages missing in T. The discrepancies between the index and text in F shew that it underwent further changes after assuming a Latin shape, but it is impossible to say how far the differences between it and T proceed from such subsequent alterations or are due to the original adapter. The date of the adaptation is uncertain, the limits being 383, the date of the Vulgate being brought out, and 545, the date of F. The discrepancies between index and text demand a date considerably before the latter limit, but it must have been made after the Vulgate had become well known and popular, which was not till long after it appeared. The most probable date, therefore, seems to be midway between the limits, or the second half of 5th cent., say c. 470. The notices in Gennadius (de Vir. Ill.). who wrote during this period, collected by Zahn (312, 313), shew that either the author was a Syriac scholar or was acquainted with one; pilgrimages from the West to Egypt and Palestine were then frequent. To substitute in Tatian's mosaic the proper fragments of the Vulgate would require a much less thorough knowledge of Syriac than an independent translation would imply.

F also contains the rest of the N.T. with the Ep. to the Laodiceans in the order: Pauline Epistles (Phil. being followed by I. and II. Thess., Col., Laodiceans, I. and II. Tim., Tit., Philemon, and Heb.), the Acts, the seven Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse, the whole concluding with the verses of pope Damasus on St. Paul. To each book, except the Laodiceans, is prefixed a brevis or table of headings, and to each Pauline Epistle except Hebrews, and to the Acts and the Apocalypse, a short preface. To the Pauline Epistles are also prefixed a table of lessons from them, a general preface or argument of them, a long special argument of the Romans, and a concordance of the Epistles giving references to the various passages treating of each particular doctrine. To the Acts is prefixed an account of the burial-places of the Apostles. There is a short general preface to the seven Catholic Epistles, and also the remarkable preface purporting to be St. Jerome's, which contains the accusation, referred to by Westcott and Hort (G. T. ii. Notes on Select Readings, 105), against the Latin translators of omitting the "Patris Filii et Spiritus testimonium" in I. John v. 7, 8, while the text itself is free from the interpolation. Besides this there are other places where, as in the Gospel, the text and supplementary matter no longer correspond exactly, shewing that changes have occurred since the former was composed. E.g. the General Argument to the Pauline Epistles reckons but 14 in all, including the Hebrews, and therefore excluding that to the Laodiceans, though it stands in the text. Again, the preface to the Colossians, "Colossenses et hii sicut Laodicienses sunt Asiani," must have been written when the Laodiceans preceded the Colossians, but the transposition may be due to Victor himself.

The whole MS. was carefully revised and corrected by Victor, in whose hand are three notes, one at the end of the Acts and two at the end of the Apocalypse, respectively recording that he had finished reading the MS. on May 2, 546, Apr. 19, 546, and a second time on Apr. 12, 547. In the same hand are occasional glosses, the most remarkable being the explanation of the number of the beast in the Revelation as Teitan. The MS. was ed. in 1868 by E. Ranke, whose preface fully describes it and its history; the Harmony only is in Migne (Patr. Lat. lxviii. 255).

II. Victor was the author of several commentaries on the O. and N. T., partly consisting of extracts from various fathers, partly original. Pitra (Spicil. Sol. i.) has edited fragments of some on O.T., contained in an Expositio in Heptateuchum by Joannes Diaconus. Another work is the Reticulus, or On Noah's Ark (p. 287), containing an extraordinary 1010calculation to shew that its dimensions typify the number of years in the life of our Lord. On N.T. Victor wrote a commentary, 11 fragments of which, preserved in the Collections of Smaragdus, are collected by Pitra (Patr. Lat. cii. 1124), according to whom a St. Germain MS. of Rabanus Maurus's Commentary on St. Matthew marks numerous passages as derived from Victor. Fragments of Capitula de Resurrectione Domini are given in Spicil. Sol. i. (liv. lix. lxii. lxiv.), in which Victor touches on the difficulties in the genealogy in St. Matthew and on the discrepancy between St. Mark and St. John as to the hour of the Crucifixion. Of the last he gives the explanation of Eusebius in Quaestiones ad Marinum, and also one of his own.

III. Victor's most celebrated work was that on the Paschal Cycle mentioned by several chroniclers and praised by Bede (de Rat. Tempa. 51), whose two extracts are in Patr. Lat. lxviii. 1097, xc. 502. The rest was supposed to be lost till considerable extracts from it contained in the Catena of Joannes Diaconus were pub. in Spicil. Sol. (i. 296). It was written c. 550, to controvert the Paschal Cycle of VICTORIUS (2), according to which Easter Day would have fallen that year on Apr. 17, while Victor considered Apr. 24 the correct day in accordance with the Alexandrine computation which he defends.


« Victor Vitensis Victor, bishop of Capua Victor Tununensis »


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