« Philaret Philaster Phileas »


PHILASTER, fi-las´ter (PHILASTRIUS): Bishop of Brescia and ecclesiastical writer; b. possibly in Egypt in the first half of the fourth century; d. before 397. He had been consecrated before 381, for in that year he took part in the Synod of Aquileia. Augustine knew him while at Milan; and his, successor Gaudentius, who became bishop of Brescia 21before 397, praised his orthodoxy and learning (MPL, xx. 957). According to the tradition current at Brescia, he died on July 18; but the Sermo de vita et obitu Philastri (MPL, xx. 1002), ascribed to Gaudentius, seems to date rather from the eighth or ninth century. About 383 Philaster wrote his Diversarum hæreseōn liber (ed. J. Sichard, Basel, 1528; also in MPL, xii.; CSEL, xxxviii.), a catalogue containing twenty-eight pre-Christian and 128 Christian heresies. The style shows lack of education, and the matter lack of intellectual training. It is fanciful and artificial, especially in its divisions of distinction. His source for heresies previous to Noetus was probably the lost Syntagma adversus omnes hæreses of Hippolytus, and for the Manicheans the Acta Archelai. The intrinsic value of the work is small. He was, however, cited by Augustine, and thus gained importance in the Middle Ages, and he is of some interest in tracing the history of the New-Testament canon, especially for the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Letter to the Laodiceans.

(R. Schmid.)

BlBLIOGRAPHY: R. A. Lipsius, Zur Quellenkritik des Epiphanios, Vienna, 1865; idem. Die Quellen der ältesten Ketzergeschichte, Leipsic, 1875; A. Harnack, Quellenkritik der Geschichte des Gnostismus, Leipsic, 1874; idem, Litteratur, i. 150; J. Kunze, De historiæ gnosticismi fontibus, Leipsic, 1894; Krüger, History, passim; Schaff, Christian Church, iii. 931; Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, v. 171–178, viii. 42–43; DCB, iv. 351–353.

« Philaret Philaster Phileas »
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