« Julius, bishop of Puteoli Junilius, quaestor of the sacred palace Justina, empress »

Junilius, quaestor of the sacred palace

Junilius (Ἰούνιλος, Junillus), an African by birth, hence commonly known as Junilius Africanus. He filled for seven years in the court of Justinian the important office of quaestor of the sacred palace, succeeding the celebrated Tribonian (Procop. Anecd. c. 20). Procopius tells us that Constantine, whom the Acts of the 5th general council shew to have held the office in 553, succeeded on the death of Junilius, which may therefore be placed a year or two earlier. Junilius, though a layman, took great interest in theological studies. A deputation of African bishops visiting Constantinople, one of them, PRIMASIUS of Adrumetum, inquired of his distinguished countryman, Junilius, who among the Greeks was distinguished as a theologian, to which Junilius replied that he knew one Paul [PAUL OF NISIBIS], a Persian by race, who had been educated in the school of the Syrians at Nisibis, where theology was taught by public masters in the same systematic manner as the secular studies of grammar and rhetoric elsewhere. Junilius had an introduction to the Scriptures by this Paul, which, on the solicitation of Primasius, he translated into Latin, breaking it up into question and answer. Kihn identifies this work of Paul with that which Ebedjesu (Asseman. Bibl. Or. III. i. 87; Badger, Nestorians, ii. 369) calls Maschelmonutho desurtho. The work of Junilius was called "Instituta regularia divinae legis," but is commonly known as "De partibus divinae legis," a title which really belongs only to chap. i. It has been often printed in libraries of the Fathers (e.g. Galland, vol. xii.; Migne, vol. lxviii.). The best ed., for which 13 MSS. were collated, is by Prof. Kiln of Würzburg (Theodor von Mopsuestia, Freiburg, 1880), a work admirable for its thorough investigations, and throwing much light on Junilius.

The introduction does not, as has been 607often assumed, represent an African school of theology, but the Syrian; and Kiln conclusively shews that (although possibly Junilius was not aware of it himself) it is all founded on the teaching of THEODORE of Mopsuestia.

Junilius divides the books of Scripture into two classes. The first, which alone he calls Canonical Scripture, are of perfect authority; the second added by many are of secondary (mediae) authority; all other books are of no authority. The first class consists of (1) Historical Books: Pentateuch, Josh., Judg., Ruth, Sam., and Kings., and in N.T. the four Gospels and Acts; (2) Prophetical (in which what is evidently intended for a chronological arrangement is substituted for that more usual): Ps., Hos., Is., Jl., Am., Ob., Jon., Mic., Nah., Hab., Zeph., Jer., Ezk., Dan., Hag., Zech., and Mal. (he says that John's Apocalypse is much doubted of amongst the Easterns); (3) Proverbial or parabolic: the Prov. of Solomon and the Book of Jesus the Son of Sirach; (4) Doctrinal: Eccles., the 14 epp. of St. Paul in the order now usual, including Heb., I. Pet., and I. Jn. In his second class he counts (1) Historical: Chron., Job, Esdras (no doubt including Neh.), Judith, Est., and Macc.; (3) Proverbial: Wisdom and Cant.; (4) Doctrinal: the Epp. of Jas., II. Pet., Jude, II. III. Jn. Lam. and Bar. were included in Jer. Tobit is not mentioned, but is quoted in a later part of the treatise. Kihn is no doubt right in regarding its omission as due to the accidental error of an early transcriber; for no writer of the time would have designedly refused to include Tobit even in his list of deuterocanonical books. Junilius gives as a reason for not reckoning the books of the second class as canonical that the Hebrews make this difference, as Jerome and others testify. This is clearly incorrect with regard to several of them, and one is tempted to think (pace Kihn) that Junilius himself added this reference to Jerome and did not find it in his Greek original. The low place assigned to Job and Cant. accords with the estimate formed by Theodore of Mopsuestia. Junilius quotes as Peter's a passage from his second epistle, which he had not admitted into his list of canonical books. He describes Ps., Eccles., and Job as written in metre (see Bickell, Metrices Biblicae Regulae). The work of Junilius presents a great number of other points of interest, e.g. his answer, ii. 29, to the question how we prove the books of Scripture to have been written by divine inspiration.

The publication of the work Kihn assigns to 551, in which year the Chronicle of Victor Tununensis records the presence at Constantinople of the African bishops Reparatus, Firmus, Primasius, and Verecundus. He thinks that Junilius probably met Paul of Nisibis there as early as 543. We do not venture to oppose the judgment of one entitled to speak with so high authority; but we should have thought that the introduction into the West of this product of the Nestorian school of theology took place at an earlier period of the controversy about the Three Chapters than 551. It is not unlikely that Primasius paid earlier visits to Constantinople than that of which we have evidence. A commentary on Gen. i. wrongly ascribed to Junilius is now generally attributed to Bede.


« Julius, bishop of Puteoli Junilius, quaestor of the sacred palace Justina, empress »
VIEWNAME is workSection