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torum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum of the Vienna Academy does not as yet extend beyond the Commentary on the Psalms (S. Hilarii Ep. Pictaviensis Tract. super Psalmos, recens. A. Zingerle, Vindobonae, MDcccxci). This is the more to be regretted as the MSS. of Hilary are rather exceptionally early and good. Most of these were used in the Benedictine edition, but not so systematically or thoroughly as a modern standard requires. It is impossible to speak decidedly about the text of Hilary until the Vienna edition is completed.
The treatise De Synodis was translated by the Rev. L. Pullan, and has been in print for some time. The Introduction and the translation of De Trinitate i.-vii. are the work of Mr. Watson. Books viii. and xii. were undertaken Mr. E. N. Bennett, Fellow of Hertford, and Books ix.—xi. by the Rev. S. C. Gayford, late Scholar of Exeter. The specimens of the Commentary on the Psalms were translated by the Rev. H. F. Stewart, Vice-Principal of the Theological College, Salisbury, who has also made himself responsible for the double Index.
A word of special thanks is due to the printers, Messrs. Parker, who have carried out their part of the work with conspicuous intelligence and with the most conscientious care.
July 12, 1898.
HOMILIES ON THE Psalms.
Psalm LIII, (LIV.)
Psalm CXXX. (CXXXI.)
I. INDEX OF SUBJECTS
II. INDEX OF TEXTS.....
CHAPTER I. THE LIFE AND Writings of St. HILARY OF POITIERS. St. Hilary of Poitiers is one of the greatest, yet least studied, of the Fathers of the Western Church. He has suffered thus, partly from a certain obscurity in his style of writing, partly from the difficulty of the thoughts which he attempted to convey. But there are other reasons for the comparative neglect into which he has fallen. He learnt his theology, as we shall see, from Eastern authorities, and was not content to carry on and develope the traditional teaching of the West; and the disciple of Origen, who found his natural allies in the Cappadocian school of Basil and the Gregories", his juniors though they were, was speaking to somewhat unsympathetic ears. Again, his Latin tongue debarred him from influence in the East, and he suffered, like all Westerns, from that deep suspicion of Sabellianism which was rooted in the Eastern Churches. Nor are these the only reasons for the neglect of Hilary. Of his two chief works, the Homilies ? on the Psalms, important as they were in popularising the allegorical method of interpretation, were soon outdone in favour by other commentaries; while his great controversial work on the Trinity suffered from its very perfection for the purpose with which it was composed. It seems, at first sight, to be not a refutation of Arianism, or of any particular phase of Arianism, but of one particular document, the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, in which Arian doctrines are expressed; and that a document which, in the constantly shisting phases of the controversy, soon fell into an oblivion which the work of Hilary has nearly shared. It is only incidentally constructive; its plan follows, in the central portion, that of the production of Arius which he was controverting, and this negative method must have lessened its popularity for purposes of practical instruction, and in competition with such a masterpiece as the De Trinitate of St. Augustine. And furthermore, Hilary never does himself justice. He was a great original thinker in the field of Christology, but he has never stated his views systematically and completely. They have to be laboriously reconstructed by the collection of passages scattered throughout his works ;. and though he is a thinker so consistent that little or no conjecture is needed for the piecing together of his system, yet we cannot be surprised that full justice has never been done to him. He has been regarded chiefly as one of the sufferers from the violence of Constantius, as the composer of a usesul conspectus of arguments against Arianism, as an unsuccessful negotiator for an understanding between the Eastern and Western Churches; but his sufferings were as nothing compared to those of Athanasius, while his influence in controversy seems to have been as small as the results of his. diplomacy. It is not his practical share, in word or deed, in the conflicts of his day that is his chief title to fame, but his independence and depth as a Christian thinker. He has, indeed, exerted an important influence upon the growth of doctrine, but it has
1 An actual dependence on Gregory of Nyssa has sometimes probably both derived their common element from Eastern writers
like Basil of Ancyra. leen ascribed to Hilary. But Gregory was surely too young for
? This is certainly the best translation of Tractatus; the this.
He may himself have borrowed from Hilary; but more word is discussed on a later page.
been through the adoption of his views by Augustine and Ambrose; and many who have profited by his thoughts have never known who was their author.
Hilary of Poitiers, the most impersonal of writers, is so silent about himself, he is so rarely mentioned by contemporary writers--in all the voluminous works of Athanasius he is never once named,-and the ancient historians of the Church knew so little con. cerning him beyond what we, as well as they, can learn from his writings, that nothing more than a very scanty narrative can be constructed from these, as seen in the light of the general history of the time and combined with the few notices of him found elsewhere. But the account, though short, cannot be seriously defective. Apart from one or two episodes, it is eminently the history of a mind, and of a singularly consistent mind, whose antecedents we can, in the main, recognise, and whose changes of thought are few, and can be followed.
He was born, probably about the year 300 A.D.), and almost certainly, since he was afterwards its bishop, in the town, or in the district dependent upon the town, by the name of which he is usually styled. Other names, beside Hilarius, he must have had, but we do not know them. The fact that he has had to be distinguished by the name of his see, to avoid confusion with his namesake of Arles, the contemporary of St. Augustine, shews how soon and how thoroughly personal details concerning him were forgotten. The rank of his parents must have been respectable at least, and perhaps high ; so much we may safely assume from the education they gave him. Birth in the Gallic provinces during the fourth century brought with it no sense of provincial inferiority. . Society was thoroughly Roman, and education and literature more vigorous, so far as we can judge, than in any other part of the West. The citizen of Gaul and of Northern Italy was, in fact, more in the centre of the world's life than the inhabitant of Rome. Gaul was in the West what Roman Asia was in the East, the province of decisive importance, both for position and for wealth. And in this prosperous and highly civilised community the opportunities for the highest education were ample. We know, from Ausonius and otherwise, how complete was the provision for teaching at Bordeaux and elsewhere in Gaul. Greek was taught habitually as well as Latin. In fact, never since the days of Hadrian had educated society throughout the Empire been so nearly bilingual. It was not only that the Latin-speaking West had still to turn for its culture and its philosophy to the literature of Greece. Since the days of Diocletian the court, or at least the most important court, had resided as a rule in Asia, and Greek had tended to become, equally with Latin, the language of the courtier and the administrator. The two were of almost equal importance; if an Oriental like Ammianus Marcellinus could write, and write well, in Latin, we may be certain that, in return, Greek was familiar to educated Westerns. To Hilary it was certainly familiar from his youth; his earlier thoughts were moulded by Neoplatonism, and his later decisively influenced by the writings of Origen 4. His literary and technical knowledge of Latin was also complete 5. It would
3 The latest date which I have seen assigned for his birth | Latin Glossary. Such a passage as Tract. in Ps. cxxxviii. 43, is 320, by Fechtrup, in Wetzer-Welte's Encyclopædia. But this to which he appeals, shews rather the extent than the smallness is surely inconsistent with his styling Ursacius and Valens, in his of Hilary's knowledge of Greek. What he frankly confesses, first Epistle to Constantine, 'ignorant and unprincipled youths. there as elsewhere, is ignorance of Hebrew. The words of Jerome This was written about the year 355, before Hilary knew much (Ep. 34. 3 f.) about Hilary's friend, the presbyter Heliodorus, of the Arian controversy or the combatants, and was ludicrously to whom he used to reier for explanations of Origen on the inappropriate, for Ursacius and Valens were elderly men. He Psalms, are equally incapable of beirig employed to prove Hilary's had found the words either in some of Athanasius' writings or defective Greek. Heliodorus knew Hebrew, and Hilary for want in the records of the Council of Sardica, and borrowed them of Hebrew found Origen's notes on the Hebrew text difficult without enquiry. He could not have done so had he been only to understand, and for this reason, according to Jerome, used some thirty-five years of age ; at fifty-five they are natural to consult his friend ; not because he was unfamiliar with Greek. enough.
5 His vocabulary is very poorly treated in the dictionaries; 4 It is impossible to agree with Zingerle (Comment, Wolmin. one of the many sigus of the neglect into which he has fallen. p. 218) that Hilary was under the necessity of using a Greek and I There are at least twenty-four words in the Tractatus super Psalmos which are omitted in the last edition of Georges' lexicon, 6 Ep. 70, 5, ad Magnum. 7 Ep. 53, 10, ad Paulinum. and these good Latin words, not technical terms invented for 8 Comm. in Gall. ii. pref. purposes of argument. Among the most interesting is quotiensque 9 Cf. Tract. in P's. xiii. 1, Trin. i. 38. for quotienscumque; an unnoticed use is the frequent cum quando 1 Yet he strangely reproaches his Old Latin Bible with the for quan:loquidem. Of Hilary's other writings there is as yet use of nimis for ualde, Tract. in Ps. cxxxviii. 38. This emno trustworthy text; from them the list of new words could at ployment of relative for positive terins had been common in least be doubled.
require wide special study and knowledge to fix his relation in matters of composition and rhetoric to other writers. But one assertion, that of Jerome , that Hilary was deliberate imitator of the style of Quintilian, cannot be taken seriously. Jerome is the most reckless of writers; and it is at least possible to be somewhat familiar with the writings of both and yet see no resemblance, except in a certain sustained gravity, between them. Another description by Jerome of Hilary as mounted on Gallic buskin and adorned with flowers of Greece' is suitable enough, as to its first part, to Hilary's dignified rhetoric; the flowers of Greece, if they mean embellishments inserted for their own sake, are not perceptible. In this same passage? Jerome goes on to criticise Hilary's entanglement in long periods, which renders him unsuitable for unlearned readers. But those laborious, yet perfectly constructed, sentences are an essential part of his method. Without them he could not attain the effect he desires; they are as deliberate and, in their way, as successful as the eccentricities of Tacitus. But when Jerome elsewhere calls Hilary 'the Rhone of Latin eloquences,' he is speaking at random. It is only rarely that he breaks through his habitual sobriety of utterance; and his rare outbursts of devotion or denunciation are perhaps the more effective because the reader is unprepared to expect them. Such language as this of Jerome shews that Hilary's literary accomplishments were recognised, even though it fails to describe them well. But though he had at his command, and avowedly employed, the resources of rhetoric in order that his words might be as worthy as he could make them of the greatness of his theme, yet some portions of the De Trinitate, and most of the Homilies on the Psalms are written in a singularly equable and almost conversational style, the unobtrusive excellence of which manifests the hand of a clear thinker and a practised writer. He is no pedant', no laborious imitator of antiquity, distant or near; he abstains, perhaps more completely than any other Christian writer of classical education, from the ailusions to the poets which were the usual ornament of prose. He is an eminently businesslike writer ; his pages, where they are unadorned, express his meaning with perfect clearness; where they are decked out with antithesis or apostrophe and other devices of rhetoric, they would no doubt, if our training could put us in sympathy with him, produce the effect upon us which he designed, and we must, in justice to him, remember as we read that, in their own kind, they are excellent, and that, whether they aid us or no in entering into his argument, they never obscure his thought. Save in the few passages when corruption exists in the text, it is never safe to assert that Hilary is unintelligible. The reader or translator who cannot follow or render the argument must rather lay the blame upon his own imperfect knowledge of the language and thought of the fourth century. Where he is stating or proving truth, whether well-established or newly ascertained, he is admirably precise; and even in his more dubious speculations he never cloaks a weak argument in ambiguous language. A loftier genius might have given us in language inadequate, through no fault of his own, to the attempt some intimations of remoter truths. We must be thankful to the sober Hilary that he, with his strong sense of the limitations of our intellect, has provided a clear and accurate statement of the case against Arianism, and has widened the bounds of theological knowledge by reasonable deductions from the text of Scripture, usually convincing and always suggestive.
literature for at least a century and a half.