« AnteriorContinua »
2. It perhaps was a translation of St. Matthew, made by Barnabas into Latin, or the peculiar dialect of Cyprus. The history informs us, that it was laid up in the emperor's palace, and something read out of it at certain seasons of the year f.
3. By virtue of this book, which received its virtue from Barnabas, the Cyprians carried their point against the claim of the bishop of Antioch for superintendency. All which laid together seems to intimate very plainly, that this book would afterwards be called by the name of Barnabas, which was really St. Matthew's Gospel.
Nor does the case alter, if we suppose this a fiction of the priests of Cyprus; for if the book really was a forgery, all the same things are supposed, and though they really did not find the relicks of Barnabas, yet some book they certainly produced, and then all that was said in the former case may as well be said here, and the same reasons be assigned, why this Gospel of St. Matthew, pretended to be found upon the breast of Barnabas, should
go under the name of Barnabas, as if it had been really found there.
That which confirms me in the preceding conjecture is, that we have no mention at all of any such Gospel before this time; but immediately after, pope Gelasius mentions and condemns it s.
Since the first writing of this chapter, I have the pleasure to observe, Dr. Mangey has a conjecture very near the same with this of mine h. But I think his opinion lies under this difficulty, that it supposes the book pretended to be found on Barnabas's breast, to be really St. Matthew's Gospel, (for some book there must be produced,) and yet the very same which was afterwards condemned in the council at Rome by the deeree attributed to Gelasius, under the name of Barnabas, as apocryphal. But to say no more of this Gospel; whatever it was, it is certain it never was a canonical book, by Prop. IV, V, VI.
Decree is commonly dated in the year
f I regard not Sigebertus's single story, that the book was Hebrew.
The emperor Zeno reigned (including his exile) from the year of Christ 474, to the year 491. Gelasius's
h Remarks on Nazareu, c. 3. p. 14, 15.
CHAP. X. A book under the name of Bartholomew, mentioned by the sup
posed Dionysius the Areopagite, proved spurious. The Gospel of Bartholomew : it seems to have been the same which was found by Pantenus in the Indies in the second century, and no other than the Gospel of the Nazarenes.
No. VII. A book attributed to Bartholomew the apostle. THAT there was formerly such a book, I gather from that ancient book which goes under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, who is in sacred history related to have been one of St. Paul's converts at Athensi. The passage I refer to is that in the beginning of his first book of Mystical Divinity j. Ούτω γούν ο θείος Βαρθολομαίος The divine Bartholomew bath φησι, και πολλήν την θεολογίαν spoken to this purpose; vin. That είναι, και ελαχίστην, και το ευ- divinity is both copious and conαγγέλιον πλατύ και μέγα, και cise; that the gospel is both broad αύθις συντετμημένον. .
and large, and also short. It may perhaps be imagined by some, as the old Greek scholiast of Dionysius thought, that this was not a citation out of any book of Bartholomew, but only a sentence of his preserved by tradition : but this seems very improbable, because the author of the books, which are now extant under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, lived at so great a distance from the apostles' time. The learned Daillé has largely k demonstrated the spuriousness of the book, even to the satisfaction of his great adversary bishop Pearson', and, I think, of all learned men; though that prelate disapproves of Monsieur Daillé's making the writer so very late as the year 520, and has made it evident that he wrote about the same time as Eusebius; and therefore this passage becomes considerable here, falling within the fourth century. But whichsoever of these periods we affix to this pretended Dionysius, it is hardly probable such a passage should be preserved in memory so long; and therefore either this author forged this sentence out of his own brain, which he ascribed to Bartholomew, and found it in
i Acts xvii. 34.
| Vindic. Iguat. Epistol. par. 1. cap.
10. in init.
no book, which Mr. Daillé supposes m, or else he took it out of some piece, said to be the writing of that apostle. Sixtus Senensis ", Dr. Grabe", and some others, suppose it to be taken out of the book entitled The Gospel of Bartholomew, concerning which opinion I am not able to determine; nor indeed is it of any great account, whence the author of so gross a forgery made his citations: I shall only observe, that the language of the fragment is no way like the language of the apostolic age; for instance, the word benoyla (theology) was in that early time unknown, and did not, till of a long time after, come in use in the church, and as the word becaóyos being constantly used in this book under the name of Dionysius, does sufficiently demonstrate it to be a forgery of times much later than those of the true Dionysius of Athens P; so à fortiori does the word deodoyía prove this writing under the name of Bartholomew to be much later than the time wherein the true Bartholomew lived. It is therefore to be judged apocryphal by Prop. X, XII. as well as by Prop. IV, V, VI.
N°. VIII. The Gospel of Bartholomew.
This is mentioned, 1. By Jerome 9: Many have endeavoured,” says he, “ without the grace and Spirit of God, to set forth Gospels,
among which is that under the name of Bartholomew."
2. By pope Gelasius r: “ The Gospel under the name of “ Bartholomew the apostle is apocryphal.” There is not any other express mention, that I know, of this book; so that it is evidently to be reckoned among the apocryphal ones, by Prop. IV, V, VI.
There are not any fragments extant of this book, unless, as I am inclined to think, it was the very same with the Gospel of St. Matthew, which the Hebrews or Nazarenes made use of. The reason of my conjecture is, the account we have both from Eusebiuss and Jeromet, viz. “ That Pantænus, being sent
by Demetrius bishop of Alexandria to preach the Gospel to “ the Indians, at the request of their ambassadors, when he “ came among them, found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve “ apostles, had preached the gospel among them before, ac“cording to the Gospel of St. Matthew, which he left there in 6 Hebrew characters ;" “ and,” as Jerome adds, “ brought it “ back with him to Alexandria.” Now this, I say, seems to me to have been the book afterwards called The Gospel of Bartholomew, only that it had suffered many interpolations and additions. For it cannot be thought improbable, that those who heard St. Bartholomew preach over and explain this Gospel to them, should, after his departure, rather call it by his name, whom they knew, than the name of Matthew, whom they knew not. Besides, if we may credit Nicephorusu, he assures us, “ that Bartholomew dictated the Gospel of Matthew to them “out of his memory, and did not bring it along with him ;" and, if so, it is very improbable they should call it by any other name besides his.
m Lib. cit. c. 27. in init.
Biblioth. Sanct. 1. 2. p. 42. • Spicileg. Patr. tom. 1. p. 128. p Dr. Grabe, ibid. 4 Præfat. in Comm. in Matth. See
the passage at large above, N°. IV.
r In bis Decree; see it at large above, No. III.
s Histor. Eccles. l. 5. c. 10.
Nor is there room to object, that it cannot be supposed this book should be among the Indians without any title: for,
1. If Nicephorus's relation be true, there would be no necessity of a title ; his dictating it to them was sufficient to entitle it. But,
2. If we say he brought it with him to the Indies, it is not at all strange it should be left without a title. Bartholomew himself knew who the author was, and so perhaps did not write any. But I need not fly to any conjectures in the matter; I dare assert, and undertake to prove, that the present titles of our four Gospels, as well as many other ancient books, were not prefixed to them by their authors. As to the titles of the Gospels, all I offer at present is, the exact likeness or uniformity of their titles, the difference that is between the Greek and Latin copies in this respect, and the difference of the old Syriac version from both.
Hence it seems probable, this Gospel of Bartholomew was that of Matthew, which he left, and Pantænus found in the Indies: I add, it received many interpolations and additions, some few perhaps by Bartholomew himself, (by way of comHistor. Eccl. l. 4. C. 32.
proved by father Simon, Crit. History x He who has a mind may see this of the New Test. chap. 2.
mentary or illustrating notes, which afterwards crept into the text,) but more, and of a different sort, by others; otherwise Jerome and Gelasius would not have condemned it as apocryphal. And, if I may be allowed to guess, I would offer it as probable, that when Pantænus brought it to Alexandria, it had at length inserted into it the interpolations of the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew, which the Judaizing Christians there made use of. Two things make this conjecture more probable, viz.
1. Because it was in Hebrew characters, and so of course falling into the hands of the Jewish converts, it cannot be thought but they would endeavour to make it as like their own Hebrew copy of St. Matthew as they could, otherwise their own must have been censured as a spurious and apocryphal piece.
2. Because the Nazarene Gospel (or the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew) seems at this time to have been more in use at Alexandria, than any other part of the world. It is well known what number of Jews, or Judaizing Christians, inhabited that city; and that these used this Hebrew Gospel is evident, because it was known to Clemens Alexandrinus, the scholar of the above-mentioned Pantænus, and Origen, the scholar of Clemens, who both dwelt at Alexandria; besides whom, it does not appear that any Christian writer (except Hegesippus) knew any thing of this Gospel, till Jerome. This I offer as a probable conjecture concerning this booky. I know but one thing can be objected, and that is, how Jerome, who saw and read the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes, could speak of this Gospel of Bartholomew as distinct from it, which he certainly does. To which I think it will be enough to answer, that it is very probable Jerome had never seen any Gospel under Bartholomew's name, but only rejects it, as what he knew was commonly esteemed a spurious piece.
I have only here to add, that if the foregoing account be just, Monsieur Dailléz is very much mistaken in supposing that the Gospel of Bartholomew was forged but a very little time before Gelasius. Nor is his reason true which he offers,
y Dr. Grabe proposes this conjecture ? De Pseudepig. Diou. Areopag. c. in part, Spicil. Patr. tom. 1. p. 128.