Friday, October 1, 2010

The Seventeenth Letter (Item 23): Viginius to All Christians

Well, our forgers haven't given Viginius a lot to say, but it's raining, my office is closed, and my copy of Hinschius is locked in said office, which means we'll have to do with one of the random photocopies I have hanging around my apartment.

This is the first of two entries for Ps. Viginius, and it's directed to everyone "living in apostolic faith and doctrine." He starts out by remarking that "God sent his son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and through sin he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the justice of the law might be fulfilled." These lines look original, which is a little unusual: (Emended after helpful correction: this is just Romans 8:3-4) Most often the opening words seem to be ripped from the arenga of some authentic letter from the Hispana (frequently Leo). So slightly unusual, but nothing to get excited about.

Then we get a long excerpt from an anti-Arian tract (by Hydatius?), which basically provides a lot of scriptural proofs that the son was sent by his father not only according to his divinity, but according to the flesh. Ergo, the father did not precede the son in any way and is not greater than the son; nor was the son born afterwards so that his divinity might seem less than the father's.

Otherwise, we read (salvo in omnibus Romanae ecclesiae privilegio) that no metropolitan is to hear any cases without the assistance of all his suffragans; if he does so, his suffragans are to correct him. Accusations of those greater by birth (maiorum natu) are once again forbidden, unless we're talking about criminal accusations; even then, though, the accusers have to be irreprehensible and to have shown, through public acts, that they are above all suspicion, that they lead upright lives and that their faith is solid. Also forbidden are all manner of peregrina negotia and iudicia, because bishops should choose their judges from among the fellow bishops of their province.

I know, I know, you've heard it all before: so have I, believe me. At the end we get some Ennodius snippets, which help Ps. Viginius to rage against those who persecute innocent brothers. Matthew is also brought in to help make the point: "For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again." We wrap up with some lines from a letter of Pope Martin I ("every kingdom divided against itself will not stand, and every regula and scientia divided against itself will not stand" either); and another of Leo the Great  (everyone should get along and not fight).


Recipients: all Christians

Date: 15 September 138 (Magno et Camerino consulibus: the start of his pontificate)

Sources: the Bible (Romans 8:3-4, Matt. 7:2); Hydatius (?), Liber contra Varimandum; Capitula Angilramni; Lex Romana Visigothorum; Benedictus Levita; Ennodius; letter of Pope Martin I; Liber Pontificalis (only for the consuls)

Words: 870


  1. Just wondering why you follow Hinschius and Schon by rightly citing Romans 8:3-4 in your scorecard, but earlier remark that you think "these lines look original." Am I missing something profound here? If so, please do enlighten. Thanks.

  2. Nothing profound, Travis -- my mistake. All along I've been looking to see whether Pseudo-Isidore's scriptural citations can be tied to other secondary sources, or if they're 'original.' Here it looks like the latter, though of course the words themselves aren't original -- but I did this post in a hurry and my wires just got crossed.

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Eric.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.