Saturday, March 06, 2010

Yet Another Steve Ray Patristic Error

I noticed that Steve Ray has reposted links on his blog (link to the blog entry). The links are to two documents he has written on "Mary: the Ark of the New Covenant."

In previous posts in response to those articles, we have seen:

1) Steve Ray Misquotes Athanasius (follow-up with William Albrecht)(follow-up -again- with William Albrecht)

2) Steve Ray Misquotes Gregory the Wonderworker

3) A Full Run-down of Steve Ray's Abuse of the Fathers in the articles.

4) Response to Steve Ray's Audio Clip that accompanies the article

You might think that those responses would be enough to convince Steve Ray to stop re-posting the same errors, if not to go back and fix the errors that he had made. However, he continues to post, over and over again, the same errors.

You might also think that my previous responses (particularly number 3, above) would have exhausted all of the errors that Steve Ray had made in terms of his citation of the fathers.

You'd be wrong. Not only does Steve Ray continue to repeat his errors, I found that I had overlooked one of his errors.

I should add that in my response (4) above I overlooked one additional pseudographic work. Steve Ray cites "St. Methodius (815-8885) [sic]" as writing "Orat. de Simeone et Anna ii."

Not only is there the obvious typo as to the date for Methodius, this work is another of the pseudographic/dubious patristic works. I didn't bother to look carefully at it before, because I figured that the 9th century was late enough that it is no longer really the "early church" in any meaningful sense.

The interesting fact, however, is that the work is a pseudographic work that purports to be written by Methodius of Olympus/Tyre (died A.D. 311). It was written later than that, but it was written (by the forger pretending to be Methodius of Olympus) apparently before Methodius of Constantinople, the missionary to the Slavic peoples.

Although apparently the first printing of this work in the "Ante-Nicene Fathers" list did not include the bracketed material, the following footnote has been included at least since the 1890's as a footnote to the title of the work:
The oration likewise treats of the Holy Theotokos. [Published by Pantinus, 1598, and obviously corrupt. Dupin states that it is “not mentioned by the ancients, not even by Photius.” The style resembles that of Methodius in many places.]
Additionally, here is some of what has been written about this work:
Of doubtful or spurious works ascribed to Methodius may be mentioned, a homily on the meeting with Simeon and Anna at the Temple. This is generally rejected both for reasons of style and because we have reason to think that the system of church festivals which it assumes was not in existence in the time of Methodius. On the date of the introduction of the festival Hypapante in connection with this homily, see [Dictionary of Christian Antiquity] p. 1140. But we cannot endorse the suggestion that the homily is the work of a later Methodius. The preacher expressly claims to be the author of the Symposium on Chastity; so that if the homily be not genuine it is not a case of mistaken ascription but of forgery, and a forger need not be of the same name as the author whom he personates.
- A dictionary of Christian biography, literature, sects and doctrines, By William Smith, Henry Wace (1882), volume 3, p. 911 (author of entry is Rev. George Salmon, D.D., D.C.L., LL. D., F.R.S., Chancellor of St Patrick's Cathedral and Regius Professor of Divinity Trinity College Dublin)
And now turn to your “Remarks on Mr. Palmer’s Letter.”[fn 4] Here you quote various spurious writings to prove that the blessed Virgin Mary was an object of invocation to the early Christians. You press into your service Methodius, the very learned Bishop of Olympus, or Patara, in Lycia, and afterwards of Tyre, in Palestine, who suffered martyrdom A.D. 303. You quote (p. 30) from a homily on which there is not the slightest question as to its being spurious. For, in the first place, the Benedictine Editor, in a note to Jerome’s works, [fn 5] says, once for all, that the “Symposium” is the only entire work of Methodius extant; and Baronius expressly says, “I do not hesitate to say that no Greek or Latin writer has left a sermon delivered on the feast of the Purification (called sometimes ‘Hypapantes,’ sometimes ‘Simeon and Ann’) before the fifteenth year of Justinian (A.D. 542), and that Pope Gelasius paved the way for the institution of that feast, by putting an end to the festivities of the Lupercalia, which were also observed in February.” [fn1] And the Benedictine monk, Lumper, in his “Critical Theological History,” [fn 2] &c., unquestionably shows that the homily you quote is of a much later date than you give it, by attributing it to Methodius.
- Dr. Wiseman's Popish Literary Blunders Exposed, By Charles Hastings Collette, p. 25
After all this gaping, we have two testimonies only offered to us for the practice of 300 years: one a passage of Origen already rejected as spurious; and the other out of a tract of Methodius, if not certainly spurious, yet justly suspected by your own critics, being neither quoted by any of the ancients, nor mentioned by Photius; and of a style more luxuriant than that Father’s other writings are; and that speaks so clearly of the mystery of the Trinity, of the incarnation and divinity of the Word, whom he calls, in a phrase not well known in his time, consubstantial with the Father; of the Trisagion never heard of for above 100 years after his death; of the Virginity [FN1] of Mary after her conception; and of original sin; that your late critic, Monsieur du Pin, had certainly reason to place it among his spurious works, however it be now cited with such assurance by you.

[FN1: Bibliotheque, T. 1. p. 530.]
- A Preservative Against Popery, in Several Select Discourses Upon the Principal Heads of Controversy Between Protestants and Papists: Being Written and Published by the Most Eminent Divines of the Church of England, Chiefly in the Reign of King James II. Collected by the Right Rev. Edmund Gibson (Volume XIII), (1848), p. 56
A homily under the name of Methodius of Olympus dates probably from the fifth or sixth century. It contains long speeches of Symeon and Mary, and places emphasis on the praise of the Virgin. [FN52]

[FN52: CPG 1827; PG 18, 348-381]
- The Homilies of the Emperor Leo VI (Medieval Mediterranean, Vol. 14), By Theodora Antonopoulou (May 1, 1997), p. 180

The work has had supporters:
11. I think I have now put down the titles of all the works of Methodius, expressly mentioned by the ancients: however, it is not improbable that he wrote more; for Jerome says there were many other beside those mentioned by him. Euzebius’s passage above cited from Jerome seems to imply, that Methodius had written some good number of books before he became an enemy to Origen: and he might afterwards also write some other, which we are not acquainted with.
12. Anthere are actually several other [fn b] things now extant which are ascribed to him: such as, a Homily concerning Simeon and Anna; another Homily upon our Saviour’s entrance into Jerusalem; and Revelations, and a Chronicle.
These two last I think are generally rejected as not genuine.
The second likewise I suppose is defended by very few.
But the first homily, concerning Simeon and Ann, has more patrons. Not only [fn c] Combefis, and some others, but [fn d] Fabricius likewise pleads it’s [sic] genuineness. On the other hand, Tillemont [fn e] allows, there is no good reason to take it for a work of our Methodius. Oudin [fn f] strenuously opposeth it, and thinks it the composition of some other Methodius, later than ours by several centuries; as does [fn g] Cave. Du Pin [fn h] says that ‘it is not cited by the ancients, nor abriged by Photius. The author speaks so clearly of the mysteries of the trinity, of the incarnation, and the divinity of the Word, who he more than once says is consubstantial with the Father; of the hymn called Trisagion, of the virginity of Mary, even after her delivery; and of original sin; that there is room to doubt whether somewhat has not been added to this homily: beside that the style is more verbose, and fuller of epithets than that of Methodius.’ So that learned writer. And in my opinion these particulars are sufficient to assure us, that either this homily is not genuine, (which I rather think), or else it has been so interpolated as to be very little worth. Of this, and some other things ascribed to Methodius, Grabe [fn i] honestly says, they are either suppositious, or interpolated. I shall therefore make no use of this piece; or, if I do, I shall give notice of it particularly.

[fn b: See Tillem. Mem. Ec. T. v. P. iii. as before, p. 144, et notes 6 & 7 sur. St. Methode. Vid. etiam Fabric. ut supra, p. 257, 258.]
[fn c: Vid. Combef. In Method. p. 469.]
[fn d: Fabr, ut supra, p. 257.]
[fn e: Tillem. as before, p. 136 & 144, & note vi.]
[fn f: De Script. Ecc. T. i. p. 303, &c.]
[fn g: Hist. Lit. T. i. p. 152.]
[fn h: Du Pin, as before, p. 200.]
[fn i: Caeterum prostate quidem unus insuper et alter Methodii tractatus, e quibus plura, eaque luculentissima, pro – catholica trinitatis professione testimonia allegari possent. Se dab iis abstineo, quod tractatus isti aut supposititii, aut interpolate esse videantur. Grab. Annot. Ap. Bull. Def. Fid. Nic. Sect. ii. Cap. 13, in fin.]
- The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, Volume III (of XI), (1788), pp. 309-10 (he later writes: “I formerly shewed the reasons why I do not esteem the homilie concerning Simeon and Anna to be genuine. I am therefore far from alleging any thing out of it, as a proof of the sentiments of our Methodius. But if that piece had been genuine, I suppose it might afford an undeniable testimony to this Epistle.”)

In short, the work is certainly not the work of Methodius of Constantinople (815-885). There are also excellent reasons not to believe that it is a work of Methodius of Olympus/Tyre. At best it is a dubious work - if we follow the declarations of many of those set forth above, it is simply a forgery.

I doubt Steve Ray was aware of that issue, though I also doubt he cares. He hasn't fixed his presentation in view of the correction that has already been offered, and I don't expect that this latest criticism will move him to make any further correction to his papers.

- TurretinFan


Coram Deo said...

I wonder how many volumes would be filled if one were to document the myriad fevered high-noon fantasies, spurious fabrications, and outright lies of Rome and her apologists?

Deception is manifestly the stock in trade at Rome.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Cor. 13:6

In Christ,

Turretinfan said...

It certainly appears to be Mr. Ray's stock in trade. I trust that some of Rome's apologists are sincere and attempting to defend their religion honorably.

Coram Deo said...

TF - I'm not sure there's valid Biblical distinction between a "sincere and honorable" defender of a soul-damning false religion and a deceitful one since both are equally servants of Satan.

I suppose in the sphere of human morality and ethics one could make such a distinction.

Am I missing something?

In Christ,

Turretinfan said...

No. I mean that some people are under a delusion and some are willingly serving evil.

Viisaus said...

Richard Littledale also listed examples of Roman scholarly dishonesty in his book:

p. 108

"LVIII. And in the full spirit of these Roman principles, the controversial and theological writings of Roman divines perfectly swarm with falsehoods. A very few instances will suffice in illustration: and they are fair average specimens.

a. Liguori, in his "Glories of Mary" (Fr. Coffin's translation: Burns & Oates, 1868), p. 112, quotes St. Anselm as saying, that it is safer and better to call on the Blessed Virgin than on Christ. The passage is from a notoriously spurious treatise. At p. 23 he quotes St. Bernard as saying, "At the name of Mary every knee bows," with a false reference to the Annunciation sermons, wherein the passage does not occur, nor anywhere else in St. Bernard. At p. 197 he quotes St. Ignatius of Antioch, as saying that no one can be saved without Mary's help and favour; and, allowing that the passage has been doubted, alleges that at any rate St. Chrysostom acknowledged its genuineness, and adopted it. Both statements are wholly false. And if it be pleaded that Liguori erred through ignorance, the reply is that his editors do not correct him, though they, at any rate, know the facts."

Coram Deo said...

TF said: No. I mean that some people are under a delusion and some are willingly serving evil.

Are you referring to Rome's apologists with that statement?

In Him,

Turretinfan said...


Perhaps I was unclear. I meant that some of Rome's apologists actually believe the lies of the Antichrist, and some serve the Antichrist knowing that the lies are lies.