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BOOK REVIEWS247 Rufinus of Aquileia (345-411). His Life and Works. By Francis X. Murphy , C.SS.R., Ph.D. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1945. Pp. xviii-T-248.) This doctoral dissertation represents Volume VI in the new series of Studies in Mediaeval History, under the able auspices of the Catholic University of America. Father Murphy evaluates the personal life and the literary works of Tyrannius Rufinus with that impartial objectivity which adorns forever the truthful brow of sincere scholarship. Rufinus of Aquileia played a leading rôle in the development of early Christian monasticism, ecclesiastical history, Scriptural exegesis, and theological polemics. Besides, he deserves high credit for conserving the corpus of truths in the works of Origen, which he defended bona fide until his death in 410. But having run afoul of the acrid pen and temper of St. Jerome, Rufinus was unfairly devaluated, calumniated, and excoriated . Still, it was primarily the pressure of external events and outside interference that forced their personal differences into an open imbroglio, repeatedly fomented by the intrigues and the malevolence or preconfirmed partisans. Right there lurked the real crux. Consequently, Rufinus, the ascetical abbot and scholarly priest, was maliciously maligned, erroneously identified with another Rufinus, the precursor of Pelagianism, dubbed the very essence of a scoundrel in the piece, a prevaricator, and even a heretic. Golden truth and sterling justice eventually demanded an unbiased critique of the man himself, his literary productions, and his theological orthodoxy. Father Murphy, guided by the completely objective analysis of other truth-loving scholars, prudently discredits the false charges against his worthy subject, and makes the following disclosures: Rufinus was no mean personage among the learned churchmen, whose works were consulted with comparative frequency by the author; his literary style evinces considerable competence in composition and argumentation; personally, he was gentle, modest, timid, humble, and sincere, than whom "a more learned man or a kinder one was not to be found among men" (Palladius) ; he edified all who visited him at the Melanian foundation in Jerusalem during twenty-seven years, conscientiously intent upon achieving Christian perfection, whereas his principal and implacable critic, though sincere, was periodically "puffed up with self-seeking, which hurt his character exceedingly ," as Palladius remarks. Patently, in solid virtue, balanced mentality, and uniform living, Rufinus stood handsomely superior, being associated intimately with many distinguished churchmen and saintly ascetics of the latter fourth and early fifth centuries. It is delightfully significant that the dissertation is dated for the feast of Saint Jerome. Granted that the Elder Melania — erudite, wealthy, saintly — was a key figure in the career of Rufinus, she definitely does not require such detailed comments regarding her travels and activities in this work. The author's English versions of his abundant Latin citations are sufficiently accurate and idiomatic. Among the twenty-five misprints in the copious footnotes, happily none are heretical, some are etymological, others are syntactical. In chapter I, note 47, the citation should be: Ibid., 30. In chapter I, note 53, and chapter II, note 14, we read nolui, whereas in chapter I, note 47, this same quotation is affirmative, volui, in harmony 248BOOK REVIEWS with Migne. Then, too, it would be more practical to avoid duplication of identical passages, and more popular to reduce purely academic verbiage to a suitable minimum, salva semper claritate. Dr. Murphy merits our unstinted gratitude. His Regesta Rufiniana are admirable; his Bibliography, doctoral; his Index, practical. Starting eight years ago, he published his interest in the "Irascible Hermit," Saint Jerome, and "His Foil," Rufinus of Aquileia. It is obvious that the mills of God grind slowly; but in due time Truth will triumph, and Justice will win. Urban Mueller, O.F.M. Cap. Sl. Lawrence College, Mount Calvary, Wis. Lent. A Liturgical Commentary on the Lessons and Gospels. By Conrad Pepler, O.P. (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder Co., 1944. Pp. x+406. $4.00.) Fr. Pepler has rendered a notable service to the Catholic clergy and laity by his splendid liturgical commentaries on the Lessons and Gospels of Lent. It is a great contribution to the ever-increasing literature on Christian spirituality. Doubtlessly the present volume will be found...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 247-248
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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