Victorinus: In Apocalypsin (2.1-4)

[2.1] Indeed, in his first letter he says, I know your suffering and works and your patience, I know you are suffering and see your works and patience: do not think I remain far (or ‘for long’) away from you. And that you cannot bear evil people, and that those who say they are apostles, you discovered them liars, and you have patience according to My name. All these belong to praise, and not mediocre praise. But also such men and of such a kind, and the selection of such men, indicates that every one of them must be admonished so that they are not deprived of good things. He says he has a few things against them, saying: You have abandoned your earlier love: remember from where you have fallen. He who falls, falls from a height, and therefore he says from where, for at all times until the end works of love are to be practiced, with is the greatest commandment. Finally, unless this is done, was threatened to move the lampstand from its place, that is, to scatter the people. For you hate the works of the Nicolaitans which I also hate; you have this, this belongs to praise. For the works of the Nicolaitans: before this time, false and disease-bearing men, ministers in the name of Nicolaus, made for themselves a heresy, (saying) that something devoted (to an idol) may be exorcized and eaten, and that whoever had fornicated could receive the peace on the eighth day. Therefore he praises those to whom he has written, to whom, such and so great men, he has promised that tree of life which is in the garden of God.

[2.2] The following epistle reveals the behavior and custom of the following other kind. And at the end of it he says: I know you, that you are both poor and suffering, but you are rich: for he knows that for such, riches are hidden with him; and he rejects the slander of the Jews which are not Jews, but the synagogue of Satan, who are brought together by Antichrist; to whom he says that if they persevere to the death, and he who has persevered will not be hurt by the second death, that is, he will not be thrown into Hell.

[2.3] The third kind of saints indicates men who are strong in faith, and not fearing persecution. But there are others among them who are prone to unlawful concessions. He says: I will fight them with the sword of my mouth, that is, the commandment which I will speak, and which I will tell you to do. For, the teaching of Balaam taught to set a stumbling-block before the eyes of the Sons of Israel, to eat what is sacrificed (to idols) and to fornicate: as noted long ago. For he gave this advice to the king of the Moabites, and thus the people stumbled. He says, Thus, you also have among you holding this kind of teaching, and under the pretext of mercy you make others suffer. He says, To him who conquers, I will give to him of the hidden manna. The hidden manna is immortality; the white gem is adoption in the Son of God; a new name is “Christian.”

[2.4] The fourth kind indicates the nobility of the faithful, working daily, and doing great works. But even here are indicated some men to be at ease, given over to unlawful leisures, and paying attention to new prophecies, which he shows and prophesies to others, to whom this is not pleasing, who know the wickedness of the Adversary, by which evils and sorrows he seeks to bring dangers on the head of the faithful. And thus he says: I will not place upon you another weight, that is, I have not given you laws, observances and burdens, which is another weight, that what you have, you hold onto, until I come. And to him who conquers, I will give to him power over the nations, that is, I will make him a judge among the other saints. And the star of the morning will I give to him: namely, the first resurrection he promised; for the morning star chases away the night and announces light, which is the beginning of day.

1 Comment

  1. One thing I forgot to mention is that the Latin of Victorinus is really non-standard. Jerome mentioned the same, and supposed that Victorinus was a speaker of primarily Greek, and that his Latin shows it. I don’t know about that, but it certainly is unusual, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s just that Pannonian Latin, the provincial Latin in Victorinus’ area, was just odd in certain ways.

    So, if you read a sentence that doesn’t make much sense, please let me know, since it could be Victorinus’ fault, but it might be mine, too. Several of his sentences are just hard to understand the meaning of and how it relates to what’s being said. He’s particularly loose with pronouns, which I find incredibly frustrating.

    Anyhow, I hope everyone’s enjoying it.

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