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Fathers of the Church

Letter II. to the Recipient of Letter I

Description

Theodoret’s letters are a mine of information for the history of the fifth century, of the author’s life and of the history of dogma in general. This large correspondence is distinguished for its unpretentious learning, felicitous diction and perfect grace of style. (Quasten) Here he kindly suggests that his friend’s praise of his book is due more to affection than to good judgment.

Provenance

Theodoret of Cyrus (c. 393-466), the wise and zealous bishop of Cyrus, a small town near Antioch, was the last great theologian of the school of Antioch. Although he first considered Alexandrian Christology dangerous, and refused to condemn Nestorius until the Council of Chalcedon, his commitment to the correct doctrine of the Incarnation should not be questioned. As late as the 14th century more than 500 of his letters were extant, of which we still have 232.

by Theodoret in Unknown | translated by Blomfield Jackson

When men love warmly, I doubt whether in the case of the children of those whom they love, they can be impartial judges. Justice is carried away by affection. Fathers fancy that their ugly boys are beautiful, and sons do not see the uncomeliness of their fathers. Brother looks at brother in the light of affection rather than of nature. It is thus that I am afraid your holiness has judged what I have written, and that the sentence has been delivered by warmth of feeling. For truly the power of love is very great, and not seldom it keeps out of sight considerable errors in our friends. It is because you have so much of it, my dear friend, that you have wreathed what I have written with your kindly praises. All I can do is to ask your piety to beseech the good Lord to ratify your eulogy, and make the man you have praised something like the picture painted in the words of his admirers.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (NPNF II/III, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.