Didymus of Alexandria

Didymus of Alexandria (called the Blind) was born at Alexandria about A.D. 311, and unfortunately lost his sight in the fourth or fifth year of his age; yet he arrived at great proficiency, it is said, in philosophy, rhetoric, mathematics, music, and divinity (Socrates, Eccl. Hist. 4:25). He became master of the catechetical school of Alexandria, where his fame drew to him "numbers from distant parts to see him only;" and among his disciples were St. Jerome, Rufinus, Palladius, Evagrius, and Isidore. Anthony, the chief of the Recluses, visited him; and seeing him blind, said, "Let it nothing move you, O Didymus, that your bodily eyes are lost, for you are deprived only of the same; kind of eyes as serve the basest insects for vision; but rather rejoice that you possess those with which angels are seen, and God himself is discerned." He died at Alexandria A.D. 395. He opposed the Arian doctrine, but seems to have embraced certain of the views of Origen, which caused him to be condemned at the fifth General Council of Constantinople. He was a voluminous writer, but most of his works are lost; there is a list of them in Jerome, De Tir. Illust. and in Fabricins, Bibliotheca Graeca, 9:269 sq. (ed. Harles). Those that are preserved are

(1.) De spiritu Sancto (of the Holy Spirit), of which Jerome made a Latin version, which is preserved among his works. The Greek original is lost. It is given in Gallandii Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. vi; in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, 39; and in separate editions, Cologne, 1531, 8vo; and (better) Helmstadt, 1614, 8vo. The book teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a mere name or property, but a real existence "in union with the Father and the Son, and different from all created things;" that it is the cause of wisdom, knowledge, and sanctification; and (Lu 11:13) "that it is the fullness of the gifts of God; and all divine benefits subsist through it, since whatever gift God's grace bestows flows down from this fountain;" that it is unbounded, therefore no creature (Mr 13:11); that it is not of the nature of angels, for they are not essentially holy; that it is not a creature, for men's spirits are said to be filled with it, and no mind can be filled with a creature; nor is it a quality, for the working of an agent is attributed to it; that it exists with and as God, and is so called Ac 5:3-4; and that it, with the Father and the Son, forms one essential Godhead in a Trinity of persons, each capable of distinct action in the same time and place; and that the Holy Spirit is of the same nature with the Father and the Son, because they have the same operation, etc.

(2.) Breves enarrationes in Epistolas Canonicas (Exposition of the Catholic Episties), given in Migne, Patr. Gr. vol. 39, and in other collections: —

(3.) Liber adversus ianichaeos, of which the original Greek is given in Canisii Lect. Antiq. 1:204 (compare Basnage's notes in his ed. of Canisius); also in Combefis, Auctarium Noviss. vol. ii, and in Migne, Patr. Gr. 39: —

(4.) De Trinitate, Libri tres (περὶ Τριάδος), which was long lost, but was found by Joh. Aloys. Mingarelli, and published by him at Bologna, 1769, fol. It is given (Greek and Latin) in Migne, vol. 39, where also are several fragments of the Commentaries of Didymus on various parts of Scripture.

See the notices in Migne, Patrol. Graec. 39:140 sq.; Fabricius, Bibliotheca Graeca, 9:269 sq.; Cave, Historia Literaria, anno 370; Ceillier, Auteurs Sacres, vol. 5, ch. 19 (Paris, 1865); Schrockh, Kirchengeschichte, 7:71 sq.; Guericke, De Schola Alexandrina; Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 3, § 167; Lardner, Works , 4:300; Dupin, Ecclesiastical Writers, 2:103; Clarke, Succession of Sacred Literature, 1:397; Lucke, Questiones D'dymiane (Gott. 1829); Alzog, — Patrologie, § 52 (Freiburg, 1866, 8vo).

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