Philaster (PHILASTRIUS), a noted hberesiologist of the ancient Latin Church, flourished in the first quarter of the 4th century. He was probally a native of Italy, and came on the stage of theological activity when the Arian controversy was waxing hot, and he was soon interested in it as a most ardent orthodox presbyter seeking the conversion of strayed sheep of the flock. He travelled far and near, seeking everywhere the conversion of the Arians, both high and low. Thus, e.g., he went to Milan to convince bishop Auxentius of the error of his wavs. He was so well liked by the clergy that he was finally elected bishop of Brescia (Brixia), and as such took part in the Council of Aquileia in 361. He died July 18, 387. Philaster's greatest work is his Liber de hceresibus (in 156 chapters) (edited by Fabricius, Hamb. 1728; by Galland. Bibliotheca, 7:475-521; and by (Ehler in volume 1 of his Corpus haereseolog. pages 5-185). There is an affinity of Philaster with Epiphanins, but it is usually accounted for on the ground of the dependence of the former on the latter. This seems to have been the opinion of Augustine (Epistola 222 ad Quodvultdeum). But Lipsius derives both from a common older source, viz. the work of Hippolytus against thirty-two heresies, and explains the silence of Epiphanius (who mentions Hippolytus only once) by the unsctupulousness of the authorship of the age, which had no hesitation in decking itself with borrowed plumes. Philaster was very liberal with the name of heresy, extending it to 156 systems. 28 before Christ, and 128 after. He includes peculiar opinions on all sorts of subjects: "Haeresis de stellis coelo affixis, haeresis de peccato Cain, haeresis de Psalterii inequalitate, haeresis de animalibus quatuor in prophetis, haeresis de Septuaginta interpretibus, hseresis de Melchisedech sacerdote, haeresis de uxoribus et concubinis Salomonis!" Philaster's writings first appeared in print at Basle in 1528, edited by Sichardus; they were reprinted in 1539 at Basle, and at other places. In 1677 they were inserted in the Bibliotheca Patrum Maxima, 5:701 sq. But the best edition is by Fabricius (Hamb. 1721), with a Vita Philastri. See Schrockh, Kirchengesch. 9:363-382; Schaff, Ch. Hist. 3:931 sq.; Alzog, Patrologie, § 63. (J.H.W.)

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