Rufinus Tyrannius

Rufinus Tyrannius, monk, presbyter, the friend, and later the adversary, of Jerome, was born at Concordia, Italy, about A.D. 330. Forty years later he was converted to Christianity at Aquileia and became a monk in which character he visited the East and became acquainted with the monastic institution as found in the Nitrian desert and elsewhere. He witnessed and wrote an account of the persecution under the emperor Valens, though it is not certain that he endured any of the troubles of martyrdom. In 378 he went to Jerusalem in company with Melania, a strict ascetic and friend of Jerome, and was made presbyter by the bishop John of Jerusalem in 390. The breaking out of the Origenistic controversy (q.v.) soon afterwards destroyed his friendship with Jerome, the latter taking sides against that father. In 397 Rufinus, again accompanied by Melania, who shared his views, journeyed to Rome, where he enjoyed the protection of bishop Siricius; but he was summoned before Anastasius, the succeeding bishop, to answer for his Origenistic errors. He sent a written defense from Aquileia, but was formally condemned in 399. Subsequently the incursions of the Goths under Alaric compelled him to flee. He died in 410 in Sicily, while on the way to Palestine. The theological importance of Rufinus arises from his having brought the writings of the Greeks within the reach of the Western Church. He translated the Church History of Eusebius in response to the wish of bishop Chromatius of Aquileia, though taking rather arbitrary liberties with the text (comp. Vales. on Euseb.; Huetius, De Claris Interpretibus, p. 202;

Kimmel, De Rufino Eus. Interprete [1838]), and continued the history to the reign of Theodosius the Great, the continuation being afterwards translated into Greek. He also wrote a Vitoe Pafrum S. Histor. Eremitica for bishop Patronius of Cologia, who furnished the material and was long considered to be the author, though many attributed the work to Jerome instead. Rufinus's translation of Origen was intended to demonstrate the orthodoxy of that ather, but was not impartially done, and gave rise to acrimonious disputes with Jerome, against whom he now wrote his two books known as Invectivoe. His exposition of the Apostles' Creed deserves mention also. It was composed at the request of bishop Laurentius, was much esteemed in ancient times, and is still important to the history of doctrines. Several other works once credited to him are now rejected as spurious. The chief edition of his writings is by Vallarsi (Verona, 1745). The Church History was first printed at Basle in 1544, but was afterwards improved by the Carmelite Peter Th. Oacciari, and published in 1740. See Fontanini, Hist. Lit. Aquileiens; De Rubeis [F. J. Maria], Monum. Eccl. Aquil. (Arg. 1740); De Rufina (Ven. 1754); Marzunnitti, E. H. de Tyr. Ruf. Fide et Religione (Patav. 1835); Schröckh, 10, 121 sq.; Neander, Ch. Hist. vol. 1.

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