Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Altchristlichen Literatur 38.4 (1912)
THE 'DECRETUM GELASIANUM DE LIBRIS RECIPIENDIS ET NON RECIPIENDIS'
(English translation - RP, part V checked against Hennecke-Schneemelcher I p.38-40.)
Ernst von Dobschütz
HERE BEGINS THE COUNCIL OF ROME UNDER POPE DAMASUS "ON EXPLAINING THE FAITH"
I. It was said:
1. Firstly the seven-fold Spirit which remains in Christ should be discussed:
the spirit of wisdom: 'Christ the power and wisdom of God'.
the spirit of understanding: 'I will give you understanding, and I will instruct you in the way you will go'.
the spirit of counsel: 'And his name is called the messenger of great counsel'.
the spirit of virtues: as above, 'The power of God and the wisdom of God'.
the spirit of knowledge: 'Because of the eminence of the knowledge of the apostle of Christ Jesus'.
the spirit of truth: 'I am the way the life and the truth'.
the spirit of the fear of God: 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom'.
2. However the dispensation of Christ has a name of many forms:
God, who is spirit;
the word, who is God;
the Son, who is only-begotten of the Father;
the man, who was born of the virgin;
the priest, who offered himself as a sacrifice;
the shepherd, who is the guard;
the worm, who rose from the dead;
the mountain, which is strong;
the way, which is straight;
the harbour, which one may pass through into life;
the lamb, which was slain;
the stone, which is the cornerstone;
the master, who is the bringer of life;
the sun, which is the illuminator;
the true, which is of the Father;
the life, which is the creator;
the bread, which is dear;
the Samaritan, who is the guard and the merciful;
the Christ, who is the anointed one;
Jesus, who is the saviour;
God, who is from God;
the messenger, who was sent;
the bridegroom, who is the mediator;
the vine, by whose own blood we are redeemed;
the lion, who is king;
the rock, which is the foundation;
the flower, which is chosen;
the prophet, who revealed the future.
3. For the Holy Spirit is not of the Father only or of the Son only, but of the Father and the Son; for it is written: 'He who delights in the world, the Spirit of the Father is not in him'; again it is written; 'However anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ, does not belong to him'. So the Holy Spirit is understood to be called of the Father and the Son, [and] of whom the Son himself in the gospel says that the Holy Spirit 'proceeds from the Father' and 'he will receive from me and he will make known to you'.
II. Likewise it was said:
Now indeed the issue of the divine scriptures must be discussed, which the universal Catholic church receives or which it is required to avoid.
1. THIS IS THE ORDER OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:
|150 Psalms||one book|
|Three books of Solomon|
song of songs
|The same of Wisdom||one book|
2. LIKEWISE THE ORDER OF THE PROPHETS:
|with Cinoth i.e. his lamentations|
3. LIKEWISE THE ORDER OF THE HISTORIES:
4. LIKEWISE THE ORDER OF THE SCRIPTURES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT which the holy and catholic Roman church upholds and is venerated:
|Four books of the Gospels|
according to Mathew
according to Mark
according to Luke
according to John
|Likewise the acts of the apostles||one book|
|The letters of the apostle Paul in number fourteen|
to the Romans
to the Corinthians
to the Ephesians
to the Thesalonians
to the Galatians
to the Philippians
to the Colossians
to the Philemon
to the Hebrews
|Likewise the apocalypse of John||one book|
|Likewise the canonical [catholic] letters in number seven|
|of the apostle Peter||two letters|
|of the apostle James||one letter|
|of the apostle John||one letter|
|of the other John the elder||two letters|
|of the apostle Judas the Zealot||one letter|
HERE ENDS THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
III. Likewise it was said:
The manuscripts of the shorter recension begin at this point, with the following heading:
HERE BEGINS THE DECRETAL 'ON BOOKS TO BE RECEIVED AND NOT TO BE RECEIVED' WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY POPE GELASIUS AND SEVENTY MOST ERUDITE BISHOPS AT THE APOSTOLIC SEAT IN THE CITY OF ROME
Both versions then continue as follows:
1. After all these [writings of] the prophets and the evangelical and apostolic scriptures which we discussed above, on which the catholic church is founded by the grace of God, we also have thought necessary to say what, although the universal catholic church diffused throughout the world is the single bride of Christ, however the holy Roman church is given first place by the rest of the churches without [the need for] a synodical decision, but from the voice of the Lord our saviour in the gospel obtained primacy: 'You are Peter,' he said, 'and upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to you I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bind upon Earth shall be bound also in heaven and whatever you release upon Earth shall also be released in heaven'.
2. In addition there is also the presence of the blessed apostle Paul, 'the chosen vessel', who not in opposition, as the heresies jabber, but on the same date and the same day was crowned in glorious death with Peter in the city of Rome suffering under Nero Caesar; and equally they made the above-mentioned holy Roman church special in Christ the Lord and gave preference in their presence and veneration-worthy triumph before all other cities in the whole world.
3. Therefore first is the seat at the Roman church of the apostle Peter 'having no spot or wrinkle or any other [defect]'.
However the second place was given in the name of blessed Peter to Mark his disciple and gospel-writer at Alexandria, and who himself wrote down the word of truth directed by Peter the apostle in Egypt and gloriously consummated [his life] in martyrdom.
Indeed the third place is held at Antioch of the most blessed and honourable apostle Peter, who lived there before he came to Roma and where first the name of the new race of the Christians was heard.
IV. And although 'no other foundation can be established except that which has been established, Christ Jesus', however for edification likewise the holy Roman church after the books of the Old and New Testaments which we have enumerated above according to the canon also does not prohibit the reception of these writings:
1. the holy synod of Nicaea of 318 fathers chaired by the Emperor Constantine the Great,
at which the heretic Arius was condemned; the holy synod of Constantinople chaired by Theodosius the senior Augustus, at which the heretic Macedonius escaped his deserved condemnation;
the holy synod of Ephesus, at which Nestorius was condemned with the consent of the blessed pope Caelestinus chaired by Cyril of Alexandria in the magistrate's seat and by Arcadius the bishop sent from Italy;
the holy synod of Chalcedon chaired by Marcian Augustus and by Anatolius Bishop of Constantinople, at which the Nestorian et Eutychian heresies together with Dioscorus and his sympathisers were condemned.
but also if there are councils hitherto held by the holy fathers of lesser authority than those four, we have decreed [that] they must be both kept and received. Here added below is on the works of the holy fathers, which are received in the catholic church.
Likewise the works of blessed Caecilius Cyprian the martyr and Bishop of
likewise the works of blessed Gregory Nanzanensis the bishop;
likewise the works of blessed Basil Bishop of Cappadocia;
likewise the works of blessed John Bishop of Constantinople;
likewise the works of blessed Theophilus Bishop of Alexandria;
likewise the works of blessed Cyril Bishop of Alexandria;
likewise the works of blessed Bishop Hilary of Poitiers;
likewise the works of blessed Ambrosius Bishop of Milan;
likewise the works of blessed Augustine Bishop of Hippo;
likewise the works of blessed Jerome the priest;
likewise the works of blessed Prosper a most religious man;
3. likewise the letter of blessed pope Leo sent to Flavian Bishop of Constantinople, of which text however if any portion is disputed and it is not that anciently received by all, let it be anathema;
likewise the works and every treatise of all the orthodox fathers, who deviated in nothing from the common [teaching] of the holy Roman church, neither separated from its faith or worship but remained in communion by the grace of God to the last day of their life, we decree are to be read;
likewise the decretal/official letters, which blessed popes gave for the consideration of various fathers at various times from the city of Rome, are to be upheld reverently;
4. likewise the deeds of the holy martyrs, who are glorious from the manifold tortures on the rack and their wonderful triumphs of steadfastness. Who of the catholics doubts that most of them would be enduring still in agonies with their full strength but would bear it by the grace of God and the help of everyone? but according to old custom by the greatest caution they are not read in the holy Roman church, because the names of those who wrote are not properly known and separate from unbelievers and idiots or [the accounts] are thought less attached to the order of events than they should have been; for instance the [accounts of] Cyricus and Julitta, like Georgius and the sufferings of others like these which appear to have been composed by heretics. On account of this, as it was said, so that no pretext for casual mockery can arise, they are not read in the holy Roman church. However we venerate together with the aforesaid church all the martyrs and their glorious sufferings, which are well known to God and men, with every devotion;
likewise the lives of the fathers Paul, Antony and Hilarion which with all the hermits described by that blessed man Jerome we receive with honour;
likewise the acts of blessed Silvester bishop of the apostolic seat, although the name of him who wrote [them] is unknown, [but] we know to be read by many catholics however in the city of Rome and because of the ancient use of the multitude this is imitated by the church;
likewise the writings on the finding of the cross and certain other novel writings on the finding of the head of the blessed John the Baptist are romances and some of them are read by catholics; but when these come into the hand of catholics, the saying of Paul the blessed apostle should be <considered> first: 'prove all things, hold fast to what is good'.
likewise Rufinus, a most religious man, work many books of ecclesiastical works, also some interpreting the scriptures; but since the venerable Jerome noted that he took arbitary liberties in some of them, we think those [acceptable] which we know the aforesaid blessed Jerome thought [acceptable]; and not only those of Rufinus, but also [those] of anyone whom that man often remembered for his zeal for God and for the religion of faith criticised.
likewise some works of Origen, which the blessed man Jerome does not reject, we receive to be read, but we say that the rest with their author must be refused.
likewise the chronicle of Eusebius of Caesarea and the books of his church history, however much he fell flat in the first book of his narration and [although he also] afterwards wrote one book in praise and to excuse Origen the schismatic, however on account of his narration of remarkable things, which are useful for instruction, we do not say to anyone that it must be refused.
likewise we praise Orosius a most erudite man, who wrote a very necessary history for us against the calumnies of the pagans and and with marvellous brevity.
likewise the paschal work of that venerable man Sedulius, which was written in heroic verses [hexameters], we give preference to with manifest praise.
likewise the laborious work of Iuvencus we nevertheless do not spurn but are amazed by.
V. The remaining writings which have been compiled or been recognised by heretics or schismatics the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church does not in any way receive; of these we have thought it right to cite below a few which have been handed down and which are to be avoided by catholics:
LIKEWISE A LIST OF APOCRYPHAL BOOKS
firstly we confess that the synod of Sirmium called
together by Constantius Caesar the son of Constantine through the Prefect
Taurus is damned then and now and for ever.
|the Itinerary in the name of Peter the apostle, which is called the nine books of the holy Clement||apocryphal|
|the Acts in the name of the apostle Andrew||apocryphal|
|the Acts in the name of the apostle Thomas||apocryphal|
|the Acts in the name of the apostle Peter||apocryphal|
|the Acts in the name of the apostle Philip||apocryphal|
|the Gospel in the name of Mathias||apocryphal|
|the Gospel in the name of Barnabas||apocryphum|
|the Gospel in the name of James the younger||apocryphum|
|the Gospel in the name of the apostle Peter||apocryphum|
|the Gospel in the name of Thomas which the Manichaeans use||apocryphum|
|the Gospels in the name of Bartholomew||apocrypha|
|the Gospels in the name of Andrew||apocrypha|
|the Gospels which Lucianus forged||apocrypha|
|the Gospels which Hesychius forged||apocrypha|
|the book on the infancy of the saviour||apocryphus|
|the book of the nativity of the saviour and of Mary or the midwife||apocryphus|
|the book which is called by the name of the Shepherd||apocryphus|
|all the books which Leucius the disciple of the devil made||apocryphi|
|the book which is called the Foundation||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Treasure||apocryphus|
|the book of the daughters of Adam Leptogeneseos||apocryphus|
|the cento on Christ put together in Virgilian verses||apocryphum|
|the book which is called the Acts of Thecla and Paul||apocryphus|
|the book which is called Nepos's||apocryphus|
|the books of Proverbs written by heretics and prefixed with the name of holy Sixtus||apocryphus|
|the Revelation which is called Paul's||apocrypha|
|the Revelation which is called Thomas's||apocrypha|
|the Revelation which is called Stephen's||apocrypha|
|the book which is called the Assumption of holy Mary||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Repentance of Adam||apocryphus|
|the book about Og the giant of whom the heretics assert that after the deluge he fought with the dragon||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Testament of Job||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Repentance of Origen||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Repentance of holy Cyprian||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Repentance of Jamne and Mambre||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the Lots of the apostles||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the grave-plate (?) of the apostles||apocryphus|
|the book which is called the canons of the apostles||apocryphus|
|the book Physiologus written by heretics and prefixed with the name of blessed Ambrose||apocryphus|
|the History of Eusebius Pamphilii||apocrypha|
|the works of Tertullian||apocrypha|
|the works of Lactantius also known as Firmianus||apocrypha|
|the works of Africanus||apocrypha|
|the works of Postumianus and Gallus||apocrypha|
|the works of Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla||apocrypha|
|the works of Faustus the Manichaean||apocrypha|
|the works of Commodian||apocrypha|
|the works of the other Clement, of Alexandria||apocrypha|
|the works of Thascius Cyprianus||apocrypha|
|the works of Arnobius||apocrypha|
|the works of Tichonius||apocrypha|
|the works of Cassian the Gallic priest||apocrypha|
|the works of Victorinus of Pettau||apocrypha|
|the works of Faustus of Riez in Gaul||apocrypha|
|the works of Frumentius Caecus||apocrypha|
|the cento on Christ stitched together from verses of Virgil||apocryphum|
|the Letter from Jesus to Abgar||apocrypha|
|the Letter of Abgar to Jesus||apocrypha|
|the Passion of Cyricus and Julitta||apocrypha|
|the Passion of Georgius||apocrypha|
|the writing which is called the Interdiction of Solomon||apocrypha|
|all amulets which are compiled not in the name of the angels as they pretend but are written in the names of great demons||apocrypha|
These and those similar ones, which Simon Magus, Nicolaus, Cerinthus, Marcion, Basilides, Ebion, Paul of Samosata, Photinus and Bonosus, who suffered from similar error, also Montanus with his obscene followers, Apollinaris, Valentinus the Manichaean, Faustus the African, Sabellius, Arius, Macedonius, Eunomius, Novatus, Sabbatius, Calistus, Donatus, Eustasius, Jovianus, Pelagius, Julian of Eclanum, Caelestius, Maximian, Priscillian from Spain, Nestorius of Constantinople, Maximus the Cynic, Lampetius, Dioscorus, Eutyches, Peter and the other Peter, of whom one disgraced Alexandria and the other Antioch, Acacius of Constantinople with his associates, and what also all disciples of heresy and of the heretics and schismatics, whose names we have scarcely preserved, have taught or compiled, we acknowledge is to be not merely rejected but eliminated from the whole Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and with their authors and the followers of its authors to be damned in the inextricable shackles of anathema forever.
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Bugs fixed 16th June 2007.
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