Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Golden Rule in the Early Church, Part 3

St. Clement of Alexandria recognizes the Golden Rule in its affirmative formulation and in its negative formulation. He states it affirmatively in his Paedagogus. He states it negatively in his Stromata.
And by one God are many treasures dispensed; some disclosed by the law, others by the prophets; some to the divine mouth, and others to the heptad of the spirit singing accordant. And the Lord being one, is the same Instructor by all these. Here is then a comprehensive precept, and an exhortation of life, all-embracing: "As you would that men should do unto you, do likewise to them."
Paed. 3.88.1 [III.12].
Those, then, will not escape the curse of yoking an ass with an ox who, judging certain things not to suit them, command others to do them, or the reverse. This Scripture has briefly showed, when it says, "What you hate you shall not do to another." [Tobit 4:15]
Strom., 2.139.2 [II.23]

A certain Evagrius, probably a Gallic monk who was the disciple of Martin of Tours, in his Altercatio legis inter Simonem Iudaeum et Theophilum Christianum (dating from the 5th century), has the Christian Theophilus tell Simon the Jew that the Golden Rule (in its negative formulation) is part of the "circumcision of the heart":
All concupiscence of desire he removed from the heart. For this is the circumcision of the New Testament, that God Christ, Son of God, extended: that we circumcises ourselves from desire, avarice, malice, cupidity, theft, fraud, fornication, and all that which you do not want another to do to you, you do not do to another. This is the circumcision of the Christians, which the first saints had, that is, Enoch, Noah, Job, Melchizedek, which did not have circumcision according to the flesh, but according to the heart.

Omnis concpiscentia libidinis de corde concipitur. Proinde circumcisio novi testamenti talis est, quam Deus Christus Filius Dei, ostendit, ut circumcidamus nons libidinem, avaritiam, malitiam, cupidtatem, furta, fraudes, fornicationem, et omne quod tibi non vis fieri, alio ne feceris. Haec est circumcisio Christianorum, quam et primi sanctorum habuerunt, scilicet Enoch, Noe, Iob, Melchisedec, qui non carnis sed circumcisionem cordis habuerunt.
Lib. V, 70-78.

In the Sentences of Sextus, a collection of ethical aphorisms perhaps written in the second century, and at one time popular with Christians, we find both negative and positive formulations of the Golden Rule. Originally written in Greek, it was translated into Latin by Rufinus:
No. 79: Qualem vis esse tibi proximum tuum, talis et tu esto proximis tuis.

That which you wish your neighbor to do to you, the same should you do to your neighbor.

No. 179: Ea quae pati non vis, neque facias.

What you do not want to happen to you, do not do to another.

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