The works of Álvaro of Córdoba, who was a friend of Saint Eulogius and wrote his biography, are one of the main collections of 'Mozarabic' writings. In turn, the largest collection of Álvaro's writings are letters he exchanged with various individuals. Arguably the most fascinating set of those letters is the correspondence he exchanged with a Jew calling himself Eleazar. It turns out that this Eleazar was a convert to Judaism, and he was originally a Catholic clergyman of Germanic origin called Bodo. He originally resided in the Frankish realm and settled in Muslim-ruled Spain following his conversion. The main outline of his story comes in the Annales Bertiniani in the entry for 839 CE, though it is apparent from this narration that Bodo's conversion came in the preceding year (838 CE). I have translated it in full below:
'Meanwhile an event that was lamentable and was very much to be decried by all the sons of the Catholic Church became known through the delivery of rumour: there was the deacon Bodo, born of Alamannic stock and somewhat imbued almost from the cradles in the Christian religion with the divine eruditions of the palace and the literature of the humanities. In the preceding year, he had asked from the august people the opportunity to hurry to Rome for the sake of prayer and he got what he wanted in addition to being granted many votive offerings to take.
However, misled by the enemy of the human race, he abandoned Christianity and converted to Judaism. And indeed as soon as he entered into the plan of his betrayal and perdition with the Jews, he did not fear to plot cunningly against those whom he had led with him to be sold to the pagans [i.e. the Muslims]. With these people drawn apart, he retained only one person with him, who was said to be his nephew. Having denied (which we say with tears) the faith of Christ, he professed himself to be a Jew. And thus circumcised, while growing hairs and a beard, and having changed and indeed usurped the name of Eleazar, he was also bound with a military belt, and married the daughter of a certain Jew, and his aforementioned nephew was coerced and similarly brought over into Judaism. At last with the Jews, bound by the most wretched greed, he entered into Caesaraugusta [Zaragoza], the city of Hispania, in the middle of August. The difficulty on account of which the emperor could not be persuaded that this was easily to be believed, openly indicated to all how grievous this was for the august people and all those redeemed by the grace of the Christian faith.'
Another reference to Bodo comes in the year 847 CE of the same text, which claims he tried to incite the Muslim authorities to persecute the Christians:
'The legates of Abdirhaman the king of the Saracens came from Córdoba of Hispania to Karolus in order to seek peace and sign a treaty. He took them up with decency and released them at Remorum Durocortorum.
Bodo, who some years before had abandoned the Christian truth and had conceded to the perfidy of the Jews, set forth into such great evil that he was eager to incite the minds of both the king and the people of the Saracens against all the Christian inhabitants of Hispania, to the point that they should either abandon the religion of the Christian faith and convert to the insanity of the Jews or the madness of the Saracens, or they should certainly all be killed. On account of this a petition of all the Christians of that realm was sent with tears to Karolus the king and the bishops of his kingdom and the rest of the orders of our faith, so that the aforementioned apostate should be demanded back, so that he should no longer be either an impediment or cause of killing for the Christians residing there.'
We also have a poem directed to Bodo by Walafrid Strabo when Bodo was still a sub-deacon:
'Your Strabo gives these words to you, oh most dear lad Bodo, though small and few they may be. Let that sprout, which we planted with equal fervour a while ago in the lands, go forth to the south wind above. Let the pure love rise through the assiduous motions, until firm it can approach the skies and stars. Thus mindful of Strabo in prayers, while you render vows to the One who thunders, he is always himself also mindful of you. Follow that which is pleasing to the Lord, love that which He has ordered, may you hope for that which He pledges, may you flee from that which He prohibits. Love virtues, be far from all vices. Certain rewards are given to the good, punishment to the wretched. May God lead your senses to all better things and may He bear for you great gifts in perpetuity. Oh radiant dear one, farewell, oh most dear one always and everywhere, bright little lad, little bright one.'
Bodo is also mentioned in a book written against the Jews by Amulo the archbishop of Lyon:
'For we note something that never happened before: a deacon of the palace was seduced by them. He was of noble birth and upbringing and exercised in the office of the Church. He was also well regarded in the eyes of the emperor. But such was he misled, that drawn away and enticed by their diabolical persuasions, he abandoned the palace, abandoned the homeland and parents, and abandoned the realm of the Christians within: and now in Hispania among the Saracens he has been joined to the Jews and persuaded by the impious to deny that Christ the Son of God, to profane the grace of baptism, to accept circumcision of the flesh and change his name, so that he who was previously called Bodo is now called Eliezer. Such that having been made wholly Jewish in superstition and habit, and everyday in the synagogues of Satan, bearded and married as he is, he blasphemes Christ and his Church along with the rest of his people.'
There are other references to Bodo such as in a much later letter by Hincmar (876 CE) to Charles the Bald and a letter by Lupus Servatus (838 CE), but these are passing references of little concern to me here. For more discussion of these latter sources (which note the other entries on Bodo), see this paper by Frank Riess.
The exchange of letters with Álvaro is dated to 840 CE. In short, each one is trying to convince the other of the truth of his faith. It is also in this exchange of letters that we learn more on Álvaro's background, as he seems to claim Jewish ancestry while also saying that those who embrace Christianity represent the true Israel as opposed to the Jews. Eleazar, for his part, also appears to note Álvaro's Jewish ancestry by quoting a line from Deuteronomy so as to say that Álvaro has abandoned the God who begot him. At the same time, one should also note Álvaro's comparison of himself to the fierce Goths in the last documented letter to Eleazar. It seems that he wishes to tie himself to the legacy of the Germanic people who ruled Spain prior to the Muslim conquests.
Unfortunately, the responses of Eleazar to Álvaro are not fully preserved. Someone (or more than one person) evidently found much of the content of those responses offensive and destroyed that content. The most notable issues in dispute here include the following:
. The interpretation of Genesis 49:10 in relation to the coming of Jesus.
. The interpretation of the 'prophecy of 70 weeks' in Daniel and the timeline for Jesus' birth and the coming of the Messiah. Eleazar has apparently made the prediction that the Messiah will come in era 905 (867 CE). Álvaro makes the bet that if they should live to this point and one of them is proven wrong then, the person mistaken will convert to the other person's religion.
. The interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 in relation to the virgin birth of Jesus.
. The concept of Jesus' nature and his birth. If he were divine and pure, how could he born in the impurity of a human birth?
. The Jewish conception of the Messiah. Álvaro argues that the Jewish conception of the Messiah makes no sense in contrast with the conception of Jesus as the Messiah. Ultimately, the fate of the Jews, as illustrated in the prophecies, is one of God's damnation against them, as has been the case since the Jews were dispersed by the Romans. Only those of them who embrace Christ become part of the new Israel.
Despite the initial attempts by Álvaro to strike up a friendly debate, it would seem that things quickly turned sour and degenerated into exchanges of a personally hostile nature in the end.
I would like to dedicate this work to the late Barry Rubin, who died in 2014 and was a prolific scholar and historian. I interacted with Barry during my earlier years of writing and I expect he would have enjoyed reading this work. I would also like to dedicate this work to Jonathan Spyer, who has always been supportive of my work and strove to continue Barry's legacy and preserve his works. Finally, I dedicate this work to David Toube, a long-standing friend who has long been interested in issues of Christian-Jewish relations.
The following editions for the original Latin text of the letters have been consulted and to check Biblical and other references:
- Juan Gil, Corpus Scriptorum Muzarabicorum (Madrid, 1973).
- Enrique Flórez, España Sagrada: Theatro Geografico-Historico De La Iglesia De España Tomo XI (1775).
As always I welcome any suggestions for corrections to the translation.
The poem addressed to Bodo when he was a subdeacon.
XIV: The letter of Albarus directed to the transgressor begins:
Albarus to my dear Eleazar:
In the first instance, my dear one, I fulfil the duties of health lovingly and sweetly and to you at the same time, if it suits your sect and rite, I just as much pay the safety bearing rights. Finally I ask that offering of our love does not trouble you, by which offering I to save you in the Lord.
But if you thus love as I love, be just as busy to save me with your zeal, because he who makes the sinner convert has saved his soul and covers the multitude of his sins.[i] And David seemingly performed vows for a great duty: 'I will teach the unjust Your ways and the impious will be converted to You.'[ii] And so, my dear, scrutinise the text of this page with diligent intention and provide not words, but understanding with thoroughness, because we do not desire to sprinkle the bundles of the adorned words, but to bring forth voices of simple and plain things to you. And our assertion is not coloured with two-fold cloak, nor does the oration of this diction smell of Attic salt, but runs with the discourse of the people that is, so I should say, common. And this is not Tuccidides[iii] and Sallustius[iv] arranging the path of knowledge, but rather Iacob[v] and David leading the little sheep to the hurdles. Not here is Cirus leading the army in fighting, but Moyses[vi] with raised hands turning away the battalions of the Amalacites[vii] by praying. But we will not sing the Memmonic hymns nor are we bringing in verses with the song of the Eneyids[viii] nor am I leading down the milky river of Libius[ix] nor am I singing off the Iliad songs. For far from me is the viperous tongue of Demostenes,[x] about which Oscines is said to have said: 'What then, if you had heard the beast resounding his words with his mouth?'[xi] For my letter does not seek the favour of the Academics nor does it draw colour from the Athenian, but smells of the flavours of the prophets and has a building with the barrows of the patriarchs. Certainly, sweet one, if everywhere the nativity of Christ that was to come could be said in terms of the number of years, the dissension of the Christians and the Jews would have immediately been finished, because with the years computed from the beginning of the world his advent in the world would be known without any sort of impediment, so that neither the believer could sustain delays in assertion nor could the infidel offer forth excuses in refutation. And indeed, as it seems to some people, the scripture has left his advent uncertain and has more touched on it as though it were untouched rather than foretold. On account of this also the opinion of all has deluded itself, not because the blind faith of all has been enveloped in darkness, but because it is held more by opinion than by truth. But according to these things of those who opine have I explained the problems of those who fret. But per my limited knowledge, I think that the advent of Christ can be openly adduced in legal sayings, if the presages of the prophets that are clearer than the benevolent light are subtly investigated. For although the years from the beginning of the world are not found fixed beforehand, nonetheless they are found reckoned from the prophetic time most continuously. As I believe, divine judgement foresaw the frenzied human sharpness, which varies on the numbers of the ages. So it preferred to impart the number in that time from which it knew beforehand that the force of contention was scraped away.
For you have known the disagreement among the Hebrews and the translators of the Septuagint[xii] as they calculate the sum of time from the first man all the way to the Flood, such that according to the Hebraic truth there are 656 years to be found from Adam all the way to the Flood,[xiii] and from the Flood all the way to Abraam[xiv] there are 292 years to be found.[xv] But according to the Septuagint interpretation 242 years are to be counted from Adam all the way to the Flood, and from the Flood all the way to Abraam 1072 years are to be calculated.[xvi] I would discuss their variances with a broader pen and elicit which one should rather be trusted, if I were to consider this not to be onerous and unprofitable. The divine spirit, inserted into the heart of the prophets, long before knew of these discords, and did not want to impart the sum of the of years for the birth of Christ from that time, from which it also foresaw that the frivolous contrivances of the assertors would be brought forth. For although it did not explicitly express the number, nonetheless it never left untouched in what time he should be born. Do not think that I am narrating this with bare words. Indeed I will be sure to bring the vivid teachings for you. But before our oration should be drawn up legally, I beseech you, pay attention willingly to the things that I am saying, so that you should not sharpen your understanding through the competition of winning, but rather polish the sense for both me and you with the intention of accomplishment, knowing that faith does not lie in ratiocination, but rather whoever is with pure mind in truth and simplicity of the heart, sees the Lord. And so if that which I have brought in is undertaken, that which I have suggested is welcome. But if what I have written is troublesome, I have not covered the benevolence of the mind towards you. And you ought to deal likewise with me, and the one you see erring as it seems to you, do not refrain from insisting so with all force. And I ought not to impede your mind, occupied as it is with studies, through very many testimonies, knowing that the one for whom the small does not suffice, one thousand will also not be enough for him. For the wise does not pay attention to how many say something, but knows who are the ones who say so usefully. And thus the prophet foretold of the blessed one who brings forth discourse into the ear of the listener, because he is said to cheat the hearings of the one whose slow sense has not been vigilant. I could excerpt for you copious testimonies about your reprobation and the choosing of the peoples, if I did not think that this has been done by the most erudite men of your predecessors. On account of this, I pass over those things that have long ago been written with the more illustrious and eloquent pen by those people flourishing in eloquence and sanctity. As I have said, I will bring out through uncovering small testimonies that are not weak, but strong, and I will inquire by asking about what you feel regarding them, so that you may either inform that I have been ignorant of the things that I firmly hold or you may inform that you do not know the things which I correctly know.
Moyses, the one who brought out the Pentateuch scripture[xvii] and the lawgiver of the Lord and the reporter of the origin of the world, when he introduced Iacob consulting his sons and announced through blessing the turn of the testament which they should possess after the death of the father by hereditary right. Thus he says: 'Iacob called his sons and said to them: gather so that I may announce the things that are come to you in the last days.'[xviii] And so that they might what these last days he explained more openly on the blessings of Iuda[xix]: 'A ruler,' he says, 'will not fall away from Iuda, nor a leader from its feet, until the one who is to be sent will come, and he himself will be the expectation of the peoples.'[xx] Notice, my most dear one, and open the understanding of the mind, and show to me through the whole world just one leader from the tribe of Iuda. Do not insert for me the nonsense of their frivolous ones and do not bring me their outlandish fable comments on the dogmas, for they are accustomed to weave long tales on account of the occurrence of one word. And as they are unable to find a king in the regions most noted of all, I do not know where they should search for themselves a leader beyond the sea, since even if it were true, he would hardly have been from the tribe of Iuda, because the tribe of Iuda was not led away by Sennacerib[xxi] and by Artarxerses who was also called Ocus,[xxii] but was dispersed by Vespasianus[xxiii] and Titus[xxiv] through the lands. For the prophet intones to you with clear trumpet that just as there no temple and no altar have remained, thus no leader has remained.[xxv] 'The sons of Srahel,'[xxvi] he said, 'will sit without a king, without a leader, without sacrifice, without an altar, without priests, without manifestations.'[xxvii] You understand those days to be those which Hosea the prophet predicted; or perhaps the blind opposition of the Jews is saying that it is still awaiting other worse men? In this place the kinds are to be reckoned not from the time of Iuda, who were known and go running through David and Salomon all the way to Sedecia[xxviii] by direct path, but from the time of Danihel[xxix] and after the end of the Babylonian captivity, as they run through leaders. And so, as I have said, I will enumerate your kings from the time of Danihel and I will assign with brief overview in whom it has been lacking, after which, if that people considered someone under whose leadership it was, I beseech, tell me his name.
'The first leaders after the prophecy of Danihel, after the people was returned from Babilon, were Ihesus the son of Iosedec[xxx] and Zorobabel the son of Salathiel.[xxxi] After them Ioachim the son of Ihesus succeeded into the pontificate.[xxxii] He was succeeded by Eliuth.[xxxiii] This person was then succeeded by Ioiade.[xxxiv] Then Ioannes,[xxxv] and then Yadus,[xxxvi] and after him Honias.[xxxvii] Then the pontifex Eleazar was leader, [xxxviii]after whom another Onias succeeded.[xxxix] From there Iudas,[xl] who was succeeded by the brother Ionatam,[xli] after whom was Symon[xlii] the brother of both. From there Iohannes,[xliii] after whom Aristobulus.[xliv] This person was also succeeded by Alexander,[xlv] who was equally king and pontifex. After this Alaxandra his wife[xlvi] was leader of the people with her sons Irchanus and Aristobolus.[xlvii] In this time Herodes the son of Antipater,[xlviii] after Ircanus was killed, received the kingdom of the Jews by the senatus consultum.'[xlix] In his time your kindness is not unaware that our Christ was born. But if you strive to expect another, show the leaders from the tribe of Iuda still in your people, and then you will affirm that you expect redemption, when you have filled out the falling away of the tribe of Iuda from leaders. But if you cannot find anyone from the kings who should still provide leadership for you, examine more carefully that prophecy of Danihel, and then you will more truly show that the already destined confusion of the Jews has come from that place, when the angel says to Danihel: 'Danihel, now I have come out that I may teach and you understand. From the beginning the words of your prayers have come out'[l] all the way to the place when he concluded with such following up: 'And after sixty two weeks Christ will be killed, and the people will disperse the city and the sanctuary with the leader to come, and there will be the devastation of its end and after the end of the war desolation will be set in place.'[li] You see that the divine scripture promises to all the Jews devastation after the killing of Christ. And if you still expect Christ- that is, the Messiah- immediately still you ought to fear greater desolation, because he does not promise to you redemption, as you falsely think, but he declares devastation from his advent all the way to the end of the age, as the angel said to Danihel. And where then will the daughter of Syon be left, who is none, and where will then be the sanctuary that the people devastated with the leader to come, which has been reduced to ash?[lii] Let the Jews restore the state which Christ should find, let them build the temple where suddenly the angel of the testament should come. But behold also your sacrifice has yielded, so that your sins are not destroyed by the support of any matter, while you do not offer the burnt offerings that you were accustomed to. The law has mandated that it is not allowed in captivity to finish the hair with the regal anointing. From where therefore will your Messiah be anointed, so that indeed anointed he should be believed to be in accordance with what Danihel prophesied?
But one must now come to the time of the years and one must calculate not by our custom, but by the legal teaching, with the Lord saying to Moyses: 'You will count for yourself seven weeks of years.' 'That is, seven times seven, which are 49 years. Therefore 70 weeks make 490 years, for 70 times seven are 490.'[liii] Therefore peruse briefly the Greek, Latin and barbarian histories from the twentieth year of Artaxerses the king of the Persians[liv] all the way to Christ the leader, and you will find that the total number of weeks was fulfilled according to the reckoning of the moon's phases by the Jews, who count for each month 29 days. For from the twentieth year of the aforementioned Artaxerses all the way to the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar are found 475 years,[lv] which make the Hebraic years 490, 'because the Greeks and Jews make through eight years intercalations of three months.'[lvi] And so from the twentieth year of this Artaxerses one must reckon, as I have said before, because in that year 'came out the word that Jerusalem would be built again,'[lvii] with Neemia the cupbearer asking,[lviii] as the angel says to Danihel. But if again you wish to reckon from the first year of Cirus'[lix] successor Darius (who was also called Melas),[lx] in which the vision was revealed to Danihel,[lxi] you will find that Christ was born in the sixty-second week.
If you prefer to calculate after his birth, the remaining number of weeks in the first year of Vespasianus, in which your captivity arose, will be found fulfilled. And so I could show these things individually through the names of the kings and the years of the emperors, if I could prove the legal successions through the books of the prophets. But indeed even if they could be proved through true and bold assertion, nonetheless they require a faithful listener, so not with great effort will I draw up an entangled story on the number of years and times of the emperors, but let it suffice to have touched briefly on what our ancestors sensed from there and inquire from you by brotherly custom what the leaders of the synagogue dealt with from there, so that also it may be allowed for me to know what is true and it may be pleasing to you to reject what is false, demanding that as much as possible, that you should explain to me without the bitterness of venom what is useful to know. And both that blessing which I brought forth from Jacob regarding Iuda and also that prophecy which I brought forth from Daniel with rather eloquent pen, may you not reject to write about all of this to me with amicable zeal according to what seems to you to be requiring exposition and according to that which is expounded by the teachers of the Jews. Although the pronounced agreement of the prophet contains many clear testimonies for both us and you, nonetheless all of them usefully balanced do not seem to me to break our bones and yours with a stone and bind the mouths with the shackle. So these strong points should be brought forth, such that it should not be allowed for any of us to mutter after the exposition of these things has been understood. But if in your view this exposition to be refuted, for you do not foresee that it should be followed, bring out what should rather be held through assertions that are to be with stronger following. And do not merely wish to pronounce this to be false with bare words, but after you firmly prove that this is false, may you bring forth another exposition that does not allow those who go by it to err, so that both you may both defeat the adversary and teach your friend just as though he were a disciple. I ask that you always be well, most dear one and beloved in nature, not a brother in faith. The end.
XV: The reply of the transgressor directed to Albarus
Eleazar to my dear Albarus:
You have written to me, oh good man, how I and the leaders of my synagogue understand: 'A sceptre will not be taken away from Iuda and a leader from its feet' and so on. For this is clearer to us than light. For if you were present here, I would ask you what kind of sceptre the sons of Srahel had and what leader they had for those 70 years when they were in the captivity of Nabuquodnosor.[lxii] And thus your...[lxiii]
So the letter of Albarus directed Eleazar
Albarus to the dear Eleazar
I read the letter of your response, most dear brother, and I have approved the invective brought on me in preposterous order. For my objections hardly at all diminished and your response did not obstruct any opposition, but only a mind rashly wielded the blasphemous pen and the writer of the synagogue finished the ludicrous little works. We as Christians will not toss the javelins of ornate words against this, but openly and purely we investigate the rule of the truth. Nonetheless I am amazed that you, a prudent man and as the pen shows very much endowed with the liberal eruditions, opine so tenuously on divine matters at least, that you are eager for the captivity of 70 years to be equated with only the life of one king, even as so many and such great times have already passed. Never from the tribe of Iuda did the leaders and royal sceptres fall away, that Ieconias,[lxiv] who was led into Babilon, had the son Saltiel,[lxv] from whom was born Zorobabel, to whom the word is directed in the hand of Aggei.[lxvi] 'The word of the Lord arose in the hand of Aggei in the second year of Darius directed to Zorobabel the son of Salatiel, the leader of Iuda, and to Ihesus the son of Iosedec, the great priest.'[lxvii] You consider that the leaders from the tribe of Iuda never fell away: even placed in captivity the tribe never lost the preference. But because you use a new argument, asserting that in Hebrew you do not thus consider it but you mean something very different in other languages, I am amazed at the such quick skill of your erudition in the Hebrew language, as you strive to relieve after 840 years the Jews' madness, which previously never came into their senses. For they had been accustomed to seek a king beyond the sea, not to overturn the words of prophecy with another interpretation. For if thus one considers in Hebrew 'Seber' and 'Amohkec' as meaning in Latin 'tribe' and 'teacher,'[lxviii] why through the spaces of so many years this was not put in opposition to us, when they professed that their king and leader was over the sea, even as a more free and useful assertion was overhanging for them that they should say that this was not considered inwardly in Hebrew? Unless perhaps you, a Gallic man,[lxix] have understood in their literature that which even the leaders of the synagogue did not know, and the Latin man has found in the Hebrew literature that which the Hebrew did not know. Indeed the assertion of this frivolous investigation ought to be beaten back with the pebble of faith. For you were accustomed to pronounce nothing to our teachers from your ancestors and to us as well other than to seek a king for yourselves from the places across the sea. Discuss the interpretation of this admirable teacher- our Iheronimus[lxx]- and prove it from other places of the scriptures, if you wish.
But before I begin to bring the editions of the individual interpreters, is it just for you, good man, that you should mangle with dog-like bites not only the absent one, but also the one enjoying eternal rest. Did thus Moyses the lawgiver teach you, that you should bring forth the testimony not proven by eye witness against the absent one in the presence of judges and pronounce the one whom you know left the estates of his parents and abundant wealth as a person enticed by the love of money? Likewise you charge the man also chaste in conscience as guilty of whimsical desires, even as he rejects the delights of worldly opportunities on account of the zeal of virginity, fasts and squalor. How has the one who has dismissed his own things sought another person's things out of love of money? You indeed, my brother, how do you not hesitate to accuse another person for a matter which you claim to all overflowed for you in our dogma, such that everywhere through acts of intercourse with various women you boast that you had sweet embraces for yourself in our temple?[lxxi] Indeed if the abyss of knowledge and boundless ocean Iheronimus were still alive today, he would not allow you plainly to breath, but would strip you of the thorns by which you are covered and as a victor, as he had been accustomed to triumph above all, he would either lead you back into his column or carry you away half alive into the furthest lands,[lxxii] and would thus case you down as the philosopher and boaster of the doctrines of the Jews, that he would sing to you those words with accustomed constancy: 'Do you have anything else where you may extend the bowstrings your loquacity to fire at?'[lxxiii]
Now one must come to the editions of the interpreters of the Septuagint and take small chapters for example. So in Zaccaria thus the Septuagint has said in the place: 'If there is good in your view, give me reward or reject. And they weighed my pay as 30 pieces of silver, and the Lord said to me: put them in the furnace and consider if it is tested, just as I have been tested by them. And I brought the 30 pieces of silver and I sent them in the house of the Lord into the furnace.'[lxxiv] Our light Iheronimus thus translated it: 'If it is good in your eyes, bring me pay, and if not, be quiet. And they weighed my pay as 30 pieces of silver and the Lord said to me: cast forth to the statue maker that just price, as I have been valued by them. And I brought the 30 pieces of silver and cast them forth in the house of the Lord to the statue maker.'[lxxv] 'And although the sense is the same, the words are differently arranged and almost different.'[lxxvi] So in Esayas[lxxvii]: 'Behold a virgin will receive in her womb and give birth to a son and you will call his name Emmanuel.'[lxxviii] For this Iheronimus: 'Behold a virgin will conceive and will give birth to a son and she will call his name Emmanuel.'[lxxix] For 'you will call' is one thing, and 'she will call' another.[lxxx] You investigate who transmitted better. Although the other interpreters have said 'young woman' or 'youthful woman,' but the Hebraic word is 'alma'[lxxxi] and you will find it applied to Rebecca when she was still a virgin, and you will find it applied to Maria[lxxxii] the sister of Aaron when she was not yet married to a man, as it means 'hidden away and guarded with excess diligence.' So also in the title of the Psalm it has been placed as 'alma noth,' the Septuagint has said: 'for those hidden away.' But in the book of Iob[lxxxiii] where it is said for wisdom: 'And she is hidden away from the eyes of every living person'[lxxxiv]; 'in Hebrew because of the declension of the word it is also said figured otherwise as 'nalma.' And in the books of the kingdoms it has been written from the person of Elisei[lxxxv] speaking to Giezi[lxxxvi]: 'And the Lord has hidden from me.'[lxxxvii] This is similar to it, although it is declined in the masculine gender.' So if you should wish Rebecca and Maria to be virgins, for whom you never read the word 'vetula,' what impudence it is that what you concede for the rest, whether you like it or not, should be denied to this virgin alone? Show to me elsewhere the application of 'alma' where it means a young girl and not a virgin, or where the married women are called by this word, and I should profess myself unskilled and beaten. Also in the Punic language, which is derived from the sources of the Hebrews, the virgin is properly called 'alma.'[lxxxviii] But he who wishes to know the differences of the interpreters and desires to give little weight to the invectives of the Jews, let him read Hebraic Questions by Iheronimus and the rest of his works and plainly, as he has himself professed, let him despise the belchings and nausea of the Jews and he will pass over your vociferations with deaf ear. For this Iheronimus of ours who is truly worthy not only of this world, but also of heaven and whom you irrationally detest: I do not know why you attack him with rabid teeth, when you still do not know his edition. For know that this edition of the interpreters of the Septuagint which you are satisfied to regard as false, is not that of Iheronimus, as he also refuted it in many of his works, and proved the addition by them and diminution were done without evident reason, and because of the differences of these editions he learnt the Hebrew language and soon gave his own true edition in the Latin language to the churches. You see that while you wish to claim Iheronimus is in error, you show your lack of skill, in addition also you are trying to condemn your Jews of the Septuagint even as they are wiser than the rest. But if, as you say, he expresses in the Psalms everything word for word, why should the one who is reliable on the small detail be unreliable on the big detail,[lxxxix] except because the edition of the Psalms is that of Iheronimus? Consider how much differently he has rendered them than the Septuagint has rendered them from its own edition, so that you may know through these things the reliability of the greatest teacher Iheronimus and with what great zeal, and with what great labour he tried to hand over the property of the law to the churches of Christ.
But this testimony your people have perverted with such perverse mind, just as they rejected from the canon the book of the Wisdom of Salomon,[xc] testimony that foresees the crucifixion of Christ. For after the killing of Christ, as there is read in the same place: 'The impious have said among themselves. Let us arrest the just, because he is useless to us and he is contrary to our works. He promises that he has the knowledge of God and calls himself the son of God.'[xci] And also: 'For if he is truly the son of God, He will take him up and free him from the hand of the contrary people.'[xcii] From here therefore: 'That we may know his reverence and test his patience, let us condemn him to the most disgraceful death.'[xciii] So lest our people should disparage them for such open sacrilege by the sacred contribution, they rejected it from the prophetic volumes and forever forbade it to be read by their own people. For those who did not hesitate to separate the whole prophetic book from the prophetic works and deny it as though it had not been written by the same Solomon, foresee with much more silliness to promulgate lines of words otherwise than they had been arranged, so in no way it is to be hidden by your lying stories, but this only should be considered for the word, which the prudent Iheronimus the interpreter for our language gave to all. For no one was unaware that the codices of the Hebrews had been falsified after the advent of Christ, so that they should remove the more evident testimonies about Christ, as they grieved that they would be refuted by them. So it is agreed and it is open and clearer than light that those who afflicted the author of the law with insults, did not fear to pervert the very law, through which alone they could be refuted. Read the curses of the whole law which you know are brought against men, beasts, serpents and insensitive metals, and we will see never anywhere is the phrase 'cursed by God' except in that place where you have wanted to understand that as though for defaming of Christ: 'Cursed are all who have hung on wood,'[xciv] so that they should deny him as God through this. But if the eyes of faith have been opened for you, go through the story of the whole Old Testament, and never will you see the phrase 'cursed by God', and from this you will be able to learn the real perfidy of this people and the incurable madness against his life. And you will be able, because you know us to be ignorant of the Hebrew language, to deceive us through the variety of the codices of the Hebrews, where you will foresee yourself to be beaten. But by this argument you are able to defend yourself in all the scriptures, so that you think yourself to be cleansed in words as you are pressed upon in matters.
But come now let us come to the second chapter and let us test your response less seasoned with salt. For you say: 'The 70 weeks are held in confusion among the Latins,' as though I said previously that they are to be reckoned according to the computation of the Latins or you, Hebrew in faith, could be overcome by the suppositions of the Latins. But legally I affirmed the number of one week to be seven years and I did not cast incoherent understanding into various things as you did, such that being in doubt you do not know where to fix your step and you are lame with both feet,[xcv] counting 70 days and 70 weeks and 70 moons and 70 years 'per his exposition' (of some person) and proceeding suspect everywhere through the numbers of differences. I ask you to tell me whose 'exposition' you wish to understand as 'his.' If it is that of Iheronimus, I am amazed that you have wanted to bring my exposition against me and teach the Latin one from the diversities of the Latins. You seem to me to have put on the persona of a teacher, not an assertor. But again I complain why you have prefixed 'according to his explanation' to each one of the aforementioned numbers of days, weeks, moons and years, when it is certain that you have never read the views explained by him and this has hardly pressed upon this 'seventy times seven' that is above all his own particular explanation, unless perhaps with the rest rejected you learn these two to be the expositions of the Hebrews. Nonetheless, indeed you strengthen the last one with prophetic testimony, or you should wish to prove it alone as dubious, for you say: 'The days as considered by us make 1330 years.' The same number is held in the end of Daniel, for he says: 'Blessed is the one who awaits and reaches 1335 days.'[xcvi] And as you have considered that the five days which you reckon as years surpass this number, immediately you have added as though they are things known about their particular characteristic: 'For in these five years is the Lord to single out those who have remained from all peoples over the earth for the service of Srahel.' And through slippery oration you have darkened the mind of the reader, so that within he might not know what sort of five years you spoke of and from what time they are to be calculated most truly.
Coming to the compendium I concede that thus there are 1335 years, and so from the second year of Darius (who was also called Melas) in which the vision was revealed to Daniel, all the way to Vespasianus, who brought about the captivity of the Jews, 490 years are reckoned. If you add to these the 840 years of the incarnation of the Lord, you will make as a result 1330 years. If you subtract 40 from this sum, because in the fortieth year after the suffering of the Lord there was the war of Vespasianus, there remain 1290 years. From these subtract 33 years of the age of the Lord and there will be 1257 years from the time of Daniel all the way to the era 878 which is the current one, in the year 840 of the incarnation of the Lord, but year 1040 of this age.
But if you wish to reckon from the twentieth year of Artaxerses, in the year in which the word went out that the temple would be built again by Zorobabel, you will find all the way to the nativity of the Lord 490. If you were to add to them those of the incarnation of the Lord, they will be 1330 years, and there remain those five years which you place for us as the servitude. You also break apart this frivolous interpretation when you say: 'You have been imbued with the spirit of such great foolishness and such great stupidity, my brother, that you seek to know those things which Daniel did not know, when the angel said to him: 'Go forth, Daniel, because the words have been shut and sealed all the way to the predetermined time."[xcvii] The strong issue with real matter[xcviii] and which would indeed press me with both horns, if the subsequent word of the author did not break it, because you add the means by which you open the field of response to me and permit the sustaining of no troubles, when you say: 'Count from the first day in which Nabuquodnosor placed the pig's flesh in the temple all the way until when the 1290 years should be fulfilled, and then that book will be opened and its signs will become known.' But if the prophet regarding the miracles of the whole vision said the words were shut and sealed, who has revealed this number of years to you, so that you should know that which Daniel could not know? For he said days, not years. You interpret years and I do not know by what such great author you read the part of the sealed book. If the whole book is under seal, therefore also these 1290 days have been gathered in the same number. Why in one part you say sealed, and in another part open? Although it is allowed for you to interpret the predetermined number of the sealing not as days, but as years; will it not be allowed for me to prove them according to the prophet not as years, but days? You usurp great things for yourself, while you interpret days as years in clearing up clouds; do you not concede to me lesser things that I should expound the words of prophecy plainly, not hesitating on the word of days? If the words have been sealed, how have you calculated above after 1330 years that there are five years for servitude of the peoples? Who has given you this authority, that you should impose servitude on all peoples for five years? Why are you trying to expound on that which Daniel did not explain? On what basis do you hurry to discuss that which he passed over untouched? But you say: 'We are today in the year 1363,' according to which you hurry to show that there are only 27 years left until your Messiah is freed from the wooden or iron bonds. All this attempt should be rendered vain, if the status of life should survive for us both, because with 27 years reckoned from the era that is now considered 878 the advent of your Zabulus should be considered to be in the coming era 905. But let us bind ourselves both by such a definitive decree, that if life should be a companion[xcix] and we should both surpass that space of years, the one whose invective is proven false should come across by step of the mind into the faith of the other person.
But if in that time your redemption is not there, I fear that you will perhaps turn the number of one week into a course of seventy years, so that you should say that 3900 years are to pass until the advent of the most unjust enemy.
Notice in what terms Daniel sealed the book: 'They will be chosen,' he said, 'and will be whitened and many will be tested as fire and all the impious will act impiously; forthwith the learned will understand.'[c] You see that few will be chosen and whitened from very many, and again not all, but many will be tested and the impious who have denied God will not understand. Forthwith the learned will understand. So he did not forbid knowledge of the book for those he foresaw to be the learned of the faith. You will applaud yourself again because, if you had the opportunity, you would teach that I and my Egesipsus[ci] have erred much, and because you cannot show, as though you repeatedly threaten to attack in the transit, that the reader will think you are sparing me even as you have not spared your own soul in your lies,[cii] for 'the mouth that lies kills a soul'[ciii]- much more its own soul than that of another. And this occurs in the art of rhetoric that while it cannot prepare responses, it feigns itself to be passing over out of its own free will what it could supposedly prove,[civ] so that it can show to all that it is not lacking the studiousness, but rather the will of the mind. And thus while it promises golden mountains, it does not produce a copper coin.[cv] With such disciplines you have been imbued and you boast that you are thus capable of what you can hardly practice as conscience is witness.
Know that I placed nothing for you from the words of Egesippus, but from those of your teacher Iosippus,[cvi] because he handed down in his books that from the captivity of Babilon all the way to Herod all your chiefs of foreign offspring, who were both kings and priests, usurped the priesthood for themselves after the invasion of the kingdom, on account of which it is not to be disbelieved that they sustained the lethal mishap. And do not place in opposition to me: 'The stranger who approaches, if he is not from the tribe of Aaron, is to die.'[cvii] But consider the stubbornness of the Jewish people and the audacity of this effeminate people, and then you will know that they could usurp greater things. For I have affirmed that the leader Alexander to be a leader from the tribe of Iuda, who usurped the priesthood for himself. You, if you wish, say again that he was not king, but you will not be capable of this, because the domestic witness Iosephus rises against you, as he also proves by his words that his brother Aristobulus did such things, as he says: 'Aristobulus, who was the older of the brothers and more carried off in mind, converted the leader of the priesthood to the power of the kingdom for himself and usurped in arrogance the diadem for himself.'[cviii] Let us see who was this Iosephus and from what tribe of the Jews he arose. For he says: 'I Iosephus the son of Mathias and the priest of Jerusalem, who both fought the Romans in the first war and nonetheless participated in the later battles bound by necessity.'[cix] And in another place: 'I am not Aaron, but nonetheless I am no inferior to him.'[cx] But from the fifth book of his history let us bring forth what kind of testimony he brought forth regarding the nature of his people. For after he was captured by Vespasianus and was condemned to death because he had been a leader of the Jewish faction and had wearied the Romans in many wars, at least he prophesied to Vespasianus concerning the death of Nero and his rule and immediately he received not only the grace of release, but also he obtained the place of friendship with him that was not to be despised. Nonetheless he was ordered to speak in his native tongue to the Jews whose leader was Ioannes the murderous assassin. To him Iosephus thus says: 'It would not be wondrous, Ioannes, if you were to persevere all the way to the destruction of the native land, since already the divine protection has abandoned it. But I am amazed if you do not believe it will perish, when you have read the prophetic books in which they announced the destruction of the land to us and repaired summits are again to be destroyed by the Roman army. For what else does Daniel claim? For he did not prophesise that which had already been done, but that which was to come later. What is the abomination of the desolation to be when the Romans come except that which overhangs?'[cxi] You see that in that very time your Iosephus believed that the 70 weeks were fulfilled. And after a few things he also adds: 'I am not free,' he says, 'from the danger of this sort. Indeed I have known that my mother, most holy to me, is risking herself with your people, as is my rather holy wife, and not ignoble people and once prominent homes. And perhaps you think that you can persuade me because of my kinsfolk. Kill them and receive my blood over payment. Gladly I pay this price of your safety, if after me you can be wise.'[cxii] You understand, my brother, that you can never be wise sometimes, according to the words of your teacher? Indeed you trust in the winds and have confidence in nothing. For you have said that he was born on the die and anointed when Jerusalem was devastated. So it suffices that his birth indicated destruction and perpetual ruin for you.
Do you see, my brother, that you are better than your Messiah? You are released, he is bound. You are a young man, that one already old. And perhaps he grows older by the day, unless you should say that he does not feel the daily increments of age, through which you should affirm that he is metal that is insensitive. For it is the title concerning the falsities of the metals. If only it would not tire you to write to me: who bound him? Who guards him as he is bond? In what privy does he lie corrupted? Merged partly in what sewer of the land does he abound with worms? Shout to him in a louder voice, because perhaps your Messiah is purging the bowels or relieving the bladder with the outpouring of urine or quietly breathing out the filth of dung from his anus or certainly managing the inflation of the stomach through farting,[cxiii] and so he does not hear those daily wailings of yours. Does it not shame you to follow such ridiculous madness? Indeed you, oh brother, follow the winds and graze on the breezes,[cxiv] as you hold the nerves of obscurity and trust in the smokes of homes, as you also expect release from the one who has not been released. You write in the end: 'Goodbye, and hold your Ihesus,[cxv] and this, and forever.' So accept this brief response: Amen, and again Amen, and Amen for a third time. Amen in Heaven, Amen on Earth. And let not only the angels say, but also all the people: 'Let it be so, let it be so.'[cxvi] And so I embrace him willingly in faith through his inspiration, so let me be held by him and let me not be led away from him in faith and wicked deed by someone's comment, and so let Ihesus bind my mind to him by perpetual right, such that henceforth no obscene titillation should remain awake in my senses, but thus he should preside over my mind in faith, that he controls my limb in work and liberating me from bad hearing through his gift he himself makes me participant in the joy of his right-hand part, as in the Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit he is worshipped by me as the one God, to Whom belongs the glory forever.
XVII: The reply of the transgressor
...[cxvii]Srahel, as has been written in the book of Deuteronomy: 'Place these words of mine in your hearts and minds.'[cxviii] And so on. And in the same book elsewhere one reads: 'Moyses entrusted to us the law, the inheritance of the multitude of Iacob.'[cxix] And again in the same book: 'Beware lest you forget the words that your eyes have seen and let them not go out from your heart in all the days of your life.'[cxx] Hear, detractor, what has been written: 'in all the days of your life.' Pay attention firmly and be careful lest seeing you should not see and hearing you should not understand. See therefore that I have confirmed my law most truly...
....[cxxi]'deserted and full to the flocks of men, and they will know that I am the Lord.'[cxxii] And a little after: 'The sons of man, these bones are the whole house of Srahel.[cxxiii] They themselves say: They have removed our bones, our hope perished and we have been cut off. Moreover prophesise as you say to them: The Lord God says these things. Behold I will take up the sons of Srahel from the middle of the nations to which they have gone away and I will gather them from everywhere and I will lead them to their land, and I will make them into one people in the land and mountains of Srahel, and there will be one king ruling over all. And there will no longer be two peoples nor will they divided further into two kingdoms and they will not be polluted further in their idols and abominations and in all their necessities, and I will make them save from all their seats in which they sinned and I will purify them and they will be for me in the peoples and I will be for them in God, and he will be my servant David over them and one pastor of all those and they will walk in my judgements and they will keep my commands and they will do those things and they will dwell over the land which I gave to my servant Iacob and in which your fathers dwelt and they will dwell over the land, as well as their sons and the sons of the sons forever, and David my servant their leader forever' and so on. Just see that you can find no occasion that all those things are not to occur from above the Earth. The end.
XVIII: Thus the letter of Albarus directed to the transgressor
We saw your impudent letter furnished with lying and stinking with insults (we have dealt with some small delays) and we have immediately recognised it on account of the tongue. It was not a matter of tedium to respond to you immediately, but thus did things turn out, because as I was involved in other businesses I was not held in my own place. Thus we have brought this preface apologetically, lest you should assert that I have responded late. And in the first front we wondered at the one who lies in the Jewish manner and we shuddered at the usual perfidy of your faith, while you say: 'The letter of a certain person reached our hands, which was full of blasphemies against the true and living God.' But it is agreed that you are deceitful, while you try to impose on me those things which, with conscience as witness, you never seemed to have read in my letters. But because, as you say, you did not wish to respond to me unless the command of your instructors and teachers urged you to do so, I beseech you that lay aside your rancour for a little while and drive away the error of the obstinate perfidy and notice what I am saying. Since all have been struck with blindness as the prophet testifies,[cxxiv] by what temerity do you assert that you have teachers whom you know to be blind to the prophetic pronouncement? And so much does the prophetic conversation openly intone to all, that he even asks about the time of blindness not without great disquisition, saying: 'For how long, Lord?'[cxxv] To him the divine response immediately declared the perpetual blindness by its oracle. But there are these things and elsewhere. Nonetheless I will follow the traces of your letter and bring out in what lines you entered error, leaving aside the most stupid wounds of insult that you have brought forth from an impudent mouth with serpent-bearing wisdom, and let me intimate only briefly those things that may bind you and your tongue by the limit and lead the one deviating by the collar of justice onto the path of the right way.
For you say that on the contrary you abandoned the false, abject, falsifying, cursed, horrible, despicable and abominable and cheap faith and took up the glorious and true one. And I am amazed that the harshness of your brow has brought forth such wicked things even as the world rejects it[cxxvi]: such things which, as Virgilius says, 'are neither easy to see nor affable to hear for anyone.'[cxxvii] You ought to notice the force of the words that have been brought forth from you in confusion, and understand that you yourself have been divided two ways. For it is called faith because it was something, from where also all who are firm in its truth are called faithful. So if it is faith, it is not false, nor are those other things which you have titled for it with ignominious mouth as not to be pronounced. But if you title such great things as true for it, I ask that you take away the name of faith. For while you call it false, you unknowingly strike yourself down by your mouth. For that which is before the elect is called false, later it is proven false on account of something. So that I may confirm this by legal instruments, hear the following: 'Call them the false silver, because the Lord has cast them forth.'[cxxviii] Do you see that it has spoken against you and your sword has been thrust back into you? For the abject and false are the same thing, because what is thrown away is understood to be appropriate before the abjection: this has suited you, not the peoples, and has come upon your law, and not ours. But who, oh most stupid of all, chatters against himself with such a mad mouth and has killed himself with unsound mind? And although in your stinkiness you brought forth many stinking things in the manner of the impudent and not the eloquent, and you did not, as your people boast, bring them forth through the sharpened acumens of the people of syllogism, but rather through those of the people of solecism like Crisippus,[cxxix] you should at least not have pronounced as despicable nor condemned as cheap that which you previously saw as royal and thundering to the eyes. And you should be embarrassed about this: that you bring against us those things which you are not unaware abounded for you. For today it is not the faith that is trampled on, as it is very much holy, but rather your portents of error and all the false figments that are worn down by the foot. And you dare to pronounce as cheap that which you see as flourishing with glory, swelling with honour, and glowing far and wide? For today your people are so much despised, that they are deemed dishonourable through all the kingdoms like the garment of the woman who has menstruated,[cxxx] such that it is for great insult that anyone should be said to be a Jew. As you boast that you have the law written by the true finger of God,[cxxxi] add, if you want, also many miracles that the divine power made not for you, but for the forefathers: the divine power that was an embodiment of all the mighty works of the omnipotent God, not the insane impudence of your people. For the spiritually just law is written in stone tablets because it was to be given to your very harsh hearts, and so that it may be certain and open to you that all its text is spiritual, the law was pronounced as written by the finger of God, so that the virtue of the Holy Spirit may be more expressly designated by name. For there is no composition for limbs, so that it may be called His finger of flesh, but whatever is considered as composed by His finger is the result of writing by the spirit of God. For if you want to understand the law of flesh, you not only ascribe limbs to God, but also declare Him to be like you, and while you refuse to call Christ God, immediately you will accept every man as equal to God. For thus it says: 'Let us make man in Our image and likeness.'[cxxxii] Indeed God is the One who says this, who bears the power to create. You indeed respond to me as to whom He is saying- 'Let us make'- and whose power of creation He is seeking as help. If it is the power of the angels, therefore the angels are like Him and equally the creators of men, and while you preach the worship of the one true God, you incur the servitude of many gods.
You consider that the law is destroyed if it is carnally observed. I could demonstrate to you the story of the whole law attacking itself in turn in the manner of the Maniceans.[cxxxiii] But see that not only do you induce many gods, but also you affirm that your Creator is similar to the rest of creation. But if you ask from me how I feel about this, you will not understand the sentiment of my mind, because 'wisdom does not enter into a malevolent soul.'[cxxxiv] Indeed as you sweat with vain labour[cxxxv] in confirming the law and hurry to bind me with deaf ear and indomitable heart, do not applaud vanity in testimonies with expanded lips, since you know that I do not deny the precept of the law, but venerate it through divine understanding. Surely I am not similar to you in making dubious through preaching those things that are clearer than light? So let it be absent from me that I who venerate the truth should speak any falsehood. For I believe that the law was given not only to you, but to all peoples, as it was inserted in the tablets of the Decalogue.[cxxxvi] Look at the first tablets broken by your vice[cxxxvii] and understand that they have meant your false insanities, as you who were initially the elect were cast forth by your vice. Notice, I beseech, the second tablets covered in coverings for you, so that your heart, covered with thick covering, should not be illustrated by the indescribable supernal light. So also Moyses brought back his face covered[cxxxviii] because thus he signified your understanding that is still blind, for until today you Jews act by custom, while you cover the Heptateuch[cxxxix] with the bright covering and you read the covered words of the bringer of the law to all. Indeed the testimony attacking itself in turn is to have been arranged spiritually for itself. 'Be careful lest you forget the words that your eyes have seen and let them not go out from your heart in all the days of your life.'[cxl] Notice, enemy of God on high, and diligently consider the force of the words. 'Do not forget the words that your eyes have seen.' And certainly the words are heard rather than being seen; for the words pertain to the ears, not to the eyes. But if you know how these things are to be said, explain; but if you do not know, I warn you, be careful of what you do not know, but taking up the form of the disciple, seek, look, knock, although I am not unaware that you compiled the volumes of the teachers, from the flowing of which you supposedly glow today. Indeed you seemed to warn me to hear 'in all the days of your life' and as a sciolist you seemed to preach that I must be on guard against blindness with open eyes. I am amazed at the insanity of your impudence, indeed the insanity of your impudent mind, which does not allow you to perceive what is right and with conscience rejected makes you bring against me those things that you have known are within you and your people, and in this you have seemed to be the declaimer against yourself. But hear that which our eloquent conversation brings forth and be ashamed of your own blindness with at least one example. For never do the great wonders of God go out from our heart as they are inserted in the law, nor those terrible things by which He struck Egypt in unheard power. But we both read of your stubbornness in the same place and everyday we grieve and lament for you. Indeed you have not only forgotten those things, but also then you have considered them for nothing in your contempt, for those footsteps that I know tread on the sea with dry foot[cxli] soon after jumped in applause before the calf, and imitating the turns of the bodies in farcical manner[cxlii] sang indeed not in an exalted, but low voice: 'These are your gods, Srahel, who led you out from the land of Egypt.'[cxliii] And indeed the prophetic words said: 'May they not go out from your heart in all the days of your life.' This was so not in order that it should signify the perpetual employment of deeds, but rather should only indicate the vow of commemoration. For who, oh mad one, is not merely to recall in heart these things everyday, as the prophet said,[cxliv] but is also to read orally on the designated occasions in public that which is known to you to be for damnation?
But indeed you boast that you have affirmed your law through true testimonies. But who denied to you that it was of God, so that you should undo that which no one raised in objection? But we say that you have taken up the false law, not because it was false at that time, but because the shade yielded as the light already arrived. For all your law, indeed much more my own, heralds the advent of Christ, whom all the Jews do not deny is to come. For you know that all the ancestors before expected the Messiah and the forefathers everyday prayed for his presence, because the books of the prophets publicly bring it forth and not all the blind and leaders of the blind can deny. For at the same time you have professed and you are not able to deny that you were driven by the orders of your teachers and not in intention of faith, but in the malice of perfidy you have hissed the dog's eloquence[cxlv] with a viper's mouth. And indeed as words flow from an alien stomach and you share the cognomen not of a teacher, but of a disciple, you should gladly ask the leaders of the synagogue whether this Christ of ours, whom you have seem to have disparaged with the most foul mouth, when he arose as the light in the world, anyone of them- even at least one- knew him to be the Messiah. And certainly you will not be able to deny that many of the Jews believed in him, such that through thousands of columns of men he made available his sacred banquets.[cxlvi] For not only many, but also nearly all the Jews believed in him. For in awaiting the Messiah, some knew he was the way of those who err, but to others he was the stumbling block.[cxlvii] And so we learnt that we were not the Gentiles, but Srahel, because our parents had once arisen from the Srahelitic lineage. But when the one longed for came for all peoples, immediately we recognised that he had come, as we read many times that the one prophesised previously was coming. So the multitude of the sea was converted to us and the diversity of the Gentiles was turned back to us.[cxlviii] Over us arose the Lord and His honour was seen among us, and the peoples proceed in our light and in the splendour of our bright face do the kings proceed, because 'the Lord made known His greeting, before the sight of the Gentiles has He revealed His justice'[cxlix]: that is Christ. So there was fulfilled that which David sang about much before: 'All the lands of the earth will remember and be converted to the Lord and all the lands of the Gentiles will adore in His sight.'[cl] We indeed are Srahel as we once expected the Messiah with you, but when the fulness of the peoples came, the columns of the peoples grew and the word of those who prophesy was fulfilled: that all the Earth was filled with the glory of the Lord.[cli] Whoever indeed from the Gentiles believes in our Jesus, immediately he crosses over into the number of Srahel. And so that I may affirm what I say with clearer words, look at yourself, wretched one, and see how you have crossed into the group of the Jews, such that now you are not reckoned among the Geniles, but you applaud yourself as being from the Israhelitic seed because you have gone out to their madness. For whatever the prophecies of the prophets once sang of and promised to us believers as though through a solemn promise proclaimed, it is not however for those who deny it. And indeed do not extoll yourself in the promises of the One of the High-Throne with swelling cheeks and inflated mouth, when you know that all my things are not your own.
But you say that all the gentiles in God's eye are 'like the drop of the bucket, and have been reckoned as though they do not exist and as inane.'[clii] I am amazed that you, a prudent man, have opined in such an inane way. Indeed you know that in God's eyes no one is anything. Or do you not know what He reported about Himself to Moyses, for he said: 'I am who I am and you will say to the sons of Srahel: He who is, sent me.'[cliii] Indeed you understand whither this narration goes, for this praise is not egregious and singular, if you concede that someone besides God has existence. And truly the prophet not only meant 'the Gentiles' but added 'all,' because he also counted the Srahelitic people in the number. For when he said all, he exempted no one. But if all peoples are thus in His sight 'as though they do not exist and are reckoned as nothing and inane,' among all peoples is Srahel as well. Therefore also it is as though it does not exist and is reckoned as nothing and inane. And we say these things so that your arrogance may be broken and the cunning of your assertion may be beaten back. But the response is freer, briefer and indeed clearer to me, because as I am a descendant from the stock of Srahel I can boast for myself all the things said that you applaud as selected for you. Understand prudently and conjecture with wisdom and be a fair judge. Who is more worthy to be reckoned by the name of Srahel, you, who, as you say, have turned back from idolatry to the cult of the greatest God and are not Jewish by people, but by faith, or I, who am Hebrew by both faith and people? But so I am not called Jewish, because 'a new name' was imposed on me 'that the mouth of the Lord will name.'[cliv] Certainly my father is Abraam, because my ancestors descended from that very line. But awaiting the Messiah to come and receiving him as he comes they seem more to be Srahel than those who awaited and rejected the one coming and nonetheless did not cease looking at him. For you wait up to this day for the one it is certain you rejected. But the Gentiles who turn back to the faith of Srahel are everyday added to the people of God, just as you seemed to have adhered to the error of the Jews. But if you complain why we do not observe the ceremonies of the law, hear Esayas proclaiming with the trumpet to all: 'Do not remember the prior things and do not gaze on the old things. Behold I make new things.'[clv] So that he should pass over no occasion of jesting for you, he put in place the future time, not the past, and so that he should indicate not only to the Gentiles, but also to the Jews (who we are), he continued the given words: 'And now they will arise, and you will recognise them.'[clvi] Here he deliberately affirmed that the Jews (who we are) would recognise those things. And so that he should show more openly the salvation of the peoples, he added: 'I will place in the wilderness,'[clvii] which had not been tamed with the culture of the Lord's ploughshare, 'a way'- that is, Christ, who said: 'I am the way, the truth and the life'[clviii]- and 'rivers in the wasteland.' Indeed He placed rivers in the wasteland, when He made the Gentiles who did not know the way of law recognise Him and after the drying of the wool, which had previously been full of dew when the earth was dry,[clix] the vapour of truth filled the lands of the whole world and dryness remained on the wool alone. 'The beasts of the land, the serpents and buildings have glorified Me.'[clx] All these things metaphorically refer to the Gentiles, who had been consecrated through various errors in the idolatry of the beasts. So he seeks the calling of the Gentiles, so that he may show more firmly: 'That I have given waters in the desert, rivers in the wasteland.' And so that he should not exclude Srahel, but rather so that he should show the Gentiles also to be his people, he says: 'To my people, my elect.' You see that the waters of the Gospel and the rivers of the apostles have been given to us to drink, that is, to the Jews who awaiting Christ received him when he came, and to all who until today are recoiling from the devil's traps and insert themselves into the limbs of the church. About this people it is added: 'I have strengthened this people for me, they will narrate my praise.' The rest of the things that follow promise many things to us: partly fulfilled, and partly still to come.
But you assert that I go in darkness and you strive to prove this by the testimony of Esayas who says that 'behold darkness will cover the land and darkness will cover the people.'[clxi] I am astounded that you- an astute man- have opined in such a non-serious way, so that counting me among the peoples you remove yourself from the people. But I have already said above that the Lord has risen over us and the peoples proceed in our light.
And so that you may know that never are you and your followers to be joined to the people of God, but always dispersed and not to return to the way of peace, hear Esayas proclaiming from the person of Christ the appropriate words of human nature: 'And now the Lord says forming me from the womb as a servant to Him, so that I should lead back Iacob to Him and Srahel will not be gathered.'[clxii] Notice what the divine word says: 'Forming me from the womb as a servant to Him': that is, I am the servant of the same one from whose stomach I am cast out, so that the hearer should not be caused to stumble as he hears the servant who is the Lord. For as he is God from the Father, so also he is a servant from the mother: the Lord Jesus Christ who is one in both natures. But we did not take these things here to be discussed. Let us hear what this servant of the Lord says, who is the Lord: 'The Lord has created me from the womb as a servant to Him, so that I may lead back Iacob to Him.' And soon he brought forth the deliberative pronouncement, saying: 'And Srahel will not be gathered.' He professed freely and absolutely that Srahel will not be gathered. Do you perceived, I beseech, how I have liquified the icy charcoals with a few words and how I have dissipated so many of your phalanxes with the smallest finger?
But you raise the broken neck in the meantime and plead that this is not considered as such in Hebrew. But consider that 'the Hebrew word 'lo' is not written through lamet and wau- because if it were, it would mean what Aquila posited: 'to him' and 'will be gathered to him.' But rather it was written through lamet and aleb, which properly mean 'not.'[clxiii] So therefore Iacob was not led back to the Lord, nor was Srahel gathered. Moreover Christ says: to you non-believers 'I have been glorified in the eyes of the Lord.' For the whole world has believed in me 'and my God has become my fortitude."[clxiv] He says my God per his humanity. So just as I must, contrary to you, affirm him to be God by the pronouncements of the scriptures, so also against the one who denies him to be man it is appropriate for me to seize the battle of the scriptures and produce all those examples of his humanity through which I should confirm that he is true man. For if I deny one of these, I will not be Christian. So let us return to the order and let us see the prophetic pronouncement still. 'And my God has become my fortitude,' 'who consoled me when I was sad over the abjection of my people,'[clxv] as also one reads in the Heptatuech: 'I am sorry to have made man over the earth. And touched by the pain of the heart He says within: I will wipe out from the face of the Earth man whom I made.'[clxvi] So if you raise the heel of contradiction, expound how you understand that which you read from the person of God in the prophet Ezeciel: 'And in all these things did you sadden me.'[clxvii] He continues: 'It is a small thing if you serve me to restore the tribes of Iacob,'[clxviii] who have fallen by their corruption, and to 'convert' the 'sediments' or remains of 'Srahel.' For this is the meaning of the Hebrew word 'nesure.'[clxix] For these things I have 'given you into the light' of all 'peoples,' so that you may illuminate the whole world and you will make my salvation, through which all may believe and become saved, reach the ends of the Earth.' 'So he continues: 'It is a great thing for you that you should be called my boy.' Great is referred to the man and to the boy, who is small in comparison with God.'[clxx] But those testimonies which you have posited with inane labour so as to affirm the unity, we notice by reading and we have foreseen them as congruous to us, not adverse, because we do not worship three gods, but we affirm and venerate One in the Trinity, whom we can affirm to you with suitable witnesses and the intonements of the words of the prophets. 'Let us make man in Our image and likeness,'[clxxi] says the divine scripture; and so that this voice should be formed not to the angels, but to the Son, it soon added: 'And God made man, and made him in God's image.' Hear, perfidious one and adversary of the holy faith, God making in the image of God, and know the mystery of the Trinity in the beginning of your creation. 'By the word of the Lord,' says David, 'have the heavens been made firm and by the spirit of His mouth is all of their power.'[clxxii] Thus also Esayas the first of the prophets above all, repeating 'holy' three times[clxxiii] demonstrates the Trinity, but by saying 'the Lord God' and not 'Lord Gods' he declares the unity.
But what need is there for me to halt for a long time on a matter so open, which ought to contain the monuments not of one volume, but of many volumes? Indeed I should intimate that briefly, because if you wish to ventilate most keenly the history of the whole law, either you will believe in the three-fold God or you will induce many and several in the error of idolatry, since you have read both 'Let us make'[clxxiv] and 'Let us descend'[clxxv] and 'Who will go for Us?'[clxxvi] and many other things in the sacred literature, while you find God sent by God in Zaccaria and notice the plurality of gods in many places. So we let you investigate these things in the study of brevity, so that you may hear and be quiet, so that you can understand and thus speak. We come to your epilogues, that is, to your curses,[clxxvii] where you call me wretched and having forgotten the old proverb while you say another thing and bring forth a most serious charge: namely, the old proverb that the liars ought to have good memories.[clxxviii] On high you have placed the testimony of Esayas so that you should affirm me not to be a son, but a Gentile people: 'All the peoples as drops of the bucket and as though they do not exist.' Now indeed having forgotten your intent you contradict yourself by saying: 'You have abandoned the God who has begotten you.'[clxxix] For if He begot me, my Father exists and you are not His only son, although also subtly, while He calls Srahel the first-born, He declares that He has others after the first-born. For the first-born is not called as such unless he has brothers of whom he is the first, and although first-born, he has not been called the only-begotten. But if I have abandoned Him, as you say, it is agreed that I knew Him before, because it matches Srahel, not the Gentiles, since the Gentiles did not abandon the one already known, but took up the one not yet known. So either you will affirm me to be a Jew and a son of God, so you should affirm I have abandoned the One who begot me, or a Gentile people, and you will grieve that you have placed all things in vain. But while you sweat wholly as you wallow in invectives and insults, you do not corroborate your silly trifles. You see that you have been bound by the lanterns of your words and have been restricted not by the webs of spiders, but by the most strong and solid net.[clxxx] 'And you have been converted,' you say, 'to the man who is to perish.' But you repeat the same things and it does not suffice to have demonstrated the stupidity of your slowness once. For you say: 'You have been converted to the man who is to perish.' Therefore you are a witness for me that I have worshipped the living God: I have undertaken the long awaited Messiah, the eternal pastor. But you say: 'You have been converted.' You show that I was not a Gentile people, but the people, as I waited with you for a long time for the Messiah, the redeemer of all.
You see that you labour with futile labour, while you see nothing and you feel your way, while you yourself attack your own words. So do not place before me promises and counter-promises and say the Gentile peoples are hateful and wicked in the sight of God, because you affirm me not to be a Gentile people, but a Jew. But that which you lead out by belching from the sewer of your stomach and the lying insults that you spew through conjecture against the Redeemer: thus you show the store of your heart, 'because a bad man brings forth those things that are bad from the bad store'[clxxxi] and 'every bad tree makes bad fruits.'[clxxxii] 'But the fatuous one,' according to Esayas, 'speaks fatuous things and his heart will understand false things, so that it may fulfil iniquities and speak lying falsehood against the Lord.'[clxxxiii] 'Let the one who can commit filthy things speak filthy things,' according to the words of Iheronimus.[clxxxiv] 'But in the mouth of the fool is the stick of arrogance;'[clxxxv] so also the Psalmist says about you and the likes of you: 'They have placed their mouth against heaven and their tongue has crossed over the Earth.'[clxxxvi] About them he also says elsewhere: 'May the Lord destroy all deceitful lips and the grandiose tongue.'[clxxxvii] And another on the contrary: 'The fatuous does not receive words of prudence, unless you say those things that are versed in his heart.'[clxxxviii] And he also above: 'Iuda, why do you glory in malice, as you are potent in iniquity all day?' and the following things of the whole psalm all the way to 'and has been strong in its vanity.'[clxxxix] This is your opposition and harsh contempt, which is not expiated through sacrifice or sacrificial victim. About this the prophet said: 'The sin of Iuda has been written with the iron pen, engraved in adamantine point.'[cxc] This was so that he should designate it as perpetual through both iron and indomitable adamantine.
But as you have said many polluted things, polluted as you are, and I do not dare to pass over with deaf ear the insult against the greatest God, hear what the truth, not arrogance, says. Hear, enemy of God the lofty, hear, profaner of the divine law, hear, violator of the holy shrine, hear, thief of the vessels of the Lord. Who has ever drunk so much from the Sodomotic wines and has tasted the wine of ill will of the serpents and snakes as you,[cxci] since you have dared to raise the mouth in arrogance against the One on High and contrive slander with the Devil against the Son of God? Who has ever been struck with such great blindness, so he should say that pureness has been overcome by pollution? Consider, wretched one, how the rays of the Sun penetrate the sewer and nonetheless they neither lack their own light nor do they take up the impurity of the sewer; indeed rather the sewer is dried out and the lights of the Sun always remain clear. So if 'the eye of the Sky, the servant of the One thundering over the stars,'[cxcii] the Sun does these things, how much more is the One who created the Sun? And you disbelieve in the power of God, whose wondrous works you see everyday? You say to me: 'How did flesh beget flesh and it was not violated?' I say to you: How did the stick of Aaron produce nuts when it was not planted,[cxciii] how did the Sun abandon natural motion and drag forth the day rather long by shining,[cxciv] and how did the flowing waves of the sea, after forgetting their nature, with the margins made upright with glacial-like rigour and with the waters solidified, stand as a firm wall?[cxcv] How did the ass- a chattel animal- bring forth human words by rite,[cxcvi] by what means did the Sun turn back through the sundial by fifteen gradations?[cxcvii] And while you know that all these things occurred not rationally, but by divine power, whether you like it or not you will have to bind your tongue in silence. And because you say many pest-bearing things with a pest-bearing tongue, while you charge that he kissed the genitalia with his own lips through the virgin's barriers and the polluted way (something you have brought forth in sufficient impudence with shameless brow) and you have declared the receptacles of your mother and the internal sinews of her womb to be execrable,[cxcviii] listen, you wicked one filled with all execrations and abominations, you unclean and horrendous spirit. Indeed you are the one who has openly dared to blaspheme the living God and striven to devise profane contrivances of the voices. And in the first instances, trembling in the whole body, I damn my eyes defiled by the accursed claims, as they understood such things in reading. For if Esayas testified that he had polluted lips,[cxcix] because he lived in the middle of a people having polluted lips, what is to be said about me, as I stand polluted not only by requirement of merit, but also on account of your silly things and feigned tales of frivolous things, which I have heard by eyes and ears? Woe is you, woe is you, woe is you, wretched one, unhappy one, you who dare to discuss impiously the One you are not able to implore with worthiness. But tell me: who fabricates bodies and grants vital spirits to the adulterers and those who look on the wives of kinsfolk like insane horses, and those born from the incest? Surely God? If God, therefore not only does He send the hands of His creating in the dung, but also (may it be absent) He is the co-worker of evils, since He has granted animal souls to those born from such contagion? Our prudent and great Iheronimus explained this under such a figure,[cc] that he made the comparison of the things taken away by theft of the seed and the things inserted by the furrows: or therefore, he says, the Earth ought not to bear fruit by such sowing, because the sower has cast forth those things with impure hand? But we have not taken these things up to be discussed here.
Do you not know, unjust one, that in every place both clean and horrid God has been present, but it is not the filthiness of the place, but the purity of the Lord that overflows in the place? Or do you not know that nothing is unclean to God, who can make clean out of unclean?[cci] Do you not realise that also God penetrates the infernal place, horrible as it is and worst of all things that stink with impurities? So either you will affirm that God the Creator made our body, or you defend the notion that there is another creator besides God. But David is bold and says: 'Your hands made me and formed me.'[ccii] And certainly elsewhere he says: 'Behold in iniquities I have been conceived and in sins did my mother give birth to me.'[cciii] You see the hands of the Lord made the genitalia, which you say are hated, do you see that by the hands of the One of the High-Throne were the receptacles of the womb made? Hear also another thing: 'Let Us make man in our image and likeness.' And you say that the image of God is polluted? Do you understand that man was formed in God's image, made distinct through the limbs by lines, and you say it is a detestable nature, whose divine form you look on? And you cannot say that the soul was formed in the image of God. For man is called as such from the ground, that is, the Earth, from where our body was founded,[cciv] not from the soul, whose origin no created being knows. And through this not ignominiously, as you charge, did he touch the virgin parts of the virgin with his own lips, but gloriously, as we truly say, did he not only touch the likeness of God, but received it in his little limbs and in that form in that he deserved to be born. Regarding this, previously in time not in a particular sense, but in the usual sense it was known to have been taught to all, that the One who chose man in the beginning as the most beautiful of all beasts, only made him deliberately in His image. All these things that I have brought forth, we have said them in another sound sense by which it has been implanted for the Christians to discuss, in order that we might escape the Jewish errors, not so that I might forge a dogma for the Christians. But the insults that you have brought out so many times venomously against God with a mouth inflated and swelling in the manner of the bladders,[ccv] and puffed up as you are by the devil's spirit, although they contain many indecent things and not worthy of a response, nonetheless mark out nothing greater than the cross, death and descent to the underworld: we not only do not deny this thing, but also extolling the trophies of the prizes like victory and triumph arms, sponsored as we are with one of the friends, we have said and will say: 'May we only glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.'[ccvi] But all the things that you have said and more, Esayas the prophet put forth in composition regarding you and the likes of you, when he prophesised that you would say all these things: from the place in which he says: 'Behold my servant will understand'[ccvii] all the way to the part where he thus finished his words: 'And he has carried the sins of the many, and has prayed for the transgressors.'[ccviii]
You add another very heavy mass, saying: 'Cursed is the one who believes in a man'; as though I believe in the man because he is a man, and not rather that I should adore him because he is God. Rightly you would say this if you had often heard that I believe in him as a pure man and not as God. But indeed as you proceed excessively and through the love of being contrarian you do not know how to temper your ill-speaking tongue from insults, you kill yourself by your own sword. Tell me, I pray (may you thus never be able within), do you believe that this Messiah whom you hope for is man or God? If he is a man, you are all cursed, because you believe that you have a forearm of flesh. If he is God, therefore he is not David nor his son nor is he bound by chains, because God is free and is not a slave of anyone. Does it not shame you, most unhappy of mortals, to follow such ridiculous figments, that you await a portentous sign, which you hear is bound with bonds and tied with iron chains, in order for it to be your refuge? And thus you are cursed in home, cursed in field,[ccix] with the psalmist equally rebuking: 'Let the sinners and unjust fall away from the Earth, such that they do not subsist.'[ccx]
But the remaining things that you have put forth, I judge to be unworthy of response, because it has pleased you to place against me those things that your sluggishness has never heard me denying. For as you say: 'He did not so as such for every nation.'[ccxi] But I have affirmed that I am the very nation for which He did such great things, and it is not necessary for me to follow further that which I intended above in brief, because that which is repeated more often generates tedium and that which is said so many times obscures understanding. But scattering the smokes of your blindness and darkness of your homes, by which you desire to shut out our light, you say that you saw in the palace of the king of the Franks fourteen men who differed among themselves in cult practice. It is as though you seem to cast a doctrine to those who do not know. For what impediment is posed for me by what you saw and the fact that you report to me what you could say that you saw even if you had not seen it? Surely I am not unaware of the errors of these new things and the depravities of the 72 heresies? On the contrary I have also got to know of the diverse rites by reading, although I did not have you to report them. But why do you follow by counting the names of the heathen deities, whose incense offerings no one observes in this time? But you say: 'Surely you do not make greater homes for your Jesus than they made for their gods, since one of these people weeps thus because of his temple:
'Woe is me, for I see that the shrines established a long time- also a noble home- are about to fall as the ruins have sunk?"[ccxii]
For this we add these words:
'Having spoken a certain putrid thing from a stuttering nose, you sing and stumble over your words with a gentle palate.'[ccxiii]
Say, wretched one and nonetheless not pitiable, what benefit has this invective of narration brought for you? Does it please you that I should respond in your own words also to you and say: surely you cannot set up greater homes for your God than all those can fabricate for their gods? I will add, if you wish, also another thing of Iheremias through alphabetic wailing when I compare the mishap of this heathen weeping because of his idols. This is not our blame, but yours, as you compelled us and brought forth words full of insults.
But as you have dared to say Christ is inferior, you are the murderer of your own soul, as you have overlooked the truth and desire yourself to be purged of your words as you are driven by things, for you say: 'They did not have a law nor does God have anything to ask of them that He never entrusted' By this logic of yours also the Gentiles are free from the punishment of the raging Gehennam, because He entrusted to them nothing of the riches of His laws. Only Srahel will sustain the immensity of the punishments, because the words of the prophets have been entrusted to it alone,[ccxiv] and while every pure person will freely go away, Srahel alone will grieve, in which His name has been great and admirable.[ccxv] So you see that while you favour the idols, Iove,[ccxvi] Mercurius[ccxvii] and Iuno,[ccxviii] you burn yourself, and while you are satisfied to kill Christ, you choose Barabbas,[ccxix] the minister of the enemy of your former father. You say that he was Jewish and fulfilled the circumcision and other things through which you shut the approach of turning back for yourself, while you misrepresent facts in Belzebus[ccxx] and never hesitate to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But I will tell you from where you have held him as inferior to all these, because you have known him as the one who loves the chaste and virgins. I should tell you, as to what the circumcised one is, if I did not know that this was known to you. For what is the need to ventilate arms in useless labour and teach the one who does not know that he is lost? I grieve over you, my fellow servant, and as God has known, I feel sorry for you with true heart, as you have striven to ventilate inanities after such great things.
But as you bring in the pronouncements of the prophets through semicolons, know that I have examined them well and all are suited to me. For most facts are already narrated there, others to come are covered for me as I am Srahel, while several things are brought out as you convert in the end to preaching of Elias, when 144,000 have reverted to the faith of Christ the true God, who also follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes.[ccxxi] For all the things that he has promised, the God who does not lie has exhibited in His times for us, not for you, even for you when you are converted to the pastor and visitor of your souls.[ccxxii] But I ask you to bring forth the truth in brotherly manner to me, not falsehood. For you say: 'These pronouncements compelled me to become Jewish.' And why does the tongue dissent from the heart? Why does the mouth not concord with the mind? Why do the lips ponder one thing, but the heart another? Indeed you know who compelled you to become Jewish: the one who cast out Adam from paradise, the one who made Solomon the beloved[ccxxiii] of God to err, who took away Samson's eyes,[ccxxiv] who struck Elias and the boy with fear.[ccxxv] Do you want to know who is the author of such great evil? The woman, who is the gnawing worm of the mind and body. And that which you have taken up badly, why do you accomplish with worse act? Why having followed the Venerian desires you have become a slave of Venus?[ccxxvi] If the libido pleases you and the virginity and florid chastity make you shudder, seek out not the Jews, but the Mamentians,[ccxxvii] where you may lighten a second life and take up not one wife, but several, and like an unbridled horse everywhere you may be carried in the various greed for things relating to women, where you may be satisfied in your libido like a wolf and you may be polluted with the filth of badly chastised voracity and you may be fattened with the incestuous path of concubines. Why do you lose both this life and that life? Or at least appropriate this one, if you lose that heavenly one. I should have assigned many things to your madness, but with God as witness also to these small things I unwillingly descended, not, as you say, by the command of my teachers, but in the weariness of hearing you, because the more I perceive you in the ears through reading, the more I grieve that I am sinning.
But many things that you cover in the end of the letter, where you say that David will reign forever, so I deem this hardly worthy of a response because I profess the spiritual text of the whole law. But let us see what the prophet says about your conversion: 'They will not be polluted,' he says, 'further in idols and in their abominations.'[ccxxviii] There it is clear that you now worship idols, but you will be cleansed in the purity of the waters. And you deduce for me suitable witnesses over Christ from those whom you know that the prophetic words have called idolaters? And be embarrassed in this, unhappy one. The rest of the things that follow, it suits that part, which was washed through the baptismal waters and which to this point the clean water has been accustomed to wash, not that part which turns itself like a pig in the wallowing-place of mud and in filth.[ccxxix] But David signifies metaphorically the pastor Christ, who will not have the end of the kingdom, as he killed both the giant and the lion- that is, the devil- and was brave in hand and desirable.[ccxxx] So if they say in stupid contention that this matches David, let them prove where they read that David is greater than all or how they attribute power over Moyses, whom all induce as greater than all among Srahel, or how this David is called a pastor, when he is said to be the son elsewhere, when it is said: 'And when you sleep with your forefathers, I will rouse you from your slumbers.'[ccxxxi] And certainly Salomon was not born from him after his death, but also he was elected in the kingdom before his death. You observe that the prophetic words are enigmatic and they do not concord with your pronouncement. For if he is from the loins of David, it is agreed that he is not David, but another person who arises to be from the ash and the putrefied cinders. But if you assert that he has already been born, tell me where you read this, and as you show the father David, so you also ought to state the mother. But if he does not have a mother, he will not be David's son, because he is the son of the one whose maternal line is lacking and whom the lap of the womb does not carry. Or he is thus David, and he did not die. If he died, he was not bound. If he was bound, he is not David. If he is the son of David, it is necessary to ask when he begot him. So if before he died, he is not the Messiah, whose birth was foretold after his death. But if he was born after his death, when or how or from what or how was he born, one must ask. It is certain that the dead one cannot have a son. But if he had, it is to be concluded he is not dead. If he is not dead, his son will not be the Messiah, whose rise is foretold after his death. So either he died and did not have a son, or he did not die and has another son, but not the Messiah. From this summation it can be gathered that the Messiah is not his son. You see that the pronouncement has fallen apart according to your story. But if you contend that he is thus the son of David, because you expect him to arise from his line, why should it also not be allowed for me to say that Christ is the son of David, from whose origin he emanated. For as they content that his reign is perpetual, they sing the virtue of Christ in every land, because if this David of theirs reigns in perpetuity, he will never see paradise, because he will reign always not in the heavenly realms, but in the earthly ones. You see that you follow the earth things and the things to perish, the transient and inclining into an end through all moments, not the eternal things heavenly with the powerful strength, but the fragile, perishable and scanty. Beware lest you be the food of the serpent, lest you be dust cast forth from the face of the Earth,[ccxxxii] as you seek the earthly kingdom not the heavenly one. But the bones which Ezeciel calls the house of Srahel, indeed also he sings of the resurrection in the end.[ccxxxiii] Although already I recall from there some facts in part regarding the resurrection of the Lord, nonetheless I will mention some things still to be done in the end of all things, not because I will lead them again in the land of the counter-promise, but in the land of the saints, the land of the living, which sighing for the prophet says: 'I believe that I see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.'[ccxxxiv] And indeed he was living in the land of the living, when he longed for another of the living. But all the saints are said to be travellers and arrivals here, not because having the supernal region as a homeland they have fallen to the lands, but because away the Father of all and the creator of the stars they travelled for much time in this valley of tears, not in body, but in mind, and not naturally in mind, but in longing and the emotion of affection.
But let us see if your promise can be according to the literature. 'I will make them,' he says (that is, the Jews), 'into one people.'[ccxxxv] Surely they had not been divided in the peoples? And how elsewhere he says: 'And will it not be reckoned among the peoples?'[ccxxxvi] If they will still in the end be converted into one people how have they been divided into many? It follows: 'And there will be one king for all and they will no longer be two peoples.' Therefore it will be Srahel alone and it will not have those whom it should dominate. So either then the Jews will be all those to come, for whom this promise is, and no disbeliever will remain from the peoples, or certainly this pronouncement will not be firm. It follows: 'And they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms': that is, in Srahel and Iuda, 'and they will no longer be polluted in their idols.' Do you see that you have adhered to the cults of idols, from which you will be cleansed in the end of all things? Notice what he says: 'in the idols' not of the Gentiles, but 'their own.' I could through the one Sun of the Church dry in an instant the rivulets of your opinions,[ccxxxvii] but I will be content and respond only to your assertions. For if you provoke me further to an attack of cholera, you will go away spat out as phlegm.[ccxxxviii] For we have indicated to you our taste, so that through these small things you may fear those things that are great, since these things that are small have thus worn you down. Surely I could bring to you the story of all of Daniel, the root of our faith and the very strong shield, where not only the holy of holies is killed, but also the times of the years are counted with predetermined weeks and it is said with prophetic mouth that the desolation will continue until the consummation and end? I should repeat in this place 'from the going out of the words that Jerusalem would be rebuilt all the way to Christ the leader'[ccxxxix] the years of the reigning emperors all the way to the advent of Christ and teach that there has already been fulfilled that which you still think is to be fulfilled in your stupid persuasion. But also that falling away of the vine branch in the kings, which Iacob foretold in sacred presages, I could have affirmed had occurred in the time of Herod, who was not of the Jews, but of foreign-born stock, and I should affirm this not with my words, but those not only of your teacher of old Iosippus alone, but also the words of Filo. Nonetheless because you do not contend in the zeal of doctrine, but you rise with the malice of destruction, it is therefore necessary for me not to reveal all my mysteries to you, but only to destroy those things that the bare voice has brought forward. Indeed I have opposed your assertions, for I did not try to strengthen myself so to speak, since I always knew that I was firm, and thus your words respond to you and your tongue has been turned on itself. Therefore, if anything harder emanates, it has been the vice of the patient, not of the doctor,[ccxl] hence also the pen has proceeded more bitingly on the places in which the pious response has suppressed the sacrilegious opposition. You indeed only respond to us now in those terms that you know will be pleasing to god. Indeed you know that in the presence of the angels and all powers will this contention of ours be examined, such that not one iota will pass by[ccxli] where it is not known by what sort of mind it was composed, and it will be worthily compensated either with remunerations or punishments.
It is pleasing in the end to respond to you in the form of a binary proposition. If you desire peace, lay aside your arms.[ccxlii] But if the torments please you, put together your weapons. But rise as much as you like against the shield, hurl the spear wherever you wish to hurl it. The brave is also known distinctly to be vehement in disputation, the tenacious is also known distinctly to be difficult, and the one who fights with sharp head not only wounds the enemy but cuts him to pieces. About these kinds of people Virgilius says:
'In Tautanic rite they have been accustomed to hurl the barbed spears.'[ccxliii]
We have considered that the small pronouncements of the prophets are to be noted here, so that we may demonstrate our status and yours regarding the faith. The Lord says through the prophet Malacia[ccxliv]: 'There is no will for Me in you, says the Lord. And I will not undertake the gift from your hand.'[ccxlv] Why? 'Because from the rising of the Sun all the way to the sunset, great is My name.'[ccxlvi] Among whom? It follows: 'Among the Gentiles.' And why is the gift not taken from your hand? What are you asking me? Observe what follows: 'Because in every place there is sacrifice and offering is made to My name,' not polluted, but 'clean,' because it concerns the Christians. And so that this voice should not be despised, he repeats again as though with glory: 'Indeed great is My name' not among the peoples, but 'among the Gentiles.' Thus says Isayas[ccxlvii]: 'The House of Iuda has erred in error against Me.'[ccxlviii] Which error he designated more openly: 'They have denied Me and said: it is not He.'[ccxlix] Who is He? The Messiah is not this one who has come, but we await another. You see how openly the prophet has depicted your insanities? Also he says: 'Behold the days will come, says the Lord, and I will strike for the house, not only Srahel' that is, the ten tribes, but also 'the house of Iuda,' that is the two others, 'a new covenant.'[ccl] From where should this new one proceed if not the old? And so the new covenant, that it should abolish the old. And so that you may know that this covenant was placed not as a law, but a Gospel, not only for the Gentiles, but also the Jews (who we are). Hear: 'Nor according to the covenant that I struck with their fathers, when I took their hand in order to lead them out from the land of Egypt': that is, the pact of the law. You see the law abolished and made as something disapproved? And indeed the prophet predicted this would occur after the time, because not in his time, but he foresaw that the testament of the Gospel would be given in the days to come. Hear again Ezechiel: 'I have given them precepts not good and judgments in which they may not live.'[ccli] But Isayas dares and says: 'Hear, rulers of the Sodomites. Hear with ears the law of your God, people of Gomorra. Whither for me is the multitude of your victims? Says the Lord. I am full. I have not wanted the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fat things and the blood of calves and goats and lambs,'[cclii] so that he should show all your sacrifices, in which you trust your remedies to be, are disapproved. From where also he continues: 'Who has sought these things from your hands so that you should walk in My halls?' Do not offer further a sacrifice in vain.' Consider more diligently 'further' and 'in vain.' 'Do not offer further' that is, ever, 'a sacrifice in vain,' that is, without cause is this offering. But if you wish to offer in vain, as he said, read what is: 'The incense is an abomination to Me.' 'The new moon' not mine, but yours, and the 'Sabbath' of yours as well and the 'solemnities' likewise of yours: 'I will not bear.' Why? 'Because your groups are unjust. Your Kalends and solemnities' not mine, 'My soul has hated. They have become troublesome to Me. I have laboured upholding. And when you extend your eyes, I will turn away My eyes from you, and when you multiple the prayer, I will not hear.' You see His ears shut up to your prayers, and you expect redemption? Why shut up? Because 'your hands are full of blood.' With what blood? With that of course by which you have condemned yourselves? 'His blood be upon us, and upon our sons.'[ccliii] Also he says: 'They will be confounded from the idols to which they have sacrificed and you will grow embarrassed over the groves that you had chosen, when you have been like the oak tree with leaves falling down and like a garden without water. And your fortitude will be as tinder and your work as sparks. And both will be lit up, and there will be no one to extinguish.'[ccliv] Observe, oh one inebriated with the wine of the fury of God, that your works are a flame, which exhibits to you devouring, not propitiation. Certainly consider that you will be more burnt by your works rather than acquiring any profitable outcome of aid for yourselves.
And when the prophet, or rather God through the prophet says: 'There will be no one to extinguish.' Who, I ask, is so mad who thinks that one is to extinguish what the Lord brings forth burnt, and not extinguished? For He did not say: 'There is no one to extinguish' but 'there will be no one': He placed the future time, not the present time, so that He may affirm that you are to be consumed in eternal fire. So Iheremias after he had said: 'The house of Iuda has erred against Me. They denied Me and have said: it is not He, and a sword will not come over us, and we will not see hunger.'[cclv] He added: 'These things will therefore come to them. These things says the Lord of Hosts: because you have spoken this word, behold I give My words as fire and this people as wood and it will devour them.'[cclvi] You see, fool, that the words of God are not a prop of salvation for you, but consummation of a devastating flame? But also notice the things that follow, impious one, and grieve that you have been stabbed from all sides. For after many things that maim you in terms of strength, he added also these things: 'The bellows have fallen away, the lead has been consumed in fire. The blower has blown in vain. But their malice has not been consumed. Call them the disapproved silver because the Lord has cast them forth.'[cclvii] Do you understand, wretch, that this affliction and captivity are smaller than your iniquity? Behold the prophet says that you have been sent into the fire in vain, because he does not see that your malice is to be purged through this. And again after many things that strike you and your children, the divine words have also brought these things: 'You therefore do not wish to pray for this people, and let us not take up for them praise and prayer and do not oppose Me because I will not hear you.'[cclviii]
So how do you expect liberation, oh ignorant one, when you read these things? Why do you remain as a hard stone and never soften? You see that the omnipotent God, whose decree is done, inclines to your devastation; and you assert that you await redemption, when you know that the prophet has been prohibited from praying? Behold He prohibited the prophets from raising prayer for you, He has forbidden the clouds to sprinkle you with the grace of the rain-shower. So therefore you promise to yourselves in vain that salvation will come, when so many examples lead to death? He also added: 'But if you pray, I will not hear you.' He who has predicted that the prayers of the prophets are vain for your restauration, indeed He will consider your transgressions as something great? And the Lord has said to me: Do not pray for this people for good, because when they fast, I will not hear their voices. And if they offer burnt offerings and sacrificial victims, I will not receive them, because I will consume them by the sword, hunger and pestilence.'[cclix] Do you see that the prophets have been forbidden by the Lord to raise prayer for you? Do you see that your prayers and burnt offerings are disapproved? Do you hear that the Srahelitic people has been consumed by the sword, pestilence and hunger; and with this front you expect restoration after the consummation? For never restored is that which is consumed? You perhaps complain why you are thus consumed: hear not me, but the prophet himself: 'For if you say in your heart: why have these things come to me? Because of the multitude of your iniquity your greater shames have been revealed, your soles have been polluted.'[cclx] And so that he should affirm your perpetual and genuine mad affliction, oh irrational one, he expressed from there metaphorically: 'If the Ethiopian can change his skin, you also can do good, when you have learnt to do evil.'[cclxi] So if you can ever show a white Ethiopian or a leopard that does not vary in its colours,[cclxii] you will also be able to attain the good of redemption as you expect. As you have known this is impossible, it is appropriate to profess, not out of your own will, that you have already perished forever. He continues: 'And I will scatter them like the stalk that is seized by the wind in the desert.'[cclxiii] When God scatters, who is this who can gather you by collection? He added: 'This lot of yours and the part of your measure, says the Lord.'[cclxiv] You hear that your lot and the measure of your part are scattering. Why does it not shame you to seek the lot of your gathering, which belongs to other people? But also elsewhere the same prophet said: 'If Moyses and Samuhel were to stand in my presence, my soul is not for this people.'[cclxv] After He prohibited Iheremias to pray for you, lest He should render him alone in decision as though a despised one, soon He joined companions to him, through whose memory He both designated your perpetual ruin and proved the insoluble charge of your crime. The divine words shout to Ezechiel and say: 'Son of Man, the house of Srahel has been turned into dross for Me. All these people have become tin, lead and iron in the middle of the furnace: the dross of silver. Moreover the Lord God says these things: because you have all been turned into dross, moreover behold I will gather you in the middle of Jerusalem like the gathering of silver, iron, tin and lead in the middle of the furnace, and I will light it with fire to blast it. Thus I will gather you in My fury and in My anger and I will rest and I will blast you.'[cclxvi] You see God saying that the blasting of you is rest for Him. And He added: 'And you will know that I am the Lord, when I have poured out My indignation upon you.'[cclxvii]
And so that He might show more evidently that there is no favourable outcome that turns out for you from this testing, He thus added a little after[cclxviii]: 'Woe is the state of bloods, for which I make a great fire. Gathering them I will burn them away from fire. Their flesh will be consumed and their whole composition will be cooked and their bones will wither. Place it also empty over the charcoals so that its copper may grow hot and be liquified and its filth may be blasted in the middle of it, and its rust may be consumed.' Soon the divine words responded to them: 'There was sweating in much labour and there did not go out from it its excessive rust and not through the fire your execrable impurity, for I wanted to purify you and you were not purified, but you will not be purified, until I make My indignation against you rest.' And so that He should not give you an approach for breathing, he says: 'I the Lord have spoken: I have come and I will do. I will not go across, I will not spare and I will not be placated by your ways and by your inventions I will judge you, says the Lord God.' God says: 'I will not be placated and I will not spare.' And you thing that He is lying? Still more divine words demonstrate your irrationality saying: 'The ox has known its possessor and the ass the enclosure of its master. Srahel has not known me, my people have not understood me.'[cclxix] You see your oxen and asses are placed before you? Hear again Iheremias: 'The kite has known its time in the sky; the turtle-dove, the swallow and the stork have preserved the time of their arrival. But my people have not known the judgement of the Lord. How do we say: we are wise and the law of the Lord is with us? Indeed the lying pen of the scribes has contrived falsehood.'[cclxx]
You notice, oh enemy, that also the birds have been preferred to you in the knowledge of understanding. And you bring forth teachers from these people to me, whose lying pen you find everywhere in reading, whom you know are also not seeing and blind according to Isaya? But I think that the blindness itself that has been mentioned above covers the lights of your eyes with darkness, and from there the blind mind does not lament that blindness is in it. For the Lord Sabaoth, whom the Seraphim do not cease to praise with three-fold sanctification, after He ordered to purify the lips of the prophet from the charcoal through the forceps, said as such to the prophet: 'Whom will I send and who will go to us?' To Him the prophet already purified of the pollution of the dwellers says: 'Behold, here I am. Send me.'[cclxxi] To Him immediately the three-fold Lord says: 'Go and you will say to this people: hear as you hear, and do not understand. And see the vision, and do not get to know. Make blind the heart of this people and make heavy their ears and shut their eyes, lest by chance they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted and I should heal them.'[cclxxii] Oh how openly this sense demonstrates the holy and ineffable Trinity, even if the aforementioned blindness should stand in the way of the senses while it does not show itself spontaneously! You understand, tinder of madness, that the omnipotent Lord Sabaoth makes your conversion as though it were some crime and does not provide you occasions of conversion, but removes them. See what He says: 'Lest by chance they should see with their eyes.' And as God does not desire your conversion in any way, who is the foolish one who proclaims that you are to be converted at some point? For you could observe this vision of Isaya and know in your heart and believe in the Trinity repeated with three-fold sanctification, if the divine words were not saying: 'Blind the heart of this people and make hard their heart.' And so that he should designate the blindness as perpetual the prophet discovered by asking: 'Up to what point, Lord?' And He said: until the cities are made desolate without dweller and the home without man and the land is left deserted.'[cclxxiii] You see that your blindness is foretold all the way to the end of the world? And through Iheremias He says: 'Behold I will bring this people into ruin and their fathers and sons will fall among them, both neighbour and near, and they will perish and I will make them fodder of wormwoods and I will give them the poisoned water to drink and I will scatter them among the peoples whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send after them the sword until they are consumed.'[cclxxiv] You hear the consummation and you expect redemption? You see that the virgin daughter Syon[cclxxv] has fallen: He will not add that she should rise again. How? Because there is no one to raise her. For the one who had been accustomed to raise them has flown away from them. He added: 'But if they say to you: how will we go out? You will say to them: The one to death, goes to death; the one to hunger, goes to hunger; the one to captivity, goes to captivity. And I will visit over them four forms, says the Lord: the sword for killing, the dogs to tear apart, the birds of the sky to destroy, and the beasts of the Earth to devour.'[cclxxvi] All these things are fulfilled from the time of Vespasianus and Titus among you to this point through the various kinds of torments and captivity. Compare, if you dare, this captivity with others and you will see how this wicked devastation overcomes them in the number of years.
So, I beseech you, that it should not annoy you to write back for me what has been the manifest blame, which is not expiated through such great times. For all your captivities, dispersions and servitudes through the various realms have been noted and they do not need a witness under the Sun. Indeed also before they happened, they were fixed by the divine words in pre-determined times, such that there should be no further servitude than that which the divine words indicated to its servants. This captivity alone is declared without end and it is not know in how many years and in what times it should be lifted. For the noted blames had the end of the whip. This alone not noted in particular, but in general as you say, is extended through all the ages. But if you show that the time is pre-determined, I will confess that I have been beaten. I desire to have peace with you, if you should desire Christ. If otherwise you deal with it in mind, you are demented and you talk nonsense, as you close the end with the worst ending and are not softened, hard as you are in such great things. May God open for you the eyes of the heart: He who reigns forever. Amen.
XIX: Thus the letter of the transgressor directed to Albarus
On account of the merit of eternal retribution I have devote myself to remain persistent in the law of the Lord, and thus I considered it superstitious to respond to the barks of all the mad dogs. Nonetheless, if I had considered that a certain tinder could be lit in you where there is the small fire of faith, perhaps I would write back to you something also, from where you might know well that you who are the plagiarist and those from whose books you have drawn these things are in error. For this false-speaking letter of yours we can say these words of Virgilius:
'Do we believe? Or those very people who love forge dreams for themselves?'[cclxxvii]
'He who does not hate Bavius, may he love your poems, Mevius, and may he harness foxes and may he milk the goats.'[cclxxviii]
God the omnipotent, the Creator of the Heaven and the Earth, the pious and glorious God, whom you have insulted, may He be the avenger and punisher because of what you have said against Him.
XX: Thus the reply of Albarus directed to the transgressor
What the pen of your follow up has enticed, the eye read diligently and wondered at you wisely avoiding the danger. Indeed how prudently you play in the rhetorical art and in Pisonianian vice, while you do not know how to speak, you are not able to be silent and, as the stories say, retaining the wolf by its ears that you are not able to hold tight, nor are you able to let go.[cclxxix] Thus the poet sings aptly to you:
'Try that which you can do, lest the labour pressed by the weight of the task should collapse and you should abandon what has been tried in vain.'[cclxxx]
But so that you yourself may know who I am and you should further avoid me by being quiet, hear Virgilius:
'The Getians despise death while the wound is praised.'[cclxxxi]
In addition to that he says: 'Where the Getian proceeds on his horse.'[cclxxxii] Thus also the words of the poet:
'From here let the Dacian pursue, from there let the Getian confront.'[cclxxxiii]
I am, I am, the one whom Alexander proclaimed was to be avoided, whom Pirrus feared, whom Caesar shuddered at.[cclxxxiv] About us also our Iheronimus says: 'He has a horn in the front. Flee far away.'[cclxxxv] And thus do not say mad dogs, but know that you are a snarling fox, and do not assert that I am the plagiarist of the ancients, because that is a person of great strength.[cclxxxvi]
[i] James 5:20.
[ii] Psalm 50:15.
[iii] Thucydides, an Ancient Greek historian.
[iv] Sallust, a Roman historian.
[vii] The Amalekites, who were enemies of Israel.
[viii] The Aeneid, an epic poem composed by Virgil.
[ix] Referring to the works of the Roman historian Livy.
[x] Demosthenes, an Ancient Greek statesman and orator.
[xi] This quotation is taken from Jerome's letter to Paulinus (Letters 53:2).
[xii] The Septuagint refers to the Ancient Greek translation of the books of the Old Testament as well as other books not considered canonical among the Jews and Protestants. The name means 'seventy' and refers to the supposed seventy translators behind the work.
[xiii] The Flood in the time of Noah.
[xv] The numerical calculation of 292 years here appears to come from Eusebius' Chronicon.
[xvi] This calculation of 1072 years appears to come from Saint Augustine's City of God.
[xvii] The Pentateuch refers to the first five books of the Old Testament (i.e. the Torah). Traditionally he was said to be the author of the Pentateuch.
[xviii] Genesis 49:1.
[xix] Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and thus one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
[xx] Genesis 49:10.
[xxi] Sennacherib, the Assyrian emperor who conquered the Kingdom of Israel.
[xxii] Artaxerxes III, also called Ochus. He was Achaemenid emperor in the period 358-338 BCE.
[xxiii] The Roman emperor Vespasian (emperor in the period 69-79 CE).
[xxiv] The Roman emperor Titus (emperor in the period 79-81 CE).
[xxv] The wording here is similar to a passage in Julian of Toledo's De Comprobatione Sextae Aetatis ('Concerning the Proof of the Sixth Age'), which aimed to prove the Christian concept of the Messiah against the Jewish objections. Compare this passage in the work (1:21):
'And blinded in the blind they do not notice that the falsehood of their deceit is exposed in this to the fullest extent, because now just as no temple, no altar and no sacrifice has remained for the Jews, so also no king and no priest has remained.'
[xxvi] The main transliteration of the name Israel in these texts is 'Srahel.' I have preserved it for authenticity's sake.
[xxvii] Hosea 3:4.
[xxviii] Zedekiah, who was the last king of Judah before the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar II.
[xxix] Daniel. 'Danihel' is the main transliteration of the name in these texts.
[xxx] Listing of the High Priests of Israel as well as the monarchs of Judea following the Babylonian Exile. The list begins with Joshua the son of Jehozadak.
[xxxi] Zerubabbel the son of Shealtiel.
[xxxii] Joiakim the son of Joshua.
[xxxvii] Onias I.
[xxxviii] Eleazar, son of Onias.
[xxxix] Onias II.
[xl] Judah Maccabee.
[xli] Jonathan Apphus.
[xlii] Simon Thassi.
[xliii] John Hyrcanus I.
[xliv] Aristobulus I.
[xlv] Alexander Jannaeus.
[xlvi] Salome Alexandra.
[xlvii] John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II.
[xlviii] Herod the Great, son of Antipater the Idumaean.
[xlix] An extended quotation attributed to Eusebius that appears in De Comprobatione Sextae Aetatis (1:20).
[l] Daniel 9:22-23.
[li] Daniel 9:26. The original Hebrew text uses the word משׁיח ('Messiah') where the Latin translation here uses the word Christus ('Christ' or the 'Messiah').
[lii] These words and the general passage have a parallel in De Comprobatione Sextae Aetatis (1:27).
[liii] The Biblical quotation comes from Leviticus 23:15. The explanation of the seven weeks with the seven times seven calculation comes from De Comprobatione Sextae Aetatis (1:25).
[liv] i.e. Reckoning from the reign of Artaxerxes I (465-424 BCE).
[lv] i.e. Around 30 CE. Note Tiberius was emperor in the period 14-37 CE.
[lvi] Taken from Jerome's commentary on Daniel 9:24.
[lvii] Daniel 9:25.
[lviii] Nehemiah, who was a cupbearer to Artaxerxes I.
[lix] i.e. Cyrus II of Persia/Cyrus the Great.
[lx] Darius the Mede, though he is otherwise unattested in history apart from the Book of Daniel.
[lxi] Daniel 9:1.
[lxii] Nebuchadnezzar II.
[lxiii] Unfortunately the rest of the letter is missing.
[lxiv] Jeconiah, the second last king of Judah who was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar II.
[lxvi] The prophet Haggai.
[lxvii] Haggai 1:1.
[lxviii] The references here is to the interpretation of Genesis 49:10 with regards to the translations of the Hebrew words שׁבט and מחקק. Eleazar's argument is that these words respectively mean 'tribe' and 'teacher' rather than 'ruler' and 'leader' as suggested in the Latin translation of the verse that appears in Álvaro's previous letter. The implicit reasoning therefore seems to be that the Messiah will not come until the tribe of Judah disappears (as the Messiah will unite all the peoples of Israel into one), rather than the idea that the Messiah came and in the aftermath the tribe of Judah lost its sovereignty with the destruction of the Second Temple and dispersal of the Jews by the Romans.
[lxix] Referring to the fact that Eleazar originated from the Frankish domain based in Gaul.
[lxxi] Referring to Eleazar's charge of sexual corruption in the Frankish court and church.
[lxxii] The image of being carried away into the furthest lands has an echo in Jerome (letter 54:2).
[lxxiii] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:16).
[lxxiv] Zechariah 11:12-13.
[lxxv] Cf. Jerome's commentary on Zechariah 11:12-13 (Book Three).
[lxxvi] Jerome (letter 57:2).
[lxxviii] Isaiah 7:14.
[lxxix] Jerome (letter 57:8).
[lxxx] Jerome (letter 57:8).
[lxxxi] The controversy here is a familiar one. Did the doctrine of Virgin Birth arise from a misinterpretation of the meaning of the Hebrew word עלמה in Isaiah 7:!4? In the Septuagint, the Greek word παρθενος (which means 'virgin,' rendered in Latin as virgo) was used to translate עלמה and this line of interpretation was followed in Matthew 1:23, but the word can simply mean 'young woman' rather than a virgin in particular. The line of reasoning followed in Álvaro's letter, which defends the translation of the word as meaning a virgin, is primarily taken from Jerome's commentary on Isaiah 7:14 (Book Three) as well as Jerome's Hebraic Questions.
[lxxxii] i.e. Miriam.
[lxxxiv] Job 28:21.
[lxxxvii] 2 Kings 4:27.
[lxxxviii] Taken from Jerome's commentary on Isaiah 7:14. Note that Punic language is closely related to Hebrew genetically: both are Semitic languages.
[lxxxix] Cf. Luke 16:10.
[xc] Recall that this book is not considered by Jews to be part of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
[xci] Wisdom of Solomon (/Book of Wisdom) 2:12-13.
[xcii] Wisdom of Solomon 2:18.
[xciii] Wisdom of Solomon 2:19-20.
[xciv] Deuteronomy 21:23.
[xcv] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:20).
[xcvi] Daniel 12:12.
[xcvii] Daniel 12:4.
[xcviii] A similar turn of phrase occurs in Jerome's writings (e.g. letter 46:5).
[xcix] A similar turn of phrase occurs in Jerome's writings (e.g. letter 119:12 and 125:17).
[c] Daniel 12:10.
[ci] Hegesippus, an early church chronicler who lived in the second century CE. However, the quotations attributed to Hegesippus in Álvaro's letters are not actually from Hegesippus' works but rather a much later work dubbed Pseudo-Hegesippus.
[cii] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:19).
[ciii] Wisdom of Solomon 1:11.
[civ] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:21).
[cv] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:39).
[cvi] Josephus, the famous Jewish historian of antiquity.
[cvii] Numbers 1:51.
[cviii] Pseudo-Hegesippus 1:2.
[cix] Eusebius: History of the Church.
[cx] Pseudo-Hegesippus 3:17.
[cxi] Pseudo-Hegesippus 5:31.
[cxii] Pseudo-Hegesippus 5:16.
[cxiii] Compare with the phrasing in Jerome's commentary on Isaiah (Book 13, Chapter 47).
[cxiv] Cf. e.g. Augustine: Against Faucus (15:6).
[cxvi] Psalm 105:48.
[cxvii] On account of the mangling of Eleazar's replies, what remains of this particular letter appears to begin in the middle of a sentence.
[cxviii] Deuteronomy 11:18.
[cxix] Deuteronomy 33:4.
[cxx] Deuteronomy 4:9.
[cxxi] Another gap in the text.
[cxxii] Ezekiel 36:38.
[cxxiii] Ezekiel 37:11 ff. and 37:21 ff.
[cxxiv] Cf. Isaiah 6:10.
[cxxv] Isaiah 6:11.
[cxxvi] Cf. Augustine (letter 116:18).
[cxxvii] Virgil's Aeneid 3:621.
[cxxviii] Jeremiah 6:30.
[cxxix] Cf. e.g. Jerome (letter 57:12). Note that Chrysippus was a Stoic philosopher.
[cxxx] The image of the rag of the woman who has menstruated comes from Esther 14:16.
[cxxxi] Exodus 31:18.
[cxxxii] Genesis 1:26.
[cxxxiii] The Manichaeans.
[cxxxiv] Wisdom of Solomon 1:4.
[cxxxv] Cf. e.g. Jerome Apology Against Rufinus (3:23).
[cxxxvi] The Ten Commandments.
[cxxxvii] Cf. Exodus 32:19, in which Moses breaks the tablets in anger when he sees the worship of the golden calf.
[cxxxviii] Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:13.
[cxxxix] The first seven books of the Old Testament.
[cxl] Deuteronomy 4:9.
[cxli] Cf. Exodus 14:22.
[cxlii] Cf. Exodus 32:6.
[cxliii] Cf. Exodus 32:8.
[cxliv] Cf. Lamentations of Jeremiah 3:21.
[cxlv] Cf. e.g. Jerome (letter 134:1).
[cxlvi] Cf. Matthew 14:20-21.
[cxlvii] The image of the stumbling block repeatedly occurs in the New Testament.
[cxlviii] Cf. Isaiah 60:5.
[cxlix] Psalm 97:2.
[cl] Psalm 21:28.
[cli] Cf. Numbers 14:21.
[clii] Cf. Isaiah 40:15-17.
[cliii] Exodus 3:14.
[cliv] Isaiah 62:2.
[clv] Isaiah 43:18-19.
[clvi] Isaiah 43:19.
[clvii] Isaiah 43:19.
[clviii] John 14:6.
[clix] Cf. Judges 6:36-40.
[clx] Isaiah 43:20.
[clxi] Isaiah 60:2.
[clxii] Isaiah 49:5. It should be noted that the translation of this verse is disputed. Older translations (e.g. Jerome's Vulgate and the King James Version) have the rendering that Israel is not/will not be gathered. Newer translations (e.g. the Revised Standard Version) render the sense that Israel should be gathered.
[clxiii] This line of reasoning is taken from Jerome's commentary on Isaiah 49:5-6 (Book 13, Chapter 49). The basis for Jerome's translation is to read לא instead of לו in the original Hebrew. Aquila took the latter view but concerning his interpretation Jerome says: 'I am not surprised that a man most erudite in the Hebrew language and expressing word for word, has in this place either represented lack of skill, or he has been deceived by the perverse exposition of the Pharisees.'
[clxiv] Isaiah 49:5.
[clxv] From Jerome's commentary.
[clxvi] Genesis 6:6-7.
[clxvii] Cf. Ezekiel 16:43.
[clxviii] Isaiah 49:6.
[clxix] From Jerome's commentary.
[clxx] So also taken from Jerome's commentary.
[clxxi] Genesis 1:26.
[clxxii] Psalm 32:6.
[clxxiii] Isaiah 6:3.
[clxxiv] Genesis 1:26.
[clxxv] Genesis 11:7.
[clxxvi] Isaiah 6:8.
[clxxvii] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:41).
[clxxviii] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:13).
[clxxix] Deuteronomy 32:18.
[clxxx] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus 3:20.
[clxxxi] Matthew 12:35. Also appears in Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:1).
[clxxxii] Matthew 7:17.
[clxxxiii] Isaiah 32:6. Also appears in Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:1).
[clxxxiv] Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:1).
[clxxxv] Proverbs 14:3. Also appears in Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:1).
[clxxxvi] Psalm 72:9.
[clxxxvii] Psalm 11:4.
[clxxxviii] Proverbs 18:2.
[clxxxix] Psalm 51:3-4 and 9.
[cxc] Jeremiah 17:1.
[cxci] Cf. Jerome (letter 96:12).
[cxcii] Dracontius: De laudibus Dei 1:674.
[cxciii] Cf. Numbers 17:8.
[cxciv] Cf. Joshua 10:12.
[cxcv] Cf. Exodus 14:21-22.
[cxcvi] Cf. Numbers 22:28.
[cxcvii] Cf. Isaiah 38:8.
[cxcviii] Here, the controversy concerns the purity of Jesus and the fact he was born in a human birth through the mother's womb, which would be deemed impure.
[cxcix] Cf. Isaiah 6:5.
[cc] Cf. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (3:28).
[cci] Cf. Job 14:4.
[ccii] Psalm 118:73.
[cciii] Psalm 50:7.
[cciv] This etymology, which connects the Latin words homo and humus (meaning 'man' and 'ground' respectively), is found in Saint Isidore of Seville's Etymologies (Book 9 Part 1 Subsection 4).
[ccv] Cf. Jerome (letter 40:2).
[ccvi] Galatians 6:14.
[ccvii] Isaiah 52:13.
[ccviii] Isaiah 53:12.
[ccix] Cf. Deuteronomy 28:16.
[ccx] Psalm 103:35.
[ccxi] Psalm 147:20.
[ccxii] From Arator's De Actibus Apostolorum ('Concerning the Acts of the Apostles').
[ccxiii] Cf. Persius Satire 1:33-35.
[ccxiv] Cf. Romans 3:2.
[ccxv] Cf. Psalm 75:2-3.
[ccxvi] Jupiter, the chief Roman god.
[ccxvii] The god Mercury.
[ccxviii] Juno, the wife of Jupiter.
[ccxix] Cf. Matthew 26:21.
[ccxx] i.e. Satan.
[ccxxi] Cf. Revelation 7:3-8 and 14:1.
[ccxxii] Cf. 1 Peter 2:25.
[ccxxiii] Latin text: Idida. This is a transliteration of the Hebrew: ידידיה. It is a name/epithet associated with Solomon and means 'beloved' or 'friend' of God.
[ccxxiv] Cf. Judges 16:21.
[ccxxv] 1 Kings 19:1-4.
[ccxxvi] Venus was the Roman goddess of beauty, sex, desire etc., counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite.
[ccxxvii] i.e. The Muslims.
[ccxxviii] Ezekiel 37:23.
[ccxxix] Cf. 2 Peter 2:22.
[ccxxx] Cf. 1 Samuel 17:36 and 48-51.
[ccxxxi] 2 Samuel 7:12.
[ccxxxii] Cf. Isaiah 65:25.
[ccxxxiii] Cf. Ezekiel 37:11 ff.
[ccxxxiv] Psalm 26:13.
[ccxxxv] Ezechiel 37:22-23.
[ccxxxvi] Numbers 23:9.
[ccxxxvii] Cf. e.g. Jerome's Dialogue Against the Luciferians (28).
[ccxxxviii] Cf. Jerome (letter 50:4).
[ccxxxix] Daniel 9:25.
[ccxl] Cf. Jerome (letter 117:2).
[ccxli] Cf. Matthew 5:18.
[ccxlii] Cf. Jerome's Dialogue Against Rufinus (3:44).
[ccxliii] Virgil's Aeneid 7:741.
[ccxlv] Malachi 1:10.
[ccxlvi] Malachi 1:11.
[ccxlvii] An error: it should be Jeremiah.
[ccxlviii] Jeremiah 5:11.
[ccxlix] Cf. Jeremiah 5:12.
[ccl] Jeremiah 31:31-32.
[ccli] Ezekiel 20:25.
[cclii] Isaiah 1:10-15.
[ccliii] Matthew 27:25.
[ccliv] Isaiah 1:29-31.
[cclv] Jeremiah 5:11-12.
[cclvi] Jeremiah 5:13-14.
[cclvii] Jeremiah 6:29-30.
[cclviii] Jeremiah 11:14.
[cclix] Jeremiah 14:11-12.
[cclx] Jeremiah 13:22.
[cclxi] Jeremiah 13:23.
[cclxii] Cf. Jeremiah 13:23, referring to the fact that leopards are spotted (which gives them variety in colour) and cannot change their spots.
[cclxiii] Jeremiah 13:24.
[cclxiv] Jeremiah 13:25.
[cclxv] Jeremiah 15:1.
[cclxvi] Ezekiel 22:18-20.
[cclxvii] Ezekiel 22:22.
[cclxviii] For the lines in this section, see Ezekiel 24:9-14.
[cclxix] Isaiah 1:3.
[cclxx] Jeremiah 8:7-8.
[cclxxi] Isaiah 6:8.
[cclxxii] Isaiah 6:9-10.
[cclxxiii] Isaiah 6:11.
[cclxxiv] Jeremiah 6:21, 23:15 and 9:16; cf. Amos 5:1.
[cclxxvi] Jeremiah 15:2-3.
[cclxxvii] Virgil's Eclogues 8:108.
[cclxxviii] Virgil's Eclogues 3:90-91.
[cclxxix] Cf. Jerome's work To Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem (6).
[cclxxx] Dionysius Cato's Distichs (3:14).
[cclxxxi] Incorrectly attributed to Virgil. It actually comes from Isidore of Seville's History Concerning the Kings of the Goths, Wandals and Suevi (67).
[cclxxxii] Also in Isidore of Seville's History Concerning the Kings of the Goths, Wandals and Suevi (69).
[cclxxxiii] Lucan's Pharsalia (2:54), though note that as quoted here it gives a slightly misleading impression of sense. In the original's wider context, the verb premat is understood to go with the subjects Dacus and Getes, while the verb occurrat goes with a subject in the following line (referring to Caesar). That is:
Hinc Dacus, premat inde Getes; occurrat Hiberis
alter, ad Eoas hic vertat signa pharetras.
'From here let the Dacian press on, from there the Getian; let the other [Caesar] confront the Hiberians;
let this one [Pompey] turn the standards towards the Eastern archers.'
[cclxxxiv] Cf. Isidore of Seville's History Concerning the Kings of the Goths, Wandsla and Suevi (2).
[cclxxxv] Cf. Jerome (letter 50:5).
[cclxxxvi] The reference here is to Isidore of Seville's explanation of the etymology (Etymologies 10:44) of the word compilator ('plagiarist'). Isidore of Seville says that Virgil was accused of being a plagiarist of the ancients, but he replied that it would take great strength to wrest Hercules' club from his hand.