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From The Nineteenth Century. thenticity of the Book of Daniel and of FORGED LITERATURE.
some of the writings ascribed to Solomon. SPURIOUS and pseudonymous literature It would be venturing upon ground even is probably nearly as old as literature it more debatable to adduce analogous exself. It was comparatively common in amples from the New Testament, but the ancient Greece and Rome, and may be most conservative divines will admit that said to have flourished among the Jews the books of which its canon is composed and early Christians. Bentley, in his were selected from a large mass of writo “ Dissertation upon Phalaris," enumero ings, more or less commonly accepted by ates a series of works fathered upon some the early Church as authentic and genuine of the great classical writers, which after scriptures of venerable authors, the bulk deceiving many learned judges were dis- of which are now acknowledged to be covered by others of more discernment to either pseudonymous or spurious. By the be unauthentic. This list of counterfeits, testimony of such fathers as Irenæus and he tells us, might have been much longer; Epiphanius, the second century was very “in one short passage of Suidas there's prolific in literature of this type. “Infian account of half a score.” The epistles nita multitudo apocryphorum librorum et ascribed to the Sicilian tyrant (about 570 adulterinarum scripturarum " are the words B.C), which were the subject of Bentley's of the first named.* Without impeaching dissection, he proved to the satisfaction of the credit of any books which may still all succeeding scholars to be the work of find defenders, it will suffice to instance a an Attic Sophist belonging to a later age. few notorious cases —e.gi, the Epistle of Another such example may be mentioned. Jesus Christ to Abgarus, king of Edessa, The extracts which Philo Byblius, a writer the Book of Enoch, the Sibylline oracles, of the first century A.D., professed to have and the writings of Dionysius the Areopatranslated from the Ivorks of Sanchunia. gite. thon, an ancient Phænician author con- Rigidly to apply our modern standard temporary.with Semiramis, are, by the of ethics to these ancient examples of general consent of modern scholars, held fabricated literature would be obviously to be the invention of the ostensible unjust, and discrimination is needful to translator. His presumed motive for fab- determine their real character. One canricating them was that, in his zeal to win not scruple, indeed, to classify as common converts to the doctrine of Euhemerus, cheats the wily bibliopoles who, when that the gods were apotheosized men, he Ptolemy Philadelphus was making a colhad adduced apt illustrations from Phoe-lection of Aristotle's works, nician history which he had no real means design of getting money of him, put Arisof substantiating.t
totle's name to other men's writings.”+ Since Bentley wrote, the literature of Nor can we hesitate to assign to a maliGreece and Rome has been subjected to cious motive the conduct of the historian a searching criticism, and it is probable Anaximenes who(according to Pausanias) that many works which in his time were succeeded in making his rival Theopomunhesitatingly ascribed to great names pus hateful to the governments of Athens, would be rejected as spurious by the con- Sparta, and Thebes, by fabricating an sensus of the best living scholars. In the invective against them in imitation of his province of Biblical research less unanim- style, and publishing it in his name. $ It ity yet prevails in this country, but it may would be rash, bowever, to assume that be safe to say that most qualified critics, the priestly custodians of the Lycian temGerman and English, would agree in dis- ple, which boasted among its treasures a crediting the Mosaic authorship of Deu- paper epistle written from Troy by Sarteronomy, if not of the whole Pentateuch; pedon, were consciously imposing, upon the integrity and synchronism of the the historian Licinius Mucianus who (to prophecies attributed to Isaiah ; the au
• Irenæus, Hær. i. 20. 1.
† “ Ammonius on Aristotle's Categories," cited by
Bentley, Phalaris, p. 12.
I Cited by Bentley, ut sup.
66 with a
. Second ed. Introd. pp. 13-15, 520, 539.
Pliny's astonishment) was so credulous as I have been delivered, and embodying the to suppose it genuine.* The historical ideas and convictions the speakers were existence of Sarpedon may well have been believed to entertain, but couched in lanbelieved by the priests as well as their guage they never actually used and pervisitor, and both have been innocently vaded throughout by the mental bias of ignorant that paper (papyrus) was not the writer. The example, again, set by
. , likely to be used for letter.writing in the Plato in idealizing the personality of SocHomeric age. With respect to many of rates, and passing his homely sense and the spurious works fathered upon classical keen dialectic through the filter of his writers, it is unnecessary to suspect any own mind, could not fail to be taken as a one of intentionally uttering them under precedent by members of the school which false names.
To uncritical readers, su reconciled his philosophy with Christian perficial resemblances between the style doctrine. Further, it must be remembered of a master and that of his imitator would how fierce and ceaseless was the strife suffice to suggest identity of authorship, between the “Catholic” party in the and a surmise to that effect started by one Church and “heresiarchs ” of various cominventive brain would soon circulate as plexions who disputed its assumption of assertion and be handed down to the fol- orthodoxy, all equally convinced of the lowing age as certainty. Still less are we truth of their own views and anxious to called upon to stigmatize as forgers, in a convert the world to them; and how necescriminal sense, the authors of works, now sary an advocate must have deemed it, admitted to be 'pseudonymous, which the in the absence of any canonical standard early Christians accepted as authentic. of Scripture, to adduce the authority of Bearing in mind that it was from the some reverend name among the Apostles Eastern Churches these fabrications usu. or their immediate disciples to refute the ally proceeded, we may justly make large contention of his opponent that the tenet allowance for the difference which has in dispute was an unsound innovation. It always subsisted between the Western was but a step from the contemplation of and the Eastern mind with regard to the this necessity to the employmeot of any value of truth.
legitimate device to effect the desired obThe word "truth” [says Renan] has not ject. The literary usage and philosophthe same significance for the Oriental as for ical precedent above mentioned afforded ourselves. The Oriental tells, with a bewitch- ample sanction for idealizations upon a ing candor and with the accent of a witness, a larger scale and for a worthier eod than crowd of things which he has not seen and they served. about which he is by no means certain. The
It were a mistake to describe the literature fantastic tales of the Exodus from Egypt thus created [observes one of its most learned which are told in Jewish families during the and judicial critics] as intended to deceive. Feast of the Passover deceive nobody, yet
The docunient so originated is rather the none the less they enchant those who listen half-unconscious utterance of what, under the to them. Every year the scenic representa- circumstances, seemed essentially necessary tions by which they commemorate the martyr. and true; no critical faculty existing to cendom of the sons of Ali in Persia are enriched
sure or control, and the apparent greatness or with some new invention designed to render excellence of the object excusing or concealing the victims more interesting and the murderers the literary aberration or misnomer. It could more hateful.t
little be anticipated, when this innocent fiction Add to this the consideration that the was first resorted to, to what lengths the princlassical historians and biographers had ciple of pious frauds would eventually be established as a literary usage the practice
carried. With the definitive constitution of inventing orations for their heroes, of the Church and the establishment of a statesmen, or generals, ideally appropriate canon, the practice of pseudonymous writing
ceased with its cause. to the occasions when they purported to
• The Tübingen School and its Antecedents, by R. • Nat. Hist. xiii. c. 13, cited by Bentley, p. 539. W. Mackay, pp. 335, 339. The statement that pseu† Renan, The Gospels (Mattheson's translation), c. donymous Christian literature ceased with its cause
must be qualified. Tbe latest date fixed for the forma
For the authors of some of the later | difference which has always existed be. Christian apocrypha it would be difficult tween the moral standards of various races to offer the same excuses as for their must be taken into account. The respect predecessors. The clumsy interpolator of for truth entertained by the Teutonic naa well-known passage in Josephus (Antiq. tions, for example, is and has immemoriLib. 18, c. 3) can hardly be acquitted of a ally been higher than that acknowledged design to invent evidence wherewith to by the Celts. Since the elevation of the silence the assertion of Hebrew opponents Christian ideal, however, of which truth is that the life of the founder of Christianity an integral part, no believer in its sanctity was uprecorded by the historian of his can be held blameless for a deliberate act era. It is possible, however, to believe of deception, in spite of any attempts to that the Trinitarian controversialist who justify it by the urgency of other obligamarginally annotated the first Johannine tions. The growth of the scientific spirit, epistle with the verse relating to the three which sprang into life at the Renaissance, heavenly witnesses, was innocent of in- with its passion for "seeing things as they tending that a future copyist of the MS. really are "and its reverence for precision should insert his gloss as part of the text. of statement as all-essential, has surther The propensity of copyists to incorporate tended to enhance public reprobation of marginal comments indiscriminately ap- every form of fraud. Subject, therefore, pears to be so largely responsible for the to the reservation above made, the classi. interpolations and equivocal readings fication adopted may provisionally serve. which have crept into the MSS. of the Prominent in the first group, among the New Testament, that it would be unjust pseudonymous fabrications of tyranny, to impute sinister design to all that have stands the Athanasian Creed, which, notbeen twisted to serve controversial ends. withstanding the avowal of revered die
Although, after the formation of a canon vines that they wished they were “ well and the establishment of Catholic Chris- rid of it,” still disfigures the Anglican tianity, one chief motive for the fabrica- prayer-book. Though its actual origin tion of pseudonymous literature ceased to and date are still uncertain, it is admitted operate, fresh occasions soon arose to call by the general consent of theologians, it into active being. I can do no more “orthodox" and "heterodox” alike, to be within the limits of this paper than glance falsely fathered upon the Alexandrian at the salient aspects of a large and many. bishop of the third century whose name it sided subject. The fabrications which I bears. The prevailing opinion is that it have space to notice may be conveniently emanated from a Spanish or French source grouped under three heads: (1) those dic. in the fifth or sixth century.* This is not tated by base motives, whether in the in the place to discuss the value of its theoterest of tyranny, greed, vanity, spite, or logical definitions, but the emphatic lanjealousy; (2) those devoid of evil intention guage of its damnatory clauses leaves no and due to the indulgence of satirical, room for doubt as to their primary object. mischievous, or playful humor; (3) those To strengthen by the agency of spiritual inspired by a strong dramatic impulse, to terrorism the hands of the power which which any form of mystification appears arrogated to itself the sole authority of permissible. Allowance may have to be fixing Christian dogma, and to narrow the made in some cases for an admixture of pale of the Church so as to exclude all motives, which renders it doubtful whether who dared to exercise the private right of they belong wholly to the first or in part reason and conscience, was a design which to the second group. In estimating the the creed-maker accomplished only too culpability of a particular imposture, the well.
That the wielders of spiritual tyranny tion of the canon is the beginning of the fourth century, should not lack the complement of tembut the fabrications ascribed to Dionysius “the Areopagite could scarcely have been written before the fifth
(Smith's Classical Dict. of Biog.) Some • The chief authorities on the subject are collectively critics assign even a later date to the spurious Apostol- cited in Dr. Lamson's Church of the First Three Conical Constitutions
turies, pp. 403-4.
poral dominion was the obvious aim of sing to endow them with valuable lands iwo fabrications which appeared in the and franchises, which, when examined by eighth century, and are attributed by Gib- modern experts, have been discovered to bon to the hand of a single writer who be palpable forgeries. The learned editor “borrowed the name of St. Isidore." * The of the "Feodarium Prioratus Dunelmen“ Decretals and the Donation of Constan- sis." (Canon Greenwell) devotes the bulk tine were intended, says the historian, to of his preface to an examination of the be “the two magic pillars of the spiritual foundation deeds of the Benedictine monand temporal monarchy of the popes." astery established by” Bishop William de According to the narrative put forth by St. Carilef at Durham, which “form one Pope Adrian the First in an epistle ad inseparable and complete series of titles dressed to Charlemange, the Donation of in connection with the confirming instruConstantine originated in his gratitude for ments of King William the Norman, having been healed of leprosy and bap. Archbishops Lanfranc and Thomas, and tized by St. Silvester, then Bishop of bulls of several popes. This series, conRome. In pious recognition of his deliv. sisting of a large number of varied and erance, the emperor relinquished “the pretentious documents," he finds himself seat and patrimony of St. Peter, declared compelled by the evidence to declare to his resolution of founding a new capital be a tissue of forgeries.". The proofs in the East, and resigned to the popes the of this charge consist both in substantial free and perpetual sovereignty of Rome, discrepancies between these documents Italy, and the provinces of the West." and unimpeachable records elsewhere, Though professedly credited by Pope and in glaricg falsifications of names, Adrian and some of his successors, this dates, and seals. In the case of one docmonstrous fiction did not escape monastic ument it can be shown that“out of eleven criticism in the twelfth century, and in attesting archbishops, bishops, and abbots, 1440 was mercilessly exposed by the Ro- six were dead at the time when the charter man patriot, Valla. Half a century later it affects to have been executed.” Similar was generally abandoned, and eventually evidences of falsity invalidate the rest of disavowed by the advocates of the Church the series. Two motives appear to have in whose interest it had been forged.
dictated the fabrication of the charters Of the Decretals, which "purported to in question: the one, to provide written be rescripts or decrees of the early bish- and readily authenticated proof of ownerops of Rome,” | it may suffice to say that ship of estates to which, though belonging they were designed to prove the antiquity to the convent, there was no book-title; of the supreme jurisdiction of the Roman the other, to establish claims to privileges See as a court of appeal. Their twofold to which the monks had no evidence of object was to weaken archiepiscopal au. right, and that were probably assumptions thority over suffragan bishops, who were without authority."* thereby made directly amenable to the The occasion of the forgery was probpapal tribunal, and to forbid the holding ably a bitter dispute which arose between of national councils without special sanc- the monks and Bishop Marsh in 1221, tion from Rome.
when both parties appealed to Rome and Upon these spurious Decretals [says Hal-were called upon to produce their muni.
ments. lam] was built the great fabric of papal supremacy over the different national churches
Numerous examples of forged monastic a fabric which has stood after its founda- charters upon a less extensive scale than tion crumbled beneath it, for no one has pre- the foregoing are given by Kemble in his tended to deny for the last two centuries that "Codex Diplomaticus Ævi Saxonici," the imposture is too palpable for any but the passim, and by Sir Thos. Duffus Hardy in most ignorant age to credit. I
his “ Introduction to the Charte. Rolls," The almost exclusive possession of pp. xxxi, xxxviii, xxxix. clerkly learning by the religious orders The “History of the Monastery of afforded to unscrupulous brotherhoods Croyland,” ostensibly by its abbot, In. facilities for abusing it in their own in. gulphus, which purports to embrace its terests with comparatively little risk of annals and charters from the middle of detection. From the Scriptoria
of the seventh to the early part of the twelfth English monasteries issued a large num-century, and contains much curious inforber of royal and private charters purport. mation respecting the reign of the Con
queror, has been discredited since the • Decline and Fall, ix. 159, 160. † Hallan's Middle Ages, c. vii. part i. pp. 166-7.
Publications of Surtees Society, vol. lviii., prei. Ibid. p. 167
seventeenth century, when Wharton and during the Barons' War. The garbled Hickes successively called attention to its version of John's great charter here put fictitious statements. Sir Francis Pal. forth contains an undertaking on the part grave, who subjected it to a careful exam- of the king to expel Fawkes, among others, ination in the Quarterly Review for June, from the realm forth with. The authentic 1826, assigns various reasons for conclud- charter makes no mention of Fawkes, who ing it to be a forgery of the reign of continued for some years in the service of Richard the Second. The code of laws Henry the Third before his insolent defiin French, which the writer ascribes to ance of law and order compelled the king the Conqueror, has been “ascertained,” to banish him. It was presumably with says Hallam, "to be a translation from the hope of hastening that desired event the Latin made in the thirteenth cen- that the forger sought to show his exile tury.”*
A further exposure of its an- had already been decreed.* achronisms and misstatements has been Lest the frauds of English monks should made by Mr. H. T. Riley † and by Sir be supposed uniquely sbameful, it is but Thomas Duffus Hardy. The last-named just to instance one or two which were writer unequivocally brands it as “a monk. hatched in Continental cloisters. The ish forgery."
“ History of Charles the Great and Or. Even the more trustworthy monastic lando," published shortly before the year chroniclers - e.g., Roger de Wendover and 1122, as a personal narrative, by CharleMatthew Paris - frequently insert docu. magne's secretary, Turpin, Archbishop of ments accredited either to divine or hu-Rheims, appears to have been the compoman writers, which are obviously spurious sition of a monk who in the words of its and betray more or less clearly the pur- latest editor) designed it " for edification, poses which occasioned their fabrication for encouragement of faith in the Church, Among those introduced into Wendover's war against infidels, and reverence to the Chronicle is “a letter that came from shrine of St. James of Compostella.” | heaven” and was found “ suspended over That the last-named object was uppermost St. Simeon's altar at Jerusalem” in the in the writer's mind he takes much pains year 1200.
Its fulmination of the direst to make clear. Midway in his romantic penalties against Sabbath-breaking lent account of the exploits of Charles and his timely aid to the efforts of some of the paladins in Gallicia, the assumed Turpin clergy who were just then denouncing that breaks off to describe how, by the emoffence. The copies of “ Magna Carta” peror's command, he dedicated “the and the “ Carta de Foresta " which Wend-church and altar of St. James with exover and Paris seem to have accepted as traordinary, splendor and magnificence." authentically signed and promulgated by A chapter is devoted to the recital of the John, prove to be a pasticcio made up metropolitan rank and revenues bestowed from a garbled and mutilated version of on it." All Spain and Gallicia was made the single charter executed by that king, subject to this holy place; it was moreover and of the two charters granted by his endowed with four pieces of money from successor. The language of the later doc- every house throughout the kingdom, and uments has been generally modified to suit at the same time iotally freed from royal the earlier date assigned to them; but a jurisdiction; being from that hour styled blunder of the manipulator in omitting to the Apostolic See,” etc. A labored comalter a reference made by Henry the parison follows of its relation to the Sees Third to his "grandfather,” Henry the of Rome and Ephesus,
" which are unSecond, betrays the falsification. Dr. doubtedly the true sees; the second Luard, in his edition of Matthew Paris, place in pre-eminence being emphatically adduces other clear proofs of forgery, and claimed for it, with a significant hint in suggests a probable motive for it. The conclusion that, “if any difficulty should convent of St. Albans (whence these occur that cannot elsewhere be resolved, chronicles proceeded) cherished a bitter let it be brought before these sees, and it animus against Fawkes de Breauté, one shall by divine grace be decided.” Alof John's foreign mercenaries, by whose though in 1122 Pope Calixtus the Second troops the monastery had been plundered "vouched for the authorship of Turpin,"
the work gradually lost credit, and when
the object of its fabrication was detected • Literature of Europe, i. 28, note. + Archæol. Journ. part i. pp. 32-49; part ii., pp.
* Chronicle of M. Paris, ed. Luard ; Rolls Series of # Descriptive Catal. of Materials, ii. 62, 63.
Chronicles, vol. ii. pref. pp. 589 599: Ś Flores Historiarum, ed. Hewlett; Rolls Series of + Mediæval Tales (Universal Library), ed. Prof. H. Chronicles, vol. ii., pp 295 599.
Morley, introd. p. 5.