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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 157
ditionalism ; and yet we find the great Florentine apostle and martyr absolutely tied fast to the old system of allegorical inter- pretation. The autograph notes of his sermons, still preserved in his cell at San Marco, show this abundantly. Thus we find him attaching to the creation of grasses and plants on the third day an allegorical connection with the " multitude of the elect " and with the " sound doctrines of the Church " ; and to the creation of land animals on the sixth day a similar relation to " the Jewish people " and to " Christians given up to things earthly." *
The revival of learning in the fifteenth century seemed likely to undermine the older structure.
Then it was that Lorenzo Valla brought to bear on biblical research, for the first time, the spirit of modern criticism. By truly scientific methods he proved the famous Letter of Christ to Abgarus a forgery ; the Donation of Constantine, one of the great foundations of the ecclesiastical power in temporal things, a fraud ; and the creed attributed to the apostles a creation which post-dated them by several centuries. Of even more per- manent influence was his work upon the New Testament, in which he initiated the modern method of comparing manuscripts to find what the sacred text really is. At an earlier or later period he would doubtless have paid for his temerity with his life ; fortunately, just at that time, the ruling pontiff and his con- temporaries cared much for literature and little for orthodoxy, and from their palaces he could bid defiance to the Inquisition.
While Valla thus initiated biblical criticism south of the Alps, a much greater man began a more fruitful work in northern Europe. Erasmus, with his edition of the New Testament, stands at the source of that great stream of modern research and thought which is doing so much to undermine and dissolve away the vast fabric of patristic and scholastic interpretation.
Yet his efforts to purify the scriptural text seemed at first to encounter insurmountable difficulties, and one of these may stimulate reflection. He had found, what some others had found before him, that the famous verse in the first chapter of the First
��* For Agobard, see the Liber auversus Fredigisuna, cap. xii ; also Reuter's Relig. Auf- klarung iin Mittelalter, i, 24 ; also Poole, Illustrations of the History of Medieval Thought, London, 1884, pp. 38 et seq. For Erigena, see his De Divisione Naturae, lib. iv, cap. v, also i, cap. lxvi-lxxi, and for general account see Ueberweg, History of Philosophy, New York, 1871, vol. i, pp. 358 et seq., and for the treatment of his work by the Church, see the edition of the Index under Leo XIII, 1881. For Abelard, see the Sic et Non, Prologue, Migne, torn, clxxviii, and, on the general subject, Milman, Latin Christianity, vol. iii, pp. Z1 1-311. For Hugo of St. Victor, see Erudit. Didask., lib. vii, vi, 4, in Migne, clxxvi. For Savonarola's interpretations, see various references to his preaching in Villari's Life of Savonarola, Eng- lish translation, London, 1890, and especially the exceedingly interesting table in the ap- pendix to vol. i, chap. vii.