Newmanianism/V.Mr. Ward's Charge of "direct misrepresentation"

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§ V.Mr. Ward's Charge of "direct misrepresentation"

The reader will perceive from this letter that I pledged myself to publish, at an early opportunity, my suppressed refutation of Mr. Ward's charge of "direct misrepresentation". I now proceed to do so: but I warn the ordinary reader not to spend much time over it. It is necessarily technical, and I was obliged to be brief, and therefore to risk a little obscurity. Good scholars, I think, will see at a glance that Mr. Ward, if either of us, has (of course unintentionally) misrepresented the facts; but those who are not conversant with Eusebius may find a little difficulty in following the argument. However, here it is:

I turn to Mr. Ward, who accuses me (I) of 'direct misrepresentation', (2) of 'unmannerly abuse'.

"First for the 'direct misrepresentation'. After quoting a passage from Philomythus, Mr. Ward says, 'I naturally supposed from this, as other readers will have done, that Newman had narrated as positive statements of Eusebius what that historian gives as reports '; and he tries to show that this was not the case. I will prove that it is the case.

"I. I lay little stress on the first case because Mr. Ward himself admits it. In the story of the Thundering Legion, Newman has omitted the words of Eusebius it is reported, coming before an account of some wonderful descent of thunderbolts. But Mr. Ward extenuates the omission on the ground that in a previous sentence Newman had translated the phrase. He seems to write as though I had suppressed this fact: but here my words, 'Newman omits the second "it is reported that" . And he seems to be hardly aware, 1st, that a Greek historian would not be likely to repeat a phrase of this kind unless he desired to emphasise in it a manner by no means expressed to English readers in Mr. Ward's translation[1], and that Newman himself is led by this omission to misrepresent Eusebius (unintenionally, of course) a second time, as will appear in the next paragraph.

"2. Newman says, 'Apollinaris, Tertullian, and Eusebius, attest, &c.' Here we see the results of the previous careless misrepresentation. Eusebius 'attests' absolutely nothing. He quotes Apollinaris, he quotes Tertullian, and he quotes 'report'. But he expressely shifts from himself the responsibility of 'attesting' anything whatever, by these final words: 'But about these matters let each of my readers decide as he pleases.' These words Newman ignores, and, by[2] omitting the words, 'it is reported', he makes Eusebius 'attest' what he does not 'attest' .

"3. Eusebius tells a story about a thaumaturgic conversion of water into oil by St. Narcissus, apparently expressing his disbelief in it by inserting, or implying, before each clause, 'they say that', e.g. (They say that) a small specimen of the oil 'was preserved'. Newman says, 'Eusebius, who relates this miracle, says that small quantities of the oil were preserved even to his time'. "Here Eusebius is made to 'say' what he does not 'say'. And further the reader is led to suppose that, if Eusebius 'said' this, he must have believed in the miracle, and that therefore he 'relates this miracle' on his own responsibility; which is not the fact.

"4. Immediately after this miraculous story Eusebius tell a non-miraculous story about the same Saint. He makes a marked distinction between the two. The former he tells throughout with the incredulous ' they say that '; the latter he relates in the indicative mood as a historical fact; the former he describes as a thaumaturgic act (Θαύμα) 'mentioned, as if from tradition, ὼσὰν (Newman reads ὠς) ἐκπαραδόσεως ', the latter he classiffies under ' things worthy of mention enumerated (or stated)' by members of the Church of Jerusalem.

"Newman absolutely ignores this distinction, and classes both stories as one, under 'tradition'. 'Eusebius', he says, 'notices pointedly that it[3] was the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem". I say that Newman was wrong in ignoring this distinction; Mr. Ward says he was right. I am content to leave it so.

"As regards the three instances first quoted, I am quite sure that scholars would maintain that Newman has 'narrated as positive statements of Eusebius what the historian give as reports'. As regards the fourth, what I asserted was that Newman 'ignored the marked distinction made by the historian:' and I might have added that, in consequence of his ignoring this distinction, he (unintenionally, of course) makes Eusebius say what he did not say, viz., that the miraculous oil was preserved. Mr. Ward, however, sees no 'marked distinction', but only 'a difference in the form of expression'. I can simply marvel and pass on.

"5. There remains one small point which Mr. Ward has made a large one in his treatment of it. In a quotation from Newman on p.5 (given by me correctly on p. 157), I have carelessly inserted the word 'rather', an act of sheer and unmitigated carelessnes, for which Mr. Ward would have been perfectly justified in censuring me.

But he has done more than censure me. He has said that I have ' elected ', not only to omit Newman's italics in this quotation, but also to ' insert ' this word of my own. Now as regards the italics, I have given a general notice (Philomythus, p.9, note) that in all quotations italics are mine, not Newman's; once at least I have retained his italics and called attention to them in a foot-note; but here (since a footnote on a foot-note was out of the question) I did not retain them.[4] But the charge of ' electing ' to insert a word of one's own in a quotation from an opponent stands on a very different footing and then follows, rather more fully stated, the substance of the letter given above; which I will not repeat.

  1. If I were at liberty to alter the text, I should insert before "translation", the words -"not very satisfactory, though for his purposes, effective".
  2. The word "by" should have been omitted.
  3. "It", i.e. the two stories. Newman italicizes "tradition".
  4. In my second edition, I have got over the difficulty by appending sic to denote that the italics are here exceptional -not mine, but Newman's.