Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/21

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5
Introduction.

I. Of all the books burnt for offence under the first head, the most to be regretted, from an historical point of view, I take to be Porphyry's Treatise against the Christians, which was burnt a.d. 388 by order of Theodositis the Great. Porphyry believed that Daniel's prophecies had been written after the events foretold in them by some one who took the name of Daniel. It would have been interesting to have known Porphyry's grounds for this not improbable opinion, as well as his general charges against the Christians; and if there is anything in the tradition of the survival of a copy of Porphyry in one of the libraries of Florence, the testimony of the distinguished Platonist may yet enlighten us on the causes of the growing darkness of the age in which he lived.

All the books of the famous Abelard were burnt by order of Pope Innocent II.; but it was his Treatise on the Trinity, condemned by the Council of Soissons about 1121, and by the Council of Sens in 1140, which chiefly led St. Bernard to his cruel persecution of this famous man. That great saint, using the habitual language of ecclesiastical charity, called Abelard an infernal dragon and the precursor of Antichrist. Among his heresies Abelard