Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/624

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to be produced, if in scanty measure, up to the day of the fuller harvest.

That Grosseteste and Bacon had their precursors we must expect to find. Indeed, it is pretty certain that there was never a time when the knowledge of either Hebrew or Greek was altogether dead in the Latin Church. In almost every generation we can point to some document which bears witness to the possession of such knowledge by scholars scattered here and there. In the middle of the twelfth century, for example, Johannes Burgundio of Pisa executed-badly enough it seems -a whole series of versions from the Greek. Among these were the Homilies of Chrysostom on Matthew, the tract of Nemesius-then believed to be by Gregory of Nyssa-On the Nature of Man, and, above all, the treatise of John of Damascus On the Orthodox Faith, of which mention has been made already. Again, in the second half of the same century, an English Odo-his personality remains obscure-dedicates to Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, an Introduction to Theology in which long passages from the Old Testament are quoted in the original Hebrew. There were also in the latter half of this same century the makings of a Greek school at the Abbey of St Denis. The reason of this is not far to seek. The patron saint of that great House was a Greek, and, as all men believed, the author of a famous group of writings. As early as the eleventh century (in 1022) a copy of the Gospels in Greek had been written for the Abbey. In the twelfth century Odo de Deuil, who succeeded Suger as Abbot, sent one of his monks, William of Gap, to the East on a literary mission, as it seems. William brought Greek books back with him from Constantinople; and made a Latin version of a life of the philosopher Secundus, which was extensively copied. To him also we may assign a Latin version of a set of Greek Arguments to the Pauline Epistles. This last piece of work he did when Abbot of St Denis, between 1172 and 1186, at the request of Herbert de Bosham, the friend and biographer of St Thomas of Canterbury. A fellow-monk of William's, Johannes Saracenus, a correspondent of John of Salisbury's, and in after years Abbot at Vercelli, translated into Latin the greater part of the Pseudo-Dionysian writings. A second William, monk of St Denis, did the same for a Greek panegyric on their reputed author. Down to a late date part of the office on St Denis' Day was said in Greek at the Abbey; and the Bibliotheque Nationale possesses a couple of twelfth century Greek manuscripts which belonged to the same House, and may well have been among the spoils brought back by William of Gap.

Yet after all these were isolated phenomena. Bacon's estimate of the needs of his time remains the true one. It is amply confirmed by contemporary literature, and perhaps the readiest and most convincing demonstration of it is furnished by the catalogues of the great libraries which come from this period. The value of these documents