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volume of Calmet’s commentaire litteral sur tous les livres de l'Ancien et du Nouveau Testament, also contains a list of the spurious gospels.
During the persecutions by the Roman Emperors, Christians were too fully occupied in securing their persons, and writing apologies for christianity, to engage in controversy; but immediately after the elevation of Constantine to the throne, warm disputes commenced between S. S. Athanasius, Gregory Nazienzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Epiphanius, &c. and the Arians, Sabellians, Manicheans, Apollinarians, &c. on the divinity and incarnation of Jesus. The orthodox doctrines on these points was maintained in the succeeding century by S. S. Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine. These controversies were followed by that between St. Cyril of Alexandria, and the Nestorians.
To these brilliant periods succeed the darkness of ignorance, and intolerance of bigotry. The questions, If one of the Trinity had suffered ; if two wills and two natures existed in Jesus ; if the body of Christ, received in the Eucharist, was identically the same as that born of the Virgin Mary, and if it was subject to the same changes as common aliments, occupied the attention of theologians, along with the enquiry, H Christ was born in the customary manner, and others equally fruitless and uninteresting.
The practice of ornamenting churches with paintings, in fresco and mosaic, was introduced
into Italy by Greek artists in the 12th, century. They had practised this art for several centuries before this time, as Conyers Middleton relates, that Paulinius had the miracles of Christ and Moses painted in the episcopal church at Nola, about the beginning of the 5th century.* In the 14th and 15th centuries, the best painters of Italy and Flanders were employed in decorating their churches with paintings, which still excite wonder and admiration. Catalogues of the works of several of the masters are found in Le Comtes cabinet des singularitez, Varie pittura e fresco di principali maestri Veneziani. Venice, 1760. folio. Scola Italica picturæ, à Gav. Hamilton incisæ. Rome, 1773. folio. Galerie des peintres Flamands Hollandais et Allemands, receuillie par Le Brun. Paris, 1792, 3 tom. folio. The works of Bartsch and Landon's vies et auvres des peintres les plus célebres, par M. Landon. Paris, 1803. 4to.
The art of engraving was discovered at the commencement of the 15th century; and besides the Biblia Pauperam, &c. numberless prints of sacred subjects were executed. The life of Christ was a favorite subject for the engravers of that period. It was engraved by Stoss, or Stolzhirs, Martin Schön, Bartholomew Schön, Israel van Mecheln, Lucas van Leyden, Wenceslaus van Olmutz, Schaufelein, Gemberlein, Albert Durer, Marc Antonio, &c.
* Conformity between Popery and Paganism, p. 242.
Some idea of the number of engravings illustrating the history of Jesus, may be conceived from the catalogue of the first collection of prints and engravings, amounting to 123,400, formed by the Abbe de Marolles, which was purchased for the French Kings cabinet.
Virgin Maries, either Transfigurations ...... 12 with the Infant Jesus or
77 3150 alone, surrounded with
60 a glory
58 Jesus's & Virgin Maries 101 Crownings with thorns.. 20 Annunciations
203 Ecce Homo's...... 133 Visitations
64 Carrying the Cross 71 Nativities 294 Veronicas
59 Angels appearing to the Crucifixions
.. 430 Shepherds
23 Descents from the Cross 172 Circumcisions 23 Dead Christs
189 Adorations of the Magi.. 151 Christ's Sepulcres...... 88 Flights into Egypt...... 129 Descents into Hell
13 Massacres of the Inno- Resurrections ........ 119 cents
63 Apparitions after the ReChild Jesus's 60 surrection
68 Disputations with the Ascenscions
38 Doctors 17 Christs
57 Baptisms of Jesus 46 Last Judginents ........ 6
Catalogues of the works of several of the most celebrated Engravers have been published; and Heineken has given lists of the works of those whose names reach to Diz, in his Dictionnaire des Artists.
At the revival of the Arts in Europe, several medals and gems with the head, &c. of Jesus were
executed; some of these are found in our public and private cabinets; and a list of Cameos, &c. relating to Jesus is given in Raspe's catalogue of Tassie's Gems, 13,844-13,865.
Theatrical representations of the Life of Christ originated about the 14th century. One of the English religious plays is given in the following pages, as a specimen of the dramatic poetry and religious opinions of that age. At the beginning of the 15th century a fraternity was established in France, under the title of Les freres de la passion. A list of the mysteries, moralities, &c. they performed, and of their authors, is given in Beauchamp’s Recherches sur les Theatres de France. Tom. i. p. 224-356. The neglect of religious duties, and immoralities they occasioned, caused their suppression, by a decree of the Parisian parliament, dated December the 9th, 1541, which is printed in French, in Rymer's short view of Tragedy, p. 169-182. The principal charge is extracted from his abridged translation, p. 53, &c. “ That they, two or three years ago, had undertaken to represent Christ's passion, and the Acts of the Apostles, and therein had employed mean illiterate fellows, who were not cunning in these matters, as a Carpenter, a Bum Bailiff, a Weaver, and others, who had committed divers faults both in the fiction and in their action; and to lengthen out the time had interlarded many apocryphal matters, not contained in the Acts of the Apostles, that their play might last three or four days longer,
thereby to get the more money from the people ; adding, moreover, at the beginning or at the end, drolls and wanton farces, and by that means had made it hold out for six or seven months together; by means whereof, the divine service was neglected nobody went to church - charity grew cold; besides all the adulteries, o fornications, mockeries, and derisions unexpressable.”. ? The only remarkable things remaining to be noticed in the bibliographical history of Jesus are, the entire omission, or very brief notice of his life in all the Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, and the high pretensions and inflated stile of the lives of Christ which issue periodically from the English press.
Stepney, November 25th, 1818.