Methodius: De Lepra, On Leprosy (303)

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But one who strikes hard and tears away the mental curtain, given wings by the Spirit of God, flies in like a bird and reaches the inner meaning, which is the Holy of Holies.


De Lepra, On Leprosy

By Methodius
AD 303


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On the Ideal Word of Scripture:

[VII.1] This is about visible things, but the mysteries and the things of our hearts he entrusts to the angel who is the guardian of that church, who visits and examines our inner man.

[XI.1] And as I had said this, Euthymius said: “Indeed, concerning this, when I consider myself, when I hear about higher things (by higher things I mean the words of Christ), I am very glad, because I am brought to life by them, and I imagine that by heavenly things I have fixed my eyes on them, and forgetting myself, I think that I have left this world.

He says plainly that to those who believe and are being saved the gospel is uncovered, but to those who are perishing it is veiled, as if it were bound on the outside with copper bands, [5] for anyone who understands the scriptures from outside goes away devoid of any spiritual understanding, like one who has seen empty walls made of stone. But one who strikes hard and tears away the mental curtain, given wings by the Spirit of God, flies in like a bird and reaches the inner meaning, which is the Holy of Holies. And when he has reached it he is nourished by the effulgence of the beauty of truth.


The fourth short work by Methodius of Olympus (d.311) is De LepraOn Leprosy, an explanation of Leviticus 13.  The first English translation of it is now made available.

Unlike the three previous works, some fragments of the original Greek text are preserved in a medieval anthology found in at least 20 manuscripts.  The task of translating both sides has been a long one!  But it is done at last.  The comparison reveals that the Old Slavonic text is an abbreviated version of the original.

Ralph Cleminson translated the Old Slavonic, and Andrew Eastbourne translated the Greek, and drew attention to many issues which will considerably modify how we go about the task of translating the two long works.