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John of Jerusalem


Fourth century Palestinian bishop; d. 417. John succeeded Cyril as bishop of Jerusalem in 387. His relations with jerome and rufinus of aquileia were excellent at firstall shared in enthusiasm for origen. In 393, however, epiphanius of salamis, following his emissary, the monk Atarbius to Palestine, preached a thunderous sermon against Origen in John's own church and presence. While Rufinus was unimpressed and John indignant, Jerome joined Epiphanius in attacking John. John denied the Bethlehem monks access to the holy places in Jerusalem and refused to baptize their converts or bury their dead. In the fall of 396 Jerome published his virulent broadsheet, To Pammachius, against John of Jerusalem [Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, 217 v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 23:371412].

theophilus of alexandria, whose sympathies then lay with John and Rufinus, effected a reconciliation at Easter in 397. When the quarrel between Jerome and Rufinus flared up again, John held aloof; he attended Paula's funeral in 404. When pelagius, whose ally Caelestius had already been condemned at Carthage, came to Palestine, John received him kindly, whereas Jerome was hostile; augustine sent Orosius to Bethlehem to alert the monks. Pelagius confronted Orosius at a Jerusalem diocesan synod in July 415. Orosius (Lib. Apol. 37) alleged that Pelagius taught a doctrine opposed by Augustine; but "I," said John, "am Augustine here." There was, apparently, interpreter trouble; but verbal agreement was reached, to Orosius's annoyance, on the formula, "God can enable the earnest man to avoid sin," and John declared Pelagius innocent. In December John attended the metropolitan synod at Diospolis, where Pelagius was again acquitted. John is probably the bishop of Jerusalem mentioned in Egeria's Pilgrimage.

Arabic Manuscripts of Mount Sinai, edited by a. s. atiya, lists unpublished sermons of John (codex 309). The evidence very slightly favors John's authorship of the Mystagogical Catecheses ascribed in most manuscripts to his predecessor Cyril. The tenth century Munich manuscript attributes them to John, and three other manuscripts attribute them to "Cyril and John." While the converse often happens, the works of famous men are not easily attributed to unknown authors. John may have simply borrowed his predecessor's Mystagogiae; or if they are his own, they may be quite heavily indebted to Cyril. It is probable that the need to complete Cyril's pre-baptismal catecheses, which originally, at least in some manuscripts, circulated alone, was felt, John's Mystagogiae were added, and either (w. telfer) the difference in authorship was not always copied or (t. schermann) scribes gradually displaced John's name in the manuscripts by that of the famous catechist.

Bibliography: w. j. swaans, Muséon 55 (1942) 143. w. j. swaans and richard, Mélanges de science religieuse 5 (1948) 282, support John's authorship. p. peeters, Analecta Bollandiana (1943) 270271, doubts Cyril's authorship. j. quasten, Patrology, 3 v. (Westminster, Md. 1950) 3:362367 and St. Cyril of Jerusalem's Lectures on the Christian Sacraments, ed. f. l. cross, Society for Promoting Christian knowledge (London 1951) consider the case for John still unproved. j. ferguson, Pelagius: A Historical and Theological Study (Cambridge, Eng. 1956). f. cavallera, Saint Jérôme, 2 v. Spicilegium sacrum Lovaniense (Louvain 1922) 1, 2; 1:193227; 323329; 2:3136, 9196. t. schermann, Theologische Revue, 10 (1911) 575579. a. s. atiya, A Hand List of Arabic manuscripts and Scrolls Microfilmed at the Library of the Monastary of St. Catherine (Baltimore 1955).

[a. a. stephenson]

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