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Junilius Africanus


Ancient exegete and Quaestor Sacri Palatii under the Emperor Justinian I in the years a.d. 541 to 549. Birth and death dates are unknown, although it seems certain that he died before a.d. 550. An African, he entered the imperial service and rose to one of the highest offices. How he acquired a considerable knowledge of theology and Scripture is not indicated in the scanty sources available on his life and work. His friend, Primasius, Bishop of Hadrumentum, having learned through him of the existence of an introduction to scriptural exegesis composed in Greek by the Persian Paul, who had been trained at the Syrian School of nisibis, urged Junilius to translate the work into Latin. His Instituta regularia divinae legis, in two books and cast in dialogue form, is a free translation or adaptation of the original Greek. The work reflects essentially the method of exegesis and general outlook of theodore of mopsuestia, but its Nestorian tendencies have been exaggerated. Cassiodorus mentions Junilius's "Introduction" with praise in his Institutes (1.10), and the work had considerable influence in the early Middle Ages.

Bibliography: h. kihn, Theodor von Mopsuestia und Junilius Africanus als Exegeten (Freiburg 1880); this work contains a critical text of the Instituta. o. bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur (Freiburg 191332) 5:334336. l. pirot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 8.2:197176. e. stein, "Deux questions de Justinien et l'empioi des langues dans ses novelles," Bull. Acad. Roy. de Belgique (Lettres) 23 (1937) 365390. m. l. w. laistner, "Antiochene Exegesis in Western Europe during the Middle Ages," Harvard Theological Review 40 (1947) 1931.

[m. r. p. mcguire]

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