Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/337

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ALEXANDER 297 ALEXANDER dissertationes historictc, criticte, dogmatica; ", in which lie treated of the first century of Christianity, and in UiSO, the twenty-fourth voUinie in which lie closed his studies of New Testament history willi dissertations on the Council of Trent. In the next few years he published six octavo volumes of ilisser- tations on the liistory of the Old Testament. His directness and conciseness, his critical acumen, and his manner of viewing history and dividing it into special studies (then quite original, although now common enough) won for him the approbation of the learned. The first volumes of the liistorj* brought him letters of commendation and i)raise from Pope Innocent XI and many cardinals, but later volumes gave offence at Home because of the author's Clalli- canism, and Innocent XI finally forbade (l.'S July, 1684) the faithful to read the historj- under pain of excommunication. In the preface to the third edition (Paris, Hi!)!), eiglit folio volumes) Father Alexander submitted fully to the judgment of the Holy See, and in some scholia added to the ilis.ser- tations showed that in some instances he had been criticized and judged unjustly. Father Honcaglia (of the Clerks Regular) brought out at Lucca, in 1734, a sixth edition of the work in nine folio volumes, in which he gave the text unaltered, but with the addition of paragraphs and dissertations correcting the most ofTensive statonieiits. The work thus corrccteil was removed from the Index by Pope Benedict XIII, and many editions were thereafter given to the public. The best is that of Archbishop Mansi of Lucca, in nine folio volumes (Lucca, 1749), who added many explana- tory notes. .

anonymous writer in two supple- 

mentary volumes carneil the history into the eigh- teenth century, and added various dissertations from the pens of other historians. The work thus completed appeared at Venice in 1778, in eleven folio volumes, and at Bingen, 17(S;')-90, in twenty quarto volumes. LTpon the completion of his his- torical dissertation Father Alexander turned his attention for some years to strictly theological studies, and in IGO.'J published at Paris in ten octavo volumes a commentary on the " Catechismus Roma- nus " entitled "Theologia dogmatica et moralis" to which he added for preachers an Index Concinnatorius, distributing the whole work into sketches of ser- mons for all the Sundays antl feast-days of the year. The work has also two appendixes containing valu- able letters from his pen on moral theology and casuistry, and many papal, synodal, and episcopal documents bearing on the disputes of the time. Later editions of the work appeared at Paris in 1703, two folio volumes, in 1743, four quarto volumes, anil at Finsiedeln in 1768, ten volumes octavo. His next work of importance was a handbook for preach- ers: " Pni'cepta et regulte ad pradicatorcs verbi divini informandos ", w-liich first appeared in Paris in 1701, and last at .Vugsburg in 1763, in octavo. This was followed (1703-10) by a commentary " Commentarius litcralis et moralis" on one hundred and sixty Gospels (for Sundays and feast-days) and on the Epistles of the New Testament, which has often been re-edited in various forms. In 1704, Father Alexander fell into Jansenism by signing the Cas de Conscience, but he soon retracted. Before this he carried on a bitter controversy with Father Daniel, S.J., on the Dominican and Jesuit doctrines on Prob- abilism, Grace, and Predestination, as compared with the doctrine of St. Thomas .Aquinas on these subjects, which waa terminated by the King, who silenced both parties. In 1706. having been elected Provincial of the Dominican Province of France, he was obliged to interrupt his literary labours. Freed from his administrative duties in 1710. he .set himself to the t.isk of writing a commentary on the prophetical books of the Old Testament. In 1712 he was forced to lay aside his pen by a weakness of the eyes which finally resulted in total blindness. He died of old age in the convent of Saint Jacques in Paris, having enjoyed throughout his long and busy literary life a close intimacy with all the learned men of his time, especially with Cardinal Noris. While writing the important works noticed above Father .Vlexanuer published several dissertations in which he .showed (1) that St. Thomas was the author of the "Sununa Theologica"; (2) that St. Thomas was the author of the "Office of Corpus Chrisli"; (3) in the form of a dialogue between a I'ranciscan and a Dominican, that St. i'honias was not a di.sci[ile of Alexander of Hales, and that the Secunda SccundiF of the " Summa " was not borrowed from the latter. These, with a (li.s.sertation against Father Frassen, O.S.F., on the Vulgate, have been incorporated in his "Ilistoria Kccle-siastica" (Venice edition, 1778). Father .Vlexander wrote and published in French: " Recueil de plusieurs pii^ces pour la lidfense ile la morale et tie la grace de J. C." (Delft, 1698); " Apolo- gie dcs Dominicains Mi.ssionaires de la Chine, ou r^-ponse au livre intitul6", " D<5fense des nouveaux Chretiens" (Cologne, 1697); "Conformity des c('t6- monies C'hinoises avec I'idolatrie grecque et romaine, pour servir de confirmation h I'apologie des Domini- cains Mi.s.sionaires de la Chine" (Cologne, 1700); "Lcttres tl'un Docteur de I'ordrc de S. Dominique sur les c<5r6monics de la Chine" (Cologne, 1700). Qvkrn- ani> Eciiard, ,S.S. Onl. Pmd.. II, 810; Toiiion, Ilommet illuttrrs de Vordre de Saint Dominiaue, V, 804-K40; Hii-GKHH, Dcr Index der verbotencn BUcher (Freiburg, 1904), 138, 432 8<i<i. A. L. McMahon. Alexander of Abonoteichos, the most notorious impostor of the .second century of the Christian era. Ilis life is fully described by Lucian in his •itvibiiavTis, or "Alexaniler, the Oracle-Monger." Being intel- lectual, of pleasing appearance and captivating ad- dress, he gained many followers, not only in his own country but from different parts of the Roman Empire. By cleverly devi.sed oracles he prepared souls for a new birth an<l exhibited a huge serpent as the embodiment of his new divinity. His fame spread, and about 1.50 he built in his native city of Paphlagonia a temple to Esculapius, that was soon visited by many from all parts of Greece and Italy. The numerous questions asked of the new oracle were answered by "the prophet" in metrical pre- dictions. In his most prosperous year he is saiil to have delivered nearly 80,000 replies, concerning bodily, mental, and social afflictions, for each of which he received a drachma and two oboli. Great officials consulted the oracle, and the Roman Rutil- ianus married the charlatan's daughter. The non- fulfilment of his predictions he explained plausibly, declaring that Pontus wis full of Christians and un- believers who derided him, and that they should be stoned, or else his god wouKi no longer fai)ur the people. He established new mv.steries and on the tlay of their inauguration he liad this proclama- tion made in the temple: "If an Atheist, a Chris- tian, or an Epicurean be present, let him withdraw. Then only may tho.se who accept the gotl, do him worship joyfully." As the objects of his aversion were being expelled, ho continued to cry out: "Out with the Christians!" while the crowd added: "Out with the Epicureans!" Lewdness figured in the ceremonies, and his own private life was marked by licentiousness. He continued in this debiusing career for many years before the public deserted him. He had predicted that he would die when loO years okl, translated from this sphere of action to another by a thunderbolt. He died when he was 70 of a loath- ,some di.sease, devoured by worms. The •i'tv&ktuivTtt is deilicated by Lucian to Celsus, possibly the au- thor of the anti-Christiau work refuted by Origen.