PHILASTER, fi-las'ter (PHILASTRIUS): Bishop of Brescia and ecclesiastical writer; b. possibly in Egypt in the first half of the fourth century; d. before 397. He had been consecrated before 381, for in that year he took part in the Synod of Aquileia. Augustine knew him while at Milan; and his, successor Gaudentius, who became bishop of Bres-


cia before 397, praised his orthodoxy and learning (MPL, xx. 957). According to the tradition current at Brescia, he died on July 18; but the Sermo de vita et obitu Philastri (MPL, xx. 1002), ascribed to Gaudentius, seems to date rather from the eighth or ninth century. About 383 Philaster wrote his Diversarum hæreseont liber (ed. J. Sichard, Basel, 1528; also in MPL, xii.; CSEL, xxxviii.), a catalogue containing twenty-eight pre-Christian and 128 Christian heresies. The style shows lack of education, and the matter lack of intellectual training. It is fanciful and artificial, especially in its divisions of distinction. His source for heresies previous to Noetus was probably the lost Syntagma adversus omnes hæreses of Hippolytus, and for the Manicheans the Acta Archelai. The intrinsic value of the work is small. He was, however, cited by Augustine, and thus gained importance in the Middle Ages, and he is of some interest in tracing the history of the New-Testament canon, especially for the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Letter to the Laodiceans.


BlBLIOGRAPHY: R. A. Lipsius, Zur Quellenkritik des Epiphanios, Vienna, 1865; idem. Die Quellen der ältesten Keisergeschichte, Leipsic, 1875; A. Harnack, Quellenkritik der Geschichte des Gnostismus, Leipsic, 1874; idem, Litteratur, i. 150; J. Kunze, De historiæ gnosticismi fontibus, Leipsic, 1894; Krüger, History, passim; Schaff, Christian Church, iii. 931; Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, v. 171-178, viii. 42-43; DCB, iv. 351-353.

PHILEAS, fi-lê'as: Bishop of Thmuis (the modern Tmai, between the Tanite and Mendesian branches of the Nile) and martyr; d. at Alexandria 305. According to Eusebius, he was distinguished for his wealth, noble birth, honorable rank, and philosophical training, and the same church historian also gives a fragment of a letter written by Phileas from his prison in Alexandria to his diocese at Thmuis (Hist. eccl., VIII., x. 2-10; Eng. transl., NPNF, 1 ser., i. 330-331), holding up the example of the Alexandrian martyrs. Together with three other bishops imprisoned with him, Phileas wrote to Meletius of Lycopolis (q.v.), charging him with violating the rules of the Church by appointing other bishops in their places. The acts of Phileas, which are extant both in Greek and Latin, seem to have been known to Eusebius and to Jerome; and Rufinus (Hist, eccl., viii. 10) states that they were written by a Christian named Gregorius. The official who presided at the martyrdom of Phileas was Culcianus, who was succeeded by Hierocles apparently in 306, and at latest by 308.


BIBLOGRAPHY: The letter is also in M. J. Routh, Reliquiæ sacræ, 5 vols., Oxford. 1846-48; Eng. trans. with introduction and notes is in ANF, vi. 181-164. The Acts of his Martyrdom are in ASB, Feb., i. 459 .qq. (with commentary); R. Knopff, Ausgewählte Märtyrakten, pp. 102 sqq., Freiburg, 1901; F. Combefis, Illustrium Christi martyrum lecti triumphi, pp. 145 sqq., Paris, 1680 (the Greek text). The older literature is given in ANF, Bibliography, p. 71. Consult: Jerome, De vir. ill., lxxviif.; N. Lardner, Credibility of Gospel History, in Works, iii. 234-237, London, 1838; J. M. Neale, Hist. of the Holy Eastern Church, i. 97, 99-101, London, 1847; E. le Blaut, Les Persécuteurs et les martyrs aux premiere siècles, pp. 226-227, Paris, 1893; Harnack, Litteratur, i. 441 142, 12, pp. 69-72, 74, 83; C. Schmidt, in TU, v. 4b (1901); O. Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Litteratur, ii. 211 212, Freiburg, 1903; Krüger, History, p. 219; DCB, iv. 353; KL, ix. 1998.


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