11. RHETORICIAN and PHILOSOPHER. Cave, Giacomellus, and Ernesti, are of opinion that this is no other than Philon Carpasius. His era agrees with this, for the philosopher is quoted by Athanasius Sinaita, who flourished about A. D. 561. We need not be startled at the term philosopher
as applied to an ecclesiastic.
This was not uncommon. Michael Psellus was termed the prince of philosophers, and Nicetas was surnamed, in the same way as Philon, ῥήτωρ καὶ φιλοσόφος.
Besides, Polybius, in the life of Epiphanius alluded to above, expressly calls Philon of Carpasia κληρικόν ἀπὸ ῥητόρων
, which Tillemont and others erroneously understand to mean a man who has changed from the profession of the law to that of the church. Cave shows that the ῥήτωρ
held an office in the church itself, somewhat analogous to our professorship of ecclesiastical history. Our only knowledge of Philon, under this name, whether it be Philon Carpasius or not, is from an inedited work of Anastasius Sinaita, preserved in the library of Vienna and the Bodleian. Glycas (Annal.
p. 282, &c.), it is true, quotes as if from Philon, but he has only borrowed verbatim
and without acknowledgment. from Anastasius.
The work of Anastasius referred to, is entitled by Cave, Demonstratio Historica de Magna et Angelica summi Sacerdotis Dignitate.
Philon's work, therein quoted, is styled a Church history, but, if we may judge from the only specimen of it we have, we need hardly regret its loss.
It consists of a tale regarding a monk, that being excommunicated by his bishop, and having afterwards suffered martyrdom, he was brought in his coffin to the church, but could not rest till the bishop, warned in a dream, had formally absolved him. (Cave, Hist. Litt.
p. 176, ed. Genevae, 1720; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. vii. p. 420.)