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Ma'ximus Taurinensis

so called because he was bishop of Turin, flourished about the middle of the fifth century.

He subscribed in A. D. 451 the synodic epistle of Eusebius, bishop of Milan, to Leo the Great; and from the circumstance that in the acts of the council of Rome, held in A. D. 465, by Hilarius, the successor of Leo, the signature of Maximus immediately follows that of the chief pontiff, taking precedence of the metropolitans of Milan and Embrun, we may conclude that he was the oldest prelate present. It has been inferred from different passages in his works that he was born about the close of the fourth century, at Vercelli, that he was educated in that city, that he there discharged the first duties of the sacred office, and that he lived to a great age; but it is impossible to speak with certainty upon these points.


Gennadius, who is followed by Trithemius, states that Maximus composed a great number of tracts and homilies upon various subjects, several of which he specifies. Many of these have been preserved in independent MSS., while the Lectionaria of the principal monasteries and cathedrals in Europe, investigated with assiduity from the days of Charlemagne down to our own times, have yielded so many more which may with confidence be ascribed to this bishop of Turin, that he must be regarded as the most voluminous compiler of discourses in the Latin church. Little can be said in praise of the quality of these productions, most of wh ich were probably delivered extemporaneously. They are so weak and so destitute of grace, eloquence, and learning, that we wonder that they should ever have been thought worthy of preservation at all. The only merit they possess is purely antiquarian, affording as they do incidentally con siderable insight into the ecclesiastical ceremonies and usages of the period to which they belong, and containing many curious indications of the state of manners.

In the complete and sumptuous edition superintended by Bruno Brunus, published by the Propaganda at Rome (fol. 1784), under the especial patronage of Pope Pius the Sixth, and enriched with annotations by Victor Amadeus, king of Sardinia, the various pieces are ranked under three heads.

I. Homiliae. II. Sermones. III. Tractatus.

The Homiliae and the Sermones, the distinction between which is in the present case by no means obvious or even intelligible, amounting in all to 233, are divided each into three classes, De Tempore, De Sanctis, De Diversis; the discourses De Tempore relating to the moveable feasts, those De Sanctis to the lives, works, and miracles of saints, confessors, and martyrs; those De Diversis to miscellaneous topics.

The Tractatus, in No. 6, are I. II. III. De Baptismo. IV. Contra Paganos. V. Contra Judaeos. VI. Expositiones de Capitulis Evangeliorum.

Besides the above, we find in an appendix thirty-one Sermones, three Homiliae, and two Epistolae. all of doubtful authenticity; and it is, moreover, proved that a vast number of sermons and homilies have been lost.


Sermons by Maximus were first printed at Spires, by Peter Drach, fol. 1482, in the Homilarium Doctorum, originally compiled, it is said, by Paulus Diaconus, at the command of Charlemagne. Seventy-four of his homilies were published in a separate form by Joannes Gymnicus at Cologne. 8vo. 1535. The number was gradually increased by the Benedictines in their editions of Augustin and Ambrose, by Mabillon Museum Italicum, 1687), by Muratori (Anecdot. vol. 4.1713), by Martene and Dorand (Collectio amplissima, &c., 1733-1741), and by Galland (Biblioth. Patrum, vol. ix. &c.), who, however, merely collected and arranged the contributions of preceding scholars; but all editions must give way to that of Brunus mentioned above.

Further Information

Schönemann, Biblioth. Patrum Lat. vol. 2.25; Galland, Bibl. Patr. Proleg. ad vol. ix. c. ix.; and Brunlts, in the life of Maximus, prefixed to his edition.


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