Methodius

, a father of the church, bishop of Olympus, or Patara, in Lycia, and afterwards of Tyre in Palestine, suffered martyrdom at Chalcis, a city of Greece, towards the end of Dioclesian’s persecution in the year 302 or 303. Epiphanius says “that he was a very learned man, and a strenuous assertor of the truth.” St. Jerome has ranked him in his catalogue of church writers; but Eusebius has not mentioned him; which silence is attributed by some, though merely upon conjecture, to Methodius’s having written very sharply against Origen, who was favoured by Eusebius. Methodius composed in a clear and elaborate style several works i a large one “Against Porphyry the philosopher;” “A Treatise on the Resurrection,” against Origen; another on “Pythonissa,” against the same a book entitled “The banquet of Virgins” one on “Free-will” “Commentaries upon Genesis and the Canticles” and several other pieces extant in St. Jerome’s time. Father Combesis collected several considerable fragments of this author, cited by Epiphanius, Photius, and others, and printed them with notes of his own at Paris, in 1644, together with the works of Amphilochius and Andreas Cretensis, in folio. But afterwards Possinus, a Jesuit, found “The Banquet of Virgins” entire, in a manuscript belonging to the Vatican library; and sent it, with a Latin version of his own, into France, where it was printed in 1657, folio, revised and corrected by another manuscript in the library of cardinal Mazarin. We cannot doubt that this is the true and genuine work of Methodius; as it not only carries all the marks of antiquity in it, but contains word for word all the passages that Photius had cited out of it. It is written in the way of dialogue, after the manner of “Plato’s Banquet of Socrates;” with this

1 Bullart’s Academic des Sciences, vol. I. Granger. —Foppen Bibl, Belg.
| difference, that the speakers here are women, who indeed talk very learnedly and very elegantly. 1
1 Cave, vol. I, Dupin. Larduer’s Works,