Selections, 1

Melito  translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert

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1Melito to his brother Onesimus,[1] greeting: Since thou hast often, in thy zeal for the word, expressed a wish to have extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour, and concerning our entire faith, and hast also desired to have an accurate statement of the ancient book, as regards their number and their order, I have endeavored to perform the task, knowing thy zeal for the faith, and thy desire to gain information in regard to the word, and knowing that thou, in thy yearning after God, esteemest these things above all else, struggling to attain eternal salvation. Accordingly when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus,[2] Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David,[3] the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also,[4] Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book;[5] Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books.[*]

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  • [*] [This passage is quoted by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History (see 4:26). The remainder of the Selections has been lost. — Lexundria Editor]

  • [1] This Onesimus is an otherwise unknown person.

  • [2] Some MSS., with Rufinus, place Leviticus before Numbers, but the best MSS., followed by Heinichen, Burton, and others, give the opposite order.

  • [3] Literally, "of the Psalms of David" [one book].

  • [4] I.e. the Book of Proverbs.

  • [5] Literally, "in one book."