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Ticonius

An African Donatist writer of the fourth century

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Ticonius (also TYCONIUS, TYCHONIUS, etc.), an African Donatist writer of the fourth century who appears to have had some influence on St. Augustine. He defended a milder form of Donatism than Parmenianus. He admitted a church outside his own sect and rejected the rebaptism of Catholics. Parmenianus wrote a letter against him, quoted by St. Augustine (Contra ep. Parmeniani, I, i; P.L., XVIII, 33). Otherwise almost all we know of him is contained in Gennadius (De vir illustr., XVIII): "Tichonius an African was learned in theology, sufficiently instructed in history, not ignorant of secular knowledge. He wrote books, `De bello intestino' and `Expositiones diversarum causarum' [these are both Donatist apologies]: in which, to defend his side, he quotes ancient synods; from which he is seen to have been of the Donatist party. He composed eight [should be seven] rules for discovering the meaning of the Scriptures, which he arranged in one book. He also explained the whole Apocalypse of John, understanding all of it in a spiritual sense, nothing carnally. In this exposition he said that the body [of man] is the dwelling-place of an angel. He denied the idea of a kingdom of the righteous on earth lasting a thousand years after the resurrection. Nor did he admit two future resurrections of the dead in the flesh, one of the good and one of the bad, but only one of all, in which the misbegotten and deformed will rise too, so that no part of the human race ever animated by a soul shall perish. He showed the distinction of the resurrection really to be that we must believe that there is a revelation of the righteous now in this world, when those justified by faith rise by baptism from the death of sin to the reward of the eternal life, and the second [resurrection] to be the general one of all flesh. He flourished at the same time as Rufinus; in the reign of Theodosius and his son" (ed. Bernoulli, Freiburg and Leipzig, 1895, pp. 68-69). This gives us 379-423 as extreme dates. Ticonius's best known work is the "Seven rules of interpretation" (for the Bible). They are quoted and explained by St. Augustine in "De doctrina christiana" (III, 30-37; P.L., XXXIV, 81-90) and his authority gave them great importance for many centuries in the West. St. Bede too quotes them (Explanatio apocalypsis; P.L., XCIII, 130-132). Ticonius's "Commentary on the Apocalypse" (Bede, op. cit., 132-134) is now lost. It was extant in the library of St. Gallen in the ninth century (No. 242; cf. G. Becker, "Catalogi biblioth. antiqui.", Bonn, 1885, p. 48) and is used by Primasius of Hadrumetum (P.L., LXVIII, 793-936), Ambrose Autpert (Bibl. Max., XIII, 403-657), and others. The "Commentary" ascribed to St. Augustine (P.L., XXXV, 2415-52) is believed to be a modified version of Ticonius. St. Augustine reproaches Ticonius with an anticipation of Pelagian ideas (De doctr. Christ., III, 33).

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