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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Ulphilas, Ulfila, or Wulfila, prob.= Vufilao or "wolfin"), a Gothic bishop, was born among the Goths in 310 (or 311, or 313), and is believed to have belonged to a family of Cappadocian Christians whom the Goths had carried into captivity (Philostorg. Hist. Ecclesiastes 2, 5). Having mastered the Gothic, Greek, and Hebrew languages, he became bishop of the Goths in 341, and (according to Aluxentius) in 348 settled, with permission of the emperor Constantius, in Maesian territory, near Nicopolis. He propagated among his people the love of letters, formed an alphabet of twenty-four characters, based on the Greek, and translated into Maeso-Gothic the whole Bible, excepting Kings. U1filas was a semi-Arian, subscribed to the Creed of Rimini in 359, was at the Synod of Constantinople in 360, and died while attending the Ecumenical Council of 381. Ulfilas's Bible was constantly used by the Gothic people so long as they maintained their nationality, but in the 9th century it disappeared. In, the latter part of the 16th century, Arnold Mercator discovered in the Abbey of Werden a fragment containing the four gospels. It was the so-called Codex Argenteus; written with silver letters on purple parchment. It is now preserved at Upsala, Sweden. Another fragment, containing nearly all the epistles of St. Paul, was discovered in 1818 on some palimpsests by cardinal Mai and count Castiglioni in the Lombardian monastery of Bobbio, and published at Milan (1819-39). (See GOTHIC VERSION). Among its recent editors and commentators are Gabelenz, Lube, Massmann, and Stamm. A new edition by Bernhardt appeared at Halle in 1876. See Bessel, Ueber das Leben des Ulfilas 2nd die Bekehruing der Gothen (1860); Waitz, Ueber das Leben und die Lehre des Ufila (1840).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ulfilas'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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