Chapter XXVII.—Voluminous Productions of Philip, a Presbyter of Side.
Philip was a native of Side; Side is a city of Pamphylia. From this place also Troïlus the sophist came, to whom Philip boasted himself to be nearly related. He was a deacon and thus admitted to the privilege of familiar intercourse with John Chrysostom, the bishop. He labored assiduously in literature, and besides making very considerable literary attainments, formed an extensive collection of books in every branch of knowledge. Affecting the Asiatic style, 989 he became the author of many treatises, attempting among others a refutation of the Emperor Julians treatises against the Christians, and compiled a Christian History, which he divided into thirty-six books; each of these books occupied several volumes, so that they amounted altogether to nearly one thousand, and the mere argument 990 of each volume equalled in magnitude the volume itself. This composition he has entitled not an Ecclesiastical, but a Christian History, and has grouped together in it abundance of very heterogeneous materials, wishing to show that he is not ignorant of philosophical and scientific learning: for it contains a medley of geometrical theorems, astronomical speculations, arithmetical calculations, and musical principles, with geographical delineations of islands, mountains, forests, and various other matters of little moment. By forcing such irrelevant details into connection with his subject, he has rendered his work a very loose production, useless alike, in my opinion, to the ignorant and the learned; for the illiterate are incapable of appreciating the loftiness of his diction, and such as are really competent to form a just estimate, condemn his wearisome tautology. But let every one exercise his own judgment concerning these books according to his taste. All I have to add is, that he has confounded the chronological order of the transactions he describes: for after having related what took place in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius, he immediately goes back to the times of the bishop Athanasius; and this sort of thing he does frequently. But enough has been said of Philip: we must now mention what happened under the episcopate of Sisinnius.
This was a heavy, redundant, and turgid style deprecated by rhetoricians of the better class from the time of Cicero onwards. Cf. Cicero, Brut. XIII. 51; Quinctilian, Instit. Orat. XII. 10, and Jerome, ad Rustic. (125. 6).168:990
ὑπόθεσις = lit. subject or substance; the contents, or as later, called the argument, or summary of contents.