Didymus the Blind

Didymus the Blind (313-398) was a student of Origen of Alexandria. Many of his writings are lost, but some of his commentaries and essays survive.  Didymus became blind at the age of 4, but despite his blindness, Didymus excelled in scholarship because of his incredible memory. He found ways to help blind people to read, experimenting with carved wooden letters similar to Braille systems used by the blind today (Lascaratos, John; Marketos, Spyros (1994). “Didymus the Blind: An unknown precursor of Louis Braille and Helen Keller”). According to Rufinus, Didymus was “a teacher in the Church school”, who was “approved by Bishop Athanasius” and other learned churchmen. Rufinus was Didymus’s pupil for eight years. When he translated Origen’s De principiis into Latin, he referenced Didymus’s commentary on it.  Didymus works cited much of the New Testament, but also passages from the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament as well as Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Acts of John, which he seemed to also consider Scripture, as the formal canon of Scripture had not yet been determined.

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