It has been necessary to consider at such length St Paul's account of the Eucharist, both because it antedates nearly by half a century that of the gospels, and because it explains the significance which the rite had no less for the Gnostics than for the great church.
The History of Nennius is, of course, considerably earlier, and that of Geoffrey of Monmouth somewhat antedates 1150 (1136), but with these exceptions the dates above given will be found to cover the composition of all our extant texts.
The forged letters are not, for the most part, entirely composed of fresh material; the author draws his inspiration from the notices on each of the popes given in the Liber Pontificalis; he inserts whole passages from ecclesiastical writers; and he antedates the evidences of a discipline which actually existed; so it is by no means all invented.
The fact, however, appears to be that the prominence given to the heart in popular beliefs dates from the time when in the course of the development of anatomical knowledge the important function of the heart in animal life came to be recognized, whereas the supposition that the liver is the seat of vitality rests upon other factors than anatomical knowledge, and, being independent of such knowledge, also antedates it.
The first of them antedates by six or seven centuries the similar change in the Romance languages (see Romance Languages).