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THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH TO AUTOLYCUS
13 through 22
history after the flood.
1. After the flood
was there again a beginning of cities and kings, in the following manner: - The
first city was Babylon, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
And their king was called Nebroth [Nimrod]. From these came Asshur, from whom
also the Assyrians receive their name. And Nimrod built the cities Nineveh and
Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and Calah; and Nineveh became a
very great city.
2. And another son
of Shem, the son of Noah, by name Mizraim, begat Ludim, and those called Anamim,
and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, out of whom came
Philistin. Of the three sons of Noah, however, and of their death and genealogy,
we have given a compendious register in the above-mentioned book.
3. But now we will
mention the remaining facts both concerning cities and kings, and the things
that happened when there was one speech and one language. Before the dividing of
the languages these fore-mentioned cities existed. But when men were about to be
dispersed, they took counsel of their own judgment, and not at the instigation
of God, to build a city, a tower whose top might reach into heaven, that they
might make a glorious name to themselves.
therefore, they had dared, contrary to the will of God, to attempt a grand work,
God destroyed their city, and overthrew their tower. From that time He
confounded the languages of men, giving to each a different dialect.
5. And similarly
did the Sibyl speak; when she declared that wrath would come on the world. She
says: - "When are fulfilled the threats of the great God, with which He
threatened men, when formerly in the Assyrian land they built a tower, and all
were of one speech, and wished to rise even till they climbed unto the starry
Immortal raised a mighty wind and laid upon them strong necessity; For when the
wind threw down the mighty tower, Then rose among mankind fierce strife and
hate. One speech was changed to many dialects, and the earth was filled with
divers tribes and kings." And so on
Theophilus seems to speak of the “Sybil” with confidence, but I have my
reservations. What she proclaims
here were no more than historic events, and there is error in such future events
as she wrote. Moreover, where is it written that God threw down the mighty
tower of Babel, He confounded their
language yes, “And they left off” so it says.
For again what is there to destroy on a puny pile of stone that they had
thus far accomplished?)
7. These things,
then, happened in the land of the Chaldeans. And in the land of Canaan there was
a city, by name Haran. And in these days, Pharaoh, who by the Egyptians was also
called Nechaoth, was first king of Egypt, and thus the kings followed in
succession. And in the land of Shinar, among those called Chaldeans, the first
king was Arioch, and next after him Ellasar, and after him Chedorlaomer, king of
Elam, and after him Tidal, king of the nations called Assyrians.
8. And there were
five other cities in the territory of Ham, the son of Noah; the first called
Sodom, then Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Balah, which was also called Zoar. And
the names of their kings are these: Bera, king of Sodom; Birsha, king of
Gomorrah; Shinab, king of Admah; Shemeber, king of Zeboiim; Bela, king of Zoar,
which is also called Kephalac.
9. These served
Chedorlaomer, the king of the Assyrians, for twelve years, and in the thirteenth
year they revolted from Chedorlaomer; and thus it came to pass at that time that
the four Assyrian kings waged war upon the five kings.
This was the
first commencement of making war on the earth; and they destroyed the giants
Karnaim, and the strong nations that were with them in their city, and the
Horites of the mountains called Seir, as far as the plain of Paran, which is by
11. And at that
time there was a righteous king called Melchisedek, in the city of Salem, which
now is Jerusalem. This was the first priest of all priests of the Most High God;
and from him the above-named city Hierosolyma was called Jerusalem. And from his
time priests were found in all the earth.
12. And after him
reigned Abimelech in Gerar; and after him another Abimelech. Then reigned
Ephron, surnamed the Hittite. Such are the names of the kings that were in
former times. And the rest of the kings of the Assyrians, during an interval of
many years, have been passed over in silence unrecorded, all writers narrating
the events of our recent days.
these kings of Assyria: Tiglath-Pileser, and after him Shalmaneser, then
Sennacherib; and Adrammelech the Ethiopian, who also reigned over Egypt, was his
diarchy; --though these things, in comparison with our books, are quite recent.
· How the human race was dispersed.
therefore, may the love of learning and of antiquity understand the history, and
see that those things are recent which are told by us apart from the holy
prophets. For though at first there were few men in the land of Arabia and
Chaldea, yet, after their languages were divided, they gradually began to
multiply and spread over all the earth.
15. And some of
them tended towards the east to dwell there, and others to the parts of the
great continent, and others northwards, so as to extend as far as Britain, in
the Arctic regions. And others went to the land of Canaan, which is called
Judea, and Phoenicia, and the region of Ethiopia, and Egypt, and Libya, and the
country called torrid, and the parts stretching towards the west.
16. And the rest
went to places by the sea, and Pamphylia, and Asia, and Greece, and Macedonia,
and, besides, to Italy, and the whole country called Gaul, and Spain, and
Germany; so that now the whole world is thus filled with inhabitants.
17. Since then the
occupation of the world by men was at first in three divisions, --in the east,
and south, and west: afterwards, the remaining parts of the earth were
inhabited, when men became very numerous.
writers, not knowing these things, are forward to maintain that the world is
shaped like a sphere, (Leonard: But the Sphere
was correct) and to compare it to a
cube. But how can they say what is true regarding these things, when they do not
know about the creation of the world and its population? Men gradually
increasing in number and multiplying on the earth, as we have already said, the
islands also of the sea and the rest of the countries were inhabited.
· Profane history gives no account of
19. Who, then, of
those called sages, and poets, and historians, could tell us truly of these
things, themselves being much later born, and introducing a multitude of gods,
who were born so many years after the cities, and are more modern than kings,
and nations, and wars? For they
should have made mention of all events, even those which happened before the
flood; both of the creation of the world and the formation of man, and the whole
succession of events.
20. The Egyptian or
Chaldeans prophets, and the other writers, should have been able accurately to
tell, if at least they spoke by a divine and pure spirit, and spoke truth in all
that was uttered by them; and they should have announced not only things past or
present, but also those that were to come upon the world.
21. And therefore
it is proved that all others have been in error; and that we Christians alone
have possessed the truth, inasmuch as we are taught by the Holy Spirit, who
spoke in the holy prophets, and foretold all things.
prophets enjoined holiness of life.
1. And, for the
rest, would that in a kindly spirit you would investigate divine things, I mean
the things that are spoken by the prophets - in order that, by comparing what is
said by us with the utterances of the others, you may be able to discover the
truth. We have shown from their own histories, which they have compiled, that
the names of those who are called gods, are found to be the names of men who
lived among them, as we have shown above.
And to this day
their images are daily fashioned, idols the works of men's hands. And these the
mass of foolish men serve, whilst they reject the maker and fashioner of all
things and the Nourisher of all breath of life, giving credit to vain doctrines
through the deceitfulness of the senseless tradition received from their
3. But God at
least, the Father and Creator of the universe did not abandon mankind, but gave
a law, and sent holy prophets to declare and teach the race of men, that each
one of us might awake and understand that there is one God.
4. And they also
taught us to refrain from unlawful idolatry, and adultery, and murder,
fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and every incontinence and
uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not wish to be done to himself, he
should not do to another; and thus he who acts righteously shall escape the
eternal punishments, and be thought worthy of the eternal life from God.
· Precepts from the prophetic books.
The divine law,
then, not only forbids the worshipping of idols, but also of the heavenly
bodies, the sun, the moon, or the other stars; yea, not heaven, nor earth, nor
the sea, nor fountains, nor rivers, must be worshipped, but we must serve in
holiness of heart and sincerity of purpose only the living and true God, who
also is Maker of the universe.
the holy law: "Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou
shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s wife."
So also the prophets. Solomon indeed teaches us that we must not sin with so
much as a turn of the eye, saying, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let
thy eyelids look straight before thee."
7. And Moses, who
himself also was a prophet, says, concerning the sole government of God:
"Your God is He who establishes the heaven, and forms the earth, whose
hands have brought forth all the host of heaven; and has not set these things
before you that you should go after them."
8. And Isaiah
himself also says: "Thus saith the Lord God who established the heavens,
and founded the earth and all that is therein, and giveth breath unto the people
upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. This is the Lord your God."
9. And again,
through him He says: "I have made the earth, and man upon it. By My hand
have I established the heavens." And in another chapter, "This is your
God, who created the ends of the earth; He hungered not, neither is weary, and
there is no searching of His understanding."
Jeremiah says: "Who hath made the earth by His power, and established the
world by His wisdom, and by His discretion hath stretched out the heavens, and a
mass of water in the heavens, and He caused the clouds to ascend from the ends
of the earth; He made lightning’s with rain, and brought forth winds out of
One can see how
consistently and harmoniously all the prophets spoke, having given utterance
through one and the same spirit concerning the unity of God, and the creation of
the world, and the formation of man. Moreover, they were in sore travail,
bewailing the godless race of men, and they reproached those, who seemed to be
wise, for their error and hardness of heart. Jeremiah, indeed, said:
12. "Every man
is brutishly gone astray from the knowledge of Him; every founder is confounded
by his graven images; in vain the silversmith makes his molten images; there is
no breath in them: in the day of their visitation they shall perish."
13. The same, too,
says David: "They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; there is
none that does good, no, not one; they have all gone aside, they have together
become profitless." So also Habakkuk: "What profited the graven image
that he has graven it a lying image? Woe to him that saith to the stone, Awake;
and to the wood, Arise."
14. Likewise spoke
the other prophets of the truth. And why should I recount the multitude of
prophets, who are numerous, and said ten thousand things consistently and
harmoniously? For those who desire it, can, by reading what they uttered,
accurately understand the truth, and no longer be carried away by opinion and
15. These, then,
whom we have already mentioned, were prophets among the Hebrews, --illiterate,
and shepherds, and uneducated.
· Prophesies of the sibyl.
16. And the Sibyl,
who was a prophetess among the Greeks and the other nations, in the beginning of
her prophecy, reproaches the race of men, saying: - "How are ye still so
quickly lifted up, And how so thoughtless of the end of life, ye mortal men of
flesh, who are but naught? Do ye
not tremble, nor fear God most high?
17. Your overseer,
the Knower, Seer of all, Who ever keeps those whom His hand first made, puts His
sweet Spirit into all His works, and gives Him for a guide to mortal men.
There is one only uncreated God, who reigns alone, all-powerful very
great, from whom is nothing hid. He sees all things, Himself unseen by any
Can mortal man
see the immortal God, or fleshly eyes, which shun the noontide beams, look upon
Him who dwells beyond the heavens? Worship
Him then, the self-existent God, The un-begotten Ruler of the world, who only
was from everlasting time, and shall to everlasting still abide. Of evil
counsels ye shall reap the fruit, because ye have not honored the true God, nor
offered to Him sacred hecatombs. To those who dwell in Hades ye make gifts, and
unto demons you offer sacrifice.
19. In madness and
in pride ye have your walk; and leaving the right way, ye wander wide, and lose
yourselves in pitfalls and in thorns. Why
do ye wander thus, O foolish men? Cease
your vain wanderings in the black dark night; Why follow darkness and perpetual
gloom When see there shines for you the blessed light?
Lo, He is clear, in Him there is no spot.
from darkness, and behold the day; be wise, and treasure wisdom in your breasts.
There is one God who sends the winds and rains, the earthquakes, and the
lightnings, and the plagues, the famines, and the snowstorms, and the ice, and
ail the woes that visit our sad race. Nor these alone, but all things else He
gives, ruling omnipotent in heaven and earth, and self-existent from
21. And regarding
those gods that are said to have been born, she said: - "If all things that
are born must also die, God cannot be produced by mortal man.
But there is only Once, the All-Supreme, Who made the heavens, with all
their starry host, The sun and moon; likewise the fruitful earth, With all the
waves of ocean, and the hills, The fountains, and the ever flowing streams;
He also made
the countless multitude of ocean creatures, and He keeps alive All creeping
things, both of the earth and sea; And all the tuneful choir of birds He made,
which cleave the air with wings, and with shrill pipe trill forth at morn their
tender, clear-voiced song. Within the deep glades of the hills He placed a
savage race of beasts; and unto men He made all cattle subject, making man the
God-formed image, ruler over all, and putting in subjection to his sway Things
many and incomprehensible.
23. For who of
mortals can know all these things? He
only knows who made them at the first, He the Creator, incorruptible, Who dwells
in upper air eternally; Who proffers to the good most rich rewards, and against
evil and unrighteous men rouses revenge, and wrath, and bloody wars, and
pestilence, and many a tearful grief. O
man exalted vainly--say why thus has thou so utterly destroyed thyself?
24. Have ye no
shame worshipping beasts for gods? And
to believe the gods should steal your beasts, or that they need your vessels, is
it not frenzy's most profitless and foolish thought?
Instead of dwelling in the golden heavens, ye see your gods become the
prey of worms, and hosts of creatures noisome and unclean.
25. O fools! Ye
worship serpents, dogs, and cats, Birds, and the creeping things of earth and
sea, images made with hands, statues of stone, and heaps of rubbish by the
wayside placed. All these, and many more vain things, ye serve, worshipping
things disgraceful even to name: These
are the gods who lead vain men astray, from whose mouth streams of deadly poison
26. But unto Him in
whom alone is life, Life, and undying, everlasting light; Who pours into man's
cup of life a sweeter than sweetest honey to his taste, - unto Him bow the head,
to Him alone, and walk in ways of everlasting peace.
Forsaking Him, ye all have turned aside, and, in your raving folly,
drained the cup of justice quite unmixed, pure, mastering, strong;
27. And ye will not
again be sober men, Ye will not come unto a sober mind, And know your God and
King, who looks on all: Therefore, upon you burning fire shall come, and ever ye
shall daily burn in flames, ashamed forever of your useless gods. But those who
worship the eternal God, they shall inherit everlasting life, inhabiting the
blooming realms of bliss, and feasting on sweet food from starry heaven."
28. That these
things are true, and useful, and just, and profitable to all men is obvious.
Even the poets have spoken of the punishments of the wicked.
testimonies of the poets.
1. And that
evil-doers must necessarily be punished in proportion to their deeds, has
already been, as it were oracular uttered by some of the poets, as a witness
both against themselves and against the wicked, declaring that they shall be
- "He who has done must also suffer." And Pindar himself said: - "It is fit that suffering
follows doing." So too
Euripides: - "The deed rejoiced you - suffering endure; the taken enemy
must needs be pained." And
again: - "The foe's pain is the hero's race."
3. And, similarly,
Archilochus: - "One thing I know, I hold it ever true, the evil-doer evil
shall endure." And that God sees all, and that nothing escapes His notice,
but that being long-suffering, He refrains until the time when He is to judge.
Dionysius also said concerning this; - "The eye of Justice seeing all, Yet
seems not to see."
4. And that God's
judgment is to be, and that evils will suddenly overtake the wicked, this, too,
Aeschylus declared, saying: - "Swift-footed is the approach of fate, and
none can violate justice, but feels its stern hand sooner or later.
"'It is with you, though unheard, unseen; you draw night's curtain
in between, but even sleep affords no screen.
5. 'It is
with you if you sleep or wake; and if you take your way abroad, its stern watch
you cannot break. "'It will follow you, or cross your path; and even night
no virtue has to hide you from the Avenger's wrath. "To show the ill the darkness flees; then, if sin offers
joy or ease, oh stop, and think that some one sees!"
6. And may we not
cite Simonides also? - "To men no evil comes unheralded; but God with
sudden hand transforms all things." Euripides
again: - "The wicked and proud man's prosperity is based on sand: his race
abides not; and time proclaims the wickedness of men."
Once more Euripides: - "Not without judgment is the Deity, but sees
when oaths are struck unrighteously, and when from men unwilling they are
- "If ills you do, ills also you must bear." That God will make
inquiry both concerning false swearing and concerning every other wickedness,
they themselves have well nigh predicted.
8. And concerning
the conflagration of the world, they have, willingly or unwillingly, spoken in
conformity with the prophets, though they were much more recent, and stole these
things from the law and the prophets. The poets corroborate the testimony of the
· The teachings of the Greek poets
and philosophers confirmatory of those of the Hebrew prophets.
9. But what
matters it whether they were before or after them? Certainly they did at all
events utter things confirmatory of the prophets. Concerning the burning up of
the world, Malachi the prophet foretold: "The day of the Lord cometh as a
burning oven, and shall consume all the wicked." And Isaiah: "For the
wrath of God is as a violent hail-storm, and as a rushing mountain
10. The Sibyl,
then, and the other prophets, yea, and the poets and philosophers, have clearly
taught both concerning righteousness, and judgment, and punishment; and also
concerning providence, that God cares for us, not only for the living among us,
but also for those that are dead: though, indeed, they said this unwillingly,
for they were convinced by the truth.
11. And among the
prophets indeed, Solomon said of the dead, "There shall be healing to thy
flesh, and care taken of thy bones." And the same says David, "The
bones which Thou hast broken shall rejoice." And in agreement with these
sayings was that of Timocles: - "The dead are pitied by the loving
12. And the writers
who spoke of a multiplicity of gods came at length to the doctrine of the unity
of God, and those who asserted chance spoke also of providence; and the
advocates of impunity confessed there would be a judgment, and those who denied
that there is a sensation after death acknowledged that there is.
accordingly, though he had said, - "Like fleeting vision passed the soul
away," says in another place: - "To Hades went the disembodied
soul;” And again: - "That I may quickly pass through Hades' gates, me
bury." And as regards the others whom you have read, I think you know with
sufficient accuracy how they have expressed themselves.
14. But all these
things will every one understand who seeks the wisdom of God, and is well
pleasing to Him through faith and righteousness and the doing of good works. For
one of the prophets whom we already mentioned, Hosea by name, said, "Who is
wise, and he shall understand these things, or prudent, and he shall know them?
15. For the ways of
the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall
fall therein." He, then, who is desirous of learning, should learn much.
Endeavor therefore to meet [with me] more frequently, that, by hearing the
living voice, you may accurately ascertain the truth.
not yet convinced.
1. Theophilus to
Autolycus, greeting: Seeing that writers are fond of composing a multitude of
books for vainglory, --some concerning gods, and wars, and chronology, and some,
too, concerning useless legends, and other such labor in vain, in which you also
have been used to employ yourself until now, and do not grudge to endure that
2. But though you
conversed with me, are still of opinion that the word of truth is an idle tale,
and suppose that our writings are recent and modern; --on this account I also
will not grudge the labor of compendiously setting forth to you, God helping me,
the antiquity of our books, reminding you of it in few words, that you may not
grudge the labor of reading it, but may recognize the folly of the other
· Profane authors had no means of
knowing the truth.
3. For it was fit
that they who wrote should themselves have been eye-witnesses of those things
concerning which they made assertions, or should accurately have ascertained
them from those who had seen them; for they who write of things unascertained
beat the air.
For what did it
profit Homer to have composed the Trojan war, and to have deceived many; or
Hesiod, the register of the theology of those whom he calls gods; or Orpheus,
the three hundred and sixty-five gods, whom in the end of his life he rejects,
maintaining in his precepts that there is one God?
5. What profit did
the sphere-graphy of the world's circle confer on Aratus, or those who held the
same doctrine as he, except glory among men? And not even that did they reap as
they deserved. And what truth did they utter? Or what good did their tragedies
do to Euripides and Sophocles, or the other tragedians?
their comedies to Menander and Aristophanes, and the other comedians? Or their
histories to Herodotus and Thucydides? Or the shrines and the pillars of
Hercules to Pythagoras, or the Cynic philosophy to Diogenes? What good did it do
Epicurus to maintain that there is no providence; or Empedocles to teach
atheism; or Socrates to swear by the dog, and the goose, and the plane tree, and
Aesculapius struck by lightning, and the demons that he invoked?
7. And why did he
willingly die? What reward, or of what kind, did he expect to receive after
death? What did Plato's system of culture profit him? Or what benefit did the
rest of the philosophers derive from their doctrines, not to enumerate the whole
of them, since they are numerous? But these things we say, for the purpose of
exhibiting their useless and godless opinions.
· Their contradictions.
For all these,
having fallen in love with vain and empty reputation, neither themselves knew
the truth, nor guided others to the truth: for the things which they said
themselves convict them of speaking inconsistently; and most of them demolished
their own doctrines.
9. For not only
did they refute one another, but some, too, even stultified their own teachings;
so that their reputation has issued in shame and folly, for they are condemned
by men of understanding. For either they made assertions concerning the gods,
and afterwards taught that there was no god; or if they spoke even of the
creation of the world, they finally said that all things were produced
10. Yea, and even
speaking of providence, they taught again that the world was not ruled by
providence. But what? Did they not, when they essayed to write even of honorable
conduct, teach the perpetration of lasciviousness, and fornication, and
adultery; and did they not introduce hateful and unutterable wickedness?
11. And they
proclaim that their gods took the lead in committing unutterable acts of
adultery, and in monstrous banquets. For who does not sing Saturn devouring his
own children, and Jove his son gulping down Metis, and preparing for the gods a
horrible feast, at which also they say that Vulcan, a lame blacksmith, did the
waiting; and how Jove not only married Juno, his own sister, but also with foul
mouth did abominable wickedness?
12. And the rest of
his deeds, as many as the poets sing, it is likely you are acquainted with. Why
need I further recount the deeds of Neptune and Apollo, or Bacchus and Hercules,
of the bosom-loving Minerva, and the shameless Venus, since in another place we
have given a more accurate account of these?
· How Autolycus had been misled by
false accusations against the Christians.
13. Nor indeed was
there any necessity for my refuting these, except that I see you still in
dubiety about the word of the truth. For though yourself prudent, you endure
fools gladly. Otherwise you would not have been moved by senseless men to yield
yourself to empty words.
14. And to give
credit to the prevalent rumor wherewith godless lips falsely accuse us, who are
worshippers of God, and are called Christians, alleging that the wives of us all
are held in common and made promiscuous use of; and that we even commit incest
with our own sisters, and, what is most impious and barbarous of all, that we
eat human flesh.
15. But further,
they say that our doctrine has but recently come to light, and that we have
nothing to allege in proof of what we receive as truth, nor of our teaching, but
that our doctrine is foolishness. I wonder, then, chiefly that you, who in other
matters are studious, and a scrutinizer of all things, give but a careless
hearing to us. For, if it were possible for you, you would not grudge to spend
the night in the libraries
· Philosophers inculcate cannibalism.
16. Since, then,
you have read much, what is your opinion of the precepts of Zeno, and Diogenes,
and Cleanthes, which their books contain, inculcating the eating of human flesh:
that fathers be cooked and eaten by their own children; and that if any one
refuse or reject a part of this infamous food, he himself be devoured who will
17. An utterance
even more godless than these is found, --that, namely, of Diogenes, who teaches
children to bring their own parents in sacrifice, and devour them. And does not
the historian Herodotus narrate that Cambyses, when he had slaughtered the
children of Harpagus, cooked them also, and set them as a meal before their
18. And, still
further, he narrates that among the Indians the parents are eaten by their own
children. Oh! The godless teaching of those who recorded, yea, rather,
inculcated such things! Oh! Their wickedness and godlessness!
19. Oh! The
conception of those who thus accurately philosophized, and profess philosophy!
For they who taught these doctrines have filled the world with iniquity.
· Other opinions of the philosophers.
20. And regarding
lawless conduct, those who have blindly wandered into the choir of philosophy
have, almost to a man, spoken with one voice. Certainly Plato, to mention him
first who seems to have been the most respectable philosopher among them,
expressly, as it were, legislates in his first book, entitled The Republic.
That the wives
of all be common, using the precedent of the son s of Jupiter and the lawgiver
of the Cretans, in order that under this pretext there might be an abundant
offspring from the best persons, and that those who were worn with toil might be
comforted by such intercourse.
22. And Epicurus
himself, too, as well as teaching atheism, teaches along with it incest with
mothers and sisters, and this in transgression of the laws which forbid it; for
Solon distinctly legislated regarding this, in order that from a married parent
children might lawfully spring, that they might not be born of adultery,
23. So that no one
should honor as his father him who was not his father, or dishonor him who was
really his father, through ignorance that he was so. And these things the other
laws of the Romans and Greeks also prohibit.
Why, then, do
Epicurus and the Stoics teach incest and sodomy, with which doctrines they have
filled libraries, so that from boyhood this lawless intercourse is learned? And
why should I further spend time on them, since even of those they call gods they
relate similar things?
doctrine concerning the gods.
1. For after they
had said that these are gods, they again made them of no account. For some said
that they were composed of atoms; and others, again, that they eventuate in
atoms; and they say that the gods have no more power than men. Plato, too,
though he says these are gods, would have them composed of matter.
2. And Pythagoras,
after he had made such a toil and moil about the gods, and traveled up and down
at last determines that all things are produced naturally and spontaneously, and
that the gods care nothing for men. And how many atheistic opinions Clitomachus
the academician introduced?
3. And did not
Critias and Protagoras of Abdera say, "For whether the gods exist, I am not
able to affirm concerning them, nor to explain of what nature they are; for
there are many things would prevent me"? And to speak of the opinions of
the most atheistically, Euhemerus, is superfluous, For having made many daring
assertions concerning the gods, he at last would absolutely deny their
existence, and have all things to be governed by self-regulated action.
4. And Plato, who
spoke so much of the unity of God and of the soul of man, asserting that the
soul is immortal, is not he himself afterwards found, inconsistently with
himself, to maintain that some souls pass into other men, and that others take
their departure into irrational animals?
5. How can his
doctrine fail to seem dreadful and monstrous--to those at least who have any
judgment--that he who was once a man shall afterwards be a wolf, or a dog, or an
ass, or some other irrational brute? Pythagoras, too, is found venting similar
nonsense, besides his demolishing providence. Which of them, then, shall we
comic poet, who says, - "Good hope have they who praise and serve the
gods;" or those whom we have mentioned Euhemerus, and Epicurus, and
Pythagoras, and the others who deny that the gods are to be worshipped, and who
abolish providence? Concerning God and providence, Ariston said: - "Be of
good courage: God will still preserve and greatly help all those who so deserve.
7. If no promotion
waits on faithful men, say what advantage goodness offers then. 'It is granted,
yet I often see the just faring but ill, from every honor thrust; While they
whose own advancement is their aim, oft in this present life have all they
claim. But we must look beyond, and
wait the end, that consummation to which all things tend.
'It is not, as vain and wicked men have said, by an unbridled destiny
8. It is not
blinded chance that rules the nether world, Nor uncontrolled are all things
onward hurled. The wicked blinds himself with this belief; But be ye sure, of
all rewards, the chief Is still reserved for those who holy live; And Providence
to wicked men will give Only the just reward which is their meet, And fitting
punishment for each bad deed."
9. And one can see
how inconsistent with each other are the things, which others, and indeed almost
the majority, have said about God and providence. For some have absolutely
cancelled God and providence; and others, again, have affirmed God, and have
avowed that all things are governed by providence.
10. The intelligent
hearer and reader must therefore give minute attention to their expressions; as
also Simylus said: "It is the custom of the poets to name by a common
designation the surpassingly wicked and the excellent; we therefore must
11. As also
Philemon says: "A senseless man who sits and merely hears is a troublesome
feature; for he does not blame himself, so foolish is he." We must then
give attention, and consider what is said, critically inquiring into what has
been uttered by the philosophers and the poets.
· Wickedness attributed to the gods by
that there are gods, they again acknowledge their existence, and they said they
committed grossly wicked deeds. And, first, of Jove the poets euphoniously sing
the wicked actions. And Chrysippus, who talked a deal of nonsense, is he not
found publishing that Juno had the foulest intercourse with Jupiter?
13. For why should
I recount the impurities of the so-called mother of the gods, or of Jupiter
Latiaris thirsting for human blood, or the castrated Attis; or of Jupiter,
surnamed Tragedian, and how he defiled himself, as they say, and now is
worshipped among the Romans as a god? I am silent about the temples of Antinous,
and of the others whom you call gods. For when related to sensible persons, they
14. They who
elaborated such a philosophy regarding either the non-existence of God, or
promiscuous intercourse and beastly concubin-age, are themselves condemned by
their own teachings. Moreover, we find from the writings they composed that the
eating of human flesh was received among them; and they record that those whom
they honor as gods were the first to do these things.
· Christian doctrine of God and His
Now we also
confess that God exists, but that He is one, the Creator, and Maker, and
Fashioner of this universe; and we know that all things are arranged by His
providence, but by Him alone. And we have learned a holy law; but we have as
lawgiver Him who is really God, who teaches us to act righteously, and to be
pious, and to do good.
16. And concerning
piety He says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not
make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I am the Lord thy
17. And of doing
good He said: "Honor thy father and thy mother; that it may be well with
thee, and that thy days may be long in the land which I the Lord God give
thee." Again, concerning righteousness: "Thou shalt not commit
adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbor.
18. Thou shalt not
covet thy neighbor’s wife; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor
his land, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his beast of
burden, nor any of his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s. Thou shalt
not wrest the judgment of the poor in his cause. From every unjust matter keep
thee far. The innocent and righteous thou shalt not slay; thou shalt not justify
the wicked; and thou shalt not take a gift, for gifts blind the eyes of them
that see and pervert righteous words."
19. Of this divine
law, then, Moses, who also was God's servant, was made the minister both to all
the world, and chiefly to the Hebrews, who were also called Jews, whom an
Egyptian king had in ancient days enslaved, and who were the righteous seed of
godly and holy men--Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.
20. God, being
mindful of them, and doing marvelous and strange miracles by the hand of Moses,
delivered them, and led them out of Egypt, leading them through what is called
the desert; whom He also settled again in the land of Canaan, which afterwards
was called Judea, and gave them a law, and taught them these things.
21. Of this great
and wonderful law, which tends to all righteousness, the ten heads are such as
we have already rehearsed.
humanity to strangers.
1. Since therefore
they were strangers in the land of Egypt, being by birth Hebrews from the land
of Chaldea, --for at that time, there being a famine, they were obliged to
migrate to Egypt for the sake of buying food there, I where also for a time they
sojourned; and these things befell them in accordance with a prediction of God.
sojourned, then, in Egypt for 430 years, when Moses was about to lead them out
into the desert, God taught them by the law, saying, "Ye shall not afflict
a stranger; for ye know the heart of a stranger: for yourselves were strangers
in the land of Egypt."
· Of repentance.
3. And when the
people transgressed the law which had been given to them by God, God being good
and pitiful, unwilling to destroy them, in addition to His giving them the law,
afterwards sent forth also prophets to them from among their brethren, to teach
and remind them of the contents of the law, and to turn them to repentance, that
they might sin no more.
4. But if they
persisted in their wicked deeds, He forewarned them that they should be
delivered into subjection to all the kingdoms of the earth; and that this has
already happened them is manifest. Concerning repentance, then, Isaiah the
prophet, generally indeed to all, but expressly to the people, says:
5. "Seek ye
the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the
wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him
return unto the Lord his God, and he will find mercy, for He will abundantly
6. And another
prophet, Ezekiel, says: "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he
hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is right in My
sight, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he
hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him; but in his righteousness
that he hath done he shall live: for I desire not the death of the sinner, saith
the Lord, but that he turn from his wicked way, and live."
"Ye who take deep and wicked counsel, turn ye, that ye may be saved."
And another prophet, Jeremiah: "Turn to the Lord your God, as a
grape-gatherer to his basket, and ye shall find mercy." Many therefore, yea
rather, countless are the sayings in the Holy Scriptures regarding repentance,
God being always desirous that the race of men turn from all their sins.
· Of righteousness.
concerning the righteousness, which the law enjoined, confirmatory utterances
are found both with the prophets and in the Gospels, because they all spoke
inspired by one Spirit of God. Isaiah accordingly spoke thus: "Put away the
evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve
the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."
9. And again the
same prophet said: "Loose every band of wickedness, dissolve every
oppressive contract, let the oppressed go free, and tear up every unrighteous
bond. Deal out thy bread to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor to thy
10. When thou see
the naked, cover him, and hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Then shall thy
light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily,
and thy righteousness shall go before thee."
In like manner
also Jeremiah says: "Stand in the ways, and see, and ask which is the good
way of the Lord your God, and walk in it and ye shall find rest for your souls.
Judge just judgment, for in this is the will of the Lord your God." So also
says Hosea: "Keep judgment, and draw near to your God, who established the
heavens and created the earth."
12. And another,
Joel, spoke in agreement with these: "Gather the people, sanctify the
congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children that are in arms; let the
bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet, and pray to
the Lord thy God urgently that he may have mercy upon you, and blot out your
13. In like manner
also another, Zachariah: "Thus saith the Lord Almighty, Execute true
judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother; and oppress
not the widow, nor the fatherless, nor the stranger; and let none of you imagine
evil against his brother in your heart, saith the Lord Almighty."
· Of chastity.
14. And concerning
chastity, the holy word teaches us not only not to sin in act, but not even in
thought, not even in the heart to think of any evil, nor look on another man's
wife with our eyes to lust after her. Solomon, accordingly, who was a king and a
prophet, said: "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look
straight before thee: make straight paths for your feet."
15. And the voice
of the Gospel teaches still more urgently concerning chastity, saying:
"Whosoever looks on a woman who is not his own wife, to lust after her,
hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
16. And he that
married it is said, "her that is divorced from her husband commits
adultery; and whosoever puts away his wife, save for the cause of fornication,
causes her to commit adultery." Because Solomon says: "Can a man take
fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot
coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goes in to a married woman shall
not be innocent."
· Of loving our enemies.
17. And that we
should be kindly disposed, not only towards those of our own stock, as some
suppose, Isaiah the prophet said: "Say to those that hate you, and that
cast you out, Ye are our brethren, that the name of the Lord may be glorified,
and be apparent in their joy."
18. And the Gospel
says: "Love your enemies, and pray for them that despitefully use you. For
if ye love them who love you, what reward have ye? This do also the robbers and
the publicans." And those that do good it teaches not to boast, lest they
19. For it says:
"Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth." Moreover,
concerning subjection to authorities and powers, and prayer for them, the divine
word gives us instructions, in order that "we may lead a quiet and
And it teaches
us to render all things to all, "honor to whom honor, fear to whom fear,
tribute to whom tribute; to owe no man anything, but to love all."
· The innocence of the Christians
therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently,
and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human
flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of
gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders.
22. But neither may
we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in
the utterances there sung. For if one should speak of cannibalism, in these
spectacles the children of Thyestes and Tereus are eaten; and as for adultery,
both in the case of men and of gods, whom they celebrate in elegant language for
honors and prizes, this is made the subject of their dramas.
23. But far be it
from Christians to conceive any such deeds; for with them temperance dwells,
self-restraint is practiced, monogamy is observed, chastity is guarded, iniquity
exterminated, sin extirpated, righteousness exercised, law administered, worship
performed, God acknowledged: truth governed, grace guarded, peace screens them;
the holy word guides, wisdom teaches, life directs, God reigns.
though we have much to say regarding our manner of life, and the ordinances of
God, the maker of all creation, we yet consider that we have for the present
reminded you of enough to induce you to study these things, especially since you
can now read [our writings] for yourself, that as you have been fond of
acquiring information, you may still be studious in this direction also.
conjectures of the philosophers.
But I wish now
to give you a more accurate demonstration, God helping me, of the historical
periods, that you may see that our doctrine is not modern nor fabulous, but more
ancient and true than all poets and authors who have written in uncertainty. For
some, maintaining that the world was uncreated went into infinity; and others,
asserting that it was created, said that already 153, 075 years had passed.
This is stated
by Apollonius the Egyptian. And Plato, who is esteemed to have been the wisest
of the Greeks, into what nonsense did he run? For in his book entitled The
Republic, we find him expressly saying: "For if things had in all time
remained in their present arrangement, when ever could any new thing be
thousand times ten thousand years elapsed without record, and one thousand or
twice as many years have gone by since some things were discovered by Daedalus,
and some by Orpheus, and some by Palamedes." And when he says that these
things happened, he implies that ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed
from the flood to Daedalus.
And after he
has said a great deal about the cities of the world, and the settlements, and
the nations, he owns that he has said these things conjecturally. For he says,
"If then, my friend, some god should promise us, that if we attempted to
make a survey of legislation, the things now said," etc., which shows that
he was speaking by guess; and if by guess, then what he says is not true.
· Accurate information of the
5. It behooved,
therefore, that he should the rather become a scholar of God in this matter of
legislation, as he himself confessed that in no other way could he gain accurate
information than by God's teaching him through the law. And did not the poets
Homer and Hesiod and Orpheus profess that they themselves had been instructed by
6. Moreover, it is
said that among your writers there were prophets and prognosticators, and that
those wrote accurately: who were informed by them. How much more, then, shall we
know the truth that are instructed by the holy prophets, who were possessed by
the Holy Spirit of God! On this account all the prophets spoke harmoniously and
in agreement with one another, and foretold the things that would come to pass
in all the world.
7. For the very
accomplishment of predicted and already consummated events should demonstrate to
those who are fond of information, yea rather, who are lovers of truth, that
those things are really true which they declared concerning the epochs and eras
before the deluge: to wit, how the years have run on since the world was created
until now, so as to manifest the ridiculous mendacity of your authors, and show
that their statements are not true.
· Errors of the Greeks about the
8. For Plato, as
we said above, when he had demonstrated that a deluge had happened, said that it
extended not over the whole earth, but only over the plains, and that those who
fled to the highest hills saved themselves.
But others say
that there existed Deucalion and Pyrrha, and that they were preserved in a
chest; and that Deucalion, after he came out of the chest, flung stones behind
him, and that men were produced from the stones; from which circumstance they
say that men in the mass are named "people." Others, again, say that
Clymenus existed in a second flood.
From what has
already been said, it is evident that they who wrote such things and
philosophized to so little purpose are miserable, and very profane and senseless
persons. But Moses, our prophet and the servant of God, in giving an account of
the genesis of the world, related in what manner the flood came upon the earth.
11. Telling us,
besides, how the details of the flood came about, and relating no fable of
Pyrrha nor of Deucalion or Clymenus; nor, forsooth, that only the plains were
submerged, and that those only who escaped to the mountains were saved.
· Accurate account of the deluge.
12. And neither
does he make out that there was a second flood: on the contrary, he said that
never again would there be a flood of water on the world; as neither indeed has
there been, nor ever shall be. And he says that eight human beings were
preserved in the ark, in that which had been prepared by God's direction, not by
But by Noah;
which Hebrew word means in English "rest," as we have elsewhere shown
that Noah, when he announced to the men then alive that there was a flood
coming, prophesied to them, saying, Come thither, God calls you to repentance.
On this account he was fitly called Deucalion.
And this Noah
had three sons whose names were Shem, and Ham, and Japhet; and these had three
wives, one wife each; each man and his wife. This man some have surnamed
Eunuchus. All the eight persons, therefore, who were found in the Ark, were
15. And Moses
showed that the flood lasted forty days and forty nights, torrents pouring from
heaven, and from the fountains of the deep breaking up, so that the water
overtopped every high hill 15 cubits. And thus the race of all the men that then
were was destroyed, and those only who were protected in the ark were saved; and
these, we have already said, were eight.
16. And of the ark,
the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains. This then is in
sum the history of the deluge.
· Antiquity of Moses.
17. And Moses,
becoming the leader of the Jews, as we have already stated, was expelled from
the land of Egypt by the king, Pharaoh, whose name was Amasis, and who, they
say, reigned after the expulsion of the people 25 years and 4 months, as Manetho
assumes. And after him Chebron, 13 years. And after him Memphis, 20 years 7
months. And after him his sister Amessa, 21 years 1 month. And after her
Mephres, 12 years 9 months.
18. And after him
Methramuthosis, 20 years and 10 months. And after him Tythmoses, 9 years 8
months. And after him Damphenophis, 30 years 10 months. And after him Orus,
years 5 months. And after him his daughter, 10 years 3 months. After her
Mercheres, 12 years 3 months. And after him his son Armais, 30 years 1 month.
Messes, son of Miammus, 6 years, 2 months. After him Rameses, 1 year 4 months.
After him Amenophis, 19 years 6 months. After him his sons Thoessus and Rameses,
10 years, who, it is said, had a large cavalry force and naval equipment.
indeed, after their own separate history, having at that time migrated into the
land of Egypt, and been enslaved by the king Tethmosis, as already said, built
for him strong cities, Peitho, and Rameses, and on, which is Heliopolis.
21. So that the
Hebrews, who also are our ancestors, and from whom we have those sacred books
which are older than all authors, as already said, are proved to be more ancient
than the cities which were at that time renowned among the Egyptians.
22. And the country
was called Egypt from the king Sethos. For the word Sethos, they say, is
pronounced "Egypt." And Sethos had a brother, by name Armais. He is
called Danaus, the same who passed from Egypt to Argos, whom the other authors
mention as being of very ancient date.
· Of Manetho's inaccuracy.
23. And Manetho,
who among the Egyptians gave out a great deal of nonsense, and even impiously
charged Moses and the Hebrews who accompanied him with being banished from Egypt
on account of leprosy, could give no accurate chronological statement. For when
he said they were shepherds, and enemies of the Egyptians, he uttered truth
indeed, because he was forced to do so.
24. For our
forefathers who sojourned in Egypt were truly shepherds, but not lepers. For
when they came into the land called Jerusalem, where also they afterwards abode,
it is well known how their priests, in pursuance of the appointment of God,
continued in the temple, and there healed every disease, so that they cured
lepers and every unsoundness.
25. The temple was
built by Solomon the king' of Judea. And from Manteo’s own statement his
chronological error is manifest. As it is also in respect of the king who
expelled them, Pharaoh by name. For he no longer ruled them. For having pursued
the Hebrews, he and his army were engulfed in the Red Sea.
26. And he is in
error still further, in saying that the shepherds made war against the
Egyptians. For they went out of Egypt, and thenceforth dwelt in the country now
called Judea, 313 years before Danaus came to Argos. And that most people
consider him older than any other of the Greeks is manifest.
So that Manetho
has unwillingly declared to us, by his own writings, two particulars of the
truth: first, avowing that they were shepherds; secondly, saying that they went
out of the land of Egypt. So that even from these writings Moses and his
followers are proved to be 900 or even 1000 years prior to the Trojan war.
of the temple.
the building of the temple in Judea, which Solomon the king built 566 years
after the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, there is among the Tyrians a record how
the temple was built; and in their archives writings have been preserved, in
which the temple is proved to have existed 143 years 8 months before the Tyrians
And this record
was made by Hiram (that is the name of the king of the Tyrians), the son of
Abimalus, on account of the hereditary friendship, which existed between Hiram
and Solomon, and at the same time on account of the surpassing wisdom possessed
continually engaged with each other in discussing difficult problems. And proof
of this exists in their correspondence, which to this day is preserved among the
Tyrians, and the writings that passed between them; as Menander the Ephesian,
while narrating the history of the Tyrian kingdom, records, speaking thus:
4. "For when
Abimalus the king of the Tyrians died, his son Hiram succeeded to the kingdom.
He lived 53 years. And Bazorus succeeded him, who lived 43, and reigned 17
years. And after him followed Methuastartus, who lived 54 years, and reigned 12.
And after him succeeded his brother Atharymus, who lived 58 years, and reigned
5. He was slain by
his brother of the name of Helles, who lived 50 years, and reigned 8 months. He
was killed by Juthobalus, priest of Astarte, who lived 40 years, and reigned 12.
He was succeeded by his son Bazorus, who lived 45 years, and reigned 7. And to
him his son Metten succeeded, who lived 32 years, and reigned 29. Pygmalion, son
of Pygmalius succeeded him, who lived 56 years, and reigned 7.
6. And in the 7th
year of his reign, his sister, fleeing to Libya, built the city which to this
day is called Carthage." The whole period, therefore, from the reign of
Hiram to the founding of Carthage, amounts to 155 years and 8 months. And in the
12th year of the reign of Hiram the temple in Jerusalem was built. So that the
entire time from the building of the temple to the founding of Carthage was 143
years and 8 months.
. Prophets more ancient than Greek
7. So then let
what has been said suffice for the testimony of the Phoenicians and Egyptians,
and for the account of our chronology given by the writers Manetho the Egyptian,
and Menander the Ephesian, and also Josephus, who wrote the Jewish war, which
they waged with the Romans.
8. For from these
very old records it is proved that the writings of the rest are more recent than
the writings given to us through Moses, yes, and than the subsequent prophets.
For the last of the prophets, who was called Zechariah, was contemporary with
the reign of Darius.
But even the
lawgivers themselves are all found to have legislated subsequently to that
period. For if one were to mention Solon the Athenian, he lived in the days of
the kings Cyrus and Darius, in the time of the prophet Zechariah first
mentioned, who was by many years the last of the prophets.
if you mention the lawgivers Lycurgus, or Draco, or Minos, Josephus tells us in
his writings that the sacred books take precedence of them in antiquity, since
even before the reign of Jupiter over the Cretans, and before the Trojan war,
the writings of the divine law which has been given to us through Moses were in
11. And that we may
give a more accurate exhibition of eras and dates, we will, God helping us, now
give an account not only of the dates after the deluge, but also of those before
it, so as to reckon the whole number of all the years, as far as possible;
tracing up to the very beginning of the creation of the world, which Moses the
servant of God recorded through the Holy Spirit.
12. For having
first spoken of what concerned the creation and genesis of the world, and of the
first man, and all that happened after in the order of events, he signified also
the years that elapsed before the deluge.
And I pray for
favor from the only God, that I may accurately speak the whole truth according
to His will, that you and every one who reads this work may be guided by His
truth and favor. I will then begin first with the recorded genealogies, and I
begin my narration with the first man.
· Chronology from Adam.
Adam lived till
he begat a son, 130 years. And his son Seth, 105. And his son Enos, 90. And his
son Cainan, 70. And his son Mahaleel, 65. And his son Jared, 162. And his son
Enoch, 65. And his son Methuselah, 187. And his son Lamech, 182. And Lamech's
son was Noah, of whom we have spoken above, who begat Shem when 502 years old.
During Noah's life, in his 600th year, the flood came. The total number of
years, therefore, till the flood, was 2242. (1656,)
(children at mathematics)
15. And immediately
after the flood, Shem, who was 100 years old, begat Arphaxad. And Arphaxad, when
35 years old, begat Salah. And Salah begat a son when 30. And his son Eber, when
34. And from him the Hebrews name their race. And his son Phaleg begat a son
when 30. And his son Reu, when 32 and his son Serug, when 30. And his son Nahor,
when 29. And his son Terah, when 70. And his son Abraham, our patriarch, begat
Isaac when he was 100 years old.
16. Until Abraham,
therefore, there are 3278 (2023) years.
The fore-mentioned Isaac lived until he begat a son, 60 years, and begat Jacob.
Jacob, till the migration into Egypt, of which we have spoken above, lived 130
years. And the sojourning of the Hebrews in Egypt lasted 430 years; and after
their departure from the land of Egypt they spent 40 years in the wilderness, as
it is called.
17. All these
years, therefore, amount to 3,938. (error)
And at that time, Moses having died, Jesus the sun of Nun succeeded to his rule,
and governed them 27 years. And after Jesus, when the people had transgressed
the commandments of God, they served the king of Mesopotamia, by name
Chusarathon, 8 years.
18. Then, on the
repentance of the people, they had judges: Gothonoel, 40 years; Eglon, 18 years;
Aoth, 8 years. Then having sinned, they were subdued by strangers for 20 years.
Then Deborah judged them 40 years. Then they served the Midianites 7 years. Then
Gideon judged them 40 years; Abimelech, 3 years; Thola, 22 years; Jair, 22
19. Then the
Philistines and Ammonites ruled them 18 years. After that Jephthah judged them 6
years; Esbon, 7 years; Ailon, 10 years; Abdon, 8 years. Then strangers ruled
them 40 years. Then Samson judged them 20 years. Then there was peace among them
for 40 years. Then Samera judged them one year; Eli, 20 years; Samuel, 12 years.
From Saul to the captivity.
20. And after the
judges they had kings, the first named Saul, who reigned 20 years; then David,
our forefather, who reigned 40 years. Accordingly, there are to the reign of
David [from Isaac] 496 years. And after these kings Solomon reigned, who also,
by the will of God, was the first to build the temple in Jerusalem; he reigned
21. And after him
Rehoboam, 17 years; and after him Abias, 7 years; and after him Asa, 41 years;
and after him Jehoshaphat, 25 years; and after him Joram, 8 years; and after him
Ahaziah, 1 year; and after him Athaliah, 6 years; and after her Josiah, 40
years; and after him Amaziah, 39 years; and after him Uzziah, 52 years; and
after him Jotham, 16 years; and after him Ahaz, 17 years; and after him
Hezekiah, 29 years; and after him Manasseh, 55 years; and after him Amon, 2
years; and after him Josiah, 31 years; and after him Jehoahaz, 3 months; and
after him Jehoiakim, 11 years. Then another Jehoiakim, 3 months 10 days; and
after him Zedekiah, 11 years.
22. And after these
kings, the people, continuing in their sins, and not repenting, the king of
Babylon, named Nebuchadnezzar, came up into Judea, according to the prophecy of
Jeremiah. He transferred the people of the Jews to Babylon, and destroyed the
temple, which Solomon had built. And in the Babylonian banishment the people
passed 70 years.
23. Until the
sojourning in the land of Babylon, there are therefore, in all, 4954 (error)
years 6 months and 10 days. And according as God had, by the prophet Jeremiah,
foretold that the people should be led captive to Babylon, in like manner He
signified beforehand that they should also return into their own land after 70
24. These 70 years
then being accomplished, Cyrus becomes king of the Persians, who, according to
the prophecy of Jeremiah, issued a decree in the second year of his reign,
enjoining by his edict that all Jews who were in his kingdom should return to
their own country, and rebuild their temple to God, which the fore-mentioned
king of Babylon had demolished.
Cyrus, in compliance with the instructions of God, gave orders to his own
bodyguards, Sabessar and Mithridates, that the vessels which had been taken out
of the temple of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar should be restored, and placed again in
the temple. In the second year, therefore, of Darius are fulfilled the 70 years,
which were foretold by Jeremiah.
between Hebrew and Greek writings.
Hence one can
see how our sacred writings are shown to be more ancient and true than those of
the Greeks and Egyptians, or any other historians. For Herodotus and Thucydides,
as also Xenophon, and most other historians, began their relations from about
the reign of Cyrus and Darius, not being able to speak with accuracy of prior
and ancient times.
2. For what great
matters did they disclose if they spoke of Darius and Cyrus, barbarian kings, or
of the Greeks Zopyrus and Hippias, or of the wars of the Athenians and
Lacedaemonians, or the deeds of Xerxes or of Pausanias, who ran the risk of
starving to death in the temple of Minerva, or the history of Themistocles and
the Peloponnesian war, or of Alcibiades and Thrasybulus?
3. For my purpose
is not to furnish mere matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number
of years from the foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labor and
trifling of these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times
ten thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming
that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we have
4. Apollonius the
Egyptian gave out; nor is the world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous
production of all things, as Pythagoras and the rest dreamed; but, being indeed
created, it is also governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and
the whole course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey
Lest, then, I
seem to have made things plain up to the time of Cyrus, and to neglect the
subsequent periods, as if through inability to exhibit them, I will endeavor, by
God's help, to give an account, according to my ability, of the course of the
· Roman chronology to the death of
6. When Cyrus,
then, had reigned twenty-nine years, and had been slain by Tomyris in the
country of the Massagetae, this being in the 62d Olympiad, then the Romans began
to increase in power, God strengthening them, Rome having been rounded by
Romulus, the reputed child of Mars and Ilia, in the 7th Olympiad, on the 21st
day of April, the year being then reckoned as consisting of ten months.
7. Cyrus, then,
having died, as we have already said, in the 62d Olympiad, this date falls 220
A.V.C., in which year also tarquinius,
surnamed superbus, reigned over the Romans,
who was the first who banished Romans and corrupted the youth, and made eunuchs
of the citizens, and, moreover, first defiled virgins, and then gave them in
8. On this account
he was fitly called superbus in the Roman
language, and that is translated "the Proud." For he first decreed
that those who saluted him should have their salute acknowledged by some one
else. He reigned twenty-five years. After him yearly consuls were introduced,
tribunes also and ediles for 453 years, whose names we consider it long and
superfluous to recount.
9. For if any one
is anxious to learn them, he will ascertain them from the tables which Chryserus
the nomenclature compiled: he was a freedman of Aurelius Verus, who composed a
very lucid record of all things, both names and dates, from the rounding of Rome
to the death of his own patron, the Emperor Verus. The annual magistrates ruled
the Romans, as we say, for 453 years.
those who are called emperors began in this order: first, Caius Julius, who
reigned 3 years 4 months 6 days; then Augustus, 56 years 4 months 1 day;
Tiberius, 22 years; then another Caius, 3 years 8 months 7 days; Claudius, 23
years 8 months 24 days; Nero, 13 years 6 months 58 days; Galba, 2 years 7 months
6 days; Otho, 3 months 5 days; Vitellius, 6 months 52 days; Vespasian, 9 years
11 months 55 days; Titus, 2 years 22 days;
11. Domitian, 15 years 5 months 6 days; Nerva, 1 year 4 months 10 days; Trajan, 19 years 6 months 16 days; Adrian, 20 years 10 months 28 days; Antoninus, 22 years 7 months 6 days; Verus, 19 years 10 days. The time therefore of the Caesars to the death of the Emperor Verus is 237 years 5 days. From the death of Cyrus, therefore, and the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, to the death of the Emperor Verus, the whole time amounts to 744 years.
· Leading chronological epochs.
(years totals in error, "The Generations".)
12. And from the
foundation of the world the whole time is thus traced, so far as its main epochs
are concerned. From the creation of the world to the deluge were 2242
years. And from the deluge to the time when Abraham our forefather begat
a son, 1036 years. And from Isaac, Abraham's son, to the time when the people
dwelt with Moses in the desert, 660 years.
13. And from the
death of Moses and the rule of Joshua the son of Nun, to the death of the
patriarch David, 498 years. And from the death of David and the reign of Solomon
to the sojourning of the people in the land of Babylon, 518 years 6 months 10
days. And from the government of Cyrus to the death of the Emperor Aurelius
Verus, 744 years. All the years from the creation of the world amount to a total
of 5698 years, and the odd months and days.
then, and all the above-mentioned facts, being viewed collectively, one can see
the antiquity of the prophetical writings and the divinity of our doctrine, that
the doctrine is not recent, nor our tenets mythical and false, as some think;
but very ancient and true.
mentioned Belus, king of the Assyrians and Saturn, son of Titan, alleging that
Belus with the Titans made war against Jupiter and the so-called gods in his
alliance; and on this occasion he says that Gyges, being defeated, fled to
3. At that time
Gyges ruled over that country, which then was called Acte, but now is named
Attica. And whence the other countries and cities derived their names, we think
it unnecessary to recount, especially to you who are acquainted with history.
That Moses, and not he only, but also most of the prophets who followed him, is
proved to be older than all writers, and than Saturn and Belus and the Trojan
war, is manifest.
to the history of Thallus, Belus is found to be 322 years prior to the Trojan
war. But we have shown above that Moses lived somewhere about 900 or 1000 years
before the sack of Troy. And as Saturn and Belus flourished at the same time,
most people do not know which is Saturn and which is Belus. Some worship Saturn,
and call him Bel or Bal, especially the inhabitants of the eastern countries,
for they do not know who either Saturn or Belus is.
5. And among the
Romans he is called Saturn, for neither do they know which of the two is more
ancient--Saturn or Bel. So far as regards the commencement of the Olympiads,
they say that the observance dates from Iphitus, but according to others from
Linus, who is also called Ilius.
which the whole number of years and Olympiads holds, we have shown above. I
think I have now, according to my ability, accurately discoursed both of the
godlessness of your practices, and of the whole number of the epochs of history.
7. For if even a
chronological error has been committed by us, of, e.g., 50 or 100, or even 200
years, yet not of thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and Apollonius and
other mendacious authors have hitherto written. And perhaps our knowledge of the
whole number of the years is not quite accurate, because the odd months and days
are not set down in the sacred books.
But so far as
regards the periods we speak of, we are corroborated by Berosus, the Chaldeans
philosopher, who made the Greeks acquainted with the Chaldeans literature, and
uttered some things concerning the deluge, and many other points of history, in
agreement with Moses; and with the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel also, he spoke
in a measure of agreement.
mentioned what happened to the Jews under the king of the Babylonians, whom he
calls Abobassor, and who is called by the Hebrews Nebuchadnezzar. And he also
spoke of the temple of Jerusalem; how it was desolated by the king of the
Chaldeans, and that the foundations of the temple having been laid the second
year of the reign of Cyrus, the temple was completed in the second year of the
reign of Darius.
· Why the Greeks did not mention our
But the Greeks
make no mention of the histories which give the truth first, because they
themselves only recently became partakers of the knowledge of letters; and they
themselves own it, alleging that letters were invented, some say among the
Chaldeans, and others with the Egyptians, and others again say that they are
derived from the Phoenicians.
11. And secondly,
because they sinned, and still sin, in not making mention of God, but of vain
and useless matters. For thus they most heartily celebrate Homer and Hesiod, and
the rest of the poets, but the glory of the incorruptible and only God they not
only omit to mention, but blaspheme; yes, and they persecuted, and do daily
persecute, those who worship Him.
And not only
so, but they even bestow prizes and honors on those who in harmonious language
insult God; but of those who are zealous in the pursuit of virtue and practice a
holy life, some they stoned, some they put to death, and up to the present time
they subject them to savage tortures.
13. Wherefore such
men have necessarily lost the wisdom of God, and have not found the truth.
you please, then, study these things carefully, that you may have a compendium
and pledge of the truth.