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The parts of the world in which the apostles preached Christ.
1. Such was the
condition of the Jews. Meanwhile the holy apostles and disciples of our Savior
were dispersed throughout the world. Parthia, according to tradition, was
allotted to Thomas as his field of labor, Scythiato Andrew, and Asia to John,
who, after he had lived some time there, died at Ephesus.
2. Peter appears
to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews
of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified
head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way.
3. What do we need
to say concerning Paul, who preached the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to
Illyricum, and afterwards suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero? These facts are
related by Origen in the third volume of his Commentary on Genesis.
4. After the
martyrdom of Paul and of Peter, Linus was the first to obtain the episcopate of
the church at Rome. Paul mentions him, when writing to Timothy from Rome, in the
salutation at the end of the epistle.
· The epistles of the apostles.
5. One epistle of
Peter, that called the first, is acknowledged as genuine. And this the ancient
elders used freely in their own writings as an undisputed work. But we have
learned that his extant second Epistle does not belong to the canon; yet, as it
has appeared profitable to many, it has been used with the other Scriptures.
6. The so-called
Acts of Peter, however, and the Gospel which bears his name, and the Preaching
and the Apocalypse, as they are called, we know have not been universally
accepted, because no ecclesiastical writer, ancient or modern, has made use of
testimonies drawn from them.
7. But in the
course of my history I shall be careful to show, in addition to the official
succession, what ecclesiastical writers have from time to time made use of any
of the disputed works, and what they have said in regard to the canonical and
accepted writings, as well as in regard to those which are not of this class.
Such are the writings that bear the name of Peter, only one of which I
know to be genuine and acknowledged by the ancient elders.
epistles are well known and undisputed. It is not indeed right to overlook the
fact that some have rejected the epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is
disputed by the Church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul.
9. But what has been said concerning this epistle by those who lived before our time I shall quote in the proper place. In regard to the so-called Acts of Paul, I have not found them among the undisputed writings.
But as the same apostle, in the
salutations at the end of the epistle to the Romans, has made mention among
others of Hermas, to whom the book called The Shepherd is ascribed, it should be
observed that this too has been disputed by some, and on their account cannot be
placed among the acknowledged books.
11. While by others
it is considered quite indispensable, especially to those who need instruction
in the elements of the faith. Hence, as we know, it has been publicly read in
churches, and I have found that some of the most ancient writers used it.
12. This will serve
to show the divine writings that are undisputed as well as those that are not
The first successors of the apostles.
1. That Paul
preached to the Gentiles and laid the foundations of the churches "from
Jerusalem round about even unto Illyricum," is evident both from his own
words, and from the account, which Luke has given in the Acts.
2. And in how many
provinces Peter preached Christ and taught the doctrine of the new covenant to
those of the circumcision is clear from his own words in his epistle already
mentioned as undisputed, in which he writes to the Hebrews of the dispersion in
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
3. But the number
and the names of those among them that became true and zealous followers of the
apostles, and were judged worthy to tend the churches rounded by them, it is not
easy to tell, except those mentioned in the writings of Paul.
4. For he had
innumerable fellow-laborers, or "fellow-soldiers," as he called them,
and most of them were honored by him with an imperishable memorial, for he gave
enduring testimony concerning them in his own epistles.
5. Luke also in
the Acts speaks of his friends, and mentions them by name. Timothy, so it is
recorded, was the first to receive the episcopate of the parish in Ephesus,
Titus of the churches in Crete. But
Luke, who was of Antiochian parentage and a physician by profession, and who was
especially intimate with Paul and well acquainted with the rest of the apostles,
has left us, in two inspired books, proofs of that spiritual healing art which
he learned from them.
6. One of these
books is the Gospel, which he testifies that he wrote as those who were from the
beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered unto him, all of
whom, as he says, he followed accurately from the first.
7. The other book
is the Acts of the Apostles, which he composed not from the accounts of others,
but from what he had seen himself. And
they say that Paul meant to refer to Luke's Gospel wherever, as if speaking of
some gospel of his own, he used the words, "according to my Gospel."
8. As to the rest
of his followers, Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul; but Linus, whom
he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy as his companion at Rome, was
Peter's successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been
also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul
testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier.
10. Besides these,
that Areopagite, named Dionysius, who was the first to believe after Paul's
address to the Athenians in the Areopagus (as recorded by Luke in the Acts) is
mentioned by another Dionysius, an ancient writer and pastor of the parish in
Corinth, as the first bishop of the church at Athens.
11. But the events
connected with the apostolic succession we shall relate at the proper time.
Meanwhile let us continue the course of our history.
The last siege of the Jews after Christ.
1. After Nero had
held the power thirteen years, and Galba and Otho had ruled a year and six
months, Vespasian, who had become distinguished in the campaigns against the
Jews, was proclaimed sovereign in Judea and received the title of Emperor from
the armies there.
2. Setting out
immediately, therefore, for Rome, he entrusted the conduct of the war against
the Jews to his son Titus. For the
Jews after the ascension of our Savior, in addition to their crime against him,
had been devising as many plots as they could against his apostles.
was stoned to death by them, and after him James, the son of Zebedee and the
brother of John, was beheaded, and finally James, the first that had obtained
the Episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Savior, died in the
manner already described.
But the rest of
the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their
destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations
to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them,
"Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in My name."
5. But the people
of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to
approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain
town of Perea called Pella.
6. And when those
that believed in Christ had come there from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal
city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy
men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such
outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation
of impious men.
7. But the number
of calamities which everywhere fell upon the nation at that time; the extreme
misfortunes to which the inhabitants of Judea were especially subjected, the
thousands of men, as well as women and children, that perished by the sword, by
famine, and by other forms of death innumerable.
8. All these
things, as well as the many great sieges, which were carried on against the
cities of Judea, and the excessive. Sufferings endured by those that fled to
Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety, and finally the general course
of the whole war, as well as its particular occurrences in detail.
9. And how at last
the abomination of desolation, proclaimed by the prophets, stood in the very
temple of God, so celebrated of old, the temple, which was now awaiting its
total and final destruction by fire. All
these things any one that wishes may find accurately described in the history
written by Josephus.
10. But it is
necessary to state that this writer records that the multitude of those who were
assembled from all Judea at the time of the Passover, to the number of three
million souls, were shut up in Jerusalem "as in a prison," to use his
For it was
right that in the very days in which they had inflicted suffering upon the
Savior and the Benefactor of all, the Christ of God, that in those days, shut up
"as in a prison," they should meet with destruction at the hands of
But passing by
the particular calamities, which they suffered from the attempts made upon them
by the sword and by other means, I think it necessary to relate only the
misfortunes, which the famine caused.
13. That those who
read this work may have some means of knowing that God was not long in executing
vengeance upon them for their wickedness against the Christ of God.
The famine, which oppressed them.
1. Taking the
fifth book of the History of Josephus again in our hands, let us go through the
tragedy of events, which then occurred.
2. For the
wealthy," he says, "It was equally dangerous to remain, for under
pretense that they were going to desert men were put to death for their wealth.
The madness of the seditions increased with the famine and both the miseries
were inflamed more and more day by day.
3. Nowhere was
food to be seen; but, bursting into the houses men searched them thoroughly, and
whenever they found anything to eat they tormented the owners on the ground that
they had denied that they had anything; but if they found nothing, they tortured
them on the ground that they had more carefully concealed it.
4. The proof of
their having or not having food was found in the bodies of the poor wretches.
Those of them who were still in good condition they assumed were well supplied
with food, while those who were already wasted away they passed by, for it
seemed absurd to slay those who were on the point of perishing for want.
secretly sold their possessions for one measure of wheat, if they belonged to
the wealthier class, of barley if they were poorer. Then shutting themselves up
in the innermost parts of their houses, some ate the grain uncooked on account
of their terrible want, while others baked it according to necessity and as fear
6. Nowhere were
tables set, but, snatching the yet uncooked food from the fire, they tore it in
pieces. Wretched was the fare, and a lamentable spectacle it was to see the more
powerful secure abundance while the weaker mourned.
7. Of all evils,
indeed, famine is the worst, and it destroys nothing so effectively as shame.
For that which under other circumstances is worthy of respect, in the midst of
famine is despised. Thus women snatched the food from the very mouths of their
husbands and children, from their fathers.
8. And what was
most pitiable of all, mothers from their babes, And while their dearest ones
were wasting away in their arms, they were not ashamed to take away froth them
the last drops that supported life.
9. And even while
they were eating thus they did not remain undiscovered. But everywhere the
rioters appeared, to rob them even of these portions of food. For whenever they
saw a house shut up, they regarded it as a sign that those inside were taking
10. And immediately
bursting open the doors they rushed in and seized what they were eating, almost
forcing it out of their very throats. Old men who clung to their food were beaten, and if the
women concealed it in their hands, their hair was torn for so doing.
11. There was pity
neither for gray hairs nor for infants, but, taking up the babes that clung to
their morsels of food, they dashed them to the ground. But to those that
anticipated their entrance and swallowed what they were about to seize, they
were still more cruel, just as if they had been wronged by them.
12. And they
devised the most terrible modes of torture to discover food, stopping up the
privy passages of the poor wretches with bitter herbs, and piercing their seats
with sharp rods.
13. And men
suffered things horrible even to hear of, for the sake of compelling them to
confess to the possession of one loaf of bread, or in order that they might be
made to disclose a single drachma of barley which they had concealed. But the
tormentors themselves did not suffer hunger.
14. Their conduct
might indeed have seemed less barbarous if they had been driven to it by
necessity; but they did it for the sake of exercising their madness and of
providing sustenance for themselves for days to come.
15. And when any
one crept out of the city by night as far as the outposts of the Romans to
collect wild herbs and grass, they went to meet him; and when he thought he had
already escaped the enemy, they seized what he had brought with him.
16. And even though
oftentimes the man would entreat them, and, calling upon the most awful name of
God, adjure them to give him a portion of what he had obtained at the risk of
his life, they would give him nothing back. Indeed, it was fortunate if the one
that was plundered was not also slain."
17. To this account
Josephus, after relating other things, adds the following: "The possibility
of going out of the city being brought to an end, all hope of safety for the
Jews was cut off. And the famine increased and devoured the people by houses and
18. And the rooms
were filled with dead women and children, the lanes of the city with the corpses
of old men. Children and youths,
swollen with the famine, wandered about the market places like shadows, and fell
down wherever the death agony overtook them.
The sick were
not strong enough to bury even their own relatives, and those who had the
strength hesitated because of the multitude of the dead and the uncertainty as
to their own fate. Many, indeed, died while they were burying others, and many
betook themselves to their graves before death came upon them.
20. There was
neither weeping nor lamentation under these misfortunes; but the famine stifled
the natural affections. Those that were dying a lingering death looked with dry
eyes upon those that had gone to their rest before them. Deep silence and
death-laden night encircled the city.
21. But the robbers
were more terrible than these miseries; for they broke open the houses, which
were now mere sepulchers, robbed the dead and stripped the covering from their
bodies, and went away with a laugh. They tried the points of their swords in the
dead bodies, and some that were lying on the ground still alive they thrust
through in order to test their weapons.
22. But those that
prayed that they would use their right hand and their sword upon them, they
contemptuously left to be destroyed by the famine. Every one of these died with
eyes fixed upon the temple; and they left the seditious alive.
23. These at first
gave orders that the dead should be buried out of the public treasury, for they
could not endure the stench. But afterward, when they were not able to do this,
they threw the bodies from the walls into the trenches.
24. And as Titus
went around and saw the trenches filled with the dead, and the thick blood
oozing out of the putrid bodies, he groaned aloud, and, raising his hands,
called God to witness that this was not his doing."
25. After speaking
of some other things, Josephus proceeds as follows: "I cannot hesitate to
declare what my feelings compel me to. I suppose, if the Romans had longer
delayed in coming against these guilty wretches, the city would have been
swallowed up by a chasm, or overwhelmed with a flood, or struck with such
thunderbolts as destroyed Sodom.
For it had
brought forth a generation of men much more godless than were those that
suffered such punishment. By their madness indeed was the whole people brought
27. And in the
sixth book he writes as follows: "Of those that perished by famine in the
city the number was countless, and the miseries they underwent unspeakable. For
if so much as the shadow of food appeared in any house, there was war, and the
dearest friends engaged in hand-to-hand conflict with one another, and snatched
from each other the most wretched supports of life.
28. Nor would they
believe that even the dying were without food; but the robbers would search them
while they were expiring, lest any one should feign death while concealing food
in his bosom. With mouths gaping for want of food, they stumbled and staggered
along like mad dogs, and beat the doors as if they were drunk, and in their
impotence they would rush into the same houses twice or thrice in one hour.
compelled them to eat anything they could find, and they gathered and devoured
things that were not fit even for the filthiest of irrational beasts. Finally
they did not abstain even from their girdles and shoes, and they stripped the
hides off their shields and devoured them. Some used even wisps of old hay for
food, and others gathered stubble and sold the smallest weight of it for four
30. But why
should I speak of the shamelessness which was displayed during the famine toward
inanimate things? For I am going to relate a fact such as is recorded neither by
Greeks nor Barbarians; horrible to relate, incredible to hear.
31. And indeed I
should gladly have omitted this calamity that I might not seem to posterity to
be a teller of fabulous tales, if I had not innumerable witnesses to it in my
own age. And besides, I should render my country poor service if I suppressed
the account of the sufferings, which she endured.
32. There was
a certain woman named Mary that dwelt beyond Jordan, whose father was Eleazer,
of the village of Bathezor (which signifies the house of hyssop). She was
distinguished for her family and her wealth, and had fled with the rest of the
multitude to Jerusalem and was shut up there with them during the siege.
33. The tyrants had
robbed her of the rest of the property, which she had brought with her into the
city from Perea. And the remnants of her possessions and whatever food was to be
seen the guards rushed in daily and snatched away from her.
34. This made the
woman terribly angry, and by her frequent reproaches and imprecations she
aroused the anger of the rapacious villains against herself.
But no one either through anger or pity would slay her; and she grew
weary of finding food for others to eat.
35. The search,
too, was already become everywhere difficult, and the famine was piercing her
bowels and marrow, and resentment was raging more violently than famine. Taking,
therefore, anger and necessity as her counselors, she proceeded to do a most
child, a boy which was sucking at her breast, she said, Oh, wretched child, in
war, in famine, in sedition, for what do I preserve thee?
Slaves among the Romans we shall be even if we are allowed to live by
37. But even
slavery is anticipated by the famine, and the rioters are crueler than both.
Come, be food for me, a fury for these rioters, and a by-word to the world, for
this is all that is wanting to complete the calamities of the Jews.
38. And when she
had said this she slew her son; and having roasted him, she ate one half
herself, and covering up the remainder, she kept it. Very soon the rioters
appeared on the scene, and, smelling the nefarious odor, they threatened to slay
her immediately unless she should show them what she had prepared.
that she had saved an excellent portion for them, and with that she uncovered
the remains of the child. They
were immediately seized with horror and amazement and stood transfixed at the
sight. But she said this is my own son, and the deed is mine.
40. Eat for I too
have eaten. Be not more merciful than a woman, nor more compassionate than a
mother. But if you are too pious and shrink from my sacrifice, I have already
eaten of it; let the rest also remain for me.
41. At these words
the men went out trembling, in this one case being affrighted; yet with
difficulty did they yield that food to the mother. Forthwith the whole city was
filled with the awful crime, and as all pictured the terrible deed before their
own eyes, they trembled as if they had done it themselves.
42. Those that were
suffering from the famine now longed for death; and blessed were they that had
died before hearing and seeing miseries like these."
Such was the
reward, which the Jews received for their wickedness and impiety, against the
Christ of God.
The predictions of Christ.
1. It is fitting
to add to these accounts the true prediction of our Savior in which he foretold
these very events. His words
are as follows:
them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath
day; For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning
of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
3. The historian,
reckoning the whole number of the slain, says that eleven hundred thousand
persons perished by famine and sword, and that the rest of the rioters and
robbers, being betrayed by each other after the taking of the city, were slain.
But the tallest of the youths and those that were distinguished for
beauty were preserved for the triumph.
the rest of the multitude, those that were over seventeen years of age were sent
as prisoners to labor in the works of Egypt, while still more were scattered
through the provinces to meet their death in the theaters by the sword and by
beasts. Those under seventeen years of age were carried away to be sold as
slaves, and of these alone the number reached ninety thousand.
5. These things
took place in this manner in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, in
accordance with the prophecies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who by
divine power saw them beforehand as if they were already present, and wept and
mourned according to the statement of the holy evangelists, who give the very
words which be uttered, when, as if addressing Jerusalem herself, he said:
6. "If thou
had known, even thou, in this day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But
now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine
enemies shall cast a rampart about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee
in on every side, and shall lay thee and thy children even with the
7. And then, as if
speaking concerning the people, he says, "For there shall be great distress
in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the
sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations.
8. And Jerusalem
shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be
fulfilled." And again: "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with
armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh."
(The last sentence is for morning and evening twice, once before and once yet to come)
If any one
compares the words of our Savior with the other accounts of the historian
concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the
foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Savior were truly divine and marvelously
those calamities, then, that befell the whole Jewish nation after the Savior’s
passion and after the words which the multitude of the Jews uttered, when they
begged the release of the robber and murderer, but besought that the Prince of
Life should be taken from their midst, it is not necessary to add anything to
the account of the historian.
11. But it may be
proper to mention also those events which exhibited the graciousness of that
all-good Providence which held back their destruction full forty years after
their crime against Christ, -during which time many of the apostles and
disciples, and James himself the first bishop there, the one who is called the
brother of the Lord, were still alive, and dwelling in Jerusalem itself,
remained the surest bulwark of the place.
Providence thus still proved itself long-suffering toward them in order to see
whether by repentance for what they had done they might obtain pardon and
salvation; and in addition to such long-suffering, Providence also furnished
wonderful signs of the things which were about to happen to them if they did not
13. Since these
matters have been thought worthy of mention by the historian already cited, we
cannot do better than to recount them for the benefit of the readers of this
The signs, which preceded the war.
1. Taking, then,
the work of this author, read what he records in the sixth book of his History.
His words are as follows: "Thus were the miserable people won over at this
time by the impostors and false prophets; but they did not heed nor give credit
to the visions and signs that foretold the approaching desolation.
2. On the
contrary, as if struck by lightning, and as if possessing neither eyes nor
understanding, they slighted the proclamations of God.
At one time a star, in form like a sword, stood over the city, and a
comet, which lasted for a whole year.
3. And again
before the revolt and before the disturbances that led to the war, when the
people were gathered for the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth of the
month Xanthicus, at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone about
the altar and the temple that it seemed to be bright day; and this continued for
half an hour.
4. This seemed to
the unskillful a good sign, but was interpreted by the sacred scribes as
portending those events, which very soon took place. And at the same feast a cow, led by the high priest to be
sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple.
5. And the eastern
gate of the inner temple, which was of bronze and very massive, and which at
evening was closed with difficulty by twenty men, and rested upon iron-bound
beams, and had bars sunk deep in the ground, was seen at the sixth hour of the
night to open of itself.
6. And not many
days after the feast, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, a certain
marvelous vision was seen which passes belief. The prodigy might seem fabulous
were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the calamities, which
followed deserving of such signs. For
before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the
whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities.
7. And at the
feast which is called Pentecost, when the priests entered the temple at night,
as was their custom, to perform the services, they said that at first they
perceived a movement and a noise, and afterward a voice as of a great multitude,
saying, `Let us go hence.'
8. But what
follows is still more terrible; for a certain Jesus, the son of Ananias, a
common countryman, four years before the war, when the city was particularly
prosperous and peaceful, came to the feast, at which it was customary for all to
make tents at the temple to the honor of God, and suddenly began to cry out: `
9. A voice from
the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against
Jerusalem and the temple, a voice against bridegrooms and brides, a voice
against all the people.' Day and night he went through all the alleys crying
10. But certain of
the more distinguished citizens, vexed at the ominous cry, seized the man and
beat him with many stripes. But without uttering a word in his own behalf, or
saying anything in particular to those that were present, he continued to cry
out in the same words as before.
11. And the rulers, thinking, as was true, that the man was moved by a higher power, brought him before the Roman governor. And then, though he was scourged to the bone, he neither made supplication nor shed tears, but, changing his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, he answered each stroke with the words, `Woe, woe unto Jerusalem.'
(Leonard: If now all those so called religious people in the world today, would take heed, how severely God's wrath come upon Jerusalem, the descendants of Jacob, whom He led out of Egypt, for their sins against Him. - How much more will you O all you religious ones come to suffer for your sins against the Christ of God? Neither you nor I can possibly conceive - how painful that lot will be that is in store for you.)
12. The same
historian records another fact still more wonderful than this. He says that a
certain oracle was found in their sacred writings, which declared that at that
time a certain person should go forth from their country to rule the world. He
himself understood that this was fulfilled in Vespasian.
13. But Vespasian
did not rule the whole world, but only that part of it which was subject to the
Romans. With better right could it be applied to Christ; to whom it was said by
the Father, "Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine
inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession."
14. At that very
time, indeed, the voice of his holy apostles "went throughout all the
earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Josephus and the works, which he has left.
1. After all this
it is fitting that we should know something in regard to the origin and family
of Josephus, who has contributed so much to the history in hand. He himself
gives us information on this point in the following words:
the son of Mattathias, a priest of Jerusalem, who himself fought against the
Romans in the beginning and was compelled to be present at what happened
afterward." He was the most
noted of all the Jews of that day, not only among his own people, but also among
the Romans, so that he was honored by the erection of a statue in Rome, and his
works were deemed worthy of a place in the library.
wrote the whole of the Antiquities of the Jews in twenty books, and a history of
the war with the Romans, which took place in his time, in seven books. He
himself testifies that the latter work was not only written in Greek, but that
it was also translated by himself into his native tongue. He is worthy of credit
here because of his truthfulness in other matters.
4. There are
extant also two other books of his which are worth reading. They treat of the
antiquity of the Jews, and in them he replies to Apion the Grammarian, who had
at that time written a treatise against the Jews, and also to others who had
attempted to vilify the hereditary institutions of the Jewish people.
5. In the first of
these books he gives the number of the canonical books of the so-called Old
Testament. Apparently drawing his information from ancient tradition, he shows
what books were accepted without dispute among the Hebrews. His words are as
· The manner in which Josephus mentions the divine books.
6. We have
not, therefore, a multitude of books disagreeing and conflicting with one
another; but we have only twenty-two, which contain the record of all time and
are justly held to be divine.
7. Of these, five
are by Moses, and contain the laws and the tradition respecting the origin of
man, and continue the history down to his own death. This period embraces nearly
three thousand years.
8. From the death
of Moses to the death of Artaxerxes, who succeeded Xerxes as king of Persia, the
prophets that followed Moses wrote the history of their own times in thirteen
books. The other four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the
regulation of the life of men.
9. From the time
of Artaxerxes to our own day all the events have been recorded, but the accounts
are not worthy of the same confidence that we repose in those which preceded
them, because there has not been during this time an exact succession of
10. How much we are
attached to our own writings is shown plainly by our treatment of them. For
although so great a period has already passed by, no one has ventured either to
add to or to take from them, but it is inbred in all Jews from their very birth
to regard them as the teachings of God, and to abide by them, and, if necessary,
cheerfully to die for them."
11. These remarks
of the historian I have thought might advantageously be introduced in this
connection. Another work of no
little merit has been produced by the same writer, On the Supremacy of Reason,
which some have called Maccabaicum, because it contains an account of the
struggles of those Hebrews who contended manfully for the true religion, as is
related in the books called Maccabees.
12. And at the end
of the twentieth book of his Antiquities Josephus himself intimates that he had
purposed to write a work in four books concerning God and his existence,
according to the traditional opinions of the Jews, and also concerning the laws,
why it is that they permit some things while prohibiting others.
And the same
writer also mentions in his own works other books written by himself. In
addition to these things it is proper to quote also the words that are found at
the close of his Antiquities, in confirmation of the testimony, which we have
drawn from his accounts.
14. In that place
he attacks Justus of Tiberias, who, like himself, had attempted to write a
history of contemporary events, on the ground that he had not written
truthfully. Having brought many other accusations against the man, he continues
in these words:
15. I indeed
was not afraid in respect to my writings as you were, but, on the contrary, I
presented my books to the emperors themselves when the events were almost under
men's eyes. For I was conscious that I had preserved the truth in my account,
and hence was not disappointed in my expectation of obtaining their attestation.
16. And I presented
my history also to many others, some of whom were present at the war, as, for
instance, King Agrippa and some of his relatives.
For the Emperor Titus desired so much that the knowledge of the events
should be communicated to men by my history alone, that he indorsed the books
with his own hand and commanded that they should be published.
17. And King
Agrippa wrote sixty-two epistles testifying to the truthfulness of my
account." Of these epistles Josephus subjoins two. But this will suffice in
regard to him. Let us now proceed with our history.
Symeon rules the church of Jerusalem after James.
1. After the
martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it
is said that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord that were still
living came together from all directions with those that were related to the
Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to
take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James.
2. They all with
one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes
mention; to be worthy of the Episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin,
as they say, of the Savior. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of
Vespasian commands the descendants of David to be sought.
3. He also relates
that Vespasian after the conquest of Jerusalem gave orders that all that
belonged to the lineage of David should be sought out, in order that none of the
royal race might be left among the Jews; and in consequence of this a most
terrible persecution again hung over the Jews.
had reigned ten years Titus, his son, succeeded him. In the second year of his
reign, Linus, who had been bishop of the Church of Rome for twelve years,
delivered his office to Anencletus.
Titus was succeeded by his brother Domitian after he had reigned two years and
the same number of months.
5. In the fourth
year of Domitian, Annianus, the first bishop of the parish of Alexandria, died
after holding office twenty-two years, and was succeeded by Abilius, the second
In the twelfth
year of the same reign Clement succeeded Anencletus after the latter had been
bishop of the Church of Rome for twelve years.
The apostle in his Epistle to the Philippians informs us that this
Clement was his fellow-worker. His words are as follows: "With Clement arid
the rest of my fellow-laborers whose names are in the book of life."
· The epistle of Clement.
7. There is extant
an epistle of this Clement which is acknowledged to be genuine and is of
considerable length and of remarkable merit. He wrote it in the name of the
Church of Rome to the church of Corinth, when sedition had arisen in the latter
8. We know that
this epistle also has been publicly used in a great many churches both in former
times and in our own. And of the fact that sedition did take place in the church
of Corinth at the time referred to Hegesippus is a trustworthy witness.
· The persecution under Domitian.
having shown great cruelty toward many, and having unjustly put to death no
small number of well-born and notable men at Rome.
10. And having
without cause exiled and confiscated the property of a great many other
illustrious men, finally became a successor of Nero in his hatred and enmity
He was in fact
the second that stirred up a persecution against us, although his father
Vespasian had undertaken nothing prejudicial to us.
The apostle John and the Apocalypse.
12. It is said that
in this persecution the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was
condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to
the divine word.
the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of
the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John,
speaks as follows concerning him:
14. If it
were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it
would have been declared by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen not long
ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of
15. To such a
degree, indeed, did the teaching of our faith flourish at that time that even
those writers who were far from our religion did not hesitate to mention in
their histories the persecution and the martyrdoms, which took place during it.
indeed, accurately indicated the time. For they recorded that in the fifteenth
year of Domitian Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clement, who
at that time was one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the
island of Pontia in consequence of testimony borne to Christ.
Domitian commands the descendants of David to be slain.
17. But when this
same Domitian had commanded that the descendants of David should be slain, an
ancient tradition says that some of the heretics brought accusation against the
descendants of Jude (said to have been a brother of the Savior according to the
flesh), on the ground that they were of the lineage of David and were related to
Christ himself. Hegesippus relates these facts in the following words.
The relatives of our Savior.
1. Of the
family of the Lord there were still living the grandchildren of Jude, who is
said to have been the Lord's brother according to the flesh.
2. Information was
given that they belonged to the family of David, and they were brought to the
Emperor Domitian by the Evocatus. For Domitian feared the coming of Christ as
Herod also had feared it. And he asked them if they were descendants of David,
and they confessed that they were.
3. Then he asked
them how much property they had, or how much money they owned. And both of them
answered that they had only nine thousand denari, half of which belonged to each
of them; and this property did not consist of silver, but of a piece of land
which contained only thirty-nine acres, and from which they raised their taxes
and supported themselves by their own labor."
4. Then they
showed their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies and the callousness
produced upon their hands by continuous toil as evidence of their own labor.
5. And when they
were asked concerning Christ and his kingdom, of what sort it was and where and
when it was to appear, they answered that it was not a temporal nor an earthly
kingdom, but a heavenly and angelic one, which would appear at the end of the
world, when he should come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to give
unto every one according to his works.
6. Upon hearing
this, Domitian did not pass judgment against them, but, despising them as of no
account, he let them go, and by a decree put a stop to the persecution of the
7. But when they
were released they ruled the churches because they were witnesses and were also
relatives of the Lord. And peace being established, they lived until the time of
Trajan. These things are related by Hegesippus.
8. Tertullian also
has mentioned Domitian in the following words: "Domitian also, who
possessed a share of Nero's cruelty, attempted once to do the same thing that
the latter did. But because he had, I suppose, some intelligence, he very soon
ceased, and even recalled those whom he had banished."
9. But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian's honors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them.
It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his
banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an
ancient Christian tradition.
Cerdon becomes the third ruler of the church of Alexandria.
11. After Nerva had
reigned a little more than a year he was succeeded by Trajan. It was during the
first year of his reign that Abilius, who had ruled the church of Alexandria for
thirteen years, was succeeded by Cerdon.
12. He was the
third that presided over that church after Annianus, who was the first. At that
time Clement still ruled the Church of Rome, being also the third that held the
episcopate there after Paul and Peter. Linus
was the first, and after him came Anencletus,
13. At this time Ignatius was known as the second bishop of Antioch, Evodius having been the first. Symeon likewise was at that time the second ruler of the church of Jerusalem, the brother of our Savior having been the first.
Concerning John the apostle.
1. At that time
the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in
Asia, and governing the churches of that region, having returned after the death
of Domitian from his exile on the island.
2. And that he was
still alive at that time may be established by the testimony of two witnesses.
They should be trustworthy who have maintained the orthodoxy of the Church; and
such indeed were Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria.
3. The former in
the second book of his work Against Heresies, writes as follows: "And all
the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear
witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the
time of Trajan."
4. And in the
third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words:
"But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John
remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic
likewise in his book entitled; “What rich man can be saved?” indicates the
time, and subjoins a narrative, which is most attractive to those that enjoy
hearing what is beautiful and profitable. Take and read the account which rums
as follows: "Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative
concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in
6. For when, after
the tyrant's death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away
upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint
bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches,
elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by
7. When he had
come to one of the cities not far away (the name of which is given by some), and
had consoled the brethren in other matters, he finally turned to the bishop that
had been appointed, and seeing a youth of powerful physique, of pleasing
appearance, and of ardent temperament, he said.
8. This one I
commit to thee in all earnestness in the presence of the Church and with Christ
as witness.' And when the bishop had accepted the charge and had promised all,
he repeated the same injunction with an appeal to the same witnesses, and then
departed for Ephesus.
9. But the
presbyter taking home the youth committed to him, reared, kept, cherished, and
finally baptized him. After this he relaxed his stricter care and watchfulness,
with the idea that in putting upon him the seal of the Lord he had given him a
10. But some youths
of his own age, idle and dissolute, and accustomed to evil practices, corrupted
him when he was thus prematurely freed from restraint. At first they enticed him
by costly entertainments; then, when they went forth at night for robbery, they
took him with them, and finally they demanded that he should unite with them in
some greater crime.
became accustomed to such practices, and on account of his positive character, leaving the right path, and taking the bit in his teeth like a
hard-mouthed and powerful horse, he rushed the more violently down into the
12. And finally
despairing of salvation in God, he no longer meditated what was insignificant,
but having committed some great crime, since he was now lost once for all, he
expected to suffer a like fate with the rest. Taking them, therefore, and
forming a band of robbers, he became a bold bandit-chief, the most violent, most
bloody, most cruel of them all.
13. Time passed,
and some necessity having arisen, they sent for John. But he, when he had set in
order the other matters on account of which he had come, said, `Come, O bishop,
restore us the deposit which both I and Christ committed to thee, the church,
over which thou presides, being witness.'
14. But the bishop
was at first confounded, thinking that he was falsely charged in regard to money
which he had not received, and he could neither believe the accusation
respecting what he had not, nor could he disbelieve John.
15. But when he
said, `I demand the young man and the soul of the brother,' the old man,
groaning deeply and at the same time bursting into tears, said, `He is dead.'
`How and what kind of death?' `He is dead to God,' he said; `for he turned
wicked and abandoned, and at last a robber. And now, instead of the church, he
haunts the mountain with a band like himself.'
But the Apostle
rent his clothes, and beating his head with great lamentation, he said, `A fine
guard I left for a brother's soul! But
let a horse be brought me, and let some one show me the way.' He rode away from
the church just as he was, and coming to the place, he was taken prisoner by the
17. He, however,
neither fled nor made entreaty, but cried out, `For this did I come; lead me to
your captain.' The latter,
meanwhile, was waiting, armed as he was. But when he recognized John
approaching, he turned in shame to flee.
18. But John,
forgetting his age, pursued him with all his might, crying out, `Why, my son,
dost thou flee from me, thine own father, unarmed, aged? Pity me, my son; fear
not; thou hast still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for thee. If
need be, I will willingly endure thy death as the Lord suffered death for us.
For thee will I give up my life. Stand, believe; Christ hath sent me.'
19. And he, when he
heard, first stopped and looked down; then he threw away his arms, and then
trembled and wept bitterly. And when the old man approached, he embraced him,
making confession with lamentations as he was able, baptizing himself a second
time with tears, and concealing only his right hand.
20. But John,
pledging himself, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness with
the Savior, besought him, fell upon his knees, kissed his right hand itself as
if now purified by repentance, and led him back to the church.
21. And making
intercession for him with copious prayers, and struggling together with him in
continual fasting, and subduing his mind by various utterances, he did not
depart, as they say, until he had restored him to the church, furnishing a great
example of true repentance and a great proof of regeneration, a trophy of a
The order of the Gospels.
1. This extract
from Clement I have inserted here for the sake of the history and for the
benefit of my readers. Let us now point out the undisputed writings of this
2. And in the
first place his Gospel, which is known to all the churches under heaven, must be
acknowledged as genuine. That it has with good reason been put by the ancients
in the fourth place, after the other three Gospels, may be made evident in the
3. Those great and
truly divine men, I mean the apostles of Christ, were purified in their life,
and were adorned with every virtue of the soul, but were uncultivated in speech.
They were confident indeed in their trust in the divine and wonder-working
power, which was granted unto them by the Savior.
4. But they did
not know how, nor did they attempt to proclaim the doctrines of their teacher in
studied and artistic language, but employing only the demonstration of the
divine Spirit, which worked with them, and the wonder-working power of Christ,
which was displayed through them, they published the knowledge of the kingdom of
heaven throughout the whole world, paying little attention to the composition of
5. And this they
did because they were assisted in their ministry by one greater than man. Paul,
for instance, who surpassed them all in vigor of expression and in richness of
thought, committed to writing no more than the briefest epistles, although he
had innumerable mysterious matters to communicate, for he had attained even unto
the sights of the third heaven, had been carried to the very paradise of God,
and had been deemed worthy to hear unspeakable utterances there.
6. And the rest of
the followers of our Savior, the twelve apostles, the seventy disciples, and
countless others besides, were not ignorant of these things. Nevertheless, of
all the disciples of the Lord, only Matthew and John have left us written
memorials, and they, tradition says, were led to write only under the pressure
7. For Matthew,
who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other
peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, and thus
compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence.
8. And when Mark
and Luke had already published their Gospels, they say that John, who had
employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to
write for the following reason. The
three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his
own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness;
but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the
beginning of his ministry.
9. And this indeed
is true. For it is evident that the three evangelists recorded only the deeds
done by the Savior for one year after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and
indicated this in the beginning of their account.
For Matthew, after the forty days' fast and the temptation, which
followed it, indicates the chronology of his work when he says: "Now when
he heard that John was delivered up he withdrew from Judea into Galilee."
10. Mark likewise
says: "Now after that John was delivered up Jesus came into Galilee."
And Luke, before commencing his account of the deeds of Jesus, similarly marks
the time, when he says that Herod, "adding to all the evil deeds which he
had done, shut up John in prison."
11. They say,
therefore, that the apostle John, being asked to do it for this reason, gave in
his Gospel an account of the period which had been omitted by the earlier
evangelists, and of the deeds done by the Savior during that period; that is, of
those which were done before the imprisonment of the Baptist.
12. And this is
indicated by him, they say, in the following words: "This beginning of
miracles did Jesus"; and again when he refers to the Baptist, in the midst
of the deeds of Jesus, as still baptizing in Aenon near Salim; where he states
the matter clearly in the words: "For John was not yet cast into
accordingly, in his Gospel, records the deeds of Christ which were performed
before the Baptist was cast into prison, but the other three evangelists mention
the events which happened after that time.
understands this can no longer think that the Gospels are at variance with one
another, inasmuch as the Gospel according to John contains the first acts of
Christ, while the others give an account of the latter part of his life.
15. And the
genealogy of our Savior according to the flesh John quite naturally omitted,
because it had been already given by Matthew and Luke, and began with the
doctrine of his divinity, which had, as it were, been reserved for him, as their
superior, by the divine Spirit.
16. These things
may suffice, which we have said concerning the Gospel of John. The cause which
led to the composition of the Gospel of Mark has been already stated by us.
But as for
Luke, in the beginning of his Gospel, he states that since many others had more
rashly undertaken to compose a narrative of the events of which he had acquired
perfect knowledge, he himself, feeling the necessity of freeing us from their
uncertain opinions, delivered in his own Gospel an accurate account of those
events in regard to which he had learned the full truth, being aided by his
intimacy and his stay with Paul and by his acquaintance with the rest of the
18. So much for our
own account of these things. But in a more fitting place we shall attempt to
show by quotations from the ancients, what others have said concerning them.
But of the writings of John, not only his Gospel, but also the former of
his epistles, has been accepted without dispute both now and in ancient times.
But the other two are disputed.
19. In regard to
the Apocalypse, the opinions of most men are still divided. But at the proper
time this question likewise shall be decided from the testimony of the ancients.
The divine Scriptures that are accepted and those that are not.
Since we are
dealing with this subject it is proper to sum up the writings of the New
Testament, which have been already mentioned. First then must be put the holy
quaternion of the Gospels; following them the Acts of the Apostles.
2. After this must
be reckoned the epistles of Paul; next in order the extant former epistle of
John, and likewise the epistle of Peter, must be maintained. After them is to be
placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse of John, concerning which we
shall give the different opinions at the proper time. These then belong among
the accepted writings.
3. Among the
disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the
so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter,
and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to
the evangelist or to another person of the same name.
4. Among the
rejected writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called
Shepherd, and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant
epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides,
as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said,
reject, but which others class with the accepted books.
5. And among these
some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, with which those of
the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these
may be reckoned among the disputed books.
6. But we have
nevertheless felt compelled to give a catalogue of these also, distinguishing
those works which according to ecclesiastical tradition are true and genuine and
commonly accepted, from those others which, although not canonical but disputed,
are yet at the same time known to most ecclesiastical writers.
7. We have felt
compelled to give this catalogue in order that we might be able to know both
these works and those that are cited by the heretics under the name of the
apostles, including, for instance, such books as the Gospels of Peter, of
Thomas, of Matthias, or of any others besides them, and the Acts of Andrew and
John and the other apostles, which no one belonging to the succession of
ecclesiastical writers has deemed worthy of mention in his writings.
8. And further,
the character of the style is at variance with apostolic usage, and both the
thoughts and the purpose of the things that are related in them are so
completely out of accord with true orthodoxy that they clearly show themselves
to be the fictions of heretics.
9. Wherefore they
are not to be placed even among the rejected writings, but are all of them to be
cast aside as absurd and impious. Let
us now proceed with our history.
The Death of John and Philip.
1. The time and
the manner of the death of Paul and Peter as well as their burial places, have
been already shown by us.
2. The time of
John's death has also been given in a general way, but his burial place is
indicated by an epistle of Polycrates (who was bishop of the parish of Ephesus),
addressed to Victor, bishop of Rome. In this epistle he mentions him together
with the apostle Philip and his daughters in the following words:
3. For in
Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the last
day, at the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and
shall seek out all the saints.
4. Among these are
Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged
virgin daughters, and another daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and now
rests at Ephesus; and moreover John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who
reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and being a priest wore the sacerdotal
plate. He also sleeps at
5. So much
concerning their death. And in the Dialogue of Caius which we mentioned a little
above, Proclus, against whom he directed his disputation, in agreement with what
has been quoted, speaks thus concerning the death of Philip and his daughters:
6. After him
there were four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip, at Hierapolis in Asia.
Their tomb is there and the tomb of their father." Such is his statement.
But Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, mentions the daughters of Philip
who were at that time at Caesarea in Judea with their father, and were honored
with the gift of prophecy.
7. His words are
as follows: "We came unto
Caesarea; and entering into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of
the seven, we abode with him. Now this man had four daughters, virgins, which
8. We have thus
set forth in these pages what has come to our knowledge concerning the apostles
themselves and the apostolic age, and concerning the sacred writings which they
have left us, as well as concerning those which are disputed, but nevertheless
have been publicly used by many in a great number of churches.
concerning those that are altogether rejected and are out of harmony with
apostolic orthodoxy. Having done this, let us now proceed with our history.
Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, suffers martyrdom.
10. It is reported
that after the age of Nero and Domitian, under the emperor whose times we are
now recording, a persecution was stirred up against us in certain cities in
consequence of a popular uprising. In this persecution we have understood that
Symeon, the son of Clopas, who, as we have shown, was the second bishop of the
church of Jerusalem, suffered martyrdom.
whose words we have already quoted in various places, is a witness to this fact
also. Speaking of certain heretics he adds that Symeon was accused by them at
this time; and since it was clear that he was a Christian, he was tortured in
various ways for many days, and astonished even the judge himself and his
attendants in the highest degree, and finally he suffered a death similar to
that of our Lord.
12. But there is
nothing like hearing the historian himself, who writes as follows: "Certain
of these heretics brought accusation against Symeon, the son of Clopas, on the
ground that he was a descendant of David and a Christian; and thus he suffered
martyrdom, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, while Trajan was emperor
and Atticus governor."
And the same
writer says that his accusers also, when search was made for the descendants of
David, were arrested as belonging to that family. And it might be reasonably
assumed that Symeon was one of those that saw and heard the Lord, judging from
the length of his life, and from the fact that the Gospel makes mention of Mary,
the wife of Clopas, who was the father of Symeon, as has been already shown.
14. The same
historian says that there were also others, descended from one of the so-called
brothers of the Savior, whose name was Judas, who, after they had borne
testimony before Domitian, as has been already recorded, in behalf of faith in
Christ, lived until the same reign.
15. He writes as
follows: "They came, therefore, and took the lead of every church as
witnesses and as relatives of the Lord. And profound peace being established in
every church, they remained until the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and until the
above-mentioned Symeon, son of Clopas, an uncle of the Lord, was informed
against by the heretics, and was himself in like manner accused for the same
cause before the governor Atticus.
16. And after being
tortured for many days he suffered martyrdom, and all, including even the
proconsul, marveled that, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, he could
endure so much. And orders were given that he should be crucified."
17. In addition to
these things the same man, while recounting the events of that period, records
that the Church up to that time had remained a pure and uncorrupted virgin,
since, if there were any that attempted to corrupt the sound norm of the
preaching of salvation, they lay until then concealed in obscure darkness.
18. But when the
sacred college of apostles had suffered death in various forms, and the
generation of those that had been deemed worthy to hear the inspired wisdom with
their own ears had passed away.
19. Then the league
of godless error took its rise as a result of the folly of heretical teachers,
who, because none of the apostles was still living, attempted henceforth, with a
bold face, to proclaim, in opposition to the preaching of the truth, the
`knowledge that is falsely so-called.'
Trajan forbids the Christians to be sought after.
1. So great a
persecution was at that time opened against us in many places that Plinius
Secundus, one of the most noted of governors, being disturbed by the great
number of martyrs, communicated with the emperor concerning the multitude of
those that were put to death for their faith.
2. At the same
time, he informed him in his communication that he had not heard of their doing
anything profane or contrary to the laws, -except that they arose at dawn and
sang hymns to Christ as a God; but that they, renounced adultery and murder and
like criminal offenses, and did all things in accordance with the laws.
3. In reply to
this Trajan made the following decree: that the race of Christians should not be
sought after, but when found should be punished. On account of this the
persecution which had threatened to be a most terrible one was to a certain
degree checked, but there were still left plenty of pretexts for those who
wished to do us harm.
4. Sometimes the
people, sometimes the rulers in various places, would lay plots against us, so
that, although no great persecutions took place, local persecutions were
nevertheless going on in particular provinces, and many of the faithful endured
martyrdom in various forms.
5. We have taken
our account from the Latin Apology of Tertullian, which we mentioned above. The
translation runs as follows: "And indeed we have found that search for us
has been forbidden, for when Plinius Secundus, the governor of a province, had
condemned certain Christians and deprived them of their dignity, he was
confounded by the multitude, and was uncertain what further course to pursue.
6. He therefore
communicated with Trajan the emperor, informing him that, aside from their
unwillingness to sacrifice, he had found no impiety in them.
And he reported this also, that the Christians arose early in the morning
and sang hymns unto Christ as a God, and for the purpose of preserving their
discipline forbade murder, adultery, avarice, robbery, and the like.
7. In reply to
this Trajan wrote that the race of Christians should not be sought after, but
when found should be punished." Such were the events, which took place at
8. In the third
year of the reign of the emperor mentioned above, Clement committed the
episcopal government of the church of Rome to Evarestus, and departed this life
after he had superintended the teaching of the divine word nine years in all.
9. But when Symeon
also had died in the manner described, a certain Jew by the name of Justus
succeeded to the episcopal throne in Jerusalem. He was one of the many thousands
of the circumcision who at that time believed in Christ.
Ignatius and his epistles.
At that time
Polycarp, a disciple of the apostles, was a man of eminence in Asia, having been
entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and
heard the Lord.
11. And at the same
time Papias, bishop of the parish of Hierapolis, became well known, as did also
Ignatius, who was chosen bishop of Antioch, second in succession to Peter, and
whose fame is still celebrated by a great many. Report says that he was sent
from Syria to Rome, and became food for wild beasts on account of his testimony
12. And as he made
the journey through Asia under the strictest military surveillance, he fortified
the parishes in the various cities where he stopped by oral homilies and
exhortations, and warned them above all to be especially on their guard against
the heresies that were then beginning to prevail, and exhorted them to hold fast
to the tradition of the apostles. Moreover, he thought it necessary to attest
that tradition in writing, and to give it a fixed form for the sake of greater
So when he came
to Smyrna, where Polycarp was, he wrote an epistle to the church of Ephesus, in
which he mentions Onesimus, its pastor; and another to the church of Magnesia,
situated upon the Maeander, in which he makes mention again of a bishop Damas;
and finally one to the church of Tralles, whose bishop, he states, was at that
In addition to
these he wrote also to the Church of Rome, entreating them not to secure his
release from martyrdom, and thus rob him of his earnest hope. In confirmation of
what has been said it is proper to quote briefly from this epistle.
15. He writes as
follows: "From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts,
by land and
by sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards that is, a company
of soldiers who only become worse when they are well treated. In the midst of
their wrongdoings, however, I am more fully learning discipleship, but I am not
16. May I have joy
of the beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray that I may find them ready; I
will even coax them to devour me quickly that they may not treat me as they have
some whom they have refused to touch through fear. And if they are unwilling, I
will compel them. Forgive me.
17. I know what is
expedient for me. Now do I begin to be a disciple. May naught of things visible
and things invisible envy me; that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Let fire and
cross and attacks of wild beasts, let wrenching of bones, cutting of limbs,
crushing of the whole body, tortures of the devil, -let all these come upon me
if only I may attain unto Jesus Christ."
These things he
wrote from the above-mentioned city to the churches referred to. And when he had
left Smyrna he wrote again from Troas to the Philadelphians and to the church of
Smyrna; and particularly to Polycarp, who presided over the latter church.
19. And since he knew him well as an apostolic man, he commended to him, like
a true and good shepherd, the flock at Antioch, and besought him to care
diligently for it.
And the same man, writing to the Smyrnaeans, used the following words
concerning Christ, taken I know not whence: "But I know and believe that he
was in the flesh after the resurrection. And when he came to Peter and his
companions he said to them, Take, handle me, and see that I am not an
incorporeal spirit. And immediately they touched him and believed."
Irenaeus also knew of his martyrdom and mentions his epistles in the
following words: "As one of our people said, when he was condemned to the
beasts on account of his testimony unto God, I am God's wheat, and by the teeth
of wild beasts am I ground, that I may be found pure bread."
Polycarp also mentions these letters in the epistle to the Philippians,
which is ascribed to him. His words are as follows: "I exhort all of you,
therefore, to be obedient and to practice all patience such as ye saw with your
own eyes not only in the blessed Ignatius and Rufus and Zosimus.
But also in others from among yourselves as well as in Paul himself and
the rest of the apostles; being persuaded that all these ran not in vain, but in
faith and righteousness, and that they are gone to their rightful place beside
the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not the present world,
but him that died for our sakes and was raised by God for us."
And afterwards he adds: "You have written to me, both you and
Ignatius, that if any one go to Syria he may carry with him the letters from
you. And this I will do if I have a suitable opportunity, either I myself or one
whom I send to be an ambassador for you also.
The epistles of Ignatius which were sent to us by him and the others
which we had with us we sent to you as you gave charge. They are appended to
this epistle, and from them you will be able to derive great advantage.
For they comprise faith and patience, and every kind of edification that
pertains to our Lord." So much concerning Ignatius. But he was succeeded by
Heros in the episcopate of the church of Antioch.
The evangelists that were still eminent at that time.
1. Among those
that were celebrated at that time was Quadratus, who, report says, was renowned
along with the daughters of Philip for his prophetical gifts. And there were
many others besides these who were known in those days, and who occupied the
first place among the successors of the apostles.
2. And they also,
being illustrious disciples of such great men, built up the foundations of the
churches which had been laid by the apostles in every place, and preached the
Gospel more and more widely and scattered the saving seeds of the kingdom of
heaven far and near throughout the whole world.
3. For indeed most
of the disciples of that time, animated by the divine word with a more ardent
love for philosophy, had already fulfilled the command of the Savior, and had
distributed their goods to the needy.
4. Then starting
out upon long journeys they performed the office of evangelists, being filled
with the desire to preach Christ to those who had not yet heard the word of
faith, and to deliver to them the divine Gospels.
5. And when they
had only laid the foundations of the faith in foreign places, they appointed
others as pastors, and entrusted them with the nurture of those that had
recently been brought in, while they themselves went on again to other countries
and nations, with the grace and the cooperation of God.
For a great
many wonderful works were done through them by the power of the divine Spirit,
so that at the first hearing whole multitudes of men eagerly embraced the
religion of the Creator of the universe.
But since it is
impossible for us to enumerate the names of all that became shepherds or
evangelists in the churches throughout the world in the age immediately
succeeding the apostles, we have recorded, as was fitting, the names of those
only who have transmitted the apostolic doctrine to us in writings still extant.
The epistle of Clement and the writings falsely ascribed to him.
8. Thus Ignatius
has done in the epistles, which we have mentioned, and Clement in his epistle
which is accepted by all, and which he wrote in the name of the Church of Rome
to the church of Corinth.
9. In this epistle
he gives many thoughts drawn from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and also quotes
verbally some of its expressions, thus showing most plainly that it is not a
10. Wherefore it
has seemed reasonable to reckon it with the other writings of the apostle. For
as Paul had written to the Hebrews in his native tongue, some say that the
evangelist Luke, others that this Clement himself, translated the epistle.
11. The latter
seems more probable, because the epistle of Clement and that to the Hebrews have
a similar character in regard to style, and still further because the thoughts
contained in the two works are not very different.
But it must be
observed also that there is said to be a second epistle of Clement. But we do
not know that this is recognized like the former, for we do not find that the
ancients have made any use of it.
13. And certain men
have lately brought forward other wordy and lengthy writings under his name,
containing dialogues of Peter and Apion. But no mention has been made of these
by the ancients; for they do not even preserve the pure stamp of apostolic
acknowledged writing of Clement is well known. We have spoken also of the works
of Ignatius and Polycarp.
The writings of Papias.
There are five
extant books of Papias, which bear the title Expositions of Oracles of the Lord.
Irenaeus makes mention of these as the only works written by him, in the
following words: "These things are attested by Papias, an ancient man who
was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book.
For five books
have been written by him." These are the words of Irenaeus.
But Papias himself in the preface to his discourses by no means declares
that he was himself a hearer and eyewitness of the holy apostles, but he shows
by the words, which he uses that he received the doctrines of the faith from
those who were their friends.
3. He says:
"But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my
interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the
elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth.
4. For I did not,
like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that
teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those
that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the
5. If, then, any
one came, who had been a follower of the elders, I questioned him in regard to
the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter said, or what was said by
Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew.
Or by any other
of the disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the presbyter John,
the disciples of the Lord, say. For
I did not think that what was to be gotten from the books would profit me as
much as what came from the living and abiding voice."
It is worth
while observing here that the name John is twice enumerated by him. The first
one he mentions in connection with Peter and James and Matthew and the rest of
the apostles, clearly meaning the evangelist.
8. But the other
John he mentions after an interval, and places him among others outside of the
number of the apostles, putting Aristion before him, and he distinctly calls him
This shows that
the statement of those is true, who say that there were two persons in Asia that
bore the same name, and that there were two tombs in Ephesus, each of which,
even to the present day, are called John's.
10. It is important
to notice this. For it is probable that it was the second, if one is not willing
to admit that it was the first that saw the Revelation, which is ascribed by
name to John
11. And Papias, of
whom we are now speaking, confesses that he received the words of the apostles
from those that followed them, but says that he was himself a hearer of Aristion
and the presbyter John. At least he mentions them frequently by name, and gives
their traditions in his writings. These things we hope, have not been uselessly
adduced by us.
12. But it is
fitting to subjoin to the words of Papias which have been quoted, other passages
from his works in which he relates some other wonderful events which he claims
to have received from tradition.
13. That Philip the
apostle dwelt at Hierapolis with his daughters has been already stated. But it
must be noted here that Papias, their contemporary, says that he heard a
wonderful tale from the daughters of Philip. For he relates that in his time one
rose from the dead.
14. And he tells
another wonderful story of Justus, surnamed Barsabbas: that he drank a deadly
poison, and yet, by the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm.
The Book of Acts records that the holy apostles after the ascension of
the Savior, put forward this Justus, together with Matthias, and prayed that one
might be chosen in place of the traitor Judas, to fill up their number.
The account is
as follows: "And they put forward two, Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was
surnamed Justus, and Matthias; and they prayed and said."
The same writer gives also other accounts, which he says, came to him
through unwritten tradition, certain strange parables and teachings of the
Savior, and some other more mythical things.
16. To these belong
his statement that there will be a period of some thousand years after the
resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in
material form on this very earth. I suppose he got these ideas through a
misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not perceiving that the things said
by them were spoken mystically in figures.
For he appears
to have been of very limited understanding, as one can see from his discourses.
But it was due to him that so many of the Church Fathers after him adopted a
like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man; as for
instance Iranaeus and any one else that may have proclaimed similar views.
18. Papias gives
also in his own work other accounts of the words of the Lord on the authority of
Aristion who was mentioned above, and traditions as handed down by the presbyter
John; to which we refer those who are fond of learning.
19. But now we must
add to the words of his, which we have already quoted the tradition, which he
gives in regard to Mark, the author of the Gospel. "This also the presbyter said: Mark having become the
interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he
remembered of the things said or done by Christ.
20. For he neither
heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter,
who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of
giving a connected account of the Lord's discourses, so that Mark committed no
error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them.
21. For he was
careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not
to state any of them falsely." These things are related by Papias
22. But concerning
Matthew he writes as follows: "So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the
Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able." And the
same writer uses testimonies from the first Epistle of John and from that of
23. And he relates
another story of a woman, who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is
contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. These things we have thought
it necessary to observe in addition to what has been already stated.