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justifying that version. Indeed, it is so pertinent, that I am tempted to write out a good part of it below. This, I think, must be right. The evangelists speak of things that happened in the land of Judea, the place of their residence, and within the extent of their knowledge. How should the know what happened abroad, throughout the whole world? There was darkness at Jerusalem, and near it, and in that whole country where Christ was crucified, and among that people who had been taught by his ministry, who had seen his miracles, and now triumphed in his crucifixion. But there might be the light and brightness of the sun in other countries, as probably there were. A. Bynaeus, after having carefully examined this point, “go. himself to the same" purpose. . There are such inaccuracies, and such differences, in the quotations of Phlegon by several authors, as very much diminish the credit and authority of this testimony. Origen says no more than that Phlegon speaks of an eclipse and earthquakes in the reign of Tiberius, without mentioning what year of his reign. Eusebius, and Jerom, and the Paschal Chronicle, speak of an eclipse of the sun, and an earthquake, in the fourth year of the two hundred and second olympiad, meaning the eighteenth or nineteenth year of Tiberius, and the thirty-second or thirty-third year of our Lord, according to the common computation. But they do not say in what part, or what month of the year, those things happened: which would be very material, and tend to decide a reference to the darkness at our Saviour’s . passion, if it had been said that the eclipse was in the spring, or such a month of the spring part of the year. I now add some other quotations to those just mentioned. J. Philoponus, who lived near the end of the sixth, and
Familiare etiam est sacris scriptoribus, terræ appellatione, etiamsi nihil adjiciatur, intelligere terram Chanaan. Et ymy pro Xopav, id est, “terram,' pro “regione,' reperimus alibi: ut Matt. ix. 26. et Lue. iv. 25. Confert autem hoc ad prodigii novitatem, si intellexerimus non modo die Paschae, id est in plenilunio, accidisse hanc solis eclipsin, sed etiam reliquum orbem illustrante sole, atque adeo in ipso meridie hunc unum orbis terrarum angulum, in quo tantum facinus patrabatur, in densissimis tenebris delituisse. Et si universale fuisset hoc prodigium, esset proculdubio omnium astrologorum monumentis celebratum. Bez. in Mark xv. 33. * Profecto credibilius nihil est, quam scriptores sacros Ortas hasce tenebras stra tragav rmv ym', ‘ super omnem terram, vel sp'êAm, Tmy ymv, ‘Super totam terram, dixisse, ut designarent, Occupasse eas non Hierosolymam tantum, locumque, in quo Jesus suffixus cruci fuit, sed Judaeam, vel terram Israéliticam universam. De orbe toto enim nequit hic cogitari. Sed nec orbis intelligi Romanus potest, ad quem Lucas, dum res describit in Judaea gestas, utique non attendit, &c. Ant. Bynaeus, de Morte J. C. l. 3. c. 8. Sect. ii. p. 410.
VO Le VII, I
the beginning of the seventh, century, writes to this purpose: “Phlegon" also, in his Olympiads, makes mention ‘ of this darkness, or rather this night: for he says that in ‘the second year of the one hundred and second olympiad “ there was the greatest eclipse of the sun that had been * known before, and night came on at the sixth hour of the ‘ day; insomuch that the stars appeared in the sky.’ Afterwards the same Philoponus speaks of Phlegon, as saying that the eclipse happened in the two hundred and second olympiad. Some may think this to be an inconsistency: but, perhaps, theres were different ways of computing the olympiads, or the years of each olympiad. In the Chronicle of George Syncellus, who flourished in the eighth century, Africanus is quoted in this manner: ‘Phlegon" relates that in the reign of the emperor Tiberius, ‘ at the time of the full moon, there was a total eclipse of “ the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth.” It is obvious to observe here—it is not easy to believe that Africanus said Phlegon had mentioned an eclipse with those circumstances, because Phlegon' is not so quoted by any other writer. And Origen assures us that Phlegon had omitted that circumstance, that the eclipse mentioned by him was in the time of the full moon.’ Maximus, of the seventh century, in his Scholia upon the pretended Dionysius the Areopagite, says: “Phlegon* the ‘ Gentile chronographer, in the thirteenth book of his Chro‘nography, at the two hundred and third olympiad, men‘tions this eclipse, saying that it happened in an unusual ‘manner: but does not say in what manner. And our “Africanus in the fifth book of his Chronography, and Eu“sebius Pamphili likewise in his Chronicle, mention the “same eclipse.' J. Malala, in the sixth or seventh century, in his Chronicle, writes to this purpose: “And' the sun was darkened, * Asyst Yap, Ört to Öevreplp erst rmg 6takootos mc Sevrepac oxvpatriadoc sysvero #Ate ex\ethic psyism Tov sovkleyvoopévov orporspov kat wwé &pg £rry tric juspac sysvero' was kat asspaç ev apavg pavstval. Philop. de Mundi Creatione, l. 2. cap. 21. o Tuv 3s skMellow yeyovswat ev tip retapro stel Tng diakosmo Čevrspac oupTria&oc. Philop. Ibid. & Wide Pagi ann. 32. n. xii. xiii. " PAeyov isopet, stri Tiffspus Kato apocev trava&mp skMethuv \ta yeyovsval rostav atro dopac Éxrmg usXptc svyatmo. Vid. G. Syncell. p. 322, 323.
' By all means see Tillemont, M. E. Tom. i. note 35. Sur Jesus Christ, p. 449, 450.
* Meuvnrat usu kat PXeyov & ‘EXAnviroc xpovoypadoc, sv Tpickatóskarp Xpovoypaptww ev To avy oxvpatriaël, tric sk\supewg Tavrmg, trapa to £w80g avrmy
Asyov Yêvé00at, ov Puju row rpotrow aveypalps, K. A. Maxim. ap. Dionys. Areop. T. 2. p. 97. J. Malal. Chronogr. lib. 10. p. 310.
“ and there was darkness upon the world. Concerning which darkness, Phlegon, that wise Athenian, writes thus: * “In the eighteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, “ there was a great eclipse of the sun, greater than those ‘ that had been known before: and it became night at the “sixth hour of the day, so that the stars appeared.’ Such are the principal quotations of Phlegon in ancient writers. We may wish they had been more distinct and accurate, and that there had been a nearer agreement between them ; but we must take them as they are. Nor do they all place the eclipse, which they speak of, in the same year of the same olympiad. However I do not choose to enlarge on this particular; it is rather too critical for my present work: I therefore refer to" Pagi, who has spoken to the point with great learning and judgment, and must be of use to remove difficulties of this sort. Wherefore I proceed. 3. Phlegon says nothing of Judea. What he says is, that in such an olympiad, ‘there was an eclipse in Bithynia, and an earthquake at Nice.” 4. Phlegon does not say that the earthquake happened at the same time with the eclipse. 5. Phlegon mentions not any extraordinary circumstances of the darkness at the time of our Saviour's sufferings. We cannot perceive from the quotations that have been made of him, that it is reasonable to believe he said that the eclipse mentioned by him happened at the time of a ‘full moon,’ or that it lasted “three hours.” These circumstances could not have been omitted by him if he had known any thing of them. The acute Mr. Bayle, in his" article of Phlegon, has enlarged upon this point, and as it seems to me with good reason. “Never was there a man more intent than Phlegon * to collect marvellous events, and to observe the superna‘tural circumstances of them. How then was it possible ‘ that a man of this temper should omit to remark that which ‘ was most extraordinary in this eclipse, I mean that it hap“pened at the time of a full moon.’ 6. Phlegon speaks of an ordinary eclipse of the sun. Therefore he cannot intend the darkness mentioned by the evangelists, which happened when the moon was full : at which time an eclipse of the sun is impossible. Nor do any of the evangelists use the word eclipse in their history of this darkness. Phlegon speaks of a total, or very near total eclipse of the sun, so that the stars were seen; * Pagi ann. 32. num xi−xiv. © * Phlegon, note D. Diction. Critic. which is common when there is a total eclipse, and the air is clear; but could not have been if there had been clouds, which would have hid the stars also. G. J. Vossius" was clearly of opinion that Phlegon speaks of an ordinary and natural eclipse of the sun : for which and other reasons he concludes that Phlegon did not intend the darkness in Judea at the time of our Saviour's passion. Scaliger P likewise understands Phlegon to speak of a natural eclipse of the sun. 7. It is reasonable to believe, from what Phlegon writes, that there was a great eclipse of the sun in some year of the two hundred and second olympiad. According to the calculations of some able astronomers there " was a great eclipse of the sun in the month of November, in the twentyninth year of our Lord, according to the common account, and the first year of the two hundred and second olympiad. But whether their calculations be right or not, I think we may be satisfied that Phlegon thought there was a great eclipse of the sun about that time. From all these considerations (however without insisting much upon that which is the second in order) it appears to me that we have not sufficient reason to think that Phlegon has mentioned the darkness which happened at the time of our Saviour's crucifixion at Jerusalem : several learned men have been of the same opinion. I have already mentioned, and quoted, G. J. Vossius: I now refer to several others who may be consulted by the curious.
* Phlego tamen pro naturali habuit eclipsi—Dixeris, videri eamdem, quia Evangelistae dicunt, fuisse eo tempore terræ motum: ac Phlego itidem dicat, tempore eclipseos ejus, de quá agit, terræ motum fuisse in Bithyniã, maximeque Nicaeae. Scio. Sed scrupulum injicit, quod sileat de terræ motu in Palaesfiná. At, inquias, potuit hoc ignorare: nec levem videri nobis auctoritatem Patrum debere, qui eamdem faciunt eclipsim illam Evangelistis ac Phlegonti memoratam. Movit Patres, quod eumdem in annum utraque incideret. Sed falsos esse, arguit, quod si miraculosa eclipsis variis conspecta terris foret, non solus ejus Phlegon meminisset. Quid enim magis in naturâ stupendum, quam solem deficere in plenilunio 2 Ut jam mittam, quod ante dicebam, Phlegonti sermonem esse de eclipsi naturali, quae Solum in novilunio. G. J. Voss. Harmon. Evang. l. 2. c. x. P Nam eclipsin quoque veram Phlegon putavit. Scaliger, Animadv. in Euseb. p. 186. a. " See Dr. Sykes's Dissertation on the Eclipse mentioned by Phlegon, p. 70–79. and his Defence of the same Dissertation, p. 60–67. * Kepler. Eclogae Chronicae, p. 87, 126. He may be seen cited largely in Dr. Sykes's Diss. p. 70–72. Dr. Sykes's Dissertation on the Eclipse mentioned by Phlegon, and his Defence of the same Dissertation, London, 1732 and 1733; to whom I may add Dr. S. Clarke, who, in the first edition of his sermons at Boyle's lecture alleged the passage of Phlegon, but afterwards left it out. Comp. p. 325 of the first edition in 1706, and p. 357 of the eighth
Colonia" puts great value upon the testimony of Phlegon to the extraordinary events attending our Saviour's passion; but I see no reason to make any remarks upon what he says: I refer however to other learned men' on the same side of the question.
8. I must add one observation more (eighthly). The passage of Phlegon concerning an eclipse of the sun is very seldom mentioned by the ancient learned christian writers as a testimony to the wonderful events at the time of our Saviour's crucifixion: which induces me to think they paid little or no regard to it; and that they did not judge it proper to be alleged, either for the satisfaction and confutation of adversaries, or for the confirmation of their own people.
I have already shown what notice is taken of this passage of Phlegon by Origen, in his books against Celsus, and in his commentaries upon St. Matthew's gospel: and I have also mentioned divers other authors as low as the sixth and seventh century, chiefly writers of chronicles. All which, however, amount to no great number in so long a period.
For there is very little notice taken of it by other ancient christians, whether apologists, historians, or commentators.
To be more particular. No notice is taken of Phlegon, or his eclipse and earthquake, by Justin Martyr, Tatian, Bardesanes, Athenagoras, Theophilus ad Autolicum, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, Arnobius, Lactantius. They may mention the miraculous events attending our Saviour's sufferings; but they allege not Phlegon as confirming the truth of the evangelical history. How those events are mentioned by" Arnobius, and " Lactantius, may be seen in edition in 1732. Basmag. ann. 29. num. 30, 31. and Bayle's Dictionnaire, Phlegon. Note D.
Logon Chrettienne autorisée par les Auteurs Payens. Vol. i. ch. i. P., Huet. Dem. Ev. Prop. 3. p. 30, &c. Fabr. Bib. Gr. T. 3. p. 403. Phlegon examined critically and impartially, and re-examined by Dr. John Chapman. Cambridge, 1734 and 1735. The testimony of Phlegon vindicated by Mr. Whiston, 1732.
* Exutus at corpore—novitate rerum exterrita universa mundi Sunt, elementa turbata, tellus mota contremuit, mare funditus refusum est, ačr globis jo, est tenebrarum, igneus orbis solis tepefacto ardore diriguit. Arnob. . I. D. 52.
W. o, eådem horá terræ motus factus. Et velum templi, quod separabat duo tabernacula, Scissum est in duas partes: et sol repente subductus est: et ab horá sextà usque in nonam tenebrae fuerunt. Inst. l. 4. c. 19. Quod facinus prodigia secuta Sunt, ut intelligerent nefas, quod admiserant, Eodem namdue momento, quo spiritum posuit, et terrae motus magnus, et deliquium solis fuit, ut in noctem dies verteretur. Haec omnia Prophetae sic futura esse praedixerant. Lact. Epit. c. 45, et 46.