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their own words, which I place below. Lactantius has twice very particularly rehearsed the extraordinary things that bore honour to our Lord when suffering by the hands of men: but he takes not any notice of Phlegon. Eusebius has the honour to sustain at once all the just mentioned characters of apologist, historian, and commentator. And yet, so far as I recollect, he has no where mentioned Phlegon, except in his Chronicle, which has been expressly cited by me. He has not distinctly quoted or referred to this passage, that I remember, in his Ecclesiastical History, nor in his Evangelical Preparation or Demonstration. All which works may be reckoned partly historical and partly apologetical for the principles of our religion. Nor does Phlegon appear in his Commentary upon the Psalms or Isaiah. In his Ecclesiastical History, having mentioned the troubles which Pilate met with, and his tragical end, he adds: “This" is related by Greek writ‘ers who have published olympiads, with a history of events, ‘ and the times when they happened.’ Whether Phlegon was here intended cannot be said: he is not mentioned; nor has this any connection with the passage of Phlegon, which we are now considering. Nicephorus,” going over again this same history, is not more particular than Eusebius. He mentions not Phlegon by name, nor any other writer of olympiads. In his Chronicle, under the reign of Caligula, Eusebius, recording the death of Pilate, who laid violent hands upon himself, says: ‘This) is related by Roman his‘torians.” Nor is Phlegon's eclipse any where taken notice of by Jerom, in any of his numerous and learned works, excepting only in his Latin version of Eusebius's Greek Chronicle, above quoted by us. Scaliger observes that? Jerom seems to refer to this author and his Olympiads, in his Commentary upon Habakkuk, ch. iii. 9, 10. But Phlegon is not there named; nor does he there speak of his eclipse, but of quite other things. I have transcribed below the passage
" 'Isopsow ‘EA\nvoy of rac oxvuttaðac apa roug Kara xpovov retrpayusvotg avaypalpavrsg. H. E. l. 2. c. 7. * Vid. Niceph. l. 2. c. 10.
* Pontius Pilatus incidens in multas calamitates propriá se manu interfecit. Scribunt Romanorum historici. Chron. p. 159.
* De illo, ut alibi diximus, intelligebat Hieronymus, quum hac scriberet Commentario in Habacuc, capite tertio. “Legimus in his, qui de mirabilibus “confecerunt volumina, et qui Olympiadas Græciae ad nostram usque memo‘riam perduxère, exponentes quid in singulis annis novi acciderit in mundo, * quod inter catera terrae motu eruperint flumina, quae ante non fuerant, et ‘ rursum alia absorpta sint, et pessum ierint. Scaliger Animadv. in Euseb. Et conf. Hieron. T. 3. p. 1628. Ed. Bened.
referred to more distinctly, from the Benedictine edition of Jerom, than it is quoted by Scaliger. Doubtless Jerom has several times spoken of the darkness and other extraordinary events at the time of our Saviour's passion: as in his Commentary upon." Amos viii. 9, 10. And in his Commentary upon Matt. xxvii. 45, he says: “ They" who have writ“ten against the gospels suspect that the disciples of Christ, ‘through ignorance, speak of an ordinary eclipse of the “sun, which never happens except at the time of the new “moon. But Jerom answers that there could be no ground ‘ for such a supposition; for our Lord suffered at the ‘time of the Jewish passover, when the moon was at full, ‘as all know. The darkness therefore must have been “miraculous. Moreover, it lasted three hours; which is * sufficient to remove all suspicion that it was a natural ‘ eclipse,' So Jerom. But nothing is said of Phlegon, either here or elsewhere, The silence about Phlegon, in so learned a writer as Jerom, appears to me remarkable. Nor does Phlegon appear at all in the Homilies, or other writings, of Chrysostom. In a homily, remarking upon Matt. xxvii. 45, he says, that “darkness" was not an eclipse, ‘ but a token of the divine displeasure, as is manifest from “ the time of it; for it lasted three hours: whereas, an ‘ eclipse of the sun is over in a moment of time. This all “know who have seen an eclipse, as we have lately.’ Nor do I remember that Phlegon is mentioned by Augustine in any of his numerous writings. In that noble work, his Apology for the christian religion, called, Of the City of God, he observes, that ‘ the * darkness at the time of our ‘Saviour's passion, was not owing to an eclipse of the sun; ‘ for it was the time of the passover, when the moon was at
* Possumus hunc locum et in Domini intelligere, passione, quando sol horá sextá retraxit radios suos, et pendentem in cruce Dominum suum spectare non ausus est. In Amos, p. 1442. * Qui scripserunt contra Evangelia, suspicantur, deliquium Solis, quod certis statutisque temporibus accidere solet, discipulos Christi ob imperitiam super resurrectione Domini interpretatos ? quum defectus solis nunquam nisi ortu lunae fieri solet. Nulli autem dubium est, Paschae tempore lunam fuisse plenissimam. Et, ne forsitan videretur umbra terrae, vel orbis lunae soli oppositus, breves et ferrugineas fecisse tenebras, trium horarum spatium ponitur, ut omnis causantium occasio tolleretur, &c. In Matt. c. xxvii. Tom. 4. p. 139. * Opytčoueva Yap stri roug roopiopsvotç my to okotog sketvo. 'Oru Yap ovk my sk\subuc, a\\' opymre kat ayavakrmouc, ek Evrévôsv plovov 6m Mov my, a\\a kat airo Kaups. Tosic Yap woac trapspielvév, Hös sk\subtc ev pug caps Yuveral flotry. Kat toaow oi Tavrmv Ts6eaplewot' kat Yap stri Tmc yewsag rmg must spac ovvæðm. Chr. in Matt. hom. 88, al. 89, p. 825. T. vii. * De Civ. Dei, l. 3. cap. xv.
‘the full: whereas all natural eclipses are at the time of the * new moon.” But he does not call in Phlegon to bear wit– ness to this. In like manner, in" one of his epistles, he argues excellently well that ‘ the darkness at the time of our ‘Saviour's crucifixion was miraculous and preternatural, ‘ and not owing to an interposition of the moon between our ‘earth and the sun.” But neither does he here take any notice of Phlegon. I might go on to mention Epiphanius, Leo the great, Gregory the first, Ambrose of Milan, Theodoret both an historian and a commentator, and other learned and voluminous writers of the fourth, fifth, and following centuries, who are all silent about Phlegon and his eclipse. Nor is Phlegon named in OEcumenius, or Theophylact, both excellent commentators. But this last, in the eleventh century, in his note upon Matt. xxvii. 45, distinctly shows that the darkness, at our Saviour's crucifixion, was preternatural, and could not be an ordinary eclipse of the sun. There are many historians, partly secular, partly ecclesiastical, who, as we may think, might have been led, either occasionally, or on set purpose, to mention Phlegon: such as Socrates, Sozomen, Orosius, Cassiodorius, Zonaras, Nicephorus, and others; who nevertheless take no particular notice of him or his eclipse. Orosius indeed, near the beginning of the fifth century, rehearsing the affecting circumstances of our Saviour's sufferings, says: “And divers writings of Greek authors con* firm the evangelical history.’ But he does not mention Phlegon, nor any other. Nicephorusé in like manner speaks of the darkness, the earthquake, and other "...of concomitants of our Saviour's sufferings: but says nothing of Phlegon, or any other heathen authors. This silence about Phlegon in many of the most judicious and learned ancient Christian writers has induced me to think they did not reckon the passage of Phlegon very material. If it had been reckoned by them clear and important, we should have seen numerous quotations of it, and cogent arguments upon it. Indeed, if it had been clear, it * Ep. 199. al. 80. ad Hesychium. cap. x. num. 34. Tom. 2. P. 2. * Deinde anno ejusdem [Tiberii) decimo septimo, cum Dominus Jesus Christus voluntarie quidem se tradidit passioni, et patibulo suffixus est, maximo terrae motu per orbem facto, saxa in montibus scissa sunt Eādem quoque die ad horam diei sextam sol in totum obscuratus, tetraque nox subito obducta terris est.—Quod non solum sanctorum Evangeliorum fides,
sed etiam aliquanti Graecorum libri adtestantur. Oros. l. 7. cap. 4. & Vid. Niceph. l. i. cap. 31.
must have been important. But not being, as I suppose, reckoned by them clearly to refer to the darkness in Judea, at the time of our Lord's sufferings, they did not esteem it of much moment, and therefore did not allege it. Many people of our times, I believe, suppose that this passage of Phlegon is quoted and insisted upon by all ancient christian writers in general. But so far is that from being the case, that it is to be found quoted in very few, one perhaps in a century or two, and those chiefly writers of Chronicles. Petavius, speaking of Phlegon's eclipse, says: ‘That" this “is the same which happened at the death of Christ, all the ‘ ancient fathers have declared, as with one mouth.” But what does Tillemont say to this? His remark is in these words: “But Petavius makes use of an expression which “is rather too strong. For I think that “all the fathers’ are * reduced to Jerom, who translated Eusebius,' [meaning his Chronicle:I and k if by ‘fathers’ he means ecclesiastical ‘writers, it will not extend, perhaps, to more than four or • five.” I hope that what has been observed under this last particular may be of use to satisfy some, who may not be fully convinced by the foregoing considerations. None, I think, can much dislike my declining to insist upon a passage, as a testimony to the truth of the evangelical history, which has been so little regarded, and so seldom quoted by ancient Christian writers, remarkable for their diligence, as well as for their learning and judgment. IV. Thallus,' a Syrian author, is sometimes alleged by" learned moderns, as bearing witness to the darkness at the time of our Saviour's passion. Whether there be any good reason for so doing, may appear from a few observations. In the fragments of Africanus, which are in the Chronicle" of G. Syncellus of the eighth century, and in the collections of Eusebius's Greek Chronicle, as made by Joseph Scaliger, that very learned ancient christian writer says, * There was” a dreadful darkness over the whole world, and ‘the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many buildings “were overturned in Judea, and in other parts of the earth. ‘This P. darkness Thallus calls an eclipse of the sun, in the ‘third book of his histories: but as seems to me, very im‘properly; for the Jews keep the passover in the four“teenth day of the moon; at which time an eclipse of the ‘ sun is impossible.” Upon |. passage I must observe, 1. That it appears only in the fragments of Africanus; whereas it often happens that, in collections of that kind, we do not find so much accuracy as could be wished. 2. The words of Thallus are not cited : for which reason we cannot presume to form a judgment concerning what he said. 3. This passage of Thallus is no where quoted or referred to by any other ancient writer that I know of. It is not in any work of Eusebius, excepting those Greek collections of his Chronicle, which are very inaccurate and imperfect: nor is there any notice taken of it in Jerom’s version of the Chronicle. I might rest here without adding any thing more. Nevertheless I shall proceed somewhat farther. The time of Thallus seems not to be exactly known. If indeed there was any thing in his history relating to transactions in Judea in the time of our Saviour, he must have lived between that time and Africanus: but of that we want some farther proof. In Eusebius's Evangelical Preparation" is quoted a long passage of Africanus, from the third book of his Chronology; where are mentioned, all together, Diodorus, Thallus, Castor, Polybius, and Phlegon. “And afterwards Hel‘lanicus and Philochorus, who wrote of the affairs of At‘tica; Castor and Thallus, who wrote a history of Syria; • Diodorus, and Alexander Polyhistor.” Whereby we learn that Thallus was a Syrian, who wrote in the Greek language. Thallus is quoted by divers ancient christian writers. Justin Martyr," in his exhortation to the Greeks, allegeth Hellanicus, Philochorus, Castor, and Thallus, as bearing witness to the antiquity of Moses, the Jewish lawgiver.
* Hanc esse illam ipsam, quae sub Christi mortem accidit, patres omnes antiqui velut uno ore pronuntiãrunt. Petav. de Doctriná Temp. l. 12. cap. 21. p. 458. * Note xxxv. Sur. N. S. Jésus Christ. p. 449. Mem. Ec.
* Et si, par les pères, il entend les auteurs ecclésiastiques, cela nes'étendra peutéstre à plus de quatre ou cinq. Ibid. ! Vid VOSS. de Hist. Gr. 1. 3.
* Quos inter praecipuaest Thalli auctoritas, quem libro Historiarum suarum tertio eamdem eclipsim memorare prodidit insignis temporum metator Africanus. Huet. Dem. Ev. Prov. 3. sect. viii. &c. See likewise Colonia, vol. i. p. 27, &c. * Ap. G. Syricell. p. 322.