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third centuryi: in which the nativity is placed viii. Kal. Jan. Sulpitio et Camerino (corrige Camerino et Sabino) coss. (U. C. 762:) the baptism viii. Idus Jan. Valeriano et Asiatico (Asiatico et Silano, U. C. 799.) and the passion x. Kal. April. Nerone iii. et Messala coss. U. C. 811. To explain these dates, or to pretend to account for their origin, would be an hopeless undertaking: yet the last of them is consistent with the opinion that our Lord suffered at forty-nine or fifty. And the first of them might be produced by confounding two things together; viz. the birth of Christ in the forty-second of Augustus, and yet in the consulship of Sulpicius Camerinus and Poppæus Sabinus. The former of these answered to U. C. 752, the latter to U. C. 762, between which the difference is ten years.
A ten years' difference in the era of the first consulate, or the accidental omission of ten successive names in some copies of the Fasti, before U. C. 752; might make a particular consulate, according to one mode of computation, belong to U. C. 752, which according to the truth would belong to U. C. 762. The old Valentinian author, however, quoted by Epiphanius, joins the consulate in question with the fortieth of Augustus. The consuls, U. C. 750, which would answer to that year, were C. Calvisius Sabinus, and L. Patienus Rufus and considering the many corruptions of the readings both of names and numbers, in the extant works of Epiphanius, it is just possible that, instead of Sulpicius Camerinus and Buteo Pompeianus, (the last of which names appears nowhere,) he might actually have written Calvisius Sabinus and Patienus Rufus.
CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS-Opera, i. 407. 18. i Reliquiæ Sacræ, ii. 49. ad calcem.
Stromatum i. 21.1.18: εἰσὶ δὲ οἱ περιεργότερον τῇ γενέσει τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν οὐ μόνον τὸ ἔτος, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν προστιθέντες· ἥν φασιν ἔτους κή. Αὐγούστου ἐν πέμπτῃ Πάχων καὶ εἰκάδι. οἱ δὲ ἀπὸ Βασιλείδου καὶ τοῦ βαπτίσματος αὐτοῦ τὴν ἡμέραν ἑορτάζουσι, προδιανυκτερεύοντες ἀναγνώσεσι. φασὶ δὲ εἶναι τὸ πεντεκαιδέκατον ἔτος Τιβερίου Καίσαρος, τὴν πεντεκαιδεκάτην τοῦ Τυβὶ μηνός· τινὲς δὲ αὐτὴν ἑνδεκάτην τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός. τό τε πάθος αὐτοῦ ἀκριβολογούμενοι φέρουσιν οἱ μέν τινες τῷ ἑκκαιδεκάτῳ ἔτει Τιβερίου Καίσαρος, Φαμενὼθ κέ· οἱ δὲ Φαρμουθὶ κε· ἄλλοι δὲ Φαρμουθὶ ιθ', πεπονθέναι τὸν Σωτῆρα λέγουσιν. καὶ μήν τινες αὐτῶν φασι Φαρμουθὶ γεγεννῆσθαι κδ' ἢ κέ.
With regard to these dates, if the first of Thoth in the Egyptian year be supposed to correspond to the 29th of August, the 11th of Tybi answers to January 6, and the 15th to January 10: the 25th of Phamenoth to March 21: the 19th of Pharmuthi to April 14: the 24th of Pharmuthi to April 19: the 25th to April 20: and the 25th of Pachon to May 20.
I think it is evident from the perusal of this passage, that as to the quarter of the year to which the Baptism, the Birth, and the Passion of Christ, were respectively referred by these opinions, Clement did not disagree with them. If he speaks of the curiosity of their authors in terms approaching to censure; it is only because they had attempted to go further, and to ascertain not merely the time of the year, but the very day of the events in question in each instance.
Under these circumstances, it is scarcely to be supposed that Clement himself would think of fixing the day of the Nativity; and much less of assigning it to a quarter of the year the very reverse of that which is specified above. Yet this must be the case, if, as he proceeds, loc. cit. to say, from the birth of Christ to
the death of Commodus, there was 194 years', one month's, and thirteen days' interval.
The death of Commodus happened on December 31, U. C. 945k and consequently the birth of our Lord, on this principle, would bear date November 18 or 19, U. C. 751. But Clement himself places the Nativity in the twenty-eighth of Augustus, which he dates from the reduction of Egypt, August, U. C. 724: and consequently he places it either U. C. 751, or U. C. 752. It could not be in U. C. 751; for he supposes the Passion itself to take place in the fifteenth of Tiberius, U. C. 782, when our Lord was thirty years of age. Hence, at whatever time he supposed him to be thirty, U.C. 782, at the same time he must have supposed him to be born, U. C. 752. Reckoning, as he does, the reign of Augustus at 43 years, and placing the Nativity in his 28th, and the Passion in the fifteenth of Tiberiusthirty years after the birth of Christ; he must have supposed our Lord to have lived fifteen years and six months under Augustus, and fourteen years and six months under Tiberius: and consequently to have been born in the spring of U. C. 752, as he suffered in the spring of U. C. 782.
The truth is, that nothing is more corrupt than the numeral readings which occur in the text of Clement. It would be an endless task to specify all the instances of this corruption, which might be produced. The subject under discussion supplies one: for whereas the sum total of the interval between the birth of Christ and the death of Commodus, is stated at 194 years, and upwards; the particular details amount to 200 years, and upwards, involving an error of excess of at least six years. In another passage-where the reigns
k Dio, lxxii. 22. Capitolinus, Pertinax, 4. Herodian, i. 49–55. ii. 5.
of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Commodus are given in detail, while the whole is put at 222 years1*, the details amount only to 220.
In another instance, from Romulus, or the foundation of Rome, to the death of Commodus, it is reckoned 953 years, six months m; a statement which cannot be true in any sense, unless we suppose Clement to have written originally 943 years, six months. For his date of the foundation of Rome is the Catonian, B. C. 752, not the Varronian, B.C. 754: as appears from his reckoning 24 years between the first Olympiad; (for which he follows the received date, B. C. 776;) and the era of that foundation. U. C. 943, as referred to B. C. 752, answers to U. C. 945, referred to B. C. 754. But even in this case the death of Commodus is placed six months or more too late. For he died on the last day of U. C. 943, according to Cato, and of U. C. 945, according to Varro; not U. C. 944, in the one case, or U. C. 946, in the other as Clement, however, seems uniformly to reckon.
The fractions of years, in particular, which enter into some of his dates, are to be received with distrust: as in almost every instance they manifestly labour under some corruption or other. For example, from Adam to Commodus, it is reckoned 5784 years, two months, twelve days". If so, the creation of the world is placed October 19. A. M. 1. But that Clement would undertake to define the day of its creation is very improbable and if he did, why he should fix on this day in particular, or any thereabouts, would be just as inexplicable. Later Egyptian chronologists
might have done so; as their opinions inclined them to fix the era of creation synchronously with the Thoth of the Egyptian year-about August 29.
With regard to the fraction of time in the present instance-from the date of the Passion to the death of Commodus it is made up of the composition of two numbers, both of them corrupt: one, that of 42 years, three months, between the Passion in the fifteenth of Tiberius, U. C. 782, and the destruction of Jerusalem, U. C. 823; the other, 128 years, ten months, and three days, between the destruction of Jerusalem, U. C. 823, and the death of Commodus, Dec. 31. U. C. 945. There is an error of one year at least in the former date, and of six years at least in the latter. That Clement knew U. C. 823 to be the date of the destruction of Jerusalem, appears from his reckoning it 77 years, between the second of Vespasian, when it was destroyed, and the tenth of Antoninus Pius P. From U.C. 823, 77 years bring us to U. C. 900, the tenth of Pius. On this principle, deducting the seven years of excess in question, Clement must have reckoned it 163 years from U. C. 782 to U. C. 945; and if he placed the Nativity in the spring, U. C. 752, he might reckon it from thence, to the death of Commodus, 193 years, ten months, and a certain number of days, or 194 current years: or he might reckon it 194 years, within one month, and thirteen days; which, if he supposed our Saviour to have been born about the same time of the year when he was baptized, would probably be near the truth.
It is surprising that this father should so plainly place the Passion of Christ in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and yet suppose forty-two years, from that time to the destruction of Jerusalem, U. C. 823. In
P Operum i. 409. 1. 14. Stromatum i. 21.