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this statement, however, he is followed by Origen, and by Jerome: εἰ δὲ θέλεις, ἄκουε· ἀπὸ πέντε καὶ δεκάτου ἔτους Τιβερίου Καίσαρος ἐπὶ τὴν κατασκαφὴν τοῦ ναοῦ τεσσαράκοντα καὶ δύο πεπλήρωται ἔτη 9. Prius enim Evangelium Salvatoris in toto orbe prædicatum est: et post quadraginta duos annos Dominicæ passionis capta Jerusalem, templumque succensum est -Nec grande fuit tempus in medio. nam post quadraginta et duos annos Dominicæ crucis circumdata est ab exercitu Jerusalem Itaque impetravit, quod petierat: multaque statim de Judæis millia crediderunt, et usque ad quadragesimum secundum annum datum est tempus pœnitentiæ t. This mistake is so much the more inexcusable in Jerome, because his date for the Passion is two years later, the seventeenth of Tiberius, U. C. 784: and Origen, in another instance, quoting the Chronica of Phlegon, computes the interval more correctly, Circa quadragesimum annum a quinto decimo anno Tiberii Cæsaris". Chrysostom also reckons the interval at forty years and upwards: though his date for the Passion is one year later than Jerome's *. So little solicitous do these writers seem to have been, about verifying their dates, before they allowed them to remain on record.
Clement's opinion of the length of our Saviour's
q Origen, Operum iii. 217. A. in Jerem. Homilia xiv. 13. Also Contra Celsum, iv. 22. Operum i. 515. E. r Hieronymus, Operum iii. 61. ad medium, in Isaiæ vi. s Ib. iii. 1656. ad calcem, In Sophon. i. t lb. iv. pars i. 177. ad medium, Hedibiæ. u Operum iii. 859. C. Comm. in Matt. Series secundum Veterem Interpretationem, 40. x Operum vii. 680. B. in Matthæum Homilia lxix. 1. and iii. 95. C. Cur in Pentecoste Acta App. legantur, 9. The Hypomnesticon of Joseph, v. cxxiii. 255. places the destruction of the temple by Vespasian and Titus, thirty-eight years after the Ascension: which, if the Ascension were dated in the eighteenth of Tiberius, U. C. 785, would be correct. The Chronicon of Julius Pollux, like Chrysostom, makes the interval in question forty years (see page 200.) though this too, like Chrysostom, places the Passion in the eighteenth of Tiberius, P. 172. 180. These statements were probably taken from Eusebius, who likewise supposes forty years complete between the Passion and the destruction of Jerusalem, E. H. iii. 7. 82. A: though he too dates the Passion in the eighteenth of Tiberius see i. 9, 10. 13. The interval of forty years between the Passion and the destruction of Jerusalem is true of no date of the Passion, but the sixteenth of Tiberius, U. C. 783.
ministry, as not exceeding one year, appears sufficiently from the extracts given, Dissertation xiii. vol. i. 439. 455. It seems, likewise, from the fragment e Libro de Paschate, Operum ii. 1017. 1. 15. that he considered the Passover at which our Saviour suffered, to be the first which he celebrated after the commencement of his ministry; and this also implies a ministry previously, of not more than one year in duration.
TERTULLIAN-I am not aware of any passages in the works of Tertullian, from which it might be collected at what time of the year he thought our Saviour was born; except this one, which may be produced from the Liber adversus Judæos, caput 8; and from this too it is to be inferred only by implication.
He supposes Augustus (p. 297.) to have survived the Nativity fifteen years; and he places the Passion (p. 299.) in the fifteenth of Tiberius, when Christ was quasi triginta annorum. As he says nothing of fractions of years, either he speaks very inaccurately, or he must date the reign of Augustus from U. C. 711. ineunte, and that of Tiberius from U. C. 767. ineunte: in which case the Nativity might be placed in the forty-first of the former exeunte, spring, U. C. 752, and the Passion, in the fifteenth of the latter exeunte, U. C. 782, when our Lord might be supposed to be just thirty complete.
He reckons further in diem Nativitatis Christi (p. 297.), from the first of Darius (p. 295.), sixty-two prophetical weeks and an half, or four hundred and thirty-seven years and six months; as, again, in another instance (p. 298, 299.), from the Passion in the fifteenth of Tiberius, to the end of the reign of Vespasian, he reckons seven weeks and an half—or fiftytwo years and six months. These calculations may
not be exact; but I think we may infer from them that he placed the Nativity in the spring; as well as the Passion. These two periods of sixty-two weeks and an half, and of seven weeks and an half, are intended to make up seventy weeks in all; or four hundred and ninety years: and the first of them ending with the Nativity, and the second beginning with the Passion, it is reasonable to suppose they were intended to be as continuous as the nature of the case would permit; and (with the exception of the thirty years from the Nativity to the Passion interposed) to end and to proceed alike. The interposition of these thirty years is no objection; for Tertullian's idea of the prophecy is that the sixty-two weeks were purposely detached from the seven (p. 295. 297, 298.); in order that the birth, and life, and Passion of Christ might come between them. In other respects, he must have considered its two periods continuous; and therefore, as they are supposed to end in the autumn of one year, they must be supposed to have begun with the autumn of another: from which time, 437 years, six months, the first of the periods, in diem Nativitatis Christi, must necessarily terminate in the spring.
ORIGEN-With respect to Origen; the testimony of Pamphilus, and the evidence of many passages in his own works imply, as we observed on the former occasion, that he once believed the length of our Saviour's ministry not to have exceeded one year and a few months. Other passages, however, will shew that he changed this opinion subsequently; and as it cannot be uninteresting to the reader to observe the gradual alteration in the sentiments of such a mind as Origen's, produced by further inquiry and meditation, I shall exhibit the passages of both kinds in their order.
Τεκμήριον γὰρ τῆς ἐκχυθείσης χάριτος ἐν χείλεσιν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὀλίγου διαγεγενημένου τοῦ χρόνου τῆς διδασκαλίας αὐτοῦ, ἐνιαυτὸν γάρ που καὶ μῆνας ὀλίγους ἐδίδαξεν, κ, τ. λ. Υ.
Si ergo considerem verum pontificem meum, Dominum Jesum Christum, quomodo in carne quidem positus, per totum annum erat cum populo, annum illum de quo ipse dicit: Evangelizare pauperibus misit me, et vocare annum Domini acceptum, et diem remissionis adverte quomodo semel in anno isto, in die repropitiationis intrat in sancta sanctorum, hoc est, cum impleta dispensatione penetrat cœlos, et intrat ad patrem z.
Prædicare annum Domini acceptum-juxta simplicem intelligentiam aiunt uno anno Salvatorem in Judæa evangelium prædicasse, et hoc esse quod dicitur, Prædicare a, etc.
Ἐὰν δὲ αὐτὴ ἡ ἑορτὴ τοῦ Πάσχα ἦν (John v. 1.) οὐ προσκεῖται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς· στενοχωρεῖ δὲ τὸ ἀκόλουθον τῆς ἱστορίας, καὶ μάλιστα ἐπεὶ μετ ̓ ὀλίγα ἐπιφέρεται ὅτι ἦν ἐγγὺς ἡ ἑορτὴ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἡ σκηνοπηγία.
Καίτοιγε ̓Αριστοτέλης μὲν εἴκοσιν ἔτεσι λέγεται πεφοιτηκέναι Πλάτωνι· οὐκ ὀλίγον δὲ χρόνον καὶ ὁ Χρύσιππος παρὰ τῷ Κλεάνθει πεποιῆσθαι τὰς διατριβάς. ὁ δὲ Ἰούδας παρὰ τῷ Ἰησοῦ οὐδὲ τρία διέτριψεν ἔτη.
Si autem oportet et de temporibus aliquid dicere; dicimus quoniam in Chronicis Phlegontis cujusdam dicitur, (si tamen debemus et hunc quasi vera dicentem de templo suscipere,) quoniam circa quadragesimum annum a quinto decimo anno Tiberii Cæsaris facta est destructio Jerusalem, et templi quod fuit in ea. deduc ergo prædicationis Domini fere annos tres, et tempus resurrectionis ipsius, quando per dies quadra
y Operum i. 16ο. De Principiis, iv. 5.
z Operum ii. 239. C. In Leviticum Homilia ix. 5· * Operum iii. 97o. C. in Lucam Homilia xxxii. b Operum iv. 250. A. B. in Joh. Comm. tom. xiii. 39. c Operum i. 397. E. Contra Celsum, ii. 12,
ginta apparens illis docebat eos de regno Dei, et invenies forsitan plus minus: quoniam circa dimidium septimanæ, computans per decadas annorum, est completum quod dictum est, &c.d
To understand this passage, we must compare it with the following just before, and with Jerome's commentary on Dan. ix.
Hæc enim septimana, quæ propter septem decadas annorum dicitur septimana, confirmat testamentum multis, quando et Apostoli Christi post ascensionem ipsius, orationi et verbo instantes, a Deo illuminabantur in omnem scientiam voluntatis divinarum scripturarum, et a Spiritu Sancto. in dimidio autem septimanæ, id est, in tribus et semis decadis annorum, sublatum est sacrificium altaris: id est in triginta quinque annis impletum est quod fuerat scriptum, &c. e
Dicit idem Eusebius et aliam opinionem, quam ex parte non reprobo: quod plerique unam hebdomadem annorum in septuaginta annos extendant: per singulos hebdomadis annos decennio supputato. et volunt a passione Domini, usque ad Neronis imperium, annos esse triginta quinque, quando contra Judæos Romana primum arma commota sunt; et hanc esse dimidiam hebdomadam annorum septuaginta. postea vero a Vespasiano et Tito, et deinceps quando Jerosolyma templumque succensum est, usque ad Trajanum, alios esse annos triginta quinque: et hanc esse hebdomadem de qua Angelus loquitur Danieli: Confirmabit autem pactum multis hebdomada una. in totum enim orbem per apostolos Evangelium prædicatum est: qui usque ad illud tempus perseveraverunt, tradentibus Ecclesiasticis historiis Johannem Evangelistam usque ad tempora vixisse Trajani.
With regard to the dates and order of these several
d Operum iii. 859. C. Comm. in Matt. Series secundum Veterem Interpretationem, 40. e Ibid. 858. F. f Hieronymus, Operum iii. 1114. ad principium.