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than our Lord; to which conclusion his history, so far as it is related, would a priori seem to conduct us. There is every reason to believe that he was the youngest of the apostles, and it is not improbable that he was even younger than our Saviour himself. The two traditions, of his death in the seventh of Trajan U. C. 857, and of his age, at the time, one hundred and six-would accord wonderfully with this conjecture; for he must have been born, in that case, U. C. 751, and have been just one year younger than our Lord.
Epiphanius, indeed, represents him to have been ninety years old, when he returned from banishment; but as he places his return under Claudius, this is so material an error as to discredit his testimony altogether*. Besides which, even he, in other parts of his works, asserts that St. John survived to the reign of Trajand. And, perhaps, his meaning in the former instance is simply this; that St. John composed his Gospel, after his return from banishment, at ninety years of age-that is, he was ninety at least when he wrote his Gospel, though not necessarily when he returned-for he speaks of several years being spent in Asia even after the return, yet before the composition of the Gospel.
This supposes, it is true, a ten years' interval between the composition of his Gospel and his death; an interval which would, perhaps, have been more correct of the time of his banishment and his death. For if he returned U. C. 849, in the year which Dio assigns to the recall of the exiles, under Nerva; and lived to
* Yet Hippolytus περὶ τῶν ιβ' άлоσтóλv supposes the Gospel, as well as the Revelation, to
have been composed in Patmos. Theophylact also supposes the same of the Gospel: i. 504. A. B.
ci. 434. A. Alogi, xii: cf. 456. A. Ibid. xxxiii. 636. A. Manichæi, xix. e lxviii. 1.
d i. 149. A. Ebionæi, xxiv:
be one hundred and six years old in U. C. 857-he survived his return eight years, and his banishment, dated U. C. 847 or 848, nine or ten.
It is probable that his Gospel was composed in the third or fourth of Trajan; which Jerome seems to designate as the time of his death, perhaps because tradition had handed it down as the time of the composition of the Gospel. The fourth of Trajan, U. C. 854, would accord with the thirty-second year current from the date of the destruction of Jerusalem, U. C. 823.
The question of the time of the death of St. John is connected with that of the date of the martyrdoms of Ignatius and of Polycarp respectively: more especially with that of the former; which some authorities place so early as the eighth of Trajan, U.C. 858. This question will be discussed elsewhere. Some regard also is due, in considering the time of the death of St. John, to the historical anecdote respecting him and the heretic Cerinthus, according to Irenæus, on the traditionary authority of Polycarp, (iii. iii. 204. Cf. Eusebius, E. H. iii. 28. 100. C. D.); or the heretic Ebion, according to Epiphanius (i. 148. Ebionæi, xxiv.) The antiquity of either of these heresiarchs is great enough for the circumstance in question to have happened early in the reign of Trajan*.
*There is a remarkable passage, respecting the date of the Apocalypse, and other circumstances in the history of St. John, which occurs in the commentary on Revelation, compiled by Arethas, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, from the work of Andreas, a more ancient bishop of the same see, and other authorities of equal antiquity: a
commentary appended to Ecumenius in Novum Testamentum.
Tom. ii. 713. D-714. A. in Rev. vii. 4. understanding the 144,000 there alluded to, of such of the Jews as were designed by the Divine Providence to escape from the calamities coming upon their unbelieving countrymen, the commentary proceeds: οὔπω γὰρ ἡ ὑπὸ 'Ρω
μαίων ἀπώλεια Ἰουδαίους κατειλήφει, ὅτε καὶ οὗτος ὁ εὐαγγελιστὴς ἐχρησμῳδεῖτο ταῦτα. καὶ οὐκ ἐν ̔Ιερουσαλὴμ, ἀλλ ̓ ἐν Ἰωνίᾳ, τῇ κατ ̓ Ἔφεσον. μετὰ γὰρ τὸ πάθος τοῦ Κυρίου, δέκα καὶ τέσσαρα μόνα ἔτη προσήδρευσεν ἐν ̔Ιερουσαλὴμ, ὅσα καὶ τὸ θεοδόχον τῆς τοῦ Κυρίου μητρὸς σκῆνος τῇ ἐνκαίρῳ ταύτῃ ζωῇ, μετὰ τὸ πάθος καὶ τὴν ἀνάστασιν τοῦ ἀφθόρου τόκου αὐτῆς, διετηρήθη. ᾗ καὶ συμπαρῆν ἅτε μητρὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου αὐτῷ παραδεδομένῃ. μετὰ γὰρ τὴν ἀποβίωσιν ταύτης, οὐκ ἔτι τῇ Ιουδαίᾳ ἐμφιλοχωρῆσαι, ἀλλὰ πρὸς Εφεσον μεταστῆναι αὐτ τὸν λόγος. καθ ̓ ἣν, ὡς εἴρηται, καὶ τὰ τῆς προκειμένης ̓Αποκαλύψεως ἐνεργηθῆναι, τῶν μελλόντων οὖσαν δήλωσιν, καθ ̓ ὅτι μετὰ τὸ τεσσαρακοστὸν ἔτος τῆς ἀναλήψεως τοῦ Κυρίου, κατὰ τῶν ̔Εβραίων ἡ θλίψις συνηνέχθη.
It is here supposed that the date of the Apocalypse was prior to the destruction of Jerusalem; which, if that revelation was seen in Patmos, near the coast of Asia Minor, where Ephesus was situated, would imply that St. John was banished thither under Nero, not under Domitian: a conclusion contradictory to what is observed in this very commentary, in Rev. i. 9. ii. 654. D. of his being banished under Domitian (Cf. also, in Rev. iii. 10. ii. 682. C.) as well as refuted by the testimonies produced above, which unanimously assign the date of the Apocalypse to the latter end of the reign of Domitian.
By placing the destruction of Jerusalem forty years after the Ascension, this testimony dates the Ascension U. C. 783. A. D. 30, which, upon our principles, is correct. By supposing, too,
that St. John continued in Jerusalem fourteen years after the Ascension, without quitting it, it virtually confirms the tradition alluded to, Dissertation xv. vol. ii. 46, 47. that for fourteen years after the Ascension, the apostles as a body were not to leave Jerusalem. It virtually implies also that after the lapse of fourteen years, so spent in Jerusalem, they must all, or part of them, have begun to set out on their mission into other parts of the world; just as we assumed the commencement of Paul and Barnabas' first circuit to the Gentiles, A. D. 44. U. C. 797.
Whether St. John, in particular, at the end of the same period of time quitted Jerusalem, along with the rest, to preach elsewhere, is a question which we have not the means of determining. If he did, yet we may collect from Galatians ii. J. that he must have again been present there, at the time of St. Paul's fourth visit, A. D. 52, twenty-two years after the Ascension. But whether he was also there at the time of the intermediate council, Acts xv. about A. D. 48. eighteen years after the same date, must be doubtful.
I cannot help thinking, indeed, that the true time when the apostle St. John may be supposed to have permanently quitted Judæa, is intimated at Galatians ii. 9; and that both he and St. Peter set out upon an evangelical circuit of the Roman empire, A. D. 52. in consequence of the arrangement made with St. Paul upon that occasion of their meeting in common in Jerusalem. Immediate
ly after this meeting, we have evidence of St. Peter's preaching successively in Asia, Corinth, Rome, and Egypt; and it is to be presumed that St. John was not idle meanwhile, but preaching also either in the same parts or elsewhere, at the same time. Nor does it appear that either of these apostles was still at Jerusalem, A. D. 56, when St. Paul again visited it for the fifth time.
It would not follow from this fact, however, that the Virgin Mary in particular must have been still alive twenty-one or twenty-two years after the Ascension, A. D. 51 or 52. If she died about A. D. 44. fourteen years after the Ascension, she would still be sixty-three years old at her death; at least if the tradition alluded to elsewhere (Dissertation xvi. vol. ii. 88.) that she was fifteen or sixteen, at the time of the Annunciation, is founded in truth. The testimony of Arethas supposes her to have died a natural death. It knows nothing then of her fabled translation or assumption: which is so far an argument for its credibility. Confer the Extract from Modestus, bishop of Jerusalem, Photius, Codex 275, P. 511. 1. 30.
There is no reason to sup
pose that any apostle, and much less the apostle St. John, had preached at Ephesus, before the beginning of St. Paul's residence there, A.D. 53. I should consider it very improbable even that any apostle had preached there, much more permanently taken up his abode there, up to the time of St. Paul's last Epistle to Timothy; written in the spring quarter of the year of his mar
tyrdom, A.D. 66. On every account, the commencement of St. John's permanent residence at Ephesus, is to be dated later than the close of the personal history of St. Paul; as far as we have the means of tracing that history: though how much later, it may not be possible to say.
I should scarcely think it worth while to quote the Life of St. John by Symeon Metaphrastes, (Cf. Dorotheus, bishop of Tyre, apud Theophylact, i. 500,) as it abounds in fabulous particulars. Speaking of his examination before Domitian, and of his subsequent banishment to Patmos, Symeon is silent about the fact of his being previously thrown into the caldron of boiling oil. He asserts the composition of his Gospel in Patmos.
We may here add, that the supposed Epistle of Dionysius the Areopagite, Operum ii. 178, 179. Epistolæ, x. though it professes to be addressed to St. John, at that time in banishment, and residing in Patmos, throws no light on any of the above questions. It concludes with predicting merely his future restoration to liberty; a prediction for the credibility of which the writer claims to be considered an adequate voucher: ἀξιόπιστος δὲ πάντως εἰμὶ τὰ προεγνωσμένα σοι ἐκ Θεοῦ καὶ μαθὼν καὶ λέγων, ὅτι καὶ τῆς ἐν Πάτμῳ φυλακῆς ἀφεθήσῃ, καὶ εἰς τὴν ̓Ασιατίδα γῆν ἐπανήξεις, καὶ δράσεις ἐκεῖ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ Θεοῦ μιμήματα, καὶ τοῖς μετὰ σὲ παραδώσεις.
Maximus, in his Scholia on this Epistle, pp. 180, 181, institutes a calculation to prove that Dionysius was then about ninety years old; proceeding on the Tt
supposition that he was twentyfive, in the eighteenth of Tiberius, when he observed the miraculous darkness (of which we have the account in the Epistle to Polycarp, Operum ii. 88. Epistolæ, vii. Cf. Dissertation xiv. vol. i. 468, 469.) and that this Epistle to St. John was written sixty-four years and seven months afterwards, in the last year of Domitian: such being the interval between the eight
eenth of Tiberius, A. D. 32. a vere, and the last year of Domitian, A. D. 96. ab auctumno. He quotes Irenæus and Clemens Alexandrinus, (locis citatis) to the fact of the banishment of St. John to Patmos in the reign of Domitian. Pachymeres, too, in his paraphrase of the Epistle, p. 184, supposes St. John banished about the last of Domitian, and released from exile in the first of Nerva.