« ZurückWeiter »
of action is not confined to a single country, but displayed in the greatest cities of the Roman empire. Allusions are made to the manners and principles of the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews. This variety renders a forgery proportionably more difficult, especially to writers of a posterior age. A Greek or Roman Christian, who lived in the second or third century, would have been wanting in Jewish literature; a Jewish convert in those ages would have been equally deficient in the knowledge of Greece and Rome.*
This, however, is an argument which depends entirely upon an induction of particulars; and as, consequently, it carries with it little force, without a view of the instances upon which it is built, 1 have to request the reader's attention to a detail of examples, distinctly and articulately proposed. In collecting these examples, I have done no more than epitomize the first volume of the first part of Dr. Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel History And I have brought the argument within its present compass, first, by passing over some of his sections in which the accordancy appeared to me less certain, or upon subjects not sufficiently appropriate or circumstantial; secondly, by contracting every section into the fewest words possible, contenting myself for the most part with a mere apposition of passages; and, thirdly, by omitting many disquisilions, which, though learned and accurate, are not absolutely necessary to the understanding or verification of the argument.
The writer principally made use of in the inquiry, is Josephus. Josephus was born in Jerusalem four years after Christ's ascension. He wrote his liistory of the Jewish war some time after the destruction of Jerusalemn, which happened in the year of our Lord Lxx. that is, thirty-seven years after the ascension; and his history of the Jews he finished in the year xciis, that is, sixty years after the ascension.
At the head of each article, I have referred, by figures included in brackets, to the page of Dr.
* Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament, (Marsh's Translation,) c. ii. sect. xi.
Lardner's volume, where the section, from which the abridgment is made, begins. The edition used, is that of 1741.
I. (p. 14.] Matt. ii. 22. “ When he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither : notwithstanding, being warned of God in 8 dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee."
In this passage it is asserted, that Archelaus succeeded Herod in Judea; and it is implied, that his power did not extend to Galilee. Now we learn irom Josephus, that Herod the Great, whose dominion included all the land of Israel, appointed Archelaus his successor in Judea, and assigned the rest of his dominions to other sons ; and that this disposition was ratified, as to the main parts of it, by the Roman emperor.
Saint Matthew says, that Archelaus reigned, was king in Judea. Agreeably to this, we are informed by Josephus, not only that Herod appointed Archelaus his successor in Judea, but that he also ap. pointed him with the title of King; and the Greek verb βασιλεύει, which the evangelist uses to denote the government and rank of Archelaus, is used likewise by Josephus.t
The cruelty of Archelaus's character, which is not obscurely intimated by the evangelist, agrees with divers particulars in his history, preserved by Josephus :-" In the tenth year of his government, the chief of the Jews and Samaritans, not being able to endure his cruelty and tyranny, presented complaints against him to Cæsar."
II. [p. 19.) Luke iii. 1. “ In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar-Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip, tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis-the word of God came unto John."
By the will of Herod the Great, and the decree of Augustus thereupon, his two sons were appointnd, one (Herod Antipas) tetrarch of Galilee and Pea ræa, and the other (Philip) tetrarch of Trachonitis and the neighbouring countries. We have therefore these two persons in the situations in which Saint Luke places them; and also, that they were in these situations in the fifteenth year of Tiberius ; in other words, that they continued in possession of their territories and titles until that time, and afterward, appears from a passage of Josephus, which relates of Herod,“ that he was removed by Caligula, the successor of Tiberius ;t and of Philip, that hé died in the twentieth year of Tiberius, when he had governed Trachonitis and Batanea and Gaulanitis thirty-seven years."I
* Ant. lib. xvü. c. 8. sect. 1.
De Bell. lib. i. c. 33. sect. 7
III. (p. 20.) Mark vi. 17.|| Herod had sent forth, and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison, for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife ; for he had married her."
With this compare Joseph. Antiq. I, xvin. c. 6. sect. 1.--“ He (Herod the tetrarch) made a visit to Herod his brother. -Here, falling in love with He. rodias, the wife of the said Herod, he ventured to make her proposals of marriage.”
Again, Mark vi. 22. “ And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in and danced
With this also compare Joseph. Antiq. l. xviii. c. 6. sect. 4. “Herodias was married to Herod, son of Herod the Great. They had a daughter, whose name was Salome ; after whose birth, Herodias, in utter violation of the laws of her country, left her husband, then living, and married Heród the te
Ant. lib. xvii. c. 8. sect. l.
Th. c 5. sect. 6. || See also Matt. xiv. Im-13. Lk: iii. 19.
The affinity of the two accounts is unquestionable ; but there is a difference in the name of Herodias's first busband, wbich, in thy erangelist, is Philip: in Josephus, Herod. The difficulty, bowever, will not appear considerable, when we recollect how common it was in those times for the same person to bear two names. “Simon, which is called Peter; Lebbeus, whose ouro ime is Thadd us ; Thomas, which is called Didymus ; Simeon, who was called Niger ; Saul, who was also called Paul." The solution is rendered litewise easier in the present case, by the consideration, that Herod the Great had children by seved or eight wives ; that Josephus mentions three of his sons under the name of Herod that it is nevertheless highly probable, that the brothers bore some additional game, by which they were distinguished from one another. Larduer, vol. ii. p. 897.
trarch of Galilee, her husband's brother by the father's side.”
IV. [p. 29.) Acts xii. 1. “ Now, about that time, Hered the king stretched forth his hands, to vex certain of the church.” In the conclusion of the same chapter, Herod's death is represented to have taken place soon after this persecution. The accuracy of our historian, or, rather, the unmeditated coinci. dence, which truth of its own accord produces, is in this instance remarkable. There was no portion of time, for thirty years before, nor ever afterward, in which there was a king at Jerusalem, a person exercising that authority in Judea, or to whom that title could be applied, except the three last years of this Herod's life, within which period the transaction recorded in the Acts is stated to have taken place. This prince was the grandson of Herod the Great. In the Acts, he appears under his familyname of Herod; by Josephus he was called Agrip. pa. For proof that he was a king, properly so called, we have the testimony of Josephus in full and direct terms :-"Sending for him to his palace, Caligula put a crown upon his head, and appointed him king of the tetrarchie of Philip, intending also to give him the tetrarchie of Lysanias."* And that Judea was at last, but not until the last, included in his dominions, appears by a subsequent passage of the same Josephus, wherein he tells us, that Člaudius, by a decree, confirmed to Agrippa the domimion which Caligula had given him ; adding also Judea and Samaria, in the utmost extent, as possessed by his grandfather Herodot
V. [p. 12.Acts xii. 19-23. “ And he (Herod) went down from Judea to Cesarea, and there abode. And on a set day, Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them and the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man : and immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Joseph. Antiq. lib. xix. c. 8. sect. 2. “ He went to the city of Cesarea. Here he celebrated shows
in honour of Cæsar. On the second day of the shows, early in the morning, he came into the theatre, dressed in a robe of silver, of most curious workmanship. The rays of the rising sun, reflected from such a splendid garb, gave him a majestic and awful appearance.
They called him a god; and entreated him to be propitious to them, saying, Hitherto we have respected you as a man; but now we acknowledge you to be more than mortal. The king neither reproved these persons, nor rejected the impious flattery.-Immediately after this, he was seized with pains in his bowels, extremely violent at the very first.-He was carried therefore with all haste to his palace. These pains continu. ally tormenting him, he expired in five days' time."
The reader will perceive the accordancy of these accounts in various particulars. The place (Cesarea,) the set day, the gorgeous dress, the acclamations of the assembly, the peculiar turn of the flat
the reception of it, the sudden and critical in. cursion of the disease, are circumstances noticed in both narratives. The worms mentioned by St. Luke, are not remarked by Josephus; but the ap, pearance of these is a symptom, not unusually, I believe, attending the diseases which Josephus describes, viz, violent affections of the bowels.
VI. [p. 41.) Acts xxiv. 24. “ And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul.”
Joseph. Antiq. lib. xx. c. 6. sect. 1, 2.“ Agrippa gave his sister Drusilla in marriage to Azizus, king of the Emesenes, when he had consented to be cir. cumcised.But this marriage of Drusilla with Azi. zus was dissolved in a short time after, in this manner :- When Felix was procurator of Judea, having had a sight of her, he was mightily taken with her. She was induced to transgress the laws of her country, and marry Felix.”
Here the public station of Felix, the name of his wife, and the singular circumstance of her religion, all appear in perfect conformity with the evangelist.
VII. [p. 46.) “And after certain days, king Agrippa and Bernice came to Cesarea to salute Festus." By this passage we are in effect told, that