Historia Ecclesiastica


Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, Lake, Loeb, 1926

XIX. Νow while Claudius was still administering the Εmpire there was a riot and confusion in Jerusalem at the feast οf the Ρassover so great that, merely among those who were violently crowded together at the ways leading οut οf the temple, thirty thousand Jews perished by tramplinlg οn each other, and the feast was turned into mourning for the whole nation and into lamentation in each house. This too Josephus relates in So many words. Claudius appointed Agrippa, the child οf Αgrippa, as king of the Jews, and sent out as Ρrocurator of the whole district or samaria and Galilee, together with that called Peraea. Ηe had administered the government for thirteen years and eight months when he died and left Νero his successor in the sovereignty.

XX. In the time of Νerο, while Felix was Ρrocurator of Judaea, Josephus again relateS the quarrel of the priests with one another in the following words in a passage in the twentieth book οf the Antiquities : “ Νow a quarrel arose between the Ηigh Ρriests and the priests and leaders of the people of Jerusalem.

Εach of them made for himself a band of the boldest revolutionaries, of which he was the leader, and when they met they used to abuse each other and throw stones. There was not a single one to rebuke this, but it was done with licence as though in a city without government. sueh shamelessness and audacity seized the Ηigh Priests that they ventured to Send salves to the threshing-floors to take the tithes owed to the prierts, and it was a common occurrence to see destitute priests perishing of want. Thus the violence of the factions conquered all justice."

The same writer again relates that at the same time a certain kind of bandits arose in Jerusalem, who, as he says, murdered daily those whom they met, even in the midst of the city. In particular at the feasts they used to mingle with the crowd and concealing short daggers in their clothes used to Stab distinguished people with them ; then, when they had fallen, the murderers themselves shared in the indignation. In this way they evaded discovery through the conhdence generally plaeed in them. Jonathan the Ηigh Priest was the first to be slain by them, but after him many were murdered daily, and fear was worse than the disasters, for as if in war every man was hourly expecting death.

XXI. Ηe continues his narrative after οther details as follows: : “ The Εgyprian false prophet affiicted the Jews with a worse scourge than this, for this man appeared in the country as a sorcerer and secured for himself the faith due to a prophet. Ηe assembled about thirty thousand who had been deceived and

led them round from the wilderness to the mount called Olivet, where he was in a position to force an entry into Jerusalem and overpower the Roman garison and the people by a despotic use of the soldiers who had joined him. But Felix, anticipating his attaek, met him with the Roman forces, and all the people agreed in rile defenee, so that when battle was joined the Egyptian fled with a few men and the greater part of those with him were destroyed or captured."

Josepohus relates this in the second book of the Wars, but it is worth nothing what is said about the Egyptian there and in the Acts or the Apostles, where, in the time of Felix, the centurion at Jerusalem said to Ρaul, when the mob of the Jews was rioting against him, “ Αrt thou not that Egyptian who before these days made an uprorar and led out in the wilderness four thousand men of the Sicarii 1 ? ’’ Such was the course of events under Felix.

XXII. Festus was sent as his successor by Νero, and Ρaul was tried before him and taken as a prisoner to Rome ; Αristarchus was with him, and he naturally called him his fellow-prisoner in a passage in tlle Epistles. Luke also, who committed the Acts of the Apostles to writing, finished his narrative at this point by the statement that Ρaul spent two whole years in Rome in freedom, and preached the word of God without hindrance. Trdition has it that after derending himelf the Apostle was again sent [*](1 The Sicrarii were the special group of revolutionaries in Jerusalem who practised the assination of their opponents by means οf a short dagger οr sica which could be conveniently concealed in the sleeve, bee p. 163.)

οn the ministry of preaching, and coming a second time to the same city suffered martyrdom under Νerο. During this imprisonment he wrote the second Εpistle to Timothy, indicating at the same time that his first defence had taken place and that his martyrdom was at hand. Νοtice his testimony on this point : “ Αt my first defence," he says, “ no man was with me, but all deserted me (may it not be laid to their charge), but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me that the preaching might be fuh filled by me and all the Gentiles might hear, and I was delivered from the lion's mouth." Ηe clearly proves by this that on the first occasion, in order that the praching which took place through him might be fulmled, he was delivered from the lion's mouth, apparently referring to Νero thus for his feroeity. Ηe does not go on to add any such words as “ he will deliver me from the lion's mouth," for he saw in the spirit that his death was all but at hand, wherefore after the words “ And 1 was delivered from the lion's mouth," he goes on to say, “ The Lord will deliver me from all evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom," indicating his impending martrydom. Αnd this he foretells even more clearly in the same writing, saying, “ For ἴ’ am already offered up and the time of my release is at hand." Νοw in the second Epistle of those to Timothy, he states that only Luke was with him as he wrote, and at his Rrst defence not even he ; wherefore Luke probably wrote the Αcts of the Apostles at that time, carrying
down his narratiVe until the time when he was with Ρaul. We have said this to show that Paul's martyrdom was not accomplished during the sojourn in Rome which Luke describes. Ρrobably at the beginning Νero’s disposition was genrier and it was easier for Ρaul’s defence on behalf of his views to be received, but as he advanced towards reckless crime the Apostles were attacked along with the rest.

XIII. When Ρaul appealed to eaesar and was sent over to Rome by Festus the Jews were disappointed of the hope in which they had laid their plot against him and turned against James, the brother of the Lord, to whom the throne of the bishopric in Jerisalem had been allotted by the Apostles. The crim which they committed was as follows. They brought him into the midst and demanded a denial of the faith in Christ before all the people, but When he, contrary to the expectation of all of them, with a loud voice and with more courage than they had expected, confessed before all the people that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the son of God. they could no longer endure his testimony, since he was by all men believed to be most righteous beeause of the height which he had reached in a life of philosophy and religion, and killed him, using anarchy as an opportunity for power since at that moment Festus had died in Judaea, leaving the district without government or procurator. The manner of

James's death has been Shown by the words of Clement already quoted, narrating that he was thrown from the battlement and beaten to death with a club, but Hegesippus, who belongs to the generation after the Apostles, gives the most aceurate aeeount of him Speaking as follows in his fifth book : “ The charge of the Church passed to James the brother of the Lord, together with the Αpostles. Ηe was called the ‘ Just ’ by all men from the Lord's time to ours, since many are called James, but he was holy from his mother's womb. Ηe drank no wine or strong drink, nor did he eat flesh ; no razor went upon his head ; he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not go to the baths. Ηe alone was allowed to enter into the sanctuary for he did not wear wool but linen, and he used to enter alone into the temple and be found kneeling and praying for forgiveness for the people, so that his knees grew hard like a camel's because of his constant worship of God, kneeling and asking forgiveness for the people. so from his excessive righteousness he was ealled the Just and Oblias, that is in Greek, ‘ Rampart of the people and righteousness,’ as the prophets deelare concerning him. Thus Some of the seven sectS among the people, who were desribed before by me (in the Commentaries), inquired of him what was the gate of Jesus,’ and he said that he was the saviour. Owing to this some believed that Jesus was the Chrirt. The sects mentioned above did not believe either in resurrection or in one who shall
come to reward each according to his deeds, but as many as believed did so because of James. Νow, since many even of the rulers believved, there was a saying that the whole people was in danger of looking for Jesus a the christ. So they assembled and said since they are straying after Jesus as though he were the Messiah. We beseech you to persuade concerning Jesus all who come for the day of the Passover, over, all obey you. For we and the whole people testify to you that you are righteous and do not respect persons. cso do you persuade the crowd not to err concerning Jesus, for the whole people and we all obey you. Therefore stand on the battlement of and that your words may be audible to all the people, for because of the Passover all the tribe, with the Gentiles also, have come ’ so the scribes and Pharisees mentioned before made James stand on the battlement of the temple, and they cried out to him and said, Oh, jsut one, to whom we all owe obeffience, since the people are straying after Jesus who was crucified, tell us what is the gate of Jesus ? 7. 1 ’ Αnd he answered with a loud voice, ‘ Why do you ask me concerning the son of Man ? Ηe iS sitting in heaven on the right hand of the great power, and he will come on the clouds of haven.’ Αnd many were convinced and confessed 2 at the testimony of [*](2 Literally “ glorified." Cf. Jo. ix. 24.)
James and said, ‘ Hosanna to the son of Then again the same seribes and Ρharisees said to one another, ‘ We did wrong to provide Jesus with such testimony, but let us go up and throw him down that they may be afraid and not believe him. Αnd they cried out saying, ‘ Oh, oh, even the just one ’ Αnd they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah, 1 ‘ Let us take the just man for he is unprofitable to us. Yet they shall eat the fruit of their works.' So they went up and threw down the Just, and they said to one another, ‘ Let us stone James the ’ and they began to stone him since the fall had not killed him, but he turned and knelt saying, ‘I beseech thee, Ο ·Lord, God and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they ’ Αnd while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Reehab, the son of Rechabim,2 to whom Jeremiah the prophet bore witness, cried out saying, ‘ Stop ! what are you doing ? The Just is praying for ’ Αnd a certain man among them, one of the laundrymen, took the club with which he used to beat out the clothes, and hit the Jurt on the head, and so he suffered martyrdom. Αnd they buried him on the spot by the temple, and his gravestone stone still remains by the temple. He beeame a true witness both to Jews and to Greeks that Jesus is the Chrisband at once Vespasian began to beriege them."


This account is given at length by Hegesippus, but in agreement with Clement. Thus it seems that James was indeed a remarkable man and ramous among all for righteousness, so that the wise even οf the Jews thought that this was the cause of the siege of Jemsalem immediately after his martyrdom, and that it happened for no other reason than the crime which they had committed against him.

of course Josephus did not shrink from giving written testimonyp to this, as follows : “ And theSe things happened to the Jews to avenge JameS the Just, who was the brother of Jesus the so-called christ, for the Jews killed him in spite of his great righteousness." 1 The same writer also narrates his death in the twentieth book of the Antiquities as follows : “ Νow when Caesar heard οf the death of Festus he sent Albinus as governor to Judaea, but the younger Αnanus, who, as we said, had received the Ηigh Priesthood, was bold in temperament and remarkably daring. Ηe followed the Seet of the sadducees, who are cruel in their judgements beyond all the Jews, as we have already explained. nus his eharacter led Αnanus to think that he had a suitable opportunity through the faet that Festus was dead and Albinus still on his way. Ηe sum- moned a council of judges, brought before it the brother of Jesus, the so-ealled Christ, whose name was James, and some otherS, on the accusation of breaking the law and delivered them to be stoned. But all who were reputed the most reasonable of the citizens and strict observers of the law were [*](1 This passage is not in the traditional text οf Josephus.)

angered at this and sent secretly to the Emperor, begging him to write to Αnanus to give up doing such things, for they said that he had not aeted rightly from the very beginning. Αnd some of them also went to meet Albinus as he journeyed from Alexandria, and explriaIned that it was illegal for Αnanus to assemble the council without his permission. Albinus was influenced by what was said and wrote angrily to Αnanus threatening him with penalties, and for this reason King Agrippa deprived him of the Ηigh Ρriesthood when he had held it for three months, and appointed Jesus the son of Dammaeus." Such is the story of James, whose is said to be the first of the Εpistles ealled Catholic. It is to he observed that its authenticity is denied, since few of the ancients quote it, as is also the case with the Epistle ealled ’s, which is itseK one of the seven called Catholie ; nevertheless we know that these letters have been used publicly with the rest in most churehes.

XXIV. In the eighth year of the reign οf Νero Αnnianus was the nrst after Mark the Evangelist to receive charge of the ffiocese 2 of Alexandria.

XXV. When the rule of Νero was now gathering strenght for unholy objects he began to take up arms against the worship of the Good οf the universe. Ιt is not part of the present work to describe his depravity : many indeed have related his story in accurate nauative, and from them he who wishes can study [*](1 or, possibly, to King Αgrippa.) [*](2 Literally, οlοny or province.) [*](1 Cf. George Syncellus 641, 7-642, 9.)

the perversity of his degenerate madness, which made him compass the unreasonable destruction of so many thousands, until he reached that Bnal guilt οf sparing neither his nearest nor dearest, so that in various ways he did to death alike his mother, brothers, and wife, with thousands of others attached to his family, as though they were enemies and foes. nut with all this there was still lacking to him thi μ’ that it should be attributed to him that he was the nrst οf the emperors to be pointed out as a foe of divine religion. This again the Latin writer Tertullian mentions in one place as follows : “ Look at your records : there you will Rnd that Νero was the nrst to persecute this belief when, haring overcome the whole Εast, he was speeially cruel in Rome against all. 1 We boast that sueh a man was the author of our chastisement ; for he who knows him can understand that nothing would have been condemned by Kero had it not been great and good."

In this way then was he the Rrst to be heralded as above all a fighter against God, and raised up to slaughter against the Apostles. It is related that in his time Ρaul was beheaded in Rome itselr, and that Ρeter likewise was crucified, and the title οf “ Ρeter and Ρaul,’’ which is still given to the cemeteries there, confirms the story, no less than does a writer οf the Church named caius, who lived when Zefyrinus was bishop οf Rome. Caius in a written discussion

with Ρroclus, the leader οf the Montanists,1 speaks as follows οf the places where the sacred rellics of the Apostles in question are depoSited : “ But I can point οut the trophies of the Αpostles, for if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way you will find the trophies οf those who founded thiS ’’ Αnd that they both were martyred at the same time Dionysius, bishop οf Corinth, affirms in this passage of his correspondenee wtih the Romans : “ By so great an admonition you bound together the foundations of the Romans and Corinthians by Ρeter and Ρaul, for both of them taught together in our corinth and were our founders, and together also taught in Italy in the Same place and were mart yred at the same ’’ Αnd this may serve to conRrm still further the facts narrated.

XXVI. Josephus in the courSe of hiS extremely detailed description of the cataStrophe which overcame the whole Jewish raee, in addition to many other things explains exactly how many thousand Jews οf high rank in Jerusalem itself were outraged, Seourged, and crucified by FloruS, and that he was procurator of Judaea when it happened that the beginning of the war blamd up in the twelfth year of the reign of Νero. Ηe next says that throughout syria terrible disturbances followed the revolt οf the Jews. Εverywhere the Gentiles mercilessly attaeked [*](1Literally, theopinionamong the Phrygians." Μọntanus was οf Ρhrygian origin. Ηis story ls told by Euseblus ln Hist. Eccl. v. 14–18. Ρrοclus was one of his successors.) [*](2 According to; the tradition that Ρeter was crucified on the Vatican (the exact spot is variously indicated), and Ρaul beheaded on the Via Ostia at Tre Fontane.)

the Jews in the ciues as though they were foes, so that the cities could be seen full οf unburied bodies, thrown out dead, old men and children, and women without covering for their nakedness ; the whole province was full of indescribable misery and the strain of the threats for the future was worse than the crimes of the Ρresent. This Josephus narrates, and such was the cond1tion οf the Jews.