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1. It is not quoted nor referred to by any Christian writers before Eusebius, wlio flourished at the beginning of the fourth century, and afterwards.
2. This paragraph was wanting in the copies of Josephus, which were seen by Photius in the ninth century.
3. It interrupts the course of the narration.
4. It is unsuitable to the general character of Josephus, who is allowed not to have been a Christian.
It is here said that · Jesus was a wise man, if he may be called a man,' so that the writer of the paragraph was uncertain whether Jesus was not somewhat greater, and a more extraordinary person than a mére man. • He performed wonderful works:' or, ‘was a worker of wonders.' The original word, rendered wonders, is equivalent to miracles in Josephus and in Eusebius, who first quoted this paragraph. And if Josephus had ascribed miracles to Jesus, he must have owned him to be a teacher come from God. Afterwards it is said: “This was the Christ.' That is the genuine and only meaning of the Greek words, O Xpisos autos yy. And every thing clse in that paragraph confirms that sense.
. And when Pilate, at the instigation of the chief men among us, had condemned him to the 'cross, they who before had conceived an affection for him, did not cease to adhere to him. . For on the third day he appeared to them alive again, the divine prophets having foretold • these and many other wonderful things concerning him.' All very Christian.
Christian. And every thing here said is in all our copies of Josephus, and in the first quotation made by Eusebius, and in all the quotations since made by other ancient writers.
That this last clause, the divine prophets having foretold these, and many other wonderful things concerning him,' was always in this testimony, we are assured by Eusebius who so quotes it. And presently after quoting it, makes a remark upon the passage; which shews he so read it. For he presently adds: • And the book of the Acts of the apostles assures us, that many • thousand Jews believed him to be the Christ of God, whom the prophets had foretold. See Acts xxi. 20.
How Christian is all this! And said likewise to be agreeable to the predictions of the divine prophets! which is suitable to many texts of the New Testament, and even resembles them: Luke xxiv. 25, 26, 44; Acts xx. 22, 23; Rom. i. 1-4; 1 Cor. xv. 4. Throughout all the works
there is not any the least notice taken of Christ, or the Christians, or their affairs. But in this short passage are inserted almost all the articles concerning Jesus Christ, which were in the ancient Christian creeds, except his miraculous nativity, and his ascension to heaven: • suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried: the third day he rose again • from the dead.'
And, to complete this testimony, the great progress of the Christian religion in the world is here asserted, and that this Jesus had brought over to him many Jews and many Gentiles.' The steadiness of his followers in their zeal for him is also plainly intimated. • They who had • conceived an affection for him did not cease to adhere to him. And the sect of the Christians, • so called from him, still subsists.' Which are the expressions of a person who lived some good while after the rise of Christianity, and later than the time of Josephus. Nor is it any great wonder that his followers should be so attached to him, since they were men who received the truth with pleasure, and had at first given up themselves to him as a teacher of it. The bishop of Gloucester therefore, in considering this • passage, aptly calls it' preaching up of Christ,' and assigns a reason why Josephus should studiously decline the so doing: and therefore makes no scruple to call this passage spurious.
5. If Josephus were the author of this paragraph, it would be reasonable to expect in him frequent mention of Christ's miracles: whereas he is every where else silent about thein.
All these considerations were mentioned formerly. But I have now made enlargements under the fourth. And I beg leave to add here a thought or two more.
6. The word Christ, or Messiah, appears not in any place in all the works of Josephus, excepting two: namely, the paragraph which we have been considering, which is now in the
eighteenth book of his Antiquities; and another in the twentieth book of the same Antiquities, where is mention made a of - James, the brother of Jesus who is called Christ.'
This appears to me a good argument that these two passages are interpolations. For Josephus had many, yea innumerable occasions, for mentioning that word, and speaking of the expected Messiah. But that word is not to be found any where in him, excepting these two passages where he is made to speak of Jesus Christ. He must have designedly and studiously avoided that expression. And it is incredible that he should bring it in for the sake of Jesus, our Saviour, for whom he cannot be supposed to have had any favourable regard.
7. Finally, to conclude, it appears to me to be the wisdom and the interest of Christians, to adhere to and improve the genuine works of Josephus, and to inaintain their integrity, instead of attempting to vindicate passages which are so justly suspected to be interpolations.
His works are valuable and useful, and highly deserving the esteem of Christians upon divers accounts.
First, his rehearsal, or paraphrase d of the books of the Old Testament, as it is called by Isidore of Pelusium, is very valuable, notwithstanding some alterations by way of omission, or addition.
Secondly, his account of the state of things among the Jewish people from the conquest of Judea by Pompey to the commencement of the war, and during the ministry of our Saviour and his apostles, is very valuable, indeed above all price.
Thirdly, his testimony to the fulfiment of our Saviour's predictions concerning the destruc. tion of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the overthrow of the Jewish nation by Vespasian and Titus, is also invaluable, and has always been so esteemed by all Christians in general.
Such a testimony to all these several things from a learned Jew, contemporary with the apostles of Jesus, zealous o for the law, and in some respects an enemy to us, deserves the attentive regard, and high esteem of all friends to Christianity.
a Και παραγαγων εις αυτο τον αδελφον Ιησε τα λεγομενα Χρισ8, Ιακωβος ονομα αυτω, και τινας έτερες. Αnt. 20, c. ix. sect. 1, p. 976.
b I understand the learned author of the Dissertation to allow this where he says, p. 34, 35, Not as the adversaries
of this passage on the one hand, or its advocates on the other, equally misled by Christian notions, bave generally 'interpreted it: “This was the Christ,' or 'the person said to 'be the Christ,' viz. as a Jewish appellation or title of office
ANCIENT HEATHEN AUTHORS.
PLINY THE YOUNGER, AND TRAJAN.
THE LETTER OF PLINY THE YOUNGER TO TRAJAN CONCERNING THE CHRISTIANS, AND
RECKONED THE HEATHEN PERSECUTION.
I. The history of Pliny, and the time of his provincial government. II. Pliny's letter to Trajan,
and Trajan's rescript. III. Eusebius's account of the persecution in the reign of Trajan. IV. : Pliny's letter rehearsed, with notes and observations. V. Trajan's rescript rehearsed, with
notes and observations. VI. Whether Trajan did by any edict put an end to the persecution. VII. The judgments of divers learned men upon the preceding letter and rescript. VIII. The characters of Pliny and Trajan represented teith freedom, candour, and impartiality. IX. Observations, shewing the uses of the two foregoing epistles.
1. Caius Plinius Cæcilius Secundus, or Pliny the younger, .son of Lucius Cæcilius, and a sister of the elder Pliny, by whom he was adopted for his son, was born at Como, near Milan, in the year of Christ 6i or 62. He was prætor under Domitian, and afterwards præfect of the treasury of Saturn; which trust seems to have been conferred on him jointly by Nerva and Trajan. He was consul in the third year of the reign of Trajan, in the year of our Lord 100; wlien he pronounced his celebrated panegyric upon that emperor:
He was also augur, and for a while governor 4 of Pontus and Bithynia. It is very probable that he did not survive Trajan, who died on the tenth of August, in the year 117. It is more reasonable to think that he died several years before him ; forasmuch as there is nothing extant, either in his epistles, or elsewhere, that should induce us to think he lived long after his provincial government.
Pliny had not the title of proconsul, but was sent into the province by the emperor, as his lieutenant and proprætor, with proconsular power; as appears from some ancient inscriptions still remaining
• Vid. Voss. de Hist. Lat. 1. i. cap. 30. Fabr. Bib. Lat. 1. 2. c. 22. Masson de Vita Plin. Jun. Tillemont H. E. Trajan. art. 28.
• Ut primium me, Domine, indulgentia vestra promovit ad præfecturam ærarii Saturni. Lib. x. ep. 20.
Sed primum meâ, deinde patris tui valetudine, postea curis delegati a vobis officii, retentus, &c. Ib. ep. 24.
• Nondum biennium complèramus in offico laboriosissimo et maximo, quam tu nobis, optime princip:ur,consulatum obtulisti. Paneg. cap. 91.
d Vid. Ep. L. x. ep. 109, et 113.
Ap. Gruter, pag. 454. 3. Et. Conf. p. 1028.
But learned men are divided about the time of his government, and consequently of his letter to Trajan, which must be alleged presently. The great Joseph Scaliger · acknowledged the difficulty of this point.
Some think he went into the province in the year 101, and that the persecution which the Christians underwent in his time, happened in the year 103. Others suppose
Others suppose that he got into the province in the latter part of the year 103, and left it in the summer of 105, staying there about eighteen months; which term of his government is generally agreed to. Basnage and cardinal Noris were inclined to think that • Pliny went thither in the year 109, and left it in 111. Pagi's computation makes it still later: for he says that o Pliny did not enter into the province before the year 110. Le Clerc, in his Ecclesiastical History of the first two centuries, follows Pagi, placing Pliny's letter concerning the Christians in the year 111.
In order to form a judgment concerning this point, some things may be observed by us. In the first place it is generally allowed that the emperor Trajan was at Rome all the time that Pliny was in the province; which appears to be very evident from his letters written to Trajan in that space. This does not favour the early date of Pliny's governments; for at that time Trajan must have been engaged in the Dacian wars. Secondly, another thing, which much weakens the supposition of that early date, is this : Pliny was consul in the year of our Lord 100; but he did not go into his province the year after; several years passed between his consulship and his provincial government; as has been shewn by divers learned s men.
Nevertheless I do not see sufficient reason to defer his government so long as some have done. And I am inclined to think that Pliny was sent into the province in the year 106, and left it in 108. I see no good reason to believe that Trajan was absent from Rome in that space of time. The Dacian wars, and the two triumphs for them, might be over by the end of the year 105, or the middle of 106.
We can perceive from Pliny's panegyric, pronounced in the beginning of September, in the year 100, that the war against the Dacians was even then designed by Trajan, and that, probably, preparations were then making for it. The Dacian wars began in that " same year, or ' in the year following, and" lasted five
m years. They ended therefore in the year 105, or the beginning of 106.
In the year 102, Trajan obtained a signal, though difficult, victory over the Dacians, and triumphed at Rome upon that account in the year 103: of this, there is full.* proof. The first war therefore was completed in two years. The second could not last much longer.
After these wars Trajan staid a long while at Rome. For, though some learned men have
a Vid. ejus Animadversiones in Euseb. Chron. p. 207. vitâ, regem nibil desperantem. Super hæc, actos bis tri
$, That was the opinion of James La Baune, editor of the umphos ; quorum alter ex invitâ gente primus, alter novissiancient Panegyrists in usum Delphini. De Vita Plinii. It mus fuit. Plin. ad Caninium. Ep. 4. L. 8. Conf. Dion. Cass. was likewise the opinion of Mr. Dodwell. Missus est in pro- 1. 68. p. 1123.- 1133. ed. Reimar. vinciam Bithyniam anno sequente, ci
Ita inciderit perse
Quod si quis barbarus rex eo insolentiæ furorisque procutio illa Plinii in annum Domini, cilt accuratissime. Dodw. cesserit, ut iram tuam indignationemque mereatur, næ ille, Diss. Iren. i. $ xvi.
sive interfuso mari, seu fluminibus immensis, seu præcipiti ic So Tillemont. Persécution de l'Eglise sous Trajan. art. monte defenditur, omnia hæc tam prona, tamque cedentia iv. Hist. des Emp. Tom. 2. Which was also the opinion of virtutibus tuis sentiet, ut subsedisse montes, flumina exaruisse, J. Masson de Vita Plin. Jun. A. ciii. p. 129, &c.
interceptum mare, illatasque sibi non esse classes nostras, sed Currente anno injunctam esse Plinio Bithyniæ legationem, terras ipsas, arbitretur. Paneg. cap. 16. cum eruditissimo Norisio, probabilissimum existimamus. Basn. k Primum ab octobri mense. A. U. C. 853 [A. D. 100] Ann. 109. num. ii.
usque ad finem anni 855 duravit, triumpho acto sequenti € Plinius igitur anno Christi centesimo decimo Bithyniam anno 856. Reimar. ad Dion. ) 130. intravit. Pagi Crit. in Baron. ann. 102. num. vi.
| Anno præterito Trajanus expeditionem in Daeos suscepeTandem supponendum, per totum illud temporis spatium, rat, in quo magna quidem cædes hostium facta, multo tamen quo noster in provinciâ moratus est, Trajanum Romæ egisse. sanguine Romanorum victoria constitit. Basnag. ann. 102, ii. Quod certum ex lib. x. ep. 13, 14, 15, &c. Masson ubi Vid. et Ann. 101. i. supra. Cæterum recte Loydio observatum, totum illud teni- Επραχθη δε μοι το εργον τοτο εν ενιαυτοις εισω πε πεντε. . pus. Trajanum Romæ egisse, quo Plinius in Bithyniâ fuit. Trajan. ap. Julian. Cæs. p. 327. D. ed. Spanheim. Pagi ann. 102. num. viii. Vid. et Basnag. ann. 107. num. iii. Trajanus hoc anno e Dacia Romam redux de Decebalo
Š Vid. Pagi Crit. in Baron, ann. 102. 11. vii. viii. Basnag. Dacorum rege triumphavit, ut certum facit nummus a Card. ann. 109. num. ii.
Norisio in Epistolâ Consulari ex Thesauro Mediceo productus. " Optimé facis, quod bellum Dacium scribere paras. Nam Pagi ann. 103. viii. et Basn. ann. 103. i. quæ tam recens, tam copiosa, tam lata, que denique tam • Quare biennium in id insumtum, Reimar. ad Dion, poëtica materia ? Dices ininiissa terris nova flumina, novos pontes Aluminibus injecto; palsum regiâ, pulsum etiam
thought otherwise, it seems to me to have been well shewn by • Pagi, and Basnage, that Trajan did not go into the East before the year 112. During that stay at Rome he received the solemn embassies of divers eastern princes, raised many new buildings, and repaired others, built his forum, and erected the famous column, which was not finished and dedicated before the year 112 or 113.
What has been already said must be sufficient to render it probable that Trajan was at Rome in the year 107, and afterwards.
Another argument for the time of Pliny's government offers itself here from the martyrdom of Ignatius, which must be supposed to have some connection with the reseript of Trajan, to be produced hereafter, and which cannot be removed 4 from the tenth of Trajan, and the hundred and seventh of our Lord, where it is placed by Eusebius in his chronicle, and by Jerom in the chapter of Ignatius, in his book of Illustrious Men. Eusebius could not be mistaken about the time of the martyrdom of a bishop of a city so near his own,
And by the Acts of Ignatius, which we have, his martyrdom is placed in the time of Sura and Senecio, who were consuls in the tenth of Trajan, and the year of Christ 107.
Those Acts indeed are not sincere and incorrupt, nor, perhaps, of the highest antiquity. In them it is supposed that Ignatius was condemned at Antioch by Trajan in person, and sent by him to Rome; which is inconsistent with the just mentioned consulship: at which time Trajan was not at Antioch, as was before shewn. Nor does Eusebius, or "Jerom after him, say any thing of Ignatius having been condemned by Trajan himself; a remarkable circumstance, which, if true, could not have been omitted by writers, who have enlarged so much in their accounts of this bishop and martyr. Moreover, if Trajan had been at Antioch, Ignatius would have suffered in that city. His being sent to Rome is an argument that Trajan was there. So now, as we shall see presently, Pliny having some Christians brought before him, who were citizens, he sent them to Rome, where Trajan certainly was at that time. And that Trajan was at Rome, when Ignatius suffered there, is expressly said by a Christian writer of the ninth century.
Pliny, then, was sent from Rome in the summer of the year 106. He went by the way of Ephesus, and arrived in Bithynia on the eighteenth of September, which was the genuine, or natural birthday of Trajan. He seems also in one of his epistles' to speak of the same birthday in another year. Whilst he was in the province he twicek celebrated the day of Trajan's accession, or the anniversary of his empire. The first time may have been on the 27th of January, in the year 107; the next, or second, on the same day of January, in the year 108. It is likely that he did not leave the province before the summer of that year. Consequently he was there eighteen months, or longer. According to this computation, Pliny's letter to Trajan, concerning the Christians, was written in 107, and the emperor's rescript, or answer to it, in the same year.
II. The letter of Pliny is in these words.
Pliny to the emperor Trajan wisheth health and happiness. • It " is my constant custom, Sir, to refer myself to you in all matters concerning which I a Ann. 105. ii. ii. et 112. iii.
Opto, Domine, et hunc natalem, et plurimos alios, quam & Ann, 107. iii, et 112. ii, iii.
felicissimos agas. L. x. ep. 89. Vid. et ep. 90. Pagi ann. 104. ii. 113. i. Basn. ann. 113. i.
* Diem, Domine, quo servâsti imperium, dum suscipis, . Ejus certum tempus habemus in Actis Ignatii, Consula. quantâ mereris lætitiâ celebravimus. &c. L. x. ep. 60. tum Suræ et Senesionis, annum Domini cvil. Dodw. Diss. Quantâ religione ac lætitiâ commilitones cum provincialiCypr. xi. sect. 18. Vid. et Basnag. ann. 107. V- - viji. And bus, te præeunte, diem imperii mei celebraverint, libenter, the Credibility, &c. Vol. i. p. 315.
mi Secunde carissime, cognovi ex literis tuis. Ep. 61. Vid. e Nos vero sententiæ sumus ejusmodi, post Eusebium nata et ep. 103, et 104. esse Acta hæc Ignatii. Basnag. Ann. 107. viii.
1°C. Plinius Trajana Imp. S. Lib. x. ep. xcvii. .' Quod si andiatur Ado, Romæ adfuit Trajanus, cum ex- in Solenne est mihi, Domine, omnia, de quibus dubito, ad cessit Ignatius, ut legitur in libello de Festivitatibus Apostolo- te referre. Quis enim potest melius vel cunctationem meam rum. Basnag. ann. 107. viii.
regere, vel ignorantiam instruere ? Cognitionibus Christian& Vid. I. x. ep. 26. et 28.
crum interfui nunquam. Ideo nescio quid et quatenus aut Rursus, quum transissem in orarias paviculas, contrariis puniri soleat, aut quæri. Nec mediocriter häsitavi, sitre aliventis retentus, aliquanto tardius quam speraveram, id est, xv. quod discrimen ætatum, an quamlibet teneri nihil a robusCalend. Octobris, "Bithyniam intravi. Non possum tamen tioribus differant: deturnc pænitentiæ venia, an ei qui omde morà queri, cum mihi contigerit, quod erat auspicatissi- nino Christianus fuit, desiisse non prosit : nomen ipsum, etimum, natalem tuum in provincia celebrare. L. x. ep. 28. amsi flagitiis careat, an flagitia cohærentia nomini puniantur.
- diem illum, triplici gaudio lætum, qui principem ab- Interim in iis qui ad me' tamquam Christiani deferebantur, stulit pessimum, dedit optimum, meliorem optiino genuit. hunc sum secutus modum. Interrogavi ipsos, an essent ChrisPaneg. cap. 92.
tiani. Confitentes iterum ac tertio interrogavi, supplicium