Exerpted from: Origen, Letters Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV
Last Updated: Feb 15, 2009
Section 3: - Letter from Africanus: 'Is Susanna Authentic?'
Section 4: - Reply from Origen: 'Yes: Susanna is Authentic!'
Notes: - .......The Significance for John 8:1-11
Greek Text of Origen's Letter - in unicode: new!
Origen is often cited as a witness against the authenticity of John 8:1-11. Yet this interpretation of Origen may be an overstatement of the fragmentary evidence available.
In fact, there are tantalizing hints from many of Origen's other writings that he may indeed have known of the passage, such as for instance his commentaries on Romans and on Matthew.
We can also surmise how Origen might have approached the textual problem of John 8:1-11 by his remarkable handling of a very similar passage, the Story of Susanna. Origen provides a detailed account of his take on Susanna in his exchange of letters with Africanus.
Here is a brief description of Origen's life and place in ecclesiastical history:
Among ante-Nicene writers of the Eastern Church, the greatest by far was Origen, both as a theologian and as a prolific Biblical scholar.
According to Eusebius, Origen was born of Christian parents in Egypt, probably about 185, and spent most of his life in Alexandria as a teacher, but he also visited Antioch, Athens, Arabia, Ephesus, and Rome, and lived for a rather long period at Caesarea in Palestine. (A Catholic Encyclopedia article is online at Origen and Origenism. )
In the year 203 Origen was appointed by Demetrius, the bishop, to succeed Clement (of Alexandria) as head of the catechetical school in Alexandria. For a dozen years he carried on that work with marked success and with increasing numbers of pupils at the school. In 215, however, as a result of the Emperor Caracalla's furious attack upon the Alexandrians, Origen's work at the school was interrupted and he was driven from the city.
Excommunication from Alexandrian Church
Origen took refuge at Caesarea in Palestine, where he preached in churches at the request of the bishops of Jerusalem and Caesarea. As he was only a layman, this was regarded by his bishop, Demetrius, as a breach of ecclesiastical discipline, in consequence of which he was recalled to Alexandria, where he resumed his scholarly work at the school.
In 230 Origen traveled to Greece on some church business and, stopping at Caesarea on his way, was ordained as a presbyter by the same friendly bishops who had invited him to preach on his previous visit. When Demetrius learned of this, he felt that his authority had been flouted, and, on Origen's return, deposed him from his teaching office and excommunicated him from the Alexandrian church on the grounds of irregularity of ordination.
Return to Palestine
Origen now moved back to Caesarea, where he opened a new Biblical and theological school which soon outshone that of Alexandria, and where he continued his extensive literary work, as well as preaching and giving Biblical expositions almost every day.
In 250, during the Decian persecution, Origen was imprisoned, cruelly tortured, and condemned to the stake. Although he regained his liberty at the death of the emperor, he died soon afterward, in the year 253 or 254, probably as a result of the torture.
Alleged Heretical Tendencies
In his lifetime he was often attacked, suspected of adulterating the Gospel with pagan philosophy. After his death, opposition steadily mounted. The chief accusations against Origen's teaching are the following: making the Son inferior to the Father and thus being a precursor of Arianism, a 4th-century heresy that denied that the Father and the Son were of the same substance; spiritualizing away the resurrection of the body; denying hell, a morally enervating universalism; speculating about pre-existent souls and world cycles; dissolving redemptive history into timeless myth by using allegorical interpretation, thus turning Christianity into a kind of Gnosticism, a heretical movement that held that matter was evil and the spirit good. None of these charges is altogether groundless.
Only a small part of Origen's writings has come down to us, but this fills volumes."
(taken from www.ntcanon.org)
One thing that demands attention in this account is the lack of unity between the 'church of Alexandria' and Christians elsewhere in the Roman Empire. The less than spiritual attitude of the bishop of Alexandria is disturbing.
A comment about the unique problem of Alexandria is appropriate here. Alexandria was more than just a cosmopolitan port. It was also in fact a constant source of problems for the Roman government, and the site of repeated rioting between religious and ethnic factions.
Alexandria had a large Jewish population, as well as Greek, Roman and Egyptian populations, between which riots constantly broke out. These ethnic and religious rivalries have a bearing upon the treatment and condition of both the Old and New Testament texts in Egypt, which was a large center of manuscript production, and the main source of papyrus paper.
In fact, textual differences were so significant, that critics have talked in terms of "Alexandrian" and "Caesarian" text-types for this period, and have apparently even detected changes in the text Origen used while residing in various places.
John 8:1-11 may have been one of the textual variants actually existing between early Alexandrian (Egyptian) texts and those of the East in Byzantium and Palestine. If so, one explanation for Origen's lack of citation of the passage may have more to do with texts approved by the Alexandrian school than the actual state of John's Gospel elsewhere in the Empire.
Origen has long been cited as an early father who shows no knowledge of John 8:1-11 and therefore who is a witness against the existance and/or authenticity of the passage. Samuel P. Tregelles was perhaps the first to articulate the idea of Origen as serious evidence against the authenticity of John 8:1-11 because of his apparent silence:
"It has been indeed objected that nothing is proved by Origen's silence; because he often passes by portions of St. John's Gospel, and he had no occasion to mention this narrative: but, in reading his Commentary on this part of the Gospel, it is difficult (if not impossible) to imagine that he knew of anything between vii. 52 and viii. 12: for he cites and comments on every verse from vii. 40 to 52, and then at once continues from viii. 12 in the same manner (iv. p. 299, ed. De la Rue)." 7
(An excerpt from: Samuel P. Tregelles,
An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek NT,
(London, 1854), pages 236-243.)
Footnotes by Nazaroo:
7. This paragraph can only be called astounding or wondrous:
It is acknowledged by all modern authorities that Origen's commentary on this section of John are wholly missing. Perhaps in 1852 Tregelles could not have envisioned being caught out on this point, but this brings the whole question of his honesty into serious doubt.
To this day no one has explained how Tregelles could have cited extensively a non-extant work, that has not so far been found. Yet the explanation is not a real mystery. Its called fudging the facts rather significantly to favour one's own position.
In fact, when we check Tregelles' reference, we find he is not referring to the main section of Origen's commentary at all. He is referring to a supplimentary section which recaps briefly the main highlights of portions of his commentary.
While 30 years later, F. J. A. Hort was able to salvage this scandalous claim somewhat, by insisting that elsewhere Origen should have or could have mentioned the passage, the fact that Origen's commentary exists in a fragmentary state remains an incredible obstacle to getting at just what it is that 19th century critics were really doing or thought they were doing in claiming Origen as a witness against the verses. All this was acknowledged 30 years later by Hort:
"Origen's Commentary is defective here, not recommencing till viii 19: but in a recapitulation of vii 40-viii 22 (p.299) the contents of vii 52 are immediately followed by those of viii 12. "
(F.J.A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek, 1881 (rev. 1896)
Appendix: Notes on Selected Readings, pg 82 forward)
There are several points to be made here:
(1) Hort is not saying the same thing as Tregelles. Tregelles clearly implies that Origen's commentary skips the Pericope de Adultera. But he does not inform the reader that the relevant Book from Origen is completely missing, along with about 10 other chapters/books.
(2) Both their conclusions are actually based upon a deductive argument, appealing to a section of Origen's work that may not even have been written by Origen, a summary of contents of sorts. The argument that the summary is 'thorough' at the point of interest is begging the question. This summary clearly is NOT thorough in describing Origen's commentary elsewhere, and may be a later addition to the work.
(3) Hort does not salvage Tregelles, but rather he attempts to salvage the negative testimony of Origen. Whether or not Hort has succeeded in this more more modest goal must await the evaluation of the Origen evidence. The argument from silence is always precarious.
(4) Tregelles remains a deceiver. Elsewhere he continues to use deceptive arguments and faulty presentations of the evidence, to favour his judgement that the verses are spurious.
Tregelles on John 8:1-11 <-- Click Here for more on Tregelles.
(5) Hort correctly distinguishes two completely different (but not both extant) sections from Origen's commentary. Tregelles doesn't. However, even Hort hardly gives an adequate description of the actual evidence, as you can observe. He devotes two sentences to a problem which requires pages of analysis. His own claim remains unproven and unconvincing.
(6) An accurate picture of the condition and extent of what is actually extant from Origen's commentary can be found at the Catholic Encyclopedia Online, in translation, although a thorough analysis should examine the original Greek.
(7) G.T. Zervos claims "The most important early Alexandrian witness to the absence of the PA ...is the third-century father Origen". But this is utter nonsense.
Origen, although early (210-240 A.D.), is still only one of many early and important witnesses relevant to the question, including Tertullian, Papias, Justin Martyr, and dozens of others. And the argument from 'silence' by its very nature limits the potential value of the witness.
The most important early Alexandrian witness to the absence of the PA from the Gospel of John is the third-century father Origen who, in his commentary on this gospel, passes from 7:52 to 8:12 without mentioning the passage.33
(32.) Becker, Ehebrecherin, 11-12 discusses "das Schweigen der griechischen Kirchenvater und Ausleger."
33. Ibid., 12, n. 15; See Ehrman's refutation, "Jesus", 40, n. 21, of Becker's argument, Ehebrecherin, 119-24, that Origen may have known of an adulteress story from non-canonical sources. Clement of Alexandria also ignores the PA in his writings, Schilling, "Story", 93.
(George T. Zervos, Caught in the Act: Mary and the Adulteress,
- http://people.uncw.edu/zervosg/PR337/Caught%20in%20the%20Act.pdf )
(8) The biggest wrench in the gears regarding the silence of Origen and that of many other commentaries, is exactly that. They are public commentaries, designed to be read in church, and to work with the ancient Lectionary system, which skipped over the verses during Pentecost. The public commentaries cannot comment upon what is not read aloud to the congregation.
Origen's 'silence' is not as credible nor as significant as it has been made to appear.
(A Letter from Africanus to Origen About the History of Susanna.)
"to Origen from Africanus:
Greeting, my lord and son, most worthy Origen, from Africanus.
(1.) In your sacred discussion with Agnomon you referred to that prophecy of Daniel which is related of his youth. This at that time, as was meet, I accepted as genuine. Now, however, I cannot understand how it escaped you that this part of the book is spurious.
For, in sooth, this section, although apart from this it is elegantly written, is plainly a more modern forgery. There are many proofs of this. When Susanna is condemned to die, the prophet is seized by the Spirit, and cries out that the sentence is unjust. Now, in the first place, it is always in some other way that Daniel prophesies - by visions, and dreams, and an angel appearing to him, never by prophetic inspiration. Then, after crying out in this extraordinary fashion, he detects them in a way no less incredible, which not even Philistion the playwriter would have resorted to.
For, not satisfied with rebuking them through the Spirit, he placed them apart, and asked them severally where they saw her committing adultery. And when the one said, "Under a holm-tree" (prinoj), he answered that the angel would saw him asunder (prisein); and in a similar fashion menaced the other who said, "Under a mastich-tree" (sxhinoj), with being rent asunder (sxhisthenai).
Now, in Greek, it happens that "holm-tree" and "saw asunder," and "rend" and "mastich-tree" sound alike; but in Hebrew they are quite distinct. But all the books of the Old Testament have been translated from Hebrew into Greek.
2. Moreover, how is it that they who were captives among the Chaldaeans, lost and won at play, thrown out unburied on the streets, as was prophesied of the former captivity, their sons torn from them to be eunuchs, and their daughters to be concubines, as had been prophesied; how is it that such could pass sentence of death, and that on the wife of their king Joakim, whom the king of the Babylonians had made partner of his throne?
Then if it was not this Joakim, but some other from the common people, whence had a captive such a mansion and spacious garden?
But a more fatal objection is, that this section, along with the other two at the end of it, is not contained in the Daniel received among the Jews.
And add that, among all the many prophets who had been before, there is no one who has quoted from another word for word. For they had no need to go a-begging for words, since their own were true;
...but this one, in rebuking one of those men, quotes the words of the Lord: "The innocent and righteous shall thou not slay."
From all this I infer that this section is a later addition. Moreover, the style is different. I have struck the blow; do you give the echo; answer, and instruct me.
Salute all my masters. The learned all salute thee. With all my heart I pray for your and your circle's health."
Africanus, to Origen (c. 240 A.D.)
Original translator's footnotes are marked in blue and placed at foot of quotation. Additional (new) notes are marked in red and linked to notes at the end of the section.
We have added headings to assist in navigation of the letter, which is long, and to help follow the argumentation, but have left the text as is, except for the standardization of Biblical names.
(A Letter in response, from Origen to Africanus.)
Origen to Africanus, a beloved brother in God the Father, through Jesus Christ, His holy Child, greeting.
Your letter, from which I learn what you think of the Susanna in the Book of Daniel, which is used in the Churches, although apparently somewhat short, presents in its few words many problems, each of which demands no common treatment, but such as oversteps the character of a letter, and reaches the limits of a discourse. 1 And I, when I consider, as best I can, the measure of my intellect, that I may know myself, am aware that I am wanting in the accuracy necessary to reply to your letter; and that the more, that the few days I have spent in Nicomedia have been far from sufficient to send you an answer to all your demands and queries even after the fashion of the present epistle. Wherefore pardon my little ability, and the little time I had, and read this letter with all indulgence, supplying anything I may omit.
2. You begin by saying, that when, in my discussion with our friend Bassus, I used the Scripture which contains the prophecy of Daniel when yet a young man in the affair of Susanna, I did this as if it had escaped me that this part of the book was spurious.
You say that you praise this passage as elegantly written, but find fault with it as a more modern composition, and a forgery; and you add that the forger has had recourse to something which not even Philistion the play-writer would have used in his puns between prinos and prisein, schinos and schisis, which words as they sound in Greek can be used in this way, but not in Hebrew.
Susanna found in Every Christian Greek Copy
In answer to this, I have to tell you what it behoves us to do in the cases not only of the History of Susanna, which is found in every Church of Christ in that Greek copy which the Greeks use, but is not in the Hebrew, or of the two other passages you mention at the end of the book containing the history of Bel and the Dragon, which likewise are not in the Hebrew copy of Daniel; but of thousands of other passages also which I found in many places when with my little strength I was collating the Hebrew copies with ours.
Jewish Translators Aquila and Theodotion Include Susanna,
even though excluding other Greek passages:
For in Daniel itself I found the word "bound" followed in our versions by very many verses which are not in the Hebrew at all, beginning (according to one of the copies which circulate in the Churches) thus: "Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael prayed and sang unto God," down to "O, all ye that worship the Lord, bless ye the God of gods. Praise Him, and say that His mercy endureth for ever and ever. And it came to pass, when the king heard them singing, and saw them that they were alive." Or, as in another copy, from "And they walked in the midst of the fire, praising God and blessing the Lord," down to "O, all ye that worship the Lord, bless ye the God of gods. Praise Him, and say that His mercy endureth to all generations." 2
But in the Hebrew copies the words, "And these three men, Sedrach, Misach, and Abednego fell down bound into the midst of the fire," are immediately followed by the verse, "Nabouchodonosor the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors."
For so Aquila, following the Hebrew reading, gives it, who has obtained the credit among the Jews of having interpreted the Scriptures with no ordinary care, and whose version is most commonly used by those who do not know Hebrew, as the one which has been most successful.
Of the copies in my possession whose readings I gave, one follows the Seventy, and the other Theodotion; and just as the History of Susanna which you call a forgery is found in both, together with the passages at the end of Daniel, so they give also these passages, amounting, to make a rough guess, to more than two hundred verses.
Differences between Hebrew and Greek not Uncommon
3. And in many other of the sacred books I found sometimes more in our copies than in the Hebrew, sometimes less. I shall adduce a few examples, since it is impossible to give them all.
Of the Book of Esther neither the prayer of Mardochaios nor that of Esther, both fitted to edify the reader, is found in the Hebrew. Neither are the letters; 3 nor the one written to Amman about the rooting up of the Jewish nation, nor that of Mardochaios in the name of Artaxerxes delivering the nation from death.
Examples from Job
Then in Job, the words from "It is written, that he shall rise again with those whom the Lord raises," to the end, are not in the Hebrew, and so not in Aquila's edition; while they are found in the Septuagint and in Theodotion's version, agreeing with each other at least in sense. And many other places I found in Job where our copies have more than the Hebrew ones, sometimes a little more, and sometimes a great deal more: a little more, as when to the words, "Rising up in the morning, he offered burnt-offerings for them according to their number," they add, "one heifer for the sin of their soul; "and to the words, "The angels of God came to present themselves before God, and the devil came with them," "from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Again, after "The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away," the Hebrew has not, "It was so, as seemed good to the Lord." Then our copies are very much fuller than the Hebrew, when Job's wife speaks to him, from "How long wilt thou hold out? And he said, Lo, I wait yet a little while, looking for the hope of my salvation," down to "that I may cease from my troubles, and my sorrows which compass me." For they have only these words of the woman, "But say a word against God, and die."
4. Again, through the whole of Job there are many passages in the Hebrew which are wanting in our copies, generally four or five verses, but sometimes, however, even fourteen, and nineteen, and sixteen. But why should I enumerate all the instances I collected with so much labour, to prove that the difference between our copies and those of the Jews did not escape me?
Striking Differences in Jeremiah, Genesis, Exodus
In Jeremiah I noticed many instances, and indeed in that book I found much transposition and variation in the readings of the prophecies. Again, in Genesis, the words, "God saw that it was good," when the firmament was made, are not found in the Hebrew, and there is no small dispute among them about this; and other instances are to be found in Genesis, which I marked, for the sake of distinction, with the sign the Greeks call an obelisk, as on the other hand I marked with an asterisk those passages in our copies which are not found in the Hebrew.
What needs there to speak of Exodus, where there is such diversity in what is said about the tabernacle and its court, and the ark, and the garments of the high priest and the priests, that sometimes the meaning even does not seem to be akin? And, forsooth, when we notice such things, we are forthwith to reject as spurious the copies in use in our Churches, and enjoin the brotherhood to put away the sacred books current among them, and to coax the Jews, and persuade them to give us copies which shall be untampered with, and free from forgery!
Alleged 'Superiority' of Hebrew Scriptures Untenable
Are we to suppose that that Providence which in the sacred Scriptures has ministered to the edification of all the Churches of Christ, had no thought for those bought with a price, for whom Christ died; 4 whom, although His Son, God who is love spared not, but gave Him up for us all, that with Him He might freely give us all things? 5
Injunction not to Alter the Text
5. In all these cases consider whether it would not be well to remember the words,
"Thou shalt not remove the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set." 6
Origen's Extensive Labours in Comparison of Hebrew and Greek
Nor do I say this because I shun the labour of investigating the Jewish Scriptures, and comparing them with ours, and noticing their various readings. This, if it be not arrogant to say it, I have already to a great extent done to the best of my ability, labouring hard to get at the meaning in all the editions and various readings; 7
Protecting the Church through Loyalty to the LXX
...while I paid particular attention to the interpretation of the Seventy, lest I might to be found to accredit any forgery to the Churches which are under heaven, and give an occasion to those who seek such a starting-point for gratifying their desire to slander the common brethren, and to bring some accusation against those who shine forth in our community.
The Need for a Familiarity with the Hebrew Variants
And I make it my endeavour not to be ignorant of their various readings, lest in my controversies with the Jews I should quote to them what is not found in their copies, and that I may make some use of what is found there, even although it should not be in our Scriptures. For if we are so prepared for them in our discussions, they will not, as is their manner, scornfully laugh at Gentile believers for their ignorance of the true reading as they have them. So far as to the History of Susanna not being found in the Hebrew.
Internal Evidence Examined
6. Let us now look at the things you find fault with in the story itself. And here let us begin with what would probably make any one averse to receiving the history: I mean the play of words between prinos and prisis, schinos and schisis.
Original Hebrew or Aramaic Unknown
You say that you can see how this can be in Greek, but that in Hebrew the words are altogether distinct. On this point, however, I am still in doubt; because, when I was considering this passage (for I myself saw this difficulty), I consulted not a few Jews about it, asking them the Hebrew words for prinos and prisein, and how they would translate schinos the tree, and how schisis. And they said that they did not know these Greek words prinos and schinos, and asked me to show them the trees, that they might see what they called them. And I at once (for the truth's dear sake) put before them pieces of the different trees.
No Way to Establish the underlying Hebrew or Aramaic Puns
One of them then said, that he could not with any certainty give the Hebrew name of anything not mentioned in Scripture, since, if one was at a loss, he was prone to use the Syriac word instead of the Hebrew one; and he went on to say, that some words the very wisest could not translate. "If, then," said he, "you can adduce a passage in any Scripture where the schinos is mentioned, or the prinos, you will find there the words you seek, together with the words which have the same sound; but if it is nowhere mentioned, we also do not know it." This, then, being what the Hebrews said to whom I had recourse, and who were acquainted with the history, I am cautious of affirming whether or not there is any correspondence to this play of words in the Hebrew. Your reason for affirming that there is not, you yourself probably know.
Names of the Elders in Susanna Found in Hebrew Tradition
7. Moreover, I remember hearing from a learned Hebrew, said among themselves to be the son of a wise man, and to have been specially trained to succeed his father, with whom I had intercourse on many subjects, the names of these elders, just as if he did not reject the History of Susanna, as they occur in Jeremiah as follows: "The Lord make thee like Zedekias and Achiab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire, for the iniquity they did in Israel." (Jer 29:22-23) 8
Other Jews Familiar with the Story
How, then, could the one be sawn asunder by an angel, and the other rent in pieces? The answer is, that these things were prophesied not of this world, but of the judgment of God, after the departure from this world. For as the lord of that wicked servant who says, "My lord delayeth his coming," and so gives himself up to drunkenness, eating and drinking with drunkards, and smiting his fellow-servants, shall at his coming "cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers," 9 even so the angels appointed to punish will accomplish these things (just as they will cut asunder the wicked steward of that passage) on these men, who were called indeed elders, but who administered their stewardship wickedly. One will saw asunder him who was waxen old in wicked days, who had pronounced false judgment, condemning the innocent, and letting the guilty go free; 10 and another will rend in pieces him of the seed of Chanaan, and not of Judah, whom beauty had deceived, and whose heart lust had perverted. 11
8. And I knew another Hebrew, who told about these elders such traditions as the following: that they pretended to the Jews in captivity, who were hoping by the coming of Christ to be freed from the yoke of their enemies, that they could explain clearly the things concerning Christ,... and that they so deceived the wives of their countrymen. 12 Wherefore it is that the prophet Daniel calls the one "waxen old in wicked days," and says to the other, "Thus have ye dealt with the children of Israel; but the daughters of Juda would not abide your wickedness."
Susanna was Deleted out of Shame, like other Stories
9. But probably to this you will say, Why then is the "History" not in their Daniel, if, as you say, their wise men hand down by tradition such stories? The answer is, that they hid from the knowledge of the people as many of the passages which contained any scandal against the elders, rulers, and judges, as they could, some of which have been preserved in uncanonical writings (Apocrypha).
The Murder of Isaiah Deleted
As an example, take the story told about Isaiah; and guaranteed by the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is found in none of their public books. For the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in speaking of the prophets, and what they suffered, says, "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were slain with the sword" 13 To whom, I ask, does the "sawn asunder" refer (for by an old idiom, not peculiar to Hebrew, but found also in Greek, this is said in the plural, although it refers to but one person)? Now we know very well that tradition says that Isaiah the prophet was sawn asunder; and this is found in some apocryphal work, which probably the Jews have purposely tampered with. introducing some phrases manifestly incorrect, that discredit might be thrown on the whole.
However, some one hard pressed by this argument may have recourse to the opinion of those who reject this Epistle as not being Paul's; against whom I must at some other time use other arguments to prove that it is Paul's. 14
Christ refers to Murder of Prophets
At present I shall adduce from the Gospel what Jesus Christ testifies concerning the prophets, together with a story which He refers to, but which is not found in the Old Testament, since in it also there is a scandal against unjust judges in Israel. The words of our Saviour run thus:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partaken with them in the blood of the prophets.
Wherefore be ye witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Gehenna?
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation."
And what follows is of the same tenor:
"O Jerusalem; Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." 15
Old Testament Testimony Missing
Let us see now if in these cases we are not forced to the conclusion, that while the Saviour gives a true account of them, none of the Scriptures which could prove what He tells are to be found. For they who build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, condemning the crimes their fathers committed against the righteous and the prophets, say, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets." 16
In the blood of what prophets, can any one tell me? For where do we find anything like this written of Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or any of the twelve, or Daniel?
Then about Zachariah the son of Barachiah, who was slain between the temple and the altar, we learn from Jesus only, not knowing it otherwise from any Scripture.
Tampering by Jewish Scribes Evident
Wherefore I think no other supposition is possible, than that they who had the reputation of wisdom, and the rulers and elders, took away from the people every passage which might bring them into discredit among the people. We need not wonder, then, if this history of the evil device of the licentious elders against Susanna is true, but was concealed and removed from the Scriptures by men themselves not very far removed from the counsel of these elders.
Steven Also Testifies
In the Acts of the Apostles also, Stephen, in his other testimony, says, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers." 17 That Stephen speaks the truth, every one will admit who receives the Acts of the Apostles; but it is impossible to show from the extant books of the Old Testament how with any justice he throws the blame of having persecuted and slain the prophets on the fathers of those who believed not in Christ.
And Paul, in the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, testifies this concerning the Jews: "For ye, brethren, became followers of the Churches of Cod which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews; who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men." 18
Nothing Implausible about Historicity of Susanna
or Surprising about its Deletion
What I have said is, I think, sufficient to prove that it would be nothing wonderful if this history were true, and the licentious and cruel attack was actually made on Susanna by those who were at that time elders, and written down by the wisdom of the Spirit, but removed by these rulers of Sodom, 19 as the Spirit would call them.
Diverse Means of Prophecy Available to Daniel
10. Your next objection is, that in this writing Daniel is said to have been seized by the Spirit, and to have cried out that the sentence was unjust; while in that writing of his which is universally received he is represented as prophesying in quite another manner, by visions and dreams, and an angel appearing to him, but never by prophetic inspiration. You seem to me to pay too little heed to the words, "At sundry times, and in divers manners, God spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets." 20
God Speaks to Jacob in Variety of Ways
This is true not only in the general, but also of individuals. For if you notice, you will find that the same saints have been favoured with divine dreams and angelic appearances and (direct) inspirations. For the present it will suffice to instance what is testified concerning Jacob.
Of dreams from God he speaks thus:
"And it came to pass, at the time that the cattle conceived, that I saw them before my eyes in a dream, and, behold, the rams and he-goats which leaped upon the sheep and the goats, white-spotted, and speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob. And I said, What is it? And he said, Lift up thine eyes and see, the goats and rams leaping on the goats and sheep, white-spotted, and speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am God, who appeared unto thee in the place of God, where thou anointedst to Me there a pillar, and vowedst a vow there to Me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred." 21
And as to an appearance (which is better than a dream), he speaks as follows about himself:
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And he saw that he prevailed not against him, and he touched the breadth of his thigh; and the breadth of Jacob's thigh grew stiff while he was wrestling with him. And he said to him, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said to him, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: for thou hast prevailed with God, and art powerful with men. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Vision of God: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And the sun rose, when the vision of God passed by." 22
And that he also prophesied by inspiration, is evident from this passage:
"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. Reuben, my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my children, hard to be born, hard and stubborn. Thou weft wanton, boil not over like water; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou the couch to which thou wentetest up. 23
Daniel no Exception
And so with the rest: it was by inspiration that the prophetic blessings were pronounced. We need not wonder, then, that Daniel sometimes prophesied by inspiration, as when he rebuked the elders sometimes, as you say, by dreams and visions, and at other times by an angel appearing unto him.
11. Your other objections are stated, as it appears to me, somewhat irreverently, and without the becoming spirit of piety. I cannot do better than quote your very words:
"Then, after crying out in this extraordinary fashion, he detects them in a way no less incredible, which not even Philistion the play-writer would have resorted to. For, not satisfied with rebuking them through the Spirit, he placed them apart, and asked them severally where they saw her committing adultery; and when the one said, 'Under a holm-tree' (prinos) he answered that the angel would saw him under (prisein); and in a similar fashion threatened the other, who said, 'Under a mastich-tree' (schinos), with being rent asunder."
You might as reasonably compare to Philistion the play-writer, a story somewhat like this one, which is found in the third book of Kings, which you yourself will admit to be well written. Here is what we read in Kings:-
"Then there appeared two women that were harlots before the king, and stood before him. And the one woman said, To me, my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and we were delivered in the house. And it came to pass, the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there is no one in our house except us two. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from my arms. And thine handmaid slept. And she laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And I arose in the morning to give my child suck, and he was dead; but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son which I did bear. And the other woman said, Nay; the dead is thy son, but the living is my son, And the other said, No; the living is my son, but the dead is thy son. Thus they spake before the king. Then said the king, Thou sayest, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and thou sayest, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king: And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king (for her bowels yearned after her son), and she said, To me, my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give the child to her which said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: for she is the mother of it. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the face of the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment." 24
Susanna has Closer Parallels to Solomon
than Philistion the Playwrite
For if we were at liberty to speak in this scoffing way of the Scriptures in use in the Churches, we should rather compare this story of the two harlots to the play of Philistion than that of the chaste Susanna.
And just as the people would not have been persuaded if Solomon had merely said, "Give this one the living child, for she is the mother of it;" so Daniel's attack on the elders would not have been sufficient had there not been added the condemnation from their own mouth, when both said that they had seen her lying with the young man under a tree, but did not agree as to what kind of tree it was.
And since you have asserted, as if you knew for certain, that Daniel in this matter judged by inspiration (which may or may not have been the case), I would have you notice that there seem to me to be some analogies in the story of Daniel to the judgment of Solomon, concerning whom the Scripture testifies that the people saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment. 25 This might be said also of Daniel, for it was because wisdom was in him to do judgment that the elders were judged in the manner described.
Word-plays Common in both Greek and Hebrew Scriptures
12. I had nearly forgotten an additional remark I have to make about the prino-prisein and schino-schiesein difficulty; that is, that in our Scriptures there are many etymological fancies, so to call them, which in the Hebrew are perfectly suitable, but not in the Greek. It need not surprise us, then, if the translators of the History of Susanna contrived it so that they found out some Greek words, derived from the same root, which either corresponded exactly to the Hebrew form (though this I hardly think possible), or presented some analogy to it.
Example from Genesis 2
Here is an instance of this in our Scripture. When the woman was made by God from the rib of the man, Adam says, "She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of her husband." Now the Jews say that the woman was called "Essa," and that "taken" is a translation of this word as is evident from "chos isouoth essa," which means, "I have taken the cup of salvation; " 26 and that "is" means "man," as we see from "Hesre ais," which is, "Blessed is the man." 27 According to the Jews, then, "is" is "man," and "essa, " "woman," because she was taken out of her husband (is).
Greek Translators Often Inspired in Choice of Puns
It need not then surprise us if some interpreters of the Hebrew "Susanna," which had been concealed among them at a very remote date, and had been preserved only by the more learned and honest, should have either given the Hebrew word for word, or hit upon some analogy to the Hebrew forms, that the Greeks might be able to follow them. For in many other passages we can, I find traces of this kind of contrivance on the part of the translators, which I noticed when I was collating the various editions.
Joakim a Prince?
13. You raise another objection, which I give in your own words:
"Moreover, how is it that they, who were captives among the Chaldeans, lost and won at play, thrown out unburied on the streets, as was prophesied of the former captivity, their sons torn from them to be eunuchs, and their daughters to be concubines, as had been prophesied; how is it that such could pass sentence of death, and that on the wife of their king Joakim, whom the king of the Babylonians had made partner of his throne? Them, if it was not this Joakim, but some other from the common people, whence had a captive such a mansion and spacious garden? "
Wealth Not Surprising Among Jews in Babylon:
Tobias, Esdra, Nehemiah are Examples
Where you get your "lost and won at play, and thrown out unburied on the streets," I know not, unless it is from Tobias; and Tobias (as also Judith), we ought to notice, the Jews do not use. They are not even found in the Hebrew Apocrypha, as I learned from the Jews themselves." However, since the Churches use Tobias, you must know that even in the captivity some of the captives were rich and well to do. Tobias himself says,
"Because I remembered God with all my heart; and the Most High gave me grace and beauty in the eyes of Nemessarus, and I was his purveyor; and I went into Media, and left in trust with Gabael, the brother of Gabrias, at Ragi, a city of Media, ten talents of silver." 28
And he adds, as if he were a rich man,
"In the days of Nemessarus I gave many alms to my brethren. I gave my bread to the hungry, and my clothes to the naked: and if I saw any of my nation dead, and cast outside the walls of Nineve, I buried him; and if king Senachereim had slain any when he came fleeing from Judea, I buried them privily (for in his wrath he killed many)."
Think whether this great catalogue of Tobias's good deeds does not betoken great wealth and much property, especially when he adds,
"Understanding that I was sought for to be put to death, I withdrew myself for fear, and all my goods were forcibly taken away." 29
And another captive, Dachiacharus, the son of Ananiel, the brother of Tobias, was set over all the exchequer of the kingdom of king Acherdon; and we read, "Now Achiacharus was cup-bearer and keeper of the signet, and steward and overseer of the accounts." 30
Mardochaios, too, frequented the court of the king, and had such boldness before him, that he was inscribed among the benefactors of Artaxerxes.
Again we read in Esdras, that Nehemiah, a cup-bearer and eunuch of the king, of Hebrew race, made a request about the rebuilding of the temple, and obtained it; so that it was granted to him, with many more, to return and build the temple again. Why then should we wonder that one Joakim had garden, and house, and property, whether these were very expensive or only moderate, for this is not clearly told us in the writing?
Were Jews Allowed to Enforce the Death Penalty?
14. But you say, "How could they who were in captivity pass sentence of death? "asserting, I know not on what grounds, that Susanna was the wife of a king, because of the name Joakim.
The answer is, that it is no uncommon thing, when great nations become subject, that the king should allow the captives to use their own laws and courts of justice.
Eyewitnessed Examples under Roman Rule
Now, for instance, that the Romans rule, and the Jews pay the half-shekel to them, how great power by the concession of Caesar the ethnarch has; so that we, who have had experience of it, know that he differs in little from a true king! Private trials are held according to the law, and some are condemned to death. And though there is not full licence for this, still it is not done without the knowledge of the ruler, as we learned and were convinced of when we spent much time in the country of that people. And yet the Romans only take account of two tribes, while at that time besides Judah there were the ten tribes of Israel. Probably the Assyrians contented themselves with holding them in subjection, and conceded to them their own judicial processes.
Do Prophets borrow from Each Other?
15. I find in your letter yet another objection in these words:
"And add, that among all the many prophets who had been before, there is no one who has quoted from another word for word. For they had no need to go a-begging for words, since their own were true. But this one, in rebuking one of these men, quotes the words of the Lord, `The innocent and righteous shall thou not slay.'"
Indeed the Prophets Borrow Liberally
I cannot understand how, with all your exercise in investigating and meditating on the Scriptures, you have not noticed that the prophets continually quote each other almost word for word. For who of all believers does not know the words in Isaiah?
"And in the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest, and the house of the Lord on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall come unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, unto the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His way, and we will walk in it: for out of Zion shall go forth a law, and a word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more." 31
But in Micah we find a parallel passage, which is almost word for word:
"And in the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest, established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall hasten unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and they will teach us His way, and we will walk in His paths: for a law shall go forth from Zion, and a word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." 32
Again, in First Chronicles, the psalm which is put in the hands of Asaph and his brethren to praise the Lord, beginning, "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name," 33 is in the beginning almost identical with Psalm 105, down to "and do my prophets no harm; "and after that it is the same as Psalm 96, from the beginning of that psalm, which is something like this, "Praise the Lord all the earth," down to "For He cometh to judge the earth." (It would have taken up too much time to quote more fully; so I have given these short references, which are sufficient for the matter before us.) And you will find the law about not bearing a burden on the Sabbath-day in Jeremiah, as well as in Moses. 34 And the rules about the passover, and the rules for the priests, are not only in Moses, but also at the end of Ezekiel. 35 I would have quoted these, and many more, had I not found that from the shortness of my stay in Nicomedia my time for writing you was already too much restricted.
Your last objection is, that the style is different. This I cannot see.
This, then, is my defence. I might, especially after all these accusations, speak in praise of this History of Susanna, dwelling on it word by word, and expounding the exquisite nature of the thoughts. Such an encomium, perhaps, some of the learned and able students of divine things may at some other time compose. This, however, is my answer to your strokes, as you call them.
Would that I could instruct you! But I do not now arrogate that to myself.
My lord and dear brother Ambrosius, who has written this at my dictation, and has, in looking over it, corrected as he pleased, salutes you. His faithful spouse, Marcella, and her children, also salute you. Also Anicetus. Do you salute our dear father Apollinarius, and all our friends."
Origen, to Africanus (c. 240 A.D.)
Original Translator's Footnotes:
1. [See Dr. Pusey's Lectures on Daniel the Prophet, lect. vi. p. 326, 327; also The Uncanonical and Apocryphal Scriptures, by Rev. R. W. Churton, B.D. (1884), pp. 389-404. S.]
2. "The Song of the Three Holy Children" (in the Apocrypha).
3. This should probably be corrected, with Pat. Jun., into, "Nor are the letters, neither," etc.
4. 1 Cor. vi. 20; Rom. xiv. 15.
5. Rom. viii. 32.
6. Prov. xxii. 28.
7. Origen's most important contribution to biblical literature was his elaborate attempt to rectify the text of the Septuagint by collating it with the Hebrew original and other Greek versions. On this he spent twenty-eight years, during which he travelled through the East collecting materials. The form in which he first issued the result of his labours was that of the Tetrapla, which presented in four columns the texts of the LXX., Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. He next issued the Hexapla, in which the Hebrew text was given, first in Hebrew and then in Greek letters. Of some books he gave two additional Greek versions, whence the title Octapla; and there was even a seventh Greek version added for some books. Unhappily this great work, which extended to nearly fifty volumes, was never transcribed, and so perished (Kitto, Cycl.).
8. Jer. xxix. 22, 23.
9. Luke xii. 45, 46.
10. Susanna 52, 53.
11. Susanna 56.
12. Et utrumque sigillatim in quamcunque mulierem incidebat, et cui vitium afferre cupiebat, ei secreto affirmasse sibi a Deo datum e suo semine progignere Christum. Hinc spe gignendi Christum decepta mulier, sui copiam decipienti faciebat, et sic civium uxores stuprabant seniores Achiab et Sedekias.
13. Heb. xi. 37.
14. [See note supra, p. 239. S.]
15. Matt. xxiii. 29-38.
16. Matt. xxiii. 30.
17. Acts vii. 52.
18. 1 Thess. ii. 14, 15.
19. Isa. i. 10.
20. Heb. i. 1.
21. Gen. xxxi. 10-13.
22. Gen. xxxii. 24-31.
23. Gen. xlix. 1-4.
24. 1 Kings iii. 16-28.
25. 1 Kings iii. 28.
26. Ps. cxvi. 13.
27. Ps. i. 1.
28. Tob. i. 12-14.
29. Tob. i. 19.
30. Tob. i. 22.
31. Isa. ii. 2-4.
32. Mic. iv. 1-3.
33. 1 Chron. xvi. 8.
34. Ex. xxxv. 2; Num. xv. 32; Jer. xvii. 21-24.
35. In Levit. passim; Ezek. xliii. xliv. xlv. xlvi.
The Hebrew Text versus the Greek Text (LXX)
The first thing that is very evident from Origen's response to Africanus is his uncompromising position on the superiority of the Greek LXX to the Hebrew Scriptures available in his day. And this is not based upon mere bigotry or ignorance.
Origen was the author of the famous Hexapla, a massive six-column work collating and presenting the Hebrew texts and major Greek translations of his time, and spent 30 years carefully studying and comparing the Hebrew and Greek texts then known.
This text survived down to Jerome's day and beyond (400 A.D.) and was used by him in preparing his Latin translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. Although Jerome adopted some readings from the Hebrew text, he cautiously relied only upon Origen's work from 200 years previous. Even here, Jerome was straying significantly from Origen's plan and purpose in creating the Hexapla.
Origen's true purpose in carefully noting the differences and supplying from various translations the variants and missing verses, was to provide Christians with a sound understanding of the differences between the Jewish texts and that of the Church, so that intelligent dialogue and debate could be carried on. But Origen had no intention of abandoning the Greek text in favour of the Hebrew text now popular with the Jews.
The early Church followed Origen's purpose and plan, not adopting the Hebrew readings accepted by the Jews, but carefully noting them while preserving the traditional LXX text delivered to them from Apostolic times.
Origen's View on Causes of Corruption
The second important note is Origen's strong conviction that significant omissions in the Hebrew were due to the Judaean Authorities' deletion of any material that targeted their own reputation. Thus, it was obvious to Origen why the story of Susanna was deleted, while other stories of equal historical questionability were not.
Susanna made the Babylonian Jewish Religious leaders out to be corrupt murderous perverts, willing to sacrifice innocent women and engage in extortion.
Susanna and John 8:1-11
This possible motivation for the deliberate rejection of Susanna by Babylonian Jewry is important to the question of the similar rejection of the story of the Woman Taken in Adultery.
It is hard to avoid the strong parallels in both stories, their political and ethnic impact, and also their textual history.
Alexandria was home to a large population of Greek-speaking Jews, who had a community independant of the Jerusalem (Babylonian Jewish) authorities. This explains the popularity of the story of Susanna in Greek-Jewish circles where the LXX reigned.
At the same time, the story of the Woman Taken in Adultery in its Johannine context may have been too anti-Semitic in its polemic even for Alexandrian Jews, and may explain why this story was omitted from the Alexandrian text of the 2nd century.
Origen's Probable Approach to John 8:1-11
From the way Origen interpreted and handled the textual situation regarding Susanna, it seems plausible that had he been aware of two alternate readings for John's Gospel (one with 8:1-11 and one without), he would have suspected the obvious.
If Origen could establish that the passage was the possession of the Church, especially in Palestine, Asia Minor and Greece, where John's Gospel likely originated, it is probable that he would have suspected that Alexandrian Jewish or Jewish-Christian scribes had deleted the passage.
He might have suspected a Jewish attempt to mutilate John, or simply a self-defensive act on the part of the Alexandrian Church to avoid persecution, or rejection of the Gospel by Egyptian Jews.
In either case, Origen would probably have mounted a similar defense for John 8:1-11 as the one he composed here for the defense of Susanna. It is possible that such a work was actually written, but destroyed by those hostile to the verses, or because of Origen's later dubious status as a near-heretic.
The following text was taken from the internet, and appears to be based on Milne. We have carefully formatted it with English headings and paragraph numbering according to the numbering and layout of the English text above.
ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗ ΠΡΟΣ ΑΦΡΙΚΑΝΟΝ.
ORIGEN: Origen's Epistles,
Epistle to Africanus:
Ὠριγένης Ἀφρικανῷ ἀγαπητῷ ἀδελφῷ ἐν Θεῷ Πατρὶ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἁγίου παιδὸς αὐτοῦ εὖ πράττειν.
Ἡ μὲν σὴ ἐπιστολὴ, δι' ἧς ἐμάνθανον ἃ ἐνέφηνας περὶ τῆς ἐν τῷ Δανιὴλ φερομένης ἐν ταῖς Ἐκκλησίαις Σωσάννης, βραχεῖα μέν τις εἶναι δοκεῖ· ἐν ὀλίγοις δὲ πολλὰ προβλήματα ἔχουσα, ὧν ἕκαστον ἐδεῖτο οὐ τῆς τυχούσης ἐξεργασίας, ἀλλὰ τοσαύτης, ὥστε ὑπερβαίνειν τὸν ἐπιστολικὸν χαρακτῆρα, καὶ συγγράμματος ἔχειν περιγραφήν.
Ἐγὼ δὲ τὸ ἐμαυτοῦ τῆς διανοίας μέτριον, ὅση δύναμις, κατανοῶν, ἵνα μὴ ἀναισθητοίην ἐμαυτοῦ, θεωρῶ, ὅτι ἀπολείπομαι τῆς ἀπαιτουμένης ἀκριβείας εἰς τὴν ἀντιγραφὴν τῆς ἐπιστολῆς σου· ὡς καὶ οὐδ' ὀλίγαι τῆς ἐν Νικομηδείᾳ διατριβῆς ἡμέραι μοι διήρκουν πρὸς 11.49 τὸ κἀν κατὰ τὴν παροῦσαν λέξιν περὶ ὧν ἐξῄτησας καὶ ἀπῄτησάς με, ἐπιστεῖλαί σοι. Διόπερ συγγνώμην ἀπονέμων τῇ τε μετριότητί μου καὶ τῇ ἀπὸ τοῦ καιροῦ στενοχωρία, ἔντυχε τῇ ἐπιστολῇ μετὰ πάσης εὐνοίας, συνεισφέρων εἴ τι ὑφ' ἡμῶν παραλέλειπται.
Καὶ πρῶτόν γε ἔφασκες, ὅτι ἡνίκα διελεγόμην τῷ ἑταίρῳ ἡμῶν Βάσσῳ, καὶ συνεχρώμην τῇ τοῦ Δανιὴλ νεωτέρου προφητεύσαντος περὶ τῶν κατὰ τὴν Σωσάνναν Γραφῇ, τοῦτο πεποίηκα, ὡς λανθάνοντός με τοῦ μέρους τοῦ βιβλίου κεκιβδηλευμένου ὄντος.
Καὶ ἔλεγες τὴν περικοπὴν ταύτην ἐπαινεῖν μέν πως ὡς τι χαρίεν· ἔφασκες δὲ ψέγειν ὡς οὖσαν σύγ-γραμμα νεωτερικὸν καὶ πεπλασμένον· καὶ ὅτι, ὡς οὐδὲ Φιλιστίων ὁ μῖμος, ἐχρήσατο ἀναπλάσας τὸ συγγραμμάτιον τῇ τῶν ὀνομάτων γειτνιάσει, πρίνου πρὸς πρίσιν, καὶ σχίνου πρὸς σχίσιν· Ἅπερ κατὰ μὲν τὴν Ἑλλήνων φωνὴν τοιαῦτα εἶναι δοκεῖ, κατὰ δὲ τὴν Ἑβραίων οὐδαμῶς.
Susanna found in Every Christian Greek Copy
Ἴσθι τοίνυν πρὸς ταῦτα, τί χρὴ ἡμᾶς πράττειν οὐ περὶ τῶν κατὰ Σωσάνναν μόνον, ἐν μὲν τῷ καθ' Ἕλληνας Ἑλληνικῷ φερομένων ἐν πάσῃ Ἐκκλησίᾳ Χριστοῦ, παρὰ δὲ Ἑβραίοις μὴ κειμένων· οὐδὲ περὶ τῶν, ὡς ἔφασκες, ἄλλων δύο περικοπῶν τῶν ἐπὶ τέλει τοῦ βιβλίου περί τε τῶν κατὰ τὸν Βὴλ, καὶ τὸν δράκοντα ἀναγεγραμμένων, οὐδ' αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ Δανιὴλ τῶν Ἑβραίων γεγραμμένων· ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ἄλλων μυρίων, ἂ κατὰ τὴν μετριότητα ἡμῶν τοῖς Ἑβραϊκοῖς συγκρίναντες ἀντιγράφοις τὰ ἡμέτερα, πολλαχοῦ εὕρομεν.
Jewish Translators Aquila and Theodotion Include Susanna,
even though excluding other Greek passages:
Ἐν μὲν γὰρ αὐτῷ τῷ Δανιὴλ περὶ τῆς καμίνου τῆς καιομένης, τὸ «πεπεδημένοι» εὕρομεν· ἐν δὲ τοῖς 11.52 ἡμετέροις ἀντιγράφοις περισσεύοντα παρὰ τὰ ἐν τοῖς Ἑβραϊκοῖς ἔπη οὐκ ὀλίγα, ὧν ἀρχὴ κατὰ μέν τινα τῶν φερομένων ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις ἦν οὕτως·
«Προσηύξαντο Ἀνανίας, καὶ Ἀζαρίας, καὶ Μισαὴλ, καὶ ὕμνησαν τὸν Κύριον·»
«Εὐλογεῖτε πάντες οἱ σεβόμενοι Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν τῶν θεῶν. Ὑμνεῖτε καὶ ἐξομολογεῖσθε, ὅτι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τῶν αἰώνων. Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἀκοῦσαι τὸν βασιλέα ὑμνούντων αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐθεώρει αὐτοὺς ζῶντας.»
Κατὰ δὲ ἕτερα·
«Καὶ περιεπάτουν ἐν μέσῳ τῆς φλογὸς ὑμνοῦντες τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ εὐλογοῦντες τὸν Κύριον·»
«Εὐλογεῖτε πάντες οἱ σεβόμενοι τὸν Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν τῶν θεῶν. Ὑμνεῖτε καὶ ἐξομολογεῖσθε, ὅτι εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ.»
Συνῆπτο δὲ ἐν τοῖς Ἑβραϊκοῖς τό·
«Καὶ οἱ ἄνδρες ἐκεῖνοι οἱ τρεῖς Σεδρὰχ, Μισὰχ, Ἀβδενεγὼ, ἔπεσον εἰς μέσον τοῦ πυρὸς πεπεδημένοι·»
«Ὁ βασιλεὺς ὁ Ναβουχοδονόσορ ἐθαύμασε, καὶ ἀνέστη ἐν σπουδῇ, καὶ ἀπεκρίθη, καὶ εἶπε τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν αὐτοῦ.»
Οὕτω γὰρ Ἀκύλας δουλεύων τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ λέξει ἐκδέδωκεν εἰπών· φιλοτιμότερον πεπιστευμένος παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις ἡρμηνευκέναι τὴν Γραφήν· ᾧ μάλιστα εἰώθασι οἱ ἀγνοοῦντες τὴν Ἑβραίων διάλεκτον χρῆσθαι, ὡς πάντων μᾶλλον ἐπιτετευγμένῳ.
Τὰ δὲ παρ' ἡμῖν ἀντίγραφα, ὧν καὶ τὰς λέξεις ἐξεθέμην, τὸ μὲν ἦν κατὰ τοὺς Οʹ· τὸ δὲ ἕτερον κατὰ Θεοδοτίωνα· καὶ ὥσπερ παρ' ἀμφοτέροις ἔκειτο τὸ περὶ τὴν Σωσάνναν, ὡς σὺ φὴς, πλάσμα, καὶ αἱ τελευταῖαι ἐν τῷ Δανιὴλ περικοπαί· οὕτω καὶ ταῦτα ἐν ἔπεσιν, ὡς στοχασμῷ εἰπεῖν, τυγχάνοντα διακοσίοις καὶ πρός.
Differences between Hebrew and Greek not Uncommon
Καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις δὲ πολλοῖς ἁγίοις βιβλίοις εὕρομεν, πὴ μὲν πλείονα παρ' ἡμῖν κείμενα ἢ παρ' Ἑβραίοις, πὴ δὲ λείποντα. Παραδείγματος δὲ ἕνεκεν, ἐπεὶ μὴ πάντα οἷόν τέ ἐστι περιλαβεῖν, ὀλίγα ἐκθησό 11.53 μεθα.
Omissions in The Book of Esther
Οἷον ἐκ τῆς Ἐσθὴρ οὔτε ἡ τοῦ Μαρδοχαίου εὐχὴ, οὔτε ἡ τῆς Ἐσθὴρ, οἰκοδομῆσαι δυνάμεναι τὸν ἐντυγχάνοντα, παρ' Ἑβραίοις φέρονται· ἀλλ' οὐδὲ αἱ ἐπιστολαί· ἀλλ' οὐδὲ ἡ τῷ Ἀμμὰν ἐπὶ καθαιρέσει τοῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους γεγραμμένη, οὐδὲ ἡ τοῦ Μαρδοχαίου ἐξ ὀνόματος Ἀρταξέρξου ἀπολύουσα τοῦ θανάτου τὸ ἔθνος.
Examples from Job
Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἰὼβ, τὰ ἀπὸ τοῦ·
«Γέγραπται δὲ αὐτὸν πάλιν ἀναστήσεσθαι, μεθ' ὧν ὁ Κύριος ἀνίστησιν,»
ἄχρι τέλους, οὐ κεῖται παρὰ τοῖς Ἑβραίοις· διόπερ οὐδὲ παρὰ τῷ Ἀκύλᾳ· παρὰ δὲ τοῖς Οʹ, καὶ Θεοδοτίωνι τὰ ἰσοδυναμοῦντα ἀλλήλοις. Καὶ ἄλλα δὲ μυρία εὕρομεν ἐν τῷ Ἰὼβ, καὶ κατ' ὀλίγον, καὶ ἐπὶ πλέον ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις ἀντιγράφοις, ἢ ἐν τοῖς παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις, κατ' ὀλίγον μὲν, ὅτε
«ἀνιστάμενος τὸ πρωῒ προσέφερε περὶ αὐτῶν θυσίας, κατὰ τὸν ἀριθμὸν αὐτῶν,»
«μόσχον ἕνα περὶ ἁμαρτίας περὶ τῶν ψυχῶν αὐτῶν.»
11.56 Καὶ ὅτε
«ἦλθον οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ Θεοῦ παραστῆναι ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ὁ διάβολος ἦλθε μετ' αὐτῶν,»
«Περιελθὼν τὴν γῆν καὶ ἐμπεριπα-τήσας ἐν αὐτῇ.»
Ἔτι δὲ οὐκ ἦν παρ' Ἑβραίοις μετὰ τό· Ὁ Κύριος ἔδωκεν, ὁ Κύριος ἀφείλετο·
«Ὡς τῷ Κυρίῳ ἔδοξεν, οὕτω καὶ ἐγένετο.»
Πλείονα δὲ ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις παρὰ τὰ Ἑβραϊκὰ, ὅτε εἶπε τῷ Ἰὼβ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ, ἀπὸ τοῦ·
«Μέχρι τίνος καρ-τερήσεις; λέγων· Ἰδοὺ, ἀναμενῶ χρόνον ἔτι μικρὸν προσδεχόμενος τὴν ἐλπίδα τῆς σωτηρίας μου,»
«ἵνα ἀναπαύσωμαι τῶν μόχθων μου καὶ τῶν ὀδυνῶν, αἵ με νῦν συνέχουσι·»
μόνον γὰρ τὰ ῥητὰ τῆς γυναικὸς ἀναγέγραπται· τό·
«Ἀλλ' εἶπόν τι ῥῆμα πρὸς Κύριον, καὶ τελεύτα.»
Larger Omissions in Job, etc.
Πάλιν τε αὖ πλεῖστά τε ὅσα διὰ μέσου ὅλου τοῦ Ἰὼβ παρ' Ἑβραίοις μὲν κεῖται, παρ' ἡμῖν δὲ οὐχί· καὶ πολλάκις μὲν ἔπη τέσσαρα ἢ τρία, ἔσθ' ὅτε δὲ καὶ δεκατέσσαρα καὶ δεκαεννέα καὶ δεκαέξ. Καὶ τί με δεῖ καταλέγειν ἃ μετὰ πολλοῦ καμάτου ἀνελεξάμεθα, ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ λανθάνειν ἡμᾶς τὴν διαφορὰν τῶν παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις καὶ ἡμῖν ἀντιγράφων;
Striking Differences in Jeremiah, Genesis, Exodus
Πολλὰ δὲ τοιαῦτα καὶ ἐν τῷ Ἱερεμίᾳ κατενοήσαμεν, ἐν ᾧ καὶ πολλὴν μετάθεσιν καὶ ἐναλλαγὴν τῆς λέξεως τῶν προφητευομένων εὕρομεν. Καὶ ἐν τῇ Γενέσει δὲ τό·
«Εἶδεν ὁ Θεὸς, ὅτι καλὸν,»
ἐπὶ τῷ γενέσθαι στερέωμα, παρ' Ἑβραίοις οὐχ εὑρίσκεται· καὶ πρόβλημα δέ ἐστι παρ' αὐτοῖς οὐ τὸ τυχὸν τοῦτο. Καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ἔστιν εὑρεῖν ἐν τῇ Γενέσει, οἷς σημεῖα παρε 11.57 θήκαμεν τοὺς καλουμένους παρ' Ἕλλησιν ὀβελοὺς, ἵν' ἡμῖν γνώριμον ᾖ τὸ τοιοῦτον· ὡς πάλιν ἀστερίσκους, τοῖς κειμένοις μὲν ἐν τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ, παρ' ἡμῖν δὲ μὴ εὑρισκομένοις.
Τί δέ με δεῖ λέγειν περὶ τῆς Ἐξόδου, ἔνθα τὰ περὶ τὴν σκηνὴν καὶ τὴν αὐλὴν αὐτῆς, καὶ τὴν κιβωτὸν, καὶ τὰ ἐνδύματα τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, καὶ τῶν ἱερέων, ἐπὶ πολὺ παρήλλακται, ὡς μηδὲ τὴν διάνοιαν παραπλησίαν εἶναι δοκεῖν; Ὥρα τοίνυν, εἰ μὴ λανθάνει ἡμᾶς τὰ τοιαῦτα, ἀθετεῖν τὰ ἐν ταῖς Ἐκκλησίαις φερόμενα ἀντίγραφα, καὶ νομοθετῆσαι τῇ ἀδελφότητι, ἀποθέσθαι μὲν τὰς παρ' αὐτοῖς ἐπιφερομένας ἱερὰς βίβλους, κολακεύειν δὲ Ἰουδαίους, καὶ πείθειν, ἵνα μεταδῶσιν ἡμῖν τῶν καθαρῶν, καὶ μηδὲν πλάσμα ἐχόντων.
Alleged 'Superiority' of Hebrew Scriptures Untenable
Ἆρα δὲ καὶ ἡ Πρόνοια, ἐν ἁγίαις 11.60 Γραφαῖς δεδωκυῖα πάσαις ταῖς Χριστοῦ Ἐκκλησίαις οἰκοδομὴν, οὐκ ἐφρόντισε
«τῶν τιμῆς ἀγορασθέντων, ὑπὲρ ὧν Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν·»
οὗ Υἱοῦ ὄντος
«οὐκ ἐφείσατο ὁ Θεὸς,»
«ἀλλ' ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν πάντων παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν, ἵνα σὺν αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα ἡμῖν χαρίσηται;»
Injunction not to Alter the Text:
Πρὸς ταῦτα δὲ σκόπει, εἰ μὴ καλὸν μεμνῆσθαι τοῦ·
«Οὐ μεταθήσεις ὅρια αἰώνια, ἃ ἔστησαν οἱ πρότεροί σου;»
Origen's Extensive Labours in Comparing
the Hebrew and Greek Texts
Καὶ ταῦτα δὲ φημὶ οὐχὶ ὄκνῳ τοῦ ἐρευνᾷν καὶ τὰς κατὰ Ἰουδαίους Γραφὰς, καὶ πάσας τὰς ἡμετέρας ταῖς ἐκείνων συγκρίνειν, καὶ ὁρᾷν τὰς ἐν αὐταῖς διαφοράς. Εἰ μὴ φορτικὸν γοῦν εἰπεῖν, ἐπὶ πολὺ τοῦτο, ὅση δύναμις, πεποιήκαμεν, γυμνάζοντες αὑτῶν τὸν νοῦν ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐκδόσεσι καὶ ταῖς διαφοραῖς αὐτῶν,...
Protecting the Church through Loyalty to the LXX
μετὰ τοῦ ποσῶς μᾶλλον ἀσκεῖν τὴν ἑρμηνείαν τῶν Οʹ· ἵνα μή τι παραχαράττειν δοκοίημεν ταῖς ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανὸν Ἐκκλησίαις, καὶ προφάσεις διδῶμεν τοῖς ζητοῦσιν ἀφορμὰς, ἐθέλουσι τοὺς ἐν μέσῳ συκοφαντεῖν, καὶ τῶν διαφαινομένων ἐν τῷ κοινῷ κατηγορεῖν.
The Need for a Familiarity with the Hebrew Variants
Ἀσκοῦμεν δὲ μὴ ἀγνοεῖν καὶ τὰς παρ' ἐκείνοις, ἵνα, πρὸς Ἰουδαίους διαλεγόμενοι, μὴ προφέρωμεν αὐτοῖς τὰ μὴ κείμενα ἐν 11.61 τοῖς ἀντιγράφοις αὐτῶν, καὶ ἵνα συγχρησώμεθα τοῖς φερομένοις παρ' ἐκείνοις· εἰ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις οὐ κεῖται βιβλίοις· τοιαύτης γὰρ οὔσης ἡμῶν τῆς πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐν ταῖς ζητήσεσι παρασκευῆς, οὐ καταφρονήσουσιν, οὐδ' ὡς ἔθος αὐτοῖς, γελάσονται τοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν πιστεύοντας, ὡς τ' ἀληθῆ καὶ παρ' αὐτοῖς ἀναγεγραμμένα ἀγνοοῦντας. Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν εἰρήσθω πρὸς τὸ μὴ φέρεσθαι παρ' Ἑβραίοις τὰ περὶ Σωσάννης.
Internal Evidence Examined
Ἴδωμεν δὲ καὶ ἃ προσφέρεις τῷ λόγῳ ἐγκλήματα. Καὶ πρῶτόν γε ἀρξώμεθα ἀπὸ τοῦ δυνηθέντος ἂν δυσωπῆσαι πρὸς τὸ μὴ παραδέξασθαι τὴν ἱστορίαν· ὅπερ ἐστὶ τὸ περὶ τὴν παρωνυμίαν πρίνου μὲν πρὸς πρίσιν, σχίνου δὲ πρὸς σχίσιν·
Original Hebrew or Aramaic Words
for the Susanna Story are Actually Unknown
περὶ οὗ σὺ μὲν ἀπεφήνω, ὡς καταλαβὼν τίνα τρόπον ἐν μὲν ἑλληνικαῖς φωναῖς τοιαῦτα ὁμοφωνεῖν συμβαίνει, ἐν δὲ τῇ Ἑβραΐδι τῷ παντὶ διέστηκεν· ἐγὼ δὲ ἔτι ἀμφιβάλλω· ἐπείπερ φροντίσας τῶν κατὰ τὸν τόπον, τῷ καὶ αὐτὸς ἠπορηκέναι ἐν αὐτοῖς, οὐκ ὀλίγοις Ἑβραίοις ἀνεθέμην πυνθανόμενος, πῶς παρ' αὐτοῖς ὀνομάζεται πρῖνος, καὶ πῶς λέγουσι τὸ πρίζειν· ἔτι δὲ εἰς τί μεταλαμβάνουσι τὴν σχῖνον τὸ φυτὸν, καὶ πῶς τὸ σχίζειν ὀνομάζουσιν. Οἱ δὲ τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν ἔφασκον ἀγνοεῖν φωνὴν τὴν πρίνου καὶ τὴν σχίνου· ἀπῄτουν δὲ αὑτοῖς δειχθῆναι τὰ δένδρα, ἵν' εἴδειεν ποίας ἐπὶ τούτων αὐτοὶ τάσσουσι φωνάς. Καὶ (φίλη γὰρ ἡ ἀλήθεια), οὐκ ἠπόρησα αὐτοῖς ὄψει παραστῆσαι τὰ ξύλα. Ἄλλος δὲ ἔφασκε τὰ μὴ ὀνομασθέντα τῶν Γραφῶν ποὺ οὐκ ἔχειν διαβεβαιώσασθαι, ὅπως Ἑβραϊστὶ λέγεται· προπετὲς δὲ εἶναι, τὸν ἀπορήσαντα φωνῇ τῇ Συριακῇ χρήσασθαι ἀντὶ τῆς Ἑβραΐδος· καὶ ἔλεγε, καὶ παρὰ τοῖς πάνυ σοφοῖς ἐνίοτε λέξεις τινὰς ζητεῖσθαι. Εἰ μὲν οὖν, φησὶ, ἔχεις τι παραστῆσαι τὴν σχῖνον ὅπως ποτὲ ὀνομασθεῖ-σαν ἔν τινι Γραφῇ, ἢ τὴν πρῖνον, ἐκεῖθεν ἂν εὕροιμεν τὸ ζητούμενον, καὶ τὴν παρ' αὐτὰ παρωνυμίαν· εἰ δὲ μηδαμοῦ ὠνομάσθη, καὶ ἡμᾶς διαλανθάνει τὸ τοιοῦτον. Τούτων οὖν ὅσον ἐπὶ μὴ ἱστορίᾳ ὑπὸ Ἑβραίων, οἷς συνέμιξα, εἰρημένων, ἐγὼ μὲν εὐλαβῶς ἔχω ἀποφήνασθαι, πότερον καὶ παρ' Ἑβραίοις ἡ ἰσοδυναμία τῶν κατὰ ταῦτα παρωνυμιῶν σώζεται, ἢ οὔ· σὺ δὲ ὅπως διεβεβαιώσω, αὐτὸς οἶδας ἴσως. Μέμνημαι μέν τοί γε φιλομαθεῖ Ἑβραίῳ, καὶ χρηματίζοντι παρ' αὐτοῖς σοφοῦ υἱῷ, ἀνατραφέντι
ἐπὶ τὸ διαδέξασθαι τὸν πατέρα, συμμίξας περὶ πλειόνων· ἀφ' οὗ ὡς μὴ ἀθετουμένης τῆς περὶ Σωσάννης ἱστορίας ἐμάνθανον καὶ τὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ὀνόματα, ὡς παρὰ τῷ Ἱερεμίᾳ κείμενα τοῦτον ἔχοντα τὸν τρόπον·
«Ποιήσαι σε Κύριος, ὡς Σεδεκίαν ἐποίησε, καὶ ὡς Ἀχιὰβ, οὓς ἀπετηγάνισε βασιλεὺς Βαβυλῶνος ἐν πυρὶ δι' ἣν ἐποίησαν ἀνομίαν ἐν Ἰσραήλ.»
Πῶς ὁ μὲν ὑπ' ἀγγέλου πρίζεται, ὁ δὲ σχίζεται; λεκτέον, οὐ κατὰ τὸν ἐνεστῶτα αἰῶνα ταῦτα αὐτοῖς προφητεύεσθαι, ἀλλ' εἰς τὴν ὑπὸ Θεοῦ μετὰ τὴν ἐντεῦθεν ἔξοδον κρίσιν. Ὡς γὰρ τὸν πονηρὸν οἰκονόμον λέγοντα·
«Χρονίζει ὁ κύριός μου ἔρχεσθαι·»
καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μέθαις σχολάζοντα, καὶ ἐσθίοντα καὶ πίνοντα μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων, καὶ τύπτοντα τοὺς συνδούλους, ὁ κύριος ἐλθὼν
«διχοτομήσει, καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀπίστων θήσει·»
οὕτω καὶ τούτους πρεσβυτέρους μὲν χρηματίσαντας, κακῶς δὲ τὴν οἰκονομίαν οἰκονομήσαντας, ἀναλόγως τῷ ἐκεῖ διχοτομεῖσθαι τὸν μοχθηρὸν οἰκονόμον, ἄγγελοι ἐπὶ τῶν κολάσεων τεταγμένοι τινὲς ταῦτα διαθήσουσι· καὶ ὁ μὲν σχίσει
«πεπαλαιωμένον ἡμερῶν κακῶν, κρίναντα κρίσεις ἀδίκους, καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἀθώους κατακρίναντα, ἀπολύοντα δὲ τοὺς αἰτίους·»
ὁ δὲ πρίσει ὡς
«σπέρμα λαναὰν ὑπάρχοντα, καὶ οὐκ Ἰούδα, τὸν ὑπὸ τοῦ κάλλους ἐξηπατημένον, καὶ ὑπὸ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας διαστραφέντα τὴν καρδίαν.»
Καὶ ἕτερον δὲ οἶδα Ἑβραῖον, περὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων τούτων τοιαύτας παραδόσεις φέροντα, ὅτι τοῖς ἐν τῇ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ ἐλπίζουσιν διὰ τῆς Χριστοῦ ἐπιδημίας ἐλευθερωθήσεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς ὑπὸ τοῖς ἐχθροῖς δουλείας προσεποιοῦντο οἱ πρεσβύτεροι οὗτοι ὡς εἰδότες τὰ περὶ Χριστοῦ σαφηνίζειν· καὶ ἑκάτερος αὐτῶν ἀνὰ μέρος ᾗ περιετύγχανε γυναικὶ, καὶ ἣν διαφθεῖραι ἐβούλετο, ἐν ἀποῤῥήτῳ δῆθεν ἔφασκεν, ὡς ἄρα δέδοται αὐτῷ ἀπὸ Θεοῦ σπεῖραι τὸν Χριστόν· εἶτ' ἀπατωμένη τῇ ἐλπίδι τοῦ γεννῆσαι τὸν
Χριστὸν ἡ γυνὴ, ἐπεδίδου ἑαυτὴν τῷ ἀπατῶντι· καὶ οὕτως ἐμοιχῶντο τὰς γυναῖκας τῶν πολιτῶν οἱ πρεσβύτεροι Ἀχιὰβ καὶ Σεδεκίας. Διὸ καλῶς ὑπὸ τοῦ Δανιὴλ ὁ μὲν εἴρηται
«πεπαλαιωμένος ἡμερῶν κακῶν·»
ὁ δὲ ἤκουσε τό·
«Οὕτως ἐποιεῖτε ταῖς θυγατράσιν Ἰσραὴλ, κἀκεῖναι φοβούμεναι ὡμίλουν ὑμῖν· ἀλλ' οὐ θυγάτηρ Ἰούδα ὑπέμεινε τὴν ἀνομίαν ὑμῶν.»
Τάχα γὰρ ἀπάτη καὶ φόβος δυνάμενα ἐν ταῖς γυναι-ξὶν, ἐποίει αὐτὰς παρέχειν ἑαυτῶν τὰ σώματα τοῖς λεγομένοις τούτοις πρεσβυτέροις. Ἀλλ' εἰκὸς πρὸς ταῦτά σε ζητήσειν τί δήποτε οὐ φέρεται παρ' αὐτοῖς ἐν τῷ Δανιὴλ ἡ ἱστορία, εἰ, ὡς φῂς, τοιαῦτα περὶ αὐτῆς οἱ σοφοὶ αὐτῶν παραδιδόασι. Λεκτέον δὲ πρὸς ταῦτα, ὅτι ὅσα δεδύνηνται τῶν περιεχόντων κατηγορίαν πρεσβυτέρων, καὶ ἀρ-χόντων, καὶ κριτῶν, περιεῖλον ἀπὸ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ λαοῦ, ὧν τινὰ σώζεται ἐν ἀποκρύφοις. Καὶ τούτου παράδειγμα δώσομεν τὰ περὶ τὸν Ἡσαΐαν ἱστορούμενα, καὶ ὑπὸ τῆς πρὸς Ἑβραίους Ἐπιστολῆς μαρτυρούμενα, ἐν οὐδενὶ τῶν φανερῶν βιβλίων γεγραμμένα· περὶ γὰρ τῶν προφητῶν διεξερχόμενος, καὶ ὧν πεπόνθασιν, ὁ τὴν πρὸς Ἑβραίους γράψας φησίν·
«Ἐλιθάσθησαν, ἐπρίσθησαν, ἐν φόνῳ μαχαίρας ἀπέθανον.»
Πευσόμεθα γὰρ ἐπὶ τίνα ἀναφέρηται τὸ,
κατά τι ἔθος ἀρχαῖον οὐ μόνον Ἑβραϊκὸν, ἀλλὰ καὶ Ἑλληνικὸν, πληθυντικῶς λεγόμενον περὶ ἑνός. Σαφὲς δ' ὅτι αἱ παραδόσεις λέγουσι πεπρίσθαι Ἡσαΐαν τὸν προφήτην· καὶ ἔν τινι ἀποκρύφῳ τοῦτο φέρεται· ὅπερ τάχα ἐπίτηδες ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων ῥερᾳδιούργηται, λέξεις τινὰς τὰς μὴ πρεπούσας παρεμβεβληκότων τῇ γραφῇ, ἵν' ἡ ὅλη ἀπιστηθῇ· ἀλλ' εἰκός τινα, θλιβόμενον ἀπὸ τῆς εἰς ταῦτα ἀποδείξεως, συγχρήσασθαι τῷ βουλήματι τῶν ἀθετούντων τὴν Ἐπιστολὴν, ὡς οὐ
Παύλῳ γεγραμμένην· πρὸς ὃν ἄλλων λόγων κατ' ἰδίαν χρῄζομεν εἰς ἀπόδειξιν τοῦ εἶναι Παύλου τὴν ἐπιστολήν. Παραθήσομαι οὖν ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος ἀπὸ τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου τὰ ὑπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ περὶ τῶν προφητῶν μαρτυρούμενα, καὶ ἱστορίαν ὑπ' αὐτοῦ προφητῶν μαρτυρούμενα, καὶ ἱστορίαν ὑπ' αὐτοῦ μὲν λεγομένην, ἐν δὲ ταῖς παλαιαῖς Γραφαῖς μὴ φερομένην, ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὴ κατηγορίαν περιέχει τῶν ἀνόμων ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ κριτῶν ἔχει δὲ οὕτως ἡ ὑπὸ τοῦ Σωτῆρος εἰρημένη λέξις.
«Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταὶ, ὅτι οἰκοδομεῖτε τοὺς τάφους τῶν προφητῶν καὶ κοσμεῖτε τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν δικαίων, καὶ λέγετε· Εἰ ἦμεν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν, οὐκ ἂν ἦμεν κοινωνοὶ αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι τῶν προφητῶν. Ὥστε μαρτυρεῖτε ἑαυτοῖς, ὅτι υἱοὶ ἐστὲ τῶν φονευσάντων τοὺς προφήτας. Καὶ ὑμεῖς πληρώσατε τὸ μέτρον τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν. Ὄφεις, γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς φύγητε ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης; Διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω πρὸς ὑμᾶς προφήτας, καὶ σοφοὺς, καὶ γραμματεῖς. Ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενεῖτε, καὶ σταυρώσετε, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν μαστιγώσετε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν, καὶ διώξετε ἀπὸ πόλεως εἰς πόλιν, ὅπως ἔλθῃ ἐφ' ὑμᾶς πᾶν αἷμα δίκαιον ἐκχυνόμενον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος Ἄβελ τοῦ δικαίου ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου, ὃν ἐφονεύσατε μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου. Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἥξει ταῦτα πάντα ἐπὶ τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην.»
Καὶ τὸ ἑξῆς δὲ τούτων, οὐκ ἀπᾴδει τῶν προκειμένων οὕτως ἔχον·
« Ἱερουσαλὴμ, Ἱερουσαλὴμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνασα τοὺς προφήτας, καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὑτήν· ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου, ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις συνάγει τὰ νοσσία ἑαυτῆς ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἐθελήσατε· ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν ἔρημος.»
Καὶ ἴδωμέν γε εἰ μὴ λεκτέον, ἐν τούτοις, τὸν μὲν Σωτῆρα ἀληθεύειν, οὐχ εὑρίσκεσθαι δὲ τὰς Γραφὰς, ὅσαι δηλοῦσι τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἱστορούμενα· οἱ γὰρ οἰκοδομοῦντες τοὺς τάφους τῶν προφητῶν, καὶ κοσμοῦντες τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν δι-καίων, καταγνόντες τῶν ὑπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων εἰς 11.69 τοὺς δικαίους καὶ εἰς τοὺς προφήτας τετολμημένων, φασίν·
«Εἰ ἦμεν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν, οὐκ ἂν ἦμεν κοινωνοὶ αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι τῶν προφητῶν.»
Λεγέτω τις οὖν ἡμῖν, ποίων προφητῶν τῷ αἵματι; Ποῦ γὰρ ἀναγέγραπταί τι τῶν τοιούτων περὶ Ἡσαΐου, ἢ Ἱερεμίου, ἢ τινὸς τῶν ιβʹ, ἢ τοῦ Δανιήλ; Ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τοῦ Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου φονευθέντος μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, ἀπὸ μὲν Ἰησοῦ μεμαθήκαμεν, ἀπ' οὐδεμιᾶς δὲ ἄλλης Γραφῆς ἔγνωμεν. Διὸ οὐδὲν οἶμαι ἄλλο οἰκονομεῖσθαι, ἢ τοὺς νομιζομένους σοφοὺς, καὶ ἄρχοντας, καὶ πρεσβυτέρους τοῦ λαοῦ ὑπεξελεῖν τὰ τοιαῦτα, ὅσα περιεῖχεν αὐτῶν κατηγορίαν παρὰ τῷ λαῷ. Οὐδὲν οὖν θαυμαστὸν, εἰ καὶ ἀληθῆ τυγχάνουσαν τὴν περὶ Σωσάνναν ἐπιβουλευθεῖσαν ὑπὸ ἀκολάστων πρεσβυτέρων ἱστορίαν οἱ μὴ μακρὰν τυγχάνοντες τῆς προαιρέσεως τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐκείνων ἐξέκλεψαν, καὶ ὑφεῖλον ἀπὸ τῶν Γραφῶν. Καὶ ἐν ταῖς Πράξεσι δὲ τῶν ἀποστόλων ὁ Στέφανος μαρτυρῶν 11.72 ἐπὶ πολλοῖς, καὶ ταῦτα λέγει·
«Τίνα τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἐδίωξαν οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν, καὶ ἀπέκτειναν τοὺς προκαταγγείλαντας περὶ τῆς ἐλεύσεως τοῦ Δι-καίου, οὗ νῦν ὑμεῖς προδόται καὶ φονεῖς ἐγένεσθε;»
Ἀληθεύειν μὲν γὰρ τὸν Στέφανον πᾶς ὁστισοῦν τῶν προσιεμένων τὰς Πράξεις τῶν ἀποστόλων ὁμολογήσει· ἀποδεῖξαι δὲ καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς παλαιᾶς Διαθήκης, πῶς εὐλόγως μέμφεται τοῖς πατράσι τῶν εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπιστούντων, ὡς διώξασι τοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποκτείνασιν, οὐ δυνατὸν ἀπὸ τῶν φερομένων βιβλίων τῆς Καινῆς Διαθήκης· καὶ ὁ Παῦλος ἐν τῇ προτέρᾳ τῆς πρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς ἐπιστολῆς ταῦτα περὶ Ἰουδαίων μαρτυρῶν φησίν·
«Ὑμεῖς γὰρ μιμηταὶ ἐγενήθητε τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· ὅτι καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ αὐτὰ ἐπάθετε ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων συμφυλετῶν, καθὼς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, τῶν καὶ τὸν Κύριον ἀποκτεινάντων, καὶ τοὺς προφήτας, καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων, καὶ Θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων, καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων· κωλυόντων ἡμᾶς τοῖς ἔθνεσι λαλῆσαι, ἵνα σωθῶσι.»
Καὶ οἶμαι δὲ ἀποδεδειχέναι ἐν τοῖς προκειμένοις, ὅτι οὐδὲν ἄτοπόν ἐστι, γεγονέναι μὲν τὴν ἱστορίαν, καὶ τὴν μετὰ πολλῆς ἀκολασίας ὠμότητα τετολμῆσθαι τοῖς τότε πρεσβυτέροις κατὰ τῆς Σωσάννης, καὶ γεγράφθαι μὲν προνοίᾳ τοῦ Πνεύματος, ὑπεξαιρεῖσθαι δὲ, ὡς ἂν εἴποι τὸ Πνεῦμα, ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχόντων Σοδόμων. Πρὸς τούτοις ἔφασκες, ὅτι ὁ Δανιὴλ ὑπὸ μὲν τῆς Γραφῆς ταύτης λέγεται Πνεύματι ληφθεὶς ἐκβεβοηκέναι, ὡς ἀδίκως ἡ ἀπόφασις ἔχοι, ἡ δὲ φερομένη ὁμολογουμένως ὑπ' αὐτοῦ Γραφὴ ἄλλῳ τρόπῳ περιέχει αὐτὸν προφητεύοντα, τουτέστιν ὁράμασι, καὶ ὀνείροις, καὶ ἀγγέλου ἐπιφανείᾳ· οὐδαμοῦ δὲ ἐπιπνοίᾳ προφητικῇ. Σὺ δέ μοι ἔοικας μὴ πάνυ τετηρηκέναι τὸ,
«Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι τὸν Θεὸν λελαληκέναι τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις,»
οὐ μόνον ἐν τοῖς πᾶσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τοῖς καθ' ἕνα. Παρατηρήσας δὲ εὑρήσεις τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἁγίοις καὶ ἐνύπνια γενόμενα θεῖα καὶ ἐπιφανείας ἀγγελικὰς, καὶ ἐπιπνοίας. Ἀρκεῖ δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος μαρτυρίαις χρήσασθαι τοῖς περὶ τοῦ Ἰακὼβ γεγραμμένοις· ὃς περὶ μὲν θείων ἐνυπνίων τοιαῦτα διηγεῖται·
«Καὶ ἐγένετο, ἡνίκα ἐνεκίσσων τὰ πρόβατα, καὶ εἶδον ἐν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς μου αὐτὰ ἐν ὕπνῳ, καὶ ἰδοὺ οἱ τράγοι καὶ οἱ κριοὶ ἀναβαίνοντες ἦσαν ἐπὶ τὰ πρόβατα καὶ τὰς αἶγας, διάλευκοι, καὶ ποικίλοι, καὶ σποδοειδεῖς ῥαντοί. Καὶ εἶπέ μοι ὁ ἄγγελος τοῦ Θεοῦ καθ' ὕπνον· Ἰακώβ. Ἐγὼ δὲ εἶπον· Τί ἐστι; καὶ εἶπεν· Ἀνάβλεψον τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς σου, καὶ ἴδε τοὺς τράγους καὶ τοὺς κριοὺς ἀναβαίνοντας ἐπὶ τὰ πρόβατα καὶ τὰς αἶγας, διαλεύκους, καὶ ποικίλους, καὶ σποδοειδεῖς ῥαντούς· ἑώρακα γὰρ ὅσα σοι Λάβαν ποιεῖ. Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς ὁ ὀφθείς σοι ἐν τόπῳ Θεοῦ, οὗ ἤλειψάς μοι ἐκεῖ στήλην, καὶ ηὔξω μοι ἐκεῖ εὐχήν. Νῦν 11.73 οὖν ἀνάστηθι καὶ ἔξελθε ἐκ τῆς γῆς ταύτης, καὶ ἄπελθε εἰς τὴν γῆν τῆς γεννήσεώς σου.»
Περὶ δὲ ἐπιφανείας ὕπαρ κρείττονος, ταῦτα περὶ αὐτοῦ εἴρηται·
«Ὑπελείφθη δὲ Ἰακὼβ μόνος· καὶ ἐπάλαιεν ἄνθρωπος μετ' αὐτοῦ ἕως πρωΐ. Εἶδε δὲ, ὅτι οὐ δύναται πρὸς αὐτὸν, καὶ ἥψατο τοῦ πλάτους τοῦ μηροῦ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐνάρκησε τὸ πλάτος τοῦ μηροῦ Ἰακὼβ, ἐν τῷ παλαίειν αὐτὸν μετ' αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Ἀπόστειλόν με· ἀνέβη γὰρ ὁ ὄρθρος. Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Οὐ μή σε ἀποστείλω, ἐὰν μή με εὐλογήσῃς. Εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ· Τί τὸ ὄνομά σου; Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Ἰακώβ· εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ· Οὐ κληθήσεται ἔτι τὸ ὄνομά σου Ἰακὼβ, ἀλλ' Ἰσραὴλ ἔσται τὸ ὄνομά σου, ὅτι ἐνίσχυσας μετὰ Θεοῦ, καὶ μετὰ ἀνθρώπων δυνατός. Ἠρώτησε δὲ Ἰακὼβ, καὶ εἶπεν· Ἀνάγγειλόν μοι τὸ ὄνομά σου· καὶ εἶπεν· Ἵνα τί τοῦτο ἐρωτᾷς τὸ ὄνομά μου; Καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτὸν ἐκεῖ. Καὶ ἐκάλεσεν Ἰακὼβ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ τόπου ἐκείνου Εἶδος Θεοῦ· Εἶδον γὰρ Θεὸν πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον, καὶ ἐσώθη μου ἡ ψυχή. Ἀνέτειλε δὲ ὁ ἥλιος, ἡνίκα παρῆλθε τὸ εἶδος τοῦ Θεοῦ.»
Ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἐξ ἐπιπνοίας προφητεύει, δῆλον ἐκ τούτων·
«Ἐκάλεσε δὲ Ἰακὼβ τοὺς υἱοὺς αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπε· Συνάχθητε, ἵνα ἀπαγγείλω ὑμῖν τί ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν ἐπ' ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν· ἀθροίσθητε καὶ ἀκούσατε υἱοὶ Ἰακὼβ, ἀκούσατε Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν· Ῥουβὶμ πρωτότοκός μου, σὺ ἰσχύς μου, καὶ ἀρχὴ τέκνων μου, σκληρὸς φέρεσθαι καὶ σκληρὸς αὐθάδης· ἐξύβρισας, ὡς ὕδωρ μὴ ἐκζέσῃς· ἀνέβης γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν κοίτην τοῦ πατρός σου· τότε ἐμίανας τὴν στρωμνὴν, οὗ ἀνέβης.»
Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς λοιποὺς αἱ εὐλογίαι προφητεῖαι οὖσαι ἐξ ἐπιπνοίας εἴρηνται. Οὐδὲν τοίνυν θαυμαστὸν καὶ τὸν Δανιὴλ, ὁτὲ μὲν ἐξ ἐπιπνοίας λελαληκέναι τὸν κατὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἔλεγχον, ὁτὲ δὲ ἐνυπνίοις, ὡς καὶ σὺ φὴς, ἢ ὁράσει τε, καὶ ἄλλοτε γεγονέναι αὐτῷ ἀγγέλου ἐπιφάνειαν. Τά γε μὴν ἄλλα σου ἐπαπορήματα ἐδόκει μοι ἀσεμνότερον εἰρῆσθαι, καὶ οὐκ ἔχεσθαι τῆς πρεπούσης σοι εὐλαβείας· οὐ χεῖρον δὲ θεῖναι τὸ αὐταῖς λέξεσιν ὑπὸ σοῦ γεγραμμένον οὕτως·
«Ἔπειτα μετὰ τὸ θαυμασίως πως οὕτως ἀποφθέγξασθαι, καὶ παραδοξότατά πως αὐτοὺς ἀπελέγχει, ὡς οὐδὲ Φιλιστίων ὁ μῖμος· οὐ γὰρ ἐξήρκει ἡ διὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος ἐπίπληξις, ἀλλ' ἰδίᾳ διαστήσας ἑκάτερον αὐτῶν, ἐρωτᾷ ποῦ θεάσαιτο αὐτὴν μοιχωμένην. Ὡς δὲ ὁ μὲν ὑπὸ πρῖνον ἔφασκεν, ἀποκρίνεται πρίσειν αὐτὸν τὸν ἄγγελον· τῷ δὲ ὑπὸ σχῖνον εἰρηκότι, σχισθῆναι παραπλησίως ἀπειλεῖ.»
Ὥρα γὰρ παραβάλλειν ἄλλο τούτῳ παραπλήσιον εἰρημένον ἐν τῇ τρίτῃ τῶν Βασιλειῶν, ὅπερ καὶ αὐτὸς ὁμολογήσεις ὑγιῶς ἀναγεγράφθαι, τῷ Φιλιστίωνος μίμῳ. Ἔχει δὲ οὕτως ἡ ἀπὸ τῶν Βασιλειῶν λέξις·
«Τότε ὤφθησαν δύο γυναῖκες πόρναι τῷ βασιλεῖ, καὶ ἔστησαν ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ. Καὶ εἶπεν ἡ γυνὴ μία· Ἐν ἐμοὶ, κύριέ μου. Ἐγὼ καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὕτη οἰκοῦμεν ἐν οἴκῳ ἑνὶ, καὶ ἐτέκομεν ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ. Καὶ ἐγενήθη ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ τεκούσης μου, καὶ ἔτεκε καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὕτη. Καὶ ἡμεῖς κατὰ τὸ αὐτό. Οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδὲ 11.76 εἷς ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ ἡμῶν παρὲξ ἀμφοτέρων ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ. Καὶ ἀπέθανεν ὁ υἱὸς τῆς γυναικὸς ταύτης τὴν νύκτα, ὡς ἐπεκοιμήθη ἐπ' αὐτόν. Καὶ ἀνέστη μέσης τῆς νυκτός· καὶ ἔλαβε τὸν υἱόν μου ἐκ τῶν ἀγκαλῶν μου· καὶ ἡ δούλη σου ὕπνουν. Καὶ ἐκοίμισεν αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ αὐτῆς, καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν τεθνεῶτα ἐκοίμισεν ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ μου. Καὶ ἀνέστην τὸ πρωῒ θηλάσαι τὸν υἱόν μου· κἀκεῖνος ἦν τεθνηκώς. Καὶ ἰδοὺ κατενόησα αὐτὸν τὸ πρωΐ, καὶ ἰδοὺ οὐκ ἦν ὁ υἱός μου ὃν ἔτεκον. Καὶ εἶπεν ἡ γυνὴ ἡ ἑτέρα· Οὐχί· ἀλλ' ὁ υἱός σου ἐστὶν ὁ νεκρὸς, ὁ υἱὸς δὲ ὁ ἐμὸς ὁ ζῶν. Ἡ δὲ ἄλλη καὶ αὐτὴ ἔλεγεν· Οὐχὶ, ἀλλ' ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ζῶν· ὁ δὲ υἱός σου ὁ τεθνηκώς. Καὶ ἐλάλησαν ἐνώπιον τοῦ βασιλέως, καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεὺς αὐταῖς· Σὺ λέγεις· Οὗτός μου ὁ υἱὸς ὁ ζῶν, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς ταύτης ὁ τεθνηκώς. Καὶ σὺ λέγεις· Οὐχὶ, ἀλλ' ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ζῶν· ὁ δὲ υἱός σου ὁ τεθνηκώς. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεύς· Λάβετέ μοι μάχαιραν. Καὶ προσήνεγκαν τὴν μάχαιραν ἐνώπιον τοῦ βασιλέως. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεύς· Διέλετε τὸ παιδίον τὸ ζῶν εἰς δύο, καὶ δότε τὸ ἥμισυ αὐτοῦ ταύτῃ, τὸ ἥμισυ αὐτοῦ ταύτῃ. Καὶ ἀπεκρίθη ἡ γυνὴ ἧς ὁ υἱὸς ἦν ὁ ζῶν πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα, ὅτι ἐταράχθη ἡ μήτρα αὐτῆς ἐν τῷ υἱῷ αὐτῆς, καὶ εἶπεν· Ἐν ἐμοὶ, Κύριε· δότε αὐτῇ τὸ παιδίον τὸ ζῶν, καὶ θανάτῳ μὴ θανατώσητε αὐτό. Καὶ αὕτη εἶπε· Μήτε ἐμοὶ, μήτε αὐτῇ ἔστω· διέλετε. Καὶ ἀπεκρίθη ὁ βασιλεὺς, καὶ εἶπε· Δότε τὸ παιδίον τῇ εἰπούσῃ· Δότε αὐτῇ τοῦτο, καὶ θανάτῳ μὴ θανατώσητε αὐτό· αὕτη γὰρ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ. Καὶ ἤκουσε πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ τὸ κρῖμα ὃ ἔκρινεν ὁ βασιλεὺς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ βασιλέως, ὅτι εἶδον, ὅτι φρόνησις Θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ τοῦ ποιεῖν δικαίωμα.»
Εἴπερ γὰρ χρὴ περὶ τῶν φερομένων ἐν ταῖς Ἐκκλησίαις ἀποφαίνεσθαι χλευαστικῶς, μᾶλλον τὴν περὶ τῶν δύο ἑταιρῶν ἱστορίαν τῷ Φιλιστίωνος μίμῳ, ἢ τὴν περὶ τῆς σεμνῆς Σωσάννης ὁμοιῶσαι ἐχρῆν. Καὶ ὥσπερ οὐκ ἤρκει πρὸς πειθὼ τοῦ λαοῦ τὸ εἰπεῖν Σολομῶντα·
«Δότε τῇδε τὸ ζῶν παιδίον· αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ·»
οὕτως οὐκ ἤρκει ἡ πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους ἐπίπληξις τοῦ Δανιὴλ, μὴ προσπαραλαμβανομένου τοῦ ἐκ στόματος αὐτῶν ἐλέγχου· εἰπόντων μὲν ὑπό τι δένδρον αὐτὴν ἑωρακέναι κοιμωμένην μετὰ τοῦ νεανίσκου, μὴ μὴν συμφωνησάντων περὶ τοῦ τί δένδρον ἦν. Καὶ ἐπείπερ ὡς καταλαβὼν ἔφασκες ἐξ ἐπιπνοίας τὸν Δανιὴλ κεκρικέναι τὰ περὶ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους, τάχα μὲν οὕτως ἐλέγχοντα, τάχα δὲ ἑτέρως, πρόσχες· καὶ ταῦτα παραπλήσια δοκεῖ μοι εἶναι τὰ κατὰ τὸν Δανιὴλ τῇ κρίσει τοῦ Σολομῶντος· περὶ οὗ μαρτυρεῖ ἡ Γραφὴ, ὅτι εἶδεν ὁ λαὸς, ὅτι φρόνησις Θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ τοῦ ποιεῖν δικαίω-μα. Τοῦτο ἂν δύναιτο λέγεσθαι καὶ περὶ τοῦ Δανιήλ· ὅτι φρονήσεως οὔσης ἐν αὐτῷ τοῦ ποιεῖν δικαίωμα, ἐκρίθη τὰ ἀναγεγραμμένα περὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων. Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ μικροῦ δεῖν ἔλαθέ με, ἀναγκαῖον παρατεθῆναι περὶ τοῦ πρῖνον–πρίσειν καὶ σχῖνον– σχίσειν· ὅτι καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμετέραις Γραφαῖς κεῖνταί τινες οἱονεὶ ἐτυμολογίαι αἵτινες παρὰ μὲν 11.77 Ἑβραίοις οἰκείως ἔχουσι, παρὰ δὲ ἡμῖν οὐχ ὁμοίως. Οὐδὲν οὖν θαυμαστὸν, ᾠκονομηκέναι τοὺς ἑρμηνεύσαντας τὰ περὶ τὴν Σωσάνναν ἀνευρεῖν ἤτοι σύμφωνον τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ, οὐ γὰρ πείθομαι, ἢ ἀνάλογον τῷ συμφωνοῦντι τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ ὄνομά τι παρώνυμον. Πῶς δὲ ἐν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ Γραφῇ κεῖται τὸ τοιοῦτον, παραστήσομεν. Φησὶν ὁ Ἀδὰμ ἐπὶ τῇ γυναικὶ οἰκοδομηθείσῃ ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐκ τῆς πλευρᾶς τοῦ ἀνδρός·
«Αὕτη κληθήσεται γυνὴ, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς ἐλήφθη.»
Φασὶ δὲ οἱ Ἑβραῖοι
μὲν καλεῖσθαι τὴν γυναῖκα· δηλοῦσθαι δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς λέ-ξεως τὸ
ὡς δῆλον ἐκ τοῦ·
«Χῶς ἰσουὼθ ἐσσά,»
«Ποτήριον σωτηρίου λήψομαι·»
δὲ τὸν ἄνδρα, ὡς φανερὸν ἐκ τοῦ·
Κατὰ μὲν οὖν Ἑβραίους ἲς καὶ ἐσσὰ ἀνδρὸς, ὅτι ἀπὸ ἲς ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς ἐλήφθη αὕτη. Οὐδὲν οὖν θαυμαστὸν ἑρμηνεύσαντάς τινας τὸ περὶ Σωσάννης Ἑβραϊκὸν, ἐν ἀποῤῥήτοις, ὡς εἰκὸς, πάλαι παρ' αὐτοῖς κείμενον, καὶ παρὰ τοῖς φιλομαθεστέροις καὶ φιλαληθεστέροις σωζόμενον, ἤτοι κυρίως ἐκδεδωκέναι τὰ τῆς λέξεως, ἢ εὑρηκέναι τὸ ἀνάλογον τοῖς κατὰ τὸ Ἑβραϊκὸν παρωνύμοις, ἵνα δυνηθῶμεν οἱ Ἕλληνες αὐτοῖς παρακολουθῆσαι. Καὶ γὰρ ἐπ' ἄλλων πολλῶν ἔστιν εὑρεῖν οἰκονομικῶς τινα ὑπὸ τῶν ἑρμηνευσάντων ἐκδεδομένα· ἅπερ ἡμεῖς τετηρήκαμεν συνεξετάζοντες πάσας τὰς ἐκδόσεις ἀλλήλαις. 11.80 Πρὸς τούτοις ἐπαπορεῖς αὐταῖς λέξεσι· Πῶς αἰχμάλωτοι ὄντες ἐν τῇ Βαβυλῶνι, ἠστραγαλωμένοι, καὶ ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις ἄταφοι ῥιπτούμενοι, ὡς ἐν τῇ προτέρᾳ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ ἱστόρηται, τῶν παίδων αὐτοῖς ἀποσπωμένων εἰς εὐνουχισμὸν, καὶ τῶν θυγατέρων εἰς παλλακὰς, ὡς προπεφήτευτο, οἵδε περὶ θανάτου ἔκρινον, καὶ ταῦτα τῇ τοῦ βασιλέως αὐτῶν γενομένῃ γυναικὶ Ἰωακεὶμ, ὃν σύνθρονον πεποίητο ὁ Βαβυλώνιος βασιλεύς; Εἰ δὲ οὐχ οὗτος, ἄλλος δὲ τοῦ λαοῦ Ἰωακείμ· πόθεν τοιαύτη κατάλυσις αἰχμαλώτῳ περιῆν, καὶ παράδεισος ἀμφιλαφὴς ἦν; πόθεν δὲ λαβὼν ἔλεγες τό· Ἠστραγαλωμένοι καὶ ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις ἄταφοι ῥιπτούμενοι· ἢ, ὅσον ἐπ' ἐμῇ γνώσει, ἀπὸ τοῦ Τωβία; περὶ οὗ ἡμᾶς ἐχρῆν ἐγνωκέναι, ὅτι Ἑβραῖοι τῷ Τωβίᾳ οὐ χρῶνται, οὐδὲ τῇ Ἰουδήθ· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἔχουσιν αὐτὰ καὶ ἐν ἀποκρύφοις ἑβραϊστί· ὡς ἀπ' αὐτῶν μαθόντες ἐγνώκαμεν. Ἀλλ' ἐπεὶ χρῶνται τῷ Τωβίᾳ αἱ Ἐκκλησίαι, ἰστέον, ὅτι καὶ ἐν τῇ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ τινὲς τῶν αἰχμαλώτων ἐπλούτουν, καὶ εὖ ἔπραττον. Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Τω-βίας φησί·
«Καθότι ἐμεμνήμην τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ μου, καὶ ἔδωκεν ὁ Ὕψιστος χάριν καὶ μορφὴν ἐνώπιον Νεμεσσάρου, καὶ ἤμην αὐτοῦ ἀγοραστής· καὶ ἐπορευόμην εἰς τὴν Μηδίαν, καὶ παρεθέμην Γαβαήλῳ τῷ ἀδελφῷ Γαβρία ἐν Ῥάγοις τῆς Μηδίας ἀργυρίου τάλαντα δέκα.»
Καὶ ἐπιφέρει ὡς πλούσιος τό·
«Ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νεμεσ-σάρου ἐλεημοσύνας πολλὰς ἐποίησα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου. Τοὺς ἄρτους μου ἐδίδουν πεινῶσι καὶ ἱμάτια τοῖς γυμνοῖς· καὶ εἴ τινα ἐκ τοῦ γένους ἑώρων τεθνηκότα καὶ ἐῤῥιμμένον ὀπίσω τοῦ τείχους Νινευῒ, ἔθαπτον αὐτόν· καὶ εἴ τινα ἀπέκτεινε Σενα-χηρεὶμ βασιλεὺς, ὅτε ἦλθε φεύγων ἐκ τῆς Ἰουδαίας, ἔθαψα αὐτοὺς κλέπτων· πολλοὺς γὰρ ἐπέκτεινεν ἐν τῷ θυμῷ αὐτοῦ.»
Καὶ κατανόει εἴ γε μὴ πολὺν πλοῦτον ἐμφαίνει καὶ πολλὴν περιουσίαν ὁ κατάλογος ὁ τοσοῦτος τῶν εὐποιῶν τοῦ Τωβία· καὶ μάλιστα, ὅτι ἐπιφέρει λέγων τό·
«Ἐπιγνοὺς, ὅτι ζη 11.81 τοῦμαι ἀποθανεῖν, φοβηθεὶς ἀνεχώρησα, καὶ διηρπάγη πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντά μου.»
Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἕτερος αἰχμάλωτος Δαχιάχαρος ὁ τοῦ Ἀνανιὴλ υἱὸς ἀδελφοῦ Τωβία ἐπὶ πᾶσαν κατεστάθη τὴν λογιστείαν τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ βασιλέως Ἀχερδόνος, καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν διοίκησιν· καὶ λέγεται,
«ὅτι ἦν ὁ Δαχιάχαρος οἰνοχόος, καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ δακτυλίου, καὶ διοικητὴς, καὶ ἐκλογιστής.»
Καὶ ὁ Μαρδοχαῖος δὲ περὶ τὴν αὐλὴν διέτριβε τοῦ βασιλέως, καὶ τοσαύτην εἶχε παῤῥησίαν πρὸς αὐτὸν, ὥστε καὶ ἐν εὐεργέταις ἀναγεγράφθαι τοῦ Ἀρταξέρξου. Ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐν τῷ Ἔσδρᾳ· Νεεμίας οἰνοχόος τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ εὐνοῦχος αὐτοῦ, Ἑβραῖος τῷ γένει, ᾐτήσατο τὰ περὶ τῆς οἰκοδομῆς τοῦ ναοῦ, καὶ ἔτυχεν· ὥστε μετὰ πλειόνων ἐπιτραπῆναι ἀπελθεῖν ἀνορθῶσαι τὸν ναόν. Τί οὖν θαυμαστὸν τὸ, παράδεισον, καὶ οἰκίαν, καὶ κτῆμα γεγονέναι τινὸς Ἰωακεὶμ, εἴτε πολυτελὴς εἴτε καὶ μετρία ἦν; Οὐ γὰρ σαφῶς δηλοῦται ἀπὸ τῆς Γραφῆς τὸ τοιοῦτον. Ἀλλὰ φῄς·
«Πῶς περὶ θανάτου ἔκρινον ἐν αἰχμαλωσίᾳ τυγχάνοντες;»
οὐκ οἶδα πόθεν ἀμφιβάλλων τὸ βασιλέως εἶναι γυναῖκα, διὰ τὴν ὁμωνυμίαν τοῦ Ἰωακεὶμ, τὴν Σωσάνναν. Λεκτέον δ', ὅτι οὐδὲν παράδοξον, μεγάλων ἐθνῶν ὑποχειρίων γενομένων, πρὸς βασιλέως συγκεχωρῆσθαι τοῖς οἰκείοις νόμοις χρῆσθαι τοὺς αἰχμαλώτους καὶ τοῖς δικαστηρίοις. Καὶ νῦν γοῦν Ῥωμαίων βασιλευόντων, καὶ Ἰουδαίων τὸ δίδραχμον αὐτοῖς τελούντων, ὅσα συγχωροῦντος Καίσαρος 11.84 ὁ ἐθνάρχης παρ' αὐτοῖς δύναται, ὡς μηδὲν διαφέρειν βασιλεύοντος τοῦ ἔθνους, ἴσμεν οἱ πεπειραμένοι. Γίνεται δὲ καὶ κριτήρια λεληθότως κατὰ τὸν νόμον, καὶ καταδικάζονταί τινες τὴν ἐπὶ τῷ θανάτῳ· οὔτε μετὰ τῆς πάντη εἰς τοῦτο παῤῥησίας, οὔτε μετὰ τοῦ λανθάνειν τὸν βασιλεύοντα· καὶ τοῦτο ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τοῦ ἔθνους πολὺν διατρίψαντες χρόνον μεμαθήκαμεν καὶ πεπληροφορήμεθα. Καί τοι γε ὑπὸ Ῥωμαίοις δύο φυλαὶ μόναι εἶναι ἱστόρηνται, ἥ τε Ἰούδα καὶ Βενιαμίν· ἔστω δὲ καὶ Λευϊτική. Ὁ δὲ, παρὰ τὸν λαὸν Ἰούδα, Ἰσραὴλ, δέκα ἦσαν φυλαί· καὶ εἰκὸς, ἀρκεσθέντας τοὺς Ἀσσυρίους τῷ ὑποχειρίους αὐτοὺς ἔχειν, ἐπιτετραφέναι αὐτοῖς τὰ οἰκεῖα δικαστήρια. Εὗρόν σου ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ καὶ τοῦτο αὐταῖς λέξεσι τό·
«Ἐπὶ δὲ πᾶσι, τοσούτων προωδοιπορηκότων προφητῶν, τῶν τε ἑξῆς οὐδεὶς ἕτερος ἑτέρου κέχρηται ῥητῷ νοήματι· οὐ γὰρ ἐπτώχευσεν ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν ἀληθὴς ὤν· οὑτοσὶ δὲ, ἐκείνων θατέρῳ ἐπαπειλῶν ὑπομιμνήσκει σε λέγοντος τοῦ Κυρίου· Ἀθῶον καὶ δίκαιον οὐκ ἀποκτενεῖς·»
καὶ ἐθαύμασα, πῶς πολλὰς διατριβὰς ἔχων ἐν ταῖς ἐξετάσεσι καὶ μελέταις τῆς Γραφῆς, οὐ τετήρηκας συγχρωμένους προφήτας προφητῶν λόγοις σχεδὸν αὐταῖς λέξεσι. Τίς γὰρ οὐκ οἶδε καὶ τῶν πολλῶν πιστῶν κείμενον ἐν τῷ Ἡσαΐᾳ τό·
«Ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις ἐμφανὲς τὸ ὄρος Κυρίου· καὶ ὁ οἶκος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπ' ἄκρων τῶν ὀρέων, καὶ ὑψωθήσεται ὑπεράνω τῶν βουνῶν, καὶ ἥξουσιν ἐπ' αὐτὸ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη· καὶ πορεύσονται ἔθνη πολλὰ, καὶ ἐροῦσι· Δεῦτε, ἀναβῶμεν εἰς τὸ ὄρος τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ Ἰακώβ· καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ἡμῖν τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πορευσόμεθα ἐν αὐτῇ· ἐκ γὰρ Σιὼν ἐξελεύσεται νόμος, καὶ λόγος Κυρίου ἐν Ἱερουσα-λήμ. Καὶ κρινεῖ ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ἐθνῶν, καὶ κρινεῖ λαὸν πολύν· καὶ συγκόψουσι τὰς μαχαίρας αὐτῶν εἰς ἄροτρα, καὶ τὰς ζιβύνας αὐτῶν εἰς δρέπανα· καὶ οὐ λήψεται ἔθνος ἐπ' ἔθνος μάχαιραν· καὶ οὐ μὴ μάθωσιν ἔτι πολεμεῖν.»
Τὸ δὲ παραπλήσιον τούτοις ὅλοις, καὶ τῇ αὐτῇ λέξει, ἐν τῷ Μιχαίᾳ οὕτως ἐστὶ 11.85 γεγραμμένον·
«Καὶ ἔσται ἐπ' ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐμφανὲς τὸ ὄρος τοῦ Κυρίου, ἕτοιμον ἐπὶ τὰς κο-ρυφὰς τῶν ὀρέων, καὶ μετεωρισθήσεται ὑπεράνω τῶν βουνῶν· καὶ σπεύσουσιν ἐπ' αὐτῷ λαοὶ, καὶ πορεύσονται ἔθνη πολλὰ, καὶ ἐροῦσι· Δεῦτε, ἀναβῶμεν εἰς τὸ ὄρος τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ Ἰακὼβ, καὶ δείξουσιν ἡμῖν τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ· καὶ πορευσόμεθα ἐν ταῖς τρίβοις αὐτοῦ· ὅτι ἐκ Σιὼν ἐξελεύσεται νόμος, καὶ λόγος Κυρίου ἐξ Ἱερουσαλήμ. Καὶ κρινεῖ ἀνὰ μέσον λαῶν πολλῶν, καὶ ἐλέγξει ἐπὶ ἔθνη ἰσχυρὰ ἕως εἰς μακρὰν, καὶ κατακόψουσι τὰς μαχαίρας αὐτῶν εἰς ἄροτρα, καὶ τὰς ζιβύνας αὐτῶν εἰς δρέπανα· καὶ οὐκέτι μὴ ἄρῃ ἔθνος ἐπ' ἔθνος ῥομφαίαν, καὶ οὐκέτι μὴ μάθωσι πολεμεῖν.»
Ἔτι δὲ ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ τῶν Παραλειπομένων ὁ τεταγμένος ἐν χειρὶ Ἀσὰφ, καὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν αὐτοῦ ψαλμὸς, τοῦ αἰνεῖν τὸ Κύριον, οὗ ἡ ἀρχή·
«Ἐξομολογεῖσθε καὶ ἐπικαλεῖσθε αὐτὸν ἐν ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ,»
ἐν μὲν τοῖς πλείστοις κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἰσοδυναμεῖ τῷ ρδʹ ψαλμῷ, ἕως τοῦ·
«Καὶ ἐν τοῖς προφήταις μου μὴ πονηρεύεσθε·»
μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο τῷ εʹ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς αὐτοῦ ἐγγύς πως ἐχούσης τό·
«Ἄσατε τῷ Κυρίῳ πᾶσα ἡ γῆ·»
«Ὅτι ἔρχεται κρῖναι τὴν γῆν.»
Ἐπεὶ δὲ ἦν τὸ παραθέσθαι αὐτὰς τὰς λέξεις πολὺ, διὰ βραχέων πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον ταῦτα εἰρήκαμεν. Εὑρήσεις δὲ καὶ περὶ τοῦ μὴ αἵρειν βάσταγμα ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν Σαββάτων οὐ μόνον παρὰ Μωϋσεῖ γεγραμμένον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν Ἱερεμίᾳ. Καὶ περὶ τοῦ Πάσχα καὶ νόμων ἱερατικῶν εὑρήσεις παρά τε Μωϋσεῖ καὶ ἐν τοῖς τελευταίοις τοῦ Ἰεζεκιήλ. Καὶ αὐτὰς δ' ἂν παρεθέμην τὰς λέξεις, καὶ ἄλλας πλείονας, εἰ μὴ ἑώρων ὑπὸ τῆς ὀλιγότητος τῶν ἐν Νικομηδείᾳ ἡμερῶν ἡμῶν ἀποκλειόμενον τὸν χρόνον τῆς πρὸς σὲ γραφῆς. Πρὸς τούτοις ἔφασκες καὶ τὸν τῆς φράσεως χαρακτῆρα διαλλάσσειν· ὅπερ ἐμοὶ οὐ πάνυ τι ἐφάνη. Καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ἀπελογησάμην· ἦν δ' ἂν προηγουμένως μετὰ τὰ ἐγκλήματα ἐγκώμιον εἰπεῖν τῆς περὶ Σωσάνναν Γραφῆς ἐπιβαίνοντα ἑκάστῃ λέξει, καὶ δεικνύντα τὸ ἐξαίρετον τῶν νενοημένων· ὅπερ ἰδίᾳ τις τῶν φιλομαθῶς καὶ ἱκανῶς μεμελετηκότων τὰ θεῖα συντάξαι δυνήσεται. Ταῦτα πρὸς τὰ, ὡς φὴς, κρούματα ἀπεκρινάμην, καὶ ἀντιγράφω· εἴθε καὶ παιδεύειν δυναίμην! νυνὶ δὲ οὐ τηλικαῦτα ἐμαυτῷ δίδωμι. Προσαγορεύει σε ὁ συναγωνισάμενος τῇ ὑπαγορεύσει τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, καὶ παρατυχὼν πάσῃ αὐτῇ, ἐν οἷς βεβούληται διορθωσάμενος, κύριός μου καὶ ἀδελφὸς ἱερὸς Ἀμβρόσιος. Ἀσπάζεται δέ σε καὶ ἡ πιστοτάτη σύμβιος αὐτοῦ Μαρκέλλα ἅμα τοῖς τέκνοις, καὶ Ἀνίκητος. Σὺ τὸν καλὸν ἡμῶν πάπαν Ἀπολλινάριον ἄσπασαι, καὶ τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ἡμᾶς.
Sibinga on Becker on Origen on Paul!
The following is an exerpt from J. Smit Sibinga's review of Becker's book on John 8:1-11:
(6) Among several passages that seem to have something in common with the pericope adulterae, Origen's often cited comment on Romans 7:2b, which Daube discussed in this connection, is perhaps the least uncertain. 18
The Law according to the letter, Origen says, is dead in Jerusalem; it has lost its power, as it cannot punish a murderer, nor stone an adulteress: the Roman government claims all jurisdiction.
From the words "nec adulteram lapidare" Becker would like to conclude that Origen knew the pericope, but suppressed it (p. 123: "Wir mochten antworten: Origenes kennt die Ehebrecherinperikope . . ." is fairly positive; but cf. p. 124: "Nur mit allem Vorbehalt . . ." However, I cannot find these restrictions).
There is very little to justify this conclusion, though some fixed formula "the adulteress must be stoned" instead of "the adulteress must be put to death" (Lev. 20:1O) may indeed have been familiar to Origen (see also In Matth. XIX, 24 (GCS Or X, 1 (1935), p. 34132, cf. 3309 ) and Clement of Alexandria, Strom. II xxiii, 147, 1 and 4 (GCS ClemAl II (3 1960), pp. 193-194)).
We know that Christian polemists, with their opinion of the Old Testament Law ("the letter kills"), use biblical texts concerning capital punishment more or less freely: see Acts 3,23; Born. 7,3; Justin, Dialogue 10,3 and 23,4; Hom. Clem. III, 53 (Rehm (1953), p. 76), Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila (Conybeare (1898), p. 87f).
Stoning was, for the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, characteristic of the severity of the Law (12:20), as at the beginning of the Acts of John it seems to be characteristic of the Jews.
Now admittedly it was in fact the prescribed punishment for the adulteress (so also Becker, p. 121, 165); this is an obvious conclusion from the biblical text, Deut. 22,21-24, and Josephus still mentions it as normal practice.
The Mishna however prescribes strangulation. It is a little far-fetched to surmise, with Professor Daube, that Origen at this point depends on Jewish circles that opposed the mishnaic reform. Becker rightly points out that Origen's argument is theological (p. 120, note 3), and it should not be pressed beyond its polemic purpose.
To me, it seems just as far-fetched to declare that Origen here betrays his acquaintance with the pericope de adultera. Why the pericope rather than Clement or Josephus? Most likely this was just common tradition. 19
Some of these critical comments may, however slightly, affect the picture of the history of the pericope adulterae which Becker has drawn. He himself does not in any way consider it to be final (see p. 6). ...
(From: J. Smit Sibinga, Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 22, No. 1. (Apr., 1968), pp. 55-61.)
original footnotes from Nazaroo on Sibinga:
18. Interestingly, this passage in Romans discussed by Origen is passed by in silence by modern critics. Those who oppose the authenticity of the verses just cite Origen as a witness against authenticity without comment!
However, the evidence regarding Origen is complex and not so clear as critics make it appear. They say Origen doesn't quote the passage, but the key chapter of Origen's Commentary on John is actually missing, apparently destroyed deliberately. A list, a kind of 'table of contents' seems to indicate this portion was skipped over by Origen, but this list may be a later addition and not the work of Origen at all.
One of the most amazing incidents in the controversy occured when S. P. Tregelles appeared to quote the missing chapters of Origen's work! This confusion was somewhat cleared up later by Hort, although the result is not satisfying.
Tregelles on John 8:1-11 <-- Click Here.
Origen does engage in a lengthy discussion with Rufinus over the omission of the Story of Susanna. He makes it clear that he believed Jewish authorities deliberately removed the story, because it indicted them. If this is anything to go by, Origen might have taken the same position on the Pericope de Adultera, had he been made aware of its omission in some manuscripts.
19. Although the evidence for Origen's knowledge of the Pericope de Adultera is weak, so is the reviewer's argument here.
It is unlikely that Origen would have relied upon Josephus, or even Clement, for his commentary on Romans. Given the three choices, and the possibility that the Pericope de Adultera was in John at least in some copies available to Origen after 200 A.D., it seems a bit desperate to suggest that Origen got his ideas from Josephus.
"De Principiis" or "De Principatibus"
The importance of the following preface by Rufinus in his Latin translation of Origen will become quickly apparent. Rufinus provides much information regarding his intent, guiding principles, and method of translation/emendation of Origen's work.
He also gives insight into Jerome's translation methods, and their impact upon the text.
Perhaps almost as important, Rufinus also gives us an insight and a window to what the state of Origen's work was in, as found in his own time, and the ways in which it was subsequently modified by those who preserved his work.
Prologue of Rufinus to De Principiis
"I Know that very many of the brethren, induced by their thirst for a knowledge of the Scriptures, have requested some distinguished men, well versed in Greek learning, to translate Origen into Latin, and so make him accessible to Roman readers. Among these, when our brother and colleague1 had, at the earnest entreaty of Bishop Damasus, translated two of the Homilies on the Song of Songs out of Greek into Latin, he prefixed so elegant and noble a preface to that work, as to inspire every one with a most eager desire to read and study Origen, saying that the expression, "The King hath brought me into his chamber,"2 was appropriate to his feelings, and declaring that while Origen in his other works surpassed all writers, he in the Song of Songs surpassed even himself.
Abandonment of Project by Jerome,
and Rufinus' Reluctance to Take Over
He promises, indeed, in that very preface, that he will present the books on the Song of Songs, and numerous others of the works of Origen, in a Latin translation, to Roman readers. But he, finding greater pleasure in compositions of his own, pursues an end that is attended with greater fame, viz., in being the author rather than the translator of works.
Accordingly we enter upon the undertaking, which was thus begun and approved of by him, although we cannot compose in a style of elegance equal to that of a man of such distinguished eloquence; and therefore I am afraid lest, through my fault, the result should follow, that that man, whom he deservedly esteems as the second teacher of knowledge and wisdom in the Church after the apostles, should, through the poverty of my language, appear far inferior to what he is.
And this consideration, which frequently recurred to my mind, kept me silent, and prevented me from yielding to the numerous entreaties of my brethren, until your influence, my very faithful brother Macarius, which is so great, rendered it impossible for my unskilfulness any longer to offer resistance. And therefore, that I might not find you too grievous an exactor, I gave way, even contrary to my resolution;
Project Undertaken under Strict and Accepted Standards:
Jerome's Method of Correction Followed
on the condition and arrangement, however, that in my translation I should follow as far as possible the rule observed by my predecessors, and especially by that distinguished man[Jerome] whom I have mentioned above, who, after translating into Latin more than seventy of those treatises of Origen which are styled Homilies and a considerable number also of his writings on the apostles, in which a good many "stumbling-blocks" are found in the original Greek, so smoothed and corrected them in his translation, that a Latin reader would meet with nothing which could appear discordant with our belief.
His example, therefore, we follow, to the best of our ability; if not with equal power of eloquence, yet at least with the same strictness of rule, taking care not to reproduce those expressions occurring in the works of Origen which are inconsistent with and opposed to each other.
Corruptions in Origen's Work
Previously Demonstrated and Explained
The cause of these variations we have explained more freely in the Apologeticus, which Pamphilus wrote in defence of the works of Origen, where we added a brief tract, in which we showed, I think, by unmistakeable proofs, that his books had been corrupted in numerous places by heretics and malevolent persons, and especially those books of which you now require me to undertake the translation, i.e., the books which may be entitled De Principiis or De Principatibus, and which are indeed in other respects full of obscurities and difficulties.
For he there discusses those subjects with respect to which philosophers, after spending all their lives upon them, have been unable to discover anything. But here our author strove, as much as in him lay, to turn to the service of religion the belief in a Creator, and the rational nature of created beings, which the latter had degraded to purposes of wickedness.
Non-Trinitarian 'Interpolations' Omitted or Harmonized
If, therefore, we have found anywhere in his writings, any statement opposed to that view, which elsewhere in his works he had himself piously laid down regarding the Trinity, we have either omitted it, as being corrupt, and not the composition of Origen, or we have brought it forward agreeably to the rule which we frequently find affirmed by himself:
Obscure Statements Clarified
by Interpolating Origen from other Works
If, indeed, in his desire to pass rapidly on, he has, as speaking to persons of skill and knowledge, sometimes expressed himself obscurely, we have, in order that the passage might be clearer, added what we had read more fully stated on the same subject in his other works, keeping explanation in view, but adding nothing of our own, but simply restoring to him what was his, although occurring in other portions of his writings.
These remarks, therefore, by way of admonition, I have made in the preface, lest slanderous individuals perhaps should think that they had a second time discovered matter of accusation. But let perverse and disputatious men have a care what they are about. For we have in the meantime undertaken this heavy labour, if God should aid your prayers, not to shut the mouths of slanderers (which is impossible, although God perhaps will do it), but to afford material to those who desire to advance in the knowledge of these things.
Plea to Subsequent Copyists
And, verily, in the presence of God the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I adjure and beseech every one, who may either transcribe or read these books,
- by his belief in the kingdom to come, by the mystery of the resurrection from the dead, and by that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, that, as he would not possess for an eternal inheritance that place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and where their fire is not quenched and their worm dieth not,
- he add nothing to Scripture, and take nothing away from it, and make no insertion or alteration, but that he compare his transcript with the copies from which he made it, and make the emendations and distinctions according to the letter, and not have his manuscript incorrect or indistinct, lest the difficulty of ascertaining the sense, from the indistinctness of the copy, should cause greater difficulties to the readers."
1. Rufinus refers to St. Jerome, working under direction of the Bishop of Rome (between 392-404 A.D.), to make available various works of Origen etc. in Latin for the Western Church.
2. From the preface of Jerome's translation of Origen's Homily on Song of Songs
Rufinus' Preface to the Latin Translation of
Origen's Commentary on Romans
Addressed to Heraclius at Aquileia About a.d. 407
Prologue of Rufinus to
Origen's Commentary on Romans
"My intention was to press the shore of the quiet land in the little bark in which I was sailing, and to draw oat a few little fishes from the pools of Greece: but you have compelled me, brother Heraclius, to give my sails to the wind and go forth into the deep sea; you persuade me to leave the work which lay before me in the translation of the homilies written by the Man of Adamant1 in his old age, and to open to you the fifteen volumes in which he discussed the Epistle of Paul to the Romans.
In these books. while he aims at representing the Apostle's thoughts, he is carried away into a sea of such depth that one who follows him into it may well be afraid of being drowned in the greatness of his thoughts as in the vastness of the waves. Then also you do not consider this, that my breath is but scanty for filling a grand trumpet of eloquence like his.
And beyond all these difficulties is this, that the books themselves have been interpolated. In almost all the libraries (I grant that no one can tell how it happened) some of the volumes are absent from the body of the work; and to supply these, and to restore the continuity of the work in the Latin version is beyond my talent, but would be, as you must know when you make your demand, a special gift of God.
You add, however, so that nothing may be wanting to the labour I am undertaking, that I had better abbreviate this whole body of fifteen volumes, which in the Greek reaches to the length of forty thousand lines or more, and bring it within moderate compass.
Your injunctions are hard indeed, and might be thought to be imposed by one who did not care to consider what the burden of such a work must be. I will, however, attempt it, hoping that through your prayers, and the favour of the Lord, what seems impossible to man may become possible. But we will now, if you please, listen to the Preface which Origen himself prefixes to the work on which he was entering..."
Rufinus, Preface to Comm. Romans (c. 407 A.D.)
"Contra Celsus": (Against Celsus)
Chapter 62. Origen Against Celsus
"Let us now see what follows. He (Celsus) says:
(Celsus against the Christians: )
"Let us pass on, to another point. They (the Christians) cannot tolerate temples, altars, or images.
In this they are like the Scythians, the nomadic tribes of Libya, the Seres who worship no god, and some other of the most barbarous and impious nations in the world. That the Persians hold the same notions is shown by Herodotus in these words:
'I know that among the Persians it is considered unlawful to erect images, altars, or temples; but they charge those with folly who do so, because, as I conjecture, they do not, like the Greeks, suppose the gods to be of the nature of men.'
Heraclitus also says in one place:
'Persons who address prayers to these images act like those who speak to the walls, without knowing who the gods or the heroes are.'
And what wiser lesson have they to teach us than Heraclitus? He certainly plainly enough implies that it is a foolish thing for a man to offer prayers to images, whilst he knows not who the gods and heroes are. This is the opinion of Heraclitus.
But as for them [the Christians], they go further, and despise without exception all images. If they merely mean that the stone, wood, brass, or gold which has been wrought by this or that workman cannot be a god, they are ridiculous with their wisdom. For who, unless he be utterly childish in his simplicity, can take these for gods, and not for offerings consecrated to the service of the gods, or images representing them?
But if we are not to regard these as representing the Divine Being, seeing that God has a different form, as the Persians concur with them in saying, then let them take care that they do not contradict themselves; for they (the Christians) say that "God made man His own image", and that He gave him a form like to Himself!
However, they readily admit that these images are made and dedicated to the honour of certain beings (whether they are alike or not).
But the Christians hold that the beings to whom they are dedicated are not gods, but demons, and that a worshipper of God ought not to worship demons."
( - Celsus)
Chapter 63. Motive and Understanding is the Key
Our answer is this: If the Scythians, the nomads of Libya, the godless Seres, according to Celsus, if other barbarous and impious nations in the world, and if the Persians also, cannot tolerate temples, altars, and images, it doesn't follow that the grounds on which we object to them are the same as theirs, just because we (Christians) don't tolerate them (idols) any more than they do.
We must inquire into the principles on which the objection to temples and images is grounded, in order that we may approve of those who object on sound principles, and reject those whose principles are false. For one and the same thing may be done for different reasons.
For example, the philosophers who follow Zeno of Citium abstain from committing adultery, the followers of Epicurus do so too, and others too who do so without any philosophical principles; but now observe what different reasons control the conduct of these different groups.
The first (followers of Zeno) consider the interests of society, and hold it to be forbidden by nature that a man who is a reasonable being should corrupt a woman whom the laws have already given to another, and should thus break up the household of another man.
The Epicureans do not reason in this way; but if they abstain from adultery, it is because, regarding pleasure as the chief end of man, they perceive that one who gives himself up to adultery, encounters a multitude of obstacles to pleasure, such as imprisonment, exile, and death itself, for the sake of this one brief pleasure.
They (the would-be adulterers) often, indeed, run serious risk from the outset, while waiting for the master and those in his party to leave the house. So if it were possible for a man to commit adultery and escape detection by the husband, his servants, and others whose respect he would lose, then the Epicurean would plainly commit the crime for its pleasure.
The man with no philosophical system (the Barbarian), again, who abstains from adultery when opportunity knocks, does so usually from fear of the law and its penalties, and not for the reward of more pleasures in the future.
Not the Action, but the Motive that Matters
You see, then, that an act which passes for being one and the same - namely, abstinence from adultery - is not the same, but differs in different men according to the motives which drive it: one man refraining for sound reasons, and another for such bad and impious ones as those of the Epicurean, or the common person of whom we have spoken.
Chapter 64. Similar Differences of Motive Regarding Idolatry
As, then, this act of self-restraint, which in appearance is one and the same, is found in fact to be different in different persons, according to the principles and motives which lead to it; so it is the same way with those who cannot allow (Idolatry) in the worship of the Divine Being altars, or temples, or images.
The Scythians, the Nomadic Libyans, the godless Seres, and the Persians, agree in this with the Christians and Jews, but they are driven by very different principles.
For none of these former abhor altars and images for the reason that they are afraid of degrading the worship of God, and reducing it to the worship of material things wrought by the hands of men.
Neither do they object to them from a belief that the demons choose certain forms and places, whether because they are detained there by virtue of certain charms, or because for some other possible reason they have selected these haunts, where they may pursue their criminal pleasures, in partaking of the smoke of sacrificial victims.
But Christians and Jews have regard to this command, "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him alone; " (cf. Deut 6:13, 10:20, Josh 24:14, 1st Sam.7:3 LXX) and this other,
"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me: thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; "
...and again, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."(cf. 1st Sam.7:3 LXX) It is in consideration of these and many other such commands, that they not only avoid temples, altars, and images, but are ready to suffer death when it is necessary, rather than debase by any such impiety the conception which they have of the Most High God.
In regard to the Persians, we have already said that though they do not build temples, yet they worship the sun and the other works of God. This is forbidden to us, for we have been taught not to worship the creature instead of the Creator, but to know that,
"the creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21), and
"the earnest expectation of the creation is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19), and
"the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who made it subject, in hope." (Rom. 8:20)
We believe, therefore, that those things "under the bondage of corruption", and "subject to vanity", which remain in this condition "in hope" of a better state, ought not in our worship to hold the place of God, the all-sufficient, and of His Son, the First-born of all creation. Let this suffice, in addition to what we have already said of the Persians, who abhor altars and images, but who serve the creature instead of the Creator.
As to the passage quoted by Celsus from Heraclitus, the purport of which he represents as being, "that it is childish folly for one to offer prayers to images, whilst he knows not who the gods and heroes are," we may reply that it is easy to know that God and the Only-begotten Son of God.
And those whom God has honoured with the title of God, and who partake of His divine nature, are very different from all the gods of the nations, which are demons; and so it is not possible at the same time to know God and to address prayers to images.
Chapter 66: Conformity and Falsehood
And the charge of folly applies not only to those who offer prayers to images, but also to such as pretend to do so in compliance with the example of the multitude: and to this class belong the Peripatetic philosophers and the followers of Epicurus and Democritus.
For there can be no falsehood or pretence in the soul which is possessed with true piety towards God.
Misleading Others into Sin
Another reason also why we (Christians and Jews) abstain from doing honour to images, is that we may give no support to the notion that the images are gods.
It is for this reason that we condemn Celsus, and all others who, while admitting that they are not gods, yet, with the reputation of being wise men, render to them what passes for homage.
In this way they lead into sin the multitude who follow their example, and who worship these images not merely out of deference to custom, but from a belief into which they have fallen that they are true gods, and that those who hold that the objects of their worship are not true gods are not to be listened to.
Celsus Proves too Much
Celsus, indeed, says that "they do not take them for gods, but only as offerings dedicated to the gods." But he does not demonstrate that they are dedicated to the honour of the gods themselves, and not dedicated rather to men, as he says : For it is clear that they are really the offerings of men who were in error in their views of the Divine Being.
Moreover, we do not imagine that these images are representations of God, for they cannot represent a being who is invisible and incorporeal.
Man, made in the "Image" of God
is still a Creature not an object of Worship
But Celsus supposes that we fall into a contradiction, whilst on the one hand we say that God has not a human form, and on the other we profess to believe that God made man the image of Himself, and created man the image of God;
Not a Literal Image
Our answer is the same as has been given already, that we hold the resemblance to God to be found in the soul of reason, which is conformed to virtue, although Celsus, who does not see the difference between "being the image of God," and "being created after the image of God," pretends that we said, "God made man His own image, and gave him a (physical) form like to His own." But this has been examined before also.