SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XXIII. EUSEBIUS, Hist. Eccles. v. 8.


Origin of the Gospels


«Ὁ μὲν δὴ Ματθαῖος ἐν τοῖς Ἑβραίοις τῇ ἰδίᾳ αὐτῶν διαλέκτῳ καὶ γραφὴν ἐξήνεγκεν εὐαγγελίου, τοῦ Πέτρου καὶ τοῦ Παύλου ἐν Ῥώμῃ εὐαγγελιζομένων καὶ θεμελιούντων τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. μετὰ δὲ τὴν τούτων ἔξοδον Μάρκος, ὁ μαθητὴς καὶ ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου, καὶ αὐτὸς τὰ ὑπὸ Πέτρου κηρυσσόμενα ἐγγράφως ἡμῖν παραδέδωκεν· καὶ Λουκᾶς δέ, ὁ ἀκόλουθος Παύλου, τὸ ὑπ᾿ ἐκείνου κηρυσσόμενον εὐαγγέλιον ἐν βίβλῳ κατέθετο. ἔπειτα Ἰωάννης, ὁ μαθητὴς τοῦ κυρίου, ὁ καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ ἀναπεσών, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξέδωκεν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, ἐν Ἐφέσῳ τῆς Ἀσίας διατρίβων».

Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἐν τρίτῳ τῆς εἰρημένης ὑποθέσεως τῷ προδηλωθέντι εἴρηται, ἐν δὲ τῷ πέμπτῳ περὶ τῆς Ἰωάννου Ἀποκαλύψεως καὶ τῆς ψήφου τῆς τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου προσηγορίας οὕτως διαλαμβάνει·

«Τούτων δὲ οὕτως ἐχόντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσι δὲ τοῖς σπουδαίοις καὶ ἀρχαίοις ἀντιγράφοις τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τούτου κειμένου καὶ μαρτυρούντων αὐτῶν ἐκείνων τῶν κατ᾿ ὄψιν τὸν Ἰωάννην ἑορακότων καὶ τοῦ λόγου διδάσκοντος ἡμᾶς ὅτι ὁ ἀριθμὸς τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ θηρίου κατὰ τὴν Ἑλλήνων ψῆφον διὰ τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ γραμμάτων ἐμφαίνεται».

Καὶ ὑποκαταβὰς περὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φάσκει·

«Ἡμεῖς οὖν οὐκ ἀποκινδυνεύομεν περὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ 'Aντιχρίστου ἀποφαινόμενοι βεβαιωτικῶς. εἰ γὰρ ἔδει ἀναφανδὸν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ κηρύττεσθαι τοὔνομα αὐτοῦ, δι᾿ ἐκείνου ἂν ἐρρέθη τοῦ καὶ τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν ἑορακότος· οὐδὲ γὰρ πρὸ πολλοῦ χρόνου ἑωράθη, ἀλλὰ σχεδὸν ἐπὶ τῆς ἡμετέρας γενεᾶς, πρὸς τῷ τέλει τῆς Δομετιανοῦ ἀρχῆς».

Ταῦτα καὶ περὶ τῆς Ἀποκαλύψεως ἱστόρηται τῷ δεδηλωμένῳ· μέμνηται δὲ καὶ τῆς Ἰωάννου πρώτης Ἐπιστολῆς, μαρτυρίας ἐξ αὐτῆς πλείστας εἰσφέρων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τῆς Πέτρου προτέρας. οὐ μόνον δὲ οἶδεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποδέχεται τὴν τοῦ Ποιμένος γραφήν, λέγων·

«Καλῶς οὖν ἡ γραφὴ ἡ λέγουσα πρῶτον πάντων πίστευσον ὅτι εἷς ἐστιν ὁ θεὸς ὁ τὰ πάντα κτίσας καὶ καταρτίσας», καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς.

Καὶ ῥητοῖς δέ τισιν ἐκ τῆς Σολομῶνος Σοφίας κέχρηται, μόνον οὐχὶ φάσκων· «ὅρασις δὲ θεοῦ περιποιητικὴ ἀφθαρσίας, ἀφθαρσία δὲ ἐγγὺς εἶναι ποιεῖ θεοῦ». καὶ ἀπομνημονευμάτων δὲ ἀποστολικοῦ τινος πρεσβυτέρου, οὗ τοὔνομα σιωπῇ παρέδωκεν, μνημονεύει ἐξηγήσεις τε αὐτοῦ θείων γραφῶν παρατέθειται. ἔτι καὶ Ἰουστίνου τοῦ μάρτυρος καὶ Ἰγνατίου μνήμην πεποίηται, μαρτυρίαις αὖθις καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν τούτοις γραφέντων κεχρημένος, ἐπήγγελται δ᾿ αὐτὸς ἐκ τῶν Μαρκίωνος συγγραμμάτων ἀντιλέξειν αὐτῷ ἐν ἰδίῳ σπουδάσματι.

Matthew published a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their decease Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter – he also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom – he too published the Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia.

[Irenaeus] states these things in the third book of his above-mentioned work. In the fifth book he speaks as follows of the Apocalypse of John, and the number of the name of Antichrist:–

'As these things are so, and this number is found in all the approved and ancient copies, and those who saw John face to face confirm it, and reason teaches us that the number of the name of the beast, according to the mode of calculation among the Greeks, appears in its letters ' ...

And farther on he says concerning the same:–

'We are not bold enough to speak confidently of the name of Antichrist. For if it were necessary that his name should be declared clearly at the present time, it would have been announced by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen, not long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the end of the reign of Domitian.'

These things concerning the Apocalypse are stated by the writer referred to. He also mentions the first Epistle of John, taking many proofs from it, and likewise the first Epistle of Peter. And he not only knows, but also receives, the Shepherd, writing as follows:–

'Well did the Scripture speak, saying, "First of all believe that God is one, who has created and completed all things," ' &c.

And he uses almost the precise words of the Wisdom of Solomon, saying, 'the vision of God produces immortality, but immortality renders us near to God.' He mentions also the memoirs of a certain apostolic presbyter, whose name he passes by in silence, and gives his expositions of the sacred Scriptures. And he refers to Justin the Martyr, and to Ignatius, using quotations also from their writings. Moreover, he promises to refute Marcion from his own writings, in a special work.


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