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On the coming of Christ: "He comes every day with great power to the mind of the believer in the clouds of prophecy, that is, in the Scriptures of the Prophets and the Apostles, who utter the word of God with a meaning above human nature. Also we say that to those who understand He comes with great glory, and that this is the mole seen in the second coming of the Word which is to the perfect. And so it may be, that all which the three Evangelists have said concerning Christ's coming, if carefully compared together and thoroughly examined would be found to apply to His continual daily coming in His body, which is the Church, of which coming He said in another place, Hereafter shall you see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven, excepting those places in which He promises that His last coming in His own person." (Aquinas Catena Matt. 24:30)
"Our purpose in editing the texts has been to present all the decrees of the councils and only the decrees. For this reason some very important texts have had to be omitted, for example the anathemas against Origen formerly attributed (erroneously) to Constantinople II, or the charges on which pope Honorius was condemned (as these relate to the acts, not the decrees, of Constantinople III), or the profession of faith of pope Hormisdas which was a condition of admittance required of the council fathers at Constantinople IV, but does not appear to have been formally approved by the council." (Decrees of the ecumenical councils, 1990)
Roger Pearse "Now I was under the impression, rightly or wrongly, that the Council of Constantinople held by Justinian had condemned Origenism, and perhaps anathematised Origen himself, depending on some text-critical questions. To pronounce a man anathema 300 years after he died in the peace of the church, and died moreover from the effects of torture in confessing Christ, would be morally wrong of course."
In the . . . edition of the Psalms . . . [Origen reported] again how he found one of [the translations] at Jericho in a tunnel in the time of Antoninus the son of Severus. Eusebius Auncient ecclesiasticall histories ... (London, 1585) Printed book. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
(248) “We do not deny, then, that the purificatory fire and the destruction of the world took place in order that evil might be swept away, and all things be renewed; for we assert that we have learned these things from the sacred books of the prophets…And anyone who likes may convict this statement of falsehood, if it be not the case that the whole Jewish nation was overthrown within one single generation after Jesus had undergone these sufferings at their hands. For forty and two years, I think after the date of the crucifixion of Jesus, did the destruction of Jerusalem take place.” (Contra Celsum, IV, xxi-xxii; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 505, 506.)
"Now in these it is recorded, that "when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then shall ye know that the desolation thereof is nigh." But at that time there were no armies around Jerusalem, encompassing and enclosing and besieging it; for the siege began in the reign of Nero, and lasted till the government of Vespasian, whose son Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, but in reality, as the truth makes clear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God."
Significance of A.D. 70)
"If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure" (Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol 4)
"And a sign that she has received the bill of divorcement is this, that Jerusalem was destroyed along with what they called the sanctuary of the things in it which were believed to be holy, and with the altar of burnt offerings, and all the worship associated with it. And a further sign of the bill of divorcement is this, that they cannot keep their feasts, even though according to the letter of the law designedly commanded them, in the place which the Lord God appointed to them for keeping feasts; but there is this also, that the whole synagogue has become unable to stone those who have committed this or that sin; and thousands of things commanded are a sign of the bill of divorcement; and the fact that "there is no more a prophet," and that they say, "We no longer see signs;" for the Lord says, "He hath taken away from Judaea and from Jerusalem," according to the word of Isaiah, "Him that is mighty, and her that is mighty, a powerful giant," etc., down to the words, "a prudent hearer."
Now, He who is the Christ may have taken the synagogue to wife and cohabited with her, but it may be that afterwards she found not favour in His sight; and the reason of her not having found favour in His sight was, that there was found in her an unseemly thing; for what was more unseemly than the Circumstance that, when it was proposed to them to release one at the feast, they asked for the release of Barabbas the robber, and the condemnation of Jesus? And what was more unseemly than the fact, that they all said in His case, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," and "Away with such a fellow from the earth"? And can this be freed from the charge of unseemliness, "His blood be upon us, and upon our children"? Wherefore, when He was avenged, Jerusalem was compassed with armies, and its desolation was near, and their house was taken away from it, and "the daughter of Zion was left as a booth in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a besieged city." (COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW, Book 2., sec. 19.)
"For it is indeed manifest that when they beheld Jesus they did not see who he was, and when they heard him they did not understand from his words the divinity that was in him and which transferred God's providential care, hitherto exercised over the Jews, to his converts from the heathen. Therefore we may see that after the advent the Jews were altogether abandoned.. considered their ancient glories, so that there is no indication of any divinity abiding amongst them For what nation is an exile from their own metropolis, and from the place sacred to the worship of their fathers, save the Jews only? And these calamities they have suffered because they were a most wicked nation which, although guilty of many other sins, yet had been punished so severely for none as for committed against our Jesus." ((Cels., II, 8)
"But if "the children of Israel are to sit many days without a king, or ruler, or altar, or priesthood, or responses;" and if, since the temple was destroyed, there exists no longer sacrifice, nor altar, nor priesthood, it is manifest that the ruler has failed out of Judah, and the leader from between his thighs. And since the prediction declares that "the ruler shall not fail from Judah, and the leader from between his thighs, until what is reserved for Him shall come," it is manifest that He is come to whom (belongs) what is reserved--the expectation of the Gentiles. And this is clear from the multitude of the heathen who have believed on God through Jesus Christ. (Principles, 4:1:3)
"This Jew of Celsus continues, after the above, in the following fashion: "Although he could state many things regarding the events of the life of Jesus which are true, and not like those which are recorded by the disciples, he willingly omits them." What, then, are those true statements, unlike the accounts in the Gospels, which the Jew of Celsus passes by without mention? Or is he only employing what appears to be a figure of speech, in pretending to have something to say, while in reality he had nothing to produce beyond the Gospel narrative which could impress the hearer with a feeling of its truth, and furnish a clear ground of accusation against Jesus and His doctrine? And he charges the disciples with having invented the statement that Jesus foreknew and foretold all that happened to Him; but the truth of this statement we shall establish, although Celsus may not like it, by means of many other predictions uttered by the Savior, in which He foretold what would befall the Christians in after generations. And who is there who would not be astonished at this prediction:
"Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles;" and at any others which He may have delivered respecting the future persecution of His disciples? For what system of opinions ever existed among men on account of which others are punished, so that any one of the accusers of Jesus could say that, foreseeing the impiety or falsity of his opinions to be the ground of an accusation against them he thought that this would redound to his credit, that he had so predicted regarding it long before? Now if any deserve to be brought, on account of their opinions, before governors and kings, what others are they, save the Epicureans, who altogether deny the existence of providence? And also the Peripatetics, who say that prayers are of no avail, and sacrifices offered as to the Divinity? But some one will say that the Samaritans suffer persecution because of their religion.
In answer to whom we shall state that the Sicarians, on account of the practice of circumcision, as mutilating themselves contrary to the established laws and the customs permitted to the Jews alone, are put to death. And you never hear a judge inquiring whether a Sicarian who strives to live according to this established religion of his will be released from punishment if he apostatizes, but will be led away to death if he continues firm; for the evidence of the circumcision is sufficient to ensure the death of him who has undergone it. But Christians alone, according to the prediction of their Savior, "Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake," are urged up to their last breath by their judges to deny Christianity, and to sacrifice according to the public customs; and after the oath of abjuration, to return to their homes, and to live in safety. And observe whether it is not with great authority that this declaration is uttered: "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father who is in heaven. And whosoever shall deny Me before men," etc. And go back with me in thought to Jesus when He uttered these words, and see His predictions not yet accomplished.
Perhaps you will say, in a spirit of incredulity, that he is talking folly, and speaking to no purpose, for his words will have no fulfillment; or, being in doubt about assenting to his words, you will say, that if these predictions be fulfilled, and the doctrine of Jesus be established, so that governors and kings think of destroying those who acknowledge Jesus, then we shall believe that he utters these prophecies as one who has received great power from God to implant this doctrine among the human race, and as believing that it will prevail. And who will not be filled with wonder, when he goes back in thought to Him who then taught and said, "This Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles," and beholds, agreeably to His words, the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached in the whole world under heaven to Greeks and Barbarians, wise and foolish alike? For the word, spoken with power, has gained the mastery over men of all sorts of nature, and it is impossible to see any race of men which has escaped accepting the teaching of Jesus.
But let this Jew of Celsus, who does not believe that He foreknew all that happened to Him, consider how, while Jerusalem was still standing, and the whole Jewish worship celebrated in it, Jesus foretold what would befall it from the hand of the Romans. For they will not maintain that the acquaintances and pupils of Jesus Himself handed down His teaching contained in the Gospels without committing it to writing, and left His disciples without the memoirs of Jesus contained in their works. Now in these it is recorded, that "when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then shall ye know that the desolation thereof is nigh." But at that time there were no armies around Jerusalem, encompassing and enclosing and besieging it; for the siege began in the reign of Nero, and lasted till the government of Vespasian, whose son Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, but in reality, as the truth makes clear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God." (Origen Against Celcus, Book 2, ch. 13)
"But when he goes on to say that "those who inflicted death upon Jesus suffered nothing afterwards through so long a time," we must inform him, as well as all who are disposed to learn the truth, that the city in which the Jewish people called for the crucifixion of Jesus with shouts of "Crucify him, crucify him," preferring to have the robber set free, who had been cast into prison for sedition and murder and Jesus, who had been delivered through envy, to be crucified, — that this city not long afterwards was attacked, and, after a long siege, was utterly overthrown and laid waste; for God judged the inhabitants of that place unworthy of living together the life of citizens. And yet, though it may seem an incredible thing to say, God spared this people in delivering them to their enemies; for He saw that they were incurably averse to any amendment, and were daily sinking deeper and deeper into evil. And all this befell them, because the blood of Jesus was shed at their instigation and on their land; and the land was no longer able to bear those who were guilty of so fearful a crime against Jesus. (Origen Against Celcus, Book 8, ch. 42)
Faulty 'Literal Method of Bible Interpretation')
"8. Having spoken thus briefly on the subject of the divine inspiration of the the Holy Spirit, it seems necessary to explain this point also, viz., how certain persons, not reading them correctly, have given themselves over to erroneous opinions, inasmuch as the procedure to be followed, in order to attain an understanding of the holy writings, is unknown to many. The Jews, in fine, owing to the hardness of their heart, and from a desire to appear wise in their own eyes, have not believed in our Lord and Saviour, judging that those statements which were uttered respecting Him ought to be understood literally, i.e., that He ought in a sensible and visible manner to preach deliverance to the captives, and first build a city which they truly deem the city of God, and cut off at the same time the chariots of Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; that He ought also to eat butter and honey, in order to choose the good before He should come to how how to bring forth evil.
They think, also, that it has been predicted that the wolf--that four-footed animal--is, at the coming of Christ, to feed with the lambs, and the leopard to lie down with kids, and the calf and the bull to pasture with lions, and that they are to be led by a little child to the pasture; that the ox and the bear are to lie down together in the green fields, and that their young ones are to be fed together; that lions also will frequent stalls with the oxen, and feed on straw. And seeing that, according to history, there was no accomplishment of any of those things predicted of Him, in which they believed the signs of Christ's advent were especially to be observed, they refused to acknowledge the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; nay, contrary to all the principles of human and divine law, i.e., contrary to the faith of prophecy, they crucified Him for assuming to Himself the name of Christ. " (Principles, 4:1:7)
"Now the cause, in all the points previously enumerated, of the false opinions, and of the impious statements or ignorant assertions about God, appears to be nothing else than the not understanding the Scripture according to its spiritual meaning, but the interpretation of it agreeably to the mere letter." (Principles, 4:1:8)
Weeks of Daniel)
Heavens and Earth)
And consequently they say, that after the resurrection there will be marriages, and the begetting of children, imagining to themselves that the earthly city of Jerusalem is to be rebuilt, its foundations laid in precious stones, and its walls constructed of jasper, and its battlements of crystal; that it is to have a wall composed of many precious stones, as jasper, and sapphire, and chalcedony, and emerald, and sardonyx, and onyx, and chrysolite, and chrysoprase, and jacinth, and amethyst. Moreover, they think that the natives of other countries are to be given them as the ministers of their pleasures, whom they are to employ either as tillers of the field or builders of walls, and by whom their ruined and fallen city is again to be raised up; and they think that they are to receive the wealth of the nations to live on, and that they will have control over their riches; that even the camels of Midian and Kedar will come, and bring to them gold, and incense, and precious stones. And these views they think to establish on the authority of the prophets by those promises which are written regarding Jerusalem; and by those passages also where it is said, that they who serve the Lord shall eat and drink, but that sinners shall hunger and thirst; that the righteous shall be joyful, but that sorrow shall possess the wicked.
And from the New Testament also they quote the saying of the Saviour, in which He makes a promise to His disciples concerning the joy of wine, saying, "Henceforth I shall not drink of this cup, until I drink it with you new in My Father's kingdom." They add, moreover, that declaration, in which the Saviour calls those blessed who now hunger and thirst, promising them that they shall be satisfied; and many other scriptural illustrations are adduced by them, the meaning of which they do not perceive is to be taken figuratively. Then, again, agreeably to the form of things in this life, and according to the gradations of the dignities or ranks in this world, or the greatness of their powers, they think they are to be kings and princes, like those earthly monarchs who now exist; chiefly, as it appears, on account of that expression in the Gospel: "Have thou power over five cities." And to speak shortly, according to the manner of things in this life in all similar matters, do they desire the fulfilment of all things looked for in the promises, viz., that what now is should exist again. Such are the views of those who, while believing in Christ, understand the divine Scriptures in a sort of Jewish sense, drawing from them nothing worthy of the divine promises." (De Principiis 2.11.2)
James the Just)
"Sodom--The very term applied by Isa 1:10 to apostate Jerusalem (compare Eze 16:48)."
" also our--A, B, C, ORIGEN, ANDREAS, and others read, "also their." Where their Lord, also, as well as they, was slain. Compare Re 18:24, where the blood of ALL slain on earth is said to be found IN BABYLON, just as in Mt 23:35, Jesus saith that, "upon the Jews and JERUSALEM" (Compare Mt 23:37,38)" (in loc.)
Christopher Love (1653)
Origen and Josephus, Part 1
This post is the first of a series on Origen and Josephus. The question I'm pursuing is, what can Origen tell us about the famous references to Jesus and his brother James, a.k.a., James the Just, in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews?
Here is the latter of the two references, followed by Origen's own three references to what Josephus had to say about James and Jesus.
Antiquities 20.9.1 §200-203
But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ [adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou], whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.
Origen, Commentary on Matthew 10.17.
And this James is the one whom Paul says he saw in the epistle to the Galatians, saying: But I did not see any other of the apostles except James the brother of the Lord. And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did this James rise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ [adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou]. And the wonderful thing is that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James.
Origen, Against Celsus 1.47.
For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer [Josephus], although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless-being, although against his will, not far from the truth-that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus called Christ [adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou],--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure.
Origen, Against Celsus 2.13.
But at that time there were no armies around Jerusalem, encompassing and enclosing and besieging it; for the siege began in the reign of Nero, and lasted till the government of Vespasian, whose son Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ [adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou], but in reality, as the truth makes clear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
The simplest inference from Origen’s work is that by his time, the present reference to James and Jesus in Antiquities 20 was in existence and had prompted some Christian(s) to impute to Josephus the view that the war with Rome was punishment for the execution of James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” The premise here is that this view is much likelier to have been imputed to Josephus if his works mentioned this James than if his works did not mention him at all.
It’s possible that Antiquities 20 in Origen’s time contained no mention of this James, and that Christians on their own had developed traditions about how Josephus mentioned and praised James – to the extent of having Josephus attribute the destruction of Jerusalem to his execution. But a far better explanation for such traditions is that they were built upon certain elements in the current account, where Josephus recounts how the execution of Christ’s brother was punished, in a small way and by other human beings; and where Josephus states that some fair-minded Jews regarded the execution as unjust and sought a way to rectify the wrong. These “seeds” could build eventually into the tradition found in Origen, namely that Josephus witnessed to a severe punishment from God and to the fact that the Jews themselves knew the punishment to be just.
Such an account as exists today in Antiquities 20 must have gladdened Christians, some of whom would have felt that Josephus was a possible secret friend (or eventual convert) in a hostile world. Early Christians made such claims about Joseph of Arimathea, Pontius Pilate, Barabbas, etc.
We can see the tradition building in this manner:
If Christians made up the traditions about Josephus without the current passage, proposed reconstructions of what Josephus originally wrote have little power to explain the later traditions. For instance, it’s doubtful that an original Josephan reference to “the brother of Jesus, son of Damneus” (this Jesus being the high priest who succeeds Ananus in the above-quoted passage) could have prompted a full-fledged belief that Josephus had extolled James the brother of Jesus. It seems far more likely that the later Christian traditions about Josephus’ attitude toward James started building whenever there appeared a Josephan reference to the Christian James.
Part 2 will deal with the question of whether Origen had a copy of Josephus on hand.
What do YOU think ?
"It took nearly 2000 years for the physical sciences to return to the level of knowledge of the physical world known to the Ionian Greeks, recovering from the suppression that started with Sparta and ended with the Roman Catholic Church. Modern philosophy has yet been able to achieve the broad reach that it enjoyed within the Ionian culture and its greatest Christian teacher; Origenes." - Shawn Murphy – www.origenes2000.org
As to the phrase this generation shall not pass, my opinion is that Mannassass caused the first desolation, and that Jeremiah as an eye witness to josiah's last revival and subsequent decline was quoted by Jesus when he referred to the phrase known by us. This makes Jeremiah about 5 years old, at the start, at the fall about 36 years old.
Date: 16 Mar 2006
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