Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter IX
p. 96 Chapter IX.—The Times of Pilate.
1. The historian already mentioned agrees with the evangelist in regard to the fact that Archelaus 162 succeeded to the government after Herod. He records the manner in which he received the kingdom of the Jews by the will of his father Herod and by the decree of Cæsar Augustus, and how, after he had reigned ten years, he lost his kingdom, and his brothers Philip 163 and Herod the younger, 164 with Lysanias, 165 still ruled their own tetrarchies. The same writer, in the eighteenth book of his Antiquities, 166 says that about the twelfth year of the reign of Tiberius, 167 who had succeeded to the empire after Augustus had ruled fifty-seven years, 168 Pontius Pilate was entrusted with the government of Judea, and that he remained there ten full years, almost until the death of Tiberius.
2. Accordingly the forgery of those who have recently given currency to acts against our Saviour 169 is clearly proved. For the very date given in them 170 shows the falsehood of their fabricators.
3. For the things which they have dared to say concerning the passion of the Saviour are put into the fourth consulship of Tiberius, which occurred in the seventh year of his reign; at which time it is plain that Pilate was not yet ruling in Judea, if the testimony of Josephus is to be believed, who clearly shows in the above-mentioned work 171 that Pilate was made procurator of Judea by Tiberius in the twelfth year of his reign.
Archelaus was a son of Herod the Great, and own brother of the Tetrarch Herod Antipas, with whom he was educated at Rome. Immediately after the death of Antipater he was designated by his father as his successor in the kingdom, and Augustus ratified the will, but gave him only the title of ethnarch. The title of King he never really received, although he is spoken of as king in Matt. ii. 22, the word being used in a loose sense. His dominion consisted of Idumea, Judea, Samaria, and the cities on the coast, comprising a half of his fathers kingdom. The other half was divided between Herod Antipas and Philip. He was very cruel, and was warmly hated by most of his subjects. In the tenth year of his reign (according to Josephus, Ant. XVII. 13. 2), or in the ninth (according to B. J. II. 7. 3), he was complained against by his brothers and subjects on the ground of cruelty, and was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where he probably died, although Jerome says that he was shown his tomb near Bethlehem. Jeromes report, however, is too late to be of any value. The exact length of his reign it is impossible to say, as Josephus is not consistent in his reports. The difference may be due to the fact that Josephus reckoned from different starting-points in the two cases. He probably ruled a little more than nine years. His condemnation took place in the consulship of M. Æmilius Lepidus and L. Arruntius (i.e. in 6 a.d.) according to Dion Cassius, LV. 27. After the deposition of Archelaus Judea was made a Roman province and attached to Syria, and Coponius was sent as the first procurator. On Archelaus, see Josephus, Ant. XVII. 8, 9, 11 sq., and B. J. I. 33. 8 sq.; II. 6 sq.96:163
Philip, a son of Herod the Great by his wife Cleopatra, was Tetrarch of Batanea, Trachonitis, Aurinitis, &c., from b.c. 4 to a.d. 34. He was distinguished for his justice and moderation. He is mentioned only once in the New Testament, Luke iii. 1. On Philip, see Josephus, Ant. XVII. 8. 1; 11. 4; XVIII. 4. 6.96:164
Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great by his wife Malthace, was Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from b.c. 4 to a.d. 39. In 39 a.d. he went to Rome to sue for the title of King, which his nephew Herod Agrippa had already secured. But accusations against him were sent to the emperor by Agrippa, and he thereby lost his tetrarchy and was banished to Lugdunum (Lyons) in Gaul, and died (according to Josephus, B. J. II. 9. 6) in Spain. It was he who beheaded John the Baptist, and to him Jesus was sent by Pilate. His character is plain enough from the New Testament account. For further particulars of his life, see Josephus, Ant. XVII. 8. 1; 11. 4; XVIII. 2. 1; 5 and 7; B. J. II. 9.96:165
The Lysanias referred to here is mentioned in Luke iii. 1 as Tetrarch of Abilene. Eusebius, in speaking of Lysanias here, follows the account of Luke, not that of Josephus, for the latter nowhere says that Lysanias continued to rule his tetrarchy after the exile of Archelaus. Indeed he nowhere states that Lysanias ruled a tetrarchy at this period. He only refers (Ant. XVIII. 6. 10; XIX. 5. 1; XX. 7. 1; and B. J. II. 12. 8) to “the tetrarchy of Lysanias,” which he says was given to Agrippa I. and II. by Caligula and Claudius. Eusebius thus reads more into Josephus than he has any right to do, and yet we cannot assume that he is guilty of willful deception, for he may quite innocently have interpreted Josephus in the light of Lukes account, without realizing that Josephus statement is of itself entirely indefinite. That there is no real contradiction between the statements of Josephus and Luke has been abundantly demonstrated by Davidson, Introduction to the New Testament, I. p. 215 sq.96:166
Josephus, Ant. XVIII. 2. 2 and 4. 2.96:167
Josephus reckons here from the death of Augustus (14 a.d.), when Tiberius became sole emperor. Pilate was appointed procurator in 26 a.d. and was recalled in 36.96:168
Josephus dates the beginning of Augustus reign at the time of the death of Julius Cæsar (as Eusebius also does in chap. 5, §2), and calls him the second emperor. But Augustus did not actually become emperor until 31 b.c., after the battle of Actium.96:169
Eusebius refers here, not to the acts of Pilate written by Christians, of which so many are still extant (cf. Bk. II. chap. 2, note 1), but to those forged by their enemies with the approval of the emperor Maximinus (see below, Bk. IX. chap. 5).96:170
ὁ τῆς παρασημειώσεως χρόνος. “In this place παρασ. is the superscription or the designation of the time which was customarily prefixed to acts. For judicial acts were thus drawn up: Consulatu Tiberii Augusti Septimo, inducto in judicium Jesu, &c.” (Val.)96:171
Ant.XVIII. 2. 2. Compare §1, above.
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