Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XII
Chapter XII.—The Disciples of our Saviour.
1. The names of the apostles of our Saviour are known to every one from the Gospels. 199 But there exists no catalogue of the seventy disciples. 200 Barnabas, indeed, is said to have been one of them, of whom the Acts of the apostles makes mention in various places, 201 p. 99 and especially Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. 202
2. They say that Sosthenes also, who wrote to the Corinthians with Paul, was one of them. 203 This is the account of Clement 204 in the fifth book of his Hypotyposes, in which he also says that Cephas was one of the seventy disciples, 205 a man who bore the same name as the apostle Peter, and the one concerning whom Paul says, “When Cephas came to Antioch I withstood him to his face.” 206
3. Matthias, 207 also, who was numbered with the apostles in the place of Judas, and the one who was honored by being made a candidate with him, 208 are likewise said to have been deemed worthy of the same calling with the seventy. They say that Thaddeus 209 also was one of them, concerning whom I shall presently relate an account which has come down to us. 210 And upon examination you will find that our Saviour had more than seventy disciples, according to the testimony of Paul, who says that after his resurrection from the dead he appeared first to Cephas, then to the twelve, and after them to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom some had fallen asleep; 211 but the majority were still living at the time he wrote.
4. Afterwards he says he appeared unto James, who was one of the so-called brethren of the Saviour. 212 But, since in addition to these, there were many others who were called apostles, in imitation of the Twelve, as was Paul himself, he adds: “Afterward he appeared to all the apostles.” 213 So much in regard to these persons. But the story concerning Thaddeus is as follows.
See Matt. x. 2–4; Luke vi. 13-16; Mark iii. 14-1998:200
See Luke x. 1-20.98:201
See Acts 4:36, Acts 13:1 et passim. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II. 20) calls Barnabas one of the Seventy. This tradition is not in itself improbable, but we can trace it back no further than Clement. The Clementine Recognitions and Homilies frequently mention Barnabas as an apostle active in Alexandria and in Rome. One tradition sends him to Milan and makes him the first bishop of the church there, but the silence of Ambrose in regard to it is a sufficient proof of its groundlessness. There is extant an apocryphal work, probably of the fifth century, entitled Acta et Passio Barnabæ in Cypro, which relates his death by martyrdom in Cyprus. The tradition may be true, but its existence has no weight. Barnabas came from Cyprus and labored there for at least a time. It would be natural, therefore, to assign his death (which was necessarily martyrdom, for no Christian writer of the early centuries could have admitted that he died a natural death) to that place.99:202
Gal. 2:1, 9, 13Gal. 2:1, 9, and 13.99:203
Sosthenes is mentioned in 1 Cor. i. 1. From what source Eusebius drew this report in regard to him I cannot tell. He is the first to mention it, so far as I know. A later tradition reports that he became Bishop of Colophon, a city in Ionia. A Sosthenes is mentioned also in Acts xviii. 17, as ruler of the Jewish synagogue in Corinth. Some wish to identify the two, supposing the latter to have been afterward converted, but in this case of course he cannot have been one of the Seventy. Eusebius tradition is one in regard to whose value we can form no opinion.99:204
On Clement and his works see Bk. V. chap. 11, note 1, and Bk. VI. chap. 13.99:205
Clement is, so far as I know, the first to make this distinction between Peter the Apostle, and Cephas, one of the Seventy. The reason for the invention of a second Peter in the post-apostolic age is easy to understand as resulting from the desire to do away with the conflict between two apostles. This Cephas appears frequently in later traditions and is commemorated in the Menology of Basil on December 9, and in the Armenian calendar on September 25. In the Ecclesiastical Canons he is made one of the twelve apostles, and distinguished from Peter.99:206
Gal. ii. 11.99:207
We learn from Acts i. 21 sqq. that Matthias was a follower of Christ throughout his ministry and therefore the tradition, which Eusebius is, so far as we know, the first to record, is not at all improbable. Epiphanius (at the close of the first book of his Hær., Dindorfs ed. I. p. 337) a half-century later records the same tradition. Nicephorus Callistus (II. 40) says that he labored and suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia (probably meaning Caucasian Ethiopia, east of the Black Sea). Upon the Gospel of Matthias see below, III. 25, note 30.99:208
Joseph Barsabas, surnamed Justus. He, too, had been with Christ from the beginning, and therefore may well have been one of the Seventy, as Eusebius reports. Papias (quoted by Eusebius, III. 39, below) calls him Justus Barsabas, and relates that he drank a deadly poison without experiencing any injury.99:209
From a comparison of the different lists of apostles given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Thaddeus is seen to be one of the Twelve, apparently identical with Jude and Lebbæus (compare Jerome, In Matt. X.). Eusebius here sunders him from the apostles and makes him one of the Seventy, committing an error similar to that which arose in the case of Peter and Cephas. He perhaps records only an oral tradition, as he uses the word φασί. He is, so far as is known, the first to mention the tradition.99:210
See the next chapter.99:211
See 1 Cor. xv. 5-7.99:212
The relationship of James and Jesus has always been a disputed matter. Three theories have been advanced, and are all widely represented.
The first is the full-brother hypothesis, according to which the brothers and sisters of Jesus were children of both Joseph and Mary. This was advocated strongly by the heretic Helvidius in Rome in 380, and is widely accepted in the Protestant Church. The only serious objection to it is the committal of Mary to the care of John by Christ upon the cross. But John was at any rate an own cousin of Jesus, and the objection loses its weight when we realize the spiritual sympathy which existed between Jesus and John, and the lack of belief exhibited by his own brothers. The second is the half-brother hypothesis which regards the brethren and sisters of Jesus as children of Joseph by a former wife. This has the oldest tradition in its favor (though the tradition for none of the theories is old or universal enough to be of great weight), the apocryphal Gospel of James, chap. ix., recording that Joseph was a widower and had children before marrying Mary. It is still the established theory in the Greek Church. The greatest objection to it is that if it be true, Christ as a younger son of Joseph, could not have been regarded as the heir to the throne of David. That the objection is absolutely fatal cannot be asserted for it is nowhere clearly stated that he was the heir-apparent to the throne; it is said only that he was of the line of David. Both of these theories agree in distinguishing James, the brother of the Lord, from James, the son of Alphæus, the apostle, and thus assume at least three Jameses in the New Testament. Over against both of them is to be mentioned a third, which assumes only two Jameses, regarding the brethren of the Lord as his cousins, and identifying them with the sons of Alphæus. This theory originated with Jerome in 383 a.d. with the confessedly dogmatic object of preserving the virginity both of Mary and of Joseph in opposition to Helvidius. Since his time it has been the established theory in the Latin Church, and is advocated also by many Protestant scholars. The original and common form of the theory makes Jesus and James maternal cousins: finding only three women in John xix. 25, and regarding Mary, the wife of Clopas, as the sister of the Virgin Mary. But this is in itself improbable and rests upon poor exegesis. It is far better to assume that four women are mentioned in this passage. A second form of the cousin theory, which regards Jesus and James as paternal cousins—making Alphæus (Clopas) the brother of Joseph—originated with Lange. It is very ingenious, and urges in its support the authority of Hegesippus, who, according to Eusebius (H. E. III. 11), says that Clopas was the brother of Joseph and the father of Simeon, which would make the latter the brother of James, and thus just as truly the brother of the Lord as he. But Hegesippus plainly thinks of James and of Simeon as standing in different relations to Christ,—the former his brother, the latter his cousin,—and therefore his testimony is against, rather than for Langes hypothesis. The statement of Hegesippus, indeed, expresses the cousinship of Christ with James the Little, the son of Clopas (if Alphæus and Clopas be identified), but does not identify this cousin with James the brother of the Lord. Eusebius also is claimed by Lange as a witness to his theory, but his exegesis of the passage to which he appeals is poor (see below, Bk. IV. chap. 22 note 4). Against both forms of the cousin theory may be urged the natural meaning of the word ἀδελφός, and also the statement of John vii. 5, “Neither did his brethren believe in him,” which makes it impossible to suppose that his brothers were apostles. From this fatal objection both of the brother hypotheses are free, and either of them is possible, but the former rests upon a more natural interpretation of the various passages involved, and would perhaps have been universally accepted had it not been for the dogmatic interest felt by the early Church in preserving the virginity of Mary. Renans complicated theory (see his Les Evangiles, p. 537 sqq.) does not help matters at all, and need not be discussed here. There is much to be said, however, in favor of the separation of Alphæus and Clopas, upon which he insists and which involves the existence of four Jameses instead of only three.
For a fuller discussion of this whole subject, see Andrews (Life of our Lord, pp. 104–116), Schaff (Church Hist. I. 272–275), and Weiss (Einleitung in das N. T. p. 388 sqq.), all of whom defend the natural brother hypothesis; Lightfoot (Excursus upon “The Brethren of the Lord” in his Commentary on Galatians, 2d ed. p. 247–282), who is the strongest advocate of the half-brother theory; Mill (The Accounts of our Lords Brethren in the N. T. vindicated, Cambridge, 1843), who maintains the maternal cousin theory; and Lange (in Herzog), who presents the paternal cousin hypothesis. Compare finally Holtzmanns article in the Zeitschrift für Wiss. Theologie, 1880, p. 198 sqq.99:213
1 Cor. xv. 7.
Next: Chapter XIII
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