Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXI.—The Death of John and Philip.
1. The time and the manner of the death of Paul and Peter as well as their burial places, have been already shown by us. 853
2. The time of Johns death has also been given in a general way, 854 but his burial place is indicated by an epistle of Polycrates 855 (who was bishop of the parish of Ephesus), addressed to Victor, 856 bishop of Rome. In this epistle he mentions him together with the apostle Philip and his daughters in the following words: 857
3. “For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the last day, at the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, 858 who sleeps in Hierapolis, 859 and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; 860 and p. 163 moreover John, who was both a witness 861 and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and being a priest wore the sacerdotal plate. 862 He also sleeps at Ephesus.” 863
4. So much concerning their death. And in the Dialogue of Caius which we mentioned a little above, 864 Proclus, 865 against whom he directed his disputation, in agreement with what has been quoted, 866 speaks thus concerning the death of Philip and his daughters: “After him 867 there were four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip, at Hierapolis in Asia. Their tomb is there and the tomb of their father.” Such is his statement.
5. But Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, mentions the daughters of Philip who were at that time at Cæsarea in Judea with their father, and were honored with the gift of prophecy. His words are as follows: “We came unto Cæsarea; and entering into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we abode with him. Now this man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.” 868
6. We have thus set forth in these pages what has come to our knowledge concerning the apostles themselves and the apostolic age, and concerning the sacred writings which they have left us, as well as concerning those which are disputed, but nevertheless have been publicly used by many in a great number of churches, 869 and moreover, concerning those that are altogether rejected and are out of harmony with apostolic orthodoxy. Having done this, let us now proceed with our history.
See Bk. II. chap. 25, §§5 sqq.162:854
See chap. 23, §§3, 4.162:855
Upon Polycrates, see Bk. V. chap. 22, note 9.162:856
Upon Victor, see ibid. note 1.162:857
This epistle is the only writing of Polycrates which is preserved to us. This passage, with considerably more of the same epistle, is quoted below in Bk. V. chap. 24. From that chapter we see that the epistle was written in connection with the Quarto-deciman controversy, and after saying, “We therefore observe the genuine day,” Polycrates goes on in the words quoted here to mention the “great lights of Asia” as confirming his own practice. (See the notes upon the epistle in Bk. V. chap. 24.) The citation here of this incidental passage from a letter upon a wholly different subject illustrates Eusebius great diligence in searching out all historical notices which could in any way contribute to his history.162:858
Philip the apostle and Philip the evangelist are here confounded. That they were really two different men is clear enough from Lukes account in the Acts (cf. Acts 6:2, Acts 8:14, Acts 21:8Acts vi. 2-5, viii. 14–17, and xxi. 8). That it was the evangelist, and not the apostle, that was buried in Hierapolis may be assumed upon the following grounds: (1) The evangelist (according to Acts xxi. 8) had four daughters, who were virgins and prophetesses. Polycrates speaks here of three daughters, at least two of whom were virgins, and Proclus, just below, speaks of four daughters who were prophetesses. (2) Eusebius, just below, expressly identifies the apostle and evangelist, showing that in his time there was no separate tradition of the two men. Lightfoot (Colossians, p. 45) maintains that Polycrates is correct, and that it was the apostle, not the evangelist, that was buried in Hierapolis; but the reasons which he gives are trivial and will hardly convince scholars in general. Certainly we need strong grounds to justify the separation of two men so remarkably similar so far as their families are concerned. But the truth is, there is nothing more natural than that later generations should identify the evangelist with the apostle of the same name, and should assume the presence of the latter wherever the former was known to have been. This identification would in itself be a welcome one to the inhabitants of Hierapolis, and hence it would be assumed there more readily than anywhere else. Of course it is not impossible that Philip the apostle also had daughters who were virgins and prophetesses, but it is far more probable that Polycrates (and possibly Clement too; see the previous chapter) confounded him with the evangelist,—as every one may have done for some generations before them. Eusebius at any rate, historian though he was, saw no difficulty in making the identification, and certainly it was just as easy for Polycrates and Clement to do the same. Lightfoot makes something of the fact that Polycrates mentions only three daughters, instead of four. But the latters words by no means imply that there had not been a fourth daughter (see note 8, below).162:859
Hierapolis was a prominent city in Proconsular Asia, about five miles north of Laodicea, in connection with which city it is mentioned in Col. iv. 13. The ruins of this city are quite extensive, and its site is occupied by a village called Pambouk Kelessi.162:860
The fact that only three of Philips daughters are mentioned here, when from the Acts we know he had four, shows that the fourth had died elsewhere; and therefore it would have been aside from Polycrates purpose to mention her, since, as we see from Bk. V. chap. 24, he was citing only those who had lived in Asia (the province), and had agreed as to the date of the Passover. The separate mention of this third daughter by Polycrates has been supposed to arise from the fact that she was married, while the other two remained virgins. This is, however, not at all implied, as the fact that she was buried in a different place would be enough to cause the separate mention of her. Still, inasmuch as Clement (see the preceding chapter) reports that Philips daughters were married, and inasmuch as Polycrates expressly states that two of them were virgins, it is quite possible that she (as well as the fourth daughter, not mentioned here) may have been a married woman, which would, perhaps, account for her living in Ephesus and being buried there, instead of with her father and sister in Hierapolis. It is noticeable that while two of the daughters are expressly called virgins, the third is not.163:861
μ€ρτυς; see chap. 32, note 15.163:862
The Greek word is πέταγον, which occurs in the LXX. as the technical term for the plate or diadem of the high priest (cr. Ex. xxviii. 36, &c.). What is meant by the word in the present connection is uncertain. Epiphanius (Hær. LXXVII. 14) says the same thing of James, the brother of the Lord. But neither James nor John was a Jewish priest, and therefore the words can be taken literally in neither case. Valesius and others have thought that John and James, and perhaps others of the apostles, actually wore something resembling the diadem of the high priest; but this is not at all probable. The words are either to be taken in a purely figurative sense, as meaning that John bore the character of a priest,—i.e. the high priest of Christ as his most beloved disciple,—or, as Hefele suggests, the report is to be regarded as a mythical tradition which arose after the second Jewish war. See Kraus Real-Encyclopædie der christlichen Alterthümer, Band II. p. 212 sq.163:863
Upon Johns Ephesian activity and his death there, see Bk. III. chap. 1, note 6.163:864
Bk. II. chap. 25, §6, and Bk. III. chap. 28, §1. Upon Caius and his dialogue with Proclus, see the former passage, note 8.163:865
Upon Proclus, a Montanistic leader, see Bk. II. chap. 25, note 12.163:866
The agreement of the two accounts is not perfect, as Polycrates reports that two daughters were buried at Hierapolis and one at Ephesus, while Proclus puts them all four at Hierapolis. But the report of Polycrates deserves our credence rather than that of Proclus, because, in the first place, Polycrates was earlier than Proclus; in the second place, his report is more exact, and it is hard to imagine how, if all four were really buried in one place, the more detailed report of Polycrates could have arisen, while on the other hand it is quite easy to explain the rise of the more general but inexact account of Proclus; for with the general tradition that Philip and his daughters lived and died in Hierapolis needed only to be combined the fact that he had four daughters, and Proclus version was complete. In the third place, Polycrates report bears the stamp of truth as contrasted with mere legend, because it accounts for only three daughters, while universal tradition speaks of four.
How Eusebius could have overlooked the contradiction it is more difficult to explain. He can hardly have failed to notice it, but was undoubtedly unable to account for the difference, and probably considered it too small a matter to concern himself about. He was quite prone to accept earlier accounts just as they stood, whether contradictory or not. The fact that they had been recorded was usually enough for him, if they contained no improbable or fabulous stories. He cannot be accused of intentional deception at this point, for he gives the true accounts side by side, so that every reader might judge of the agreement for himself. Upon the confusion of the apostle and evangelist, see above, note 6.163:867
I read μετὰ τοῦτον with the majority of the mss., with Burton, Routh, Schwegler, Heinichen, &c., instead of μετὰ τοῦτο, which occurs in some mss. and in Rufinus, and is adopted by Valesius, Crusè, and others. As Burton says, the copyists of Eusebius, not knowing to whom Proclus here referred, changed τοῦτον to τοῦτο; but if we had the preceding context we should find that Proclus had been referring to some prophetic man such as the Montanists were fond of appealing to in support of their position. Schwegler suggests that it may have been the Quadratus mentioned in chap. 37, but this is a mere guess. As the sentence stands isolated from its connection, τοῦτον is the harder reading, and could therefore have more easily been changed into τοῦτο than the latter into τοῦτον.163:868
Acts 21:8, 9. Eusebius clearly enough considers Philip the apostle and Philip the evangelist identical. Upon this identification, see note 6, above.163:869
ἱερῶν γραμμ€των, καὶ τῶν ἀντιλεγομένων μὲν, ὅμως…δεδημοσιευμένων. The classification here is not inconsistent with that given in chap. 25, but is less complete than it, inasmuch as here Eusebius draws no distinction between ἀντιλεγόμενα and νόθοι, but uses the former word in its general sense, and includes under it both the particular classes (Antilegomena and νόθοι) of chap. 25 (see note 27 on that chapter).
Next: Chapter XXXII
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