Possibly there is question of some popular phrase used in Nero's time which Tacitus himself did not understand; possibly, however, the sentence in which Christus is said to have been the author of the name of Christians and the whole reference to Judaea do not come from the pen of Tacitus at all, but are due to a later Christian, who identified the Chrestians of Tacitus with the Christians; and thus the whole Neronian persecution and the supposed confirmation of the historicity of Christ by the Roman historian are based upon a monstrous misunderstanding. He found the ecclesia under the control of unworthy teachers of the pseudo-Jewish type, and could only regard them as adventurers preying upon the faithful. Even theologians who are themselves convinced of the worthlessness of such witnesses as regards the problem we are considering do not fail, as a rule, to repeat them to “the people” as if they gave some confirmation of their belief in an historical Jesus. The word jealousy is not to be taken too seriously, as this is the general theme of which these martyrdoms are examples in the exhortation of Clement. It fits in with the picture of a theatrical spectacle on a large scale which Tacitus describes. The Danaids and Dirces have been much discussed. Every question relating to the origin of Christianity is so difficult that we are glad to avoid it altogether.” It is true that Seeck regards the hesitation in regard to the genuineness of the writings admitted in theology as “in most cases without foundation.” He accepts tradition in regard to the Tacitus narrative, and believes in the Neronian persecution of the Christians.
It has been said, on the authority of Mommsen, that Tacitus may have derived his information from the Acts of the Senate and the archives of the State, and it has been suggested that his authority was Cluvius Rufus, who was consul under Caligula. It looks as if the persecution in Jerusalem two years earlier, in which James was put to death, was a larger thing than Josephus had cared to reveal, and that it If any rumour of the kind arose, it would, he believes, have been confined to the members of the aristocratic party, with whom Tacitus was in sympathy, and would not be found among the people, who considered him innocent. Tacitus, about the year 117, confuses them with the Christians of his time, just as the Emperor Hadrian does in his letter to Servius fourteen years afterwards.
(Stephen quoted words from Daniel, too.). |189 Epistle of St James, and the same alignment of parties in the sanhedrin as appears in the pages of the Acts. We notice here the same chaotic social conditions as appear in the In either case, the so-called letter of Clemens is no evidence of the fact of a considerable persecution of the Christians under Nero. But, as we observed before, Chrestus was not only a familiar personal name; it was also a name of the Egyptian Serapis or Osiris, which had a large following at Borne, especially among the common people. That would be prevented once for all if it could be proved that the whole passage is not from the pen of Tacitus at all. They are woven into a connected myth on the lines of the old oriental myths such as the descent of the goddess Ishtar into the underworld to deliver Tammuz from the powers of death and hell.
Perhaps he overstated the case a little, for he also says, 'Only Luke is with me.'
, Finally, there is the complete silence of profane writers and the vagueness of the Christian writers on the matter; the latter only gradually come to make a definite statement of a general persecution of the Christians under Nero, whereas at first they make Nero put to death only Peter and Paul. The daughters of Danaus were figures in an old Greek myth, who were punished in Hades by being obliged endlessly to fill with water barrels which were riddled with holes; Dirce was killed by being tied to the horns of a bull. (Clement, 1 Corinthians, v.). Et pereuntibus addita ludibria, ut ferarum tergis contecti laniatu canum interirent, aut crucibus affixi, aut flammandi, atque ubi defecisset dies, in usum nocturni luminis urerentur]. Further, what does he mean when he says that these numerous men and women were ill-treated “out of jealousy and envy,” and puts the lot of the Christians in this respect on the same footing as that of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and the Egyptians, Aaron and Miriam, Dathan and Abiram, and David and Saul? We have reached the same result as J. Weiss: “There is no really cogent witness in profane literature” (p. 92). ('I planted', Paul had said in writing to the Corinthians.) Let us set before our eyes the noble apostles. Though I'd avoid their company, I'm not ashamed to say. Let us grant that there may be some exaggeration about the 'immense multitude', the ingens multitudo, which was ready to die for Christ in Rome under the leadership of the apostles; even so we are impressed by the power and momentum of the spiritual forces which had been liberated in Jerusalem thirty-five years previously, when Jesus died on Calvary and of the people there were none with him.
The historian has related what measures were taken by Nero to lessen the suffering brought about by the great fire at Rome in the year 64, and to remove the traces of it. Then there is the word “fatebantur.” Theological writers like Renan, Weizsäcker, etc., refer the expression to the belief of those who were captured, and so make them out to have been persecuted on account of their Christianity. xx, 9, 2.). Apart from Jerusalem, hardly any community at this time had so pronounced a Judaeo-Christian character as that of Rome.” If, moreover, it were supposed that by the “Christians” of Suetonius we must understand the Jews excited by messianic expectations—“Messianists” who, with their belief in the approaching end of the world and its destruction by fire, made light of the burning of Rome and so incurred the hatred of the people—the connection between them and the historical Jesus would be called into question, and the evidential value of the passage of Suetonius for the existence of Jesus would be destroyed. We may turn to the Epistle itself, and see what it says as the persecution becomes more intense. Vopiscus Even in this case, Tacitus' s reference to Christ as the founder of the sect rests on a misunderstanding—namely, a confusion of the most confident of the Jewish Messianists with the followers of the Christus who, as Tacitus had heard, had been crucified under Pontius Pilatus.. The reference among the salutations to 'her that is co-elect with you in Babylon' is taken to indicate that the Epistle was written in Rome; but the word Babylon is something more than a code-word for the word Rome. But the evidence of Clement is strong enough, for he goes on to connect the witness of the two noble apostles with a 'great multitude' who are plainly to be identified with the 'great multitude' of Tacitus. In any case there is so little question of a general “hatred” of the people for them that the Jewish historians, especially Josephus, do not make much complaint of the treatment accorded to their countrymen at Rome. Weiss says, however: “That he or any other had seen a report from Pontius Pilate in the records of the Senate is a hypothesis I should not care to adopt, as it would be complicating a simple matter with an improbability.” “Archival studies,” we read in the Handbuch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, “are not very familiar to ancient historiography; and Tacitus has paid very little attention to the acta diurna and the records of the Senate.” In fact, Hermann Schiller says, in his Geschichte des Römischen Kaiserreichs unter der Regierung des Nero (1872): “We are accustomed to hearing Tacitus praised as a model historian, and in many respects it may be true; but it does not apply to his criticism of his authorities and his own research, for these were astonishingly poor in Tacitus. Nero had granted the use of his gardens for that display, and gave a circus performance, mixing with the common people in the dress of a charioteer or seated in his chariot; and so a feeling of compassion arose (though it was for guilty persons who deserved severe punishment), since they were being done to death, not for the public good, but to satisfy the cruelty of a single individual. Yet what trace of it do we find in them? There was a Roman of high rank, who was 'prefect of the city' at this time.
It must have been further along the road westward, possibly in Philippi, that he changed his mind; for in his letter to Titus, he says that he intends to winter at Nicopolis on the Dalmatian coast; he would follow the Egnatian Road to its terminal point on the Adriatic Sea. We may mention a case of special interest which illustrates this point. It would be one of the most remarkable instances of chance in the world if it were mentioned in any official report.” It is the sort of thing we may expect from a Tertullian, who, in his Apology for Christianity (c. 21), tells one who doubts the truth of the gospel story that he will find a special report of Pilate to Tiberius in the Roman archives. The same paragraph contains a greeting from 'my son Mark', an expression which recalls Paul's reference to his' true son Timothy', and implies the idea of the recognized pupil and successor in the tradition of teaching. Danadices.com Creation Date: 2016-07-15 | 1 year, 278 days left.
'Through Silvanus, a faithful brother as I account him, I have briefly written', we read in the postscript, among the salutations. The high altars of St Peter's on the Vatican Hill and St Paul's 'Outside the Walls' are erected over these second-century sites. Moreover, as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned, we are, perhaps, interested only in one single sentence of the passage, and that has nothing distinctively Tacitan about it. This tradition, however, is not only relatively late, but extremely doubtful in itself. All we get is the occasional allusion or comment. This wholly sufficed for Tacitus to recognise in him the procurator in the reign of Tiberius, who must have been known to the Roman historian from the books of Josephus “On the Jewish War,” which were destined for the imperial house.
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