The Journal of Sacred Literature, 4th series vol. 9 (1866) p. 117; vol. 10 (1867), pp.150-164.
THE tract which I now offer to the readers of The Journal of Sacred Literature, is ascribed to Eusebius of Caesarea ; and there is no reason, so far as I can see, to doubt the correctness of the statement. It is entitled : Concerning the Star ; showing how and through what the Magi recognized the Star, and that Joseph did not take Mary as his wife. Consequently, it stands in a certain connection both with parts of the Chronicle and with the Quaestiones, edited by Mai in his Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio, t. i., and his Nova Patrum Bibliotheca, t. iv., p. 219 foll.
This tract is, I believe, now published for the first time. The Greek original appears to have perished ; and the Syriac fragment De stella quae Magis apparuit, given by Mai in the Nova Patrum Bibl., t. iv., p. 281, is evidently extracted from a different work. I have taken it from a manuscript in the Nitrian collection, Add. 17,142, a small octavo volume of seventeen leaves, dating apparently from the sixth century. The text, which I have reproduced as faithfully as possible, is, I am sorry to say, very corrupt ; but I shall endeavour to correct at least some of the mistakes in the notes to the translation, which I hope to publish in the next number of this Journal.
24th March, 1866.
[Syriac of pp.118-136 omitted from online text]
"ICH habe den seltsamen Tractat über den Stern mit Interesse durchgelesen, obgleich er ganz ändern Inhalts ist, als ich erwartete. Meinen Freund Gutschmid interessieren die Königslisten sehr, und er ist schon dabei, alle nach ihren Quellen zu ordnen. Die assyrischen Könige gehn auf Ktesias zurück. Das persische Verzeichniss findet sich eben so bei Malala. Den König [Syriac] erkannte Gutschmid sogleich als a1llos, und diese Conjectur bestätigte ihm der Text des Malala. Nur mit dem Verzeichniss der Könige seit Alexander ist Gutschmid nicht im Heinen. Uebrigens bestätigt Gutschmid meine entschiedene Zweifel an der Echtheit des Werkchens, welches zwar vielfach auf Eusebius' Chronik zurückgeht, aber doch von einem weit weniger hervorragenden Mann geschrieben sein muss. Ich glaube sogar, der Urtext ist Syrisch, hauptsächlich weil die Bibelstellen und biblischen Anklänge mehr Aehnlichkeit mit der Peshito, als mit den LXX zeigen."
So writes my friend Professor Noeldeke of Kiel (21st May, 1866), and I am glad to find that this little Syriac tract "on the Star" should have proved so interesting, not only to a linguist like himself, but also to a historical critic like Von Gutschmid.
With regard to the authenticity of the work, I am quite prepared to give it up, now that I have studied it more carefully myself, and have heard the opinion of Noeldeke and Ceriani, and the reasons on which that opinion is based. Considering the age of the manuscript, which certainly cannot be assigned to a later date than the sixth century, there can, I think, be but little doubt that this tract is the production of a writer who lived not long after the time of Eusebius----say, towards A.D. 400 ----and who made use in composing it of the first and second books of the Maccabees, the Chronicle of Eusebius, the works of Ctesias, and the writings of one or two other ancient chroniclers.
With regard to my translation, I have done, on the present occasion, precisely as heretofore ; that is to say, I have striven to be as accurate and literal as possible, my main object being to translate, not to comment and annotate. The names of the Assyrian and Median kings, from Ascatades down to Astyages, I have reproduced in Greek letters.a This will convey to such of my readers as are not orientalists, some idea of the corrupt state of the manuscript. The names themselves, as well as those of the Persian kings from Cyrus to the last Darius, may, |151 in general, be easily identified and restored by referring to the lists of Ctesias (ed. Müller, appended to Dindorf s Herodotus, 1844), Eusebius (Chronicon bipartitum, ed. Aucher, Yenice, 1818; Chronicorum Canonum libri duo, ed. Mai and Zohrab, Milan, 1818), Jerome (in the eighth volume of the Benedictine edition, 1734-1742), Georgius Syncellus (ed. Dindorf, 1829), Joannes Malala (ed. Dindorf, 1831), and the Chronicon Paschale (ed. Dindorf, 1832). The list of kings, however, from the time of Alexander to that of Augustus Caesar, I have not yet traced to its source, and must now leave it to the care of others. These names I have reproduced in Roman capitals, as several of them do not admit of being transcribed into Greek.
London, September, 1866.
a I had written "Greek uncials," but for printers' reasons I have had to submit to the use of small type.
I WILL write and inform thee, our dear brother, concerning the righteous of old, and concerning the handing down of the histories of their deeds ; and how, and through what, the Magi recognized the Star, and came and worshipped our Lord with their offerings ; partly from the Holy Scriptures, and partly as we have found in the true chronicles, which were written and composed by men of old in various cities.
The ancient scribes testify, that everything which was written by the care of Jason in five large books,1 from the year 88 of the kingdom of the Greeks till the year 177 (B.C. 223----134), they themselves abridged hastily in two books, from the year 137 (B.C. 174), omitting also the things that were done within the space of fifty years. But as regards other things, with the care that they took, they entered into the repository of the archives of their fathers, where were written and deposited the acts of the remaining histories of the Prophets, which were not written in the books of the Prophets ; and they found in the chronicles, that the Tabernacle of Witness which Moses made, and the Ark which he constructed, and the Altar of Propitiation which he consecrated,----these the Prophet Jeremiah took, and concealed them in a cave of the mountain on which Moses used to pray.2 And they also found in these chronicles, that the fire which Moses received from Heaven, and with which the priests used to minister, till the time they went |152 down to Babylon, ---- it too was found to have been buried and concealed by Jeremiah the Prophet in a pit which was in watery ground;3 and after seventy years it was discovered; and with it the captive priests used to minister on the altar, until the appearance of our Lord. And many other things, which the scribe Aristobulus and his colleagues 4 had written in the book of records, and in the epistles of the kings of the house of David and Hezekiah and Josiah and their companions,5 were written and deposited (there). And when they had found them, they collected them, and wrote them out in the volumes of their books. And through the care of these ancient writers, when they saw that the Jews went to the city of Tyre to praise Herakles, a hero of the Greeks,6 ---- this too they put into writing; and that Andronicus used treachery towards Onias, the high priest and a famous man, and slew him at Daphne, which lies by Antioch, without any crime,7 ----not even this did they neglect.
And it was found in the true chronicles of the Persians, which were written and deposited there from ancient generations, that Jerusalem was a warlike city from its (earliest) days, and did not make much account of kings, and great fortresses were in the midst of it.
And when Sihon, the king of the Amorites, was slain, Moses said : "Now is fulfilled that which was spoken in the ancient proverbs : 'A fire shall go out of Heshbon, and a flame from the city of Sihou, and shall devour the city of Moab, and all the worshippers of the altars of Arnon.'"8 And when Moses heard that this was written in the books of the Amorites, he too added and put it into his book.
And when King Saul persecuted David, David recited to him some of the ancient proverbs, and said: '"From the wicked proceedeth wickedness, but verily my hand shall not be upon thee ;' and because of this my hand is not upon thee, but the hand of the Lord hath power over thee."9
And when the people went up from Babylon, and there was a great strife concerning their going up, king Darius commanded, and the books of the records and acts of the preceding kings were called for ; and there was found among their chronicles a roll,10 in which was written : "I truly, Cyrus, king |153 of Persia, have commanded that the people of the Hebrews should go up from Babylon to Jerusalem, along with the vessels of the service of the house of the Lord." And when king Darius heard this, he too affixed his seal to this order, and commanded that, whosoever should disobey this order, a beam should be pulled down from his house, and they should make it into a cross, and hang him upon it, and that his house should be given up to plunder.11 And he added of his own (goods) expenses for the house of the Lord.12
And Job, whose time was anterior to that of Moses, ---- before that Moses narrated the history of the creation of Adam, Job said unto his friends, as he had found in the tradition of the generations before him : "This we have found in the world, since Adam was created upon the earth. Who is he that made man upon the face of the earth?" 13 And to his Lord he said: "What shall I do unto Thee, O Maker of man ? in return for Thy hands, which have laboured and made me, and fashioned me and framed me, when Thou didst curdle me like cheese of milk."14
Moses himself too found many things, which were going down and coming by tradition from mouth to ear, from one generation to another ; and he put them into his book, although he left out many things which could not be comprised (in it). For that which is said of Abraham, that he was enjoining his children and his household to keep the commandments of the Lord,15 is older than the laws of Moses by four hundred and thirty years. For these commandments, which Abraham was enjoining his household (to keep), were received by him, as it were by tradition, from Shem ; and Shem too received them from his father Noah ; and Noah received them from Enoch ; and Enoch received them from Adam ; and Adam received them from his Lord. For the barbarous races who keep (the commandments) 'Thou shalt not kill,' and 'Thou shalt not steal,' and 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' and destroy wizards,16 and so forth, ---- this is not (done) as it were by the law of Scripture, but by the law of the mind of ancient tradition, which is older than the law that Moses wrote. For it was not of the law of Scripture that Joseph was afraid, and did not come nigh unto |154 his master's wife;17 nor was it of the law of Scripture that the king of Gedar18 (Gerar) was afraid; he and his nobles, and did not come nigh unto Rebecca; nor was it of the law of Scripture that Lot was afraid, and said to the people of Sodom, "Do not do this disgraceful and shameful thing to the men who have entered under the shadow of my roof;19 but of that law and mind which was born with the ancient generations, and went on, and came by tradition of their children down to the time of Moses, who put into writing those things which were written on the tablets of the heart; for "the law was added because of falling away."20
And as many things, which Moses also neglected, are found in chronicles that were written and laid up, so too the history of the Star which the Magi saw, was found in a chronicle which was written and laid up in Arnon, the border of the Moabites and Ammonites. And this history was taken from the place in which it was written, and was conveyed away and deposited in the fortress of Achmethan,21 which is in Persia. Because that, in the time of Moses, and both before and after Moses, the Assyrians were lords over the land of the Moabites and of the Ammonites, where Balaam said, "A Star shall rise out of Jacob, and a Head shall arise in Israel."22 And it was not merely over the land of the children of Lot that the Assyrians were lords, but also over the land of Sihon and of Og, the kings of the Amorites, and over the whole land of Palestine, and over Phoenicia, and Syria, and all Mesopotamia; seeing that the nations sent up tribute to them, as if subdued under their hands, and gave them hostages, and offered them crowns of victory. And whenever one place rebelled against another, and they commenced war against one another, (word) was written and sent to the Assyrian kings, and as they commanded, so it was (done), and those who rebelled received chastisement.
And along with these things, both the deeds which Moses did in inner Arabia, and in outer Arabia, and in Rekem of Gea, and in the regions which were round about the cities of Moab, and the history of the Star, which Balaam spoke, and so forth;----these things the princes and judges of those places |155 wrote down, and sent and made them known ; and they were read before ασκρτοσ, the king of the Assyrians, who was reigning at the time in which they were done. And he commanded, and the record of these matters was deposited in the fortress of Achmethan, where they were preserved among the books of the kings of Assyria, as was also the custom in other countries.
And after ασκρτσ [ασκδτσ], there reigned after him αμυντοσ there in Assyria, when Moses was between the Amorites and the Edomites, and had come to the city of Petra, which is called in the language of Mesopotamia Rekem of Gea.
And when the people encamped over against 'Ad'ira, which is 'Adu'ira (Aroer), that lies in the valley of Arnon, which separates the Midianites, the children of Kentura (Keturah), the concubine of Abraham, from the children of Lot, Abraham's brother's sou, in the days of Balak the son of Zippor, the king of the Moabites ; and when Balak saw the people that were with Moses, which had come near to his borders, he despised them, and neglected the wars which he had witnessed ; how Sihon, king of the Amorites, who had taken possession by war of the land of the Moabites, carrying away hostages from the Moabites, was not able to stand before this people, who had slain him and destroyed him at Jahaz;23 nor was the king of Canaan, who dwelt in the south, able to stand before this people, and they called his place a devoted place.24 Of these things Balak, the king of Moab, was afraid, and he trembled, and was frightened to wage war with Moses, before whom neither the kings of Egypt had stood, nor the kings of other very mighty nations, nor had even the terrible sea itself dared to stand before Moses. And Balak called the elders of the Midianites and his nobles, and said to them:25 "This Moses, who, lo, has terrified the whole earth, and slain the kings that were around us,----and behold, the people that are with him are |156 grazing on our land as the ox that grazeth in the field, ---- is he not that Moses, who was made the overseer and shepherd of Jethro, the priest of your gods, whom ye received as a guest, and who was protected among you as a stranger ? And lo, today he is expelling us from our lands, and driving us out of our territories. But let us abstain from war, and let us send and call Balaam the soothsayer, to come and curse them ; because they are the children of Jacob, who trembled and was afraid of the curses of his father Isaac, as we have all heard from our fathers." And they sent after Balaam the soothsayer. And the messengers went and found him at Urem,26 which is situated over against Turär, the eastern (part) of Mesopotamia; and they said to him : "The king of the Moabites, and the princes of the Midianites, have sent us after thee, that thou mayest go with us and curse the people that has come out of Egypt." But Balaam, through his craftiness, because he knew that the power of his word was not sufficient to enable him to do this, and to stand before six hundred thousand drawers of the sword, laid hold of a pretext, and said to those who had come after him : "Be ye witnesses unto me henceforth, that I fear lest perchance the Lord should not permit me to curse the people and destroy it by means of words and maledictions." And when he went unto Balak the king, instead of the curses which he was looking to hear from him, he heard blessings from him. And when Balaam saw that Balak began to be vexed with him, because, instead of curses, he heard from him something which he did not expect, Balaam said unto Balak : "The . princes whom thou didst send after me, can testify that I said unto them, 'Whatever the Lord sayeth unto me, I will say, and not what Balak says unto me, who has sent you unto me.' And upon this condition I arose and came with them unto thee, to tell thee that the legions of the Chittites and the armies of the Greeks are about to issue forth from the whole land of the Macedonians, and to subdue the Assyrians in wrath and the |157 land of Nimrod in anger.27 And after this happens, then shall rise the Star out of the children of Jacob,28 whom thou didst wish to keep in darkness ; and the Head shall arise in Israel, to come and destroy whom thou didst send after me ; and He shall destroy their mighty men, and shall subdue the whole seed of Seth the son of Adam." But Balak the king and his nobles,----when they heard that the mighty Assyrians, who were rulers over them, were going to be subdued under the yoke of the king of the Greeks, and the whole earth (was going to be subjected) to Him on whose account the Star was going to rise, destroying their mighty men,----laid aside the fear of the people who were abiding over against them.
But that king Balak might not come to disgrace and (incur) the punishment of death from amunts king of the Assyrians, he wrote and informed him of the things that Balaam said. And he commanded, and the letter was laid up in his archives, as was written above ; and they received this writing, this history being handed down and coming from people to people through the whole land of the Assyrians.
But the Assyrians, because they were born and brought up in the doctrine of the Chaldaeans (astrologers) of their country and of the soothsayers their countrymen, according to what they had received from their mother Babylon, from whom, began astrology and soothsaying and magic, just as from Egypt (began) incantation,----on this account they received the word of Balaam the soothsayer, the disciple of Babylon, and were not able to refuse credit to his word, lest the whole doctrine, on which they took their stand, should be proved false; for Balaam was called "the soothsayer," because of the doctrine of astrology in which he was brought up. And as to his being besides called a prophet, because his word turned out true in regard to the legions of the Chittites which issued forth, and about the Star which arose,----although in these things indeed he was true and trustworthy, yet because he was a false witness, and said : "I see no iniquity in Israel,"29 the children of Jacob slew him" as a liar.
To be brief,----the tradition of the history of Balaam was handed down and came from king αμυντροσ (αμυντοσ) to king |158 βχοσ (βλχοσ), in whose days Othniel the son of Kenaz was ruler over the Hebrews.
And from βχοσ (βλχοσ) to king βλπτωρ (or βλφτωρ), in whose days Ehur (Ehud) killed Eglon the king of the Moabites.
And from (λ)βκροσ (or βχροσ)30 to king πραιρσ, in whose days the Philistines subdued the Hebrews.
And from πραιροσ (πραιδοσ) to king σωροσ, in whose days the Hebrews were delivered from beneath the hand of their enemies.
And from σωροσ to king πλμροσ, in whose days Jael killed Sisera the general.
And from (λ)πλμροσ to king πισοσ, in whose days Gideon slew the children of Midian.
And from (λ)πισοσ to king σρσμοσσ; in whose days Abimelech slew his seventy brethren.
And from σρμοσσ to king μνθροσ, in whose days died Tola, the son of Abimelech's uncle.
And from (λ)μνθροσ to king τομοσ, in whose days Nephthah (Jephthah) offered his daughter a sacrifice to God.
And from (λ)τομσοσ to king τυασσ, in whose days Samson died among the Philistines.
And from (λ)τυασσ to king θινοσ, in whose days died (Eli) 31 the high priest.
And from (λ)θινοσ 32 to king δρκλσ, in whose days Saul was slain on the hill of the Gibeonites, and David became king.
And from (λ)δκλσ (δρκλσ) to king ευπλσ, in whose days Solomon sat upon the regal throne.
And from (λ)ευπλσ to king αθνοσ, in whose days Jeroboam became king over Israel.
And from (λ)αθνοσ to king πτραιοσ; in whose days (Azariah) the son of Azur 33 (Oded) the prophet said unto king Asa : "Because this people listened not unto the voice of the Lord |159 their God, there was no peace either to him that went out or to him that came in."
And from (λ)πραιοσ to king φτριοσ, in whose days the Lord smote Jehoram the son of Athaliah, the sister of Ahab, and his bowels came forth from his inside, and he died.
And from (λ)φρτισ to king ακρπζσ, in whose days Joash was slain by his servants.
And from (λ)βπρσ to king θισκων, in whose days Uzziah was smitten with leprosy.
And from (λ)θισκων to king αρβκσ, in whose days Menachem reigned over Israel.
And from αρβκσ to king σωσρμσ, in whose days Jotham built the gates of the house of the Lord.
And from σωσρμοσ to king μρκιοσ, in whose days Hezekiah opened the gates of the house of the Lord, which had been closed by Ahaz his father.
And from king (λ)μρκοσ, in whose days Manasseh made the image with four faces, to king αιρκσ, in whose days Manasseh returned and came up from Babylon, because he knew that the Lord was God.
And from (λ)αρικσ to king φρατροσ, in whose days Josiah burned the bones of the priests.
And from φρτροσ to king κυβσρσ, in whose days Daniel and Hananiah and their companions were led away captive to Babylon.
And from κυβσροσ to king αστβυγσ, in whose days the Babylonians laid waste Jerusalem.
And from αστιβγσ to Cyrus the king of the Persians, who proclaimed the return to the children of Israel, that they should go up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
All these kings of the Assyrians, from the days of Moses to Cyrus the Persian, were on their guard and watching to see when the word of Balaam would be fulfilled; and when the legions of the Chittites would issue forth from the land of the Macedonians ; and how would be devastated the lands and regions of all Asia, and the city of Ephesus, and the districts of Pontus, and Galatia, and Cilicia, and all Syria, and the spacious country of Mesopotamia and of all the Parthians; and (how) they would pass on to Nineveh, the city of Nimrod, the first of all mighty men, and would wage war violently with the Assyrians, and conquer them and subdue them. |160
When then the Assyrians saw that their kingdom was taken away from them, and was given to the Persians, they thought that the great war of the Chittites too, of which they had been afraid, had passed away from them. For although at different times the Assyrians had had wars of and by themselves,----when the Babylonians waged war with them, and took away from them the kingdom ; and again the Medes waged war with the Babylonians, and took away the kingdom from them also; and the Persians also waged war with the Medes, and the Persians conquered and won the kingdom;----yet they had had no fear in all these wars and struggles, because they knew that those who were overcome, were the brethren and associates of those who were victorious. For neither was it possible that Cyrus the Persian should succumb in war, because that in the days of Isaiah the prophet the gates of victory had been opened before Cyrus ; nor was it possible that the gates should be shut in his face, because he was called the Anointed of the Lord.34
And after Cyrus the Persian reigned Cambyses, at whose word Syria was laid waste, and Phnicia, and Palestine, and other countries.
And from Cambyses (the tradition was handed down) to the first Darius, in whose days Ezra the scribe rebuilt the desolate places of Jerusalem.
And from Darius to king Artachshasht, in whose days Sanballat and Shimshai the scribe were hindering the people from rebuilding the desolate places of Jerusalem.
And from Artachshasht to king .....,35 in whose days went up the remnant which had remained in Babylon, and some of the children of the captivity of the people.
And from ..... to another Darius, in whose days went up Ezra the scribe, he and the priests and the Lévites, and were walking upon the wall of Jerusalem, and repeating the psalms of David for the completion of the building.
And from Darius to the last Artachshasht, in whose days the |161 furniture of Eliashib was thrown out into the street, because he had made for himself a house in the court of the house of God.36
And from Artachshasht to the last Darius, who is the ram that Daniel foresaw,37 butting westward and northward and southward ; and there came a he-goat, and the legions of the Chittites with him, as Balaam had said, and waged war with Darius, king of the Medes and Babylonians and Assyrians and Persians, and overcame him, and slew him, and ravaged the people who were with him, and cast him down, and subdued the Assyrians under his power, and made them tributary to the kingdom of the Greeks, which was of old subject to the power of the Assyrians. The kingdom of the Jews too, which had also been subject to the children of the East, passed under the power of the Greeks.
And when the Persians saw that the word of Balaam had turned out true and become a fact, they were also specially concerned to see when the Star would arise and become visible, about which he spoke, meditating what might perchance happen at its rising, and whence it would appear, and concerning whom it would testify.
And after this Darius, whom Alexander the king of the Greeks slew, there arose king ARSUN, in whose days cities were increased in their buildings in the land of Syria.38
And from (L)ARSUN (the tradition was handed down) to king ARTMRSUS, in whose days the Books of the Hebrews were translated into Greek.
And from (L)ARTMRSUS to king ATISHCHU, in whose days lived Jesus the son of Simeon, the priest, who was called Bar-Sira (the son of Sirach or Siracides).
And from (L)TISHIS to king APTSHURS (or APHTSHURS), in whose days the impure Jason 39 received from the king of the Greeks the power over the children of his people ; and he wrote the children of his people by the name of Antiochians 40 through the praises of Herakles.41
And from (L)APTSHURS to king PRIDUS, in whose days the senators (συγκλητικοί) of the Romans wrote to the cities letters of greeting regarding the party of Jonathan and Simeon (Simon), the sons of Mattathias.42 |162
And from (L)MPRUS to king ASTRUS, in whose days Arshak (Arsaces) the Parthian waged war with the king of the Greeks and slew him.
And from (L)MPIZRUS to king ANSCUS, in whose days the kingdom of the Greeks was cut off.
And from (L)ISCUS 43 to king PIRSHBUR (Pir-Shabur?), in whose days Augustus Caesar reigned over the Roman empire. And in his days was the glorious manifestation of our adored Saviour. And therefore in the days of this PIRSHBUR, who was called ZMRNS, there appeared the Star, both transformed in its aspect, and also conspicuous by its rays, and terrible and grand in the glorious extent of its light. And it overpowered by its aspect all the stars that were in the heavens, as it inclined to the depth, to teach that its Lord had come down to the depth, and ascended again to the height of its nature, to show that its Lord was God in His nature.
And when the Persians saw it, they were alarmed and afraid, and there fell upon them agitation and trembling, and fear got the mastery over them. And it was visible to the inner depths of the East alone ; and the Persians, and the Huzites,44 and the other peoples that were around them, knew that this was what Balaam had foretold ; and this apparition and news flew through the whole East : "The king of Persia is preparing splendid offerings and gifts and presents, and is sending them by the hands of the Magi, the worshippers of fire." And because the king did not know where the Messiah was born, he commanded the bearers of the offerings, (saying): "Keep going towards the Star, and walking on the road along which it runs before you ; and by day and night keep observing its light."
And when they set forth with the sun from their country, in which this sun (of ours) is born every day, the Star too with its rays was running on before them, accompanying them and going with them, and becoming as it were an attendant of theirs. And they halted in many places, passing by large fortified towns, and (through) various foreign tongues and different garbs, that were unlike to one another. And they halted outside of the cities, and not inside of the cities, until they reached the gates of Jerusalem, over which the Star stood still, entering and alarming Jerusalem and its inhabitants, and terrifying also the kings and priests. |163
And when they had entered within the gates of the city, it was concealed from them. And when the Magi saw that neither the kings, nor the priests, nor the chiefs of the people perceived the coming of the Messiah, and the Star was concealed, they knew that, because they were not worthy, they did not perceive the birth of the Son, nor were they worthy to behold the Star.
And when the Magi saw that the Star was hidden from them, they went forth by night from the city ; and at that very moment the Star appeared unto them ; and they went after the apparition of it, until it descended and stood still over the cave of Bethlehem, where was born the Messiah. And in that hour they opened their treasures, and offered unto Him many presents and gifts of offerings, bowing down in adoration before the Messiah, that their offerings might be accepted, and that they might be delivered from the hateful treachery which they had seen in Jerusalem, and might reach their own country without fear, and might carry back word to those who had sent them of what they had seen and heard.
And when they had made their offerings and passed the night there, the Star too stopped with them above the cave. And when they rose early in the morning to set out for their country, it was for the second time running on and going before them on the way, which was different from the former one; and until they had entered their city, it did not quit them, nor was it concealed as on the former occasion.
And when they had entered into the presence of the king who had sent them, they narrated to him all that they had heard and seen. These things too were written down there in inner Persia, and were stored up among the records of the deeds of their kings, where was written and stored up the history of the legions of the Chittites and the account of this Star, that they might be preserved where were preserved the histories of the ancients.
But Joseph and Mary, when they saw the treachery of king Herod and the envy of the Scribes and Pharisees, arose and took the Child, and went to a foreign country and of a barbarous tongue; and there they dwelt for the space of four |164 years, during which Herod continued to reign after (their flight). And at the commencement of the reign of Herod's son, they arose and went up from that land to the country of Galilee, Joseph and Mary, and our Lord along with them, and the five sons of Hannah (Anna), the first wife of Joseph. But Mary and our Lord were dwelling together in the house in which Mary received the Annunciation from the holy Angel.45
* * * * * * * *
and eleven, in the second year of the coming of our Saviour, in the consulship of Caesar and of Capito, in the month of the latter Kanun, these Magi came from the East and worshipped our Lord at Bethlehem of the kings. And in the year four hundred and thirty (A.D. 119), in the reign of Hadrianus Caesar, in the consulship of Severus and of Fulgus, in the episcopate of Xystus, bishop of the city of Rome, this concern arose in (the minds of) men acquainted with the Holy Books; and through the pains of the great men in various places this history was sought for and found, and written in the tongue of those who took this care.
Here ends the Discourse on the Star, which was composed by Mar Eusebius of Caesarea.
[Footnotes have been numbered and moved to the end]
1. a 2 Maccabees ii. 23.
2. b 2 Maccabees ii. 4, 5.
3. c 2 Maccabees i. 19, etc.
4. d [Syriac, Greek] See 2 Maccabees i. 10.
5. e 2 Maccabees ii. 13.
6. f 2 Maccabees iv. 18, 19.
7. g 2 Maccabees iv. 33-35.
8. h Numbers xxi. 27, 28.
9. i 1 Samuel xxiv. 12, 13.
10. j Ezra vi. 1, etc.
11. k Ezra vi. 11.
12. l Ezra vi. 8.
13. m Job xx. 4. The last clause is corrupt. In the Peshïtta it runs thus : [Syriac], from (the time) that He made man upon the earth.
14. n Job vii. 20, and x. 8, 10.
15. o Genesis xviii. 19.
16. p Exodus xxii. 18 ; Deuteronomy xviii. 10, 11.
17. q Genesis xxxix. 7, etc.
18. r As in the Peshitta, [Syriac]. See Genesis xxvi. 6, etc.
19. t Genesis xix. 7, 8.
20. u Galatians iii. 19.
21. v [Hebrew], Ecbatana.
22. w Numbers xxiv. 17.
23. c Numbers xxi. 21, etc.
24. d Numbers xxi. 1-3.
25. e Numbers xxii. 3, etc.
26. f By [Syriac] is probably meant [Syriac], on the Euphrates near Samosata. See Assemani, Bibliotheca Orient., t. ii., in the Dissertatio de Monophysitis, art. Urima. Knobel identifies [Hebrew] with 'Anah, [Syriac].
27. i Numbers xxiv. 24.
28. j Numbers xxiv. 17.
29. m Numbers xxiii. 21.
30. p The λ, [Syriac], seems due, here and elsewhere, to a blunder of the scribe, who has taken the preposition for an integral part of the name.
31. v The name of Eli is wanting in the Syriac text.
32. w v is a slip of the pen for l...
33. y 2 Chronicles xv. 1-7. Azur as in the Peshitta, [Syriac]. The name of Azariah is wanting in the Syriac text.
34. d Isaiah xlv. 1.
35. f The monarch intended must be Artaxerxes Longimanus, but I do not know what to make of the αυλ, ευλ, or ουλ of the text. Von Gut schmid has suggested "to another king" ([Syriac]=ἄλλος); but the writer of this tract could hardly have been so ignorant as to take ἄλλος for a proper name.
36. g Nehemiah, xiii. 8.
37. h Daniel viii. 3, etc.
38. i This refers to the founding, or restoring, of Antioch, Laodicea, Apamea, Edessa, Bera, and Pella, by Seleucus Nicator.
39. j 2 Maccabees iv. 7, etc.
40. k 2 Maccabees iv. 9. ...
41. l 2 Maccabees iv. 19.
42. m 1 Maccabees xv. 15, etc.
43. o For (L)NSCUS, ...
44. p The inhabitants of Al-Ahwaz, ... or Chuzistan.
45. s Here some sixteen or seventeen lines of the Syriac text have been. purposely erased, probably on account of some statement which a later reader considered heretical.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using unicode.
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