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V.

But as up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews had been registered in the public archives, and those, too, which were traced back to the proselytes10511051    Several mss. read ἀρχιπροσηλύτων for ἄχρι προσηλύτων, whence some conjecture that the correct reading should be ἄχρι τῶν ἀρχιπροσηλύτων, i.e., back to the “chief proselytes,”—these being, as it were, patriarchs among the proselytes, like Achior, and those who joined the Israelites on their flight from Egypt.—as, for example, to Achior the Ammanite, and Ruth the Moabitess, and those who left Egypt along with the Israelites, and intermarried with them—Herod, knowing that the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to him, and goaded by the consciousness of his ignoble birth, burned the registers of their families. This he did, thinking that he would appear to be of noble birth, if no one else could trace back his descent by the public register to the patriarchs or proselytes, and to that mixed race called georæ.10521052    This word occurs in the Septuagint version of Ex. xii. 19, and refers to the strangers who left Egypt along with the Israelites. For Israel was accompanied by a mixed body, consisting on the one hand of native Egyptians, who are named αὐτόχθονες in that passage of Exodus, and by the resident aliens, who are called γειῶραι. Justin Martyr has the form γηόραν in Dialogue with Trypho, ch. cxxii. The root of the term is evidently the Hebrew רג, “stranger.” A few, however, of the studious, having private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting at them in some other way from the archives, pride themselves in preserving the memory of their noble descent; and among these happen to be those already mentioned, called desposyni,10531053    The word δεσπόσυνοι was employed to indicate the Lord’s relatives, as being His according to the flesh. The term means literally, “those who belong to a master,” and thence it was used also to signify “one’s heirs.” on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. And these coming from Nazara and Cochaba, Judean villages, to other parts of the country, set forth the above-named genealogy10541054    προειρημένην. Nicephorus reads προκειμένην. as accurately as possible from the Book of Days.10551055    ἐκ τε τῆς βίβλου τῶν ἡμερῶν. By this “Book of Days” Africanus understands those “day-books” which he has named, a little before this, ἱδιωτικὰς ἀπογραφάς. For among the Jews, most persons setting a high value on their lineage were in the habit of keeping by them private records of their descent copied from the public archives, as we see it done also by nobles among ourselves. Besides, by the insertion of the particle τε, which is found in all our codices, and also in Nicephorus, it appears that something is wanting in this passage. Wherefore it seems necessary to supply these words, καὶ ἀπὸ μνήμης ἐς ὅσον ἐξικνοῦντο, “and from memory,” etc. Thus at least Rufinus seems to have read the passage, for he renders it: Ordinem supradictæ generationis partim memoriter, partim etiam ex dierum libris, in quantum erat possibile, perdocebant (Migne). Whether, then, the case stand thus or not, no one could discover a more obvious explanation, according to my own opinion and that of any sound judge. And let this suffice us for the matter, although it is not supported by testimony, because we have nothing more satisfactory or true to allege upon it. The Gospel, however, in any case states the truth.


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