BackContentsNext

EPARCHY: Originally the designation of a civil province in the Roman empire, composed of smaller communities, and forming in its turn a subdivision of the dioikesis (see BISHOPRIC). These divisions furnished a model for the ecclesiastical organization; the heads of the smaller communities became bishops, those of the eparchies metropolitans, with their sees in the capital cities, and those of the dioceses exarchs or patriarchs. In the later Greek and Russian Churches, the usage altered and the jurisdiction of an ordinary bishop was called an eparchy. (P. HINacaIUSt.)

EPHESIAlYS, EPISTLE TO THE. See Peal. THE APOSTLE.

EPHESUS. See ASIA MINOR IN THE APOSTOLIC TIME, IV. For the Council of Ephesus, 431 (Third Ecumenical) see NESTORIUS; for the " Robber Synod " of 449, see EUTYCHIANISM, 6.

EPHOD: An implement used by the priests of the Hebrews to obtain oracles from God. In I Sam. xiv. the Urim and Thummim appear as an accessory of the ephod, especially if (as is probably the case) the Septuagint in verse 41 has the right reading: " Yahweh, thou God of Israel, wherefore e,nswerest thou not thyservant this day? If the guilt be mine or my son Jonathan's, let Urim come forth; if it be the people's, let Thummim come forth." Clearly the Urim and Thummim were two holy lots which were in some close connection with the ephod, and were brought forth by the priest (who put his baud into the bag in which they were kept), or were made to leap out by violent shaking of the bag. From the two passages I Sam. xiv. 41, xxviii. 6 it is evident that in the time of Samuel, Saul, and David it was customary to inquire of God by means of the Urim

and Thummim, or, which amounts to Varieties the same thing, by the ephod; and of Ephod. further, from I Sam. xiv. 3, 18 (R. V., margin), that it was a part of the high priest's duty to carry it with him. The form of the ephod does not appear from these passages. It is doubtless the same thing which appears in I Sam. xxi. 9, where the sword of Goliath is placed

behind it (doubtless as a sacred trophy), in all probability as it hung upon the wall; but this last passage gives no warrant for concluding that it was an image of Yahweh. Besides this ephod which the high priest wore, there is mention of an ephod of linen worn by other priests (I Sam. xxii. 18), by Samuel (I Sam. ii. 18), and by David (II Sam. vi. 14). The ephod to which the Urim and Thummim belonged was therefore not of linen, but probably of some costlier stuff. An ephod which belonged to the high priest's equipment is described Ex. xxv. 7, xxviii. 4, etc.; but it can not be said that this is something entirely different from that which appears in the early accounts. Taken altogether, the references contained in the Old Testament do not permit a very lucid account to be given of the article.

According to Ex. xxviii., the ephod was made of gold, blue, purple, and fine linen, joined with two shoulder pieces and a band. It was apparently an ornament for the breast and had a loose " pocket " (lwshen, a word which is not understood) in which

were the Urim and Thummim. This High- pocket, a span square, was made fast

Priestly to the ephod by rings of gold and Ephod. chains which were carried to rosettes

on the shoulders, the rings being underneath the ephod. The " pocket " was adorned with three rows of precious stones, four in a row, on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes. The ephod, which was rather of the nature of regalia than of ordinary clothing, was worn above an overcoat of blue (cf. I Sam. ii. 18-19). So far the ephod of the time of Samuel was like that described in the priest-code.

But it is held that numerous signs indicate another kind of ephod. From Judges viii. 24 it is concluded that the ephod was sometimes an image of deity, since in this case it is stated that the thing became a snare to Gideon and to Israel. Those who support this view see confirmation in Judges xvii.-xviii.; I Sam. xxi. 10, and in the connection between ephod and teraphim in Hos. iii. 4.

But this view is untenable. That the Ephod not teraphim were images is clear from as Image. I Sam. xix. 13, 16; but it does not follow from the " and " in Hos. iii. 4 that the ephod was also an image. What the two had in common was that both were used as oracles (Ezek. xxi. 21; Zech. x. 2). Judges xviii. 20 speaks against the similarity of ephod and image, and suits better the explanation that the former was something that could be hung about one. And the passage in which Gideon is said to have made an ephod is little more certain. So little is known of what was actually done in that case, what was bought with the 1,700 shekels, and what was the cost of labor, that no sure conclusion is possible. If the passages quoted do not show that the ephods of Gideon and Micah were images, on the other hand it can not be proved that they were not. Still, the ephod was something habitually worn as a duty by the priests, and this does not agree with the supposition that the article was a standing image, as is required by the hypothesis that the sword of Goliath was placed behind such

151

[Page 151]

152

[Page 152]

153

[Page 153]

154

[Page 154]

155

[Page 155]

156

[Page 156]

157

[Page 157]

158

[Page 158]

159

[Page 159]

160

[Page 160]

161

[Page 161]

162

[Page 162]

163

iary apparatus that was available for Dionysius, no reproach is due him for his mistake. On the other hand, no one can seriously think of attempting to alter the Christian era to accord with the correct date of the birth of Jesus, even if this date could be accurately determined. The era is commended by its convenience, especially since the practise has arisen of reckoning backward as well as forward from its epoch; that is, of dating events before its inception, according to years before the birth of Christ (ante Christum natum). This custom came about at a comparatively late date; the well-known historian and chronologer J. C. Gatterer of Gottingen about 1780 dated events before the birth of Christ in "years of the world."

Other Eras.

World eras, the epoch of which is the year of the creation of the world, have been prevalent in great number. To mention only two, a rather wide vogue was enjoyed by the world era of Panodorus, who reckoned 5,904 years from Adam to the year 412 A.D. (about which time he lived); his years began with Aug. 29, corresponding to the First of Thoth, or the Egyptian new year. Afterward, this era is usually termed the Antiochian, sometimes the Alexandrian. Its new year was also transferred to Sept. 1, in which case the eight latter months of its year 5493 are the eight former months of the year one of our chronology. More important than this is the Byzantine world era, which long served as the standard of computation in the Eastern Empire, in Russia, among the Albanians, Servians, and Modern Greeks. It counts sixteen years in excess of the Antiochian era, though likewise beginning the year with Sept. 1; its year 5509 began with Sept. 1 of the year one before Christ. This era was in use in Russia till 1700; whence it originated appears not to be known.

Attempts to compute the year of the creation of the world on the basis of figures supplied in the Old Testament (the ages of the patriarchs, etc.), have been made by chronologists almost down to the present time. Scaliger and Calvisius hold the year one of our era to be the year 3950 from the creation; Petavius, the year 3984; Usher, the year 4004; Frank, 4182. Historians once used one or another of these systems in dating events, especially for the time before Christ; thus Gatterer, mentioned above, computed, in his earlier works, according to the world era of Petavius; in his later ones, according to that of Frank.

Of the eras employed in the Christian Church, two others may be mentioned briefly. The one is the Diocletian, already cited above, which originated in Egypt. Its epoch is the First of Thoth (Aug. 29 of the Julian calendar), of 284 A.D. It numbers the years from the accession of Diocletian, though the first year of Diocletian is not reckoned from the day of his proclamation (Sept. 17), but, in accordance with a generally observed custom, from the new year's day of this year. As this era gained circulation in the Christian Church, it came to be termed, by way of reminder that Diocletian had cruelly persecuted the Christians, aera martyrum. The same era continued in observance, to some extent, as late as the eighth century. Besides this, the Spanish era was prevalent in Spain from the beginning of the fifth century, and in particular among the West Goths. Its epoch is the year 716 A.U.C., or 38 B.C. It is used, among others, by Isidore of Seville in his Historia Gothorum, and traces of its observance occur into the twelfth century.

The New Year.

All these chronological systems had to yield, step by step, to that of Dionysius; and for a long time past, it has been the custom throughout Christendom to compute in years after (and before) the birth of Christ. In the light of this simple and unequivocal reckoning, it was not advantageous to forego the uniform practise of beginning the year with Jan. 1, as Dionysius had done in agreement with the Roman calendar. As a matter of fact, Jan. 1 appears to have maintained its place as the beginning of the year in civil life everywhere, nor have any calendars been found with a different initial date; moreover, Jan. 1 was named new year's day (see NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL). Nevertheless other initial dates came into official use; especially Mar. 25 and Dec. 25 were favorite dates for beginning the year in the Middle Ages and down to modern times. [In England the change from Mar. 25 was made by act of 1751.] In the case of Mar. 25, we have still to distinguish between the calculus Pisanus, which computed from Mar. 25 before our new year, and the calculus Florentinus which computed from Mar. 25 after our new year. Other new year's dates are Mar. 1, Sept. 1, and the Saturday before Easter. Luther computed the year from Dec. 25; so that, for instance, the dating of a letter die innocentum 1530 denotes, by our mode of reckoning, Dec. 25, 1529. More detailed information as to these new year's dates is to be sought in text-books of chronology; a good synopsis is furnished by H. Grotefend in Taschenbuch der Zeitrechnung (Hanover, 1898), pp. 11 sqq.

CARL BERTHEAU.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Besides the work of Ideler, mentioned in the text, consult Ideler, Lehrbuch der Chronolopis, Berlin, 1829; H. Grotefend, ZeiZrecAnunp der deutachen Mittelauer and der Neuzeil, vole, i.-ii., 2d part, Hanover, 1891-98; idem, TaecAenbuch der Zeitmchnunp, ib.1898; F. Ruhl, CAronoLnpie des Miftelaltera and der Nauzait, Berlin, 1897; F. 1i. Ginael, Handbuch der mathamntiechan and techniechan Ckrondopie, vol. i., Leipeic, 1908, The literature under CHRONOLOGY may also be consulted. A voluminous literature might be cited, but it is composed largely of treatment of special topics bearing not too directly upon the subject.

BackContentsNext


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely