Volume 2 -

Previous Vol 2 - Next

Theophilus - Book III

Chapter XXIX.—Antiquity of Christianity.

Chapter XXIX.--Antiquity of Christianity.

These periods, then, and all the above-mentioned facts, being viewed collectively, one can see the antiquity of the prophetical writings and the divinity of our doctrine, that the doctrine is not recent, nor our tenets mythical and false, as some think; but very ancient and true. For Thallus mentioned Belus, king of the Assyrians, and Saturn, son of Titan, alleging that Belus with the Titans made war against Jupiter and the so-called gods in his alliance; and on this occasion he says that Gyges, being defeated, fled to Tartessus. At that time Gyges ruled over that country, which then was called Acte, but now is named Attica. And whence the other countries and cities derived their names, we think it unnecessary to recount, especially to you who are acquainted with history. That Moses, and not he only, but also most of the prophets who followed him, is proved to be older than all writers, and than Saturn and Belus and the Trojan war, is manifest. For according to the history of Thallus, Belus is found to be 322 years prior to the Trojan war. But we have shown above that Moses lived somewhere about 900 or 1000 years before the sack of Troy. And as Saturn and Belus flourished at the same time, most people do not know which is Saturn and which is Belus. Some worship Saturn, and call him Bel or Bal, especially the inhabitants of the eastern countries, for they do not know who either Saturn or Belus is. And among the Romans he is called Saturn, for neither do they know which of the two is more ancient--Saturn or Bel. So far as regards the commencement of the Olympiads, they say that the observance dates from Iphitus, but according to others from Linus, who is also called Ilius. The order which the whole number of years and Olympiads holds, we have shown above. I think I have now, according to my ability, accurately discoursed both of the godlessness of your practices, [690] and of the whole number of the epochs of history. For if even a chronological error has been committed by us, of, e.g., 50 or 100, or even 200 years, yet not of thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and Apollonius and other mendacious authors have hitherto written. And perhaps our knowledge of the whole number of the years is not quite accurate, because the odd months and days are not set down in the sacred books. [691] But so far as regards the periods we speak of, we are corroborated by Berosus, [692] the Chaldæan philosopher, who made the Greeks acquainted with the Chaldæan literature, and uttered some things concerning the deluge, and many other points of history, in agreement with Moses; and with the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel also, he spoke in a measure of agreement. For he mentioned what happened to the Jews under the king of the Babylonians, whom he calls Abobassor, and who is called by the Hebrews Nebuchadnezzar. And he also spoke of the temple of Jerusalem; how it was desolated by the king of the Chaldæans, and that the foundations of the temple having been laid the second year of the reign of Cyrus, the temple was completed in the second year of the reign of Darius.