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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

IN his exposition of the first Psalm, he has given a catalogue of the books in the sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament, as follows: “It should be observed that the collective books, as handed down by the Hebrews, are twenty-two, according to the number of letters in their alphabet.” After some further remarks, he subjoins, “These twenty-two books, according to the Hebrews, are as follows: That which is called Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith, which means, ‘in the beginning.’ Exodus, Walesmoth, which means, ‘these are the names.’ Leviticus, Waikra, ‘and he called.’ Numbers, Anmesphekodlim. Deuteronomy, Elle haddabarim, that is, ‘these are the words.’ Jesus the son of Nave, in Hebrew, Joshue ben Nun. Judges and Ruth, in one book, with the Hebrews, which they call Sophetim. Of Kings, the first and second, one book, with them called Samuel, ‘the called of God.’ The third and fourth of Kings, also in one book with them, and called, Wahammelech Dabid, which means, ‘and king David.’ The first and second book of the Paralipomena, contained in one volume with them, and called Dibre Hamaim, which means the words, i. e. ‘the records of days.’ The first and second of Esdras, in one, called Ezra, i. e. ‘an assistant.’ The book of Psalms, Sepher Thehillim. The Proverbs of Solomon, Misloth. Ecclesiastes, Coheleth. The Song of Songs, Sir Hasirim. Isaiah, Iesaia. Jeremiah, with the Lamentations, and his Epistle, in one, Jeremiah. Daniel, Daniel. Ezekiel, Jeezkel. Job, Job. Esther, also with the Hebrews, Esther. Besides these, there are, also, the Maccabees, which are inscribed Sarbeth sarbane el.”

These, then, are the books that he mentions in the work noticed above. But in the first book of his commentaries on the gospel of Matthew, following the Ecclesiastical Canon, he attests that he knows of only four gospels, as follows: “As I have understood from tradition, respecting the four gospels, which are the only undisputed ones in the whole church of God throughout the world. The first is written according to Matthew, the same that was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who having published it for the Jewish converts, wrote it in the Hebrew. The second is according to Mark, who composed it, as Peter explained to him, whom he also acknowledges as his son in his general Epistle, saying, ‘The elect church in Babylon salutes you, as also Mark my son.’ And the third, according to Luke, the gospel commended by Paul, which was written for the converts from the Gentiles; and last of all the gospel according to John.” And in the fifth book of his Commentaries on John, the same author writes as follows: “But he being well fitted to be a minister of the New Testament, Paul, I mean, a minister not of the letter but of the spirit; who, after spreading the gospel from Jerusalem and the country around as far as Illyricum, did not even write to all the churches to which he preached; and even to those to whom he wrote he only sent a few lines. Peter, upon whom the church of Christ is built, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail, has left one epistle undisputed. It may be also a second, but on this there is some doubt. What shall we say of him who reclined upon the breast of Jesus, I mean John? who has left one gospel, in which he confesses that he could write so many that the whole world could not contain them. He also wrote the Apocalypse, commanded as he was, to conceal, and not to write the voices of the seven thunders. He has also left an epistle consisting of very few lines; it may be, also, a second and third is from him, but not all agree that they are genuine, but both together do not contain a hundred lines.” To these remarks he also adds the following observation on the Epistle to the Hebrews, in His homilies on the same: “The Epistle with the title, ‘To the Hebrews,’ has not that peculiar style which belongs to the apostle, who confesses that he is but common in speech, that is in his phraseology. But that this epistle is more pure Greek in the composition of its phrases, every one will confess who is able to discern the difference of style. Again, it will be obvious that the ideas of the epistle are admirable, and not inferior to any of the books acknowledged to be apostolic. Every one will confess the truth of this, who attentively reads the apostle’s writings.” To these he afterwards again adds: “I would say, that the thoughts are the apostle’s, but the diction and phraseology belong to some one who has recorded what the apostle said, and as one who noted down at his leisure what his master dictated. If, then, any church considers this epistle as coming from Paul, let it be commended for this, for neither did those ancient men deliver it as such without cause. But who it was that really wrote the epistle, God only knows. The account, however, that has been current before us is, according to some, that Clement, who was bishop of Rome, wrote the epistle; according to others, that it was written by Luke, who wrote the gospel and the Acts.” But let this suffice on these subjects.








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