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  1. Also for the Question on dating, Robert Grant in Eusebius as Church Historian says that the dating in the Armenian version of Eusebius for Thallus' chronology must be wrong not only because the time for the Eclipse would fall after the ending date of the 167th Olympiad, but because the Assyrian king Belos ruled long before the fall of Troy, which the Armenian version of Eusebius says begins Thallus' compendium. Here is Grant's book: https://books.google.com/books?id=scNLAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA98&lpg=PA98&dq=eusebius+on+thallus&source=bl&ots=LcFSmGlwXT&sig=ACfU3U2t1BI_7lVg80mQdY4qD13rIZ92Ow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjq1_q1sZ7oAhUal3IEHRaIDd8Q6AEwC3oECFwQAQ#v=onepage&q=eusebius on thallus&f=false
  2. For Question 2 (about the dating) Harris' article is in Gospel Perspectives, Volume 5: The Jesus Tradition Outside the Gospel: https://books.google.com/books?id=3AxLAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA343&lpg=PA343&dq=Murray-harris+thallus&source=bl&ots=AxgrQMzFTm&sig=ACfU3U1cdDhkfqzX-yyj62NW1wj5O9gsSQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjc0dfZpp7oAhWAhHIEHcjyAlsQ6AEwBHoECF8QAQ#v=onepage&q=Murray-harris thallus&f=false There, Harris writes: The online book does not contain Harris' note #4. Richard Carrier gives the reason behind the theory that it pointed to 52 AD. Carrier writes: The Armenian reference places the end of Thallus' "brief compendium" at the 167th Olympiad (which spans 112-109 BC). This would remain uncontested if it were not for a single reference to Thallus regarding an event long after that time: namely, the darkness at the death of Christ. Since this event must have occurred in the 1st century AD, and no doubt sometime between 28 and 38 AD, there are two possibilities: either the Armenian text is referring to a different work, or the date has been corrupted. Virtually every scholar to date has opted for the latter and made efforts to conjecture the original date--the only two plausible (though still unlikely) options are the 207th Olympiad (which spans 49-52 AD) and the 217th Olympiad (which spans 89-92 AD). The latter in fact is the more likely, judging from palaeography. But as I've already noted, it seems far more likely that the Armenian reference is to a different work. It could even be an excerpted epitome of a longer chronology. This leaves us with no clue as to when Thallus wrote. Since the 1st-century darkness was probably not mentioned in the "brief compendium," there is no reason to suppose that the date of 109 BC is incorrect--there is nothing physically wrong with the text, nor any other reason to suspect an error (although Mosshammer claims otherwise, his reasoning is hard to justify). However, if Thallus did mention the darkness in another work (probably the Histories), he clearly had to have written after 28 AD. Although the guess of 52 AD as the end-date for the compedium is the one most commonly mentioned, if the date is wrong at all then 92 AD is more likely correct. But all these possible dates--109 BC, 52 AD, 92 AD--only give us the "time after which" he had to have written this "brief compendium." These dates do not tell us when he wrote the Histories or whatever work that mentioned the darkness. https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/thallus.html Carriers' theory that Eusebius was referring to a different compendium than Julius Africanus was sounds unlikely. Eusebius referred to Thallus' chronicle of world history in three volumes, whereas Julius Africanus wrote: "This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. " Julius Africanus, who quoted Thallus, lived in 160-240 AD, so Thallus must have written before the mid-3rd Century. AD. Richard Carrier gives an earlier last possible date for Thallus' writing, 180 AD:
  3. For Question 2, Wiktionary gives this definition of εκλειψιν: disappearance, abandonment especially disappearance of a celestial body: eclipse Liddell and Scott's dictionary gives:
  4. For Question 3, here is Loeb's translation and footnote: Now there was, in addition,{F} a certain man of Samaritan origin who was a freed man of the emperor. Agrippa managed to borrow a million drachmas from him and repaid the money that he had borrowed from Antonia. The rest of the money he spent in paying court to Gaius, with whom he consequently rose to higher favour. FOOTNOTE F: The manuscript reading, Allos, "another", presents difficulties in this context, and most scholars have adopted Hudson's emendation, Thallos, identifying the Samaritan as Thallus, perhaps, as Schurer iii. 495 would have it, the author of a universal history mentioned by Eusebius (Chron. ed.) which mentions an eclipse that took place at the time of the crucifixion in the fifteenth year of Tiberius (AD 29). But it is possible to keep the manuscript reading in the sense of "In addition to," "besides"; cf. Plato, Gorgias 473 D, Aeschinas i. 163. Or we may choose to take allos as a pronoun and translate, "Now there was another, namely a Samaritan by race (birth)," as does H.A. Rigg, "Thallus: the Samaritan?" Harv. Theol. Rev. who well explains that "the context of this passage implies that Agrippa has raised a sum of money in one direction and now borrows another sum with which to pay off the former from another source, viz., a certain Imperial freedman who happened to be a Samaritan." I am curious what Loeb's footnote means that it "presents difficulties"? It sounds like it is implying that there is a grammatical problem if you translate Allos as "another", but Carrier and you both said that the Greek grammar here is fine for "another". Plus, Loeb's own footnote says that the reading of "another" is "possible". So I believe that your answer is right.
  5. For Question 3 (What other early Christian writings besides the Sibylline Oracles described the "cessation of prophets"?), my best answer is that the only writings mentioned online that I found were the ones by Tertullian and Origen. I discussed the question on the Ancient Way Orthodox forum and the forum users didn't know of others either. One of the issues must be that the cessation was more of a decline, and the early period, like the 1st and late 2nd centuries, which included people who lived in the time when the apostles themselves were still alive, was too early to have strongly experienced a decline to such an extent that it was very noticeable in the writings of that period that have survived. Sure, there was the battle against the Montanists by the Church, but the Montanists were not rejected for having prophetic gifts per se, so much as for their heretical ideas and deviant or outlying actions, like their claim that their region in Asia Minor was the New Jerusalem.
  6. The answer to Question 2 is that it sounds like Homer's dactylic hexameter, although it varies a bit from it. I posted some links to Greek language performances of Homer's poetry that give you an idea of its sound. Unfortunately, it looks like there are no recordings of Greek quotes from the Sibylline oracles online, and the links that I posted don't include Greek language quotes from them.
  7. For Question 4, Rev. Charles Wadsworth said in a Thanksgiving Sermon: In regard of evils that are past. Yesterday's evil fulfilled yesterday its mission. It may have been a great and sore sorrow—the loss of all your possessions ; nay, the loss of that which gave possessions all their value. Parents, brothers, sisters, children, friends—alas, they may have gone from your bosom to the pitiless grave ! The sorrow may seem colossal, overmastering! But what then; must you refuse to be comforted'? Because the Divine hand has led you into the valley of the shadow of death, must you therefore pitch tent in the ravine and abide in the darkness? Should you not rather take hold on the Divine staff, following the lead of the great Shepherd up from the gloom to the green pastures and still waters that lie beyond if? A great grief falls on a man as a tempest on a cedar. But may not the tree rebound from the stroke, flinging again its remaining branches to the breeze and the sunshine? If I have lost a fortune, shall I sit down in sackcloth amid its ashes, or rise up like a man and go forth to make another? Because one beloved one is dead, shall I refuse to cast the green turf on the dear dust, and keep an embalmed mummy-grief in my household till the cherished ones that are left to me grow pale and spectral as dwellers in a sepulchre... https://caleb-cangelosi-437x.squarespace.com/s/Wadsworth-Charles-The-Joy-in-Harvest.pdf In Wise Sayings of the Great and Good, L. C. Gent. quotes the maxim "Evils that are Past should not be Mourned." Then he cites the Duke's Proverb in Shakespeare's Othello, Act 1, Scene 3: When remedies are past, the griefs are ended By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended. To mourn a mischief that is past and gone Is the next way to draw new mischief on. What cannot be preserved when fortune takes Patience her injury a mockery makes: The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief. SparkNotes gives this modern paraphrase of the Duke's Parable: If you can’t change something, don’t cry about it. When you lament something bad that’s already happened, you’re setting yourself up for more bad news. A robbery victim who can smile about his losses is superior to the thief who robbed him, but if he cries he’s just wasting time. (https://www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/othello/page_42/)
  8. For Question 1 (Why it would have been written in the 3rd century), I was not able to find more online about why Book VIII would be from the Third Century, although I did find other sources like the translator Milton Terry himself making this assertion. It could just be that they are using the Third Century as a broad date to tend to fix Sibylline books with Christian features to. Some instances of how they can estimate the Third Century for Books in this text are: So it looks like the answer is that Lactantius quotes Book VIII, thereby giving the latest date possible as Charlesworth says, and Lactantius was born in 240 AD. The Catholic Encyclopedia supposed that the first half was Jewish and non-Christian, so a Christian work in the second half of the same Book would tend to come later and would come from a different author. Catholic Encyclopedia dates two other works in the text, Book VI and Book XI to the 3rd century. But despite looking for other sources and information on claims that it was from the 3rd century, I didn't find any more, and Charlesworth who is a top expert on Old Testament Pseudepigrapha writes that there is "no closer indication of date." Personally, I agree with Geffcken's theory that since the style is the same through the Book, the whole Book was more likely written at the same period, ie. about the 2nd century AD. For Question 3, both Milton Terry and Charlesworth use the phrase "cessation of prophets" in their translations. James Ash writes about Origen's position in "The Decline of Ecstatic Prophecy in the Early Church" (http://cdn.theologicalstudies.net/37/37.2/37.2.2.pdf): In the "Cessation of the Charismata", Benjamin Warfield writes: I didn't find other early Christian writings denying the continuation of prophecy among Christians. In fact, Christians considered Melito of Sardis in the 2nd century to have a prophetic gift. For Question 5, the term "latter" in a sentence that is preceded by a juxtaposition of two things generally refers to the second. So for instance when elsewhere in the same work Deane refers to the "latter" in the following sentence, he means the "Persians": "We are told of a battle between the Medes and Persians at the Euphrates, which resulted in the victory of the latter". Deane's sentence in Question 5 is underlined as follows: An epilogue [in Book IV] about the condition of men after the judgment was thought to be sufficiently orthodox and in accordance with Christian notions to be transferred bodily to the Apostolical Constitutions, where it will be found in Book v. chap.7. The episode there [in the Apostolic Constitutions] is indeed somewhat longer than that contained in the MSS. of the Sibyllines, and the editors of the latter [the Sibyllines] have added the verses thus preserved to their editions, judging rightly that there is sufficient authority for the insertion. (https://biblehub.com/library/deane/pseudepigrapha/the_sibylline_oracles.htm) The answer is that the grammar and context require one to interpret the sentence as: "The episode there (in the Apostolic Constitutions) is indeed somewhat longer than that contained in the MSS. of the Sibyllines, and the editors of the latter (the Sibyllines) have added the verses thus preserved (in the Apostolic Constitutions) to their editions (of the Sibyllines), judging rightly that there is sufficient authority for the insertion (into the Sibyllines)." So I would take Rev. Deane to mean that the editors of the "latter", the Sibyllines, added the longer verses preserved in the Constitutions into the Sibyllines. The "latter" must refer to the MSS. of the Sibyllines, since they are listed last in the preceding clause. "Their editions" must refer to their editions of the Sibyllines, because the editors are responsible for them. The insertion must refer to the insertion that they make. The verses "thus preserved" must mean those preserved in the Constitutions, because it doesn't make sense for them to be inserting verses preserved in the Sibyllines into the Sibyllines. You can read Milton Terry's 19th century translation of Book IV of the Christian Sibylline Oracles, including the Epilogue here: https://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/sib06.htm But when now all things shall have been reduced To dust and ashes, and God shall have calmed The fire unspeakable which he lit up, The bones and ashes of men God himself 235. Again will fashion, and he will again Raise mortals up, even as they were before. And then shall be the judgment, at which God Himself as judge shall judge the world again; And all who sinned with impious hearts, even them, 240. Shall he again hide under mounds of earth [Dark Tartarus and Stygian Gehenna]. But all who shall be pious shall again Live on the earth [and (shall inherit there) The great immortal God's unwasting bliss,] 245. God giving spirit life and joy to them [The pious; and they all shall see themselves Beholding the sun's sweet and cheering light. O happy on the earth shall be that man]. Milton Terry's Footnote on Lines 231-248. This picture of resurrection, judgment, and awarding of {footnote p. 109} punishments and rewards embodies the substance of familiar Christian doctrine. This passage is quoted in the Apostolical Constitutions, book v, 7 [G., 1, 844], where we find a somewhat abbreviated text.] Here, Milton Terry is saying that a shorter, abbreviated version of this Epilogue shows up in the Apostolic Constitutions Book V, Chp. 7. James Charlesworth's 21st century translation is practically the same as Terry's and also contains the references to Tartarus and Gehenna, which are missing from James Donaldson's 19th century translation of the section in the Apostolic Constitutions, Book V. For Question 6, one place that comes to mind for me is the talking cross that followed Christ and two beings out of the tomb in the Gospel of Peter. I looked up the German Encyclopedia that Charlesworth's book cites to, and the only early Church writing that it mentions for this story is the Gospel of Peter. It's hard for this to have been a common story in Orthodoxy that people would have heard of because the finding of the Cross by Helena contradicts it. If it was a common tradition that the early believers accepted, it's unlikely that the Romans would have claimed to have found the Cross.
  9. Admin, how do you think that the last part could mean "to Caesar"? Isn't Καίσαρος genitive, making this "Coponius' opinion of Caesar"? ...λώσσης διδάξοντας τὸν Καίσαρα τὴν κακίαν τοῦ Ἀντιπάτρου καὶ Κωπωνίου γνώμη τὴν Καίσαρος. Or do you think that this could somehow be dative (to Caesar) like in Mark 12:17, αὐτοῖς Τὰ Καίσαρος ἀπόδοτε Καίσαρι (Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's) It looks like Josephus' sentence literally says that Herod sent messengers to inform Caesar "about the villainy of Antipater and of Coponius opinion of the Emperor/Caesar." This does not make clear sense, although conceivably Josephus could have meant to say (A) that Herod's messengers told Caesar Coponius' opinion of Caesar, (B) that Herod's messengers told Caesar Coponius' opinion about Antipater, (C) that they told Caesar of the villainy both of Antipater and of Coponius for Caesar's judgment, or (D) that they told Caesar about the villainy of Antipater and told Coponius the judgment of Caesar.
  10. Good input, thanks. Does Κωπωνίου mean "Coponius' " as a possessive? I am trying to see why you read that as Coponius' opinion, rather than an accusative case grammatically, as in: "the wickedness of Antipater and [to inform] Coponius [of] the judgment of Caesar""
  11. In Book XVII, Chapter V.7 of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes about Herod's detention of Antipater: δήσας δὲ αὐτὸν εἰς Ῥώμην ὡς Καίσαρα ἐκπέμπει γράμματα περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ γλώσσης διδάξοντας τὸν Καίσαρα τὴν κακίαν τοῦ Ἀντιπάτρου καὶ Κωπωνίου γνώμη τὴν Καίσαρος. In Loeb's edition, Ralph Marcus translates the sentence as: Marcus writes that the underlined Greek text is unintelligble and comes at the end of the sentence above. He includes this note: "codd.: om. PE Lat. : secl. edd." I take this to mean that the Latin books omit this ending. Κωπωνίου means Coponius. Earlier, in Book XIV, Chapter 8, Josephus had quoted the Roman senate's decree that was favorable to the Jews, which said, "There were present at the writing of this decree Lucius Coponius, the son of Lucius of the Colline tribe". Later, Josephus wrote that Coponius arrived with Cyrenius to take power in Judea. Under John Rhoad's theory, Cyrenius ruled Judea in Herod's time, and the underlined sentence would help confirm this theory. γνώμη is a Greek noun meaning judgment, opinion, decision. (https://biblehub.com/greek/1106.htm) τὴν means "the". Καίσαρος means Caesar. So word for word, doesn't the underlined ending mean "... and Coponius the judgment Caesar"? So is the best interpretation that Josephus saying that Herod sent messengers to inform Caesar of "the wickedness of Antipater and [to inform] Coponius [of] the judgment of Caesar"?
  12. Thanks for explaining. I agree. The text says that they have it, but it isn't clearly saying that they wrote it. eg. "I have the days of the year set down in my calendar." But I wasn't the one who put the days in the calendar.
  13. Hippolytus of Rome in the 3rd century noted how the Gospel of the Egyptians, possessed by the Naassene sect, described changes of the soul. Hippolytus wrote about the Naassenes: How would you literally translate the underlined sentence above? Ben Smith, on his Text Excavations website, translates this so that it isn't clear if it means that the Naassenes wrote about the soul in the Gospel "According to the Egyptians", or just that the Naassenes have this book: J.H. MacMahon, in "Ante-Nicene Fathers", Vol. 5., translates it similarly: M.R. James in The Apocryphal New Testament translates it similarly: Otto Bardenhewer, in his book Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church takes it to mean that the Naassenes only used the book, as opposed to authoring it: "Hippolytus says that the Naassenes made use of expressions from the Gospel of the Egyptians in defence of their theories on the soul (and the transmigration of souls?)." But G. R. Mead, in his book "Thrice Greatest Hermes", translates it to mean that the Naassenes themselves wrote this in the Gospel According to the Egyptians, meaning that they authored the book: "These variegated metamorphoses they have laid down in the Gospel superscribed 'According to the Egyptians.'" G.R. Mead commented about the Gospel's origins: "We, however, here learn that it described the matamorphoses of the soul. It was a Gospel having its origin in Egypt and suited to Egyptian modes of thought. It follows, therefore, that the doctrine of the soul's transformation was Egyptian."
  14. The Christian Sibylline Oracles are a set of Christian poems written in Greek in the style of pagan oracles. The original pagan Sibylline oracles are lost to us except for some fragments. The oracles that have survived in a complete form were composed or edited by Christian writers in 80-250 AD. Those surviving 14 "Books" / Volumes of the Sibylline Oracles, translated by Milton Terry (1899), along with 7 fragments found in Lactantius and Theophilus of Antioch, can be found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/ (Question 1: SOLVED) Why should the second half of Book VIII have been written a century after the first half as the Catholic Encyclopedia claims? Is the claim about the century-long difference based only on the supposition that the first part is from the 2nd century and Jewish, and that the second part is Christian and therefore must be written much later? The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that Books I,II, VI,VII,VIII, XI, XII, XIII, and XIV are Christian or Christianized, and that VI,VIII,XI,XIV likely date to the 2nd to 4th centuries. For example, it says: "Book VIII offers peculiar difficulties; the first 216 verses are most likely the work of a second century AD Jew, while the latter part (verses 217-500) beginning with an acrostic on the symbolical Christian word Icthus is undoubtedly Christian, and dates most probably from the third century AD." (SOURCE: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13770a.htm) James Charlesworth writes in his book "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha": (Question 2: Solved) What does the Sibylline Hexameter sound like in Greek? In translating the Sibylline Oracles, Milton Terry commented that the English language naturally fits a Pentameter structure, whereas the Greek language fits hexameter. So when he made his translation of the Oracles, he deliberately translated them into English with a Pentameter verse from the Greek original, which was in hexameter. So I would like to hear the Sibylline Oracles read in Greek hexameter. Are there recordings of this? The Karavaki blog discusses the Sibylline oracles in Greek and has excerpts from it ("Ποιές ήταν οι Σίβυλλες; Τι έλεγαν για τον Αδάμ και τον Χριστό; Ο χρησμός του Απόλλωνα", 12/01/2014, LINK: https://karavaki.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/sibylle/) Homer's Odyssey and Iliad were written in Hexameter. The first 21 lines of Homer's Odyssey is read here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d39VrPwBGkQ Excerpts from the Iliad can be heard here: https://www.podium-arts.com/3346/iliad-excerpts-16-feb-15/ Prof. Leonard Mueller explains Dactylic Hexameter and gives a reading here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4trBxZyjkk I don't know if the following songs actually quote the Sibyl: Maria Farantouri's song "Oracles of the Sibyl": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mC6k5wBrS4 Her 2011 performance of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGa06iFcqtk Merlin Beggar's "Son of the Sybil" song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G26WoSqpiGw Nenas Venetsanou's 1982 "Oracles of the Sybil": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqqMB4hSa70 (Question 3: see below) What other early Christian writings besides the Sibylline Oracles described the "cessation of prophets"? Book I of the Christian Sibyllines appears to describe the foundation of the church of the Christians who follow the New Covenant, then the leading of the church by the apostles, then maybe the killing or suppression of the apostles by governments, then the defeat of the Judean rebels and looting of Judea by Rome's armies, all of which happened in the 1st century: Charlesworth ascribes the looting by the Romans in the final verse above to what occurred under Vespasian in c. 70 AD. Peter, Paul, and James had been killed earlier, in c.62-63 AD. So I get the sense that the passage means that the "prophets" ceased (eg. with the deaths of leading apostles like Paul, Peter, and James), then a Roman leader (ie. Vespasian) destroyed and looted the Temple. The best example of early writings describing the Cessation of prophets that comes to mind is the commentary by St. John Chrysostom or St. Augustine that in the beginning period of Christianity's spread, miracles and signs were used, but that after the Church got founded and strong enough, the Church switched to emphasizing reason and logic to spread its message. (Question 4: See Below) How should a good person address this personal and emotional challenge of dealing with past trauma? Book II of the Sibyllines says, "Do not vex thy heart With evils that are past; for what is done Can never be undone." This is hard because there is trauma that has been done to people and even if one doesn't desire revenge, the trauma can still be hard to deal with. Consider for example how in Revelation, the martyrs cry out to God for justice. (Question 5: SEE BELOW) Can you please explain William Deane's sentence below about editors adding in verses? William Deane writes in his book "Pseudepigrapha" about Book IV of the Christian Sibylline Oracles: Does Deane mean that an epilogue in Book IV was copied in a longer form into the Apostolic Constitutions and that afterwards the editors of Book IV ("the latter"?) inserted this longer form into Book IV, thinking that the Apostolic Constitutions were sufficient authority for the insertion? (Question 6: SEE BELOW) Have you heard of the idea that Christ's cross was taken to heaven, which is mentioned in Book 6? Book VI has an address to the Cross: James Charlesworth writes in his book "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha" regarding this passage: "The idea expressed in verse 37, that the cross would be taken up to heaven, was popular in later Christian writings."(For this he cites: Rzach-Wissowa 2A, col. 2141.) One place that comes to mind for me is the talking cross that followed Christ and two beings out of the tomb in the Gospel of Peter.

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