The Jews are very silent about this city: nor do I remember that I have read any thing in them concerning it, besides those things which are produced out of the Old Testament; this only excepted, that the Jerusalem Gemarists do confess that the Messias was born there before their times.
"Beth-lehem is a certain town in the land of the Jews, thirty-five furlongs distant from Jerusalem": and that towards the south.
The father of the ecclesiastical annals, citing these words of Eusebius, "But now, when in the eighteenth year of the empire of Adrian, the war was more vehemently kindled near the town called Beth-lehem (which was very well fortified with all manner of defence, nor was seated far from the city of Jerusalem)," &c.
The interpreter of Eusebius renders, Beth-thera: not illy, however it be not rendered according to the letter: perhaps crept into the word instead of by the carelessness of the copiers. But by what liberty the other should render it Beth-lehem, let himself see. Eusebius doth certainly treat of the city Betar (it is vulgarly written Bitter), of the destruction of which the Jews relate very many things with lamentation: which certainly is scarcely to be reckoned the same with Beth-lehem.
The same father of the annals adds, that Beth-lehem, from the times of Adrian to the times of Constantine, was profaned by the temple of Adonis: for the asserting of which he cites these words of Paulinus: "Hadrianus, supposing that he should destroy the Christian faith by offering injury to the place, in the place of the passion dedicated the image of Jupiter, and profaned Beth-lehem with the temple of Adonis": as also like words of Jerome: yet, he confesses, the contrary seems to be in Origen against Celsus: and that more true. For Adrian had no quarrel with the Christians, and Christianity,--but with the Jews, that cursedly rebelled against him.