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External Evidence for the Authenticity and Genuineness of St. John's Gospel

THE genuineness of St John's Gospel is the centre of the position of those who uphold the historical truth of the record of our Lord Jesus Christ given us in the New Testament. Hence the attacks of the opponents of revealed religion are concentrated upon it. So long however as it holds its ground, these assaults must inevitably prove ineffective. The assailants are of two kinds: (1) those who deny the miraculous element in Christianity—Rationalists, (2) those who deny the distinctive character of Christian doctrine—Unitarians. The Gospel confronts both. It relates the most stupendous miracle in the history of our Lord (short of the Incarnation and the Resurrection), the raising of Lazarus. Again, it enunciates in the most express terms the Divinity, the Deity, of our Lord. And yet at the same time it professes to have been written by the one man, of all others, who had the greatest opportunities of knowing the truth. The testimony of St Paul might conceivably be set aside, as of one who was not an eye-witness. But here we have, not an eKrpwfia1, not a personal disciple merely, not one of the twelve only, but the one of the twelve—the Apostle who leaned on his Master's bosom, who stood by his Master's cross, who entered his Master's empty grave. If therefore the claim of this Gospel to be the work of John the son of Zebedee be true, if in other words the Fourth Gospel be genuine, the most formidable, not to say an insuperable, obstacle stands in the way of both classes of antagonists.

1 l Cor. xv. 8.

Hence the persistence and the ingenuity of the attacks; and hence also the necessity of a thoroughness in the defence. No apology therefore is needed, if the subject should seem dry and uninviting.

And details too are necessary. For the nature of the proof is cumulative. Some points which I shall have to urge may seem weak. The allusions to the Gospel in many cases are uncertain or anonymous. But they must be taken pro tanto. To borrow a mechanical simile, evidence for the authenticity of a document is not like a chain, where the strength of the whole is the strength of its weakest link. It is like the supports of a building, where the strength is in the aggregate. One pillar may be weak, or may fall; but the superstructure will still remain, for each instance is independent of the others.

Consequently, considerable mental effort is necessary in order to keep in view all the elements of a cumulative proof. We are apt to concentrate our attention on that which is last, or that which is exceptional. If then the last argument stated is weak, or if anywhere there is one argument exceptionally weak, we may leap to the conclusion that the whole is weak. This is manifestly a false mode of arguing, and we must constantly be on our guard against its subtle influence.

Hence the necessity of keeping the whole in view. We shall be occupied during the present term with the external evidence. But the external evidence is not all. And in summing up in our own minds the results which we shall obtain, we must not forget what lies beyond—what will occupy us probably next term—the reinforcement of the internal evidence. For the present however we shall confine ourselves to the former. And we cannot help being struck at the outset by the inadequacy of treatment which the question has met with in the prolegomena of the majority of commentators. An allusion to Theophilus, to Irenaeus, to Eusebius, an apology, somewhat lame, for the silence of Papias, and the whole subject is briefly and summarily dismissed. Now the injury done to the cause of revealed truth by this method of treatment is very serious, and has resulted in an undue disparagement of the external evidence for the Fourth Gospel. On this point I cannot do better than quote so temperate and judicious a writer as Mr Sanday, who, in his introduction to his work on the Authorship and Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel, when stating his reasons for confining himself to the internal evidence, writes as follows:

'Several reasons seem to make this limitation of treatment desirable. The subject of the external evidence has been pretty well fought out. The opposing parties are probably as near to an agreement as they ever will be. It will hardly be an unfair statement of the case for those who reject the Johannean authorship of the Gospel to say that the external evidence is compatible with that supposition. And on the other hand, we may equally say for those who accept the Johannean authorship, that the external evidence would not be sufficient alone to prove it. As it at present stands, the controversy may be regarded as drawn; and it is not likely that the position of parties will be materially altered' (p. 3).

Now I hope to show that there is no deficiency of testimony (considering the nature of the subject), that on the contrary there is a vast body of evidence of various kinds, which cannot be set aside; that the result is a very powerful argument in favour of the genuineness; and that therefore, when we enter upon the question of internal evidence, we shall enter upon it with a very strong weight of evidence in support of St John's authorship, which can only be counterbalanced by powerful considerations on the other side.

But, before commencing the investigation, let us first see what is the nature of the antagonism with which we have to deal. The history of the controversy may be seen in Bleek1. Briefly stated, the position of affairs is this. The universal reception of the Gospel as the work of St John (with the exception of an obscure sect1) up to the close of the last century has been assailed in the early years of the present

4 century by a series of writers, who unite in denying the Johannine authorship, and place the date somewhere in the middle or latter half of the second century.

1 Bleek Btitrdge zur Evangelien- 3 The Alogi, on whom see below, Kritik (1816). pp. 115 sq.

I give the names of the principal exponents of the new view, with the dates which they respectively assign for the authorship :—

Bretschneider Probabilia de Evangelii et Epistolarum Joannis Apostoli indole et origine Leipzig 1820. He expressed himself vaguely as to the date, but apparently placed it at the beginning or middle of the second century. After two years, in the preface to his Handbuch der Dogmatii 1822, he withdrew his conclusions, and declared his conviction that the Johannine authorship was finally established.

Lutzelberger Die kirchliche Tradition iiber den Apostel Johannes und seine Schriften in ihrer Qrundlosigkeit nachgewiesen Leipzig 1840. He considers that the Gospel was written near Edessa, about 135-140.

Badr first expressed his views on the Johannine question in the Theologische Jahrbiicher Tubingen 1844. He fixes the date somewhere about 160-170, and this is the view of the older Tubingen School.

Hilgenfeld Das Evangelium und die Briefe Johannis nach ihrem Lekrbegriff (1849). He considers that the Fourth Gospel took its rise in the middle of the second century owing to the prevalence of the Valentinian Gnosis.

Scholten, professor at Leyden, and head of the modern Dutch negative school, in his work entitled Set Evangelie naar Johannes (1864-6) places the writing of the Fourth Gospel in 150, but considers that it was interpolated subsequently. In a later work De oudste getuigenissen (1867) he throws the date back later still to 170.

Tayler, J. J. An attempt to ascertain the character of the Fourth Gospel, especially in its relation to the Three First London 1867. In reading this work we cannot fail to be struck with its evident sincerity; at the same time it exhibits singular deficiency in the enumeration of facts, and looseness in the treatment of them. Taylor's conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel was written after 135 and before 163 (p. 151). And yet (p. 155) he suggests that 'John the Presbyter' is the author of the book— John the Presbyter, of whom we only know that he was a personal disciple of our Lord.

Keim Oeschichte Jem von Nazara (1867) ascribes the Fourth Gospel to the reign of Trajan, A.d. 98-117.

Renan in the first edition of his Vie de Jesus (1863) considers that our Fourth Gospel is based upon the genuine work of St John, but edited by his disciples at the end of the first century. M. Renan's view has fluctuated in subsequent editions of his book.

In reviewing this list of writers, we cannot fail to be struck with two facts: (1) the variety of their opinions; (2) their gradual retrogression from the extreme position taken up at first . The pressure of facts has compelled them to abandon one position after another, and to approximate more and more closely to the traditional view.

I. The Churches Of Asia Minor.

Unless we are prepared to reject without a hearing all the traditions of Christianity, we cannot refuse to believe that the latest years of the Apostle St John were spent in the Roman province of Asia and chiefly in Ephesus its capital. This tradition is singularly full, consistent and well-authenticated1. Here he gathered disciples about him, organized churches, appointed bishops and presbyters. A whole chorus of voices unite in bearing testimony to its truth. One who passed his earlier life in these parts and had heard his aged master, a disciple of St John himself, recount his personal reminiscences of the great Apostle*; another, who held this very see of Ephesus and writing less than a century after the Apostle's death was linked with the past by a chain of relatives all bishops in the Christian Church3; a third who also flourished about the close of the century and numbered among his teachers an old man from this very district'—are the principal, because the most distinct, witnesses to a fact which is implied in several other notices of earlier or contemporary writers.

As to the time at which St John left his original home and settled in this new abode no direct account is preserved; but a very probable conjecture may be hazarded.

1 Fapias in Ens. H. E. iii. 39; sources of these quotations—Gaul,

Iren. ii. 22.5, Fragm. 2 (p. 822 Stieren) Asia Minor, Alexandria, Rome, Car

«tc.; Polycrates in Eus. H. E. v. 24; thage, Syria—is worth noticing.

Apolloniusin Eus. H. E. v. 18; Clem. - IrenrouR.

Alex. Quis div. talv. 42 (p. 958); cf. 3 Polycrates.

Can. Mm: (p. 17 ed. Tregelles), Tertull. 4 Clement of Alexandria. One of his

adv. Mare. iv. 9, Praescr. Haer. 32, teachers was an Ionian Greek (Strom.

Ancient Syriac Documents pp. 32, 34 i. 1. § 11 p. 322); see below, p. 92. (ed. Cure ton). The variety of the

The impending fall of the Holy City was the signal for the dispersion of the followers of Christ. About this same time the three other great Apostles, St Peter, St Paul and St James, died a martyr's death; and on St John, the last surviving of the four great pillars of the Church, devolved the work of developing the theology of the Gospel and completing the organization of the Church. It was not unnatural that at such a crisis he should fix his residence in the centre of a large and growing Christian community, which had been planted by the Apostle of the Gentiles, and watered by the Apostle of the Circumcision1. The missionary labours of St Paul and St Peter in Asia Minor were confirmed and extended by the prolonged residence of their younger contemporary. At all events such evidence as we possess is favourable to this view of the date of St John's settlement at Ephesus. Assuming that the Apocalypse is the work of the beloved Apostle', and accepting the view which assigns it to the close of Nero's reign or thereabouts, we find him now for the first time in the immediate neighbourhood of Asia Minor and in direct communication with Ephesus and the neighbouring Churches.

St John however was not alone. Whether drawn thither by the attraction of his presence or acting in pursuance of some common agreement, the few surviving personal disciples of the Lord would seem to have chosen Asia Minor as their permanent abode, or at all events as their recognised headquarters. Here at least we meet with the friend of St John's youth and perhaps his fellow-townsman, Andrew of Bethsaida8, who with him had first listened to John the Baptist and with him also had been the earliest to recognise Jesus as the Christ4.

1 On the relation of the Apostles to the Ephesian Church see Theod. Mops. praef. in epist. ad Ephesos.

3 If the Apocalypse be conceded, the testimony is decisive. And as opponents with very fewexceptions (Scholten is one) allow the genuineness, and

indeed use it against the Gospel, it may be urged.

3 See the account in Anc. Syr. Document!, p. 25.

4 Can. Mur. {revelation Andreae ex apostolit), p. 17, ed. Tregelles, Anc. Syr. Doc. pp. 32, 34.

Here too we encounter Philip the Evangelist1 with his daughters, and perhaps also Philip of Bethsaida, the Apostle3. Here also was settled the Apostle's namesake, John the Presbyter, also a personal disciple of Jesus, and one Aristion, not otherwise known to us', who likewise had heard the Lord. And possibly also other Apostles whose traditions Papias recorded, Matthew and Thomas and James, may have had some connexion, temporary or permanent, with this district.

Thus surrounded by the surviving disciples of the Lord, by bishops and presbyters of his own appointment, and by the pupils who gathered about him and looked to him for instruction, St John was the focus of a large and active society of believers*. In this respect he holds a unique position among the great teachers of the new faith. St Peter and St Paul converted disciples and organized congregations; St John alone was the centre of a school. His life prolonged till the close of the century, when the Church was firmly rooted and widely extended, combined with his fixed abode in the centre of an established community to give a certain definiteness to his personal influence which would be wanting to the wider labours of these strictly missionary preachers. Hence the notices of St John have a more solid basis and claim greater attention than stories relating to the other Apostles.

This fact is significant for the preservation of a tradition, especially one so important as that of the authorship of the Gospel. But there is another point, which increases the value of the tradition itself, viz., the longevity of the principal witnesses. Of St John himself we are told that he 'lived to the times of Trajan5.'

1 Papias in Eus. H. E. iii. 39; Polycrates in Eus. H. E. iii. 31, v. 24; Cains in Eus. H. E. iii. 31; cf. Clem. Alex, in Eus. H. E. iii. 30.

* See my Coiostians, p. 45 sq.

3 Papias, I. c.

4 Iren. ii. 22. 6; Clem. Alex. Quit div. talv. 42 (p. 958), Can. Mur. I. c.

(conducipulit et epitcopi8 tuit); Epiph. li. 6 (pp. 427, 8).

5 1ren. ii. 22. 5. The date of Trajan's accession is A.d. 98. According to the Chronicon Patchale St John survived till A.D. 104; see Clinton Fatt. Rom. i. p. 87.

His pupil Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom A.D. 155 or 1561, speaks of himself at the time of his death as having' served Christ fourscore and six years8.' The expression in the original may leave some doubt whether these eighty-six years should be reckoned from his birth or from his conversion, though the former would be the more natural interpretation. But in any case he must have been born not later than A.D. 70. And as Polycarp was the disciple of St John, so Irenaeus was the disciple of Polycarp. Again, of Pothinus bishop of Lyons we are told8 that he was more than ninety years old when he suffered in the persecution of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons (A.D. 177). The date of his birth therefore cannot be later than A.D. 87. A later tradition* makes him a native of Asia Minor; and this would be a highly probable supposition, even if unsupported by direct evidence. But whether an Asiatic Greek or not, he must have been a lad when St John died. And Irenaeus was the successor of Pothinus in the see of Lyons. Thus one link only, and that a double one, connects the life of the traditional author of the Fourth Gospel with Irenaeus who preserves the tradition in writing; and two long lives, St John and Polycarp, link the personal ministry of our Lord with the latter half of the second century5.

1 [On the question of the date of Polycarp's martyrdom see Apostolic Fathers, Part II. vol. i . pp. 646 sq (ed. 2).]

* Mart. Polyc. 9 AySo^Kom-a Kal Itt) Txu dov\evuv airrif [see the note on the passage in Apostolic Fathers, Part II. vol. in. p. 379 (ed. 2)]; cf. Iren. iii. 3. 4 e"rnroAi> yap rapifj.ttvt Kox rivv yripa\ios...naprvpfyrat tfijXffe rov jSiow.

• Ens. H. E. v. 1.

4 See the references in Tillemont Mimoiru ii. p. 343.

8 There was doubtless a tendency to exaggeration in this matter, e.g. in Christian Essene sources, where the age of Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, is given as 120 years. But the in

stances in the text are thoroughly substantiated, and can easily be paralleled. Thus three Lord Chancellors since the Reform Bill (Brougham, Lyndhurst and St Leonards) have lived to be 90. The longevity of the moat distinguished German professors has been remarkable. Boeckh died at eighty-one, Humboldt at eighty-nine, Ranke [and Dollinger] at [ninety]. For the great age of the Jewish rabbi Hillel see Etheridge Jerus. and Tiber, p. 33. The simple life of the early Christians had probably a great deal to do with this; see Southoy Life of Wesley n. pp. 273 sq., 284, (1858) and compare Josephus B. J. ii. 8. 10, who states that the Essenes often lived irip titarou fry.

Of the traditions of this school, Irenaeus, who had been educated in Asia Minor, though his later life was spent in Gaul, is the principal witness. He was a pupil of St John's personal disciple Polycarp, whom he mentions more than once. He set great store on these traditions as representing most truly the primitive teaching of the Church, and appeals to them again and again with confidence. On one occasion, writing to Florinus, whom he had known in youth as a fellow-pupil of Polycarp, but who in after years had taken up heretical views, he urges that these are not the doctrines delivered to him, by the elders, who were before them, who also associated with the Apostles, and he appeals to his reminiscences of their common master in this language:

'I distinctly remember {btanvrjfiovtva) the incidents of that time better than events of recent occurrence; for the lessons received in childhood, growing with the growth of the soul, become identified with it; so that I can describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp used to sit when he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and his manner of life (j6r xaPaKT'jPa ro" 0«°»O and his personal appearance, and the discourses which he held before the people; and how he would describe his intercourse with John and with the rest who had seen the Lord, and how he would relate their words. And what were the accounts he had heard from them about the Lord, and about His miracles, and about His teaching, how Polycarp, as having received them from eyewitnesses of the life of the Word (roll' avTtmrav rfjs (aijs Tov Aoyov) used to give an account harmonizing on all points with the Scriptures (ravra crifUpiova rail yfxxpals). To these (discourses) I used to listen at the time with attention by God's mercy which was bestowed upon me, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart; and by the grace of God, I constantly ruminate upon them faithfully (yvijaiW)1.'

As regards this whole extract it will suffice to notice (1) the opportunities of the witness, (2) the thoroughness of the evidence (irdvra avfx<fxova Tat? ypa<f>cu<;). In more than one passage also of his great work he refers to the 'Church of Ephesus", or to the elders who associated with John in Asia.

It was not the object of Irenaeus to defend the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, for his Valentinian antagonists not only

accepted it as genuine, but even set an exclusive value on it; and therefore any testimony to its authorship from the earlier school of Asia Minor which may be gathered from his writings is incidental. But any such testimony must have the highest value.

1. It can hardly be doubted that The Elders whom Irenaeus quotes, and quotes for the most part anonymously, belonged to this school. Of Polycarp and Papias, of whom the former is mentioned several times by him and the latter once casually, this is certain. I shall endeavour immediately to discriminate the several persons whom he thus quotes by the topics on which they write or speak; but, before doing so, one reference to such anonymous authority deserves attention, where Irenaeus refers not to individual opinion, but to the collective testimony of all the Elders who associated with St John1. It relates to a question of chronology. Hi« Valentinian adversaries laid great stress on the number 'thirty.' Their celestial hierarchy comprised thirty aeons, and they appealed to the thirty years' duration of our Lord's life. This computation of the Gospel chronology they derived from the notices in St Luke, interpreted by themselves3. At the commencement of His ministry, they contended, He was entering upon His thirtieth year, and His ministry itself lasted a twelvemonth, the 'acceptable year of the Lord' foretold by the Prophet Irenaeus in reply expresses his 'great astonishment' that persons professing to understand the deep things of God should have overlooked the commonest facts of the Gospel narrative, and points to the three passovers recorded in St John's Gospel during the term of our Lord's life (§ 3). Independently of the chronology of the Fourth Gospel, Irenaeus has an a priori reason why the Saviour must have lived more than thirty years. He came to sanctify every time of life, infancy, childhood, youth, declining age. It was therefore necessary that He should have passed the turn of middle life.

1 Iren. ii. 22. tinians, whom Irenicus here opposes,

* On the chronology of the Valen- see Epiph. Haer. li. 20 (p. 450).

'From thirty to forty,' he argues, 'a man is reckoned young, but from his fortieth and fiftieth year he is already declining into older age, which was the case with our Lord when He taught, as the Gospel and all the Elders who associated with John the disciple of the Lord testify that John delivered his account. For he remained with them (irepdfieivev avrols) till the times of Trajan. Some of them saw not only John but other disciples also, and heard these very things from their own life (ab ipsis), and bear testimony to such an account (de huiusmodi relatione)' (§ 4). Irenaeus goes on to argue that the same may be inferred from the language of our Lord's Jewish opponents, who asked, 'Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham ?' (John viii. 57). This he contends, is properly said to one who had already lived more than forty years, but had not yet reached his fiftieth year, though not far off his fiftieth year (§ 6).

On this passage two points are to be remarked. (1) The Valentinian chronology was derived from an obvious, though not a necessary, interpretation of the synoptic narrative, more especially of St Luke1, while, on the other hand, the Asiatic reckoning, which Irenaeus maintains, was, or might have been, founded on the Fourth Gospel, whereas it could not possibly have been suggested or elicited from the first three independently of the fourth, whether reconcilable with them or not*. (2) Irenaeus does not commit the elders of the Asiatic School to his own interpretation of the passage quoted from St John's Gospel, nor to his own view that our Lord was close upon fifty years old.

1 St Luke iii. 1, 23: iv. 19. ing to subject and treatment. Bat

2 St John is our authority for the still, though the Synoptic Gospels are

chronology of our Lord's ministry. consistent with a more lengthened

In the Synoptic Gospels it is highly ministry, they do not suggest it, and

probable that the sequence of events thus the argument Riven above, that a

is not strictly chronological, but that knowledge by the Elders of the Fourth

in places incidents are grouped accord- Gospel may be assumed, is justified.

He only asserts that the Gospel and the testimony of all the elders together support the view that our Lord was past middle life; and the vagueness of his language at this point may suggest the inference that he had their testimony distinctly on his side as against the Valentinian chronology, but that it did not go beyond this1. (3) So far as the chronology of the Asiatic School is known from other sources, the statement of Irenaeus is confirmed; for the Asiatic reckoning was distinctly based on the narrative of the Fourth Gospel. This is the case with the duration of our Lord's ministry' as given by Melito, and the time of the Crucifixion as given by Claudius Apollinaris, to both which writers I shall have to refer hereafter3.

From this general notice of the Asiatic Elders I turn to the opinions of individuals belonging to this school, as reported by Irenaeus. As these opinions are given anonymously and scattered throughout his work, we can only separate one authority from another by considering the subject-matter and treatment.

1 The argument from John viti. 57 is clearly Irenaeus' own, and is not justified by the passage itself. And this suggests the probability that much besides is his. We cannot safely assume that the a priori argument is taken from the Elders, or that the term of years was extended by them beyond forty. Irenteus classes together evangelium et omnes seniores. It is a legitimate assumption that the testimony of the Elders went as far as the evangelium and no further.

3 It may be interesting to consider what was the term of our Lord's life. The chief data are as follows: (a) Matt. ii. 16, 22—the death of Herod which occurred March B.c. 4, see Clinton Fatt. Hell, tub anno. Thus the Nativity might have taken place in the year B.c 5 or B.c. 6. (fc) Luke iii. 1,23—our Lord's Baptism, and the commencement of His ministry, stated to have been 'in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar' when our Lord was 'about thirty years old (uad irdm tpidKorra).' As Sept. A.d.

28 was the beginning of the fifteenth year of Tiberius, our Lord would be 32 or 33 years old, which does not conflict with St Luke's statement, (c) Matt, xxvii. 2—the Passion under Pontius Pilate. We learn from Josephus Ant. xvin. 4. 3 that Pilate was sent to Bome by Vitellius to answer charges made against him, and that before he arrived Tiberius had died, and Caius (Caligula) had succeeded. Now Tiberius died March A.d. 37. Therefore the passover of the Passion might have been as late as Easter A.d. 36, but could not be later. Thus it is possible that our Lord did live to be over forty years of age; for we have no right to assume that St John gives all the passovers which ooourred during the ministry. On the whole, however, a ministry of not more than three or four years seems the more probable view.

8 See below, p. 72 sq. For the references to Melito and Claudius Apollinaris see Bouth Reliq. Sacr. i. pp. 121, 124, 160.

This criterion of course may be fallacious; and allowance must be made for the possibility of separating one authority into two or more, or again of counting two or more authorities as one. But the argument will not be materially affected by allowance made for errors which may occur on either side. Judging then by the subject-matter, I find that the following authorities are referred to:—

(1) A person quoted with great respect as 'one better than us' [6 Kpelaaaov f]fiwv (i. praef. 2 sq., i. 13. 3) superior nobis (iii. 17. 4)], in another as 'the divine old man and herald of the truth, the old man beloved of God (i. 15. 6).' Any one who will compare these references together cannot hesitate, I think, to see that they allude to one and the same person. He is a writer, as may be inferred both from the manner and from the subject of the references. His style is epigrammatic and telling, full of quaint metaphors and pointed sayings, and on one occasion he runs off into iambic verse which is more vigorous than rhythmical. The work which Irenaeus quotes is directed against heresies of the magico-gnostic school, and more especially against Marcus.

(2) An 'Elder of a bygone generation' (de antiquis presbyter) a 'primitive character' (iv. 31. 1) an 'elder and disciple of the Apostles' (iv. 32. 1), or, as he is elsewhere more precisely described, 'an elder who had heard from those who had seen the Apostles and from those who had learnt' [ah his qui didicerunt i. e. from personal disciples of the Lord (iv. 27. 1)]. Irenaeus quotes at some length the opinion of this presbyter. From the form of quotation it appears that he is relating oral discourses (perhaps from his own lecture-notes), and not any written treatise of this elder (audivi a quodam presbytero. Huiusmodi qucque disputabat). The subject of these discourses is the relation of the two covenants, and the Elder defends the Old Testament Saints, describing the office of the patriarchs as witnesses of Christ.

(3) A single saying is quoted as from 'one of the ancients' (quidam ex veteribus ait), apparently from a written treatise, that God cursed not Adam but the earth in (or through) his works (iii. 23. 3).

(4) Irenaeus, in explaining the expression 'sons of God,' 'sons of the devil,' refers to a distinction made by one of these Elde

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