14 thoughts on “Agapius now online in English”

  1. Congratulations on finishing, Roger! Indeed, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning”!

  2. Great news! I have already found some interesting information about the heresies. One question though. Is it possible to ask Vasiliev the next you correspond with him what the original Arabic word behind the term ‘pulpit’ in the text? For instance in the section on Arius in Book 2 “When he had gone up into the pulpit, he began his sermon …”

    Greatly appreciated. Congrats again.

  3. I would just like to suggest, if it is possible, that the Arabic text get published electronically as well alongside the English translation. It would be more benificial if the history is studied in its original language and English translation.

  4. Thank you very much everyone! The end was indeed better than the beginning.

    Stephan: I’d love to, but Alexander Vasiliev published his translation in 1915, and is long dead. I bet he’d be thrilled tho! You can find the Arabic text as below. It’s in the PO5.

    Dioscorus: I can’t transcribe Arabic letters myself. But the text is available online at Archive.org, in the PDF’s of the PO editions. I uploaded the relevant part of PO5 myself. Just search for “patrologia orientalis”. You want parts 5, 7, 8 and 11. I certainly agree that it would be best to have both.

  5. Hi Roger,

    I’m a bit late in joining this comment section! But what a gem this translation of Agapius is – thank you.

    For many years I’ve pondered writing a piece about fulfilled prophecies in Jesus Christ – in particular the darkness at noon during the crucifixion. There are some very interesting non biblical sources including Phlegon and Thallus in Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict and I’ve got some other material. But I wondered if there might be some other ancient accounts that aren’t appearing online. Josh McDowell did mention a ‘Bishop Apapius’ (I think it must be a misspell) and whilst searching for that I came across this quite recent translation of yours. It looks like there is a very interesting eye witness account of the darkness from a philosopher named Ursinus, which includes much interesting information:

    here’s the relevant paragraph:

    “The philosophers in their books tell that the days of the Passion of Christ, |15 may He be glorified, . . . in the volume . . . [three lines illegible] . . . kings, that, during the reign of Caesar, the sun was darkened, and it became night at the ninth hour and the stars appeared: there was a strong earthquake at Nicaea and in all the surrounding cities, and extraordinary things happened. The philosopher Ursinus says in the fifth chapter of his book on the wars and expeditions of the kings: “We were in great grief and long anguish. The sun was darkened and the earth shook, and we learned that extraordinary and terrifying things were happening in the country of the Hebrews, and we know the cause of this from the letters which the Governor Pilate wrote from Palestine to Tiberius Caesar, when he said that from the death of a man whom the Jews had crucified, these things happened.” On learning this, Caesar sent orders to Pilate and dismissed the government of Judea, because he had surrendered to the Jews, and he threatened and intimidated the Jews who had crucified Christ.”

    and this same Ursinus is mentioned again a little later – between year 9 & 11 of Domitian’s reign – which is useful if clarifying that he was definitely living in the first century:

    “At the same time, the philosopher Patrophilus said to his master Ursinus, “I have intended to speak, master, of this man in whom all the peoples and the nations of different languages believe. According to what is said of him, he was crucified, died; then he came back to life and went up to heaven, according to the testimony of his companions, who believe in him. And we see that Theodore, chief of the sages of Athens, with Africanus of Alexandria, Martianus (Martinus) of drourousah (?) and Mark (?) gave up their gods in order to worship Him and call upon Him. They were freed from the business of this vile world, they have neither riches nor goods, and they are powerful in word and work.” Ursinus responded to his disciple, “All the people have become his disciples and worship the Galilean of Nazareth. We quote the names of eminent scholars who after seeing him renounced their gods and worshipped Him. As for me, I think that all the peoples and their posterity will become his disciples. You say that his |46 disciples live a good life; what is also good, is that they do not abandon themselves to the evil hidden in the flesh.”

    So I was wondering if you, or anyone else knows of any other previously unpublished, untranslated cruxificion darkness accounts, or any other reference to these two first century philosophers Ursinus or Patrophilus. Do you think there may be some other old manuscripts that may have mentioned the darkness and earthquake, just like this one, that have still not been translated into English?

    Thanks again and God Bless
    Nigel Draper

  6. Hi Roger

    Thanks for your comment – just wondering why you suspect that the material about Ursinus etc is legend? Is it because Ursinus is not referred to by any other early writers or historians? I don’t know if this is the case but assume you have fuller knowledge on this.

    This quotation attributed to Ursinus by Agapius seems, to me, perfectly reasonable and the type of report that would have been written at that time:

    “We were in great grief and long anguish. The sun was darkened and the earth shook, and we learned that extraordinary and terrifying things were happening in the country of the Hebrews, and we know the cause of this from the letters which the Governor Pilate wrote from Palestine to Tiberius Caesar, when he said that from the death of a man whom the Jews had crucified, these things happened.”

    This quotation doesn’t go beyond the Bible’s account in respect of the crucifixion account – and I have read that a number of the early church fathers and historians also refer to reports that Pilate sent to Tiberius i.e. Tertullian and Justin Martyr. The darkness and earthquake at the crucifixion would, no doubt, have been included in any such report.

    In addition this quotation is preceded by information that is very similar to an account attributed to Phlegon i.e. the darkness, and earthquake at Nicaea – so that seems to be a genuine source i.e. not legend. And the quotation is immediately followed, in the next paragraph, by a quotation of Josephus, which has, I believe, been taken seriously by a lot of historians – many think it is a more accurate wording of Josephus’ actual writing – so that is not legend. So why would Agapius insert ‘legend’ at this point. He must have felt the material was genuine and he actually refers to the ‘fifth chapter’ and says it is from “his book on the wars and expeditions of the kings”.

    I’d be very interested to hear your views on this.

    Many thanks.
    Nigel

  7. Mainly because Agapius has no sources for this period that we don’t have, which suggests strongly that we’re dealing with made-up stories.

Leave a Reply