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耶穌與初期教會

除了已被納入為基督教文獻的古籍外 (聖經正典、次經等),第一世紀還有不少異教徒曾談及耶穌和初期教會的情況。雖然文獻用詞與基督信仰衝突,但卻提供了非常有力的證據。 筆者總結了歷史文獻對耶穌和初期教會的敍述,並配以精選的經文作佐證,請按按鈕顯示。原文及翻譯在下面右邊




另有更多非基督教文獻提及聖經所述的其它人物及事蹟 (包括君王、大祭司、猶太民族等),與聖經記載吻合,但因篇幅太多,暫不於此列。

[東地中海世界史 History of the Eastern Mediterranean World] (原著書名不詳)

此書共三冊由希臘歷史學家 Thallus 約於 AD 52 所寫,可惜書籍已失傳,我們只能透過後來作者的直接或間接引述,而對此著作有片段式的認識。以下段落取自羅馬基督徒歷史學家 Julius Africanus 約於 AD 221 所寫的 Chronographiai (英譯:Chronography) XVIII:1。Julius 用自己的文字間接引述了 Thallus 的一句,並附上自己的見解。
...整個世界被籠罩在極可怕的黑暗中,岩石被地震撕裂,猶太和其他地區的多個地方都倒下。Thallus 在他的《歷史》第三卷中,稱這黑暗為日蝕,但在我看來這說法毫無根據1。因為希伯來人是根據月亮的軌跡,釐定於第 14 日慶祝逾越節,而我們救主的受難日則落在逾越節前一天;但日蝕只在月亮被太陽遮住時才會發生。...

(本網站只把提及 Thallus 著作的一句,及前後各一句翻譯成中文,可按下面 <英譯本> 閱讀英文版本全段)

英譯本
As to His works severally, and His cures effected upon body and soul, and the mysteries of His doctrine, and the resurrection from the dead, these have been most authoritatively set forth by His disciples and apostles before us. On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let that opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Cæsar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. But it was a darkness induced by God, because the Lord happened then to suffer. And calculation makes out that the period of 70 weeks, as noted in Daniel, is completed at this time.
聖經 新約 早期教會 耶穌的死
圖片 : unknown @ Library of Congress Public Domain
  1. 雖然 Julius Africanus 不同意 Thallus 的看法,並暗示 Thallus 在為耶穌死亡時發生的景象提供一個坊間的解釋,但這文獻的重要性有兩方面:(1) Thallus 提供了已知最早來自異教徒對耶穌存在的記錄,約在耶穌死後 10-20 年;(2) Thallus 時期的民眾普遍同意並見證,耶穌死亡的一刻有大黑暗發生。


Mara bar Serapion 信件 Mara bar Serapion's Letter

以下為羅馬帝國敘利亞省的哲學家 Mara bar Serapion 在獄中寫給兒子的信,估計書寫於 AD 73。
雅典人殺害蘇格拉底1有何好處,他們因此而受到饑荒和瘟疫的懲罰。薩摩斯人燒死畢達哥拉斯2又有何益處,因他們的國家一瞬間就完全被沙所掩埋。猶太人殺害他們智慧的王3又有何益處,因為從那時起他們的國被奪走了。

神公正地為這三位智者報仇4雅典人死於饑荒,薩摩斯人被海水淹沒,猶太人被屠殺並驅逐離開他們的王國,四處流散生活。5

蘇格拉底沒有死,多虧了柏拉圖畢達哥拉斯也沒有死,多虧了赫拉的雕像。同樣地,智慧的王也沒有死,因為他已頒布新的教義。6

英譯本
What good did it do the Athenians to kill Socrates, for which deed they were punished with famine and pestilence? What did it avail the Samians to burn Pythagoras, since their country was entirely buried under sand in one moment? Or what did it avail the Jews to kill their wise king, since their kingdom was taken away from them from that time on?

God justly avenged these three wise men. The Athenians died of famine, the Samians were flooded by the sea, the Jews were slaughtered and driven from their kingdom, everywhere living in the dispersion.

Socrates is not dead, thanks to Plato; nor Pythagoras, because of Hera's statue. Nor is the wise king, because of the new law which he has given.
聖經 新約 早期教會 尼祿
圖片 : Sealino @ commons.wikimedia.org Creative Commons License
  1. 蘇格拉底 Socrates (BC 470-399) 是生於雅典希臘哲學家,堪稱為西方哲學的始創者,學生有著名的柏拉圖 Plato 和 色諾芬 Xenophon。他因藐視神明和腐蝕青少年的罪名而判處死刑,在牢獄中他拒絕跟隨者的逃獄協助,最終被迫服毒而死。
  2. 畢達哥拉斯 Pythagoras (BC 570-495) 是生於薩摩斯島希臘哲學及數學家,他在意大利的 Croton 開辦學院,並吸引了大群的追隨者,統稱為 Pythagoreans。因為 Croton 的首領 Cylon 曾被拒成為 Pythagoreans 的一份子,再加上後來兩派在政見上的分歧,Cylon 的跟隨者正值 Pythagoreans 聚集時,用大火燒他們所聚之處,屠殺了許多人。縱然不同文獻對畢達哥拉斯是否在大火現場的說法有異,但普遍認為他的死跟這場大火有關聯。
  3. 雖然筆者沒有用上 Jesus 或 Christ 的字眼,但學者普遍認同此處是指耶穌
  4. 此處的「神」並非指聖經中的上帝,已有足夠資料證明筆者並非基督徒。因此,這封信提供了現存最早來自異教徒對耶穌存在的見證之一。
  5. 此處應指發生於 AD 70,羅馬大軍攻入耶路撒冷,大舉殺死 40,000 猶太人的事蹟,詳情可參 耶路撒冷的古今
  6. 此處的「沒有死」均指他們的學說或精神已被後人所接受並傳揚。


猶太古史記 The Antiquities of the Jews (18:3:3)

以下段落節錄自猶太歷史學家約瑟夫 Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100) 所寫的 <猶太古史記> "The Antiquities of the Jews" 18:3:3,這書估計於 AD 93 寫成。
大約就在這個時候1,有位聰明的人名叫耶穌,若果稱他為人是合法的話;因為他行了許多美好的事情,亦是那些樂於接受真理的人的教師。他同時吸引了很多的猶太人和外邦人。他就是基督 (Christ)。當彼拉多按著我們首領的建議判定他釘死在十字架上時2,那些愛他的人並沒有離棄他,因為在第三天後3他再次活生生的出現在他們面前,就正如神聖的先知們預早宣告這死亡和復活的事,又預言其他千千萬萬個關於他的奇事。這個以他為名的基督徒群體至今仍然未消失。4

英譯本
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross,2 those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day;3 as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
聖經 新約 早期教會 尼祿
圖片 : Bartolome Esteban Murillo @ Gandalf's Gallery Creative Commons License
  1. 理應指前文 18.3.2 段落所提及的歷史事件:彼拉多進行耶路撒冷城的水流改道工程,但因他挪用猶太人聖殿的獻金來施行工程,引來人民的不滿。數萬名猶太人上街示威,最終演變成流血衝突,大量猶太人被殺或受傷。
  2. 原文此處有附著:A.D. 33, April 3.
  3. 原文此處有附著:April 5.
  4. 當時篤信猶太教的猶太人視耶穌及初期教會為異端。約瑟夫用詞溫和,但實際上當時許多猶太人痛恨基督徒。


猶太古史記 The Antiquities of the Jews (20:9:1)

以下段落節錄自猶太歷史學家約瑟夫 Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100) 所寫的 <猶太古史記> "The Antiquities of the Jews" 20:9:1,這書估計於 AD 93 寫成。
[AD 61] 當凱撒1得聞費斯托2去世的消息後,便派遣阿爾比努斯3猶大行省的總督。但是,皇帝罷免了約瑟夫的大祭司職位,並將這職位的繼任權交給安納努斯的兒子,同樣叫作安納努斯。根據紀錄,這個年長的安納努斯是個最幸運的人。他有五個兒子,他們都曾擔任大祭司的職務,而他自己也曾長期擔任這尊貴的職位,這在其他的大祭司身上是從未發生過的。

但這個我們之前提及、較年輕的安納努斯大祭司,他既放肆又非常傲慢。他也屬於撒都該派的,我們已經觀察到這派別的人比起其他猶太人,在審判罪犯方面嚴厲得多。因此,當安納努斯有了這傾向,他認為他有了一個恰當的機會來行使權力。費斯托已經死了,而阿爾比努斯還在路上。因此,他召開了猶太公議會,把雅各 (是被稱為基督的耶穌的兄弟) 和其他一些人帶到他們面前。他指控他們違反法律,並把他們送去用石頭砸死。但是,連那些最公正、最不滿違法行為的市民來說,他們也不喜歡這事。他們還向亞基帕4發信,要求他警告安納努斯不要再這樣做,因為他所做的是不正確的事。他們當中一些人更去迎接正從亞歷山大過來的阿爾比努斯,並告訴他安納努斯在沒得到他的同意下召集猶太公議會是不合法的。於是阿爾比努斯聽從了他們的話,憤怒地給安納努斯寫信,並威脅要因他所作的事而懲罰他。因此,安納努斯只當了大祭司僅僅三個月,亞基帕王便奪走他的職位,並任命了達米奴的兒子耶穌為大祭司。5

英譯本
[A.D. 61.] And now Cesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the King deprived Joseph of the High Priesthood; and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes, that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man. For he had five sons, who had all performed the office of an High Priest to God; and who had himself injoyed that dignity a long time formerly: which had never happened to any other of our High Priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the High Priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent. He was also of the sect of the Sadducees: who are very rigid in judging offenders above all the rest of the Jews: as we have already observed. When therefore Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead; and Albinus was but upon the road. So he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, whose name was James: and some others; [or, some of his companions.] And when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned. (27) But as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done. They also sent to the King [Agrippa,] desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more: for that what he had already done was not to be justified. Nay some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria; and informed him, that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complyed with what they said; and wrote in anger to Ananus; and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done. On which account King Agrippa took the High Priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months; and made Jesus, the son of Damneus High Priest.
聖經 新約 早期教會 石頭 殉道
圖片 : unknown @ pinterest.com Creative Commons License
  1. 此處的凱撒 Cesar 應指尼祿 Nero,全名為 Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus,詳情可參皇帝時間軸
  2. 費斯托 Festus 全名為 Porcius Festus,羅馬人,在尼祿年間作猶大行省的第 5 任行省領導
  3. 阿爾比努斯 Albinus 全名為 Lucceius Albinus,羅馬人,是猶大行省的第 6 任行省領導
  4. 此處的亞基帕王 Agrippa 就是 <使徒行傳> 中的亞基帕二世 (大希律的曾孫),是加利利的分封王,詳情可參大希律家譜
  5. 這段落提及的所有大祭司名字都在四福音時期之後;另外,皇帝、行省領導、分封王、和大祭司的行政架構,可參羅馬帝國政治架構


編年史 Annals (15:44)

以下段落節錄自羅馬歷史學家塔西陀 Tacitus (AD 56-120) 所寫的 <編年史> "Annals" 15:44,這段落估計於 AD 115 寫成。
至今已採取了謹慎的預防措施,包括向西比琳娜書籍尋找指引1,並採用了各種安撫神明的方法。在皇令下,人們向火神、穀物女神和冥府女王公開禱告;婦人則先在國會大廈,然後再到海岸最近的地方取水灑在神廟和神像上,以息朱諾大女神的怒氣;已婚婦女亦舉行了宗教盛宴和通宵守夜儀式。可是,無論是眾人的幫助、皇帝的慷慨、或是安撫神明的各種方式,都無法掩蓋大火是出自皇命的這個醜聞2,也無法消除人們對此事的這個想法。

因此,為了消除謠言,尼祿把向來受民眾憎恨3的基督徒作為替罪者,並對他們施以最殘忍的懲罰。基督 (Christus),就是「基督徒」的始創者,他在提比略王在位時,在地方行政官本丟.彼拉多手中遭到死刑。在他受刑後,一個最有害的迷信,獲得暫時的控制,但後來不僅在原先邪教發生地猶太行省再次爆發,甚至蔓延至羅馬城本身。在這個大城裡,來自世界各地所有可怕和可恥的事情都找得到他們的棲地並流行起來。

接著下來,公開承認自己屬於該派別的成員先被逮捕,後來大量的人再根據前人的供詞而被定罪,與其說是因為縱火,不如說是因為對人類的仇恨。他們的死亡帶著嘲笑和愚弄:被覆蓋上野獸的皮然後被狗撕咬致死;或是被釘在十字架上,當黑夜來臨時被焚燒當成夜燈。尼祿以自己的花園作為場地,並在他的馬戲團中展示這些死刑,他以賽車手的打扮混在人群中或騎在自己的車上。 由於普遍認為他們的犧牲並不是為了國家的福祉,而只是為了一個人的殘忍,所以,儘管民眾本認為他們犯下的罪行活該受到最嚴厲的懲罰,但卻對他們產生了憐憫之情。

聖經 新約 早期教會 尼祿
圖一 : Hubert Robert @ wikipedia.org Public Domain
聖經 新約 早期教會 尼祿
圖二 : © Bible for Everyone Creative Commons License

英譯本

So far, the precautions taken were suggested by human prudence: now means were sought for appeasing deity, and application was made to the Sibylline books; at the injunction of which public prayers were offered to Vulcan, Ceres, and Proserpine, while Juno was propitiated by the matrons, first in the Capitol, then at the nearest point of the sea-shore, where water was drawn for sprinkling the temple and image of the goddess. Ritual banquets and all-night vigils were celebrated by women in the married state. But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices,​ whom the crowd styled Christians.​ Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue. First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers​ were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts' skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night. Nero had offered his Gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his Circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man.

  1. 西比琳娜書籍 (拉丁文 : Libri Sibyllini) 是古羅馬神諭宣告的合集,以希臘六音部格律寫成,相傳由羅馬最後一位皇帝 Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (534 - 509 BC) 從一位女先知 (sibyl) 手中購買。在羅馬共和國羅馬帝國階段,當國家面臨重大的危機時,往往會查閱此書去尋求啟示。
  2. 羅馬城於 AD 64 年 7 月 18 日發生晚間的大火災,由於城中建築物稠密,火勢猛烈。按塔西陀<編年史> 記載,大火先連續燒 6 天,後來死灰復燃再燒多 3 天,把城市 14 個地區中的 10 個嚴重焚毀。按同一記載,大火期間有自稱按著皇命行事的匪徒把火種四處漫延,同時亦阻止人們救火。雖另有證據顯示,尼祿於起火時不在羅馬城,但尼祿之前一直表示希望按自己的藝術構思重建羅馬城,亦有人傳說當天見到他在宮中自言自語,陶醉地哼唱「古推羅城(ancient Tyre)被焚」的歌詞,因此,當時不少人認為這場大火是尼祿為了自娛而引發的。
  3. 當時大部份希羅民眾視基督教信仰為極端的迷信,原因千絲萬縷,當中包含對基督徒的誤解。例如,他們誤以為守主餐是吃人肉,民間也有傳說基督徒喜撿女棄嬰去吃。


小普林尼 函件 Pliny the Younger's Letters (10:96)

以下為羅馬帝國庇推尼與本都省省長小普林尼 Pliny the Younger (AD 61-113) 寫給圖拉真王 Trajan 的其一函件全書,包含了他給皇帝該如何處理基督徒的建議,估計書寫於 AD 112。
尊敬的皇上,每當我遇到難以判決的案件,我都會向您請教,因為誰比您更能指導我的疑惑、更能指出我的無知呢?我從未出席過對基督徒的法律審問,因此我不知道他們通常被判處甚麼懲罰、懲罰的上限是甚麼、又該當如何審查他們的案件。應否按被告的年齡而作出不同的判決呢?身體虛弱的人應否跟壯健的人同樣受到嚴厲的懲罰?應否原諒那些放棄信仰的人;還是只要他們曾作過基督徒,就算後來公開改變立場也不應得到寬待?基督徒應否就其身份而受刑,就算他們沒有犯任何罪行;還是只應懲罰犯罪者?我對這種種情況都感到莫大的猶豫。

對於那些被帶到我面前的基督徒,我目前的處理方式是這樣的。我盤問他們是否基督徒;如果他們回答是,我會再三重複問這條問題,並警告他們將面臨的懲罰。如果他們仍然堅持,我會下令把他們送進監獄。因為我確信,無論他們所承認的罪行性質如何,他們的頑固和死不悔改絕對該受罰。當中有另一些表現出類似瘋狂愚蠢行為的人,我拘留他們準備送到羅馬,因為他們是羅馬公民。隨後 (通常都是這樣),我對這問題的介入導致指控大幅增加,各種案件都被帶到我面前。一本不知由誰寫的小冊子中,羅列了許多人的名字。

對於那些否認自己是或曾經是基督徒的人,若他們願意重述我說的話,使用正常的方式向諸神祈禱,又在我指示下願意在您的形象及眾神像前上香和獻酒的人,我認為都該被釋放,尤其是那些咒罵基督名字的人,據說真正的基督徒是不能這樣做的1 也有一些人的名字是由告密者提供2,他們起初聲稱自己是基督徒,但後來否認了,並申報他們曾經是而現在不再是了,當中更有一些是多年前就已經改變立場,甚至有人遠達二十年之前就改變。他們都崇拜您的形象和眾神像,並詛咒基督的名字。 但他們申報的罪行或錯誤只限於,在每週固定日子的黎明前聚會,彼此向基督唱詩歌,彷彿是向著一位神明唱似的。他們也彼此立志絕不犯罪,離棄竊盜、搶劫、姦淫、背信毁約、當別人有需要時佯作不知等的罪惡。儀式結束後,他們會散會,並再次聚集一起用餐,但吃的都是普通而無害的食物。而自從我依照您的命令,頒布了禁止所有秘密社團 (或譯作「政治性團體」) 的法令後,他們已停止了這種做法。

因此,當有人提交兩名被稱為女執事的婦女來接受酷刑時,我認為有必要對這些聲明指控查明真相,但我發現這只是一個持續了很久的墮落迷信,並無其他。因此我推遲了我的審問,並立即請教您。我認為這個問題值得您去關注考慮,尤其是有這麼多人正處於危險之中。許多人不分男女老幼都因提控他們的人而面臨生命威脅,而這個情況會持續下去。雖然這迷信已在自由的城市傳開,並蔓延到村莊和農村地區,但我認為它其實是可以被控制和糾正的。毫無疑問,幾乎被遺棄的神廟現今再次擁擠著信徒、長期被禁的神聖儀式現正在恢復、祭祀獻品的食物也再次有市場,但是現在幾乎再找不到買家。由此可推斷,如果他們有悔改的機會,其實是可以挽回很多人心的。
聖經 新約 早期教會 殉道
圖片 : Jean-Léon Gérôme @ en.wikipedia.org Public Domain

英譯本

It is my custom, Sir, to refer to you in all cases where I do not feel sure, for who can better direct my doubts or inform my ignorance? I have never been present at any legal examination of the Christians, and I do not know, therefore, what are the usual penalties passed upon them, or the limits of those penalties, or how searching an inquiry should be made. I have hesitated a great deal in considering whether any distinctions should be drawn according to the ages of the accused; whether the weak should be punished as severely as the more robust; whether if they renounce their faith they should be pardoned, or whether the man who has once been a Christian should gain nothing by recanting; whether the name itself, even though otherwise innocent of crime, should be punished, or only the crimes that gather round it.

In the meantime, this is the plan which I have adopted in the case of those Christians who have been brought before me. I ask them whether they are Christians; if they say yes, then I repeat the question a second and a third time, warning them of the penalties it entails, and if they still persist, I order them to be taken away to prison. For I do not doubt that, whatever the character of the crime may be which they confess, their pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy certainly ought to be punished. There were others who showed similar mad folly whom I reserved to be sent to Rome, as they were Roman citizens. Subsequently, as is usually the way, the very fact of my taking up this question led to a great increase of accusations, and a variety of cases were brought before me. A pamphlet was issued anonymously, containing the names of a number of people. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians and called upon the gods in the usual formula, reciting the words after me, those who offered incense and wine before your image, which I had given orders to be brought forward for this purpose, together with the statues of the deities - all such I considered should be discharged, especially as they cursed the name of Christ, which, it is said, those who are really Christians cannot be induced to do. Others, whose names were given me by an informer, first said that they were Christians and afterwards denied it, declaring that they had been but were so no longer, some of them having recanted many years before, and more than one so long as twenty years back. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the deities, and cursed the name of Christ. But they declared that the sum of their guilt or their error only amounted to this, that on a stated day they had been accustomed to meet before daybreak and to recite a hymn among themselves to Christ, as though he were a god, and that so far from binding themselves by oath to commit any crime, their oath was to abstain from theft, robbery, adultery, and from breach of faith, and not to deny trust money placed in their keeping when called upon to deliver it. When this ceremony was concluded, it had been their custom to depart and meet again to take food, but it was of no special character and quite harmless, and they had ceased this practice after the edict in which, in accordance with your orders, I had forbidden all secret (or translated as "political") societies. I thought it the more necessary, therefore, to find out what truth there was in these statements by submitting two women, who were called deaconesses, to the torture, but I found nothing but a debased superstition carried to great lengths. So I postponed my examination, and immediately consulted you. The matter seems to me worthy of your consideration, especially as there are so many people involved in the danger. Many persons of all ages, and of both sexes alike, are being brought into peril of their lives by their accusers, and the process will go on. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only through the free cities, but into the villages and the rural districts, and yet it seems to me that it can be checked and set right. It is beyond doubt that the temples, which have been almost deserted, are beginning again to be thronged with worshippers, that the sacred rites which have for a long time been allowed to lapse are now being renewed, and that the food for the sacrificial victims is once more finding a sale, whereas, up to recently, a buyer was hardly to be found. From this it is easy to infer what vast numbers of people might be reclaimed, if only they were given an opportunity of repentance.
  1. 考古學家亦發掘出圖拉真王回覆小普林尼的信函。雖然回覆較為簡短,但皇帝肯定小普林尼的做法,認為沒有真正觸犯法律的基督徒,只要他們願意敬拜羅馬神明,以證明他們脫離基督信仰,就可以獲得釋放。
  2. 圖拉真王在回函中亦叮囑小普林尼,所有匿名的告密資料皆不可以用作呈堂證據,以免造成危險的先例。皇帝回函的全文可於下面看到。


圖拉真王 回函 Trajan's Letters (10:96)

以下為羅馬帝國圖拉真王 Trajan (AD 98-117 執政) 回覆小普林尼的函件全書,估計書寫於 AD 112。
親愛的普林尼,你採取了正確的方式,來審查那些被檢舉基督徒的案件,因為實在難以制定一個確實而快捷的規範來處理這如此廣泛的問題。我們不需要主動追捕基督徒;但若果有人把他們帶到你面前,而罪行得到證實的話,他們便應該受到懲罰。可是,如果他否認自己是基督徒,並透過向我們的神明祈禱而明確地表明他不是,那麼無論他過去的行為有多可疑,他都應該因立場改變而獲得寬恕。但是,無論是任何的指控,匿名發布的小冊子不應該有影響力,因為它們不僅是最壞的先例,更不符合我們現代的精神。1

英譯本

You have adopted the proper course, my dear Pliny, in examining into the cases of those who have been denounced to you as Christians, for no hard and fast rule can be laid down to meet a question of such wide extent. The Christians are not to be hunted out ; if they are brought before you and the offence is proved, they are to be punished, but with this reservation - that if any one denies that he is a Christian and makes it clear that he is not, by offering prayers to our deities, then he is to be pardoned because of his recantation, however suspicious his past conduct may have been. But pamphlets published anonymously must not carry any weight whatever, no matter what the charge may be, for they are not only a precedent of the very worst type, but they are not in consonance with the spirit of our age.
聖經 新約 早期教會 殉道
羅馬發掘出來古牢獄的一角,相信曾監禁早期教會時期的基督徒,包括保羅 圖片 : BiblePlaces @ www.bibleplaces.com
  1. 圖拉真王與他的養父涅爾瓦王 Nerva (AD 96-98 執政) 是在當年的羅馬帝國中,少有以寛和手段治國及處理基督徒的皇帝,詳情可參皇帝時間軸


柏勒格寧那之死 The Death of Peregrine (11-13)

以下段落節錄自希臘修辭學家琉善 Lucian of Samosata (AD 120-192) 所寫的 <柏勒格寧那之死> "The Death of Peregrine" Section 11-13,是異教徒對基督教會的最早記載之一
...... 眾所周知,基督徒至今仍然崇拜著一個人,這個非凡的大人物始創了他們新穎的禮儀,並為此而被釘在十字架上。

就是這樣,Proteus1 最終被拘捕並入獄,這無疑為他喜愛的炒作和神奇的表演增添了一種氛圍;他成名了。基督徒非常認真地看待這事:他一入獄,他們就開始想盡一切辦法讓他重獲自由,但都徒勞無功。他們也全心全意地為他做盡一切可做的事。他們義無反顧。從天亮時就看到孤兒和年老的寡婦圍繞在監獄周邊。他們的官員賄賂獄卒,好讓他們能夠和他一起睡在監獄裡。他們為他送上高雅的晚餐,又朗讀聖典;而我們的老朋友 Peregrine (當時他仍被稱為 Peregrine) 成為了他們的「現代蘇格拉底2

就算遠在小亞西亞的基督徒社群,也不遺餘力地派遣代表團,表達同情、提供援助和法律建議。這些人處理任何涉及他們社群的事情時,活躍程度都非常驚人;他們不遺餘力,不計成本。由始至終,Peregrine 利用他的連繫賺得相當可觀的收入,金錢源源不斷湧入。 你看,這些被誤導的生物始於一種共通信念,就是他們有永遠的生命,這解釋了他們輕視死亡及願意自我犠牲的普遍現象。還有,他們的創教者告訴他們,一旦他們歸信,否認希臘諸神,敬拜那被釘十字架的聖人,並按著他的教訓而生活,他們就成為了兄弟。他們對此都深信不移,因而輕視所有世俗財富,視它們為共同資產。現在,一個狡猾、無恥、見多識廣的人,只需要混入這些單純的靈魂當中,他的財富很快就能穩固起來;他愚弄他們。
聖經 新約 早期教會 分享
圖片 : unknown @ e3 Partners

英譯本

...The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day,—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account.

Well, the end of it was that Proteus was arrested and thrown into prison, This was the very thing to lend an air to his favourite arts of clap-trap and wonder-working; he was now amade man. The Christians took it all very seriously: he was no sooner in prison, thaa they began trying every means to get him out again,—but without success. Everything else that could be done for him they most devoutly did. They thought of nothing else. Orphans and ancient widows might be seen hanging about the prison from break of day. Their officials bribed the gaolers to let them sleep inside with him. Elegant dinners were conveyed in; their sacred writings were read; and our old friend Peregrine (as he was still called in those days) became for them “the modern Socrates.”

In some of the Asiatic cities, too, the Christian communities put themszlves to the expense of sending deputations, with offers of sympathy, assistance, and legal advice. The activity of these people, in dealing with any matter that affects their community, is something extraordinary; they spare no trouble, no expense. Peregrine, all this time, was making quite an income on the strength of his bondage; money came pouring in. You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on trust, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property. Now an adroit, unscrupulous fellow, who has seen the world, has only to get among these simple souls, and his fortune is pretty soon made; he plays with them.
  1. 此諷刺文學以嘲笑的手筆,先描述主角 Peregrinus Proteus 不堪的背景,後來如何利用基督徒的慷慨和愚昧得到好處,並四處攻擊權貴、又宣揚他的怪道理。此作者亦聲稱他為了吸引別人的目光而計劃自焚,但最終郤平凡地死於疾病。大部份的當代學者認為筆者對 Peregrinus Proteus 的描述偏頗,但他對初期教會的描述卻具有極重要的歷史意義。
  2. 蘇格拉底 Socrates (BC 470-399) 是生於雅典希臘哲學家,堪稱為西方哲學的始創者,學生有著名的柏拉圖 Plato 和 色諾芬 Xenophon。他因藐視神明和腐蝕青少年的罪名而判處死刑,在牢獄中他拒絕跟隨者的逃獄協助,最終被迫服毒而死。



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