of Epiphanius of Salamis,' Books II and III. De Fide
, 2nd revised Edition, translated by Frank Williams; Leiden, Brill, 2013, pp.51-4
6,1. Against the sect which does not accept the Gospel according to John, or his Revelation. 31, but 51 of the series1
1 Individuals or groups who took this position are described at Iren. Haer. 3.11.9; Eus. H.E. 7.25.2–3; Hippol. Capitula Adversus Gaium. Epiph may himself have read works of this nature, see 51,29,1; 5.
22,3 For the Savior was born during the forty-second year of the Roman emperor Augustus—in the thirteenth consulship of the same Octavian Augustus and the consulship of Silanus, as the Roman consul lists indicate. (4) For these say as follows: “During their consulships,” I mean Octavian’s thirteenth and the consulship of Silanus, “Christ was born on the eighth before the Ides of January, thirteen days after the winter solstice and the increase of the light and the day.”111 (5) Greeks, I mean the idolaters, celebrate this day on the eighth before the Kalends of January, which Romans call Saturnalia, Egyptians Cronia, and Alexandrians, Cicellia.
22,6 For this division between signs of the zodiac, which is a solstice, comes on the eighth before the Kalends of January, and the day begins to lengthen because the light is receiving its increase. And it completes a period of thirteen days until the eighth before the Ides of January, the day of Christ’s birth, with a thirtieth of an hour added to each day. (7) The Syrian sage, Ephrem, testified to this calculation in his commentaries when he said, “Thus the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, his birth in the flesh or perfect incarnation which is called the Epiphany, was revealed after a space of thirteen days from the beginning of the increase of the light. For this too must needs be a type of the number of our Lord Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples, since, [added to the disciples], he made up < the > number of the thirteen days of the light’s increase.”112
111 Consularia Constantia, MHG Auct. Antiq. IX, 218. Here, however, the date given is the eighth before the Kalends of January, ie. December 25.
112 The passage is not extant
22,8 And how many other things have been done and are being done because of, and in testimony to this calculation, I mean of Christ’s birth? Indeed, those who guilefully preside over the cult of idols are obliged to confess a part of the truth, and in many places deceitfully celebrate a very great festival on the very night of the Epiphany, to deceive the idolaters who believe them into hoping113 in the imposture and not seeking
22,9 First, at Alexandria, in the Coreum, as they call it; it is a very large temple, the shrine of Core. They stay up all night singing hymns to the idol with a flute accompaniment. And when they have concluded their nightlong vigil torchbearers descend into an underground shrine after cockcrow (10) and bring up a wooden image which is seated naked < on > a litter. It has a sign of the cross inlaid with gold on its forehead, two other such signs, [one] on each hand, and two other signs, [one] actually [on each of ] its two knees—altogether five signs with a gold impress. And they carry the image itself seven times round the innermost shrine with flutes, tambourines and hymns, hold a feast, and take it back down to its place underground. And when you ask them what this mystery means they reply that today at this hour Core—that is, the virgin—gave birth to Aeon.
22,11 This is also done in the same way in the city of Petra, in the temple of the idol there. (Petra is the capital city of Arabia, the scriptural Edom.) They praise the virgin with hymns in the Arab language calling her, in Arabic, Chaamu—that is, Core, or virgin. And the child who is born of her they call Dusares, that is, “the Lord’s only-begotten.” And this is also done that night in the city of Elusa, as it is there in Petra, and in Alexandria.
22,12 I have been obliged to prove this with many examples because of those who do not believe that “The Epiphany” is a good name for the fleshly birth of the Savior, who was born at the eighth hour and manifested, by the angels’ testimony, to the shepherds and the world—but he was manifested to Mary and Joseph as well. (13) And the star was manifested to the magi in the east at that hour, two years before their arrival at Jerusalem and Bethlehem, when Herod asked the magi themselves the precise time of the star’s manifestation, and they told him it was no more than two years before. And this very word gave the Epiphany its name, from Herod’s saying, “the manifestation of the star.”
22,14 Thus when the magi said, “Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him,”114 Herod saw that he had not been inquiring about the name of a merely human king.
22,15 For he mulled the matter over and was puzzled because many kings had been born in Jerusalem—Saul of the tribe of Benjamin first, David of the tribe of Judah second, David’s son Solomon, Solomon’s son Rehoboam, and Rehoboam’s sons in succession—and no star had ever appeared at any of their births, and never, except this once, had magi arrived to come and worship the newborn king. And after giving this his consideration he attained to the knowledge of the truth as well, having understood that this was not the sign of a man, but of the Lord alone.
22,16 Thus, when he asked the scribes and the priests, “Where is the Christ born?” and heard their answer, “in Bethlehem of Judaea,” he was no longer asking about an earthly king or a mere man, but about Christ. And he learned the place by asking it of them, but the time by asking it of the magi.
22,17 For the magi themselves reached Bethlehem, after a two year interval, on this very day of the Epiphany, and offered their gifts, the myrrh, the gold and the frankincense. For the beginnings of many of the signs of Christ’s manifestation came on this day of the Manifestation.
(18) As I have said before and am obliged to say over and over, this was the day in the thirteenth consulship of Octavius Augustus and the consulship of Silanus [which fell] on the eighth before the Ides of January, thirteen days after the increase of the daylight. This lasts from the winter solstice, the eighth before the Kalends of January, until the actual day of Christ’s birth and Manifestation, because of the type I spoke of—the Savior himself and his disciples, making thirteen.
22,19 Thus the Savior was born in the forty-second year of the Roman emperor Augustus in the consulship I have mentioned, twenty-nine years after Augustus’ annexation of Judaea; Augustus had reigned for thirteen years before Judaea was finally annexed to Rome. (20) After Augustus’ accession there was an alliance between the Romans and the Jews for about four years of his reign, with the dispatch of an auxiliary force, the appointment of a governor, and the payment of partial tribute to the Romans. < And again, partial tribute was given to the Romans* > for about five years [more], until Judaea was surrendered to them completely and became [fully] tributary to them, (21) because the rulers descended from Judah had come to an end, and Herod had been made king—a gentile, though indeed a proselyte. And then Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judaea and began to preach, after the last of the anointed rulers (χρίστοι) descended from Judah and Aaron had come to an end—(their line had continued until the anointed ruler Alexander, and Salina, or Alexandra.) This was the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy, “There shall not fail a ruler from Judah and a governor from his loins, till he come for who it is prepared, and he is the expectation of the nations” [Gen 49:10]—a reference to the birth of the Lord.
22,22 All these things were accomplished beginning with Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, in the forty-second year of the whole reign of Augustus. Augustus’ forty-second year came after [the following]: The fifth year of the governorship of Herod’s father Antipater, when there was an alliance between the Romans and the Jews and the payment of partial tribute; Antipater’s governorship, from the sixth year of Augustus through his ninth year; Herod’s appointment in Augustus’ tenth year, and the payment of partial tribute until Augustus’ thirteenth, which was the fourth year of the reign of his appointee, Herod; (23) the period from Herod’s fourth year, which finally saw the complete surrender of Judaea, until Herod’s thirty-third year, when Augustus had reigned for forty-two < and >, as I said, all Judaea had been subdued. [This came] after it had been tributary to the Romans for twenty-nine years; after Herod’s father Antipater had been made governor; and after Herod had been made king of Judaea by Augustus in Augustus’ tenth year.
Also, a bit later, pp.61-2 -
29,1 For I have also found it written somewhere < in > these works that the Word of God was born about the fortieth year of Augustus. This was the writer’s error, or else he wrote only “forty (μ) years” because the figure “beta” had been erased and only the “mu” was left on the page. For Christ was born in the forty-second year of Augustus.
29,2 And it says that Christ < was conceived > on the twelfth before the Kalends of July or June—I cannot say which—in the consulship of Sulpicius Cammarinus and Betteus Pompeianus.144 (3) I have noticed < too > that those who have given a date for the conception, and Gabriel’s bringing of the tidings to the Virgin, have said < this because of > a supposition of certain persons who have it by tradition145 that Christ was born after a term of seven months. (4) For I have found that there is a time of seven lunar months less four days between the month they mention146 and the eleventh of Tybi, the eighth before the Ides of January, when, in fact, the Epiphany came and Christ was born. (5) So if you should find < this > in a marginal gloss somewhere, do not be misled by the information. The actual date of Christ’s birth is in fact the eleventh of Tybi.
29,6 Some, however, say that Christ was carried in the womb for ten months less fourteen days and eight hours, making nine months, fifteen days and four hours. They are alluding to Solomon’s saying, “compacted in blood for a time of ten months.”147
29,7 In any case, < it has been shown > by every means < that > the Lord’s birth in the flesh took place on < the > eleventh of the Egyptian month Tybi ...
144 This name is inaccurate and is ungrammatically placed in the dative while Sulpicius Cammarinus is in the genitive; it may be interpolated (Strobel, Dummer).
145 Holl ἐχόντων ἐν παραδώσει, MSS λεγόντων ἐν παραδώσει.
146 Holl προειρημένου μηνός, MSS προπόσων.
147 Wisd Sol 7:2.