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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book II, Chapter 8

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book II

Chapter 8. An Explanation of the Statement Made by Matthew, to the Effect that Joseph Was Afraid to Go with the Infant Christ into Jerusalem on Account of Archelaus, and Yet Was Not Afraid to Go into Galilee, Where Herod, that Prince's Brother, Was Tetrarch.

21. Here again, however, it may happen that a difficulty will be found, and that some, seeing that Matthew has told us how Joseph was afraid to go into Judæa with the child on his return, expressly for the reason that Archelaus the son reigned there in place of his father Herod, may be led to ask how he could have gone into Galilee, where, as Luke bears witness, there was another son of that Herod, namely, Herod the tetrarch. But such a difficulty can only be founded on the fancy that the times indicated as those in which there was such apprehension on the child's account were identical with the times dealt with now by Luke: whereas it is conspicuously evident that there is a change in the periods, because we no longer find Archelaus represented as king in Judæa; but in place of him we have Pontius Pilate, who also was not the king of the Jews, but only their governor, in whose times the sons of the elder Herod, acting under Tiberius Cæsar, held not the kingdom, but the tetrarchy. And all this certainly had not come to pass at the time when Joseph, in fear of the Archelaus who was then reigning in Judæa, betook himself, together with the child, into Galilee, where was also his city Nazareth.

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Source. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602208.htm>.

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