as such, and which is received as such; for
nobody doubted that Troy and Agamemnon no more existed than did the golden
apple. Accordingly, he did not think of making a history, but solely a book
to amuse; he is the only writer of his time; the beauty of the work has made
it last, every one learns it and talks of it, it is necessary to know it,
and each one knows it by heart. Four hundred years afterwards the witnesses
of these facts are no longer alive, no one knows of his own knowledge if it
be a fable or a history; one has only learnt it from his ancestors, and this
can pass for truth.
Every history which is not contemporaneous, as the books of the Sibyls and
Trismegistus, and so many others which have been believed by the world, are
false, and found to be false in the course of time. It is not so with
There is a great difference between a book which an individual writes and
publishes to a nation, and a book which itself creates a nation. We cannot
doubt that the book is as old as the people.
629. Josephus hides the shame of his nation.
Moses does not hide his own shame.
Quis mihi det ut omnes prophetent?112
He was weary of the multitude.
630. The sincerity of the Jews.--Maccabees, after they had no more prophets;
the Masorah, since Jesus Christ.
This book will be a testimony for you.
Defective and final letters.
Sincere against their honour, and dying for it; this has no example in the
world, and no root in nature.
631. Sincerity of the Jews.--They preserve lovingly and carefully the book
in which Moses declares that they have been all their life ungrateful to
God, and that he knows they will be still more so after his death; but that
he calls heaven and earth to witness against them and that he has taught
He declares that God, being an