Chapter VII.—The Writer, Judas. 1807
At this time another writer, Judas, discoursing about the seventy weeks in Daniel, brings down the chronology to the tenth year of the reign of Severus. He thought that the coming of Antichrist, which was much talked about, was then near. 1808 So greatly did the agitation caused by the persecution of our people at this time disturb the minds of many.
The mention of the writer Judas at this point seems, at first sight, as illogical as the reference to Clement in the preceding chapter. But it does not violate chronology as that did; and hence, if the account of Origens life was to be broken anywhere for such an insertion, there was perhaps no better place. We cannot conclude, therefore, that Eusebius, had he revised his work, would have changed the position of this chapter, as Valesius suggests (see the previous chapter, note 1).
Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 52) repeats Eusebius notice of Judas, but adds nothing to it, and we know no more about him. Since he believed that the appearance of Antichrist was at hand, he must have written before the persecutions had given place again to peace, and hence not long after 202, the date to which he extended his chronology. Whether the work mentioned by Eusebius was a commentary or a work on chronology is not clear. It was possibly an historical demonstration of the truth of Daniels prophecies, and an interpretation of those yet unfulfilled, in which case it combined history and exegesis.254:1808
It was the common belief in the Church, from the time of the apostles until the time of Constantine, that the second coming of Christ would very speedily take place. This belief was especially pronounced among the Montanists, Montanus having proclaimed that the parousia would occur before his death, and even having gone so far as to attempt to collect all the faithful (Montanists) in one place in Phrygia, where they were to await that event and where the new Jerusalem was to be set up (see above, Bk. V. chap. 18, note 6). There is nothing surprising in Judas idea that this severe persecution must be the beginning of the end, for all through the earlier centuries of the Church (and even to some extent in later centuries) there were never wanting those who interpreted similar catastrophes in the same way; although after the third century the belief that the end was at hand grew constantly weaker.