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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Anon., The Acts Of Paul And Thecla, 15

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1. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 2.79-2.80, 2.91-2.102 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.79. 7. However, I cannot but admire those other authors who furnished this man with such his materials; I mean Posidonius and Apollonius [the son of] Molo, who while they accuse us for not worshipping the same gods whom others worship, they think themselves not guilty of impiety when they tell lies of us, and frame absurd and reproachful stories about our temple; whereas it is a most shameful thing for freemen to forge lies on any occasion, and much more so to forge them about our temple, which was so famous over all the world, and was preserved so sacred by us; 2.91. Apion becomes other men’s prophet upon this occasion, and says, that “Antiochus found in our temple a bed and a man lying upon it, with a small table before him, full of dainties, from the [fishes of the] sea, and the fowls of the dry land; that this man was amazed at these dainties thus set before him; 2.92. that he immediately adored the king, upon his coming in, as hoping that he would afford him all possible assistance; that he fell down upon his knees, and stretched out to him his right hand, and begged to be released: and that when the king bade him sit down, and tell him who he was, and why he dwelt there, and what was the meaning of those various sorts of food that were set before him, the man made a lamentable complaint, and with sighs, and tears in his eyes, gave him this account of the distress he was in: 2.93. and said that he was a Greek, and that as he went over this province, in order to get his living, he was seized upon by foreigners, on a sudden, and brought to this temple, and shut up therein, and was seen by nobody, but was fattened by these curious provisions thus set before him: 2.94. and that truly at the first such unexpected advantages seemed to him matter of great joy; that, after a while they brought a suspicion upon him, and at length astonishment, what their meaning should be; that at last he inquired of the servants that came to him, and was by them informed that it was in order to the fulfilling a law of the Jews, which they must not tell him, that he was thus fed; and that they did the same at a set time every year: 2.95. that they used to catch a Greek foreigner, and fat him thus up every year, and then lead him to a certain wood, and kill him, and sacrifice with their accustomed solemnities, and taste of his entrails, and take an oath upon this sacrificing a Greek, that they would ever be at enmity with the Greeks; and that then they threw the remaining parts of the miserable wretch into a certain pit.” 2.96. Apion adds farther, that “the man said there were but a few days to come ere he was to be slain, and implored Antiochus that, out of the reverence he bore to the Grecian gods, he would disappoint the snares the Jews laid for his blood, and would deliver him from the miseries with which he was encompassed.” 2.97. Now this is such a most tragical fable, as is full of nothing but cruelty and impudence; yet does it not excuse Antiochus of his sacrilegious attempts, as those who wrote it in his vindication are willing to suppose; 2.98. for he could not presume beforehand that he should meet with any such thing in coming to the temple, but must have found it unexpectedly. He was therefore still an impious person, that was given to unlawful pleasures, and had no regard to God in his actions. But [as for Apion] he hath done whatever his extravagant love of lying hath dictated to him, as it is most easy to discover by a consideration of his writings; 2.99. for the difference of our laws is known not to regard the Grecians only, but they are principally opposite to the Egyptians, and to some other nations also: for while it so falls out, that men of all countries come sometimes and sojourn among us, how comes it about that we take an oath, and conspire only against the Grecians, and that by the effusion of their blood also? 2.101. with great pomp back into his own country; when he might thereby have been esteemed a religious person himself, and a mighty lover of the Greeks, and might thereby have procured himself great assistance from all men against that hatred the Jews bore to him. 2.102. But I leave this matter; for the proper way of confuting fools is not to use bare words, but to appeal to the things themselves that make against them. Now then, all such as ever saw the construction of our temple, of what nature it was, know well enough how the purity of it was never to be profaned;
2. Suetonius, Nero, 16.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Anon., The Acts of John, 56 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4. Anon., Acts of Thomas, 20, 104 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

104. Now Siphor stood before the king, and he inquired of him: Who is that sorcerer and whence, and what teacheth he whom thou hast lurking in thine house? And Siphor answered the king: Thou art not ignorant, O king, what trouble and grief I, with my friends had concerning my wife, whom thou knowest and many others remember, and concerning my daughter, whom I value more than all my possessions, what a time and trial I suffered; for I became a laughing-stock and a curse in all our country. And I heard the report of this man and went to him and entreated him, and took him and brought him hither. And as I came by the way I saw wonderful and amazing things: and here also many did hear the wild ass and concerning that devil whom he drove out, and healed my wife and daughter, and now are they whole; and he asked no reward but requireth faith and holiness, that men should become partakers with him in that which he doeth: and this he teacheth to worship and fear one God, the ruler of all things, and Jesus Christ his Son, that they may have eternal life. And that which he eateth is bread and salt, and his drink is water from evening unto evening, and he maketh many prayers; and whatsoever he asketh of his God, he giveth him. And he teacheth that this God is holy and mighty, and that Christ is living and maketh alive, wherefore also he chargeth them that are there present to come unto him in holiness and purity and love and faith.
5. Anon., Marytrdom of Polycarp, 12.2 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12.2. 2 When this had been said by the herald, all the multitude of heathen and Jews living in Smyrna cried out with uncontrollable wrath and a loud shout: "This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our Gods, who teaches many neither to offer sacrifice nor to worship." And when they said this, they cried out and asked Philip the Asiarch to let loose a lion on Polycarp. But he said he could not legally do this, since he had closed the Sports.
6. Anon., Acts of John, 56 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7. Anon., Acts of Peter, 28 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8. Apuleius, The Golden Ass, 1.10, 2.28, 9.14, 9.29, 10.6 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9. Athenagoras, Apology Or Embassy For The Christians, 3 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Three things are alleged against us: atheism, Thyestean feasts, Œdipodean intercourse. But if these charges are true, spare no class: proceed at once against our crimes; destroy us root and branch, with our wives and children, if any Christian is found to live like the brutes. And yet even the brutes do not touch the flesh of their own kind; and they pair by a law of nature, and only at the regular season, not from simple wantonness; they also recognise those from whom they receive benefits. If any one, therefore, is more savage than the brutes, what punishment that he can endure shall be deemed adequate to such offenses? But, if these things are only idle tales and empty slanders, originating in the fact that virtue is opposed by its very nature to vice, and that contraries war against one another by a divine law (and you are yourselves witnesses that no such iniquities are committed by us, for you forbid informations to be laid against us), it remains for you to make inquiry concerning our life, our opinions, our loyalty and obedience to you and your house and government, and thus at length to grant to us the same rights (we ask nothing more) as to those who persecute us. For we shall then conquer them, unhesitatingly surrendering, as we now do, our very lives for the truth's sake.
10. Justin, First Apology, 5, 68, 26 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

26. And, thirdly, because after Christ's ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius C sar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome: - Simoni Deo Sancto, To Simon the holy God. And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him. And a man, Meder, also a Samaritan, of the town Capparet a, a disciple of Simon, and inspired by devils, we know to have deceived many while he was in Antioch by his magical art. He persuaded those who adhered to him that they should never die, and even now there are some living who hold this opinion of his. And there is Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive, and teaching his disciples to believe in some other god greater than the Creator. And he, by the aid of the devils, has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies, and to deny that God is the maker of this universe, and to assert that some other being, greater than He, has done greater works. All who take their opinions from these men, are, as we before said, called Christians; just as also those who do not agree with the philosophers in their doctrines, have yet in common with them the name of philosophers given to them. And whether they perpetrate those fabulous and shameful deeds - the upsetting of the lamp, and promiscuous intercourse, and eating human flesh - we know not; but we do know that they are neither persecuted nor put to death by you, at least on account of their opinions. But I have a treatise against all the heresies that have existed already composed, which, if you wish to read it, I will give you.
11. Lucian, Alexander The False Prophet, 38 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

38. It was with his eye on this Italian propaganda, too, that he took a further step. This was the institution of mysteries, with hierophants and torch bearers complete. The ceremonies occupied three successive days. On the first, proclamation was made on the Athenian model to this effect: ‘If there be any atheist or Christian or Epicurean here spying upon our rites, let him depart in haste; and let all such as have faith in the God be initiated and all blessing attend them.’ He led the litany with, ‘Christians, avaunt!’ and the crowd responded, ‘Epicureans, avaunt!’ Then was presented the child bed of Leto and birth of Apollo, the bridal of Coronis, Asclepius born. The second day, the epiphany and nativity of the God Glycon.
12. Minucius Felix, Octavius, 8.4 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

13. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 10.96-10.97 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 10.96-10.97 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

15. Tertullian, Apology, 7.1, 10.1, 40.2 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

16. Anon., The Acts of Paul And Thecla, 20, 8-9, 13 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

17. Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26.10 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4.26.10. But your pious fathers corrected their ignorance, having frequently rebuked in writing many who dared to attempt new measures against them. Among them your grandfather Hadrian appears to have written to many others, and also to Fundanus, the proconsul and governor of Asia. And your father, when you also were ruling with him, wrote to the cities, forbidding them to take any new measures against us; among the rest to the Larissaeans, to the Thessalonians, to the Athenians, and to all the Greeks.

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acts of paul and thecla, crowd Bremmer, Magic and Martyrs in Early Christianity: Collected Essays (2017) 201
acts of peter, conversion Bremmer, Magic and Martyrs in Early Christianity: Collected Essays (2017) 190
apocryphal acts, conversion Bremmer, Magic and Martyrs in Early Christianity: Collected Essays (2017) 190
apocryphal acts, magic Bremmer, Magic and Martyrs in Early Christianity: Collected Essays (2017) 201
popular responses (to christianity), charges of cannibalism, ass-worship, magic etc' Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 877
popular responses (to christianity), charges of cannibalism, ass-worship, magic etc Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 878
popular responses (to christianity) Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 877, 878