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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



1396
Athenagoras, Apology Or Embassy For The Christians, 31


nanBut they have further also made up stories against us of impious feasts and forbidden intercourse between the sexes, both that they may appear to themselves to have rational grounds of hatred, and because they think either by fear to lead us away from our way of life, or to render the rulers harsh and inexorable by the magnitude of the charges they bring. But they lose their labour with those who know that from of old it has been the custom, and not in our time only, for vice to make war on virtue. Thus Pythagoras, with three hundred others, was burnt to death; Heraclitus and Democritus were banished, the one from the city of the Ephesians, the other from Abdera, because he was charged with being mad; and the Athenians condemned Socrates to death. But as they were none the worse in respect of virtue because of the opinion of the multitude, so neither does the undiscriminating calumny of some persons cast any shade upon us as regards rectitude of life, for with God we stand in good repute. Nevertheless, I will meet these charges also, although I am well assured that by what has been already said I have cleared myself to you. For as you excel all men in intelligence, you know that those whose life is directed towards God as its rule, so that each one among us may be blameless and irreproachable before Him, will not entertain even the thought of the slightest sin. For if we believed that we should live only the present life, then we might be suspected of sinning, through being enslaved to flesh and blood, or overmastered by gain or carnal desire; but since we know that God is witness to what we think and what we say both by night and by day, and that He, being Himself light, sees all things in our heart, we are persuaded that when we are removed from the present life we shall live another life, better than the present one, and heavenly, not earthly (since we shall abide near God, and with God, free from all change or suffering in the soul, not as flesh, even though we shall have flesh, but as heavenly spirit), or, falling with the rest, a worse one and in fire; for God has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere by-work, and that we should perish and be annihilated. On these grounds it is not likely that we should wish to do evil, or deliver ourselves over to the great Judge to be punished.


nanBut they have further also made up stories against us of impious feasts and forbidden intercourse between the sexes, both that they may appear to themselves to have rational grounds of hatred, and because they think either by fear to lead us away from our way of life, or to render the rulers harsh and inexorable by the magnitude of the charges they bring. But they lose their labour with those who know that from of old it has been the custom, and not in our time only, for vice to make war on virtue. Thus Pythagoras, with three hundred others, was burnt to death; Heraclitus and Democritus were banished, the one from the city of the Ephesians, the other from Abdera, because he was charged with being mad; and the Athenians condemned Socrates to death. But as they were none the worse in respect of virtue because of the opinion of the multitude, so neither does the undiscriminating calumny of some persons cast any shade upon us as regards rectitude of life, for with God we stand in good repute. Nevertheless, I will meet these charges also, although I am well assured that by what has been already said I have cleared myself to you. For as you excel all men in intelligence, you know that those whose life is directed towards God as its rule, so that each one among us may be blameless and irreproachable before Him, will not entertain even the thought of the slightest sin. For if we believed that we should live only the present life, then we might be suspected of sinning, through being enslaved to flesh and blood, or overmastered by gain or carnal desire; but since we know that God is witness to what we think and what we say both by night and by day, and that He, being Himself light, sees all things in our heart, we are persuaded that when we are removed from the present life we shall live another life, better than the present one, and heavenly, not earthly (since we shall abide near God, and with God, free from all change or suffering in the soul, not as flesh, even though we shall have flesh, but as heavenly spirit), or, falling with the rest, a worse one and in fire; for God has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere by-work, and that we should perish and be annihilated. On these grounds it is not likely that we should wish to do evil, or deliver ourselves over to the great Judge to be punished.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

21 results
1. Homer, Odyssey, 9.197, 9.210-9.211, 9.250-9.414, 9.422, 9.508-9.510, 9.515, 9.528-9.536 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

2. Anon., Didache, 14 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14. But every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.
3. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 10.16, 10.17, 10.18, 10.19, 10.20, 10.21, 11.17-14.40 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

10.16. Thecup of blessing which we bless, isn't it a communion of the blood ofChrist? The bread which we break, isn't it a communion of the body ofChrist?
4. New Testament, Acts, 2.44, 4.32 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.44. All who believed were together, and had all things common. 4.32. The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common.
5. New Testament, Luke, 6.27-6.28 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6.27. But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you 6.28. bless those who curse you, and pray for those who insult you.
6. New Testament, Matthew, 5.44-5.45 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5.44. But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you 5.45. that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
7. Anon., Acts of Peter, 13 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8. Athenagoras, Apology Or Embassy For The Christians, 2.1, 2.6, 10.2, 11.3, 17.1, 18.2 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9. Irenaeus, Refutation of All Heresies, 1.13 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.13. One Ecphantus, a native of Syracuse, affirmed that it is not possible to attain a true knowledge of things. He defines, however, as he thinks, primary bodies to be indivisible, and that there are three variations of these, viz., bulk, figure, capacity, from which are generated the objects of sense. But that there is a determinable multitude of these, and that this is infinite. And that bodies are moved neither by weight nor by impact, but by divine power, which he calls mind and soul; and that of this the world is a representation; wherefore also it has been made in the form of a sphere by divine power. And that the earth in the middle of the cosmical system is moved round its own centre towards the east.
10. Justin, First Apology, 27-29, 67, 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. Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 10 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. And when they ceased, I again addressed them. Justin: Is there any other matter, my friends, in which we are blamed, than this, that we live not after the law, and are not circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers were, and do not observe sabbaths as you do? Are our lives and customs also slandered among you? And I ask this: have you also believed concerning us, that we eat men; and that after the feast, having extinguished the lights, we engage in promiscuous concubinage? Or do you condemn us in this alone, that we adhere to such tenets, and believe in an opinion, untrue, as you think? Trypho: This is what we are amazed at, but those things about which the multitude speak are not worthy of belief; for they are most repugt to human nature. Moreover, I am aware that your precepts in the so-called Gospel are so wonderful and so great, that I suspect no one can keep them; for I have carefully read them. But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or sabbaths, and do not have the rite of circumcision; and further, resting your hopes on a man that was crucified, you yet expect to obtain some good thing from God, while you do not obey His commandments. Have you not read, that that soul shall be cut off from his people who shall not have been circumcised on the eighth day? And this has been ordained for strangers and for slaves equally. But you, despising this covet rashly, reject the consequent duties, and attempt to persuade yourselves that you know God, when, however, you perform none of those things which they do who fear God. If, therefore, you can defend yourself on these points, and make it manifest in what way you hope for anything whatsoever, even though you do not observe the law, this we would very gladly hear from you, and we shall make other similar investigations.
12. Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus, 11 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

13. Minucius Felix, Octavius, 9.6, 31.1, 31.5 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

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

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

16. Tatian, Oration To The Greeks, 25, 23 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

17. Tertullian, To The Heathen, 1.7 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.7. Whence comes it to pass, you will say to us, that such a character could have been attributed to you, as to have justified the lawmakers perhaps by its imputation? Let me ask on my side, what voucher they had then, or you now, for the truth of the imputation? (You answer,) Fame. Well, now, is not this - Fama malum, quo non aliud velocius ullum? Now, why a plague, if it be always true? It never ceases from lying; nor even at the moment when it reports the truth is it so free from the wish to lie, as not to interweave the false with the true, by processes of addition, diminution, or confusion of various facts. Indeed, such is its condition, that it can only continue to exist while it lies. For it lives only just so long as it fails to prove anything. As soon as it proves itself true, it falls; and, as if its office of reporting news were at an end, it quits its post: thenceforward the thing is held to be a fact, and it passes under that name. No one, then, says, to take an instance, The report is that this happened at Rome, or, The rumour goes that he has got a province; but, He has got a province, and, This happened at Rome. Nobody mentions a rumour except at an uncertainty, because nobody can be sure of a rumour, but only of certain knowledge; and none but a fool believes a rumour, because no wise man puts faith in an uncertainty. In however wide a circuit a report has been circulated, it must needs have originated some time or other from one mouth; afterwards it creeps on somehow to ears and tongues which pass it on and so obscures the humble error in which it began, that no one considers whether the mouth which first set it a-going disseminated a falsehood - a circumstance which often happens either from a temper of rivalry, or a suspicious turn, or even the pleasure of feigning news. It is, however, well that time reveals all things, as your own sayings and proverbs testify; yea, as nature herself attests, which has so ordered it that nothing lies hid, not even that which fame has not reported. See, now, what a witness you have suborned against us: it has not been able up to this time to prove the report it set in motion, although it has had so long a time to recommend it to our acceptance. This name of ours took its rise in the reign of Augustus; under Tiberius it was taught with all clearness and publicity; under Nero it was ruthlessly condemned, and you may weigh its worth and character even from the person of its persecutor. If that prince was a pious man, then the Christians are impious; if he was just, if he was pure, then the Christians are unjust and impure; if he was not a public enemy, we are enemies of our country: what sort of men we are, our persecutor himself shows, since he of course punished what produced hostility to himself. Now, although every other institution which existed under Nero has been destroyed, yet this of ours has firmly remained - righteous, it would seem, as being unlike the author (of its persecution). Two hundred and fifty years, then, have not yet passed since our life began. During the interval there have been so many criminals; so many crosses have obtained immortality; so many infants have been slain; so many loaves steeped in blood; so many extinctions of candles; so many dissolute marriages. And up to the present time it is mere report which fights against the Christians. No doubt it has a strong support in the wickedness of the human mind, and utters its falsehoods with more success among cruel and savage men. For the more inclined you are to maliciousness, the more ready are you to believe evil; in short, men more easily believe the evil that is false, than the good which is true. Now, if injustice has left any place within you for the exercise of prudence in investigating the truth of reports, justice of course demanded that you should examine by whom the report could have been spread among the multitude, and thus circulated through the world. For it could not have been by the Christians themselves, I suppose, since by the very constitution and law of all mysteries the obligation of silence is imposed. How much more would this be the case in such (mysteries as are ascribed to us), which, if divulged, could not fail to bring down instant punishment from the prompt resentment of men! Since, therefore, the Christians are not their own betrayers, it follows that it must be strangers. Now I ask, how could strangers obtain knowledge of us, when even true and lawful mysteries exclude every stranger from witnessing them, unless illicit ones are less exclusive? Well, then, it is more in keeping with the character of strangers both to be ignorant (of the true state of a case), and to invent (a false account). Our domestic servants (perhaps) listened, and peeped through crevices and holes, and stealthily got information of our ways. What, then, shall we say when our servants betray them to you? It is better, (to be sure,) for us all not to be betrayed by any; but still, if our practices be so atrocious, how much more proper is it when a righteous indignation bursts asunder even all ties of domestic fidelity? How was it possible for it to endure what horrified the mind and affrighted the eye? This is also a wonderful thing, both that he who was so overcome with impatient excitement as to turn informer, did not likewise desire to prove (what he reported), and that he who heard the informer's story did not care to see for himself, since no doubt the reward is equal both for the informer who proves what he reports, and for the hearer who convinces himself of the credibility of what he hears. But then you say that (this is precisely what has taken place): first came the rumour, then the exhibition of the proof; first the hearsay, then the inspection; and after this, fame received its commission. Now this, I must say, surpasses all admiration, that that was once for all detected and divulged which is being for ever repeated, unless, forsooth, we have by this time ceased from the reiteration of such things (as are alleged of us). But we are called still by the same (offensive) name, and we are supposed to be still engaged in the same practices, and we multiply from day to day; the more we are, to the more become we objects of hatred. Hatred increases as the material for it increases. Now, seeing that the multitude of offenders is ever advancing, how is it that the crowd of informers does not keep equal pace therewith? To the best of my belief, even our manner of life has become better known; you know the very days of our assemblies; therefore we are both besieged, and attacked, and kept prisoners actually in our secret congregations. Yet who ever came upon a half-consumed corpse (among us)? Who has detected the traces of a bite in our blood-steeped loaf? Who has discovered, by a sudden light invading our darkness, any marks of impurity, I will not say of incest, (in our feasts)? If we save ourselves by a bribe from being dragged out before the public gaze with such a character, how is it that we are still oppressed? We have it indeed in our own power not to be thus apprehended at all; for who either sells or buys information about a crime, if the crime itself has no existence? But why need I disparagingly refer to strange spies and informers, when you allege against us such charges as we certainly do not ourselves divulge with very much noise - either as soon as you hear of them, if we previously show them to you, or after you have yourselves discovered them, if they are for the time concealed from you? For no doubt, when any desire initiation in the mysteries, their custom is first to go to the master or father of the sacred rites. Then he will say (to the applicant), You must bring an infant, as a guarantee for our rites, to be sacrificed, as well as some bread to be broken and dipped in his blood; you also want candles, and dogs tied together to upset them, and bits of meat to rouse the dogs. Moreover, a mother too, or a sister, is necessary for you. What, however, is to be said if you have neither? I suppose in that case you could not be a genuine Christian. Now, do let me ask you, Will such things, when reported by strangers, bear to be spread about (as charges against us)? It is impossible for such persons to understand proceedings in which they take no part. The first step of the process is perpetrated with artifice; our feasts and our marriages are invented and detailed by ignorant persons, who had never before heard about Christian mysteries. And though they afterwards cannot help acquiring some knowledge of them, it is even then as having to be administered by others whom they bring on the scene. Besides, how absurd is it that the profane know mysteries which the priest knows not! They keep them all to themselves, then, and take them for granted; and so these tragedies, (worse than those) of Thyestes or Œdipus, do not at all come forth to light, nor find their way to the public. Even more voracious bites take nothing away from the credit of such as are initiated, whether servants or masters. If, however, none of these allegations can be proved to be true, how incalculable must be esteemed the grandeur (of that religion) which is manifestly not overbalanced even by the burden of these vast atrocities! O you heathen; who have and deserve our pity, behold, we set before you the promise which our sacred system offers. It guarantees eternal life to such as follow and observe it; on the other hand, it threatens with the eternal punishment of an unending fire those who are profane and hostile; while to both classes alike is preached a resurrection from the dead. We are not now concerned about the doctrine of these (verities), which are discussed in their proper place. Meanwhile, however, believe them, even as we do ourselves, for I want to know whether you are ready to reach them, as we do, through such crimes. Come, whosoever you are, plunge your sword into an infant; or if that is another's office, then simply gaze at the breathing creature dying before it has lived; at any rate, catch its fresh blood in which to steep your bread; then feed yourself without stint; and while this is going on, recline. Carefully distinguish the places where your mother or your sister may have made their bed; mark them well, in order that, when the shades of night have fallen upon them, putting of course to the test the care of every one of you, you may not make the awkward mistake of alighting on somebody else: you would have to make an atonement, if you failed of the incest. When you have effected all this, eternal life will be in store for you. I want you to tell me whether you think eternal life worth such a price. No, indeed, you do not believe it: even if you did believe it, I maintain that you would be unwilling to give (the fee); or if willing, would be unable. But why should others be able if you are unable? Why should you be able if others are unable? What would you wish impunity (and) eternity to stand you in? Do you suppose that these (blessings) can be bought by us at any price? Have Christians teeth of a different sort from others? Have they more ample jaws? Are they of different nerve for incestuous lust? I think not. It is enough for us to differ from you in condition by truth alone.
18. Tertullian, Apology, 39 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

39. I shall at once go on, then, to exhibit the peculiarities of the Christian society, that, as I have refuted the evil charged against it, I may point out its positive good. We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation. We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful. However it be in that respect, with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more steadfast; and no less by inculcations of God's precepts we confirm good habits. In the same place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to come when any one has sinned so grievously as to require his severance from us in prayer, in the congregation and in all sacred intercourse. The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are, as it were, piety's deposit fund. For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God's Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death. And they are angry with us, too, because we call each other brethren; for no other reason, as I think, than because among themselves names of consanguinity are assumed in mere pretence of affection. But we are your brethren as well, by the law of our common mother nature, though you are hardly men, because brothers so unkind. At the same time, how much more fittingly they are called and counted brothers who have been led to the knowledge of God as their common Father, who have drunk in one spirit of holiness, who from the same womb of a common ignorance have agonized into the same light of truth! But on this very account, perhaps, we are regarded as having less claim to be held true brothers, that no tragedy makes a noise about our brotherhood, or that the family possessions, which generally destroy brotherhood among you, create fraternal bonds among us. One in mind and soul, we do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another. All things are common among us but our wives. We give up our community where it is practised alone by others, who not only take possession of the wives of their friends, but most tolerantly also accommodate their friends with theirs, following the example, I believe, of those wise men of ancient times, the Greek Socrates and the Roman Cato, who shared with their friends the wives whom they had married, it seems for the sake of progeny both to themselves and to others; whether in this acting against their partners' wishes, I am not able to say. Why should they have any care over their chastity, when their husbands so readily bestowed it away? O noble example of Attic wisdom, of Roman gravity - the philosopher and the censor playing pimps! What wonder if that great love of Christians towards one another is desecrated by you! For you abuse also our humble feasts, on the ground that they are extravagant as well as infamously wicked. To us, it seems, applies the saying of Diogenes: The people of Megara feast as though they were going to die on the morrow; they build as though they were never to die! But one sees more readily the mote in another's eye than the beam in his own. Why, the very air is soured with the eructations of so many tribes, and curi, and decuri . The Salii cannot have their feast without going into debt; you must get the accountants to tell you what the tenths of Hercules and the sacrificial banquets cost; the choicest cook is appointed for the Apaturia, the Dionysia, the Attic mysteries; the smoke from the banquet of Serapis will call out the firemen. Yet about the modest supper-room of the Christians alone a great ado is made. Our feast explains itself by its name. The Greeks call it agapè, i.e., affection. Whatever it costs, our outlay in the name of piety is gain, since with the good things of the feast we benefit the needy; not as it is with you, do parasites aspire to the glory of satisfying their licentious propensities, selling themselves for a belly-feast to all disgraceful treatment - but as it is with God himself, a peculiar respect is shown to the lowly. If the object of our feast be good, in the light of that consider its further regulations. As it is an act of religious service, it permits no vileness or immodesty. The participants, before reclining, taste first of prayer to God. As much is eaten as satisfies the cravings of hunger; as much is drunk as befits the chaste. They say it is enough, as those who remember that even during the night they have to worship God; they talk as those who know that the Lord is one of their auditors. After manual ablution, and the bringing in of lights, each is asked to stand forth and sing, as he can, a hymn to God, either one from the holy Scriptures or one of his own composing - a proof of the measure of our drinking. As the feast commenced with prayer, so with prayer it is closed. We go from it, not like troops of mischief-doers, nor bands of vagabonds, nor to break out into licentious acts, but to have as much care of our modesty and chastity as if we had been at a school of virtue rather than a banquet. Give the congregation of the Christians its due, and hold it unlawful, if it is like assemblies of the illicit sort: by all means let it be condemned, if any complaint can be validly laid against it, such as lies against secret factions. But who has ever suffered harm from our assemblies? We are in our congregations just what we are when separated from each other; we are as a community what we are individuals; we injure nobody, we trouble nobody. When the upright, when the virtuous meet together, when the pious, when the pure assemble in congregation, you ought not to call that a faction, but a curia- [i.e., the court of God.]
19. Theophilus, To Autolycus, 3.3-3.5, 3.15 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

3.3. For all these, having fallen in love with vain and empty reputation, neither themselves knew the truth, nor guided others to the truth: for the things which they said themselves convict them of speaking inconsistently; and most of them demolished their own doctrines. For not only did they refute one another, but some, too, even stultified their own teachings; so that their reputation has issued in shame and folly, for they are condemned by men of understanding. For either they made assertions concerning the gods, and afterwards taught that there was no god; or if they spoke even of the creation of the world, they finally said that all things were produced spontaneously. Yea, and even speaking of providence, they taught again that the world was not ruled by providence. But what? Did they not, when they essayed to write even of honourable conduct, teach the perpetration of lasciviousness, and fornication, and adultery; and did they not introduce hateful and unutterable wickedness? And they proclaim that their gods took the lead in committing unutterable acts of adultery, and in monstrous banquets. For who does not sing Saturn devouring his own children, and Jove his son gulping down Metis, and preparing for the gods a horrible feast, at which also they say that Vulcan, a lame blacksmith, did the waiting; and how Jove not only married Juno, his own sister, but also with foul mouth did abominable wickedness? And the rest of his deeds, as many as the poets sing, it is likely you are acquainted with. Why need I further recount the deeds of Neptune and Apollo, or Bacchus and Hercules, of the bosom-loving Minerva, and the shameless Venus, since in another place we have given a more accurate account of these? 3.4. Nor indeed was there any necessity for my refuting these, except that I see you still in dubiety about the word of the truth. For though yourself prudent, you endure fools gladly. Otherwise you would not have been moved by senseless men to yield yourself to empty words, and to give credit to the prevalent rumor wherewith godless lips falsely accuse us, who are worshippers of God, and are called Christians, alleging that the wives of us all are held in common and made promiscuous use of; and that we even commit incest with our own sisters, and, what is most impious and barbarous of all, that we eat human flesh. But further, they say that our doctrine has but recently come to light, and that we have nothing to allege in proof of what we receive as truth, nor of our teaching, but that our doctrine is foolishness. I wonder, then, chiefly that you, who in other matters are studious, and a scrutinizer of all things, give but a careless hearing to us. For, if it were possible for you, you would not grudge to spend the night in the libraries. 3.5. Since, then, you have read much, what is your opinion of the precepts of Zeno, and Diogenes, and Cleanthes, which their books contain, inculcating the eating of human flesh: that fathers be cooked and eaten by their own children; and that if any one refuse or reject a part of this infamous food, he himself be devoured who will not eat? An utterance even more godless than these is found - that, namely, of Diogenes, who teaches children to bring their own parents in sacrifice, and devour them. And does not the historian Herodotus narrate that Cambyses, when he had slaughtered the children of Harpagus, cooked them also, and set them as a meal before their father? And, still further, he narrates that among the Indians the parents are eaten by their own children. Oh! The godless teaching of those who recorded, yea, rather, inculcated such things! Oh! Their wickedness and godlessness! Oh! The conception of those who thus accurately philosophized, and profess philosophy! For they who taught these doctrines have filled the world with iniquity. 3.15. Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. For if one should speak of cannibalism, in these spectacles the children of Thyestes and Tereus are eaten; and as for adultery, both in the case of men and of gods, whom they celebrate in elegant language for honours and prizes, this is made the subject of their dramas. But far be it from Christians to conceive any such deeds; for with them temperance dwells, self-restraint is practiced, monogamy is observed, chastity is guarded, iniquity exterminated, sin extirpated, righteousness exercised, law administered, worship performed, God acknowledged: truth governs, grace guards, peace screens them; the holy word guides, wisdom teaches, life directs, God reigns. Therefore, though we have much to say regarding our manner of life, and the ordices of God, the maker of all creation, we yet consider that we have for the present reminded you of enough to induce you to study these things, especially since you can now read [our writings] for yourself, that as you have been fond of acquiring information, you may still be studious in this direction also.
20. Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 8.12 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

21. Origen, Against Celsus, 8.32 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8.32. The Psalmist bears witness that divine justice employs certain evil angels to inflict calamities upon men: He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, sent by evil angels. Whether demons ever go beyond this when they are suffered to do what they are ever ready, though through the restraint put upon them they are not always able to do, is a question to be solved by that man who can conceive, in so far as human nature will allow, how it accords with the divine justice, that such multitudes of human souls are separated from the body while walking in the paths which lead to certain death. For the judgments of God are so great, that a soul which is still clothed with a mortal body cannot comprehend them; and they cannot be expressed: therefore by unnurtured souls they are not in any measure to be understood. And hence, too, rash spirits, by their ignorance in these matters, and by recklessly setting themselves against the Divine Being, multiply impious objections against providence. It is not from demons, then, that men receive any of those things which meet the necessities of life, and least of all ourselves, who have been taught to make a proper use of these things. And they who partake of grain and wine, and the fruits of trees, of water and of air, do not feed with demons, but rather do they feast with divine angels, who are appointed for this purpose, and who are as it were invited to the table of the pious man, who hearkens to the precept of the word, which says, Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. And again, in another place it is written, Do all things in the name of God. When, therefore, we eat and drink and breathe to the glory of God, and act in all things according to what is right, we feast with no demons, but with divine angels: For every creature is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. But it could not be good, and it could not be sanctified, if these things were, as Celsus supposes, entrusted to the charge of demons.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
and paganism, ; engenders hatred Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 21
apocryphal acts of the apostles König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
associations Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 4, 34
athenagoras König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298; Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
cannibalism, accusations against early christians König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
clement of alexandria König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298; Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
deacon Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 94
doctrine, christian Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
ethics Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
galen Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
in the morning Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 94
judgement Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
justin König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
meals, group Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 4
meat König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
mysteries; described Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 21
mysteries; require silence Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 21
philosopher Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
plato Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
precept Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
religion; christian Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 21
resurrection König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
sacrifice and sacrificial feasting, meat from' König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
sirens; negative metaphor for christians Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 21
sophist Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
sunday Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 94
tatian König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
tertullian, de spectaculis König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
theophilus König, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012) 298
tiberius; contemporary with rise of christianity Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 21
tradition, philosophical Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
trinity Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 829
voluntary associations, banquet practices Cadwallader, Stones, Bones and the Sacred: Essays on Material Culture and Religion in Honor of Dennis E (2016) 223
women, church leadership Cadwallader, Stones, Bones and the Sacred: Essays on Material Culture and Religion in Honor of Dennis E (2016) 223
women, households Cadwallader, Stones, Bones and the Sacred: Essays on Material Culture and Religion in Honor of Dennis E (2016) 223