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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



6793
Irenaeus, Refutation Of All Heresies, 2.26


nanIt is therefore better and more profitable to belong to the simple and unlettered class, and by means of love to attain to nearness to God, than, by imagining ourselves learned and skilful, to be found [among those who are] blasphemous against their own God, inasmuch as they conjure up another God as the Father. And for this reason Paul exclaimed, "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth:" not that he meant to inveigh against a true knowledge of God, for in that case he would have accused himself; but, because he knew that some, puffed up by the pretence of knowledge, fall away from the love of God, and imagine that they themselves are perfect, for this reason that they set forth an imperfect Creator, with the view of putting an end to the pride which they feel on account of knowledge of this kind, he says, "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth." Now there can be no greater conceit than this, that any one should imagine he is better and more perfect than He who made and fashioned him, and imparted to him the breath of life, and commanded this very thing into existence. It is therefore better, as I have said, that one should have no knowledge whatever of any one reason why a single thing in creation has been made, but should believe in God, and continue in His love, than that, puffed up through knowledge of this kind, he should fall away from that love which is the life of man; and that he should search after no other knowledge except [the knowledge of] Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was crucified for us, than that by subtle questions and hair-splitting expressions he should fall into impiety.,For how would it be, if any one, gradually elated by attempts of the kind referred to, should, because the Lord said that "even the hairs of your head are all numbered," set about inquiring into the number of hairs on each one's head, and endeavour to search out the reason on account of which one man has so many, and another so many, since all have not an equal number, but many thousands upon thousands are to be found with still varying numbers, on this account that some have larger and others smaller heads, some have bushy heads of hair, others thin, and others scarcely any hair at all,-- and then those who imagine that they have discovered the number of the hairs, should endeavour to apply that for the commendation of their own sect which they have conceived? Or again, if any one should, because of this expression which occurs in the Gospel, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them falls to the ground without the will of your Father," take occasion to reckon up the number of sparrows caught daily, whether over all the world or in some particular district, and to make inquiry as to the reason of so many having been captured yesterday, so many the day before, and so many again on this day, and should then join on the number of sparrows to his [particular] hypothesis, would he not in that case mislead himself altogether, and drive into absolute insanity those that agreed with him, since men are always eager in such matters to be thought to have discovered something more extraordinary than their masters?,But if any one should ask us whether every number of all the things which have been made, and which are made, is known to God, and whether every one of these [numbers] has, according to His providence, received that special amount which it contains; and on our agreeing that such is the case, and acknowledging that not one of the things which have been, or are, or shall be made, escapes the knowledge of God, but that through His providence every one of them has obtained its nature, and rank, and number, and special quantity, and that nothing whatever either has been or is produced in vain or accidentally, but with exceeding suitability [to the purpose intended], and in the exercise of transcendent knowledge, and that it was an admirable and truly divine intellect which could both distinguish and bring forth the proper causes of such a system: if, [I say,] any one, on obtaining our adherence and consent to this, should proceed to reckon up the sand and pebbles of the earth, yea also the waves of the sea and the stars of heaven, and should endeavour to think out the causes of the number which he imagines himself to have discovered, would not his labour be in vain, and would not such a man be justly declared mad, and destitute of reason, by all possessed of common sense? And the more he occupied himself beyond others in questions of this kind, and the more he imagines himself to find out beyond others, styling them unskilful, ignorant, and animal beings, because they do not enter into his so useless labour, the more is he [in reality] insane, foolish, struck as it were with a thunderbolt, since indeed he does in no one point own himself inferior to God; but, by the knowledge which he imagines himself to have discovered, he changes God Himself, and exalts his own opinion above the greatness of the Creator.


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

8 results
1. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 2.15 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.15. But he who is spiritual discerns allthings, and he himself is judged by no one.
2. New Testament, Ephesians, 3.6 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

3.6. that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of his promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel
3. New Testament, Romans, 9.25 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

9.25. As he says also in Hosea, "I will call them 'my people,' which were not my people; And her 'beloved,' who was not beloved.
4. New Testament, Matthew, 13.38 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

13.38. the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the darnel are the sons of the evil one.
5. Irenaeus, Refutation of All Heresies, None (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

6. Philostratus The Athenian, Life of Apollonius, 3 (2nd cent. CE

7. Tatian, Oration To The Greeks, 12.5, 33.1, 42.1 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Origen, Against Celsus, 1.25 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.25. And perhaps there is a danger as great as that which degrades the name of God, or of the Good, to improper objects, in changing the name of God according to a secret system, and applying those which belong to inferior beings to greater, and vice versa. And I do not dwell on this, that when the name of Zeus is uttered, there is heard at the same time that of the son of Kronos and Rhea, and the husband of Hera, and brother of Poseidon, and father of Athene, and Artemis, who was guilty of incest with his own daughter Persephone; or that Apollo immediately suggests the son of Leto and Zeus, and the brother of Artemis, and half-brother of Hermes; and so with all the other names invented by these wise men of Celsus, who are the parents of these opinions, and the ancient theologians of the Greeks. For what are the grounds for deciding that he should on the one hand be properly called Zeus, and yet on the other should not have Kronos for his father and Rhea for his mother? And the same argument applies to all the others that are called gods. But this charge does not at all apply to those who, for some mysterious reason, refer the word Sabaoth, or Adonai, or any of the other names to the (true) God. And when one is able to philosophize about the mystery of names, he will find much to say respecting the titles of the angels of God, of whom one is called Michael, and another Gabriel, and another Raphael, appropriately to the duties which they discharge in the world, according to the will of the God of all things. And a similar philosophy of names applies also to our Jesus, whose name has already been seen, in an unmistakeable manner, to have expelled myriads of evil spirits from the souls and bodies (of men), so great was the power which it exerted upon those from whom the spirits were driven out. And while still upon the subject of names, we have to mention that those who are skilled in the use of incantations, relate that the utterance of the same incantation in its proper language can accomplish what the spell professes to do; but when translated into any other tongue, it is observed to become inefficacious and feeble. And thus it is not the things signified, but the qualities and peculiarities of words, which possess a certain power for this or that purpose. And so on such grounds as these we defend the conduct of the Christians, when they struggle even to death to avoid calling God by the name of Zeus, or to give Him a name from any other language. For they either use the common name - God - indefinitely, or with some such addition as that of the Maker of all things, the Creator of heaven and earth - He who sent down to the human race those good men, to whose names that of God being added, certain mighty works are wrought among men. And much more besides might be said on the subject of names, against those who think that we ought to be indifferent as to our use of them. And if the remark of Plato in the Philebus should surprise us, when he says, My fear, O Protagoras, about the names of the gods is no small one, seeing Philebus in his discussion with Socrates had called pleasure a god, how shall we not rather approve the piety of the Christians, who apply none of the names used in the mythologies to the Creator of the world? And now enough on this subject for the present.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
barbarians, conceptions of Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
cosmos, cosmology, nature Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
cross, the Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 87
cynics Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
decalogue Iricinschi et al., Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine Pagels (2013) 183
diatribe Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
divine economy Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 87
economy Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 87
educated, erudite Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
gnosticism, succession and schools within Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
gnosticism Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 87
heresy, alterity/otherness/exteriority of Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
heresy, division/multiplicity of Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
heretics {see also gnostics; marcionites) Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
homer Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
incarnation' Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 87
india Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
irenaeus, heresiological innovations Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
irenaeus Iricinschi et al., Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine Pagels (2013) 183
magic, magic papyri Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
megasthenes Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
numenios Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
orthodoxy, unity of Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
paideia Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
platonism Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
popular philosophy Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
provincials, immigrants Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
resurrection Iricinschi et al., Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine Pagels (2013) 183
rhodon Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
simon of samaria Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
succession, authentic succession Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176
tatian Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176; Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
teaching/tutoring, christian Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 289
valentinians Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 176