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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7287
Justin, First Apology, 21


nanAnd when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; Æsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of the emperors who die among yourselves, whom you deem worthy of deification, and in whose behalf you produce some one who swears he has seen the burning C sar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre? And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know. This only shall be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods. But far be such a thought concerning the gods from every well-conditioned soul, as to believe that Jupiter himself, the governor and creator of all things, was both a parricide and the son of a parricide, and that being overcome by the love of base and shameful pleasures, he came in to Ganymede and those many women whom he had violated and that his sons did like actions. But, as we said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue; and we believe that those who live wickedly and do not repent are punished in everlasting fire.


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

26 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Psalms, 22, 128 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2. Plato, Symposium, 203, 202 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.14-1.15 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.14. but to attend in court, try the case, and deliver their verdict as to what opinions we are to hold about religion, piety and holiness, about ritual, about honour and loyalty to oaths, about temples, shrines and solemn sacrifices, and about the very auspices over which I myself preside; for all of these matters ultimately depend upon this question of the nature of the immortal gods. Surely such wide diversity of opinion among men of the greatest learning on a matter of the highest moment must affect even those who think that they possess certain knowledge with a feeling of doubt. 1.15. This has often struck me, but it did so with especial force on one occasion, when the topic of the immortal gods was made the subject of a very searching and thorough discussion at the house of my friend Gaius Cotta. It was the Latin Festival, and I had come at Cotta's express invitation to pay him a visit. I found him sitting in an alcove, engaged in debate with Gaius Velleius, a Member of the Senate, accounted by the Epicureans as their chief Roman adherent at the time. With them was Quintus Lucilius Balbus, who was so accomplished a student of Stoicism as to rank with the leading Greek exponents of that system. When Cotta saw me, he greeted me with the words: "You come exactly at the right moment, for I am just engaging in a dispute with Velleius on an important topic, in which you with your tastes will be interested to take part.
4. Cicero, Republic, 3.28.40 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Juvenal, Satires, 15 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. New Testament, Romans, 8.18 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

8.18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us.
7. New Testament, Matthew, 12.38-12.39, 27.62-27.66, 28.11-28.15 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

12.38. Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you. 12.39. But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. 27.62. Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate 27.63. saying, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: 'After three days I will rise again.' 27.64. Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He is risen from the dead;' and the last deception will be worse than the first. 27.65. Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can. 27.66. So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone. 28.11. Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened. 28.12. When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers 28.13. saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 28.14. If this comes to the governor's ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry. 28.15. So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
8. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 19 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

9. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 6.1 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

10. Seneca The Younger, Natural Questions, 2.45 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Apuleius, On The God of Socrates, 11-16, 6-10 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12. Athenagoras, Apology Or Embassy For The Christians, 24-27, 10 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. That we are not atheists, therefore, seeing that we acknowledge one God, uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, who is apprehended by the understanding only and the reason, who is encompassed by light, and beauty, and spirit, and power ineffable, by whom the universe has been created through His Logos, and set in order, and is kept in being - I have sufficiently demonstrated. [I say His Logos], for we acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let any one think it ridiculous that God should have a Son. For though the poets, in their fictions, represent the gods as no better than men, our mode of thinking is not the same as theirs, concerning either God the Father or the Son. But the Son of God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in operation; for after the pattern of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one. And, the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of spirit, the understanding and reason (νοῦς καὶ λόγος) of the Father is the Son of God. But if, in your surpassing intelligence, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by the Son, I will state briefly that He is the first product of the Father, not as having been brought into existence (for from the beginning, God, who is the eternal mind [νοῦς], had the Logos in Himself, being from eternity instinct with Logos [λογικός]); but inasmuch as He came forth to be the idea and energizing power of all material things, which lay like a nature without attributes, and an inactive earth, the grosser particles being mixed up with the lighter. The prophetic Spirit also agrees with our statements. The Lord, it says, made me, the beginning of His ways to His works. Proverbs 8:22 The Holy Spirit Himself also, which operates in the prophets, we assert to be an effluence of God, flowing from Him, and returning back again like a beam of the sun. Who, then, would not be astonished to hear men who speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and who declare both their power in union and their distinction in order, called atheists? Nor is our teaching in what relates to the divine nature confined to these points; but we recognise also a multitude of angels and ministers, whom God the Maker and Framer of the world distributed and appointed to their several posts by His Logos, to occupy themselves about the elements, and the heavens, and the world, and the things in it, and the goodly ordering of them all.
13. Clement of Alexandria, Christ The Educator, 1.6, 1.12 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

14. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 2.20, 6.14, 7.10 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

15. Justin, First Apology, 54.2, 54.9, 66.4 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14. For we forewarn you to be on your guard, lest those demons whom we have been accusing should deceive you, and quite divert you from reading and understanding what we say. For they strive to hold you their slaves and servants; and sometimes by appearances in dreams, and sometimes by magical impositions, they subdue all who make no strong opposing effort for their own salvation. And thus do we also, since our persuasion by the Word, stand aloof from them (i.e., the demons), and follow the only unbegotten God through His Son - we who formerly delighted in fornication, but now embrace chastity alone; we who formerly used magical arts, dedicate ourselves to the good and unbegotten God; we who valued above all things the acquisition of wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into a common stock, and communicate to every one in need; we who hated and destroyed one another, and on account of their different manners would not live with men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them, and pray for our enemies, and endeavour to persuade those who hate us unjustly to live conformably to the good precepts of Christ, to the end that they may become partakers with us of the same joyful hope of a reward from God the ruler of all. But lest we should seem to be reasoning sophistically, we consider it right, before giving you the promised explanation, to cite a few precepts given by Christ Himself. And be it yours, as powerful rulers, to inquire whether we have been taught and do teach these things truly. Brief and concise utterances fell from Him, for He was no sophist, but His word was the power of God.
16. Justin, Second Apology, 8.1, 12.5 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12. For I myself, too, when I was delighting in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death, and of all other-things which are counted fearful, perceived that it was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure. For what sensual or intemperate man, or who that counts it good to feast on human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments, and would not rather continue always the present life, and attempt to escape the observation of the rulers; and much less would he denounce himself when the consequence would be death? This also the wicked demons have now caused to be done by evil men. For having put some to death on account of the accusations falsely brought against us, they also dragged to the torture our domestics, either children or weak women, and by dreadful torments forced them to admit those fabulous actions which they themselves openly perpetrate; about which we are the less concerned, because none of these actions are really ours, and we have the unbegotten and ineffable God as witness both of our thoughts and deeds. For why did we not even publicly profess that these were the things which we esteemed good, and prove that these are the divine philosophy, saying that the mysteries of Saturn are performed when we slay a man, and that when we drink our fill of blood, as it is said we do, we are doing what you do before that idol you honour, and on which you sprinkle the blood not only of irrational animals, but also of men, making a libation of the blood of the slain by the hand of the most illustrious and noble man among you? And imitating Jupiter and the other gods in sodomy and shameless intercourse with woman, might we not bring as our apology the writings of Epicurus and the poets? But because we persuade men to avoid such instruction, and all who practise them and imitate such examples, as now in this discourse we have striven to persuade you, we are assailed in every kind of way. But we are not concerned, since we know that God is a just observer of all. But would that even now some one would mount a lofty rostrum, and shout with a loud voice; Be ashamed, be ashamed, you who charge the guiltless with those deeds which yourselves openly could commit, and ascribe things which apply to yourselves and to your gods to those who have not even the slightest sympathy with them. Be converted; become wise.
17. Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 2.1, 4.1-4.3, 69.3, 110.4-110.5 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

106. Christ's resurrection is foretold in the conclusion of the Psalm Justin: The remainder of the Psalm makes it manifest that He knew His Father would grant to Him all things which He asked, and would raise Him from the dead; and that He urged all who fear God to praise Him because He had compassion on all races of believing men, through the mystery of Him who was crucified; and that He stood in the midst of His brethren the apostles (who repented of their flight from Him when He was crucified, after He rose from the dead, and after they were persuaded by Himself that, before His passion He had mentioned to them that He must suffer these things, and that they were announced beforehand by the prophets), and when living with them sang praises to God, as is made evident in the memoirs of the apostles. The words are the following: 'I will declare Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise You. You that fear the Lord, praise Him; all you, the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. Let all the seed of Israel fear Him.' And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of Him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder; this was an announcement of the fact that it was He by whom Jacob was called Israel, and Oshea called Jesus (Joshua), under whose name the people who survived of those that came from Egypt were conducted into the land promised to the patriarchs. And that He should arise like a star from the seed of Abraham, Moses showed before hand when he thus said, 'A star shall arise from Jacob, and a leader from Israel;' Numbers 24:17 and another Scripture says, 'Behold a man; the East is His name.' Accordingly, when a star rose in heaven at the time of His birth, as is recorded in the memoirs of His apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognising the sign by this, came and worshipped Him.
18. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 10.96 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

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

20. Tatian, Oration To The Greeks, 19 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

21. Tertullian, Apology, 25, 46, 14 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

14. I wish now to review your sacred rites; and I pass no censure on your sacrificing, when you offer the worn-out, the scabbed, the corrupting; when you cut off from the fat and the sound the useless parts, such as the head and the hoofs, which in your house you would have assigned to the slaves or the dogs; when of the tithe of Hercules you do not lay a third upon his altar (I am disposed rather to praise your wisdom in rescuing something from being lost); but turning to your books, from which you get your training in wisdom and the nobler duties of life, what utterly ridiculous things I find!- that for Trojans and Greeks the gods fought among themselves like pairs of gladiators; that Venus was wounded by a man, because she would rescue her son Æneas when he was in peril of his life from the same Diomede; that Mars was almost wasted away by a thirteen months' imprisonment; that Jupiter was saved by a monster's aid from suffering the same violence at the hands of the other gods; that he now laments the fate of Sarpedon, now foully makes love to his own sister, recounting (to her) former mistresses, now for a long time past not so dear as she. After this, what poet is not found copying the example of his chief, to be a disgracer of the gods? One gives Apollo to king Admetus to tend his sheep; another hires out the building labours of Neptune to Laomedon. A well-known lyric poet, too - Pindar, I mean - sings of Æsculapius deservedly stricken with lightning for his greed in practising wrongfully his art. A wicked deed it was of Jupiter - if he hurled the bolt - unnatural to his grandson, and exhibiting envious feeling to the Physician. Things like these should not be made public if they are true; and if false, they should not be fabricated among people professing a great respect for religion. Nor indeed do either tragic or comic writers shrink from setting forth the gods as the origin of all family calamities and sins. I do not dwell on the philosophers, contenting myself with a reference to Socrates, who, in contempt of the gods, was in the habit of swearing by an oak, and a goat, and a dog. In fact, for this very thing Socrates was condemned to death, that he overthrew the worship of the gods. Plainly, at one time as well as another, that is, always truth is disliked. However, when rueing their judgment, the Athenians inflicted punishment on his accusers, and set up a golden image of him in a temple, the condemnation was in the very act rescinded, and his witness was restored to its former value. Diogenes, too, makes utter mock of Hercules and the Roman cynic Varro brings forward three hundred Joves, or Jupiters they should be called, all headless.
22. Theophilus, To Autolycus, 2.27 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

2.27. But some one will say to us, Was man made by nature mortal? Certainly not. Was he, then, immortal? Neither do we affirm this. But one will say, Was he, then, nothing? Not even this hits the mark. He was by nature neither mortal nor immortal. For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God; but if, on the other hand, he should turn to the things of death, disobeying God, he should himself be the cause of death to himself. For God made man free, and with power over himself. That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death upon himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting. For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption.
23. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.1 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.1. BOOK 7: 1. ZENOZeno, the son of Mnaseas (or Demeas), was a native of Citium in Cyprus, a Greek city which had received Phoenician settlers. He had a wry neck, says Timotheus of Athens in his book On Lives. Moreover, Apollonius of Tyre says he was lean, fairly tall, and swarthy – hence some one called him an Egyptian vine-branch, according to Chrysippus in the first book of his Proverbs. He had thick legs; he was flabby and delicate. Hence Persaeus in his Convivial Reminiscences relates that he declined most invitations to dinner. They say he was fond of eating green figs and of basking in the sun.
24. Origen, Against Celsus, 2.55, 2.70, 3.22-3.23, 3.42 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

2.55. The Jew continues his address to those of his countrymen who are converts, as follows: Come now, let us grant to you that the prediction was actually uttered. Yet how many others are there who practise such juggling tricks, in order to deceive their simple hearers, and who make gain by their deception?- as was the case, they say, with Zamolxis in Scythia, the slave of Pythagoras; and with Pythagoras himself in Italy; and with Rhampsinitus in Egypt (the latter of whom, they say, played at dice with Demeter in Hades, and returned to the upper world with a golden napkin which he had received from her as a gift); and also with Orpheus among the Odrysians, and Protesilaus in Thessaly, and Hercules at Cape T narus, and Theseus. But the question is, whether any one who was really dead ever rose with a veritable body. Or do you imagine the statements of others not only to be myths, but to have the appearance of such, while you have discovered a becoming and credible termination to your drama in the voice from the cross, when he breathed his last, and in the earthquake and the darkness? That while alive he was of no assistance to himself, but that when dead he rose again, and showed the marks of his punishment, and how his hands were pierced with nails: who beheld this? A half-frantic woman, as you state, and some other one, perhaps, of those who were engaged in the same system of delusion, who had either dreamed so, owing to a peculiar state of mind, or under the influence of a wandering imagination had formed to himself an appearance according to his own wishes, which has been the case with numberless individuals; or, which is most probable, one who desired to impress others with this portent, and by such a falsehood to furnish an occasion to impostors like himself. Now, since it is a Jew who makes these statements, we shall conduct the defense of our Jesus as if we were replying to a Jew, still continuing the comparison derived from the accounts regarding Moses, and saying to him: How many others are there who practise similar juggling tricks to those of Moses, in order to deceive their silly hearers, and who make gain by their deception? Now this objection would be more appropriate in the mouth of one who did not believe in Moses (as we might quote the instances of Zamolxis and Pythagoras, who were engaged in such juggling tricks) than in that of a Jew, who is not very learned in the histories of the Greeks. An Egyptian, moreover, who did not believe the miracles of Moses, might credibly adduce the instance of Rhampsinitus, saying that it was far more credible that he had descended to Hades, and had played at dice with Demeter, and that after stealing from her a golden napkin he exhibited it as a sign of his having been in Hades, and of his having returned thence, than that Moses should have recorded that he entered into the darkness, where God was, and that he alone, above all others, drew near to God. For the following is his statement: Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the rest shall not come near. We, then, who are the disciples of Jesus, say to the Jew who urges these objections: While assailing our belief in Jesus, defend yourself, and answer the Egyptian and the Greek objectors: what will you say to those charges which you brought against our Jesus, but which also might be brought against Moses first? And if you should make a vigorous effort to defend Moses, as indeed his history does admit of a clear and powerful defense, you will unconsciously, in your support of Moses, be an unwilling assistant in establishing the greater divinity of Jesus. 2.70. But how is it that this Jew of Celsus could say that Jesus concealed Himself? For his words regarding Him are these: And who that is sent as a messenger ever conceals himself when he ought to make known his message? Now, He did not conceal Himself, who said to those who sought to apprehend Him, I was daily teaching openly in the temple, and you laid no hold upon Me. But having once already answered this charge of Celsus, now again repeated, we shall content ourselves with what we have formerly said. We have answered, also, in the preceding pages, this objection, that while he was in the body, and no one believed upon him, he preached to all without intermission; but when he might have produced a powerful belief in himself after rising from the dead, he showed himself secretly only to one woman, and to his own boon companions. Now it is not true that He showed Himself only to one woman; for it is stated in the Gospel according to Matthew, that in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there had been a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord had descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone. And, shortly after, Matthew adds: And, behold, Jesus met them- clearly meaning the afore-mentioned Marys - saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him. And we answered, too, the charge, that while undergoing his punishment he was seen by all, but after his resurrection only by one, when we offered our defense of the fact that He was not seen by all. And now we might say that His merely human attributes were visible to all men but those which were divine in their nature - I speak of the attributes not as related, but as distinct - were not capable of being received by all. But observe here the manifest contradiction into which Celsus falls. For having said, a little before, that Jesus had appeared secretly to one woman and His own boon companions, he immediately subjoins: While undergoing his punishment he was seen by all men, but after his resurrection by one, whereas the opposite ought to have happened. And let us hear what he means by ought to have happened. The being seen by all men while undergoing His punishment, but after His resurrection only by one individual, are opposites. Now, so far as his language conveys a meaning, he would have that to take place which is both impossible and absurd, viz., that while undergoing His punishment He should be seen only by one individual, but after His resurrection by all men! Or else how will you explain his words, The opposite ought to have happened? 3.22. But this low jester Celsus, omitting no species of mockery and ridicule which can be employed against us, mentions in his treatise the Dioscuri, and Hercules, and Æsculapius, and Dionysus, who are believed by the Greeks to have become gods after being men, and says that we cannot bear to call such beings gods, because they were at first men, and yet they manifested many noble qualifies, which were displayed for the benefit of mankind, while we assert that Jesus was seen after His death by His own followers; and he brings against us an additional charge, as if we said that He was seen indeed, but was only a shadow! Now to this we reply, that it was very artful of Celsus not here clearly to indicate that he did not regard these beings as gods, for he was afraid of the opinion of those who might peruse his treatise, and who might suppose him to be an atheist; whereas, if he had paid respect to what appeared to him to be the truth, he would not have feigned to regard them as gods. Now to either of the allegations we are ready with an answer. Let us, accordingly, to those who do not regard them as gods reply as follows: These beings, then, are not gods at all; but agreeably to the view of those who think that the soul of man perishes immediately (after death), the souls of these men also perished; or according to the opinion of those who say that the soul continues to subsist or is immortal, these men continue to exist or are immortal, and they are not gods but heroes, - or not even heroes, but simply souls. If, then, on the one hand, you suppose them not to exist, we shall have to prove the doctrine of the soul's immortality, which is to us a doctrine of pre-eminent importance; if, on the other hand, they do exist, we have still to prove the doctrine of immortality, not only by what the Greeks have so well said regarding it, but also in a manner agreeable to the teaching of Holy Scripture. And we shall demonstrate that it is impossible for those who were polytheists during their lives to obtain a better country and position after their departure from this world, by quoting the histories that are related of them, in which is recorded the great dissoluteness of Hercules, and his effeminate bondage with Omphale, together with the statements regarding Æsculapius, that their Zeus struck him dead by a thunderbolt. And of the Dioscuri, it will be said that they die often - At one time live on alternate days, and at anotherDie, and obtain honour equally with the gods. How, then, can they reasonably imagine that one of these is to be regarded as a god or a hero? 3.23. But we, in proving the facts related of our Jesus from the prophetic Scriptures, and comparing afterwards His history with them, demonstrate that no dissoluteness on His part is recorded. For even they who conspired against Him, and who sought false witnesses to aid them, did not find even any plausible grounds for advancing a false charge against Him, so as to accuse Him of licentiousness; but His death was indeed the result of a conspiracy, and bore no resemblance to the death of Æsculapius by lightning. And what is there that is venerable in the madman Dionysus, and his female garments, that he should be worshipped as a god? And if they who would defend such beings betake themselves to allegorical interpretations, we must examine each individual instance, and ascertain whether it is well founded, and also in each particular case, whether those beings can have a real existence, and are deserving of respect and worship who were torn by the Titans, and cast down from their heavenly throne. Whereas our Jesus, who appeared to the members of His own troop - for I will take the word that Celsus employs - did really appear, and Celsus makes a false accusation against the Gospel in saying that what appeared was a shadow. And let the statements of their histories and that of Jesus be carefully compared together. Will Celsus have the former to be true, but the latter, although recorded by eye-witnesses who showed by their acts that they clearly understood the nature of what they had seen, and who manifested their state of mind by what they cheerfully underwent for the sake of His Gospel, to be inventions? Now, who is there that, desiring to act always in conformity with right reason, would yield his assent at random to what is related of the one, but would rush to the history of Jesus, and without examination refuse to believe what is recorded of Him? 3.42. Celsus, then, does not speak as a good reasoner, when he compares the mortal flesh of Jesus to gold, and silver, and stone, asserting that the former is more liable to corruption than the latter. For, to speak correctly, that which is incorruptible is not more free from corruption than another thing which is incorruptible, nor that which is corruptible more liable to corruption than another corruptible thing. But, admitting that there are degrees of corruptibility, we can say in answer, that if it is possible for the matter which underlies all qualities to exchange some of them, how should it be impossible for the flesh of Jesus also to exchange qualities, and to become such as it was proper for a body to be which had its abode in the ether and the regions above it, and possessing no longer the infirmities belonging to the flesh, and those properties which Celsus terms impurities, and in so terming them, speaks unlike a philosopher? For that which is properly impure, is so because of its wickedness. Now the nature of body is not impure; for in so far as it is bodily nature, it does not possess vice, which is the generative principle of impurity. But, as he had a suspicion of the answer which we would return, he says with respect to the change of the body of Jesus, Well, after he has laid aside these qualities, he will be a God: (and if so), why not rather Æsculapius, and Dionysus, and Hercules? To which we reply, What great deed has Æsculapius, or Dionysus, or Hercules wrought? And what individuals will they be able to point out as having been improved in character, and made better by their words and lives, so that they may make good their claim to be gods? For let us peruse the many narratives regarding them, and see whether they were free from licentiousness or injustice, or folly, or cowardice. And if nothing of that kind be found in them, the argument of Celsus might have force, which places the forenamed individuals upon an equality with Jesus. But if it is certain that, although some things are reported of them as reputable, they are recorded, nevertheless, to have done innumerable things which are contrary to right reason, how could you any longer say, with any show of reason, that these men, on putting aside their mortal body, became gods rather than Jesus?
25. Papyri, Papyri Graecae Magicae, 4.220 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

26. Augustine, The City of God, 9.5-9.10, 9.12-9.13, 9.15-9.22 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

9.5. We need not at present give a careful and copious exposition of the doctrine of Scripture, the sum of Christian knowledge, regarding these passions. It subjects the mind itself to God, that He may rule and aid it, and the passions, again, to the mind, to moderate and bridle them, and turn them to righteous uses. In our ethics, we do not so much inquire whether a pious soul is angry, as why he is angry; not whether he is sad, but what is the cause of his sadness; not whether he fears, but what he fears. For I am not aware that any right thinking person would find fault with anger at a wrongdoer which seeks his amendment, or with sadness which intends relief to the suffering, or with fear lest one in danger be destroyed. The Stoics, indeed, are accustomed to condemn compassion. But how much more honorable had it been in that Stoic we have been telling of, had he been disturbed by compassion prompting him to relieve a fellow-creature, than to be disturbed by the fear of shipwreck! Far better and more humane, and more consot with pious sentiments, are the words of Cicero in praise of C sar, when he says, Among your virtues none is more admirable and agreeable than your compassion. And what is compassion but a fellow-feeling for another's misery, which prompts us to help him if we can? And this emotion is obedient to reason, when compassion is shown without violating right, as when the poor are relieved, or the penitent forgiven. Cicero, who knew how to use language, did not hesitate to call this a virtue, which the Stoics are not ashamed to reckon among the vices, although, as the book of the eminent Stoic, Epictetus, quoting the opinions of Zeno and Chrysippus, the founders of the school, has taught us, they admit that passions of this kind invade the soul of the wise man, whom they would have to be free from all vice. Whence it follows that these very passions are not judged by them to be vices, since they assail the wise man without forcing him to act against reason and virtue; and that, therefore, the opinion of the Peripatetics or Platonists and of the Stoics is one and the same. But, as Cicero says, mere logomachy is the bane of these pitiful Greeks, who thirst for contention rather than for truth. However, it may justly be asked, whether our subjection to these affections, even while we follow virtue, is a part of the infirmity of this life? For the holy angels feel no anger while they punish those whom the eternal law of God consigns to punishment, no fellow-feeling with misery while they relieve the miserable, no fear while they aid those who are in danger; and yet ordinary language ascribes to them also these mental emotions, because, though they have none of our weakness, their acts resemble the actions to which these emotions move us; and thus even God Himself is said in Scripture to be angry, and yet without any perturbation. For this word is used of the effect of His vengeance, not of the disturbing mental affection. 9.6. Deferring for the present the question about the holy angels, let us examine the opinion of the Platonists, that the demons who mediate between gods and men are agitated by passions. For if their mind, though exposed to their incursion, still remained free and superior to them, Apuleius could not have said that their hearts are tossed with passions as the sea by stormy winds. Their mind, then - that superior part of their soul whereby they are rational beings, and which, if it actually exists in them, should rule and bridle the turbulent passions of the inferior parts of the soul - this mind of theirs, I say, is, according to the Platonist referred to, tossed with a hurricane of passions. The mind of the demons, therefore, is subject to the emotions of fear, anger, lust, and all similar affections. What part of them, then, is free, and endued with wisdom, so that they are pleasing to the gods, and the fit guides of men into purity of life, since their very highest part, being the slave of passion and subject to vice, only makes them more intent on deceiving and seducing, in proportion to the mental force and energy of desire they possess? 9.7. But if any one says that it is not of all the demons, but only of the wicked, that the poets, not without truth, say that they violently love or hate certain men, - for it was of them Apuleius said that they were driven about by strong currents of emotion - how can we accept this interpretation, when Apuleius, in the very same connection, represents all the demons, and not only the wicked, as intermediate between gods and men by their aerial bodies? The fiction of the poets, according to him, consists in their making gods of demons, and giving them the names of gods, and assigning them as allies or enemies to individual men, using this poetical license, though they profess that the gods are very different in character from the demons, and far exalted above them by their celestial abode and wealth of beatitude. This, I say, is the poets' fiction, to say that these are gods who are not gods, and that, under the names of gods, they fight among themselves about the men whom they love or hate with keen partisan feeling. Apuleius says that this is not far from the truth, since, though they are wrongfully called by the names of the gods, they are described in their own proper character as demons. To this category, he says, belongs the Minerva of Homer, who interposed in the ranks of the Greeks to restrain Achilles. For that this was Minerva he supposes to be poetical fiction; for he thinks that Minerva is a goddess, and he places her among the gods whom he believes to be all good and blessed in the sublime ethereal region, remote from intercourse with men. But that there was a demon favorable to the Greeks and adverse to the Trojans, as another, whom the same poet mentions under the name of Venus or Mars (gods exalted above earthly affairs in their heavenly habitations), was the Trojans' ally and the foe of the Greeks, and that these demons fought for those they loved against those they hated - in all this he owned that the poets stated something very like the truth. For they made these statements about beings to whom he ascribes the same violent and tempestuous passions as disturb men, and who are therefore capable of loves and hatreds not justly formed, but formed in a party spirit, as the spectators in races or hunts take fancies and prejudices. It seems to have been the great fear of this Platonist that the poetical fictions should be believed of the gods, and not of the demons who bore their names. 9.8. The definition which Apuleius gives of demons, and in which he of course includes all demons, is that they are in nature animals, in soul subject to passion, in mind reasonable, in body aerial, in duration eternal. Now in these five qualities he has named absolutely nothing which is proper to good men and not also to bad. For when Apuleius had spoken of the celestials first, and had then extended his description so as to include an account of those who dwell far below on the earth, that, after describing the two extremes of rational being, he might proceed to speak of the intermediate demons, he says, Men, therefore, who are endowed with the faculty of reason and speech, whose soul is immortal and their members mortal, who have weak and anxious spirits, dull and corruptible bodies, dissimilar characters, similar ignorance, who are obstinate in their audacity, and persistent in their hope, whose labor is vain, and whose fortune is ever on the wane, their race immortal, themselves perishing, each generation replenished with creatures whose life is swift and their wisdom slow, their death sudden and their life a wail - these are the men who dwell on the earth. In recounting so many qualities which belong to the large proportion of men, did he forget that which is the property of the few when he speaks of their wisdom being slow? If this had been omitted, this his description of the human race, so carefully elaborated, would have been defective. And when he commended the excellence of the gods, he affirmed that they excelled in that very blessedness to which he thinks men must attain by wisdom. And therefore, if he had wished us to believe that some of the demons are good, he should have inserted in his description something by which we might see that they have, in common with the gods, some share of blessedness, or, in common with men, some wisdom. But, as it is, he has mentioned no good quality by which the good may be distinguished from the bad. For although he refrained from giving a full account of their wickedness, through fear of offending, not themselves but their worshippers, for whom he was writing, yet he sufficiently indicated to discerning readers what opinion he had of them; for only in the one article of the eternity of their bodies does he assimilate them to the gods, all of whom, he asserts, are good and blessed, and absolutely free from what he himself calls the stormy passions of the demons; and as to the soul, he quite plainly affirms that they resemble men and not the gods, and that this resemblance lies not in the possession of wisdom, which even men can attain to, but in the perturbation of passions which sway the foolish and wicked, but is so ruled by the good and wise that they prefer not to admit rather than to conquer it. For if he had wished it to be understood that the demons resembled the gods in the eternity not of their bodies but of their souls, he would certainly have admitted men to share in this privilege, because, as a Platonist, he of course must hold that the human soul is eternal. Accordingly, when describing this race of living beings, he said that their souls were immortal, their members mortal. And, consequently, if men have not eternity in common with the gods because they have mortal bodies, demons have eternity in common with the gods because their bodies are immortal. 9.9. How, then, can men hope for a favorable introduction to the friendship of the gods by such mediators as these, who are, like men, defective in that which is the better part of every living creature, viz., the soul, and who resemble the gods only in the body, which is the inferior part? For a living creature or animal consists of soul and body, and of these two parts the soul is undoubtedly the better; even though vicious and weak, it is obviously better than even the soundest and strongest body, for the greater excellence of its nature is not reduced to the level of the body even by the pollution of vice, as gold, even when tarnished, is more precious than the purest silver or lead. And yet these mediators, by whose interposition things human and divine are to be harmonized, have an eternal body in common with the gods, and a vicious soul in common with men, - as if the religion by which these demons are to unite gods and men were a bodily, and not a spiritual matter. What wickedness, then, or punishment has suspended these false and deceitful mediators, as it were head downwards, so that their inferior part, their body, is linked to the gods above, and their superior part, the soul, bound to men beneath; united to the celestial gods by the part that serves, and miserable, together with the inhabitants of earth, by the part that rules? For the body is the servant, as Sallust says: We use the soul to rule, the body to obey; adding, the one we have in common with the gods, the other with the brutes. For he was here speaking of men; and they have, like the brutes, a mortal body. These demons, whom our philosophic friends have provided for us as mediators with the gods, may indeed say of the soul and body, the one we have in common with the gods, the other with men; but, as I said, they are as it were suspended and bound head downwards, having the slave, the body, in common with the gods, the master, the soul, in common with miserable men, - their inferior part exalted, their superior part depressed. And therefore, if any one supposes that, because they are not subject, like terrestrial animals, to the separation of soul and body by death, they therefore resemble the gods in their eternity, their body must not be considered a chariot of an eternal triumph, but rather the chain of an eternal punishment. 9.10. Plotinus, whose memory is quite recent, enjoys the reputation of having understood Plato better than any other of his disciples. In speaking of human souls, he says, The Father in compassion made their bonds mortal; that is to say, he considered it due to the Father's mercy that men, having a mortal body, should not be forever confined in the misery of this life. But of this mercy the demons have been judged unworthy, and they have received, in conjunction with a soul subject to passions, a body not mortal like man's, but eternal. For they should have been happier than men if they had, like men, had a mortal body, and, like the gods, a blessed soul. And they should have been equal to men, if in conjunction with a miserable soul they had at least received, like men, a mortal body, so that death might have freed them from trouble, if, at least, they should have attained some degree of piety. But, as it is, they are not only no happier than men, having, like them, a miserable soul, they are also more wretched, being eternally bound to the body; for he does not leave us to infer that by some progress in wisdom and piety they can become gods, but expressly says that they are demons forever. 9.12. But at present we are speaking of those beings whom he described as being properly intermediate between gods and men, in nature animals, in mind rational, in soul subject to passion, in body aerial, in duration eternal. When he had distinguished the gods, whom he placed in the highest heaven, from men, whom he placed on earth, not only by position but also by the unequal dignity of their natures, he concluded in these words: You have here two kinds of animals: the gods, widely distinguished from men by sublimity of abode, perpetuity of life, perfection of nature; for their habitations are separated by so wide an interval that there can be no intimate communication between them, and while the vitality of the one is eternal and indefeasible, that of the others is fading and precarious, and while the spirits of the gods are exalted in bliss, those of men are sunk in miseries. Here I find three opposite qualities ascribed to the extremes of being, the highest and lowest. For, after mentioning the three qualities for which we are to admire the gods, he repeated, though in other words, the same three as a foil to the defects of man. The three qualities are, sublimity of abode, perpetuity of life, perfection of nature. These he again mentioned so as to bring out their contrasts in man's condition. As he had mentioned sublimity of abode, he says, Their habitations are separated by so wide an interval; as he had mentioned perpetuity of life, he says, that while divine life is eternal and indefeasible, human life is fading and precarious; and as he had mentioned perfection of nature, he says, that while the spirits of the gods are exalted in bliss, those of men are sunk in miseries. These three things, then, he predicates of the gods, exaltation, eternity, blessedness; and of man he predicates the opposite, lowliness of habitation, mortality, misery. 9.13. If, now, we endeavor to find between these opposites the mean occupied by the demons, there can be no question as to their local position; for, between the highest and lowest place, there is a place which is rightly considered and called the middle place. The other two qualities remain, and to them we must give greater care, that we may see whether they are altogether foreign to the demons, or how they are so bestowed upon them without infringing upon their mediate position. We may dismiss the idea that they are foreign to them. For we cannot say that the demons, being rational animals, are neither blessed nor wretched, as we say of the beasts and plants, which are void of feeling and reason, or as we say of the middle place, that it is neither the highest nor the lowest. The demons, being rational, must be either miserable or blessed. And, in like manner, we cannot say that they are neither mortal nor immortal; for all living things either live eternally or end life in death. Our author, besides, stated that the demons are eternal. What remains for us to suppose, then, but that these mediate beings are assimilated to the gods in one of the two remaining qualities, and to men in the other? For if they received both from above, or both from beneath, they should no longer be mediate, but either rise to the gods above, or sink to men beneath. Therefore, as it has been demonstrated that they must possess these two qualities, they will hold their middle place if they receive one from each party. Consequently, as they cannot receive their eternity from beneath, because it is not there to receive, they must get it from above; and accordingly they have no choice but to complete their mediate position by accepting misery from men. According to the Platonists, then, the gods, who occupy the highest place, enjoy eternal blessedness, or blessed eternity; men, who occupy the lowest, a mortal misery, or a miserable mortality; and the demons, who occupy the mean, a miserable eternity, or an eternal misery. As to those five things which Apuleius included in his definition of demons, he did not show, as he promised, that the demons are mediate. For three of them, that their nature is animal, their mind rational, their soul subject to passions, he said that they have in common with men; one thing, their eternity, in common with the gods; and one proper to themselves, their aerial body. How, then, are they intermediate, when they have three things in common with the lowest, and only one in common with the highest? Who does not see that the intermediate position is abandoned in proportion as they tend to, and are depressed towards, the lowest extreme? But perhaps we are to accept them as intermediate because of their one property of an aerial body, as the two extremes have each their proper body, the gods an ethereal, men a terrestrial body, and because two of the qualities they possess in common with man they possess also in common with the gods, namely, their animal nature and rational mind. For Apuleius himself, in speaking of gods and men, said, You have two animal natures. And Platonists are wont to ascribe a rational mind to the gods. Two qualities remain, their liability to passion, and their eternity - the first of which they have in common with men, the second with the gods; so that they are neither wafted to the highest nor depressed to the lowest extreme, but perfectly poised in their intermediate position. But then, this is the very circumstance which constitutes the eternal misery, or miserable eternity, of the demons. For he who says that their soul is subject to passions would also have said that they are miserable, had he not blushed for their worshippers. Moreover, as the world is governed, not by fortuitous haphazard, but, as the Platonists themselves avow, by the providence of the supreme God, the misery of the demons would not be eternal unless their wickedness were great. If, then, the blessed are rightly styled eudemons, the demons intermediate between gods and men are not eudemons. What, then, is the local position of those good demons, who, above men but beneath the gods, afford assistance to the former, minister to the latter? For if they are good and eternal, they are doubtless blessed. But eternal blessedness destroys their intermediate character, giving them a close resemblance to the gods, and widely separating them from men. And therefore the Platonists will in vain strive to show how the good demons, if they are both immortal and blessed, can justly be said to hold a middle place between the gods, who are immortal and blessed, and men, who are mortal and miserable. For if they have both immortality and blessedness in common with the gods, and neither of these in common with men, who are both miserable and mortal, are they not rather remote from men and united with the gods, than intermediate between them. They would be intermediate if they held one of their qualities in common with the one party, and the other with the other, as man is a kind of mean between angels and beasts - the beast being an irrational and mortal animal, the angel a rational and immortal one, while man, inferior to the angel and superior to the beast, and having in common with the one mortality, and with the other reason, is a rational and mortal animal. So, when we seek for an intermediate between the blessed immortals and miserable mortals, we should find a being which is either mortal and blessed, or immortal and miserable. 9.15. But if, as is much more probable and credible, it must needs be that all men, so long as they are mortal, are also miserable, we must seek an intermediate who is not only man, but also God, that, by the interposition of His blessed mortality, He may bring men out of their mortal misery to a blessed immortality. In this intermediate two things are requisite, that He become mortal, and that He do not continue mortal. He did become mortal, not rendering the divinity of the Word infirm, but assuming the infirmity of flesh. Neither did He continue mortal in the flesh, but raised it from the dead; for it is the very fruit of His mediation that those, for the sake of whose redemption He became the Mediator, should not abide eternally in bodily death. Wherefore it became the Mediator between us and God to have both a transient mortality and a permanent blessedness, that by that which is transient He might be assimilated to mortals, and might translate them from mortality to that which is permanent. Good angels, therefore, cannot mediate between miserable mortals and blessed immortals, for they themselves also are both blessed and immortal; but evil angels can mediate, because they are immortal like the one party, miserable like the other. To these is opposed the good Mediator, who, in opposition to their immortality and misery, has chosen to be mortal for a time, and has been able to continue blessed in eternity. It is thus He has destroyed, by the humility of His death and the benignity of His blessedness, those proud immortals and hurtful wretches, and has prevented them from seducing to misery by their boast of immortality those men whose hearts He has cleansed by faith, and whom He has thus freed from their impure dominion. Man, then, mortal and miserable, and far removed from the immortal and the blessed, what medium shall he choose by which he may be united to immortality and blessedness? The immortality of the demons, which might have some charm for man, is miserable; the mortality of Christ, which might offend man, exists no longer. In the one there is the fear of an eternal misery; in the other, death, which could not be eternal, can no longer be feared, and blessedness, which is eternal, must be loved. For the immortal and miserable mediator interposes himself to prevent us from passing to a blessed immortality, because that which hinders such a passage, namely, misery, continues in him; but the mortal and blessed Mediator interposed Himself, in order that, having passed through mortality, He might of mortals make immortals (showing His power to do this in His own resurrection), and from being miserable to raise them to the blessed company from the number of whom He had Himself never departed. There is, then, a wicked mediator, who separates friends, and a good Mediator, who reconciles enemies. And those who separate are numerous, because the multitude of the blessed are blessed only by their participation in the one God; of which participation the evil angels being deprived, they are wretched, and interpose to hinder rather than to help to this blessedness, and by their very number prevent us from reaching that one beatific good, to obtain which we need not many but one Mediator, the uncreated Word of God, by whom all things were made, and in partaking of whom we are blessed. I do not say that He is Mediator because He is the Word, for as the Word He is supremely blessed and supremely immortal, and therefore far from miserable mortals; but He is Mediator as He is man, for by His humanity He shows us that, in order to obtain that blessed and beatific good, we need not seek other mediators to lead us through the successive steps of this attainment, but that the blessed and beatific God, having Himself become a partaker of our humanity, has afforded us ready access to the participation of His divinity. For in delivering us from our mortality and misery, He does not lead us to the immortal and blessed angels, so that we should become immortal and blessed by participating in their nature, but He leads us straight to that Trinity, by participating in which the angels themselves are blessed. Therefore, when He chose to be in the form of a servant, and lower than the angels, that He might be our Mediator, He remained higher than the angels, in the form of God - Himself at once the way of life on earth and life itself in heaven. 9.16. That opinion, which the same Platonist avers that Plato uttered, is not true, that no god holds intercourse with men. And this, he says, is the chief evidence of their exaltation, that they are never contaminated by contact with men. He admits, therefore, that the demons are contaminated; and it follows that they cannot cleanse those by whom they are themselves contaminated, and thus all alike become impure, the demons by associating with men, and men by worshipping the demons. Or, if they say that the demons are not contaminated by associating and dealing with men, then they are better than the gods, for the gods, were they to do so, would be contaminated. For this, we are told, is the glory of the gods, that they are so highly exalted that no human intercourse can sully them. He affirms, indeed, that the supreme God, the Creator of all things, whom we call the true God, is spoken of by Plato as the only God whom the poverty of human speech fails even passably to describe; and that even the wise, when their mental energy is as far as possible delivered from the trammels of connection with the body, have only such gleams of insight into His nature as may be compared to a flash of lightning illumining the darkness. If, then, this supreme God, who is truly exalted above all things, does nevertheless visit the minds of the wise, when emancipated from the body, with an intelligible and ineffable presence, though this be only occasional, and as it were a swift flash of light athwart the darkness, why are the other gods so sublimely removed from all contact with men, as if they would be polluted by it? As if it were not a sufficient refutation of this to lift up our eyes to those heavenly bodies which give the earth its needful light. If the stars, though they, by his account, are visible gods, are not contaminated when we look at them, neither are the demons contaminated when men see them quite closely. But perhaps it is the human voice, and not the eye, which pollutes the gods; and therefore the demons are appointed to mediate and carry men's utterances to the gods, who keep themselves remote through fear of pollution? What am I to say of the other senses? For by smell neither the demons, who are present, nor the gods, though they were present and inhaling the exhalations of living men, would be polluted if they are not contaminated with the effluvia of the carcasses offered in sacrifice. As for taste, they are pressed by no necessity of repairing bodily decay, so as to be reduced to ask food from men. And touch is in their own power. For while it may seem that contact is so called, because the sense of touch is specially concerned in it, yet the gods, if so minded, might mingle with men, so as to see and be seen, hear and be heard; and where is the need of touching? For men would not dare to desire this, if they were favored with the sight or conversation of gods or good demons; and if through excessive curiosity they should desire it, how could they accomplish their wish without the consent of the god or demon, when they cannot touch so much as a sparrow unless it be caged? There is, then, nothing to hinder the gods from mingling in a bodily form with men, from seeing and being seen, from speaking and hearing. And if the demons do thus mix with men, as I said, and are not polluted, while the gods, were they to do so, should be polluted, then the demons are less liable to pollution than the gods. And if even the demons are contaminated, how can they help men to attain blessedness after death, if, so far from being able to cleanse them, and present them clean to the unpolluted gods, these mediators are themselves polluted? And if they cannot confer this benefit on men, what good can their friendly mediation do? Or shall its result be, not that men find entrance to the gods, but that men and demons abide together in a state of pollution, and consequently of exclusion from blessedness? Unless, perhaps, some one may say that, like sponges or things of that sort, the demons themselves, in the process of cleansing their friends, become themselves the filthier in proportion as the others become clean. But if this is the solution, then the gods, who shun contact or intercourse with men for fear of pollution, mix with demons who are far more polluted. Or perhaps the gods, who cannot cleanse men without polluting themselves, can without pollution cleanse the demons who have been contaminated by human contact? Who can believe such follies, unless the demons have practised their deceit upon him? If seeing and being seen is contamination, and if the gods, whom Apuleius himself calls visible, the brilliant lights of the world, and the other stars, are seen by men, are we to believe that the demons, who cannot be seen unless they please, are safer from contamination? Or if it is only the seeing and not the being seen which contaminates, then they must deny that these gods of theirs, these brilliant lights of the world, see men when their rays beam upon the earth. Their rays are not contaminated by lighting on all manner of pollution, and are we to suppose that the gods would be contaminated if they mixed with men, and even if contact were needed in order to assist them? For there is contact between the earth and the sun's or moon's rays, and yet this does not pollute the light. 9.17. I am considerably surprised that such learned men, men who pronounce all material and sensible things to be altogether inferior to those that are spiritual and intelligible, should mention bodily contact in connection with the blessed life. Is that sentiment of Plotinus forgotten?- We must fly to our beloved fatherland. There is the Father, there our all. What fleet or flight shall convey us there? Our way is, to become like God. If, then, one is nearer to God the more alike he is to Him, there is no other distance from God than unlikeness to Him. And the soul of man is unlike that incorporeal and unchangeable and eternal essence, in proportion as it craves things temporal and mutable. And as the things beneath, which are mortal and impure, cannot hold intercourse with the immortal purity which is above, a mediator is indeed needed to remove this difficulty; but not a mediator who resembles the highest order of being by possessing an immortal body, and the lowest by having a diseased soul, which makes him rather grudge that we be healed than help our cure. We need a Mediator who, being united to us here below by the mortality of His body, should at the same time be able to afford us truly divine help in cleansing and liberating us by means of the immortal righteousness of His spirit, whereby He remained heavenly even while here upon earth. Far be it from the incontaminable God to fear pollution from the man He assumed, or from the men among whom He lived in the form of a man. For, though His incarnation showed us nothing else, these two wholesome facts were enough, that true divinity cannot be polluted by flesh, and that demons are not to be considered better than ourselves because they have not flesh. This, then, as Scripture says, is the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 of whose divinity, whereby He is equal to the Father, and humanity, whereby He has become like us, this is not the place to speak as fully as I could. 9.18. As to the demons, these false and deceitful mediators, who, though their uncleanness of spirit frequently reveals their misery and malignity, yet, by virtue of the levity of their aerial bodies and the nature of the places they inhabit, do contrive to turn us aside and hinder our spiritual progress; they do not help us towards God, but rather prevent us from reaching Him. Since even in the bodily way, which is erroneous and misleading, and in which righteousness does not walk - for we must rise to God not by bodily ascent, but by incorporeal or spiritual conformity to Him - in this bodily way, I say, which the friends of the demons arrange according to the weight of the various elements, the aerial demons being set between the ethereal gods and earthy men, they imagine the gods to have this privilege, that by this local interval they are preserved from the pollution of human contact. Thus they believe that the demons are contaminated by men rather than men cleansed by the demons, and that the gods themselves should be polluted unless their local superiority preserved them. Who is so wretched a creature as to expect purification by a way in which men are contaminating, demons contaminated, and gods contaminable? Who would not rather choose that way whereby we escape the contamination of the demons, and are cleansed from pollution by the incontaminable God, so as to be associated with the uncontaminated angels? 9.19. But as some of these demonolators, as I may call them, and among them Labeo, allege that those whom they call demons are by others called angels, I must, if I would not seem to dispute merely about words, say something about the good angels. The Platonists do not deny their existence, but prefer to call them good demons. But we, following Scripture, according to which we are Christians, have learned that some of the angels are good, some bad, but never have we read in Scripture of good demons; but wherever this or any cognate term occurs, it is applied only to wicked spirits. And this usage has become so universal, that, even among those who are called pagans, and who maintain that demons as well as gods should be worshipped, there is scarcely a man, no matter how well read and learned, who would dare to say by way of praise to his slave, You have a demon, or who could doubt that the man to whom he said this would consider it a curse? Why, then, are we to subject ourselves to the necessity of explaining away what we have said when we have given offense by using the word demon, with which every one, or almost every one, connects a bad meaning, while we can so easily evade this necessity by using the word angel? 9.20. However, the very origin of the name suggests something worthy of consideration, if we compare it with the divine books. They are called demons from a Greek word meaning knowledge. Now the apostle, speaking with the Holy Spirit, says, Knowledge puffs up, but charity builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1 And this can only be understood as meaning that without charity knowledge does no good, but inflates a man or magnifies him with an empty windiness. The demons, then, have knowledge without charity, and are thereby so inflated or proud, that they crave those divine honors and religious services which they know to be due to the true God, and still, as far as they can, exact these from all over whom they have influence. Against this pride of the demons, under which the human race was held subject as its merited punishment, there was exerted the mighty influence of the humility of God, who appeared in the form of a servant; but men, resembling the demons in pride, but not in knowledge, and being puffed up with uncleanness, failed to recognize Him. 9.21. The devils themselves knew this manifestation of God so well, that they said to the Lord though clothed with the infirmity of flesh, What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us before the time? Mark 1:24 From these words, it is clear that they had great knowledge, and no charity. They feared His power to punish, and did not love His righteousness. He made known to them so much as He pleased, and He was pleased to make known so much as was needful. But He made Himself known not as to the holy angels, who know Him as the Word of God, and rejoice in His eternity, which they partake, but as was requisite to strike with terror the beings from whose tyranny He was going to free those who were predestined to His kingdom and the glory of it, eternally true and truly eternal. He made Himself known, therefore, to the demons, not by that which is life eternal, and the unchangeable light which illumines the pious, whose souls are cleansed by the faith that is in Him, but by some temporal effects of His power, and evidences of His mysterious presence, which were more easily discerned by the angelic senses even of wicked spirits than by human infirmity. But when He judged it advisable gradually to suppress these signs, and to retire into deeper obscurity, the prince of the demons doubted whether He were the Christ, and endeavored to ascertain this by tempting Him, in so far as He permitted Himself to be tempted, that He might adapt the manhood He wore to be an example for our imitation. But after that temptation, when, as Scripture says, He was ministered to Matthew 4:3-11 by the angels who are good and holy, and therefore objects of terror to the impure spirits, He revealed more and more distinctly to the demons how great He was, so that, even though the infirmity of His flesh might seem contemptible, none dared to resist His authority. 9.22. The good angels, therefore, hold cheap all that knowledge of material and transitory things which the demons are so proud of possessing - not that they are ignorant of these things, but because the love of God, whereby they are sanctified, is very dear to them, and because, in comparison of that not merely immaterial but also unchangeable and ineffable beauty, with the holy love of which they are inflamed, they despise all things which are beneath it, and all that is not it, that they may with every good thing that is in them enjoy that good which is the source of their goodness. And therefore they have a more certain knowledge even of those temporal and mutable things, because they contemplate their principles and causes in the word of God, by which the world was made - those causes by which one thing is, approved, another rejected, and all arranged. But the demons do not behold in the wisdom of God these eternal, and, as it were, cardinal causes of things temporal, but only foresee a larger part of the future than men do, by reason of their greater acquaintance with the signs which are hidden from us. Sometimes, too, it is their own intentions they predict. And, finally, the demons are frequently, the angels never, deceived. For it is one thing, by the aid of things temporal and changeable, to conjecture the changes that may occur in time, and to modify such things by one's own will and faculty - and this is to a certain extent permitted to the demons - it is another thing to foresee the changes of times in the eternal and immutable laws of God, which live in His wisdom, and to know the will of God, the most infallible and powerful of all causes, by participating in His spirit; and this is granted to the holy angels by a just discretion. And thus they are not only eternal, but blessed. And the good wherein they are blessed is God, by whom they were created. For without end they enjoy the contemplation and participation of Him.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
angelic descent, and anti-pagan polemics Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
angelic sin, as epistemological transgression Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
angels; fall of Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
angels Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
apocalyptic literature, and book of daniel Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
apocalyptic literature, history of scholarship on Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
apollonius Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
apology, apologetics, christian Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
apostles Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
arnobius Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
ascension, christs Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
asclepius Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
baptism Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
basilides Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 68
beast Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
birth Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
blood Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
bread Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
celsus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
christ, and demons Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
christ, and fallen angels Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
christ, as logos Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
clement of alexandria Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
community Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
cosmology, in enochic literature Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
covenant Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
creatio ex nihilo Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 68
creation Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172; Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
creation from matter Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 68
creator Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
cross Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
crucifixion Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
cults Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265, 266
death Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
deeds Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
deification Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
demonology, christian Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
demons, as enemies of christ Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
demons, pagan enslavement to Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
demons, xii; in philosophers thought Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
demons, xii; origin, nature and activity of Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
demons, xii; socrates daimon Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
dionysus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
educated, erudite Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265, 266, 273, 325
egypt, egyptian Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
empedocles Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265
encounter Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
enoch, and revealed knowledge Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
enochic literary tradition, place of book of dreams in Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
ethics Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 273
eucharist Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
fallen angels, as enemies of christ Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
fallen angels Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
first day of the week Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
fulfilment Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
galen Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 273
general education Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265, 266
genesis, and book of the watchers Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
grace; christ the master of Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 42
grammatikoi, schools of Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 266
greco-roman culture, christian polemics against Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
heracles/hercules, apotheosis Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
heracles/hercules, christian literature Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
heracles/hercules, church fathers Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
heracles/hercules, god Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
heracles/hercules, jesus parallels Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
heracles/hercules Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
heraclitus Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 273
hercules (heracles) Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
heresy Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
hero Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
hippolytus Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 68
historiography, christian Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
idolatry; instigated by demons Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
immolation (of heracles) Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
immortality Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79; Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
intermarriage Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
jesus Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
judgement Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
just Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
justin Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265, 266, 273
justin martyr Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79; Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670; Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 68; Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
knowledge, revealed Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
law Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
literary production Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
logos, doctrine of Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
logos; stoic Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 42
lucius verus Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 266
marcion Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
mary; a virgin Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 42
mary Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
morality Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
moses, and greek philosophy Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
moses, christian redeployment of Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
moses Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
mysteries Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 266
mythology Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265, 325
noah Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
passion Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
perennis Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
persecution, martyrs Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 273, 325
persecution Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
peter Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
pharisees Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
philo Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
philo of alexandria Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
philosophers; know of evil spirits Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
philosophy, and christianity Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
physicians, healing Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 273
plato; believed in angels Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
plato Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
platonism Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265
polytheism Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (2005) 172
power Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
prophets Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
rabbis Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
reason; as logos Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 42
revelation, xii, ; general Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
romulus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
salvation Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
satan (devil); corruptor Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
satan (devil); leader of corrupted angels Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
satan (devil); the name Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
schools Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 273
socrates; daimon of Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
socrates Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79
soul; instinctively knows satan Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 46
soul Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265
stoicism, stoics Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 265, 325
stoicism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
stoics; doctrine of logos Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 42
syria, syrian Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
tertullian Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670
theophilus of antioch Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews and Christians (2002) 79; Osborne, Irenaeus of Lyons (2001) 68
third day Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
tiberias Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
tomb Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
torah Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
trials Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus (2003) 325
twelve Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
valentinians Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30, 174
women Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 30
worship' Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament (2013) 174
zeno; defined god as logos Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 42
zeus, son of Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 670