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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



8413
Origen, Against Celsus, 1.12


nanIn the next place, when Celsus says in express words, If they would answer me, not as if I were asking for information, for I am acquainted with all their opinions, but because I take an equal interest in them all, it would be well. And if they will not, but will keep reiterating, as they generally do, 'Do not investigate,' etc., they must, he continues, explain to me at least of what nature these things are of which they speak, and whence they are derived, etc. Now, with regard to his statement that he is acquainted with all our doctrines, we have to say that this is a boastful and daring assertion; for if he had read the prophets in particular, which are full of acknowledged difficulties, and of declarations that are obscure to the multitude, and if he had perused the parables of the Gospels, and the other writings of the law and of the Jewish history, and the utterances of the apostles, and had read them candidly, with a desire to enter into their meaning, he would not have expressed himself with such boldness, nor said that he was acquainted with all their doctrines. Even we ourselves, who have devoted much study to these writings, would not say that we were acquainted with everything, for we have a regard for truth. Not one of us will assert, I know all the doctrines of Epicurus, or will be confident that he knows all those of Plato, in the knowledge of the fact that so many differences of opinion exist among the expositors of these systems. For who is so daring as to say that he knows all the opinions of the Stoics or of the Peripatetics? Unless, indeed, it should be the case that he has heard this boast, I know them all, from some ignorant and senseless individuals, who do not perceive their own ignorance, and should thus imagine, from having had such persons as his teachers, that he was acquainted with them all. Such an one appears to me to act very much as a person would do who had visited Egypt (where the Egyptian savans, learned in their country's literature, are greatly given to philosophizing about those things which are regarded among them as divine, but where the vulgar, hearing certain myths, the reasons of which they do not understand, are greatly elated because of their fancied knowledge), and who should imagine that he is acquainted with the whole circle of Egyptian knowledge, after having been a disciple of the ignorant alone, and without having associated with any of the priests, or having learned the mysteries of the Egyptians from any other source. And what I have said regarding the learned and ignorant among the Egyptians, I might have said also of the Persians; among whom there are mysteries, conducted on rational principles by the learned among them, but understood in a symbolic sense by the more superficial of the multitude. And the same remark applies to the Syrians, and Indians, and to all those who have a literature and a mythology.


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

7 results
1. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 16.164 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

16.164. But if any one be caught stealing their holy books, or their sacred money, whether it be out of the synagogue or public school, he shall be deemed a sacrilegious person, and his goods shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.
2. Mishnah, Megillah, 3.1 (1st cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

3.1. Townspeople who sold the town square, they may buy with the proceeds a synagogue. [If they sold] a synagogue, they may buy with the proceeds an ark. [If they sold] an ark they may buy covers [for scrolls]. [If they sold] covers, they may buy scrolls [of the Tanakh]. [If they sold] scrolls they may buy a Torah. But if they sold a Torah they may not buy with the proceeds scrolls [of the Tanakh]. If [they sold] scrolls they may not buy covers. If [they sold] covers they may not buy an ark. If [they sold] an ark they may not buy a synagogue. If [they sold] a synagogue they may not buy a town square. The same applies to any money left over. They may not sell [something] belonging to a community because this lowers its sanctity, the words of Rabbi Meir. They said to him: if so, it should not be allowed to sell from a larger town to a smaller one."
3. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 2.6, 2.15 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.6. We speak wisdom, however, among those who are fullgrown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world,who are coming to nothing. 2.15. But he who is spiritual discerns allthings, and he himself is judged by no one.
4. Suetonius, Augustus, 31 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Irenaeus, Refutation of All Heresies, 1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

6. Tertullian, Against The Valentinians, 1.1-1.4 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7. Origen, Against Celsus, 1.9 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.9. He next proceeds to recommend, that in adopting opinions we should follow reason and a rational guide, since he who assents to opinions without following this course is very liable to be deceived. And he compares inconsiderate believers to Metragyrt, and soothsayers, and Mithr, and Sabbadians, and to anything else that one may fall in with, and to the phantoms of Hecate, or any other demon or demons. For as among such persons are frequently to be found wicked men, who, taking advantage of the ignorance of those who are easily deceived, lead them away whither they will, so also, he says, is the case among Christians. And he asserts that certain persons who do not wish either to give or receive a reason for their belief, keep repeating, Do not examine, but believe! and, Your faith will save you! And he alleges that such also say, The wisdom of this life is bad, but that foolishness is a good thing! To which we have to answer, that if it were possible for all to leave the business of life, and devote themselves to philosophy, no other method ought to be adopted by any one, but this alone. For in the Christian system also it will be found that there is, not to speak at all arrogantly, at least as much of investigation into articles of belief, and of explanation of dark sayings, occurring in the prophetical writings, and of the parables in the Gospels, and of countless other things, which either were narrated or enacted with a symbolic signification, (as is the case with other systems). But since the course alluded to is impossible, partly on account of the necessities of life, partly on account of the weakness of men, as only a very few individuals devote themselves earnestly to study, what better method could be devised with a view of assisting the multitude, than that which was delivered by Jesus to the heathen? And let us inquire, with respect to the great multitude of believers, who have washed away the mire of wickedness in which they formerly wallowed, whether it were better for them to believe without a reason, and (so) to have become reformed and improved in their habits, through the belief that men are chastised for sins, and honoured for good works or not to have allowed themselves to be converted on the strength of mere faith, but (to have waited) until they could give themselves to a thorough examination of the (necessary) reasons. For it is manifest that, (on such a plan), all men, with very few exceptions, would not obtain this (amelioration of conduct) which they have obtained through a simple faith, but would continue to remain in the practice of a wicked life. Now, whatever other evidence can be furnished of the fact, that it was not without divine intervention that the philanthropic scheme of Christianity was introduced among men, this also must be added. For a pious man will not believe that even a physician of the body, who restores the sick to better health, could take up his abode in any city or country without divine permission, since no good happens to men without the help of God. And if he who has cured the bodies of many, or restored them to better health, does not effect his cures without the help of God, how much more He who has healed the souls of many, and has turned them (to virtue), and improved their nature, and attached them to God who is over all things, and taught them to refer every action to His good pleasure, and to shun all that is displeasing to Him, even to the least of their words or deeds, or even of the thoughts of their hearts?


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
allegory Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
antioch, synagogue, communal institution (first century c.e.) Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, The First Thousand Years (2005) 405
artagnes heracles ares astronomy, astrology, and astral lore Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 153
celsus Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
christianity and hermetism Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
clement of alexandria Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
cognition Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 153, 154
cognitive/intellectual capacities Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47, 153, 154
doctrine Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47
early christian education Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
esotericism, esoteric Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
gnostics Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
hermetism, hermetic Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
iconography Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 154
initiatory hierarchy Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
instruction Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
irénée de lyon/irenaeus of lyon Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
jesus Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
jews, hebrews (in the tripartite tractate) Dunderberg, Beyond Gnosticism: Myth, Lifestyle, and Society in the School of Valentinus (2008) 267
knowledge, secret knowledge Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
mithraeum Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4
neoplatonists Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 47
numenius Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 47
origen Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
reason/rationality Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47, 153, 154
revelation Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
secrecy Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
semantics/semiotics Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 153
septimius severus Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, The First Thousand Years (2005) 405
star-talk Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 153, 154
symbolist anthropology Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4
symbols symbol systems/complexes Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47, 153, 154
teacher Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, The First Thousand Years (2005) 405
temple of apollo Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, The First Thousand Years (2005) 405
theologians, ancient pagan Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47
tiberias synagogues/proseuchai, library Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, The First Thousand Years (2005) 405
turcan, r. Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 154
valentinianism, valentinian Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
vulgar, the Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47, 153, 154
wisdom Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 222
wise, the' Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 47
wise, the Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 153, 154
wise and the vulgar Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4
wise and the vulgar initiation, rites of Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 4, 47, 153, 154
zoroaster Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (2006) 47