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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



8413
Origen, Against Celsus, 1.34-1.39


nanBut it was, as the prophets also predicted, from a virgin that there was to be born, according to the promised sign, one who was to give His name to the fact, showing that at His birth God was to be with man. Now it seems to me appropriate to the character of a Jew to have quoted the prophecy of Isaiah, which says that Immanuel was to be born of a virgin. This, however, Celsus, who professes to know everything, has not done, either from ignorance or from an unwillingness (if he had read it and voluntarily passed it by in silence) to furnish an argument which might defeat his purpose. And the prediction runs thus: And the Lord spoke again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask you a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord . And he said, Hear now, O house of David; is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us. And that it was from intentional malice that Celsus did not quote this prophecy, is clear to me from this, that although he makes numerous quotations from the Gospel according to Matthew, as of the star that appeared at the birth of Christ, and other miraculous occurrences, he has made no mention at all of this. Now, if a Jew should split words, and say that the words are not, Lo, a virgin, but, Lo, a young woman, we reply that the word Olmah- which the Septuagint have rendered by a virgin, and others by a young woman- occurs, as they say, in Deuteronomy, as applied to a virgin, in the following connection: If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then you shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and you shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour's wife. And again: But if a man find a betrothed damsel in a field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: but unto the damsel you shall do nothing; there is in her no sin worthy of death.


nanBut that we may not seem, because of a Hebrew word, to endeavour to persuade those who are unable to determine whether they ought to believe it or not, that the prophet spoke of this man being born of a virgin, because at his birth these words, God with us, were uttered, let us make good our point from the words themselves. The Lord is related to have spoken to Ahaz thus: Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God, either in the depth or height above; and afterwards the sign is given, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son. What kind of sign, then, would that have been - a young woman who was not a virgin giving birth to a child? And which of the two is the more appropriate as the mother of Immanuel (i.e., God with us) - whether a woman who has had intercourse with a man, and who has conceived after the manner of women, or one who is still a pure and holy virgin? Surely it is appropriate only to the latter to produce a being at whose birth it is said, God with us. And should he be so captious as to say that it is to Ahaz that the command is addressed, Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord your God, we shall ask in return, who in the times of Ahaz bore a son at whose birth the expression is made use of, Immanuel, i.e., God with us? And if no one can be found, then manifestly what was said to Ahaz was said to the house of David, because it is written that the Saviour was born of the house of David according to the flesh; and this sign is said to be in the depth or in the height, since He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. And these arguments I employ as against a Jew who believes in prophecy. Let Celsus now tell me, or any of those who think with him, with what meaning the prophet utters either these statements about the future, or the others which are contained in the prophecies? Is it with any foresight of the future or not? If with a foresight of the future, then the prophets were divinely inspired; if with no foresight of the future, let him explain the meaning of one who speaks thus boldly regarding the future, and who is an object of admiration among the Jews because of his prophetic powers.


nanAnd now, since we have touched upon the subject of the prophets, what we are about to advance will be useful not only to the Jews, who believe that they spoke by divine inspiration, but also to the more candid among the Greeks. To these we say that we must necessarily admit that the Jews had prophets, if they were to be kept together under that system of law which had been given them, and were to believe in the Creator of the world, as they had learned, and to be without pretexts, so far as the law was concerned, for apostatizing to the polytheism of the heathen. And we establish this necessity in the following manner. For the nations, as it is written in the law of the Jews itself, shall hearken unto observers of times, and diviners; but to that people it is said: But as for you, the Lord your God has not suffered you so to do. And to this is subjoined the promise: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from among your brethren. Since, therefore, the heathen employ modes of divination either by oracles or by omens, or by birds, or by ventriloquists, or by those who profess the art of sacrifice, or by Chaldean genealogists - all which practices were forbidden to the Jews- this people, if they had no means of attaining a knowledge of futurity, being led by the passion common to humanity of ascertaining the future would have despised their own prophets, as not having in them any particle of divinity; and would not have accepted any prophet after Moses, nor committed their words to writing, but would have spontaneously betaken themselves to the divining usages of the heathen, or attempted to establish some such practices among themselves. There is therefore no absurdity in their prophets having uttered predictions even about events of no importance, to soothe those who desire such things, as when Samuel prophesies regarding three she-asses which were lost, or when mention is made in the third book of Kings respecting the sickness of a king's son. And why should not those who desired to obtain auguries from idols be severely rebuked by the administrators of the law among the Jews?- as Elijah is found rebuking Ahaziah, and saying, Is it because there is not a God in Israel that you go to inquire of Baalzebub, god of Ekron?


nanI think, then, that it has been pretty well established not only that our Saviour was to be born of a virgin, but also that there were prophets among the Jews who uttered not merely general predictions about the future - as, e.g., regarding Christ and the kingdoms of the world, and the events that were to happen to Israel, and those nations which were to believe in the Saviour, and many other things concerning Him - but also prophecies respecting particular events; as, for instance, how the asses of Kish, which were lost, were to be discovered, and regarding the sickness which had fallen upon the son of the king of Israel, and any other recorded circumstance of a similar kind. But as a further answer to the Greeks, who do not believe in the birth of Jesus from a virgin, we have to say that the Creator has shown, by the generation of several kinds of animals, that what He has done in the instance of one animal, He could do, if it pleased Him, in that of others, and also of man himself. For it is ascertained that there is a certain female animal which has no intercourse with the male (as writers on animals say is the case with vultures), and that this animal, without sexual intercourse, preserves the succession of race. What incredibility, therefore, is there in supposing that, if God wished to send a divine teacher to the human race, He caused Him to be born in some manner different from the common! Nay, according to the Greeks themselves, all men were not born of a man and woman. For if the world has been created, as many even of the Greeks are pleased to admit, then the first men must have been produced not from sexual intercourse, but from the earth, in which spermatic elements existed; which, however, I consider more incredible than that Jesus was born like other men, so far as regards the half of his birth. And there is no absurdity in employing Grecian histories to answer Greeks, with the view of showing that we are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind. For some have thought fit, not in regard to ancient and heroic narratives, but in regard to events of very recent occurrence, to relate as a possible thing that Plato was the son of Amphictione, Ariston being prevented from having marital intercourse with his wife until she had given birth to him with whom she was pregnant by Apollo. And yet these are veritable fables, which have led to the invention of such stories concerning a man whom they regarded as possessing greater wisdom and power than the multitude, and as having received the beginning of his corporeal substance from better and diviner elements than others, because they thought that this was appropriate to persons who were too great to be human beings. And since Celsus has introduced the Jew disputing with Jesus, and tearing in pieces, as he imagines, the fiction of His birth from a virgin, comparing the Greek fables about Danaë, and Melanippe, and Auge, and Antiope, our answer is, that such language becomes a buffoon, and not one who is writing in a serious tone.


nanBut, moreover, taking the history, contained in the Gospel according to Matthew, of our Lord's descent into Egypt, he refuses to believe the miraculous circumstances attending it, viz., either that the angel gave the divine intimation, or that our Lord's quitting Judea and residing in Egypt was an event of any significance; but he invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the miraculous works done by Jesus, by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. And yet he desires to throw discredit on them, as being done by help of magic and not by divine power; for he asserts that he (Jesus), having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god. Now I do not understand how a magician should exert himself to teach a doctrine which persuades us always to act as if God were to judge every man for his deeds; and should have trained his disciples, whom he was to employ as the ministers of his doctrine, in the same belief. For did the latter make an impression upon their hearers, after they had been so taught to work miracles; or was it without the aid of these? The assertion, therefore, that they did no miracles at all, but that, after yielding their belief to arguments which were not at all convincing, like the wisdom of Grecian dialectics, they gave themselves up to the task of teaching the new doctrine to those persons among whom they happened to take up their abode, is altogether absurd. For in what did they place their confidence when they taught the doctrine and disseminated the new opinions? But if they indeed wrought miracles, then how can it be believed that magicians exposed themselves to such hazards to introduce a doctrine which forbade the practice of magic?


nanI do not think it necessary to grapple with an argument advanced not in a serious but in a scoffing spirit, such as the following: If the mother of Jesus was beautiful, then the god whose nature is not to love a corruptible body, had intercourse with her because she was beautiful; or, It was improbable that the god would entertain a passion for her, because she was neither rich nor of royal rank, seeing no one, even of her neighbours, knew her. And it is in the same scoffing spirit that he adds: When hated by her husband, and turned out of doors, she was not saved by divine power, nor was her story believed. Such things, he says, have no connection with the kingdom of heaven. In what respect does such language differ from that of those who pour abuse on others on the public streets, and whose words are unworthy of any serious attention?


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

12 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 20.7, 22.24 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

20.7. וּמִי־הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־אֵרַשׂ אִשָּׁה וְלֹא לְקָחָהּ יֵלֵךְ וְיָשֹׁב לְבֵיתוֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת בַּמִּלְחָמָה וְאִישׁ אַחֵר יִקָּחֶנָּה׃ 22.24. וְהוֹצֵאתֶם אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶם אֶל־שַׁעַר הָעִיר הַהִוא וּסְקַלְתֶּם אֹתָם בָּאֲבָנִים וָמֵתוּ אֶת־הנער [הַנַּעֲרָה] עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־צָעֲקָה בָעִיר וְאֶת־הָאִישׁ עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר־עִנָּה אֶת־אֵשֶׁת רֵעֵהוּ וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִקִּרְבֶּךָ׃ 20.7. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.’" 22.24. then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die: the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife; so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee."
2. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 2.21-2.22 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2.21. וַיַּפֵּל יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל־הָאָדָם וַיִּישָׁן וַיִּקַּח אַחַת מִצַּלְעֹתָיו וַיִּסְגֹּר בָּשָׂר תַּחְתֶּנָּה׃ 2.22. וַיִּבֶן יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הַצֵּלָע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַח מִן־הָאָדָם לְאִשָּׁה וַיְבִאֶהָ אֶל־הָאָדָם׃ 2.21. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof." 2.22. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man."
3. Hebrew Bible, Isaiah, 7.14 (8th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

7.14. לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא לָכֶם אוֹת הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ עִמָּנוּ אֵל׃ 7.14. Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
4. Plato, Timaeus, 22 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

5. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 4 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6. New Testament, Luke, 22.25 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

22.25. He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are called 'benefactors.'
7. New Testament, Mark, 10.44 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

10.44. Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be servant of all.
8. New Testament, Matthew, 1.18, 7.22-7.23, 20.25, 26.54 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregt by the Holy Spirit. 7.22. Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?' 7.23. Then I will tell them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.' 20.25. But Jesus summoned them, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26.54. How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so?
9. Anon., Acts of Pilate, 2.3-2.4 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

10. Irenaeus, Refutation of All Heresies, 3.22.4, 5.19.1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

11. Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 100 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

100. In what sense Christ is [called] Jacob, and Israel, and Son of Man Justin: Then what follows—'But You, the praise of Israel, inhabit the holy place'— declared that He is to do something worthy of praise and wonderment, being about to rise again from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion; and this He has obtained from the Father. For I have showed already that Christ is called both Jacob and Israel; and I have proved that it is not in the blessing of Joseph and Judah alone that what relates to Him was proclaimed mysteriously, but also in the Gospel it is written that He said: 'All things are delivered unto me by My Father.' and, 'No man knows the Father but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will reveal Him.' Matthew 11:27 Accordingly He revealed to us all that we have perceived by His grace out of the Scriptures, so that we know Him to be the first-begotten of God, and to be before all creatures; likewise to be the Son of the patriarchs, since He assumed flesh by the Virgin of their family, and submitted to become a man without comeliness, dishonoured, and subject to suffering. Hence, also, among His words He said, when He was discoursing about His future sufferings: 'The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Pharisees and Scribes, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.' Matthew 16:21 He said then that He was the Son of man, either because of His birth by the Virgin, who was, as I said, of the family of David and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham; or because Adam was the father both of Himself and of those who have been first enumerated from whom Mary derives her descent. For we know that the fathers of women are the fathers likewise of those children whom their daughters bear. For [Christ] called one of His disciples— previously known by the name of Simon — Peter; since he recognised Him to be Christ the Son of God, by the revelation of His Father: and since we find it recorded in the memoirs of His apostles that He is the Son of God, and since we call Him the Son, we have understood that He proceeded before all creatures from the Father by His power and will (for He is addressed in the writings of the prophets in one way or another as Wisdom, and the Day, and the East, and a Sword, and a Stone, and a Rod, and Jacob, and Israel); and that He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, 'Be it unto me according to your word.' Luke 1:38 And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.
12. Origen, Against Celsus, 1.2, 1.9, 1.13, 1.17, 1.19-1.20, 1.28-1.29, 1.31-1.32, 1.35-1.39, 1.58, 1.63, 1.66, 2.1, 2.8, 2.32, 2.36, 2.55, 4.38, 4.51-4.52, 4.87, 5.52, 5.54, 6.12, 6.16, 6.50, 7.8 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.2. Celsus next proceeds to say, that the system of doctrine, viz., Judaism, upon which Christianity depends, was barbarous in its origin. And with an appearance of fairness, he does not reproach Christianity because of its origin among barbarians, but gives the latter credit for their ability in discovering (such) doctrines. To this, however, he adds the statement, that the Greeks are more skilful than any others in judging, establishing, and reducing to practice the discoveries of barbarous nations. Now this is our answer to his allegations, and our defense of the truths contained in Christianity, that if any one were to come from the study of Grecian opinions and usages to the Gospel, he would not only decide that its doctrines were true, but would by practice establish their truth, and supply whatever seemed wanting, from a Grecian point of view, to their demonstration, and thus confirm the truth of Christianity. We have to say, moreover, that the Gospel has a demonstration of its own, more divine than any established by Grecian dialectics. And this diviner method is called by the apostle the manifestation of the Spirit and of power: of the Spirit, on account of the prophecies, which are sufficient to produce faith in any one who reads them, especially in those things which relate to Christ; and of power, because of the signs and wonders which we must believe to have been performed, both on many other grounds, and on this, that traces of them are still preserved among those who regulate their lives by the precepts of the Gospel. 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? 1.13. But since Celsus has declared it to be a saying of many Christians, that the wisdom of this life is a bad thing, but that foolishness is good, we have to answer that he slanders the Gospel, not giving the words as they actually occur in the writings of Paul, where they run as follow: If any one among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. The apostle, therefore, does not say simply that wisdom is foolishness with God, but the wisdom of this world. And again, not, If any one among you seems to be wise, let him become a fool universally; but, let him become a fool in this world, that he may become wise. We term, then, the wisdom of this world, every false system of philosophy, which, according to the Scriptures, is brought to nought; and we call foolishness good, not without restriction, but when a man becomes foolish as to this world. As if we were to say that the Platonist, who believes in the immortality of the soul, and in the doctrine of its metempsychosis, incurs the charge of folly with the Stoics, who discard this opinion; and with the Peripatetics, who babble about the subtleties of Plato; and with the Epicureans, who call it superstition to introduce a providence, and to place a God over all things. Moreover, that it is in agreement with the spirit of Christianity, of much more importance to give our assent to doctrines upon grounds of reason and wisdom than on that of faith merely, and that it was only in certain circumstances that the latter course was desired by Christianity, in order not to leave men altogether without help, is shown by that genuine disciple of Jesus, Paul, when he says: For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Now by these words it is clearly shown that it is by the wisdom of God that God ought to be known. But as this result did not follow, it pleased God a second time to save them that believe, not by folly universally, but by such foolishness as depended on preaching. For the preaching of Jesus Christ as crucified is the foolishness of preaching, as Paul also perceived, when he said, But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and wisdom of God. 1.17. In what follows, Celsus, assailing the Mosaic history, finds fault with those who give it a tropical and allegorical signification. And here one might say to this great man, who inscribed upon his own work the title of a True Discourse, Why, good sir, do you make it a boast to have it recorded that the gods should engage in such adventures as are described by your learned poets and philosophers, and be guilty of abominable intrigues, and of engaging in wars against their own fathers, and of cutting off their secret parts, and should dare to commit and to suffer such enormities; while Moses, who gives no such accounts respecting God, nor even regarding the holy angels, and who relates deeds of far less atrocity regarding men (for in his writings no one ever ventured to commit such crimes as Kronos did against Uranus, or Zeus against his father, or that of the father of men and gods, who had intercourse with his own daughter), should be considered as having deceived those who were placed under his laws, and to have led them into error? And here Celsus seems to me to act somewhat as Thrasymachus the Platonic philosopher did, when he would not allow Socrates to answer regarding justice, as he wished, but said, Take care not to say that utility is justice, or duty, or anything of that kind. For in like manner Celsus assails (as he thinks) the Mosaic histories, and finds fault with those who understand them allegorically, at the same time bestowing also some praise upon those who do so, to the effect that they are more impartial (than those who do not); and thus, as it were, he prevents by his cavils those who are able to show the true state of the case from offering such a defense as they would wish to offer. 1.19. After these statements, Celsus, from a secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that, while concealing his wish, intimates his agreement with those who hold that the world is uncreated. For, maintaining that there have been, from all eternity, many conflagrations and many deluges, and that the flood which lately took place in the time of Deucalion is comparatively modern, he clearly demonstrates to those who are able to understand him, that, in his opinion, the world was uncreated. But let this assailant of the Christian faith tell us by what arguments he was compelled to accept the statement that there have been many conflagrations and many cataclysms, and that the flood which occurred in the time of Deucalion, and the conflagration in that of Ph thon, were more recent than any others. And if he should put forward the dialogues of Plato (as evidence) on these subjects, we shall say to him that it is allowable for us also to believe that there resided in the pure and pious soul of Moses, who ascended above all created things, and united himself to the Creator of the universe, and who made known divine things with far greater clearness than Plato, or those other wise men (who lived) among the Greeks and Romans, a spirit which was divine. And if he demands of us our reasons for such a belief, let him first give grounds for his own unsupported assertions, and then we shall show that this view of ours is the correct one. 1.20. And yet, against his will, Celsus is entangled into testifying that the world is comparatively modern, and not yet ten thousand years old, when he says that the Greeks consider those things as ancient, because, owing to the deluges and conflagrations, they have not beheld or received any memorials of older events. But let Celsus have, as his authorities for the myth regarding the conflagrations and inundations, those persons who, in his opinion, are the most learned of the Egyptians, traces of whose wisdom are to be found in the worship of irrational animals, and in arguments which prove that such a worship of God is in conformity with reason, and of a secret and mysterious character. The Egyptians, then, when they boastfully give their own account of the divinity of animals, are to be considered wise; but if any Jew, who has signified his adherence to the law and the lawgiver, refer everything to the Creator of the universe, and the only God, he is, in the opinion of Celsus and those like him, deemed inferior to him who degrades the Divinity not only to the level of rational and mortal animals, but even to that of irrational also!- a view which goes far beyond the mythical doctrine of transmigration, according to which the soul falls down from the summit of heaven, and enters into the body of brute beasts, both tame and savage! And if the Egyptians related fables of this kind, they are believed to convey a philosophical meaning by their enigmas and mysteries; but if Moses compose and leave behind him histories and laws for an entire nation, they are to be considered as empty fables, the language of which admits of no allegorical meaning! 1.28. And since, in imitation of a rhetorician training a pupil, he introduces a Jew, who enters into a personal discussion with Jesus, and speaks in a very childish manner, altogether unworthy of the grey hairs of a philosopher, let me endeavour, to the best of my ability, to examine his statements, and show that he does not maintain, throughout the discussion, the consistency due to the character of a Jew. For he represents him disputing with Jesus, and confuting Him, as he thinks, on many points; and in the first place, he accuses Him of having invented his birth from a virgin, and upbraids Him with being born in a certain Jewish village, of a poor woman of the country, who gained her subsistence by spinning, and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery; that after being driven away by her husband, and wandering about for a time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who having hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God. Now, as I cannot allow anything said by unbelievers to remain unexamined, but must investigate everything from the beginning, I give it as my opinion that all these things worthily harmonize with the predictions that Jesus is the Son of God. 1.31. And besides this, one may well wonder how it happened that the disciples- if, as the calumniators of Jesus say, they did not see Him after His resurrection from the dead, and were not persuaded of His divinity - were not afraid to endure the same sufferings with their Master, and to expose themselves to danger, and to leave their native country to teach, according to the desire of Jesus, the doctrine delivered to them by Him. For I think that no one who candidly examines the facts would say that these men devoted themselves to a life of danger for the sake of the doctrine of Jesus, without profound belief which He had wrought in their minds of its truth, not only teaching them to conform to His precepts, but others also, and to conform, moreover, when manifest destruction to life impended over him who ventured to introduce these new opinions into all places and before all audiences, and who could retain as his friend no human being who adhered to the former opinions and usages. For did not the disciples of Jesus see, when they ventured to prove not only to the Jews from their prophetic Scriptures that this is He who was spoken of by the prophets, but also to the other heathen nations, that He who was crucified yesterday or the day before underwent this death voluntarily on behalf of the human race - that this was analogous to the case of those who have died for their country in order to remove pestilence, or barrenness, or tempests? For it is probable that there is in the nature of things, for certain mysterious reasons which are difficult to be understood by the multitude, such a virtue that one just man, dying a voluntary death for the common good, might be the means of removing wicked spirits, which are the cause of plagues, or barrenness, or tempests, or similar calamities. Let those, therefore, who would disbelieve the statement that Jesus died on the cross on behalf of men, say whether they also refuse to accept the many accounts current both among Greeks and Barbarians, of persons who have laid down their lives for the public advantage, in order to remove those evils which had fallen upon cities and countries? Or will they say that such events actually happened, but that no credit is to be attached to that account which makes this so-called man to have died to ensure the destruction of a mighty evil spirit, the ruler of evil spirits, who had held in subjection the souls of all men upon earth? And the disciples of Jesus, seeing this and much more (which, it is probable, they learned from Jesus in private), and being filled, moreover, with a divine power (since it was no mere poetical virgin that endowed them with strength and courage, but the true wisdom and understanding of God), exerted all their efforts to become distinguished among all men, not only among the Argives, but among all the Greeks and Barbarians alike, and so bear away for themselves a glorious renown. 1.32. But let us now return to where the Jew is introduced, speaking of the mother of Jesus, and saying that when she was pregt she was turned out of doors by the carpenter to whom she had been betrothed, as having been guilty of adultery, and that she bore a child to a certain soldier named Panthera; and let us see whether those who have blindly concocted these fables about the adultery of the Virgin with Panthera, and her rejection by the carpenter, did not invent these stories to overturn His miraculous conception by the Holy Ghost: for they could have falsified the history in a different manner, on account of its extremely miraculous character, and not have admitted, as it were against their will, that Jesus was born of no ordinary human marriage. It was to be expected, indeed, that those who would not believe the miraculous birth of Jesus would invent some falsehood. And their not doing this in a credible manner, but (their) preserving the fact that it was not by Joseph that the Virgin conceived Jesus, rendered the falsehood very palpable to those who can understand and detect such inventions. Is it at all agreeable to reason, that he who dared to do so much for the human race, in order that, as far as in him lay, all the Greeks and Barbarians, who were looking for divine condemnation, might depart from evil, and regulate their entire conduct in a manner pleasing to the Creator of the world, should not have had a miraculous birth, but one the vilest and most disgraceful of all? And I will ask of them as Greeks, and particularly of Celsus, who either holds or not the sentiments of Plato, and at any rate quotes them, whether He who sends souls down into the bodies of men, degraded Him who was to dare such mighty acts, and to teach so many men, and to reform so many from the mass of wickedness in the world, to a birth more disgraceful than any other, and did not rather introduce Him into the world through a lawful marriage? Or is it not more in conformity with reason, that every soul, for certain mysterious reasons (I speak now according to the opinion of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Empedocles, whom Celsus frequently names), is introduced into a body, and introduced according to its deserts and former actions? It is probable, therefore, that this soul also, which conferred more benefit by its residence in the flesh than that of many men (to avoid prejudice, I do not say all), stood in need of a body not only superior to others, but invested with all excellent qualities. 1.35. But that we may not seem, because of a Hebrew word, to endeavour to persuade those who are unable to determine whether they ought to believe it or not, that the prophet spoke of this man being born of a virgin, because at his birth these words, God with us, were uttered, let us make good our point from the words themselves. The Lord is related to have spoken to Ahaz thus: Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God, either in the depth or height above; and afterwards the sign is given, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son. What kind of sign, then, would that have been - a young woman who was not a virgin giving birth to a child? And which of the two is the more appropriate as the mother of Immanuel (i.e., God with us) - whether a woman who has had intercourse with a man, and who has conceived after the manner of women, or one who is still a pure and holy virgin? Surely it is appropriate only to the latter to produce a being at whose birth it is said, God with us. And should he be so captious as to say that it is to Ahaz that the command is addressed, Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord your God, we shall ask in return, who in the times of Ahaz bore a son at whose birth the expression is made use of, Immanuel, i.e., God with us? And if no one can be found, then manifestly what was said to Ahaz was said to the house of David, because it is written that the Saviour was born of the house of David according to the flesh; and this sign is said to be in the depth or in the height, since He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. And these arguments I employ as against a Jew who believes in prophecy. Let Celsus now tell me, or any of those who think with him, with what meaning the prophet utters either these statements about the future, or the others which are contained in the prophecies? Is it with any foresight of the future or not? If with a foresight of the future, then the prophets were divinely inspired; if with no foresight of the future, let him explain the meaning of one who speaks thus boldly regarding the future, and who is an object of admiration among the Jews because of his prophetic powers. 1.36. And now, since we have touched upon the subject of the prophets, what we are about to advance will be useful not only to the Jews, who believe that they spoke by divine inspiration, but also to the more candid among the Greeks. To these we say that we must necessarily admit that the Jews had prophets, if they were to be kept together under that system of law which had been given them, and were to believe in the Creator of the world, as they had learned, and to be without pretexts, so far as the law was concerned, for apostatizing to the polytheism of the heathen. And we establish this necessity in the following manner. For the nations, as it is written in the law of the Jews itself, shall hearken unto observers of times, and diviners; but to that people it is said: But as for you, the Lord your God has not suffered you so to do. And to this is subjoined the promise: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from among your brethren. Since, therefore, the heathen employ modes of divination either by oracles or by omens, or by birds, or by ventriloquists, or by those who profess the art of sacrifice, or by Chaldean genealogists - all which practices were forbidden to the Jews- this people, if they had no means of attaining a knowledge of futurity, being led by the passion common to humanity of ascertaining the future would have despised their own prophets, as not having in them any particle of divinity; and would not have accepted any prophet after Moses, nor committed their words to writing, but would have spontaneously betaken themselves to the divining usages of the heathen, or attempted to establish some such practices among themselves. There is therefore no absurdity in their prophets having uttered predictions even about events of no importance, to soothe those who desire such things, as when Samuel prophesies regarding three she-asses which were lost, or when mention is made in the third book of Kings respecting the sickness of a king's son. And why should not those who desired to obtain auguries from idols be severely rebuked by the administrators of the law among the Jews?- as Elijah is found rebuking Ahaziah, and saying, Is it because there is not a God in Israel that you go to inquire of Baalzebub, god of Ekron? 1.37. I think, then, that it has been pretty well established not only that our Saviour was to be born of a virgin, but also that there were prophets among the Jews who uttered not merely general predictions about the future - as, e.g., regarding Christ and the kingdoms of the world, and the events that were to happen to Israel, and those nations which were to believe in the Saviour, and many other things concerning Him - but also prophecies respecting particular events; as, for instance, how the asses of Kish, which were lost, were to be discovered, and regarding the sickness which had fallen upon the son of the king of Israel, and any other recorded circumstance of a similar kind. But as a further answer to the Greeks, who do not believe in the birth of Jesus from a virgin, we have to say that the Creator has shown, by the generation of several kinds of animals, that what He has done in the instance of one animal, He could do, if it pleased Him, in that of others, and also of man himself. For it is ascertained that there is a certain female animal which has no intercourse with the male (as writers on animals say is the case with vultures), and that this animal, without sexual intercourse, preserves the succession of race. What incredibility, therefore, is there in supposing that, if God wished to send a divine teacher to the human race, He caused Him to be born in some manner different from the common! Nay, according to the Greeks themselves, all men were not born of a man and woman. For if the world has been created, as many even of the Greeks are pleased to admit, then the first men must have been produced not from sexual intercourse, but from the earth, in which spermatic elements existed; which, however, I consider more incredible than that Jesus was born like other men, so far as regards the half of his birth. And there is no absurdity in employing Grecian histories to answer Greeks, with the view of showing that we are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind. For some have thought fit, not in regard to ancient and heroic narratives, but in regard to events of very recent occurrence, to relate as a possible thing that Plato was the son of Amphictione, Ariston being prevented from having marital intercourse with his wife until she had given birth to him with whom she was pregt by Apollo. And yet these are veritable fables, which have led to the invention of such stories concerning a man whom they regarded as possessing greater wisdom and power than the multitude, and as having received the beginning of his corporeal substance from better and diviner elements than others, because they thought that this was appropriate to persons who were too great to be human beings. And since Celsus has introduced the Jew disputing with Jesus, and tearing in pieces, as he imagines, the fiction of His birth from a virgin, comparing the Greek fables about Danaë, and Melanippe, and Auge, and Antiope, our answer is, that such language becomes a buffoon, and not one who is writing in a serious tone. 1.38. But, moreover, taking the history, contained in the Gospel according to Matthew, of our Lord's descent into Egypt, he refuses to believe the miraculous circumstances attending it, viz., either that the angel gave the divine intimation, or that our Lord's quitting Judea and residing in Egypt was an event of any significance; but he invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the miraculous works done by Jesus, by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. And yet he desires to throw discredit on them, as being done by help of magic and not by divine power; for he asserts that he (Jesus), having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god. Now I do not understand how a magician should exert himself to teach a doctrine which persuades us always to act as if God were to judge every man for his deeds; and should have trained his disciples, whom he was to employ as the ministers of his doctrine, in the same belief. For did the latter make an impression upon their hearers, after they had been so taught to work miracles; or was it without the aid of these? The assertion, therefore, that they did no miracles at all, but that, after yielding their belief to arguments which were not at all convincing, like the wisdom of Grecian dialectics, they gave themselves up to the task of teaching the new doctrine to those persons among whom they happened to take up their abode, is altogether absurd. For in what did they place their confidence when they taught the doctrine and disseminated the new opinions? But if they indeed wrought miracles, then how can it be believed that magicians exposed themselves to such hazards to introduce a doctrine which forbade the practice of magic? 1.39. I do not think it necessary to grapple with an argument advanced not in a serious but in a scoffing spirit, such as the following: If the mother of Jesus was beautiful, then the god whose nature is not to love a corruptible body, had intercourse with her because she was beautiful; or, It was improbable that the god would entertain a passion for her, because she was neither rich nor of royal rank, seeing no one, even of her neighbours, knew her. And it is in the same scoffing spirit that he adds: When hated by her husband, and turned out of doors, she was not saved by divine power, nor was her story believed. Such things, he says, have no connection with the kingdom of heaven. In what respect does such language differ from that of those who pour abuse on others on the public streets, and whose words are unworthy of any serious attention? 1.63. And since Celsus has termed the apostles of Jesus men of infamous notoriety, saying that they were tax-gatherers and sailors of the vilest character, we have to remark, with respect to this charge, that he seems, in order to bring an accusation against Christianity, to believe the Gospel accounts only where he pleases, and to express his disbelief of them, in order that he may not be forced to admit the manifestations of Divinity related in these same books; whereas one who sees the spirit of truth by which the writers are influenced, ought, from their narration of things of inferior importance, to believe also the account of divine things. Now in the general Epistle of Barnabas, from which perhaps Celsus took the statement that the apostles were notoriously wicked men, it is recorded that Jesus selected His own apostles, as persons who were more guilty of sin than all other evildoers. And in the Gospel according to Luke, Peter says to Jesus, Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man. Moreover, Paul, who himself also at a later time became an apostle of Jesus, says in his Epistle to Timothy, This is a faithful saying, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. And I do not know how Celsus should have forgotten or not have thought of saying something about Paul, the founder, after Jesus, of the Churches that are in Christ. He saw, probably, that anything he might say about that apostle would require to be explained, in consistency with the fact that, after being a persecutor of the Church of God, and a bitter opponent of believers, who went so far even as to deliver over the disciples of Jesus to death, so great a change afterwards passed over him, that he preached the Gospel of Jesus from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum, and was ambitious to carry the glad tidings where he needed not to build upon another man's foundation, but to places where the Gospel of God in Christ had not been proclaimed at all. What absurdity, therefore, is there, if Jesus, desiring to manifest to the human race the power which He possesses to heal souls, should have selected notorious and wicked men, and should have raised them to such a degree of moral excellence, that they became a pattern of the purest virtue to all who were converted by their instrumentality to the Gospel of Christ? 1.66. And in addition to the above, this Jew of Celsus afterwards addresses Jesus: What need, moreover, was there that you, while still an infant, should be conveyed into Egypt? Was it to escape being murdered? But then it was not likely that a God should be afraid of death; and yet an angel came down from heaven, commanding you and your friends to flee, lest you should be captured and put to death! And was not the great God, who had already sent two angels on your account, able to keep you, His only Son, there in safety? From these words Celsus seems to think that there was no element of divinity in the human body and soul of Jesus, but that His body was not even such as is described in the fables of Homer; and with a taunt also at the blood of Jesus which was shed upon the cross, he adds that it was not Ichor, such as flows in the veins of the blessed gods. We now, believing Jesus Himself, when He says respecting His divinity, I am the way, and the truth, and the life, and employs other terms of similar import; and when He says respecting His being clothed with a human body, And now you seek to kill Me, a man that has told you the truth, conclude that He was a kind of compound being. And so it became Him who was making provision for His sojourning in the world as a human being, not to expose Himself unseasonably to the danger of death. And in like manner it was necessary that He should be taken away by His parents, acting under the instructions of an angel from heaven, who communicated to them the divine will, saying on the first occasion, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost; and on the second, Arise, and take the young Child, and His mother, and flee into Egypt; and be there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him. Now, what is recorded in these words appears to me to be not at all marvellous. For in either passage of Scripture it is stated that it was in a dream that the angel spoke these words; and that in a dream certain persons may have certain things pointed out to them to do, is an event of frequent occurrence to many individuals, - the impression on the mind being produced either by an angel or by some other thing. Where, then, is the absurdity in believing that He who had once become incarnate, should be led also by human guidance to keep out of the way of dangers? Not indeed from any impossibility that it should be otherwise, but from the moral fitness that ways and means should be made use of to ensure the safety of Jesus. And it was certainly better that the Child Jesus should escape the snare of Herod, and should reside with His parents in Egypt until the death of the conspirator, than that Divine Providence should hinder the free-will of Herod in his wish to put the Child to death, or that the fabled poetic helmet of Hades should have been employed, or anything of a similar kind done with respect to Jesus, or that they who came to destroy Him should have been smitten with blindness like the people of Sodom. For the sending of help to Him in a very miraculous and unnecessarily public manner, would not have been of any service to Him who wished to show that as a man, to whom witness was borne by God, He possessed within that form which was seen by the eyes of men some higher element of divinity, - that which was properly the Son of God- God the Word- the power of God, and the wisdom of God - He who is called the Christ. But this is not a suitable occasion for discussing the composite nature of the incarnate Jesus; the investigation into such a subject being for believers, so to speak, a sort of private question. 2.1. The first book of our answer to the treatise of Celsus, entitled A True Discourse, which concluded with the representation of the Jew addressing Jesus, having now extended to a sufficient length, we intend the present part as a reply to the charges brought by him against those who have been converted from Judaism to Christianity. And we call attention, in the first place, to this special question, viz., why Celsus, when he had once resolved upon the introduction of individuals upon the stage of his book, did not represent the Jew as addressing the converts from heathenism rather than those from Judaism, seeing that his discourse, if directed to us, would have appeared more likely to produce an impression. But probably this claimant to universal knowledge does not know what is appropriate in the matter of such representations; and therefore let us proceed to consider what he has to say to the converts from Judaism. He asserts that they have forsaken the law of their fathers, in consequence of their minds being led captive by Jesus; that they have been most ridiculously deceived, and that they have become deserters to another name and to another mode of life. Here he has not observed that the Jewish converts have not deserted the law of their fathers, inasmuch as they live according to its prescriptions, receiving their very name from the poverty of the law, according to the literal acceptation of the word; for Ebion signifies poor among the Jews, and those Jews who have received Jesus as Christ are called by the name of Ebionites. Nay, Peter himself seems to have observed for a considerable time the Jewish observances enjoined by the law of Moses, not having yet learned from Jesus to ascend from the law that is regulated according to the letter, to that which is interpreted according to the spirit, - a fact which we learn from the Acts of the Apostles. For on the day after the angel of God appeared to Cornelius, suggesting to him to send to Joppa, to Simon surnamed Peter, Peter went up into the upper room to pray about the sixth hour. And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth; wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts, and creeping things of the earth, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spoke unto him again the second time, What God has cleansed, call not common. Now observe how, by this instance, Peter is represented as still observing the Jewish customs respecting clean and unclean animals. And from the narrative that follows, it is manifest that he, as being yet a Jew, and living according to their traditions, and despising those who were beyond the pale of Judaism, stood in need of a vision to lead him to communicate to Cornelius (who was not an Israelite according to the flesh), and to those who were with him, the word of faith. Moreover, in the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul states that Peter, still from fear of the Jews, ceased upon the arrival of James to eat with the Gentiles, and separated himself from them, fearing them that were of the circumcision; and the rest of the Jews, and Barnabas also, followed the same course. And certainly it was quite consistent that those should not abstain from the observance of Jewish usages who were sent to minister to the circumcision, when they who seemed to be pillars gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas, in order that, while devoting themselves to the circumcision, the latter might preach to the Gentiles. And why do I mention that they who preached to the circumcision withdrew and separated themselves from the heathen, when even Paul himself became as a Jew to the Jews, that he might gain the Jews? Wherefore also in the Acts of the Apostles it is related that he even brought an offering to the altar, that he might satisfy the Jews that he was no apostate from their law. Now, if Celsus had been acquainted with all these circumstances, he would not have represented the Jew holding such language as this to the converts from Judaism: What induced you, my fellow citizens, to abandon the law of your fathers, and to allow your minds to be led captive by him with whom we have just conversed, and thus be most ridiculously deluded, so as to become deserters from us to another name, and to the practices of another life? 2.8. He says, further, that many other persons would appear such as Jesus was, to those who were willing to be deceived. Let this Jew of Celsus then show us, not many persons, nor even a few, but a single individual, such as Jesus was, introducing among the human race, with the power that was manifested in Him, a system of doctrine and opinions beneficial to human life, and which converts men from the practice of wickedness. He says, moreover, that this charge is brought against the Jews by the Christian converts, that they have not believed in Jesus as in God. Now on this point we have, in the preceding pages, offered a preliminary defense, showing at the same time in what respects we understand Him to be God, and in what we take Him to be man. How should we, he continues, who have made known to all men that there is to come from God one who is to punish the wicked, treat him with disregard when he came? And to this, as an exceedingly silly argument, it does not seem to me reasonable to offer any answer. It is as if some one were to say, How could we, who teach temperance, commit any act of licentiousness? Or we, who are ambassadors for righteousness, be guilty of any wickedness? For as these inconsistencies are found among men, so, to say that they believed the prophets when speaking of the future advent of Christ, and yet refused their belief to Him when He came, agreeably to prophetic statement, was quite in keeping with human nature. And since we must add another reason, we shall remark that this very result was foretold by the prophets. Isaiah distinctly declares: Hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: for the heart of this people has become fat, etc. And let them explain why it was predicted to the Jews, that although they both heard and saw, they would not understand what was said, nor perceive what was seen as they ought. For it is indeed manifest, that when they beheld Jesus they did not see who He was; and when they heard Him, they did not understand from His words the divinity that was in Him, and which transferred God's providential care, hitherto exercised over the Jews, to His converts from the heathen. Therefore we may see, that after the advent of Jesus the Jews were altogether abandoned, and possess now none of what were considered their ancient glories, so that there is no indication of any Divinity abiding among them. For they have no longer prophets nor miracles, traces of which to a considerable extent are still found among Christians, and some of them more remarkable than any that existed among the Jews; and these we ourselves have witnessed, if our testimony may be received. But the Jew of Celsus exclaims: Why did we treat him, whom we announced beforehand, with dishonour? Was it that we might be chastised more than others? To which we have to answer, that on account of their unbelief, and the other insults which they heaped upon Jesus, the Jews will not only suffer more than others in that judgment which is believed to impend over the world, but have even already endured such sufferings. For what nation is an exile from their own metropolis, and from the place sacred to the worship of their fathers, save the Jews alone? And these calamities they have suffered, because they were a most wicked nation, which, although guilty of many other sins, yet has been punished so severely for none, as for those that were committed against our Jesus. 2.32. We have already shown that Jesus can be regarded neither as an arrogant man, nor a sorcerer; and therefore it is unnecessary to repeat our former arguments, lest, in replying to the tautologies of Celsus, we ourselves should be guilty of needless repetition. And now, in finding fault with our Lord's genealogy, there are certain points which occasion some difficulty even to Christians, and which, owing to the discrepancy between the genealogies, are advanced by some as arguments against their correctness, but which Celsus has not even mentioned. For Celsus, who is truly a braggart, and who professes to be acquainted with all matters relating to Christianity, does not know how to raise doubts in a skilful manner against the credibility of Scripture. But he asserts that the framers of the genealogies, from a feeling of pride, made Jesus to be descended from the first man, and from the kings of the Jews. And he thinks that he makes a notable charge when he adds, that the carpenters wife could not have been ignorant of the fact, had she been of such illustrious descent. But what has this to do with the question? Granted that she was not ignorant of her descent, how does that affect the result? Suppose that she were ignorant, how could her ignorance prove that she was not descended from the first man, or could not derive her origin from the Jewish kings? Does Celsus imagine that the poor must always be descended from ancestors who are poor, or that kings are always born of kings? But it appears folly to waste time upon such an argument as this, seeing it is well known that, even in our own days, some who are poorer than Mary are descended from ancestors of wealth and distinction, and that rulers of nations and kings have sprung from persons of no reputation. 2.36. Celsus next says: What is the nature of the ichor in the body of the crucified Jesus? Is it 'such as flows in the bodies of the immortal gods?' He puts this question in a spirit of mockery; but we shall show from the serious narratives of the Gospels, although Celsus may not like it, that it was no mythic and Homeric ichor which flowed from the body of Jesus, but that, after His death, one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and there came thereout blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true, and he knows that he says the truth. Now, in other dead bodies the blood congeals, and pure water does not flow forth; but the miraculous feature in the case of the dead body of Jesus was, that around the dead body blood and water flowed forth from the side. But if this Celsus, who, in order to find matter of accusation against Jesus and the Christians, extracts from the Gospel even passages which are incorrectly interpreted, but passes over in silence the evidences of the divinity of Jesus, would listen to divine portents, let him read the Gospel, and see that even the centurion, and they who with him kept watch over Jesus, on seeing the earthquake, and the events that occurred, were greatly afraid, saying, This man was the Son of God. 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. 4.38. In the next place, as it is his object to slander our Scriptures, he ridicules the following statement: And God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which He had taken from the man, made He a woman, and so on; without quoting the words, which would give the hearer the impression that they are spoken with a figurative meaning. He would not even have it appear that the words were used allegorically, although he says afterwards, that the more modest among Jews and Christians are ashamed of these things, and endeavour to give them somehow an allegorical signification. Now we might say to him, Are the statements of your inspired Hesiod, which he makes regarding the woman in the form of a myth, to be explained allegorically, in the sense that she was given by Jove to men as an evil thing, and as a retribution for the theft of the fire; while that regarding the woman who was taken from the side of the man (after he had been buried in deep slumber), and was formed by God, appears to you to be related without any rational meaning and secret signification? But is it not uncandid, not to ridicule the former as myths, but to admire them as philosophical ideas in a mythical dress, and to treat with contempt the latter, as offending the understanding, and to declare that they are of no account? For if, because of the mere phraseology, we are to find fault with what is intended to have a secret meaning, see whether the following lines of Hesiod, a man, as you say, inspired, are not better fitted to excite laughter:- 'Son of Iapetus!' with wrathful heart Spoke the cloud-gatherer: 'Oh, unmatched in art! Exult in this the flame retrieved, And do you triumph in the god deceived? But you, with the posterity of man, Shall rue the fraud whence mightier ills began; I will send evil for your stealthy fire, While all embrace it, and their bane desire.' The sire, who rules the earth, and sways the pole, Had said, and laughter fill'd his secret soul. He bade the artist-god his hest obey, And mould with tempering waters ductile clay: Infuse, as breathing life and form began, The supple vigour, and the voice of man: Her aspect fair as goddesses above, A virgin's likeness, with the brows of love. He bade Minerva teach the skill that dyes The web with colors, as the shuttle flies; He called the magic of Love's Queen to shed A nameless grace around her courteous head; Instil the wish that longs with restless aim, And cares of dress that feed upon the frame: Bade Hermes last implant the craft refined of artful manners, and a shameless mind. He said; their king th' inferior powers obeyed: The fictile likeness of a bashful maid Rose from the temper'd earth, by Jove's behest, Under the forming god; the zone and vest Were clasp'd and folded by Minerva's hand: The heaven-born graces, and persuasion bland Deck'd her round limbs with chains of gold: the hours of loose locks twined her temples with spring flowers. The whole attire Minerva's curious care Form'd to her shape, and fitted to her air. But in her breast the herald from above, Full of the counsels of deep thundering Jove, Wrought artful manners, wrought perfidious lies, And speech that thrills the blood, and lulls the wise. Her did th' interpreter of gods proclaim, And named the woman with Pandora's name; Since all the gods conferr'd their gifts, to charm, For man's inventive race, this beauteous harm. Moreover, what is said also about the casket is fitted of itself to excite laughter; for example:- Whilome on earth the sons of men abode From ills apart, and labour's irksome load, And sore diseases, bringing age to man; Now the sad life of mortals is a span. The woman's hands a mighty casket bear; She lifts the lid; she scatters griefs in air: Alone, beneath the vessel's rims detained, Hope still within th' unbroken cell remained, Nor fled abroad; so will'd cloud-gatherer Jove: The woman's hand had dropp'd the lid above. Now, to him who would give to these lines a grave allegorical meaning (whether any such meaning be contained in them or not), we would say: Are the Greeks alone at liberty to convey a philosophic meaning in a secret covering? Or perhaps also the Egyptians, and those of the Barbarians who pride themselves upon their mysteries and the truth (which is concealed within them); while the Jews alone, with their lawgiver and historians, appear to you the most unintelligent of men? And is this the only nation which has not received a share of divine power, and which yet was so grandly instructed how to rise upwards to the uncreated nature of God, and to gaze on Him alone, and to expect from Him alone (the fulfilment of) their hopes? 4.51. Celsus appears to me to have heard that there are treatises in existence which contain allegorical explanations of the law of Moses. These however, he could not have read; for if he had he would not have said: The allegorical explanations, however, which have been devised are much more shameful and absurd than the fables themselves, inasmuch as they endeavour to unite with marvellous and altogether insensate folly things which cannot at all be made to harmonize. He seems to refer in these words to the works of Philo, or to those of still older writers, such as Aristobulus. But I conjecture that Celsus has not read their books, since it appears to me that in many passages they have so successfully hit the meaning (of the sacred writers), that even Grecian philosophers would have been captivated by their explanations; for in their writings we find not only a polished style, but exquisite thoughts and doctrines, and a rational use of what Celsus imagines to be fables in the sacred writings. I know, moreover, that Numenius the Pythagorean- a surpassingly excellent expounder of Plato, and who held a foremost place as a teacher of the doctrines of Pythagoras - in many of his works quotes from the writings of Moses and the prophets, and applies to the passages in question a not improbable allegorical meaning, as in his work called Epops, and in those which treat of Numbers and of Place. And in the third book of his dissertation on The Good, he quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus - without, however, mentioning His name - and gives it an allegorical signification, whether successfully or the reverse I may state on another occasion. He relates also the account respecting Moses, and Jannes, and Jambres. But we are not elated on account of this instance, though we express our approval of Numenius, rather than of Celsus and other Greeks, because he was willing to investigate our histories from a desire to acquire knowledge, and was (duly) affected by them as narratives which were to be allegorically understood, and which did not belong to the category of foolish compositions. 4.52. After this, selecting from all the treatises which contain allegorical explanations and interpretations, expressed in a language and style not to be despised, the least important, such as might contribute, indeed, to strengthen the faith of the multitude of simple believers, but were not adapted to impress those of more intelligent mind, he continues: of such a nature do I know the work to be, entitled Controversy between one Papiscus and Jason, which is fitted to excite pity and hatred instead of laughter. It is not my purpose, however, to confute the statements contained in such works; for their fallacy is manifest to all, especially if any one will have the patience to read the books themselves. Rather do I wish to show that Nature teaches this, that God made nothing that is mortal, but that His works, whatever they are, are immortal, and theirs mortal. And the soul is the work of God, while the nature of the body is different. And in this respect there is no difference between the body of a bat, or of a worm, or of a frog, and that of a man; for the matter is the same, and their corruptible part is alike. Nevertheless I could wish that every one who heard Celsus declaiming and asserting that the treatise entitled Controversy between Jason and Papiscus regarding Christ was fitted to excite not laughter, but hatred, could take the work into his hands, and patiently listen to its contents; that, finding in it nothing to excite hatred, he might condemn Celsus out of the book itself. For if it be impartially perused, it will be found that there is nothing to excite even laughter in a work in which a Christian is described as conversing with a Jew on the subject of the Jewish Scriptures, and proving that the predictions regarding Christ fitly apply to Jesus; although the other disputant maintains the discussion in no ignoble style, and in a manner not unbecoming the character of a Jew. 4.87. Let it be granted, however, that there are other prophylactics against poisons known to animals: what does that avail to prove that it is not nature, but reason, which leads to the discovery of such things among them? For if reason were the discoverer, this one thing (or, if you will, one or two more things) would not be (exclusive of all others) the sole discovery made by serpents, and some other thing the sole discovery of the eagle, and so on with the rest of the animals; but as many discoveries would have been made among them as among men. But now it is manifest from the determinate inclination of the nature of each animal towards certain kinds of help, that they possess neither wisdom nor reason, but a natural constitutional tendency implanted by the Logos towards such things in order to ensure the preservation of the animal. And, indeed, if I wished to join issue with Celsus in these matters, I might quote the words of Solomon from the book of Proverbs, which run thus: There be four things which are little upon the earth, but these are wiser than the wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth in order at one command; and the spotted lizard, though leaning upon its hands, and being easily captured, dwells in kings' fortresses. I do not quote these words, however, as taking them in their literal signification, but, agreeably to the title of the book (for it is inscribed Proverbs), I investigate them as containing a secret meaning. For it is the custom of these writers (of Scripture) to distribute into many classes those writings which express one sense when taken literally, but which convey a different signification as their hidden meaning; and one of these kinds of writing is Proverbs. And for this reason, in our Gospels too, is our Saviour described as saying: These things have I spoken to you in proverbs, but the time comes when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs. It is not, then, the visible ants which are wiser even than the wise, but they who are indicated as such under the proverbial style of expression. And such must be our conclusion regarding the rest of the animal creation, although Celsus regards the books of the Jews and Christians as exceedingly simple and commonplace, and imagines that those who give them an allegorical interpretation do violence to the meaning of the writers. By what we have said, then, let it appear that Celsus calumniates us in vain, and let his assertions that serpents and eagles are wiser than men also receive their refutation. 5.52. But the statement of Celsus which we wish to examine at present is the following: Let us then pass over the refutations which might be adduced against the claims of their teacher, and let him be regarded as really an angel. But is he the first and only one who came (to men), or were there others before him? If they should say that he is the only one, they would be convicted of telling lies against themselves. For they assert that on many occasions others came, and sixty or seventy of them together, and that these became wicked, and were cast under the earth and punished with chains, and that from this source originate the warm springs, which are their tears; and, moreover, that there came an angel to the tomb of this said being - according to some, indeed, one, but according to others, two - who answered the women that he had arisen. For the Son of God could not himself, as it seems, open the tomb, but needed the help of another to roll away the stone. And again, on account of the pregcy of Mary, there came an angel to the carpenter, and once more another angel, in order that they might take up the young Child and flee away (into Egypt). But what need is there to particularize everything, or to count up the number of angels said to have been sent to Moses, and others among them? If, then, others were sent, it is manifest that he also came from the same God. But he may be supposed to have the appearance of announcing something of greater importance (than those who preceded him), as if the Jews had been committing sin, or corrupting their religion, or doing deeds of impiety; for these things are obscurely hinted at. 5.54. In the next place, he proceeds to answer himself as he thinks fit in the following terms: And so he is not the only one who is recorded to have visited the human race, as even those who, under pretext of teaching in the name of Jesus, have apostatized from the Creator as an inferior being, and have given in their adherence to one who is a superior God and father of him who visited (the world), assert that before him certain beings came from the Creator to visit the human race. Now, as it is in the spirit of truth that we investigate all that relates to the subject, we shall remark that it is asserted by Apelles, the celebrated disciple of Marcion, who became the founder of a certain sect, and who treated the writings of the Jews as fabulous, that Jesus is the only one that came to visit the human race. Even against him, then, who maintained that Jesus was the only one that came from God to men, it would be in vain for Celsus to quote the statements regarding the descent of other angels, seeing Apelles discredits, as we have already mentioned, the miraculous narratives of the Jewish Scriptures; and much more will he decline to admit what Celsus has adduced, from not understanding the contents of the Book of Enoch. No one, then, convicts us of falsehood, or of making contradictory assertions, as if we maintained both that our Saviour was the only being that ever came to men, and yet that many others came on different occasions. And in a most confused manner, moreover, does he adduce, when examining the subject of the visits of angels to men, what he has derived, without seeing its meaning, from the contents of the Book of Enoch; for he does not appear to have read the passages in question, nor to have been aware that the books which bear the name Enoch do not at all circulate in the Churches as divine, although it is from this source that he might be supposed to have obtained the statement, that sixty or seventy angels descended at the same time, who fell into a state of wickedness. 6.12. Accordingly, let us pass on to another charge made by Celsus, who is not even acquainted with the words (of our sacred books), but who, from misunderstanding them, has said that we declare the wisdom that is among men to be foolishness with God; Paul having said that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God. Celsus says that the reason of this has been stated long ago. And the reason he imagines to be, our desire to win over by means of this saying the ignorant and foolish alone. But, as he himself has intimated, he has said the same thing before; and we, to the best of our ability, replied to it. Notwithstanding this, however, he wished to show that this statement was an invention of ours, and borrowed from the Grecian sages, who declare that human wisdom is of one kind, and divine of another. And he quotes the words of Heraclitus, where he says in one passage, that man's method of action is not regulated by fixed principles, but that of God is; and in another, that a foolish man listens to a demon, as a boy does to a man. He quotes, moreover, the following from the Apology of Socrates, of which Plato was the author: For I, O men of Athens, have obtained this name by no other means than by my wisdom. And of what sort is this wisdom? Such, probably, as is human; for in that respect I venture to think that I am in reality wise. Such are the passages adduced by Celsus. But I shall subjoin also the following from Plato's letter to Hermeas, and Erastus, and Coriscus: To Erastus and Coriscus I say, although I am an old man, that, in addition to this noble knowledge of 'forms' (which they possess), they need a wisdom, with regard to the class of wicked and unjust persons, which may serve as a protective and repelling force against them. For they are inexperienced, in consequence of having passed a large portion of their lives with us, who are moderate individuals, and not wicked. I have accordingly said that they need these things, in order that they may not be compelled to neglect the true wisdom, and to apply themselves in a greater degree than is proper to that which is necessary and human. 6.16. In the next place, with regard to the declaration of Jesus against rich men, when He said, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God, Celsus alleges that this saying manifestly proceeded from Plato, and that Jesus perverted the words of the philosopher, which were, that it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness, and at the same time for riches. Now who is there that is capable of giving even moderate attention to affairs - not merely among the believers on Jesus, but among the rest of mankind- that would not laugh at Celsus, on hearing that Jesus, who was born and brought up among the Jews, and was supposed to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, and who had not studied literature - not merely that of the Greeks, but not even that of the Hebrews - as the truth-loving Scriptures testify regarding Him, had read Plato, and being pleased with the opinion he expressed regarding rich men, to the effect that it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness and riches at the same time, had perverted this, and changed it into, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God! Now, if Celsus had not perused the Gospels in a spirit of hatred and dislike, but had been imbued with a love of truth, he would have turned his attention to the point why a camel - that one of animals which, as regards its physical structure, is crooked - was chosen as an object of comparison with a rich man, and what signification the narrow eye of a needle had for him who saw that strait and narrow was the way that leads unto life; and to this point also, that this animal. according to the law, is described as unclean, having one element of acceptability, viz. that it ruminates, but one of condemnation, viz., that it does not divide the hoof. He would have inquired, moreover, how often the camel was adduced as an object of comparison in the sacred Scriptures, and in reference to what objects, that he might thus ascertain the meaning of the Logos concerning the rich men. Nor would he have left without examination the fact that the poor are termed blessed by Jesus, while the rich are designated as miserable; and whether these words refer to the rich and poor who are visible to the senses, or whether there is any kind of poverty known to the Logos which is to be deemed altogether blessed, and any rich man who is to be wholly condemned. For even a common individual would not thus indiscriminately have praised the poor, many of whom lead most wicked lives. But on this point we have said enough. 6.50. In the next place, Celsus, after heaping together, simply as mere assertions, the varying opinions of some of the ancients regarding the world, and the origin of man, alleges that Moses and the prophets, who have left to us our books, not knowing at all what the nature of the world is, and of man, have woven together a web of sheer nonsense. If he had shown, now, how it appeared to him that the holy Scriptures contained sheer nonsense, we should have tried to demolish the arguments which appeared to him to establish their nonsensical character; but on the present occasion, following his own example, we also sportively give it as our opinion that Celsus, knowing nothing at all about the nature of the meaning and language of the prophets, composed a work which contained sheer nonsense, and boastfully gave it the title of a true discourse. And since he makes the statements about the days of creation ground of accusation - as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, and sun, and moon, and stars, and some of them after the creation of these - we shall only make this observation, that Moses must then have forgotten that he had said a little before, that in six days the creation of the world had been finished, and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: This is the book of the creation of man, in the day when God made the heaven and the earth! But it is not in the least credible, that after what he had said respecting the six days, Moses should immediately add, without a special meaning, the words, in the day that God made the heavens and the earth; and if any one thinks that these words may be referred to the statement, In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth, let him observe that before the words, Let there be light, and there was light, and these, God called the light day, it has been stated that in the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. 7.8. I do not know what led Celsus, when saying, But what things were spoken or not spoken in the land of Judea, according to the custom of the country, to use the words or not spoken, as though implying that he was incredulous, and that he suspected that those things which were written were never spoken. In fact, he is unacquainted with these times; and he does not know that those prophets who foretold the coming of Christ, predicted a multitude of other events many years beforehand. He adds, with the view of casting a slight upon the ancient prophets, that they prophesied in the same way as we find them still doing among the inhabitants of Phœnicia and Palestine. But he does not tell us whether he refers to persons who are of different principles from those of the Jews and Christians, or to persons whose prophecies are of the same character as those of the Jewish prophets. However it be, his statement is false, taken in either way. For never have any of those who have not embraced our faith done any thing approaching to what was done by the ancient prophets; and in more recent times, since the coming of Christ, no prophets have arisen among the Jews, who have confessedly been abandoned by the Holy Spirit on account of their impiety towards God, and towards Him of whom their prophets spoke. Moreover, the Holy Spirit gave signs of His presence at the beginning of Christ's ministry, and after His ascension He gave still more; but since that time these signs have diminished, although there are still traces of His presence in a few who have had their souls purified by the Gospel, and their actions regulated by its influence. For the holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding. Wisdom 1:5


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
betrothal, as matrimony Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
betrothal, biblical law Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
biblical interpretation, celsus attack on allegorical interpretation Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 846
biblical law, christian use Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
celsus, criticism of scripture Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 846
celsus, knowledge of bible Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 846
celsus, logos alethes Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
celsus Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 259, 260, 261, 263
christianity/christians, attacks against Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
christianity/christians, emergence of Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
dialogue between papiscus and jason Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
egypt Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 260
epistle of barnabas Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
fornication, during betrothal Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
hebrew, ʿalmâ Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
helvidius Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
hilary of poitiers Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
irenaeus Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
james (son of joseph) Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
jerome Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
jesus, family Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
jesus Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 259, 260, 261, 263
luke (evangelist) Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
magic Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 260
mary (mother of jesus), virginity Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
origen Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 259, 260, 261, 263; Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 384
philosophical opposition (to christianity) Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 846
plato Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 259, 261
polemics Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 263
prophecy Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 263
return from the dead Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 261
rhetoric Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 263
true discourse, of celsus, general characteristics Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 846
virgin, eve' Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (2020) 54
virgin birth Nicklas and Spittler, Credible, Incredible: The Miraculous in the Ancient Mediterranean. (2013) 260, 261, 263