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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



8413
Origen, Against Celsus, 6.2-6.3


nanI have made these remarks in reply to the charges which Celsus and others bring against the simplicity of the language of Scripture, which appears to be thrown into the shade by the splendour of polished discourse. For our prophets, and Jesus Himself, and His apostles, were careful to adopt a style of address which should not merely convey the truth, but which should be fitted to gain over the multitude, until each one, attracted and led onwards, should ascend as far as he could towards the comprehension of those mysteries which are contained in these apparently simple words. For, if I may venture to say so, few have been benefited (if they have indeed been benefited at all) by the beautiful and polished style of Plato, and those who have written like him; while, on the contrary, many have received advantage from those who wrote and taught in a simple and practical manner, and with a view to the wants of the multitude. It is easy, indeed, to observe that Plato is found only in the hands of those who profess to be literary men; while Epictetus is admired by persons of ordinary capacity, who have a desire to be benefited, and who perceive the improvement which may be derived from his writings. Now we make these remarks, not to disparage Plato (for the great world of men has found even him useful), but to point out the aim of those who said: And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. For the word of God declares that the preaching (although in itself true and most worthy of belief) is not sufficient to reach the human heart, unless a certain power be imparted to the speaker from God, and a grace appear upon his words; and it is only by the divine agency that this takes place in those who speak effectually. The prophet says in the sixty-seventh Psalm, that the Lord will give a word with great power to them who preach. If, then, it should be granted with respect to certain points, that the same doctrines are found among the Greeks as in our own Scriptures, yet they do not possess the same power of attracting and disposing the souls of men to follow them. And therefore the disciples of Jesus, men ignorant so far as regards Grecian philosophy, yet traversed many countries of the world, impressing, agreeably to the desire of the Logos, each one of their hearers according to his deserts, so that they received a moral amelioration in proportion to the inclination of their will to accept of that which is good.


nanLet the ancient sages, then, make known their sayings to those who are capable of understanding them. Suppose that Plato, for example, the son of Ariston, in one of his Epistles, is discoursing about the chief good, and that he says, The chief good can by no means be described in words, but is produced by long habit, and bursts forth suddenly as a light in the soul, as from a fire which had leapt forth. We, then, on hearing these words, admit that they are well said, for it is God who revealed to men these as well as all other noble expressions. And for this reason it is that we maintain that those who have entertained correct ideas regarding God, but who have not offered to Him a worship in harmony with the truth, are liable to the punishments which fall on sinners. For respecting such Paul says in express words: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. The truth, then, is verily held (in unrighteousness), as our Scriptures testify, by those who are of opinion that the chief good cannot be described in words, but who assert that, after long custom and familiar usage, a light becomes suddenly kindled in the soul, as if by a fire springing forth, and that it now supports itself alone.


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

18 results
1. Plato, Phaedrus, 248-250, 247 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

2. Plato, Philebus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

12b. Phi. True; and for that reason I wash my hands of it and now call upon the goddess herself to witness that I do so. Pro. And we also will bear witness to these words of yours. But all the same, Socrates, Philebus may agree or do as he likes, let us try to finish our argument in due order. Soc. We must try, and let us begin with the very goddess who Philebus says is spoken of as Aphrodite but is most truly named Pleasure. Pro. Quite right.
3. Plato, Theaetetus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

176a. THEO. If, Socrates, you could persuade all men of the truth of what you say as you do me, there would be more peace and fewer evils among mankind. SOC. But it is impossible that evils should be done away with, Theodorus, for there must always be something opposed to the good; and they cannot have their place among the gods, but must inevitably hover about mortal nature and this earth. Therefore we ought to try to escape from earth to the dwelling of the gods as quickly as we can;
4. Plato, Timaeus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

22d. the occurrence of a shifting of the bodies in the heavens which move round the earth, and a destruction of the things on the earth by fierce fire, which recurs at long intervals. At such times all they that dwell on the mountains and in high and dry places suffer destruction more than those who dwell near to rivers or the sea; and in our case the Nile, our Saviour in other ways, saves us also at such times from this calamity by rising high. And when, on the other hand, the Gods purge the earth with a flood of waters, all the herdsmen and shepherds that are in the mountains are saved
5. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 13.12 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

13.12. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, butthen face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, evenas I was also fully known.
6. New Testament, 2 Corinthians, 4.7 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7. New Testament, Ephesians, 2.18, 3.14, 4.6 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.18. For through him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 3.14. For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 4.6. one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all.
8. New Testament, Luke, 3.10-3.14, 16.19-16.31 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

3.10. The multitudes asked him, "What then must we do? 3.11. He answered them, "He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise. 3.12. Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what must we do? 3.13. He said to them, "Collect no more than that which is appointed to you. 3.14. Soldiers also asked him, saying, "What about us? What must we do?"He said to them, "Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages. 16.19. Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. 16.20. A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores 16.21. and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 16.22. It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. 16.23. In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. 16.24. He cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame.' 16.25. But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in like manner, bad things. But now here he is comforted and you are in anguish. 16.26. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' 16.27. He said, 'I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house; 16.28. for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won't also come into this place of torment.' 16.29. But Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' 16.30. He said, 'No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 16.31. He said to him, 'If they don't listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.'
9. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

10. Justin, Second Apology, 10.6, 13.4 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

11. Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 2.2 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12. Maximus of Tyre, Dialexeis, 11.5 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

13. Tatian, Oration To The Greeks, 26 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14. Tertullian, On The Soul, 20 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

15. Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 4.29.6 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4.29.6. But their original founder, Tatian, formed a certain combination and collection of the Gospels, I know not how, to which he gave the title Diatessaron, and which is still in the hands of some. But they say that he ventured to paraphrase certain words of the apostle, in order to improve their style.
16. Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 5.1.15, 5.1.17-5.1.18, 5.1.21 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

17. Origen, Against Celsus, 1.9-1.10, 1.20-1.21, 1.26-1.27, 1.50, 2.24, 2.27, 3.10-3.12, 3.37, 3.66, 3.68, 3.72, 4.39, 4.48, 4.62, 4.87, 6.1, 6.3, 6.7, 6.43, 6.49, 6.59-6.61, 6.74, 7.44 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.9. He next proceeds to recommend, that in adopting opinions we should follow reason and a rational guide, since he who assents to opinions without following this course is very liable to be deceived. And he compares inconsiderate believers to Metragyrt, and soothsayers, and Mithr, and Sabbadians, and to anything else that one may fall in with, and to the phantoms of Hecate, or any other demon or demons. For as among such persons are frequently to be found wicked men, who, taking advantage of the ignorance of those who are easily deceived, lead them away whither they will, so also, he says, is the case among Christians. And he asserts that certain persons who do not wish either to give or receive a reason for their belief, keep repeating, Do not examine, but believe! and, Your faith will save you! And he alleges that such also say, The wisdom of this life is bad, but that foolishness is a good thing! To which we have to answer, that if it were possible for all to leave the business of life, and devote themselves to philosophy, no other method ought to be adopted by any one, but this alone. For in the Christian system also it will be found that there is, not to speak at all arrogantly, at least as much of investigation into articles of belief, and of explanation of dark sayings, occurring in the prophetical writings, and of the parables in the Gospels, and of countless other things, which either were narrated or enacted with a symbolic signification, (as is the case with other systems). But since the course alluded to is impossible, partly on account of the necessities of life, partly on account of the weakness of men, as only a very few individuals devote themselves earnestly to study, what better method could be devised with a view of assisting the multitude, than that which was delivered by Jesus to the heathen? And let us inquire, with respect to the great multitude of believers, who have washed away the mire of wickedness in which they formerly wallowed, whether it were better for them to believe without a reason, and (so) to have become reformed and improved in their habits, through the belief that men are chastised for sins, and honoured for good works or not to have allowed themselves to be converted on the strength of mere faith, but (to have waited) until they could give themselves to a thorough examination of the (necessary) reasons. For it is manifest that, (on such a plan), all men, with very few exceptions, would not obtain this (amelioration of conduct) which they have obtained through a simple faith, but would continue to remain in the practice of a wicked life. Now, whatever other evidence can be furnished of the fact, that it was not without divine intervention that the philanthropic scheme of Christianity was introduced among men, this also must be added. For a pious man will not believe that even a physician of the body, who restores the sick to better health, could take up his abode in any city or country without divine permission, since no good happens to men without the help of God. And if he who has cured the bodies of many, or restored them to better health, does not effect his cures without the help of God, how much more He who has healed the souls of many, and has turned them (to virtue), and improved their nature, and attached them to God who is over all things, and taught them to refer every action to His good pleasure, and to shun all that is displeasing to Him, even to the least of their words or deeds, or even of the thoughts of their hearts? 1.10. In the next place, since our opponents keep repeating those statements about faith, we must say that, considering it as a useful thing for the multitude, we admit that we teach those men to believe without reasons, who are unable to abandon all other employments, and give themselves to an examination of arguments; and our opponents, although they do not acknowledge it, yet practically do the same. For who is there that, on betaking himself to the study of philosophy, and throwing himself into the ranks of some sect, either by chance, or because he is provided with a teacher of that school, adopts such a course for any other reason, except that he believes his particular sect to be superior to any other? For, not waiting to hear the arguments of all the other philosophers, and of all the different sects, and the reasons for condemning one system and for supporting another, he in this way elects to become a Stoic, e.g., or a Platonist, or a Peripatetic, or an Epicurean, or a follower of some other school, and is thus borne, although they will not admit it, by a kind of irrational impulse to the practice, say of Stoicism, to the disregard of the others; despising either Platonism, as being marked by greater humility than the others; or Peripateticism, as more human, and as admitting with more fairness than other systems the blessings of human life. And some also, alarmed at first sight about the doctrine of providence, from seeing what happens in the world to the vicious and to the virtuous, have rashly concluded that there is no divine providence at all, and have adopted the views of Epicurus and Celsus. 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! 1.21. The following is the view of Celsus and the Epicureans: Moses having, he says, learned the doctrine which is to be found existing among wise nations and eloquent men, obtained the reputation of divinity. Now, in answer to this we have to say, that it may be allowed him that Moses did indeed hear a somewhat ancient doctrine, and transmitted the same to the Hebrews; that if the doctrine which he heard was false, and neither pious nor venerable, and if notwithstanding, he received it and handed it down to those under his authority, he is liable to censure; but if, as you assert, he gave his adherence to opinions that were wise and true, and educated his people by means of them, what, pray, has he done deserving of condemnation? Would, indeed, that not only Epicurus, but Aristotle, whose sentiments regarding providence are not so impious (as those of the former), and the Stoics, who assert that God is a body, had heard such a doctrine! Then the world would not have been filled with opinions which either disallow or enfeeble the action of providence, or introduce a corrupt corporeal principle, according to which the god of the Stoics is a body, with respect to whom they are not afraid to say that he is capable of change, and may be altered and transformed in all his parts, and, generally, that he is capable of corruption, if there be any one to corrupt him, but that he has the good fortune to escape corruption, because there is none to corrupt. Whereas the doctrine of the Jews and Christians, which preserves the immutability and unalterableness of the divine nature, is stigmatized as impious, because it does not partake of the profanity of those whose notions of God are marked by impiety, but because it says in the supplication addressed to the Divinity, You are the same, it being, moreover, an article of faith that God has said, I change not. 1.26. But let us see the manner in which this Celsus, who professes to know everything, brings a false accusation against the Jews, when he alleges that they worship angels, and are addicted to sorcery, in which Moses was their instructor. Now, in what part of the writings of Moses he found the lawgiver laying down the worship of angels, let him tell, who professes to know all about Christianity and Judaism; and let him show also how sorcery can exist among those who have accepted the Mosaic law, and read the injunction, Neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them. Moreover, he promises to show afterwards how it was through ignorance that the Jews were deceived and led into error. Now, if he had discovered that the ignorance of the Jews regarding Christ was the effect of their not having heard the prophecies about Him, he would show with truth how the Jews fell into error. But without any wish whatever that this should appear, he views as Jewish errors what are no errors at all. And Celsus having promised to make us acquainted, in a subsequent part of his work, with the doctrines of Judaism, proceeds in the first place to speak of our Saviour as having been the leader of our generation, in so far as we are Christians, and says that a few years ago he began to teach this doctrine, being regarded by Christians as the Son of God. Now, with respect to this point - His prior existence a few years ago - we have to remark as follows. Could it have come to pass without divine assistance, that Jesus, desiring during these years to spread abroad His words and teaching, should have been so successful, that everywhere throughout the world, not a few persons, Greeks as well as Barbarians, learned as well as ignorant, adopted His doctrine, so that they struggled, even to death in its defense, rather than deny it, which no one is ever related to have done for any other system? I indeed, from no wish to flatter Christianity, but from a desire thoroughly to examine the facts, would say that even those who are engaged in the healing of numbers of sick persons, do not attain their object - the cure of the body - without divine help; and if one were to succeed in delivering souls from a flood of wickedness, and excesses, and acts of injustice, and from a contempt of God, and were to show, as evidence of such a result, one hundred persons improved in their natures (let us suppose the number to be so large), no one would reasonably say that it was without divine assistance that he had implanted in those hundred individuals a doctrine capable of removing so many evils. And if any one, on a candid consideration of these things, shall admit that no improvement ever takes place among men without divine help, how much more confidently shall he make the same assertion regarding Jesus, when he compares the former lives of many converts to His doctrine with their after conduct, and reflects in what acts of licentiousness and injustice and covetousness they formerly indulged, until, as Celsus, and they who think with him, allege, they were deceived, and accepted a doctrine which, as these individuals assert, is destructive of the life of men; but who, from the time that they adopted it, have become in some way meeker, and more religious, and more consistent, so that certain among them, from a desire of exceeding chastity, and a wish to worship God with greater purity, abstain even from the permitted indulgences of (lawful) love. 1.27. Any one who examines the subject will see that Jesus attempted and successfully accomplished works beyond the reach of human power. For although, from the very beginning, all things opposed the spread of His doctrine in the world, - both the princes of the times, and their chief captains and generals, and all, to speak generally, who were possessed of the smallest influence, and in addition to these, the rulers of the different cities, and the soldiers, and the people - yet it proved victorious, as being the Word of God, the nature of which is such that it cannot be hindered; and becoming more powerful than all such adversaries, it made itself master of the whole of Greece, and a considerable portion of Barbarian lands, and convened countless numbers of souls to His religion. And although, among the multitude of converts to Christianity, the simple and ignorant necessarily outnumbered the more intelligent, as the former class always does the latter, yet Celsus, unwilling to take note of this, thinks that this philanthropic doctrine, which reaches to every soul under the sun, is vulgar, and on account of its vulgarity and its want of reasoning power, obtained a hold only over the ignorant. And yet he himself admits that it was not the simple alone who were led by the doctrine of Jesus to adopt His religion; for he acknowledges that there were among them some persons of moderate intelligence, and gentle disposition, and possessed of understanding, and capable of comprehending allegories. 1.50. In the next place, as if the only event predicted were this, that He was to be the Judge of the righteous and the Punisher of the wicked, and as if neither the place of His birth, nor the sufferings which He was to endure at the hands of the Jews, nor His resurrection, nor the wonderful works which He was to perform, had been made the subject of prophecy, he continues: Why should it be you alone, rather than innumerable others, who existed after the prophecies were published, to whom these predictions are applicable? And desiring, I know not how, to suggest to others the possibility of the notion that they themselves were the persons referred to by the prophets, he says that some, carried away by enthusiasm, and others having gathered a multitude of followers, give out that the Son of God has come down from heaven. Now we have not ascertained that such occurrences are admitted to have taken place among the Jews. We have to remark then, in the first place, that many of the prophets have uttered predictions in all kinds of ways regarding Christ; some by means of dark sayings, others in allegories or in some other manner, and some also in express words. And as in what follows he says, in the character of the Jew addressing the converts from his own nation, and repeating emphatically and malevolently, that the prophecies referred to the events of his life may also suit other events as well, we shall state a few of them out of a greater number; and with respect to these, any one who chooses may say what he thinks fitted to ensure a refutation of them, and which may turn away intelligent believers from the faith. 2.24. After this, wishing to prove that the occurrences which befell Him were painful and distressing, and that it was impossible for Him, had He wished, to render them otherwise, he proceeds: Why does he mourn, and lament, and pray to escape the fear of death, expressing himself in terms like these: 'O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me?' Now in these words observe the malignity of Celsus, how not accepting the love of truth which actuates the writers of the Gospels (who might have passed over in silence those points which, as Celsus thinks, are censurable, but who did not omit them for many reasons, which any one, in expounding the Gospel, can give in their proper place), he brings an accusation against the Gospel statement, grossly exaggerating the facts, and quoting what is not written in the Gospels, seeing it is nowhere found that Jesus lamented. And he changes the words in the expression, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, and does not give what follows immediately after, which manifests at once the ready obedience of Jesus to His Father, and His greatness of mind, and which runs thus: Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. Nay, even the cheerful obedience of Jesus to the will of His Father in those things which He was condemned to suffer, exhibited in the declaration, If this cup cannot pass from Me except I drink it, Your will be done, he pretends not to have observed, acting here like those wicked individuals who listen to the Holy Scriptures in a maligt spirit, and who talk wickedness with lofty head. For they appear to have heard the declaration, I kill, and they often make it to us a subject of reproach; but the words, I will make alive, they do not remember - the whole sentence showing that those who live amid public wickedness, and who work wickedly, are put to death by God, and that a better life is infused into them instead, even one which God will give to those who have died to sin. And so also these men have heard the words, I will smite; but they do not see these, and I will heal, which are like the words of a physician, who cuts bodies asunder, and inflicts severe wounds, in order to extract from them substances that are injurious and prejudicial to health, and who does not terminate his work with pains and lacerations, but by his treatment restores the body to that state of soundness which he has in view. Moreover, they have not heard the whole of the announcement, For He makes sore, and again binds up; but only this part, He makes sore. So in like manner acts this Jew of Celsus who quotes the words, O Father, would that this cup might pass from Me; but who does not add what follows, and which exhibits the firmness of Jesus, and His preparedness for suffering. But these matters, which afford great room for explanation from the wisdom of God, and which may reasonably be pondered over by those whom Paul calls perfect when he said, We speak wisdom among them who are perfect, we pass by for the present, and shall speak for a little of those matters which are useful for our present purpose. 2.27. After this he says, that certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the Gospel from its original integrity, to a threefold, and fourfold, and many-fold degree, and have remodelled it, so that they might be able to answer objections. Now I know of no others who have altered the Gospel, save the followers of Marcion, and those of Valentinus, and, I think, also those of Lucian. But such an allegation is no charge against the Christian system, but against those who dared so to trifle with the Gospels. And as it is no ground of accusation against philosophy, that there exist Sophists, or Epicureans, or Peripatetics, or any others, whoever they may be, who hold false opinions; so neither is it against genuine Christianity that there are some who corrupt the Gospel histories, and who introduce heresies opposed to the meaning of the doctrine of Jesus. 3.10. But observe what he alleges as a proof of his statement: Christians at first were few in number, and held the same opinions; but when they grew to be a great multitude, they were divided and separated, each wishing to have his own individual party: for this was their object from the beginning. That Christians at first were few in number, in comparison with the multitudes who subsequently became Christian, is undoubted; and yet, all things considered, they were not so very few. For what stirred up the envy of the Jews against Jesus, and aroused them to conspire against Him, was the great number of those who followed Him into the wilderness - five thousand men on one occasion, and four thousand on another, having attended Him there, without including the women and children. For such was the charm of Jesus' words, that not only were men willing to follow Him to the wilderness, but women also, forgetting the weakness of their sex and a regard for outward propriety in thus following their Teacher into desert places. Children, too, who are altogether unaffected by such emotions, either following their parents, or perhaps attracted also by His divinity, in order that it might be implanted within them, became His followers along with their parents. But let it be granted that Christians were few in number at the beginning, how does that help to prove that Christians would be unwilling to make all men believe the doctrine of the Gospel? 3.11. He says, in addition, that all the Christians were of one mind, not observing, even in this particular, that from the beginning there were differences of opinion among believers regarding the meaning of the books held to be divine. At all events, while the apostles were still preaching, and while eye-witnesses of (the works of) Jesus were still teaching His doctrine, there was no small discussion among the converts from Judaism regarding Gentile believers, on the point whether they ought to observe Jewish customs, or should reject the burden of clean and unclean meats, as not being obligatory on those who had abandoned their ancestral Gentile customs, and had become believers in Jesus. Nay, even in the Epistles of Paul, who was contemporary with those who had seen Jesus, certain particulars are found mentioned as having been the subject of dispute - viz., respecting the resurrection, and whether it were already past, and the day of the Lord, whether it were near at hand or not. Nay, the very exhortation to avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing, have erred concerning the faith, is enough to show that from the very beginning, when, as Celsus imagines, believers were few in number, there were certain doctrines interpreted in different ways. 3.12. In the next place, since he reproaches us with the existence of heresies in Christianity as being a ground of accusation against it, saying that when Christians had greatly increased in numbers, they were divided and split up into factions, each individual desiring to have his own party; and further, that being thus separated through their numbers, they confute one another, still having, so to speak, one name in common, if indeed they still retain it. And this is the only thing which they are yet ashamed to abandon, while other matters are determined in different ways by the various sects. In reply to which, we say that heresies of different kinds have never originated from any matter in which the principle involved was not important and beneficial to human life. For since the science of medicine is useful and necessary to the human race, and many are the points of dispute in it respecting the manner of curing bodies, there are found, for this reason, numerous heresies confessedly prevailing in the science of medicine among the Greeks, and also, I suppose, among those barbarous nations who profess to employ medicine. And, again, since philosophy makes a profession of the truth, and promises a knowledge of existing things with a view to the regulation of life, and endeavours to teach what is advantageous to our race, and since the investigation of these matters is attended with great differences of opinion, innumerable heresies have consequently sprung up in philosophy, some of which are more celebrated than others. Even Judaism itself afforded a pretext for the origination of heresies, in the different acceptation accorded to the writings of Moses and those of the prophets. So, then, seeing Christianity appeared an object of veneration to men, not to the more servile class alone, as Celsus supposes, but to many among the Greeks who were devoted to literary pursuits, there necessarily originated heresies - not at all, however, as the result of faction and strife, but through the earnest desire of many literary men to become acquainted with the doctrines of Christianity. The consequence of which was, that, taking in different acceptations those discourses which were believed by all to be divine, there arose heresies, which received their names from those individuals who admired, indeed, the origin of Christianity, but who were led, in some way or other, by certain plausible reasons, to discordant views. And yet no one would act rationally in avoiding medicine because of its heresies; nor would he who aimed at that which is seemly entertain a hatred of philosophy, and adduce its many heresies as a pretext for his antipathy. And so neither are the sacred books of Moses and the prophets to be condemned on account of the heresies in Judaism. 3.37. The Egyptians, then, having been taught to worship Antinous, will, if you compare him with Apollo or Zeus, endure such a comparison, Antinous being magnified in their estimation through being classed with these deities; for Celsus is clearly convicted of falsehood when he says, that they will not endure his being compared with Apollo or Zeus. Whereas Christians (who have learned that their eternal life consists in knowing the only true God, who is over all, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent; and who have learned also that all the gods of the heathen are greedy demons, which flit around sacrifices and blood, and other sacrificial accompaniments, in order to deceive those who have not taken refuge with the God who is over all, but that the divine and holy angels of God are of a different nature and will from all the demons on earth, and that they are known to those exceedingly few persons who have carefully and intelligently investigated these matters) will not endure a comparison to be made between them and Apollo or Zeus, or any being worshipped with odour and blood and sacrifices; some of them, so acting from their extreme simplicity, not being able to give a reason for their conduct, but sincerely observing the precepts which they have received; others, again, for reasons not to be lightly regarded, nay, even of a profound description, and (as a Greek would say) drawn from the inner nature of things; and among the latter of these God is a frequent subject of conversation, and those who are honoured by God, through His only-begotten Word, with participation in His divinity, and therefore also in His name. They speak much, too, both regarding the angels of God and those who are opposed to the truth, but have been deceived; and who, in consequence of being deceived, call them gods or angels of God, or good demons, or heroes who have become such by the transference into them of a good human soul. And such Christians will also show, that as in philosophy there are many who appear to be in possession of the truth, who have yet either deceived themselves by plausible arguments, or by rashly assenting to what was brought forward and discovered by others; so also, among those souls which exist apart from bodies, both angels and demons, there are some which have been induced by plausible reasons to declare themselves gods. And because it was impossible that the reasons of such things could be discovered by men with perfect exactness, it was deemed safe that no mortal should entrust himself to any being as to God, with the exception of Jesus Christ, who is, as it were, the Ruler over all things, and who both beheld these weighty secrets, and made them known to a few. 3.66. Now here Celsus appears to me to have committed a great error, in refusing to those who are sinners by nature, and also by habit, the possibility of a complete transformation, alleging that they cannot be cured even by punishment. For it clearly appears that all men are inclined to sin by nature, and some not only by nature but by practice, while not all men are incapable of an entire transformation. For there are found in every philosophical sect, and in the word of God, persons who are related to have undergone so great a change that they may be proposed as a model of excellence of life. Among the names of the heroic age some mention Hercules and Ulysses, among those of later times, Socrates, and of those who have lived very recently, Musonius. Not only against us, then, did Celsus utter the calumny, when he said that it was manifest to every one that those who were given to sin by nature and habit could not by any means - even by punishments - be completely changed for the better, but also against the noblest names in philosophy, who have not denied that the recovery of virtue was a possible thing for men. But although he did not express his meaning with exactness, we shall nevertheless, though giving his words a more favourable construction, convict him of unsound reasoning. For his words were: Those who are inclined to sin by nature and habit, no one could completely reform even by chastisement; and his words, as we understood them, we refuted to the best of our ability. 3.68. That philosophical discourses, however, distinguished by orderly arrangement and elegant expression, should produce such results in the case of those individuals just enumerated, and upon others who have led wicked lives, is not at all to be wondered at. But when we consider that those discourses, which Celsus terms vulgar, are filled with power, as if they were spells, and see that they at once convert multitudes from a life of licentiousness to one of extreme regularity, and from a life of wickedness to a better, and from a state of cowardice or unmanliness to one of such high-toned courage as to lead men to despise even death through the piety which shows itself within them, why should we not justly admire the power which they contain? For the words of those who at the first assumed the office of (Christian) ambassadors, and who gave their labours to rear up the Churches of God - nay, their preaching also - were accompanied with a persuasive power, though not like that found among those who profess the philosophy of Plato, or of any other merely human philosopher, which possesses no other qualities than those of human nature. But the demonstration which followed the words of the apostles of Jesus was given from God, and was accredited by the Spirit and by power. And therefore their word ran swiftly and speedily, or rather the word of God through their instrumentality, transformed numbers of persons who had been sinners both by nature and habit, whom no one could have reformed by punishment, but who were changed by the word, which moulded and transformed them according to its pleasure. 3.72. In the next place, speaking as in the person of a teacher of our doctrine, he expresses himself as follows: Wise men reject what we say, being led into error, and ensnared by their wisdom. In reply to which we say that, since wisdom is the knowledge of divine and human things and of their causes, or, as it is defined by the word of God, the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty; and the brightness of the everlasting light, and the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness, Wisdom 7:25-26 no one who was really wise would reject what is said by a Christian acquainted with the principles of Christianity, or would be led into error, or ensnared by it. For true wisdom does not mislead, but ignorance does, while of existing things knowledge alone is permanent, and the truth which is derived from wisdom. But if, contrary to the definition of wisdom, you call any one whatever who dogmatizes with sophistical opinions wise, we answer that in conformity with what you call wisdom, such an one rejects the words of God, being misled and ensnared by plausible sophisms. And since, according to our doctrine, wisdom is not the knowledge of evil, but the knowledge of evil, so to speak, is in those who hold false opinions and who are deceived by them, I would therefore in such persons term it ignorance rather than wisdom. 4.39. But as Celsus makes a jest also of the serpent, as counteracting the injunctions given by God to the man, taking the narrative to be an old wife's fable, and has purposely neither mentioned the paradise of God, nor stated that God is said to have planted it in Eden towards the east, and that there afterwards sprang up from the earth every tree that was beautiful to the sight, and good for food, and the tree of life in the midst of the paradise, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the other statements which follow, which might of themselves lead a candid reader to see that all these things had not inappropriately an allegorical meaning, let us contrast with this the words of Socrates regarding Eros in the Symposium of Plato, and which are put in the mouth of Socrates as being more appropriate than what was said regarding him by all the others at the Symposium. The words of Plato are as follow: When Aphrodite was born, the gods held a banquet, and there was present, along with the others, Porus the son of Metis. And after they had dined, Penia came to beg for something (seeing there was an entertainment), and she stood at the gate. Porus meantime, having become intoxicated with the nectar (for there was then no wine), went into the garden of Zeus, and, being heavy with liquor, lay down to sleep. Penia accordingly formed a secret plot, with a view of freeing herself from her condition of poverty, to get a child by Porus, and accordingly lay down beside him, and became pregt with Eros. And on this account Eros has become the follower and attendant of Aphrodite, having been begotten on her birthday feast, and being at the same time by nature a lover of the beautiful, because Aphrodite too is beautiful. Seeing, then, that Eros is the son of Porus and Penia, the following is his condition. In the first place, he is always poor, and far from being delicate and beautiful, as most persons imagine; but is withered, and sunburnt, and unshod, and without a home, sleeping always upon the ground, and without a covering; lying in the open air beside gates, and on public roads; possessing the nature of his mother, and dwelling continually with indigence. But, on the other hand, in conformity with the character of his father, he is given to plotting against the beautiful and the good, being courageous, and hasty, and vehement; a keen hunter, perpetually devising contrivances; both much given to forethought, and also fertile in resources; acting like a philosopher throughout the whole of his life; a terrible sorcerer, and dealer in drugs, and a sophist as well; neither immortal by nature nor yet mortal, but on the same day, at one time he flourishes and lives when he has plenty, and again at another time dies, and once more is recalled to life through possessing the nature of his father. But the supplies furnished to him are always gradually disappearing, so that he is never at any time in want, nor yet rich; and, on the other hand, he occupies an intermediate position between wisdom and ignorance. Now, if those who read these words were to imitate the malignity of Celsus - which be it far from Christians to do!- they would ridicule the myth, and would turn this great Plato into a subject of jest; but if, on investigating in a philosophic spirit what is conveyed in the dress of a myth, they should be able to discover the meaning of Plato, (they will admire) the manner in which he was able to conceal, on account of the multitude, in the form of this myth, the great ideas which presented themselves to him, and to speak in a befitting manner to those who know how to ascertain from the myths the true meaning of him who wove them together. Now I have brought forward this myth occurring in the writings of Plato, because of the mention in it of the garden of Zeus, which appears to bear some resemblance to the paradise of God, and of the comparison between Penia and the serpent, and the plot against Porus by Penia, which may be compared with the plot of the serpent against the man. It is not very clear, indeed, whether Plato fell in with these stories by chance, or whether, as some think, meeting during his visit to Egypt with certain individuals who philosophized on the Jewish mysteries, and learning some things from them, he may have preserved a few of their ideas, and thrown others aside, being careful not to offend the Greeks by a complete adoption of all the points of the philosophy of the Jews, who were in bad repute with the multitude, on account of the foreign character of their laws and their peculiar polity. The present, however, is not the proper time for explaining either the myth of Plato, or the story of the serpent and the paradise of God, and all that is related to have taken place in it, as in our exposition of the book of Genesis we have especially occupied ourselves as we best could with these matters. 4.48. In the next place, as if he had devoted himself solely to the manifestation of his hatred and dislike of the Jewish and Christian doctrine, he says: The more modest of Jewish and Christian writers give all these things an allegorical meaning; and, Because they are ashamed of these things, they take refuge in allegory. Now one might say to him, that if we must admit fables and fictions, whether written with a concealed meaning or with any other object, to be shameful narratives when taken in their literal acceptation, of what histories can this be said more truly than of the Grecian? In these histories, gods who are sons castrate the gods who are their fathers, and gods who are parents devour their own children, and a goddess-mother gives to the father of gods and men a stone to swallow instead of his own son, and a father has intercourse with his daughter, and a wife binds her own husband, having as her allies in the work the brother of the fettered god and his own daughter! But why should I enumerate these absurd stories of the Greeks regarding their gods, which are most shameful in themselves, even though invested with an allegorical meaning? (Take the instance) where Chrysippus of Soli, who is considered to be an ornament of the Stoic sect, on account of his numerous and learned treatises, explains a picture at Samos, in which Juno was represented as committing unspeakable abominations with Jupiter. This reverend philosopher says in his treatises, that matter receives the spermatic words of the god, and retains them within herself, in order to ornament the universe. For in the picture at Samos Juno represents matter, and Jupiter god. Now it is on account of these, and of countless other similar fables, that we would not even in word call the God of all things Jupiter, or the sun Apollo, or the moon Diana. But we offer to the Creator a worship which is pure, and speak with religious respect of His noble works of creation, not contaminating even in word the things of God; approving of the language of Plato in the Philebus, who would not admit that pleasure was a goddess, so great is my reverence, Protarchus, he says, for the very names of the gods. We verily entertain such reverence for the name of God, and for His noble works of creation, that we would not, even under pretext of an allegorical meaning, admit any fable which might do injury to the young. 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. 6.1. In beginning this our sixth book, we desire, my reverend Ambrosius, to answer in it those accusations which Celsus brings against the Christians, not, as might be supposed, those objections which he has adduced from writers on philosophy. For he has quoted a considerable number of passages, chiefly from Plato, and has placed alongside of these such declarations of holy Scripture as are fitted to impress even the intelligent mind; subjoining the assertion that these things are stated much better among the Greeks (than in the Scriptures), and in a manner which is free from all exaggerations and promises on the part of God, or the Son of God. Now we maintain, that if it is the object of the ambassadors of the truth to confer benefits upon the greatest possible number, and, so far as they can, to win over to its side, through their love to men, every one without exception - intelligent as well as simple - not Greeks only, but also Barbarians (and great, indeed, is the humanity which should succeed in converting the rustic and the ignorant ), it is manifest that they must adopt a style of address fitted to do good to all, and to gain over to them men of every sort. Those, on the other hand, who turn away from the ignorant as being mere slaves, and unable to understand the flowing periods of a polished and logical discourse, and so devote their attention solely to such as have been brought up among literary pursuits, confine their views of the public good within very strait and narrow limits. 6.7. There might also be found in the writings of Moses and of the prophets, who are older not only than Plato, but even than Homer and the invention of letters among the Greeks, passages worthy of the grace of God bestowed upon them, and filled with great thoughts, to which they gave utterance, but not because they understood Plato imperfectly, as Celsus imagines. For how was it possible that they should have heard one who was not yet born? And if any one should apply the words of Celsus to the apostles of Jesus, who were younger than Plato, say whether it is not on the very face of it an incredible assertion, that Paul the tentmaker, and Peter the fisherman, and John who left his father's nets, should, through misunderstanding the language of Plato in his Epistles, have expressed themselves as they have done regarding God? But as Celsus now, after having often required of us immediate assent (to his views), as if he were babbling forth something new in addition to what he has already advanced, only repeats himself, what we have said in reply may suffice. Seeing, however, he produces another quotation from Plato, in which he asserts that the employment of the method of question and answer sheds light on the thoughts of those who philosophize like him, let us show from the holy Scriptures that the word of God also encourages us to the practice of dialectics: Solomon, e.g., declaring in one passage, that instruction unquestioned goes astray; and Jesus the son of Sirach, who has left us the treatise called Wisdom, declaring in another, that the knowledge of the unwise is as words that will not stand investigation. Our methods of discussion, however, are rather of a gentle kind; for we have learned that he who presides over the preaching of the word ought to be able to confute gainsayers. But if some continue indolent, and do not train themselves so as to attend to the reading of the word, and to search the Scriptures, and, agreeably to the command of Jesus, to investigate the meaning of the sacred writings, and to ask of God concerning them, and to keep knocking at what may be closed within them, the Scripture is not on that account to be regarded as devoid of wisdom. 6.43. Mark now, whether he who charges us with having committed errors of the most impious kind, and with having wandered away from the (true meaning) of the divine enigmas, is not himself clearly in error, from not observing that in the writings of Moses, which are much older not merely than Heraclitus and Pherecydes, but even than Homer, mention is made of this wicked one, and of his having fallen from heaven. For the serpent - from whom the Ophioneus spoken of by Pherecydes is derived - having become the cause of man's expulsion from the divine Paradise, obscurely shadows forth something similar, having deceived the woman by a promise of divinity and of greater blessings; and her example is said to have been followed also by the man. And, further, who else could the destroying angel mentioned in the Exodus of Moses be, than he who was the author of destruction to them that obeyed him, and did not withstand his wicked deeds, nor struggle against them? Moreover (the goat), which in the book of Leviticus is sent away (into the wilderness), and which in the Hebrew language is named Azazel, was none other than this; and it was necessary to send it away into the desert, and to treat it as an expiatory sacrifice, because on it the lot fell. For all who belong to the worse part, on account of their wickedness, being opposed to those who are God's heritage, are deserted by God. Nay, with respect to the sons of Belial in the book of Judges, whose sons are they said to be, save his, on account of their wickedness? And besides all these instances, in the book of Job, which is older even than Moses himself, the devil is distinctly described as presenting himself before God, and asking for power against Job, that he might involve him in trials of the most painful kind; the first of which consisted in the loss of all his goods and of his children, and the second in afflicting the whole body of Job with the so-called disease of elephantiasis. I pass by what might be quoted from the Gospels regarding the devil who tempted the Saviour, that I may not appear to quote in reply to Celsus from more recent writings on this question. In the last (chapter) also of Job, in which the Lord utters to Job amid tempest and clouds what is recorded in the book which bears his name, there are not a few things referring to the serpent. I have not yet mentioned the passages in Ezekiel, where he speaks, as it were, of Pharaoh, or Nebuchadnezzar, or the prince of Tyre; or those in Isaiah, where lament is made for the king of Babylon, from which not a little might be learned concerning evil, as to the nature of its origin and generation, and as to how it derived its existence from some who had lost their wings, and who had followed him who was the first to lose his own. 6.49. Let us notice now what follows, where, expressing in a single word his opinion regarding the Mosaic cosmogony, without offering, however, a single argument in its support, he finds fault with it, saying: Moreover, their cosmogony is extremely silly. Now, if he had produced some credible proofs of its silly character, we should have endeavoured to answer them; but it does not appear to me reasonable that I should be called upon to demonstrate, in answer to his mere assertion, that it is not silly. If any one, however, wishes to see the reasons which led us to accept the Mosaic account, and the arguments by which it may be defended, he may read what we have written upon Genesis, from the beginning of the book up to the passage, And this is the book of the generation of men, where we have tried to show from the holy Scriptures themselves what the heaven was which was created in the beginning; and what the earth, and the invisible part of the earth, and that which was without form; and what the deep was, and the darkness that was upon it; and what the water was, and the Spirit of God which was borne over it; and what the light which was created, and what the firmament, as distinct from the heaven which was created in the beginning; and so on with the other subjects that follow. Celsus has also expressed his opinion that the narrative of the creation of man is exceedingly silly, without stating any proofs, or endeavouring to answer our arguments; for he had no evidence, in my judgment, which was fitted to overthrow the statement that man has been made in the image of God. He does not even understand the meaning of the Paradise that was planted by God, and of the life which man first led in it; and of that which resulted from accident, when man was cast forth on account of his sin, and was settled opposite the Paradise of delight. Now, as he asserts that these are silly statements, let him turn his attention not merely to each one of them (in general), but to this in particular, He placed the cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life, and say whether Moses wrote these words with no serious object in view, but in the spirit of the writers of the old Comedy, who have sportively related that Prœtus slew Bellerophon, and that Pegasus came from Arcadia. Now their object was to create laughter in composing such stories; whereas it is incredible that he who left behind him laws for a whole nation, regarding which he wished to persuade his subjects that they were given by God, should have written words so little to the purpose, and have said without any meaning, He placed the cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life, or made any other statement regarding the creation of man, which is the subject of philosophic investigation by the Hebrew sages. 6.59. Celsus, in the next place, suspecting, or perhaps seeing clearly enough, the answer which might be returned by those who defend the destruction of men by the deluge, continues: But if he does not destroy his own offspring, whither does he convey them out of this world which he himself created? To this we reply, that God by no means removes out of the whole world, consisting of heaven and earth, those who suffered death by the deluge, but removes them from a life in the flesh, and, having set them free from their bodies, liberates them at the same time from an existence upon earth, which in many parts of Scripture it is usual to call the world. In the Gospel according to John especially, we may frequently find the regions of earth termed world, as in the passage, He was the true Light, which lightens every man that comes into the 'world;' as also in this, In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. If, then, we understand by removing out of the world a transference from regions on earth, there is nothing absurd in the expression. If, on the contrary, the system of things which consists of heaven and earth be termed world, then those who perished in the deluge are by no means removed out of the so-called world. And yet, indeed, if we have regard to the words, Looking not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; and also to these, For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, - we might say that he who dwells amid the invisible things, and what are called generally things not seen, is gone out of the world, the Word having removed him hence, and transported him to the heavenly regions, in order to behold all beautiful things. 6.60. But after this investigation of his assertions, as if his object were to swell his book by many words, he repeats, in different language, the same charges which we have examined a little ago, saying: By far the most silly thing is the distribution of the creation of the world over certain days, before days existed: for, as the heaven was not yet created, nor the foundation of the earth yet laid, nor the sun yet revolving, how could there be days? Now, what difference is there between these words and the following: Moreover, taking and looking at these things from the beginning, would it not be absurd in the first and greatest God to issue the command, Let this (first thing) come into existence, and this second thing, and this (third); and after accomplishing so much on the first day, to do so much more again on the second, and third, and fourth, and fifth, and sixth? We answered to the best of our ability this objection to God's commanding this first, second, and third thing to be created, when we quoted the words, He said, and it was done; He commanded, and all things stood fast; remarking that the immediate Creator, and, as it were, very Maker of the world was the Word, the Son of God; while the Father of the Word, by commanding His own Son - the Word - to create the world, is primarily Creator. And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day, and of the firmament upon the second, and of the gathering together of the waters that are under the heaven into their several reservoirs on the third (the earth thus causing to sprout forth those (fruits) which are under the control of nature alone ), and of the (great) lights and stars upon the fourth, and of aquatic animals upon the fifth, and of land animals and man upon the sixth, we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world, and quoted the words: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 6.61. Again, not understanding the meaning of the words, And God ended on the sixth day His works which He had made, and ceased on the seventh day from all His works which He had made: and God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it, because on it He had ceased from all His works which He had begun to make; and imagining the expression, He ceased on the seventh day, to be the same as this, He rested on the seventh day, he makes the remark: After this, indeed, he is weary, like a very bad workman, who stands in need of rest to refresh himself! For he knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world's creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep festival with God who have done all their works in their six days, and who, because they have omitted none of their duties, will ascend to the contemplation (of celestial things), and to the assembly of righteous and blessed beings. In the next place, as if either the Scriptures made such a statement, or as if we ourselves so spoke of God as having rested from fatigue, he continues: It is not in keeping with the fitness of things that the first God should feel fatigue, or work with His hands, or give forth commands. Celsus says, that it is not in keeping with the fitness of things that the first God should feel fatigue. Now we would say that neither does God the Word feel fatigue, nor any of those beings who belong to a better and diviner order of things, because the sensation of fatigue is peculiar to those who are in the body. You can examine whether this is true of those who possess a body of any kind, or of those who have an earthly body, or one a little better than this. But neither is it consistent with the fitness of things that the first God should work with His own hands. If you understand the words work with His own hands literally, then neither are they applicable to the second God, nor to any other being partaking of divinity. But suppose that they are spoken in an improper and figurative sense, so that we may translate the following expressions, And the firmament shows forth His handywork, and the heavens are the work of Your hands, and any other similar phrases, in a figurative manner, so far as respects the hands and limbs of Deity, where is the absurdity in the words, God thus working with His own hands? And as there is no absurdity in God thus working, so neither is there in His issuing commands; so that what is done at His bidding should be beautiful and praiseworthy, because it was God who commanded it to be performed. 6.74. After this he returns to the subject of Marcion's opinions (having already spoken frequently of them), and states some of them correctly, while others he has misunderstood; these, however, it is not necessary for us to answer or refute. Again, after this he brings forward the various arguments that may be urged on Marcion's behalf, and also against him, enumerating what the opinions are which exonerate him from the charges, and what expose him to them; and when he desires to support the statement which declares that Jesus has been the subject of prophecy - in order to found a charge against Marcion and his followers - he distinctly asks, How could he, who was punished in such a manner, be shown to be God's Son, unless these things had been predicted of him? He next proceeds to jest, and, as his custom is, to pour ridicule upon the subject, introducing two sons of God, one the son of the Creator, and the other the son of Marcion's God; and he portrays their single combats, saying that the Theomachies of the Fathers are like the battles between quails; or that the Fathers, becoming useless through age, and falling into their dotage do not meddle at all with one another, but leave their sons to fight it out. The remark which he made formerly we will turn against himself: What old woman would not be ashamed to lull a child to sleep with such stories as he has inserted in the work which he entitles A True Discourse? For when he ought seriously to apply himself to argument, he leaves serious argument aside, and betakes himself to jesting and buffoonery, imagining that he is writing mimes or scoffing verses; not observing that such a method of procedure defeats his purpose, which is to make us abandon Christianity and give in our adherence to his opinions, which, perhaps, had they been stated with some degree of gravity, would have appeared more likely to convince, whereas since he continues to ridicule, and scoff, and play the buffoon, we answer that it is because he has no argument of weight (for such he neither had, nor could understand) that he has betaken himself to such drivelling. 7.44. Celsus supposes that we may arrive at a knowledge of God either by combining or separating certain things after the methods which mathematicians call synthesis and analysis, or again by analogy, which is employed by them also, and that in this way we may as it were gain admission to the chief good. But when the Word of God says, No man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him, He declares that no one can know God but by the help of divine grace coming from above, with a certain divine inspiration. Indeed, it is reasonable to suppose that the knowledge of God is beyond the reach of human nature, and hence the many errors into which men have fallen in their views of God. It is, then, through the goodness and love of God to mankind, and by a marvellous exercise of divine grace to those whom He saw in His foreknowledge, and knew that they would walk worthy of Him who had made Himself known to them, and that they would never swerve from a faithful attachment to His service, although they were condemned to death or held up to ridicule by those who, in ignorance of what true religion is, give that name to what deserves to be called anything rather than religion. God doubtless saw the pride and arrogance of those who, with contempt for all others, boast of their knowledge of God, and of their profound acquaintance with divine things obtained from philosophy, but who still, not less even than the most ignorant, run after their images, and temples, and famous mysteries; and seeing this, He has chosen the foolish things of this world - the simplest of Christians, who lead, however, a life of greater moderation and purity than many philosophers- to confound the wise, who are not ashamed to address iimate things as gods or images of the gods. For what reasonable man can refrain from smiling when he sees that one who has learned from philosophy such profound and noble sentiments about God or the gods, turns straightway to images and offers to them his prayers, or imagines that by gazing upon these material things he can ascend from the visible symbol to that which is spiritual and immaterial. But a Christian, even of the common people, is assured that every place forms part of the universe, and that the whole universe is God's temple. In whatever part of the world he is, he prays; but he rises above the universe, shutting the eyes of sense, and raising upwards the eyes of the soul. And he stops not at the vault of heaven; but passing in thought beyond the heavens, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and having thus as it had gone beyond the visible universe, he offers prayers to God. But he prays for no trivial blessings, for he has learned from Jesus to seek for nothing small or mean, that is, sensible objects, but to ask only for what is great and truly divine; and these things God grants to us, to lead us to that blessedness which is found only with Him through His Son, the Word, who is God.
18. Jerome, On Illustrious Men, 12 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
allegory Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 95, 102
apollo Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
aristotle Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 15
arnobius Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
bible Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
biblical interpretation, celsus attack on allegorical interpretation Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 847
canon Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
celsus Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 470, 471; Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102; Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768; Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 95, 102
cerberos Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
christ-logos Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
church fathers Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
clement of alexandria Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677; Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
cyniscus Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
diatribe Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
dio chrysostom Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
divine mind (νοῦς) Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
enigma Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 95
epictetus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768; Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
epistolary, theory Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
epistolary Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
epistolography, rhetoric Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
ethos Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
father, fatherhood' Albrecht, The Divine Father: Religious and Philosophical Concepts of Divine Parenthood in Antiquity (2014) 322
hades Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
heresy, interior to church Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 470, 471
household, codes Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768
idea of the good Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
isles of the blest Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
jesus Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 102
justin martyr Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768
lazarus Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
letter, seneca Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
lucian Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
martyr, justin, use of greek models for heresy Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 471
martyr, justin Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 470, 471
megapenthes Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
menippus Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
mikyllos Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
misinterpretation and defamation Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
neoplatonism Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
neopythagorean Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768
origen, exclusive account of sects and heresy Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 471
origen, more inclusive account of sects and heresyc Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 470, 471
origen Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768; Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199; Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 95, 102
origen of alexandria Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
origens attitude towards philosophy Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
parables, of jesus Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
paul, and seneca Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
paul Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
paul and stoicism, relationship of Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 15
peripatetic Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768
philo of alexandria Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768
philosopher Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
philosophers Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
philosophical opposition (to christianity) Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 847
philosophy, criticized as divided Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 470, 471
philosophy, koine Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
philosophy, stoic Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768
philosophy Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768; Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
plato Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102; Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768
platonism, middle Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768
platonism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768
plutarch Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
pythagoreanism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
responsibility Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 768
revelation Stroumsa, Hidden Widsom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996) 95
rhetoric Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
satire Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
scripture, passages Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
scripture Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 470, 471
self-sufficiency Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
seneca Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
seneca generally Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 15
stoic-cynic philosophers Petersen and van Kooten, Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity (2017) 199
stoicism, and christianity Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677, 768
style Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
synesius Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
tatian Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
teaching, moral Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 677
theology Fialová Hoblík and Kitzler, Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity: Transmission and Transformation of Ideas (2022) 102
true discourse, of celsus, general characteristics Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 847
wisdom Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 903
πιθανότης Boulluec, The Notion of Heresy in Greek Literature in the Second and Third Centuries (2022) 471