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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



8413
Origen, Against Celsus, 6.64-6.65


nanCelsus, again, brings together a number of statements, which he gives as admissions on our part, but which no intelligent Christian would allow. For not one of us asserts that God partakes of form or color. Nor does He even partake of motion, because He stands firm, and His nature is permanent, and He invites the righteous man also to do the same, saying: But as for you, stand here by Me. And if certain expressions indicate a kind of motion, as it were, on His part, such as this, They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, we must understand them in this way, that it is by sinners that God is understood as moving, or as we understand the sleep of God, which is taken in a figurative sense, or His anger, or any other similar attribute. But God does not partake even of substance. For He is partaken of (by others) rather than that Himself partakes of them, and He is partaken of by those who have the Spirit of God. Our Saviour, also, does not partake of righteousness; but being Himself righteousness, He is partaken of by the righteous. A discussion about substance would be protracted and difficult, and especially if it were a question whether that which is permanent and immaterial be substance properly so called, so that it would be found that God is beyond substance, communicating of His substance, by means of office and power, to those to whom He communicates Himself by His Word, as He does to the Word Himself; or even if He is substance, yet He is said be in His nature invisible, in these words respecting our Saviour, who is said to be the image of the invisible God, while from the term invisible it is indicated that He is immaterial. It is also a question for investigation, whether the only-begotten and first-born of every creature is to be called substance of substances, and idea of ideas, and the principle of all things, while above all there is His Father and God.


nanCelsus proceeds to say of God that of Him are all things, abandoning (in so speaking), I know not how, all his principles; while our Paul declares, that of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things, showing that He is the beginning of the substance of all things by the words of Him, and the bond of their subsistence by the expression through Him, and their final end by the terms to Him. Of a truth, God is of nothing. But when Celsus adds, that He is not to be reached by word, I make a distinction, and say that if he means the word that is in us- whether the word conceived in the mind, or the word that is uttered - I, too, admit that God is not to be reached by word. If, however, we attend to the passage, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, we are of opinion that God is to be reached by this Word, and is comprehended not by Him only, but by any one whatever to whom He may reveal the Father; and thus we shall prove the falsity of the assertion of Celsus, when he says, Neither is God to be reached by word. The statement, moreover, that He cannot be expressed by name, requires to be taken with a distinction. If he means, indeed, that there is no word or sign that can represent the attributes of God, the statement is true, since there are many qualities which cannot be indicated by words. Who, for example, could describe in words the difference between the quality of sweetness in a palm and that in a fig? And who could distinguish and set forth in words the peculiar qualities of each individual thing? It is no wonder, then, if in this way God cannot be described by name. But if you take the phrase to mean that it is possible to represent by words something of God's attributes, in order to lead the hearer by the hand, as it were, and so enable him to comprehend something of God, so far as attainable by human nature, then there is no absurdity in saying that He can be described by name. And we make a similar distinction with regard to the expression, for He has undergone no suffering that can be conveyed by words. It is true that the Deity is beyond all suffering. And so much on this point.


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

16 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 2 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.2, 1.36, 2.97 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.2. Gentem quidem nullam video neque tam humanam atque doctam neque tam inmanem tamque barbaram, quae non significari futura et a quibusdam intellegi praedicique posse censeat. Principio Assyrii, ut ab ultumis auctoritatem repetam, propter planitiam magnitudinemque regionum, quas incolebant, cum caelum ex omni parte patens atque apertum intuerentur, traiectiones motusque stellarum observitaverunt, quibus notatis, quid cuique significaretur, memoriae prodiderunt. Qua in natione Chaldaei non ex artis, sed ex gentis vocabulo nominati diuturna observatione siderum scientiam putantur effecisse, ut praedici posset, quid cuique eventurum et quo quisque fato natus esset. Eandem artem etiam Aegyptii longinquitate temporum innumerabilibus paene saeculis consecuti putantur. Cilicum autem et Pisidarum gens et his finituma Pamphylia, quibus nationibus praefuimus ipsi, volatibus avium cantibusque ut certissimis signis declarari res futuras putant. 1.36. Quid? qui inridetur, partus hic mulae nonne, quia fetus extitit in sterilitate naturae, praedictus est ab haruspicibus incredibilis partus malorum? Quid? Ti. Gracchus P. F., qui bis consul et censor fuit, idemque et summus augur et vir sapiens civisque praestans, nonne, ut C. Gracchus, filius eius, scriptum reliquit, duobus anguibus domi conprehensis haruspices convocavit? qui cum respondissent, si marem emisisset, uxori brevi tempore esse moriendum, si feminam, ipsi, aequius esse censuit se maturam oppetere mortem quam P. Africani filiam adulescentem; feminam emisit, ipse paucis post diebus est mortuus. Inrideamus haruspices, vanos, futtiles esse dicamus, quorumque disciplinam et sapientissimus vir et eventus ac res conprobavit, contemnamus, condemnemus etiam Babylonem et eos, qui e Caucaso caeli signa servantes numeris et modis stellarum cursus persequuntur, condemnemus, inquam, hos aut stultitiae aut vanitatis aut inpudentiae, qui quadringenta septuaginta milia annorum, ut ipsi dicunt, monumentis conprehensa continent, et mentiri iudicemus nec, saeculorum reliquorum iudicium quod de ipsis futurum sit, pertimescere. 2.97. Ex quo intellegitur plus terrarum situs quam lunae tactus ad nascendum valere. Nam quod aiunt quadringenta septuaginta milia annorum in periclitandis experiundisque pueris, quicumque essent nati, Babylonios posuisse, fallunt; si enim esset factitatum, non esset desitum; neminem autem habemus auctorem, qui id aut fieri dicat aut factum sciat. Videsne me non ea dicere, quae Carneades, sed ea, quae princeps Stoicorum Panaetius dixerit? Ego autem etiam haec requiro: omnesne, qui Cannensi pugna ceciderint, uno astro fuerint; exitus quidem omnium unus et idem fuit. Quid? qui ingenio atque animo singulares, num astro quoque uno? quod enim tempus, quo non innumerabiles nascantur? at certe similis nemo Homeri. 1.2. Now I am aware of no people, however refined and learned or however savage and ignorant, which does not think that signs are given of future events, and that certain persons can recognize those signs and foretell events before they occur. First of all — to seek authority from the most distant sources — the Assyrians, on account of the vast plains inhabited by them, and because of the open and unobstructed view of the heavens presented to them on every side, took observations of the paths and movements of the stars, and, having made note of them, transmitted to posterity what significance they had for each person. And in that same nation the Chaldeans — a name which they derived not from their art but their race — have, it is thought, by means of long-continued observation of the constellations, perfected a science which enables them to foretell what any mans lot will be and for what fate he was born.The same art is believed to have been acquired also by the Egyptians through a remote past extending over almost countless ages. Moreover, the Cilicians, Pisidians, and their neighbours, the Pamphylians — nations which I once governed — think that the future is declared by the songs and flights of birds, which they regard as most infallible signs. 1.2. Here was the Martian beast, the nurse of Roman dominion,Suckling with life-giving dew, that issued from udders distended,Children divinely begotten, who sprang from the loins of the War God;Stricken by lightning she toppled to earth, bearing with her the children;Torn from her station, she left the prints of her feet in descending.Then what diviner, in turning the records and tomes of the augurs,Failed to relate the mournful forecasts the Etruscans had written?Seers all advised to beware the monstrous destruction and slaughter,Plotted by Romans who traced their descent from a noble ancestry;Or they proclaimed the laws overthrow with voices insistent,Bidding rescue the city from flames, and the deities temples;Fearful they bade us become of horrible chaos and carnage;These, by a rigorous Fate, would be certainly fixed and determined,Were not a sacred statue of Jove, one comely of figure,High on a column erected beforehand, with eyes to the eastward;Then would the people and venerable senate be able to fathomHidden designs, when that statue — its face to the sun at its rising —Should behold from its station the seats of the people and Senate. 1.36. Why, then, when here recently a mule (which is an animal ordinarily sterile by nature) brought forth a foal, need anyone have scoffed because the soothsayers from that occurrence prophesied a progeny of countless evils to the state?What, pray, do you say of that well-known incident of Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Publius? He was censor and consul twice; beside that he was a most competent augur, a wise man and a pre-eminent citizen. Yet he, according to the account left us by his son Gaius, having caught two snakes in his home, called in the soothsayers to consult them. They advised him that if he let the male snake go his wife must die in a short time; and if he released the female snake his own death must soon occur. Thinking it more fitting that a speedy death should overtake him rather than his young wife, who was the daughter of Publius Africanus, he released the female snake and died within a few days.[19] Let us laugh at the soothsayers, brand them as frauds and impostors and scorn their calling, even though a very wise man, Tiberius Gracchus, and the results and circumstances of his death have given proof of its trustworthiness; let us scorn the Babylonians, too, and those astrologers who, from the top of Mount Caucasus, observe the celestial signs and with the aid of mathematics follow the courses of the stars; let us, I say, convict of folly, falsehood, and shamelessness the men whose records, as they themselves assert, cover a period of four hundred and seventy thousand years; and let us pronounce them liars, utterly indifferent to the opinion of succeeding generations. 2.97. Hence it is evident that ones birth is more affected by local environment than by the condition of the moon. of course, the statement quoted by you that the Babylonians for 470, years had taken the horoscope of every child and had tested it by the results, is untrue; for if this had been their habit they would not have abandoned it. Moreover we find no writer who says that the practice exists or who knows that it ever did exist.[47] You observe that I am not repeating the arguments of Carneades, but those of Panaetius, the head of the Stoic school. But now on my own initiative I put the following questions: Did all the Romans who fell at Cannae have the same horoscope? Yet all had one and the same end. Were all the men eminent for intellect and genius born under the same star? Was there ever a day when countless numbers were not born? And yet there never was another Homer.
3. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 1.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.3. When, therefore, Moses says, "God completed his works on the sixth day," we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number. Since it is the first number which is equal in its parts, in the half, and the third and sixth parts, and since it is produced by the multiplication of two unequal factors, two and three. And the numbers two and three exceed the incorporeality which exists in the unit; because the number two is an image of matter being divided into two parts and dissected like matter. And the number three is an image of a solid body, because a solid can be divided according to a threefold division.
4. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 6.19 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6.19. Or don't you know that your body is a temple ofthe Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are notyour own
5. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 2.16.72, 4.23.151 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

6. Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 4.1 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Theophilus, To Autolycus, 1.14 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.14. Therefore, do not be sceptical, but believe; for I myself also used to disbelieve that this would take place, but now, having taken these things into consideration, I believe. At the same time, I met with the sacred Scriptures of the holy prophets, who also by the Spirit of God foretold the things that have already happened, just as they came to pass, and the things now occurring as they are now happening, and things future in the order in which they shall be accomplished. Admitting, therefore, the proof which events happening as predicted afford, I do not disbelieve, but I believe, obedient to God, whom, if you please, do you also submit to, believing Him, lest if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments; which punishments, when they had been foretold by the prophets, the later-born poets and philosophers stole from the holy Scriptures, to make their doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken beforehand of the punishments that are to light upon the profane and unbelieving, in order that none be left without a witness, or be able to say, We have not heard, neither have we known. But do you also, if you please, give reverential attention to the prophetic Scriptures, and they will make your way plainer for escaping the eternal punishments, and obtaining the eternal prizes of God. For He who gave the mouth for speech, and formed the ear to hear, and made the eye to see, will examine all things, and will judge righteous judgment, rendering merited awards to each. To those who by patient continuance in well-doing Romans 2:7 seek immortality, He will give life everlasting, joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things, which neither has eye seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive. 1 Corinthians 2:9 But to the unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are obedient to unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with adulteries and fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, Romans 2:8-9 and at the last everlasting fire shall possess such men. Since you said, Show me your God, this is my God, and I counsel you to fear Him and to trust Him.
8. Athanasius, Against The Pagans, 2.4, 2.6 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

9. Origen, Against Celsus, 4.71-4.73, 4.86, 4.88, 5.41-5.45, 6.19, 6.58-6.59, 6.61-6.63, 6.65, 7.38, 7.43, 8.17-8.18, 8.49, 8.63 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4.71. But as, in what follows, Celsus, not understanding that the language of Scripture regarding God is adapted to an anthropopathic point of view, ridicules those passages which speak of words of anger addressed to the ungodly, and of threatenings directed against sinners, we have to say that, as we ourselves, when talking with very young children, do not aim at exerting our own power of eloquence, but, adapting ourselves to the weakness of our charge, both say and do those things which may appear to us useful for the correction and improvement of the children as children, so the word of God appears to have dealt with the history, making the capacity of the hearers, and the benefit which they were to receive, the standard of the appropriateness of its announcements (regarding Him). And, generally, with regard to such a style of speaking about God, we find in the book of Deuteronomy the following: The Lord your God bare with your manners, as a man would bear with the manners of his son. It is, as it were, assuming the manners of a man in order to secure the advantage of men that the Scripture makes use of such expressions; for it would not have been suitable to the condition of the multitude, that what God had to say to them should be spoken by Him in a manner more befitting the majesty of His own person. And yet he who is anxious to attain a true understanding of holy Scripture, will discover the spiritual truths which are spoken by it to those who are called spiritual, by comparing the meaning of what is addressed to those of weaker mind with what is announced to such as are of acuter understanding, both meanings being frequently found in the same passage by him who is capable of comprehending it. 4.72. We speak, indeed, of the wrath of God. We do not, however, assert that it indicates any passion on His part, but that it is something which is assumed in order to discipline by stern means those sinners who have committed many and grievous sins. For that which is called God's wrath, and anger, is a means of discipline; and that such a view is agreeable to Scripture, is evident from what is said in the sixth Psalm, O Lord, rebuke me not in Your anger, neither chasten me in Your hot displeasure; and also in Jeremiah. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment: not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing. Any one, moreover, who reads in the second book of Kings of the wrath of God, inducing David to number the people, and finds from the first book of Chronicles that it was the devil who suggested this measure, will, on comparing together the two statements, easily see for what purpose the wrath is mentioned, of which wrath, as the Apostle Paul declares, all men are children: We were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Moreover, that wrath is no passion on the part of God, but that each one brings it upon himself by his sins, will be clear from the further statement of Paul: Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But after your hardness and impenitent heart, treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. How, then, can any one treasure up for himself wrath against a day of wrath, if wrath be understood in the sense of passion? or how can the passion of wrath be a help to discipline? Besides, the Scripture, which tells us not to be angry at all, and which says in the thirty-seventh Psalm, Cease from anger, and forsake wrath, and which commands us by the mouth of Paul to put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, would not involve God in the same passion from which it would have us to be altogether free. It is manifest, further, that the language used regarding the wrath of God is to be understood figuratively from what is related of His sleep, from which, as if awaking Him, the prophet says: Awake, why do You sleep, Lord? and again: Then the Lord awoke as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouts by reason of wine. If, then, sleep must mean something else, and not what the first acceptation of the word conveys, why should not wrath also be understood in a similar way? The threatenings, again, are intimations of the (punishments) which are to befall the wicked: for it is as if one were to call the words of a physician threats, when he tells his patients, I will have to use the knife, and apply cauteries, if you do not obey my prescriptions, and regulate your diet and mode of life in such a way as I direct you. It is no human passions, then, which we ascribe to God, nor impious opinions which we entertain of Him; nor do we err when we present the various narratives concerning Him, drawn from the Scriptures themselves, after careful comparison one with another. For those who are wise ambassadors of the word have no other object in view than to free as far as they can their hearers from weak opinions, and to endue them with intelligence. 4.73. And as a sequel to his non-understanding of the statements regarding the wrath of God, he continues: Is it not ridiculous to suppose that, whereas a man, who became angry with the Jews, slew them all from the youth upwards, and burned their city (so powerless were they to resist him), the mighty God, as they say, being angry, and indigt, and uttering threats, should, (instead of punishing them) send His own Son, who endured the sufferings which He did? If the Jews, then, after the treatment which they dared to inflict upon Jesus, perished with all their youth, and had their city consumed by fire, they suffered this punishment in consequence of no other wrath than that which they treasured up for themselves; for the judgment of God against them, which was determined by the divine appointment, is termed wrath agreeably to a traditional usage of the Hebrews. And what the Son of the mighty God suffered, He suffered voluntarily for the salvation of men, as has been stated to the best of my ability in the preceding pages. He then continues: But that I may speak not of the Jews alone (for that is not my object), but of the whole of nature, as I promised, I will bring out more clearly what has been already stated. Now what modest man, on reading these words, and knowing the weakness of humanity, would not be indigt at the offensive nature of the promise to give an account of the whole of nature, and at an arrogance like that which prompted him to inscribe upon his book the title which he ventured to give it (of a True Discourse)? But let us see what he has to say regarding the whole of nature, and what he is to place in a clearer light. 4.86. Immediately after this, as if doing his utmost to reduce the human race to a still lower position, and to bring them to the level of the irrational animals, and desiring to omit not a single circumstance related of the latter which manifests their greatness, he declares that in certain individuals among the irrational creation there exists the power of sorcery; so that even in this particular men cannot specially pride themselves, nor wish to arrogate a superiority over irrational creatures. And the following are his words: If, however, men entertain lofty notions because of their possessing the power of sorcery, yet even in that respect are serpents and eagles their superiors in wisdom; for they are acquainted with many prophylactics against persons and diseases, and also with the virtues of certain stones which help to preserve their young. If men, however, fall in with these, they think that they have gained a wonderful possession. Now, in the first place, I know not why he should designate as sorcery the knowledge of natural prophylactics displayed by animals - whether that knowledge be the result of experience, or of some natural power of apprehension; for the term sorcery has by usage been assigned to something else. Perhaps, indeed, he wishes quietly, as an Epicurean, to censure the entire use of such arts, as resting only on the professions of sorcerers. However, let it be granted him that men do pride themselves greatly upon the knowledge of such arts, whether they are sorcerers or not: how can serpents be in this respect wiser than men, when they make use of the well-known fennel to sharpen their power of vision and to produce rapidity of movement, having obtained this natural power not from the exercise of reflection, but from the constitution of their body, while men do not, like serpents, arrive at such knowledge merely by nature, but partly by experiment, partly by reason, and sometimes by reflection and knowledge? So, if eagles, too, in order to preserve their young in the nest, carry there the eagle-stone when they have discovered it, how does it appear that they are wise, and more intelligent than men, who find out by the exercise of their reflective powers and of their understanding what has been bestowed by nature upon eagles as a gift? 4.88. And wishing to show at greater length that even the thoughts of God entertained by the human race are not superior to those of all other mortal creatures, but that certain of the irrational animals are capable of thinking about Him regarding whom opinions so discordant have existed among the most acute of mankind- Greeks and Barbarians - he continues: If, because man has been able to grasp the idea of God, he is deemed superior to the other animals, let those who hold this opinion know that this capacity will be claimed by many of the other animals; and with good reason: for what would any one maintain to be more divine than the power of foreknowing and predicting future events? Men accordingly acquire the art from the other animals, and especially from birds. And those who listen to the indications furnished by them, become possessed of the gift of prophecy. If, then, birds, and the other prophetic animals, which are enabled by the gift of God to foreknow events, instruct us by means of signs, so much the nearer do they seem to be to the society of God, and to be endowed with greater wisdom, and to be more beloved by Him. The more intelligent of men, moreover, say that the animals hold meetings which are more sacred than our assemblies, and that they know what is said at these meetings, and show that in reality they possess this knowledge, when, having previously stated that the birds have declared their intention of departing to some particular place, and of doing this thing or the other, the truth of their assertions is established by the departure of the birds to the place in question, and by their doing what was foretold. And no race of animals appears to be more observant of oaths than the elephants are, or to show greater devotion to divine things; and this, I presume, solely because they have some knowledge of God. See here now how he at once lays hold of, and brings forward as acknowledged facts, questions which are the subject of dispute among those philosophers, not only among the Greeks, but also among the Barbarians, who have either discovered or learned from certain demons some things about birds of augury and other animals, by which certain prophetic intimations are said to be made to men. For, in the first place, it has been disputed whether there is an art of augury, and, in general, a method of divination by animals, or not. And, in the second place, they who admit that there is an art of divination by birds, are not agreed about the manner of the divination; since some maintain that it is from certain demons or gods of divination that the animals receive their impulses to action - the birds to flights and sounds of different kinds, and the other animals to movements of one sort or another. Others, again, believe that their souls are more divine in their nature, and fitted to operations of that kind, which is a most incredible supposition. 5.41. Let us notice the charges which are next advanced by Celsus, in which there is exceedingly little that has reference to the Christians, as most of them refer to the Jews. His words are: If, then, in these respects the Jews were carefully to preserve their own law, they are not to be blamed for so doing, but those persons rather who have forsaken their own usages, and adopted those of the Jews. And if they pride themselves on it, as being possessed of superior wisdom, and keep aloof from intercourse with others, as not being equally pure with themselves, they have already heard that their doctrine concerning heaven is not peculiar to them, but, to pass by all others, is one which has long ago been received by the Persians, as Herodotus somewhere mentions. 'For they have a custom,' he says, 'of going up to the tops of the mountains, and of offering sacrifices to Jupiter, giving the name of Jupiter to the whole circle of the heavens.' And I think, continues Celsus, that it makes no difference whether you call the highest being Zeus, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth, or Ammoun like the Egyptians, or Papp us like the Scythians. Nor would they be deemed at all holier than others in this respect, that they observe the rite of circumcision, for this was done by the Egyptians and Colchians before them; nor because they abstain from swine's flesh, for the Egyptians practised abstinence not only from it, but from the flesh of goats, and sheep, and oxen, and fishes as well; while Pythagoras and his disciples do not eat beans, nor anything that contains life. It is not probable, however, that they enjoy God's favour, or are loved by Him differently from others, or that angels were sent from heaven to them alone, as if they had had allotted to them 'some region of the blessed,' for we see both themselves and the country of which they were deemed worthy. Let this band, then, take its departure, after paying the penalty of its vaunting, not having a knowledge of the great God, but being led away and deceived by the artifices of Moses, having become his pupil to no good end. 5.42. It is evident that, by the preceding remarks, Celsus charges the Jews with falsely giving themselves out as the chosen portion of the Supreme God above all other nations. And he accuses them of boasting, because they gave out that they knew the great God, although they did not really know Him, but were led away by the artifices of Moses, and were deceived by him, and became his disciples to no good end. Now we have in the preceding pages already spoken in part of the venerable and distinguished polity of the Jews, when it existed among them as a symbol of the city of God, and of His temple, and of the sacrificial worship offered in it and at the altar of sacrifice. But if any one were to turn his attention to the meaning of the legislator, and to the constitution which he established, and were to examine the various points relating to him, and compare them with the present method of worship among other nations, there are none which he would admire to a greater degree; because, so far as can be accomplished among mortals, everything that was not of advantage to the human race was withheld from them, and only those things which are useful bestowed. And for this reason they had neither gymnastic contests, nor scenic representations, nor horse-races; nor were there among them women who sold their beauty to any one who wished to have sexual intercourse without offspring, and to cast contempt upon the nature of human generation. And what an advantage was it to be taught from their tender years to ascend above all visible nature, and to hold the belief that God was not fixed anywhere within its limits, but to look for Him on high, and beyond the sphere of all bodily substance! And how great was the advantage which they enjoyed in being instructed almost from their birth, and as soon as they could speak, in the immortality of the soul, and in the existence of courts of justice under the earth, and in the rewards provided for those who have lived righteous lives! These truths, indeed, were proclaimed in the veil of fable to children, and to those whose views of things were childish; while to those who were already occupied in investigating the truth, and desirous of making progress therein, these fables, so to speak, were transfigured into the truths which were concealed within them. And I consider that it was in a manner worthy of their name as the portion of God that they despised all kinds of divination, as that which bewitches men to no purpose, and which proceeds rather from wicked demons than from anything of a better nature; and sought the knowledge of future events in the souls of those who, owing to their high degree of purity, received the spirit of the Supreme God. 5.43. But what need is there to point out how agreeable to sound reason, and unattended with injury either to master or slave, was the law that one of the same faith should not be allowed to continue in slavery more than six years? The Jews, then, cannot be said to preserve their own law in the same points with the other nations. For it would be censurable in them, and would involve a charge of insensibility to the superiority of their law, if they were to believe that they had been legislated for in the same way as the other nations among the heathen. And although Celsus will not admit it, the Jews nevertheless are possessed of a wisdom superior not only to that of the multitude, but also of those who have the appearance of philosophers; because those who engage in philosophical pursuits, after the utterance of the most venerable philosophical sentiments, fall away into the worship of idols and demons, whereas the very lowest Jew directs his look to the Supreme God alone; and they do well, indeed, so far as this point is concerned, to pride themselves thereon, and to keep aloof from the society of others as accursed and impious. And would that they had not sinned, and transgressed the law, and slain the prophets in former times, and in these latter days conspired against Jesus, that we might be in possession of a pattern of a heavenly city which even Plato would have sought to describe; although I doubt whether he could have accomplished as much as was done by Moses and those who followed him, who nourished a chosen generation, and a holy nation, dedicated to God, with words free from all superstition. 5.44. But as Celsus would compare the venerable customs of the Jews with the laws of certain nations, let us proceed to look at them. He is of opinion, accordingly, that there is no difference between the doctrine regarding heaven and that regarding God; and he says that the Persians, like the Jews, offer sacrifices to Jupiter upon the tops of the mountains,- not observing that, as the Jews were acquainted with one God, so they had only one holy house of prayer, and one altar of whole burnt-offerings, and one censer for incense, and one high priest of God. The Jews, then, had nothing in common with the Persians, who ascend the summits of their mountains, which are many in number, and offer up sacrifices which have nothing in common with those which are regulated by the Mosaic code - in conformity to which the Jewish priests served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, explaining enigmatically the object of the law regarding the sacrifices, and the things of which these sacrifices were the symbols. The Persians therefore may call the whole circle of heaven Jupiter; but we maintain that the heaven is neither Jupiter nor God, as we indeed know that certain beings of a class inferior to God have ascended above the heavens and all visible nature: and in this sense we understand the words, Praise God, you heaven of heavens, and you waters that be above the heavens: let them praise the name of the Lord . 5.45. As Celsus, however, is of opinion that it matters nothing whether the highest being be called Jupiter, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth, or Ammoun (as the Egyptians term him), or Papp us (as the Scythians entitle him), let us discuss the point for a little, reminding the reader at the same time of what has been said above upon this question, when the language of Celsus led us to consider the subject. And now we maintain that the nature of names is not, as Aristotle supposes, an enactment of those who impose them. For the languages which are prevalent among men do not derive their origin from men, as is evident to those who are able to ascertain the nature of the charms which are appropriated by the inventors of the languages differently, according to the various tongues, and to the varying pronunciations of the names, on which we have spoken briefly in the preceding pages, remarking that when those names which in a certain language were possessed of a natural power were translated into another, they were no longer able to accomplish what they did before when uttered in their native tongues. And the same peculiarity is found to apply to men; for if we were to translate the name of one who was called from his birth by a certain appellation in the Greek language into the Egyptian or Roman, or any other tongue, we could not make him do or suffer the same things which he would have done or suffered under the appellation first bestowed upon him. Nay, even if we translated into the Greek language the name of an individual who had been originally invoked in the Roman tongue, we could not produce the result which the incantation professed itself capable of accomplishing had it preserved the name first conferred upon him. And if these statements are true when spoken of the names of men, what are we to think of those which are transferred, for any cause whatever, to the Deity? For example, something is transferred from the name Abraham when translated into Greek, and something is signified by that of Isaac, and also by that of Jacob; and accordingly, if any one, either in an invocation or in swearing an oath, were to use the expression, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, he would produce certain effects, either owing to the nature of these names or to their powers, since even demons are vanquished and become submissive to him who pronounces these names; whereas if we say, the god of the chosen father of the echo, and the god of laughter, and the god of him who strikes with the heel, the mention of the name is attended with no result, as is the case with other names possessed of no power. And in the same way, if we translate the word Israel into Greek or any other language, we shall produce no result; but if we retain it as it is, and join it to those expressions to which such as are skilled in these matters think it ought to be united, there would then follow some result from the pronunciation of the word which would accord with the professions of those who employ such invocations. And we may say the same also of the pronunciation of Sabaoth, a word which is frequently employed in incantations; for if we translate the term into Lord of hosts, or Lord of armies, or Almighty (different acceptation of it having been proposed by the interpreters), we shall accomplish nothing; whereas if we retain the original pronunciation, we shall, as those who are skilled in such matters maintain, produce some effect. And the same observation holds good of Adonai. If, then, neither Sabaoth nor Adonai, when rendered into what appears to be their meaning in the Greek tongue, can accomplish anything, how much less would be the result among those who regard it as a matter of indifference whether the highest being be called Jupiter, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth! 6.19. Celsus in the next place alleges, that certain Christians, having misunderstood the words of Plato, loudly boast of a 'super-celestial' God, thus ascending beyond the heaven of the Jews. By these words, indeed, he does not make it clear whether they also ascend beyond the God of the Jews, or only beyond the heaven by which they swear. It is not our purpose at present, however, to speak of those who acknowledge another god than the one worshipped by the Jews, but to defend ourselves, and to show that it was impossible for the prophets of the Jews, whose writings are reckoned among ours, to have borrowed anything from Plato, because they were older than he. They did not then borrow from him the declaration, that all things are around the King of all, and that all exist on account of him; for we have learned that nobler thoughts than these have been uttered by the prophets, by Jesus Himself and His disciples, who have clearly indicated the meaning of the spirit that was in them, which was none other than the spirit of Christ. Nor was the philosopher the first to present to view the super-celestial place; for David long ago brought to view the profundity and multitude of the thoughts concerning God entertained by those who have ascended above visible things, when he said in the book of Psalms: Praise God, you heaven of heavens and you waters that be above the heavens, let them praise the name of the Lord . I do not, indeed, deny that Plato learned from certain Hebrews the words quoted from the Ph drus, or even, as some have recorded, that he quoted them from a perusal of our prophetic writings, when he said: No poet here below has ever sung of the super-celestial place, or ever will sing in a becoming manner, and so on. And in the same passage is the following: For the essence, which is both colorless and formless, and which cannot be touched, which really exists, is the pilot of the soul, and is beheld by the understanding alone; and around it the genus of true knowledge holds this place. Our Paul, moreover, educated by these words, and longing after things supra-mundane and super-celestial, and doing his utmost for their sake to attain them, says in the second Epistle to the Corinthians: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are unseen are eternal. 6.58. There is next to be answered the following query: And how is it that he repents when men become ungrateful and wicked; and finds fault with his own handwork, and hates, and threatens, and destroys his own offspring? Now Celsus here calumniates and falsities what is written in the book of Genesis to the following effect: And the Lord God, seeing that the wickedness of men upon the earth was increasing, and that every one in his heart carefully meditated to do evil continually, was grieved He had made man upon the earth. And God meditated in His heart, and said, I will destroy man, whom I have made, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air, because I am grieved that I made them; quoting words which are not written in Scripture, as if they conveyed the meaning of what was actually written. For there is no mention in these words of the repentance of God, nor of His blaming and hating His own handwork. And if there is the appearance of God threatening the catastrophe of the deluge, and thus destroying His own children in it, we have to answer that, as the soul of man is immortal, the supposed threatening has for its object the conversion of the hearers, while the destruction of men by the flood is a purification of the earth, as certain among the Greek philosophers of no mean repute have indicated by the expression: When the gods purify the earth. And with respect to the transference to God of those anthropopathic phrases, some remarks have been already made by us in the preceding pages. 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. 6.61. 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. 6.62. Celsus, again, having perhaps misunderstood the words, For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it, or perhaps because some ignorant individuals had rashly ventured upon the explanation of such things, and not understanding, moreover, on what principles parts called after the names of the bodily members are assigned to the attributes of God, asserts: He has neither mouth nor voice. Truly, indeed, God can have no voice, if the voice is a concussion of the air, or a stroke on the air, or a species of air, or any other definition which may be given to the voice by those who are skilled in such matters; but what is called the voice of God is said to be seen as God's voice by the people in the passage, And all the people saw the voice of God; the word saw being taken, agreeably to the custom of Scripture, in a spiritual sense. Moreover, he alleges that God possesses nothing else of which we have any knowledge; but of what things we have knowledge he gives no indication. If he means limbs, we agree with him, understanding the things of which we have knowledge to be those called corporeal, and pretty generally so termed. But if we are to understand the words of which we have knowledge in a universal sense, then there are many things of which we have knowledge, (and which may be attributed to God); for He possesses virtue, and blessedness, and divinity. If we, however, put a higher meaning upon the words, of which we have knowledge, since all that we know is less than God, there is no absurdity in our also admitting that God possesses none of those things of which we have knowledge. For the attributes which belong to God are far superior to all things with which not merely the nature of man is acquainted, but even that of those who have risen far above it. And if he had read the writings of the prophets, David on the one hand saying, But You are the same, and Malachi on the other, I am (the Lord), and change not, he would have observed that none of us assert that there is any change in God, either in act or thought. For abiding the same, He administers mutable things according to their nature, and His word elects to undertake their administration. 6.63. Celsus, not observing the difference between after the image of God and God's image, next asserts that the first-born of every creature is the image of God - the very word and truth, and also the very wisdom, being the image of His goodness, while man has been created after the image of God; moreover, that every man whose head is Christ is the image and glory of God - and further, not observing to which of the characteristics of humanity the expression after the image of God belongs, and that it consists in a nature which never had nor longer has the old man with his deeds, being called after the image of Him who created it, from its not possessing these qualities, - he maintains: Neither did He make man His image; for God is not such an one, nor like any other species of (visible) being. Is it possible to suppose that the element which is after the image of God should exist in the inferior part - I mean the body - of a compound being like man, because Celsus has explained that to be made after the image of God? For if that which is after the image of God be in the body only, the better part, the soul, has been deprived of that which is after His image, and this (distinction) exists in the corruptible body - an assertion which is made by none of us. But if that which is after the image of God be in both together, then God must necessarily be a compound being, and consist, as it were, of soul and body, in order that the element which is after God's image, the better part, may be in the soul; while the inferior part, and that which is according to the body, may be in the body - an assertion, again, which is made by none of us. It remains, therefore, that that which is after the image of God must be understood to be in our inner man, which is also renewed, and whose nature it is to be after the image of Him who created it, when a man becomes perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect, and hears the command, Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy, and learning the precept, Be followers of God, receives into his virtuous soul the traits of God's image. The body, moreover, of him who possesses such a soul is a temple of God; and in the soul God dwells, because it has been made after His image. 6.65. Celsus proceeds to say of God that of Him are all things, abandoning (in so speaking), I know not how, all his principles; while our Paul declares, that of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things, showing that He is the beginning of the substance of all things by the words of Him, and the bond of their subsistence by the expression through Him, and their final end by the terms to Him. of a truth, God is of nothing. But when Celsus adds, that He is not to be reached by word, I make a distinction, and say that if he means the word that is in us- whether the word conceived in the mind, or the word that is uttered - I, too, admit that God is not to be reached by word. If, however, we attend to the passage, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, we are of opinion that God is to be reached by this Word, and is comprehended not by Him only, but by any one whatever to whom He may reveal the Father; and thus we shall prove the falsity of the assertion of Celsus, when he says, Neither is God to be reached by word. The statement, moreover, that He cannot be expressed by name, requires to be taken with a distinction. If he means, indeed, that there is no word or sign that can represent the attributes of God, the statement is true, since there are many qualities which cannot be indicated by words. Who, for example, could describe in words the difference between the quality of sweetness in a palm and that in a fig? And who could distinguish and set forth in words the peculiar qualities of each individual thing? It is no wonder, then, if in this way God cannot be described by name. But if you take the phrase to mean that it is possible to represent by words something of God's attributes, in order to lead the hearer by the hand, as it were, and so enable him to comprehend something of God, so far as attainable by human nature, then there is no absurdity in saying that He can be described by name. And we make a similar distinction with regard to the expression, for He has undergone no suffering that can be conveyed by words. It is true that the Deity is beyond all suffering. And so much on this point. 7.38. Since we hold that the great God is in essence simple, invisible, and incorporeal, Himself pure intelligence, or something transcending intelligence and existence, we can never say that God is apprehended by any other means than through the intelligence which is formed in His image, though now, in the words of Paul, we see in a glass obscurely, but then face to face. And if we use the expression face to face, let no one pervert its meaning; but let it be explained by this passage, Beholding with open face the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, which shows that we do not use the word in this connection to mean the visible face, but take it figuratively, in the same way as we have shown that the eyes, the ears, and the other parts of the body are employed. And it is certain that a man - I mean a soul using a body, otherwise called the inner man, or simply the soul- would answer, not as Celsus makes us answer, but as the man of God himself teaches. It is certain also that a Christian will not make use of the language of the flesh, having learned as he has to mortify the deeds of the body by the spirit, and to bear about in his body the dying of Jesus; and mortify your members which are on the earth, and with a true knowledge of these words, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh, and again, They that are in the flesh cannot please God, he strives in every way to live no longer according to the flesh, but only according to the Spirit. 7.43. Observe that when Plato says, that after having found out the Creator and Father of the universe, it is impossible to make Him known to all men, he does not speak of Him as unspeakable, and as incapable of being expressed in words. On the contrary, he implies that He may be spoken of, and that there are a few to whom He may be made known. But Celsus, as if forgetting the language which he had just quoted from Plato, immediately gives God the name of the unspeakable. He says: since the wise men have found out this way, in order to be able to give us some idea of the First of Beings, who is unspeakable. For ourselves, we hold that not God alone is unspeakable, but other things also which are inferior to Him. Such are the things which Paul labours to express when he says, I heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter, where the word heard is used in the sense of understood; as in the passage, He who has ears to hear, let him hear. We also hold that it is a hard matter to see the Creator and Father of the universe; but it is possible to see Him in the way thus referred to, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; and not only so, but also in the sense of the words of Him who is the image of the invisible God; He who has seen Me has seen the Father who sent Me. No sensible person could suppose that these last words were spoken in reference to His bodily presence, which was open to the view of all; otherwise all those who said, Crucify him, crucify him, and Pilate, who had power over the humanity of Jesus, were among those who saw God the Father, which is absurd. Moreover, that these words, He that has seen Me, has seen the Father who sent Me, are not to be taken in their grosser sense, is plain from the answer which He gave to Philip, Have I been so long time with you, and yet do you not know Me, Philip? after Philip had asked, Show us the Father, and it suffices us. He, then, who perceives how these words, The Word was made flesh, are to be understood of the only-begotten Son of God, the first-born of all creation, will also understand how, in seeing the image of the invisible God, we see the Creator and Father of the universe. 8.17. Celsus then proceeds to say that we shrink from raising altars, statues, and temples; and this, he thinks, has been agreed upon among us as the badge or distinctive mark of a secret and forbidden society. He does not perceive that we regard the spirit of every good man as an altar from which arises an incense which is truly and spiritually sweet-smelling, namely, the prayers ascending from a pure conscience. Therefore it is said by John in the Revelation, The odours are the prayers of saints; and by the Psalmist, Let my prayer come up before You as incense. And the statues and gifts which are fit offerings to God are the work of no common mechanics, but are wrought and fashioned in us by the Word of God, to wit, the virtues in which we imitate the First-born of all creation, who has set us an example of justice, of temperance, of courage, of wisdom, of piety, and of the other virtues. In all those, then, who plant and cultivate within their souls, according to the divine word, temperance, justice, wisdom, piety, and other virtues, these excellences are their statues they raise, in which we are persuaded that it is becoming for us to honour the model and prototype of all statues: the image of the invisible God, God the Only-begotten. And again, they who put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that has created him, in taking upon them the image of Him who has created them, do raise within themselves a statue like to what the Most High God Himself desires. And as among statuaries there are some who are marvellously perfect in their art, as for example Pheidias and Polycleitus, and among painters, Zeuxis and Apelles, while others make inferior statues, and others, again, are inferior to the second-rate artists - so that, taking all together, there is a wide difference in the execution of statues and pictures - in the same way there are some who form images of the Most High in a better manner and with a more perfect skill; so that there is no comparison even between the Olympian Jupiter of Pheidias and the man who has been fashioned according to the image of God the Creator. But by far the most excellent of all these throughout the whole creation is that image in our Saviour who said, My Father is in Me. 8.18. And every one who imitates Him according to his ability, does by this very endeavour raise a statue according to the image of the Creator, for in the contemplation of God with a pure heart they become imitators of Him. And, in general, we see that all Christians strive to raise altars and statues as we have described them and these not of a lifeless and senseless kind and not to receive greedy spirits intent upon lifeless things, but to be filled with the Spirit of God who dwells in the images of virtue of which we have spoken, and takes His abode in the soul which is conformed to the image of the Creator. Thus the Spirit of Christ dwells in those who bear, so to say, a resemblance in form and feature to Himself. And the Word of God, wishing to set this clearly before us, represents God as promising to the righteous, I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the Saviour says, If any man hear My words, and do them, I and My Father will come to him, and make Our abode with him. Let any one, therefore, who chooses compare the altars which I have described with those spoken of by Celsus, and the images in the souls of those who worship the Most High God with the statues of Pheidias, Polycleitus, and such like, and he will clearly perceive, that while the latter are lifeless things, and subject to the ravages of time, the former abide in the immortal spirit as long as the reasonable soul wishes to preserve them. 8.49. Let us see in what terms Celsus next addresses us: Besides, is it not most absurd and inconsistent in you, on the one hand, to make so much of the body as you do - to expect that the same body will rise again, as though it were the best and most precious part of us; and yet, on the other, to expose it to such tortures as though it were worthless? But men who hold such notions, and are so attached to the body, are not worthy of being reasoned with; for in this and in other respects they show themselves to be gross, impure, and bent upon revolting without any reason from the common belief. But I shall direct my discourse to those who hope for the enjoyment of eternal life with God by means of the soul or mind, whether they choose to call it a spiritual substance, an intelligent spirit, holy and blessed, or a living soul, or the heavenly and indestructible offspring of a divine and incorporeal nature, or by whatever name they designate the spiritual nature of man. And they are rightly persuaded that those who live well shall be blessed, and the unrighteous shall all suffer everlasting punishments. And from this doctrine neither they nor any other should ever swerve. Now, as he has often already reproached us for our opinions on the resurrection, and as we have on these occasions defended our opinions in what seemed to us a reasonable way, we do not intend, at each repetition of the one objection, to go into a repetition of our defense. Celsus makes an unfounded charge against us when he ascribes to us the opinion that there is nothing in our complex nature better or more precious than the body; for we hold that far beyond all bodies is the soul, and especially the reasonable soul; for it is the soul, and not the body, which bears the likeness of the Creator. For, according to us, God is not corporeal, unless we fall into the absurd errors of the followers of Zeno and Chrysippus. 8.63. After having said so much of the demons, and of their fondness for blood and the odour of sacrifices, Celsus adds, as though wishing to retract the charge he had made: The more just opinion is, that demons desire nothing and need nothing, but that they take pleasure in those who discharge towards them offices of piety. If Celsus believed this to be true, he should have said so, instead of making his previous statements. But, indeed, human nature is never utterly forsaken by God and His only-begotten Son, the Truth. Wherefore even Celsus spoke the truth when he made the demons take pleasure in the blood and smoke of victims; although, by the force of his own evil nature, he falls back into his errors, and compares demons with men who rigorously discharge every duty, even to those who show no gratitude; while to those who are grateful they abound in acts of kindness. Here Celsus appears to me to get into confusion. At one time his judgment is darkened by the influence of demons, and at another he recovers from their deluding power, and gets some glimpses of the truth. For again he adds: We must never in any way lose our hold of God, whether by day or by night, whether in public or in secret, whether in word or in deed, but in whatever we do, or abstain from doing. That is, as I understand it, whatever we do in public, in all our actions, in all our words, let the soul be constantly fixed upon God. And yet again, as though, after struggling in argument against the insane inspirations of demons, he were completely overcome by them, he adds: If this is the case, what harm is there in gaining the favour of the rulers of the earth, whether of a nature different from ours, or human princes and kings? For these have gained their dignity through the instrumentality of demons. In a former part, Celsus did his utmost to debase our souls to the worship of demons; and now he wishes us to seek the favour of kings and princes, of whom, as the world and all history are full of them, I do not consider it necessary to quote examples.
10. Origen, On First Principles, 1.1.5-1.1.6, 1.2.2-1.2.3 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.1.6. But it will not appear absurd if we employ another similitude to make the matter clearer. Our eyes frequently cannot look upon the nature of the light itself — that is, upon the substance of the sun; but when we behold his splendour or his rays pouring in, perhaps, through windows or some small openings to admit the light, we can reflect how great is the supply and source of the light of the body. So, in like manner. the works of Divine Providence and the plan of this whole world are a sort of rays, as it were, of the nature of God, in comparison with His real substance and being. As, therefore, our understanding is unable of itself to behold God Himself as He is, it knows the Father of the world from the beauty of His works and the comeliness of His creatures. God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body, but as an uncompounded intellectual nature, admitting within Himself no addition of any kind; so that He cannot be believed to have within him a greater and a less, but is such that He is in all parts Μονάς, and, so to speak, ῾Ενάς, and is the mind and source from which all intellectual nature or mind takes its beginning. But mind, for its movements or operations, needs no physical space, nor sensible magnitude, nor bodily shape, nor color, nor any other of those adjuncts which are the properties of body or matter. Wherefore that simple and wholly intellectual nature can admit of no delay or hesitation in its movements or operations, lest the simplicity of the divine nature should appear to be circumscribed or in some degree hampered by such adjuncts, and lest that which is the beginning of all things should be found composite and differing, and that which ought to be free from all bodily intermixture, in virtue of being the one sole species of Deity, so to speak, should prove, instead of being one, to consist of many things. That mind, moreover, does not require space in order to carry on its movements agreeably to its nature, is certain from observation of our own mind. For if the mind abide within its own limits, and sustain no injury from any cause, it will never, from diversity of situation, be retarded in the discharge of its functions; nor, on the other hand, does it gain any addition or increase of mobility from the nature of particular places. And here, if any one were to object, for example, that among those who are at sea, and tossed by its waves the mind is considerably less vigorous than it is wont to be on land, we are to believe that it is in this state, not from diversity of situation, but from the commotion or disturbance of the body to which the mind is joined or attached. For it seems to be contrary to nature, as it were, for a human body to live at sea; and for that reason it appears, by a sort of inequality of its own, to enter upon its mental operations in a slovenly and irregular manner, and to perform the acts of the intellect with a duller sense, in as great degree as those who on land are prostrated with fever; with respect to whom it is certain, that if the mind do not discharge its functions as well as before, in consequence of the attack of disease, the blame is to be laid not upon the place, but upon the bodily malady, by which the body, being disturbed and disordered, renders to the mind its customary services under by no means the well-known and natural conditions: for we human beings are animals composed of a union of body and soul, and in this way (only) was it possible for us to live upon the earth. But God, who is the beginning of all things, is not to be regarded as a composite being, lest perchance there should be found to exist elements prior to the beginning itself, out of which everything is composed, whatever that be which is called composite. Neither does the mind require bodily magnitude in order to perform any act or movement; as when the eye by gazing upon bodies of larger size is dilated, but is compressed and contracted in order to see smaller objects. The mind, indeed, requires magnitude of an intellectual kind, because it grows, not after the fashion of a body, but after that of intelligence. For the mind is not enlarged, together with the body, by means of corporal additions, up to the twentieth or thirtieth year of life; but the intellect is sharpened by exercises of learning, and the powers implanted within it for intelligent purposes are called forth; and it is rendered capable of greater intellectual efforts, not being increased by bodily additions, but carefully polished by learned exercises. But these it cannot receive immediately from boyhood, or from birth, because the framework of limbs which the mind employs as organs for exercising itself is weak and feeble; and it is unable to bear the weight of its own operations, or to exhibit a capacity for receiving training. 1.2.2. Let no one, however, imagine that we mean anything impersonal when we call Him the wisdom of God; or suppose, for example, that we understand Him to be, not a living being endowed with wisdom, but something which makes men wise, giving itself to, and implanting itself in, the minds of those who are made capable of receiving His virtues and intelligence. If, then, it is once rightly understood that the only-begotten Son of God is His wisdom hypostatically existing, I know not whether our curiosity ought to advance beyond this, or entertain any suspicion that that ὑπόστασις or substantia contains anything of a bodily nature, since everything that is corporeal is distinguished either by form, or color, or magnitude. And who in his sound senses ever sought for form, or color, or size, in wisdom, in respect of its being wisdom? And who that is capable of entertaining reverential thoughts or feelings regarding God, can suppose or believe that God the Father ever existed, even for a moment of time, without having generated this Wisdom? For in that case he must say either that God was unable to generate Wisdom before He produced her, so that He afterwards called into being her who formerly did not exist, or that He possessed the power indeed, but — what cannot be said of God without impiety — was unwilling to use it; both of which suppositions, it is patent to all, are alike absurd and impious: for they amount to this, either that God advanced from a condition of inability to one of ability, or that, although possessed of the power, He concealed it, and delayed the generation of Wisdom. Wherefore we have always held that God is the Father of His only-begotten Son, who was born indeed of Him, and derives from Him what He is, but without any beginning, not only such as may be measured by any divisions of time, but even that which the mind alone can contemplate within itself, or behold, so to speak, with the naked powers of the understanding. And therefore we must believe that Wisdom was generated before any beginning that can be either comprehended or expressed. And since all the creative power of the coming creation was included in this very existence of Wisdom (whether of those things which have an original or of those which have a derived existence), having been formed beforehand and arranged by the power of foreknowledge; on account of these very creatures which had been described, as it were, and prefigured in Wisdom herself, does Wisdom say, in the words of Solomon, that she was created the beginning of the ways of God, inasmuch as she contained within herself either the beginnings, or forms, or species of all creation. 1.2.3. Now, in the same way in which we have understood that Wisdom was the beginning of the ways of God, and is said to be created, forming beforehand and containing within herself the species and beginnings of all creatures, must we understand her to be the Word of God, because of her disclosing to all other beings, i.e., to universal creation, the nature of the mysteries and secrets which are contained within the divine wisdom; and on this account she is called the Word, because she is, as it were, the interpreter of the secrets of the mind. And therefore that language which is found in the Acts of Paul, where it is said that here is the Word a living being, appears to me to be rightly used. John, however, with more sublimity and propriety, says in the beginning of his Gospel, when defining God by a special definition to be the Word, And God was the Word, and this was in the beginning with God. Let him, then, who assigns a beginning to the Word or Wisdom of God, take care that he be not guilty of impiety against the unbegotten Father Himself, seeing he denies that He had always been a Father, and had generated the Word, and had possessed wisdom in all preceding periods, whether they be called times or ages, or anything else that can be so entitled.
11. Origen, Homilies On The Song of Songs, 1.7 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

12. Origen, Philocalia, 23.2 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

13. Origen, Philocalia, 23.2 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

14. Ambrose, On Paradise, 5.28, 6.32 (4th cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

15. Favorinus, In Aulus Gellius Noctes Atticae, 14.1.2, 14.1.17

16. Stoic School, Stoicor. Veter. Fragm., 2.625, 2.1174



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
adam Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 363, 364
allegorical exegesis/interpretation Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (2013) 196
allegory Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 364
angels Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 273
anger, gods Van der Horst, Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2014) 45
apelles Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 364
arius and arians, lived religion in alexandria and Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
arius didymus Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
astrology Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
berosus Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
censorinus Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
chaldeans Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
clement of alexandria, material images and Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
clement of alexandria Van der Horst, Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2014) 45
creation, created or originated things Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 273
creator Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272
emotions, gods Van der Horst, Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2014) 45
eusebius of caesarea, material images, on Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
eustathius of antioch Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
god, according to celsus Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 855
god, transcendence of being Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius (2000) 36
harl, marguerite Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
ideas (platonic) Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272, 273
idols, idolaters, idolatry Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 273
invisible Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272
logos (lògow) (christian) Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 273
marcellus of ancyra Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
material Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272, 273
methodius of olympus, on material images Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
mind (noëw and similar terms) Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272, 273
mystikos, mystica Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (2013) 196
myth Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 364
nemesius Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
origen, on material images Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
origen Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269; Van der Horst, Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2014) 45
pagans, paganism Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 273
philo Van der Horst, Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2014) 45
philo of alexandria, on material images Ayres Champion and Crawford, The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity: Reshaping Classical Traditions (2023) 255
philosophical opposition (to christianity) Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 855
platonic, platonising, platonism, platonists Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272
rabbinic references to marcion Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 364
restoration/ apokatastasis Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 269
resurrection, of believers Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 363
sabbath Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 363
simple (èploëw) (about god) Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272
stoicism Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius (2000) 36
submission son to father' Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (2013) 196
substances (oès¤a) Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 272, 273
true discourse, of celsus, god Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 855
true discourse, of celsus, prophecy Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 855
true discourse, of celsus, themes Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 855
uncreated or unoriginated (ég°nhtow) Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God: A Study of Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos (2004) 273