Christ the Good Shepherd, c. 250

Celsus treatise exists only in quotations by Origen in his refutation of Celsus Origen, Contra Celsum, Origen Against Celsus. tr. F. Crombie, ser. The Ante Nicene Fathers v. 4, (Edinburgh, 1885; repr. Grand Rapids MI:(Eerdmans, 1989).  Greek: Contra Celsum (TLG 2042) ed. M. Borret, Cerf Paris 1:1967; 2:1968; 3-4:1969 pag :64-476; :14-434; :14-382; :14-352 Sources chretiennes , 136, 147, 150











Celsus asks why [Christians] do not worship demons, [...], he represents [them] as answering that it is impossible to serve many masters. “This,” he goes on to say, “is the language of sedition, and is only used by those who separate themselves and stand aloof from all human society. Those who speak in this way ascribe,” as he supposes, “their own feelings and passions to God. It does hold true among men, that he who is in the service of one master cannot well serve another, because the service which he renders to the one interferes with that which he owes to the other; and no one, therefore, who has already engaged himself to the service of one, must accept that of another. And, in like manner, it is impossible to serve at the same time heroes or demons of different natures. But in regard to God, who is subject to no suffering or loss, it is,” he thinks, “absurd to be on our guard against serving more gods, as though we had to do with demi-gods, or other spirits of that sort.” He says also, “He who serves many gods does that which is pleasing to the Most High, because he honours that which belongs to Him.” And he adds, “It is indeed wrong to give honour to any to whom God has not given honour.” “Wherefore,” he says, “in honouring and worshipping all belonging to God, we will not displease Him to whom they all belong.”

8.2 Ἐπηπόρησε δὲ [...] πρὸς ἡμᾶς͵ διὰ τί δαίμονας οὐ θεραπεύομεν· [...] λέγοντας πρὸς τὴν ἐπαπόρησιν αὐτοῦ͵ θέλοντος ἡμᾶς καὶ τοὺς δαίμονας θερα πεύειν͵ ὅτι οὐχ οἷόν τε δουλεύειν τὸν αὐτὸν πλείοσι κυρίοις. Τοῦτο δ΄ ὡς οἴεται͵ στάσεως εἶναι φωνὴν τῶν͵ ὡς αὐτὸς ὠνόμασεν͵ ἀποτειχιζόντων ἑαυτοὺς καὶ ἀπορρη γνύντων ἀπὸ τῶν λοιπῶν ἀνθρώπων. Νομίζει δὲ τοὺς τοῦτο λέγοντας τὸ ὅσον ἐφ΄ ἑαυτοῖς ἀπομάττεσθαι τὸ σφέτερον πάθος εἰς τὸν θεόν. Διὸ καὶ ἐπὶ μὲν ἀνθρώπων χώραν ἔχειν οἴεται τὸν δουλεύοντά τινι μὴ ἂν εὐλόγως καὶ ἄλλῳ δου λεύειν ἀνθρώπῳ͵ ὡς βλαπτομένου τοῦ ἑτέρου ἀπὸ τῆς διαφόρου δουλείας͵ μηδὲ τὸν φθάσαντα συνομωμοκέναι τινὶ συνομνύειν καὶ ἑτέρῳ ὡς βλάπτοντα͵ καὶ λόγον ἔχειν τὸ μὴ δουλεύειν ἅμα διαφόροις ἥρωσι καὶ τοῖς τοιούτοις δαίμοσιν· ἐπὶ δὲ θεοῦ͵ πρὸς ὃν οὔτε βλάβη τις οὔτε λύπη φθάνει͵ ἄλογον νομίζει τὸ φυλάττεσθαι ὁμοίως τοῖς περὶ ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἡρώων καὶ τοιῶνδε δαιμόνων θεραπεύειν θεοὺς πλείονας. Φησὶ δὲ καὶ τὸν θεραπεύοντα θεοὺς πλείονας τῷ ἕν τι τῶν τοῦ μεγάλου θεραπεύειν φίλον καὶ ἐν τούτῳ ἐκείνῳ ποιεῖν καὶ προστίθησιν ὅτι οὐδ΄ ἔξεστι τιμᾶσθαί τινι ᾧ μὴ ἐξ ἐκείνου τοῦτο δέδοται. Διότι τιμῶν τις καὶ σέβων͵ φησί͵ τοὺς ἐκείνου πάντας οὐ λυπεῖ τὸν θεόν͵ οὗ πάντες εἰσίν.

[...] “the first master is injured when any of his servants wishes at the same time to serve another,” [...] “the same holds true of heroes, and other demons of that kind.”

8.7 [...] ὡς βλαπτομένου τοῦ προτέρου͵ ᾧ τις δουλεύειν βούλεται͵ ἐὰν δουλεύειν θέλῃ καὶ δευτέρῳ͵ ὅτι εἴη δ΄ ἂν τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ περὶ ἡρώων τε καὶ τῶν τοιούτων δαιμόνων·

 “And indeed he who, when speaking of God, asserts that there is only one who may be called Lord, speaks impiously, for he divides the kingdom of God, and raises a sedition therein, implying that there are separate factions in the divine kingdom, and that there exists one who is His enemy.”

8.11 Καὶ μὴν ὅ γε φάσκων ἕνα εἰρῆσθαι κύριον͵ περὶ θεοῦ λέγων͵ ἀσεβεῖ διαιρῶν τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ βασιλείαν καὶ στασιάζων͵ ὡς οὔσης αἱρέσεως καὶ ὄντος τινὸς ἑτέρου ἀντιστασιώτου αὐτῷ.

 “If, these people worshipped one God alone, and no other, they would perhaps have some valid argument against the worship of others. But they pay excessive reverence to one who has but lately appeared among men, and they think it no offence against God if they worship also His servant.”

8.12 Εἰ μὲν δὴ μηδένα ἄλλον ἐθεράπευον οὗτοι πλὴν ἕνα θεόν͵ ἦν ἄν τις αὐτοῖς ἴσως πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους ἀτενὴς λόγος· νυνὶ δὲ τὸν ἔναγχος φανέντα τοῦτον ὑπερθρη σκεύουσι καὶ ὅμως οὐδὲν πλημμελλεῖν νομίζουσι περὶ τὸν θεόν͵ εἰ καὶ ὑπηρέτης αὐτοῦ θεραπευθήσεται.

 “If you should tell them that he [Jesus] is not the Son of God, but that, God is the Father of all, and that He alone: ought to be truly worshipped, they would not consent to discontinue their worship of him who is their leader in the sedition. And they call him Son of God, not out of any extreme reverence for God, but from an extreme desire to extol him [Jesus]

8.14 Εἰ διδάξαις αὐτοὺς ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν οὗτος ἐκείνου παῖς͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐκεῖνός γε πάντων πατήρ͵ ὃν μόνον ὡς ἀληθῶς δεῖ σέβειν· οὐκ ἂν ἔτι θέλοιεν͵ εἰ μὴ καὶ τοῦτον͵ ὅσπερ ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς τῆς στάσεως ἀρχηγέτης. Καὶ ὠνόμασάν γε τοῦτον θεοῦ υἱόν͵ οὐχ ὅτι τὸν θεὸν σφόδρα σέβουσιν͵ ἀλλ΄ ὅτι τοῦτον σφόδρα αὔξουσιν͵

 “That I may give a true representation of their faith, I will use their own words, as given in what is called A Heavenly Dialogue: ’If the Son is mightier than God, and the Son of man is Lord over Him, who else than the Son can be Lord over that God who is the ruler over all things? How comes it, that while so many go about the well, no one goes down into it? Why art thou afraid when thou hast gone so far on the way? Answer: Thou art mistaken, for I lack neither courage nor weapons.’ Is it not evident, then, that their views are precisely such as I have described them to be? They suppose that another God, who is above the heavens, is the Father of him whom with one accord they honour, that they may honour this Son of man alone, whom they exalt under the form and name of the great God, and whom they assert to be stronger than God, who rules the world, and that he rules over Him. And hence that maxim of theirs, ‘It is impossible to serve two masters, ’is maintained for the purpose of keeping up the party who are on the side of this Lord.”

8.15 Ὅτι δὲ οὐκ ἀπὸ σκοποῦ ταῦτα δοξάζω͵ αὐταῖς ἐκείνων φωναῖς χρήσομαι. Ἐν γάρ που τῷ οὐρανίῳ διαλόγῳ τῇδέ που λέγουσι τοῖσδε τοῖς ῥήμασιν· Εἰ ἰσχυρότερός ἐστι θεοῦ υἱός͵ καὶ κύριος αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπουκαὶ τίς ἄλλος κυριεύσει τοῦ κρατοῦντος θεοῦ; πῶς πολλοὶ περὶ τὸ φρέαρ͵ καὶ οὐδεὶς εἰς τὸ φρέαρ; Διὰ τί τοσαύτην ἀνύων ὁδὸν ἄτολμος εἶ; Λανθάνει σε· πάρεστι γάρ μοι θάρσος καὶ μάχαιρα. Οὕτως οὐ τοῦτ΄ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς τὸ προκείμενον͵ τὸν ὑπερου ράνιον θεόν͵ ἀλλ΄ ὃν ὑπέθεντο τούτου πατέρα͵ περὶ ὃν συνῆλθον͵ σέβειν͵ ἵν΄ ἐπὶ προσχήματι μεγάλου θεοῦ τοῦτον͵ ὃν προΐστανται͵ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου͵ ὃν ἀποφαίνουσιν ἰσχυρότερον καὶ κύριον τοῦ κρατοῦντος θεοῦ͵ θρησκεύωσι μόνον. Ἔνθεν αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖνο τὸ παράγγελμα͵ τὸ μὴ δου λεύειν δύο κυρίοις͵ ἵν΄ ἡ στάσις περὶ ἕνα τοῦτον φυλάσσηται.





 “[Christians] shrink from raising altars, statues, and temples; and this, has been agreed upon among [them] as the badge or distinctive mark of a secret and forbidden society.”

8.17 ἡμᾶς βωμοὺς καὶ ἀγάλματα καὶ νεὼς ἱδρύεσθαι φεύγειν͵ ἐπεὶ τὸ πιστὸν ἡμῖν ἀφανοῦς καὶ ἀπορρήτου κοινωνίας οἴεται εἶναι σύνθημα·





 “God is the God of all alike; He is good, He stands in need of nothing, and He is without jealousy. What, then, is there to hinder those who are most devoted to His service from taking part in public feasts.

8.21 Ὅ γε μὴν θεὸς ἅπασι κοινός͵ ἀγαθός τε καὶ ἀπροσδεὴς καὶ ἔξω φθόνου· τί οὖν κωλύει τοὺς μάλιστα καθωσιωμένους αὐτῷ καὶ τῶν δημοτελῶν ἑορτῶν μεταλαμ βάνειν; 





 “If these idols are nothing, what harm will there be in taking part in the feast? On the other hand, if they are demons, it is certain that they too are God’s creatures, and that we must believe in them, sacrifice to them according to the laws, and pray to them that they may be propitious.

8.24 Εἰ μὲν οὐδὲν ταῦτά ἐστι τὰ εἴδωλα͵ τί δεινὸν κοινωνῆσαι τῆς πανθοινίας; Εἰ δ΄ εἰσί τινες δαίμονες͵ δηλονότι καὶ οὗτοι τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσιν͵ οἷς καὶ πιστευτέον καὶ καλλιερητέον κατὰ νόμους καὶ προσευκτέον͵ ἵν΄ εὐμενεῖς ὦσι.





 “If in obedience to the traditions of their fathers they abstain from such victims, they must also abstain from all animal food, in accordance with the opinions of Pythagoras, who thus showed his respect for the soul and its bodily organs. But if, as they say, they abstain that they may not eat along with demons, I admire their wisdom, in having at length discovered, that whenever they eat they eat with demons, although they only refuse to do so when they are looking upon a slain victim; for when they eat bread, or drink wine, or taste fruits, do they not receive these things, as well as the water they drink and the air they breathe, from certain demons, to whom have been assigned these different provinces of nature?  

8.28 Εἰ μὲν δὴ κατά τι πάτριον ἱερείων τινῶν ἀπέχονται τῶν τοιῶνδε͵ πάντως ἀφεκτέον καὶ ζῴων ἁπάντων βρώσεως· ᾗπερ καὶ Πυθαγόρᾳ δοκεῖ͵ ψυχὴν τιμῶντι καὶ τὰ ταύτης ὄργανα. Εἰ δ΄ ὅπερ φασίν͵ ὅπως μὴ συνεστιῶνται δαίμοσι͵ μακαρίζω τῆς σοφίας αὐτούς͵ ὅτι βραδέως συνιᾶσιν ὄντες ἀεὶ συνέστιοι δαιμόνων· καὶ τότε δὴ μόνον φυλάσσονται τοῦτο͵ ὁπόταν ἱερεῖον θυόμενον βλέπωσιν· ὅταν δὲ σῖτον ἐσθίωσι καὶ οἶνον πίνωσι καὶ ἀκροδρύων γεύωνται καὶ αὐτὸ ὕδωρ πίνωσι καὶ αὐτὸν ἀέρα ἀναπνέωσιν͵ οὐκ ἄρα παρά τινων δαιμόνων ἕκαστα τούτων λαμβάνουσιν͵ οἷς κατὰ μέρη τὸ ἐπιμελὲς ἑκάστων προστέτακται;





 “We must either not live, and indeed not come into this life at all, or we must do so on condition that we give thanks and first-fruits and prayers to demons, who have been set over the things of this world: and that we must do as long as we live, that they may prove good and kind.”

8.33 ῍Η τοίνυν οὐδαμῇ οὐδαμῶς βιωτέον οὐδὲ τῇδε παριτητέον͵ ἢ τὸν ἐπὶ τοῖσδε παρελθόντα εἰς τὸν βίον δαίμοσι τοῖς τὰ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰληχόσιν εὐχαριστητέον καὶ ἀπαρχὰς καὶ εὐχὰς ἀποδοτέον͵ ἕως ἂν ζῶμεν͵ ὡς ἂν φιλανθρώπων αὐτῶν τυγχάνοιμεν.





The satrap of a Persian or Roman monarch, or ruler or general or governor, yea, even those who fill lower offices of trust or service in the state, would be able to do great injury to those who despised them; and will the satraps and ministers of earth and air be insulted with impunity?

8.35 ῍Η ὁ μὲν τοῦ Περσῶν ἢ Ρωμαίων βασιλέως σατράπης καὶ ὕπαρχος ἢ στρατηγὸς ἢ ἐπίτροπος͵ ἔτι μὴν καὶ οἱ τὰς μικροτέρας ἀρχὰς ἢ ἐπιμελείας ἢ ὑπηρεσίας ἔχοντες μέγα δύναιντ΄ ἂν βλάπτειν ἀμελούμενοι͵ οἱ δ΄ ἀναέριοί τε καὶ ἐπίγειοι σατράπαι καὶ διάκονοι μικρὰ βλάπτοιεν ἂν ὑβριζόμενοι;





 “Behold,” [Christians] say, “I go up to a statue of Jupiter or Apollo, or some other god: I revile it, and beat it, yet it takes no vengeance on me.”

8.38 Ἰδοὺ παραστὰς τῷ ἀγάλματι τοῦ Διὸς ἢ Ἀπόλλωνος ἢ ὅτου δὴ θεοῦ βλασφημῶ καὶ ῥαπίζω͵ καὶ οὐδέν με ἀμύνεται͵

 “Do you not see, good [Christian], that even your own demon is not only reviled, but banished from every land and sea, and you yourself, who are as it were an image dedicated to him, are bound and led to punishment, and fastened to the stake, whilst your demon—or, as you call him, ‘the Son of God’—takes no vengeance on the evil-doer?

8.39 Οὐχ ὁρᾷς οὖν͵ ὦ βέλτιστε͵ ὅτι καὶ τὸν σὸν δαίμονα καταστάς τις οὐ βλασφημεῖ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ πάσης γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης ἐκκηρύττει καὶ σὲ τὸν καθω σιωμένον ὥσπερ ἄγαλμα αὐτῷ δήσας ἀπάγει καὶ ἀνασκολο πίζει· καὶ ὁ δαίμων ἤ͵ ὡς σὺ φῄς͵ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ παῖς οὐδὲν αὐτὸν ἀμύνεται;

You [Christians] mock and revile the statues of our gods; but if you had reviled Dionysius or Hercules in person, you would not perhaps have done so with impunity. But those who crucified your God when present among men, suffered nothing for it, either at the time or during the whole of their lives. And what new thing has there happened since then to make us believe that he was not an impostor, but the Son of God? And forsooth, he who sent his Son with certain instructions for mankind, allowed him to be thus cruelly treated, and his instructions to perish with him, without ever during all this long time showing the slightest concern. What father was ever so inhuman? Perhaps, indeed, you may say that he suffered so much, because it was his wish to bear what came to him. But it is open to those whom you maliciously revile, to adopt the same language, and say that they wish to be reviled, and therefore they bear it with patience; for it is best to deal equally with both sides,—although these (gods) severely punish the scorner, so that he must either flee and hide himself, or be taken and perish.

8.41 Σὺ μὲν τὰ ἀγάλματα τούτων λοιδορῶν καταγελᾷς͵ ὡς αὐτόν γε τὸν Διόνυσον ἢ τὸν Ἡρακλέα παρόντα εἰ ἐλοιδόρησας͵ οὐκ ἂν ἴσως χαίρων ἀπήλλαξας· τὸν δὲ σὸν θεὸν παρόντα κατατείνοντες καὶ κολάζοντες οὐδὲν οἱ ταῦτα δράσαντες πεπόνθασιν ἀλλ΄ οὐδὲ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐν τοσούτῳ βίῳ. Τί καινὸν ἐξ ἐκείνου γέγονεν ᾧ πιστεύσαι ἄν τις ὡς οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος ἄνθρωπος γόης ἀλλὰ θεοῦ παῖς; Καὶ ὁ πέμψας ἄρα τὸν υἱὸν ἀγγελμάτων τινῶν εἵνεκα οὕτως ὠμῶς κολασθέντα͵ ὡς συνδιαφθείρεσθαι καὶ τὰ ἀγγέλματα͵ περιεῖδε καὶ τοσούτου χρόνου διελθόντος οὐκ ἐπεστράφη. Τίς οὕτως ἀνόσιος πατήρ; Ἐκεῖνος μὲν οὖν τυχὸν ἐβούλετο͵ ὡς φῄς͵ διὰ τοῦτο περιϋβρίζετο. Οἵδε δέ͵ οὓς σὺ βλασφημεῖς͵ ἐνῆν μὲν εἰπεῖν ὅτι καὶ αὐτοὶ βούλονται καὶ διὰ τοῦτ΄ ἀνέχονται βλασφημούμενοι· τὰ γὰρ ἴσα τοῖς ἴσοις παραβαλεῖν κράτισ τον· ἀλλ΄ οὗτοί γε καὶ σφόδρα ἀμύνονται τὸν βλασφημοῦντα͵ ἤτοι φεύγοντα διὰ τοῦτο καὶ κρυπτόμενον ἢ ἁλισκόμενον καὶ ἀπολλύμενον.





What need is there to collect all the oracular responses, which have been delivered with a divine voice by priests and priestesses, as wall as by others, whether men or women, who were under a divine influence?—all the wonderful things that have been heard issuing from the inner sanctuary?—all the revelations that have been made to those who consulted the sacrificial victims?—and all the knowledge that has been conveyed to men by other signs and prodigies? To some the gods have appeared in visible forms. The world is full of such instances. How many cities have been built in obedience to commands received from oracles; how often, in the same way, delivered from disease and famine! Or again, how many cities, from disregard or forgetfulness of these oracles, have perished miserably! How many colonies have been established and made to flourish by following their orders! How many princes and private persons have, from this cause, had prosperity or adversity! How many who mourned over their childlessness, have obtained the blessing they asked for! How many have turned away from themselves. the anger of demons! How many who were maimed in their limbs, have had them restored! And again, how many have met with summary punishment for showing want of reverence to the temples—some being instantly seized with madness, others openly confessing their crimes, others having put an end to their lives, and others having become the victims of incurable maladies! Yea, some have been slain by a terrible voice issuing from the inner sanctuary.

8.45 Τί δεῖ καταλέ γειν ὅσα ἐκ χρηστηρίων τοῦτο μὲν προφῆται καὶ προφήτιδες τοῦτο δὲ ἄλλοι κάτοχοι καὶ ἄνδρες καὶ γυναῖκες ἐνθέῳ φωνῇ προεῖπον; Ὅσα δὲ ἐξ ἀδύτων αὐτῶν ἠκοῦσθησαν θαυμάσια; Ὅσα δὲ ἐξ ἱερείων καὶ θυμάτων τοῖς χρωμένοις ἐδηλώθη͵ ὅσα δ΄ ἐξ ἄλλων τεραστίων συμβόλων; Τοῖς δ΄ ἐναργῆ παρέστη φάσματα. Μεστὸς τούτων ὁ πᾶς ἐστι βίος. Πόσαι μὲν πόλεις ἐκ χρηστηρίων ὠρθώθησαν καὶ νόσους ἀπέθεντο καὶ λιμούς͵ πόσαι δ΄ ἀμελήσασαι τούτων ἢ ἐκλαθόμεναι κακῶς ἐφθάρησαν; Πόσαι δ΄ εἰς ἀποικίαν ἐστάλησαν καὶ μετελθοῦσαι τὰ προσταχθέντα εὐδαιμόνησαν; Πόσοι δυνάσται πόσοι δ΄ ἰδιῶται παρὰ τοῦτο ἄμεινον ἢ χεῖρον ἀπήλλαξαν; Πόσοι μὲν ἐπὶ ἀπαιδίᾳ δυσφοροῦντες ὧν ἐδεήθησαν σχόντες δαιμόνων μῆνιν διέφυγον; Πόσαι σωμάτων πηρώσεις ἰάθησαν; Πόσοι δ΄ αὖ πρὸς τοῖς ἱεροῖς ὑβρίσαντες αὐτίκα ἑάλωσαν͵ οἱ μὲν ἔκφρονες αὐτοῦ ταύτῃ κρατηθέντες οἱ δὲ ἐξαγγείλαντες ἃ ἔδρασαν οἱ δὲ σφᾶς αὐτοὺς διειργασμένοι οἱ δὲ νόσοις ἀνηκέστοις ἐνδεθέντες; ῎Ηδη δὲ καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀδύτων φωνὴ βαρεῖα καθεῖλέν τινας.





Just as you, good sir, believe in eternal punishments, so also do the priests who interpret and initiate into the sacred mysteries. The same punishments with which you threaten others, they threaten you. Now it is worthy of examination, which of the two is more firmly established as true; for both parties contend with equal assurance that the truth is on their side. But if we require proofs, the priests of the heathen gods produce many that are clear and convincing, partly from wonders performed by demons, and partly from the answers given by oracles, and various other modes of divination.”

8.48 Μάλιστα μέν͵ ὦ βέλτιστε͵ ὥσπερ σὺ κολάσεις αἰωνίους νομίζεις͵ οὕτως καὶ οἱ τῶν ἱερῶν ἐκείνων ἐξηγηταὶ τελεσταί τε καὶ μυσταγωγοί· ἃς σὺ μὲν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἀπειλεῖς͵ ἐκεῖνοι δὲ σοί. Πότερα γὰρ αὐτῶν ἀληθέστερα ἢ ἐπικρα τέστερα͵ ἔξεστι σκοπεῖν. Λόγῳ μὲν γὰρ ἐξ ἴσου περὶ τῶν σφετέρων σφίσιν ἑκάτεροι διαβεβαιοῦνται· τεκμηρίων δὲ εἰ δέοι͵ πολλὰ ἐκεῖνοι καὶ ἐναργῆ δεικνύουσιν ἔργα τε δαιμονίων τινῶν δυνάμεων καὶ χρηστηρίων καὶ ἐκ παντοδαπῶν μαντείων προκομίζοντες.





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.

8.49 Ἔτι δὲ πῶς οὐκ ἄτοπα ὑμῶν ταῦτα͵ τὸ μὲν σῶμα ποθεῖν καὶ ἐλπίζειν ὅτι αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἀναστήσεται ὡς οὐδὲν ἡμῖν τούτου κρεῖττον οὐδὲ τιμιώτερον͵ πάλιν δ΄ αὐτὸ ῥίπτειν εἰς κολάσεις ὡς ἄτιμον; Ἀλλὰ τοῖς μὲν τοῦτο πειθομένοις καὶ τῷ σώματι συντετηκόσιν οὐκ ἄξιον τοῦτο διαλέγεσθαι· οὗτοι γάρ εἰσιν οἱ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἄγροικοι καὶ ἀκάθαρτοι καὶ χωρὶς λόγου τῇ στάσει συννοσοῦντες· τοῖς μήν γε τὴν ψυχὴν ἢ τὸν νοῦνεἴτε πνευματικὸν τοῦτον ἐθέλουσι καλεῖν εἴτε πνεῦμα νοερὸν ἅγιον καὶ μακάριον εἴτε ψυχὴν ζῶσαν εἴτε θείας καὶ ἀσωμάτου φύσεως ἔκγονον ὑπερουράνιόν τε καὶ ἄφθαρτον εἴθ΄ ὅ τι καὶ ὅ τι χαίρουσιν ὀνομάζοντες͵ τοῖς τοῦτο ἐλπίζουσιν ἕξειν αἰώνιον σὺν θεῷ͵ τούτοις διαλέξομαι. Τοῦτο μέν γε ὀρθῶς νομίζουσιν͵ ὡς οἱ μὲν εὖ βιώσαντες εὐδαιμονήσουσιν͵ οἱ δὲ ἄδικοι πάμπαν αἰωνίοις κακοῖς συνέξονται· καὶ τούτου δὲ τοῦ δόγματος μήθ΄ οὗτοι μήτ΄ ἄλλος ἀνθρώπων μηδείς ποτε ἀποστῇ.





Since men are born united to a body, whether to suit the order of the universe, or that they may in that way suffer the punishment of sin; or because the soul is oppressed by certain passions until it is purged from these at the appointed period of time,—for, according to Empedocles, all mankind must be banished from the abodes of the blessed for 30, 000 periods of time,—we must therefore believe that they are entrusted to certain beings as keepers of this prison-house.”

8.53 Ἐπειδὴ δὲ σώματι συνδεθέντες ἄνθρωποι γεγόνασιν͵ εἴτ΄ οἰκονομίας τῶν ὅλων ἕνεκεν εἴτε ποινὰς ἁμαρτίας ἀποτίνοντες͵ εἴθ΄ ὑπὸ παθημάτων τινῶν τῆς ψυχῆς βαρυνθείσης͵ μέχρι ἂν ἐν ταῖς τεταγμέναις περιόδοις ἐκκαθαρθῇ· δεῖ γὰρ κατὰ τὸν Ἐμπεδοκλέα τρίς μιν μυρίας ὥρας ἀπὸ μακάρων ἀλάλησθαι͵ γινομένην παντοίαν διὰ χρόνου ἰδέαν θνητῶν· πειστέον οὖν ὅτι παραδέδονταί τισιν ἐπιμεληταῖς τοῦδε τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου.





[Christians] must make their choice between two alternatives. If they refuse to render due service to the gods, and to respect those who are set over this service, let them not come to manhood, or marry wives, or have children, or indeed take any share in the affairs of life; but let them depart hence with all speed, and leave no posterity behind them, that such a race may become extinct from the face of the earth. Or, on the other hand, if they will take wives, and bring up children, and taste of the fruits of the earth, and partake of all the blessings of life, and bear its appointed sorrows (for nature herself hath allotted sorrows to all men; for sorrows must exist, and earth is the only place for them), then must they discharge the duties of life until they are released from its bonds, and render due honour to those beings who control the affairs of this life, if they would not show themselves ungrateful to them. For it would be unjust in them, after receiving the good things which they dispense, to pay them no tribute in return.”

8.55 Δυοῖν θάτερον αἱρεῖ λόγος. Εἰ μὲν ἀπαξιοῦσι θεραπεύειν τὰ εἰκότα τοὺς τῶνδε ἐπιστάτας͵ μήτ΄ εἰς ἀνδρὸς ἰέναι μήτ΄ ἄγεσθαι γυναῖκα μήτ΄ ἀναιρεῖσθαι τέκνα μήτ΄ ἄλλο πράττειν μηδὲν ἐν τῷ βίῳ͵ χωρεῖν δ΄ ἔνθεν πασσυδὶ μηδὲν σπέρμα ἐλλειπομένους͵ ὡς ἂν ἐρημωθείη πάμπαν ἐπὶ γῆς τὸ τοιοῦτον γένος· εἰ δὲ καὶ γυναῖκας ἄξονται καὶ παῖδας ποιήσονται καὶ καρπῶν γεύσονται καὶ τῶν ἐν τῷ βίῳ μεθέξουσι καὶ κακῶν τῶν ἐπιτεταγμένων ἀνέξονταιφύσις μὲν γὰρ αὕτη πάντας ἀνθρώπους πειρᾶσθαι κακῶν· εἶναι μὲν γὰρ ἀνάγκη κακά͵ χώραν δ΄ ἄλλην οὐκ ἔχει͵ ἀποδοτέον δὴ τὰς προσηκούσας τοῖς ταῦτ΄ ἐπιτετραμμένοις τιμὰς καὶ τῷ βίῳ λειτουργητέον τὰ πρέποντα͵ μέχρι ἂν τῶν δεσμῶν ἀπολυθῶσι͵ μὴ καὶ ἀχάριστοι πρὸς τούσδε εἶναι δοκῶσι. Καὶ γὰρ ἄδικον μετέχοντας ὧν οἵδε ἔχουσι μηδὲν αὐτοῖς συντελεῖν.





Let any one inquire of the Egyptians, and he will find that everything, even to the most insignificant, is committed to the care of a certain demon. The body of man is divided into thirty-six parts, and as many demons of the air are appointed to the care of it, each having charge of a different part, although others make the number much larger. All these demons have in the language of that country distinct names; as Chnoumen, Chnachoumen, Cnat, Sicat, Biou, Erou, Erebiou, Ramanor, Reianoor, and other such Egyptian names. Moreover, they call upon them, and are cured of diseases of particular parts of the body. What, then, is there to prevent a man from giving honour to these or to others, if he would rather be in health than be sick, rather have prosperity than adversity, and be freed as much as possible from all plagues and troubles?

8.58 Ὅτι μὴν ἐν τοῖσδε μέχρι τῶν ἐλαχίστων ἔστιν ὅτῳ δέδοται ἐξουσία͵ μάθοι τις ἂν ἐξ ὧν Αἰγύπτιοι λέγουσιν͵ ὅτι ἄρα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ σῶμα ἓξ καὶ τριάκοντα διειληφότες δαίμονες ἢ θεοί τινες αἰθέριοι εἰς τοσαῦτα μέρη νενεμημένονοἱ δὲ καὶ πολὺ πλείους λέγουσινἄλλος ἄλλο τι αὐτοῦ νέμειν ἐπιτέτακται. Καὶ τῶν δαιμόνων ἴσασι τὰ ὀνόματα ἐπιχωρίῳ φωνῇ͵ ὥσπερ Χνουμὴν καὶ Χναχουμὴν καὶ Κνὰτ καὶ Σικὰτ καὶ Βιοὺ καὶ Ἐροὺ καὶ Ἐρεβίου καὶ Ραμανὸρ καὶ Ρειανοὸρ ὅσα τε ἄλλα τῇ ἑαυτῶν γλώσσῃ ὀνομάζουσι· καὶ δὴ ἐπικα λοῦντες αὐτοὺς ἰῶνται τῶν μερῶν τὰ παθήματα. Τί οὖν κωλύει τούτους τε καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους δεξιούμενον͵ ἂν χρῄζῃ τις͵ ὑγιαίνειν μᾶλλον ἢ νοσεῖν καὶ εὐτυχεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ δυστυχεῖν καὶ βασανιστηρίων καὶ κολαστηρίων ὡς οἷόν τε ἀπηλλάχθαι;





Care, however, must be taken lest any one, by familiarizing his mind with these matters, should become too much engrossed with them, and lest, through an excessive regard for the body, he should have his mind turned away from higher things, and allow them to pass into oblivion. For perhaps we ought not to despise the opinion of those wise men who say that most of the earth-demons are taken up with carnal indulgence, blood, odours, sweet sounds, and other such sensual things; and therefore they are unable to do more than heal the body, or foretell the fortunes of men and cities, and do other such things as relate to this mortal life.

8.60 Ἐκεῖνο μέντοι φυλακτέον͵ ὅπως μή τις συνὼν τούτοις τῇ θεραπείᾳ τῇ περὶ αὐτὰ συντακῇ͵ φιλοσωματήσας τε καὶ τῶν κρειττόνων ἀποστραφεὶς λήθῃ κατασχεθῇ. Χρὴ γὰρ ἴσως οὐκ ἀπιστεῖν ἀνδράσι σοφοῖς͵ οἳ δή φασι διότι τῶν μὲν περιγείων δαιμόνων τὸ πλεῖστον γενέσει συντετηκὸς καὶ προσηλωμένον αἵματι καὶ κνίσσῃ καὶ μελῳδίαις καὶ ἄλλοις τισὶ τοιούτοις προσδε δεμένον κρεῖττον οὐδὲν δύναιτ΄ ἂν τοῦ θεραπεῦσαι σῶμα καὶ μέλλουσαν τύχην ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ πόλει προειπεῖν͵ καὶ ὅσα περὶ τὰς θνητὰς πράξεις ταῦτα ἴσασί τε καὶ δύνανται.

those who foretell the fortunes of men and cities, and concern themselves about mortal affairs, are earth-spirits, who are given up to fleshly lust, blood, odours, sweet sounds, and other such things, and who are unable to rise above these sensual objects.”

we must offer sacrifices to them, in so far as they are profitable to us, for to offer them indiscriminately is not allowed by reason.

8.62 οἱ μέλλουσαν τύχην ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ πόλει προλέγοντες καὶ ὅσοι περὶ τὰς θνητὰς πράξεις περίγειοι δαίμονές εἰσι͵ γενέσει συντετηκότες καὶ προσηλωμένοι αἵματι καὶ κνίσσῃ καὶ μελῳδίαις καὶ ἄλλοις τισὶ τοιούτοις προσδεδεμένοι͵ κρεῖττον τούτων οὐδὲν δυνάμενοι.

τούτοις ἀφοσιωτέον͵ ἐφ΄ ὅσον συμφέρει͵ πάντῃ γὰρ τοῦτο ποιεῖν οὐχ αἱρεῖ λόγος·





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.

8.63 Θεοῦ δὲ οὐδαμῇ οὐδαμῶς ἀπολειπτέον οὔτε μεθ΄ ἡμέραν οὔτε νύκτωρ οὔτ΄ ἐς κοινὸν οὔτ΄ ἰδίᾳ λόγῳ τε ἐν παντὶ καὶ ἔργῳ διηνεκῶς͵





If, however, any worshipper of God should be ordered to do anything impious, or to say anything base, such a command should in no wise be regarded; but we must encounter all kinds of torment, or submit to any kind of death, rather than say or even think anything unworthy of God. But if any one commands you to celebrate the sun, or to sing a joyful triumphal song in praise of Minerva, you will by celebrating their praises seem to render the higher praise to God; for piety, in extending to all things, becomes more perfect.”

8.66 Ἐὰν μέντοι γε κελεύῃ τις͵ εἰ τύχοις θρησκεύων θεόν͵ ἢ ἀσεβεῖν ἢ ἄλλο τι αἰσχρὸν εἰπεῖν͵ οὐδαμῇ οὐδαμῶς πιστευτέον ἀλλὰ πρὸ τούτων πάσας βασάνους ἐγκαρτερητέον καὶ πάντας θανάτους ὑπομενετέον͵ πρίν τι ἀνόσιον περὶ θεοῦ μὴ ὅτι γε εἰπεῖν ἀλλὰ μελῆσαι· Ἐὰν δὲ κελεύῃ τις εὐφημῆσαι τὸν ῞Ηλιον ἢ τὴν Ἀθηνᾶν προθυ μότατα μετὰ καλοῦ παιᾶνος εὐφημεῖν͵ οὕτω τοι σέβειν μᾶλλον δόξεις τὸν μέγαν θεόν͵ ἐὰν καὶ τούσδε ὑμνῇς· τὸ γὰρ θεοσεβὲς διὰ πάντων διεξιὸν τελεώτερον γίνεται.





We must not disobey the ancient writer, who said long ago, ‘Let one be king, whom the son of crafty Saturn appointed; ’124 and adds: “If you set aside this maxim, you will deservedly suffer for it at the hands of the king. For if all were to do the same as you, there would be nothing to prevent his being left in utter solitude and desertion, and the affairs of the earth would fall into the hands of the wildest and most lawless barbarians; and then there would no longer remain among men any of the glory of your religion or of the true wisdom.”

8.68 οὐ χρὴ ἀπιστεῖν ἀνδρὶ ἀρχαίῳ͵ πάλαι προειπόντι τό· Εἷς βασιλεύς͵ ᾧ ἔδωκε Κρόνου παῖς ἀγκυλομήτεω. Καὶ ἐπιφέρει· Ὡς͵ ἂν τοῦτο λύσῃς τὸ δόγμα͵ εἰκότως ἀμυνεῖταί σε ὁ βασιλεύς. Εἰ γὰρ τὸ αὐτό σοι ποιήσειαν ἅπαντες͵ οὐδὲν κωλύσει τὸν μὲν καταλειφθῆναι μόνον καὶ ἔρημον͵ τὰ δ΄ ἐπὶ γῆς ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀνομωτάτοις τε καὶ ἀγριω τάτοις βαρβάροις γενέσθαι͵ καὶ μήτε τῆς σῆς θρησκείας μήτε τῆς ἀληθινῆς σοφίας ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἔτι καταλείπεσθαι κλέος.

 “You surely do not say that if the Romans were, in compliance with your wish, to neglect their customary duties to gods and men, and were to worship the Most High, or whatever you please to call him, that he will come down and fight for them, so that they shall need no other help than his. For this same God, as yourselves say, promised of old this and much more to those who served him, and see in what way he has helped them and you! They, in place of being masters of the whole world, are left with not so much as a patch of ground or a home; and as for you, if any of you transgresses even in secret, he is sought out and punished with death.” As the question started is, “What would happen if the Romans were persuaded to adopt the principles of the Christians, to despise the duties paid to the recognised gods and to men, and to worship the Most High?

8.69 Οὐ μὲν δὴ τοῦτο φήσεις͵ ὡς͵ ἂν πεισθέντες σοι Ρωμαῖοι καὶ τῶν νενομισμένων αὐτοῖς πρὸς θεούς τε καὶ ἀνθρώπους ἀμελήσαντες τὸν σὸν Ὕψιστον͵ ἢ ὅντινα βούλει͵ προσκα λέσωνται͵ καταβὰς ὑπερμαχεῖται αὐτῶν͵ καὶ οὐδεμιᾶς ἄλλης ἀλκῆς δεήσει. Καὶ γὰρ πρότερον ὁ αὐτὸς θεὸς τοῖς προσέ χουσιν αὐτῷ ταῦτά τε καὶ πολὺ μείζω τούτων͵ ὡς ὑμεῖς φατε͵ ὑπισχνούμενος ὁρᾶτε ὅσα ὠφέλησεν ἐκείνους τε καὶ ὑμᾶς· ὧν τοῖς μὲν ἀντὶ τοῦ γῆς ἁπάσης εἶναι δεσπόταις οὐδ΄ ὁποία τις βῶλος οὐδ΄ ἑστία λείπεται͵ ὑμῶν δὲ κἂν πλανᾶταί τις ἔτι λανθάνων͵ ἀλλὰ ζητεῖται πρὸς θανάτου δίκην.

εἰ πεισθέντες Ρωμαῖοι τῷ Χριστιανῶν λόγῳ͵ τῶν πρὸς τοὺς νενομισμένους θεοὺς ἀμελήσαντες καὶ τῶν κατὰ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους προτέρων νόμων͵ τὸν Ὕψιστον σέβοιντο͵ τί ἂν ἀπαντήσαι·

 “Surely it is intolerable for you to say, that if our present rulers, on embracing your opinions, are taken by the enemy, you will still be able to persuade those who rule after them; and after these have been taken you will persuade their successors and so on, until at length, when all who have yielded to your persuasion have been taken some prudent ruler shall arise, with a foresight of what is impending, and he will destroy you all utterly before he himself perishes.

8.71 Οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ ἐκεῖνο ἀνεκτόν σου λέγοντος͵ ὡς͵ ἂν οἱ νῦν βασιλεύοντες ἡμῶν σοι πεισθέντες ἁλῶσι͵ τοὺς αὖθις βασιλεύοντας πείσεις εἶτ΄ ἄλλους͵ ἂν κἀκεῖνοι ἁλῶσι͵ καὶ ἄλλους ἐπ΄ ἄλλοις͵ μέχρι πάντων τῶν σοι πειθομένων ἁλισκομένων μία τις ἀρχὴ σωφρονήσασα καὶ προειδομένη τὸ συμβαῖνον πάντας ὑμᾶς͵ πρὶν αὐτὴν προαπολέσθαι͵ παγγενεὶ διολέσει.





I urge [Christians] to help the king with all [their] might, and to labour with him in the maintenance of justice, to fight for him; and if he requires it, to fight under him, or lead an army along with him.”

8.73 προτρέπεται ἡμᾶς ὁ Κέλσος ἀρήγειν τῷ βασιλεῖ παντὶ σθένει καὶ συμπονεῖν αὐτῷ τὰ δίκαια καὶ ὑπερμαχεῖν αὐτοῦ καὶ συστρατεύειν αὐτῷ͵ ἂν ἐπείγῃ͵ καὶ συστρατηγεῖν.

 “take office in the government of the country, if that is required for the maintenance of the laws and the support of religion.”

8.75 καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄρχειν τῆς πατρίδος͵ ἐὰν δέῃ καὶ τοῦτο ποιεῖν ἕνεκεν σωτηρίας νόμων καὶ εὐσεβείας.





124 Homer’s Iliad, ii. 205.


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