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Chapter XVII.

In what follows, Celsus, assailing the Mosaic history, finds fault with those who give it a tropical and allegorical signification.  And here one might say to this great man, who inscribed upon his own work the title of a True Discourse, “Why, good sir, do you make it a boast to have it recorded that the gods should engage in such adventures as are described by your learned poets and philosophers, and be guilty of abominable intrigues, and of engaging in wars against their own fathers, and of cutting off their secret parts, and should dare to commit and to suffer such enormities; while Moses, who gives no such accounts respecting God, nor even regarding the holy angels, and who relates deeds of far less atrocity regarding men (for in his writings no one ever ventured to commit such crimes as Kronos did against Uranus, or Zeus against his father, or that of the father of men and gods, who had intercourse with his own daughter), should be considered as having deceived those who were placed under his laws, and to have led them into error?”  And here Celsus seems to me to act somewhat as Thrasymachus the Platonic philosopher did, when he would not allow Socrates to answer regarding justice, as he wished, but said, “Take care not to say that utility is justice, or duty, or anything of that kind.”  For in like manner Celsus assails (as he thinks) the Mosaic histories, and finds fault with those who understand them allegorically, at the same time bestowing also some praise upon those who do so, to the effect that they are more impartial (than those who do not); and thus, as it were, he prevents by his cavils those who are able to show the true state of the case from offering such a defence as they would wish to offer.31083108    Οἱονεὶ κωλύεται, κατηγορήσας ὡς βούλεται, ἀπολογεῖσθαι τοὺς δυναμένους ὡς πέφυκεν ἔχειν τὰ πράγματα.  We have taken κωλύεται as middle.  Some propose κωλύει.  And we have read βούλονταί , a lection which is given by a second hand in one ms.

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