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Chapter LV.

The Jew continues his address to those of his countrymen who are converts, as follows:  “Come now, let us grant to you that the prediction was actually uttered.  Yet how many others are there who practise such juggling tricks, in order to deceive their simple hearers, and who make gain by their deception?—as was the case, they say, with Zamolxis33353335    Cf. Herodot., iv. 95. in Scythia, the slave of Pythagoras; and with Pythagoras himself in Italy; and with Rhampsinitus33363336    Cf. Herodot., ii. 122. in Egypt (the latter of whom, they say, played at dice with Demeter in Hades, and returned to the upper world with a golden napkin which he had received from her as a gift); and also with Orpheus33373337    Cf. Herodot., ii. 122. among the Odrysians, and Protesilaus in Thessaly, and Hercules33383338    Cf. Diodor., iv., Bibl. Hist. at Cape Tænarus, and Theseus.  But the question is, whether any one who was really dead ever rose with a veritable body.33393339    αὐτῷ σώματι.  [See Mozley’s Bampton Lectures On Miracles, 3d ed., p. 297:  “That a man should rise from the dead, was treated by them (the heathen) as an absolutely incredible fact.”  S.]  Or do you imagine the statements of others not only to be myths, but to have the appearance of such, while you have discovered a becoming and credible termination to your drama in the voice from the cross, when he breathed his last, and in the earthquake and the darkness?  That while alive he was of no assistance to himself, but that when dead he rose again, and showed the marks of his punishment, and how his hands were pierced with nails:  who beheld this?  A half-frantic33403340    γυνη πάροιστρος. woman, as you state, and some other one, perhaps, of those who were engaged in the same system of delusion, who had either dreamed so, owing to a peculiar state of mind,33413341    κατά τινα διάθεσιν ὀνειρώξας. or under the influence of a wandering imagination had formed to himself an appearance according to his own wishes,33423342    ἢ κατά τὴν αὐτοῦ βούλησιν δόξῃ πεπλανημένῃ φαντασιωθείς. which has been the case with numberless individuals; or, which is most probable, one who desired to impress others with this portent, and by such a falsehood to furnish an occasion to impostors like himself.”

Now, since it is a Jew who makes these statements, we shall conduct the defence of our Jesus as if we were replying to a Jew, still continuing the comparison derived from the accounts regarding Moses, and saying to him:  “How many others are there who practise similar juggling tricks to those of Moses, in order to deceive their silly hearers, and who make gain by their deception?”  Now this objection would be more appropriate in the mouth of one who did not believe in Moses (as we might quote the instances of Zamolxis and Pythagoras, who were 454engaged in such juggling tricks) than in that of a Jew, who is not very learned in the histories of the Greeks.  An Egyptian, moreover, who did not believe the miracles of Moses, might credibly adduce the instance of Rhampsinitus, saying that it was far more credible that he had descended to Hades, and had played at dice with Demeter, and that after stealing from her a golden napkin he exhibited it as a sign of his having been in Hades, and of his having returned thence, than that Moses should have recorded that he entered into the darkness, where God was, and that he alone, above all others, drew near to God.  For the following is his statement:  “Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the rest shall not come nigh.”33433343    Cf. Ex. xxiv. 2.  We, then, who are the disciples of Jesus, say to the Jew who urges these objections:  “While assailing our belief in Jesus, defend yourself, and answer the Egyptian and the Greek objectors:  what will you say to those charges which you brought against our Jesus, but which also might be brought against Moses first?  And if you should make a vigorous effort to defend Moses, as indeed his history does admit of a clear and powerful defence, you will unconsciously, in your support of Moses, be an unwilling assistant in establishing the greater divinity of Jesus.”


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