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Chapter XLVIII.

In the next place, as if he had devoted himself solely to the manifestation of his hatred and dislike of the Jewish and Christian doctrine, he says:  “The more modest of Jewish and Christian writers give all these things an allegorical meaning;” and, “Because they are ashamed of these things, they take refuge in allegory.”  Now one might say to him, that if we must admit fables and fictions, whether written with a concealed meaning or with any other object, to be shameful narratives when taken in their literal acceptation,39083908    κατὰ τὴν πρώτην ἐκδοχήν. of what histories can this be said more truly than of the Grecian?  In these histories, gods who are sons castrate the gods who are their fathers, and gods who are parents devour their own children, and a goddess-mother gives to the “father of gods and men” a stone to swallow instead of his own son, and a father has intercourse with his daughter, and a wife binds her own husband, having as her allies in the work the brother of the fettered god and his own daughter!  But why should I enumerate these absurd stories of the Greeks regarding their gods, which are most shameful in themselves, even though invested with an allegorical meaning?  (Take the instance) where Chrysippus of Soli, who is considered to be an ornament of the Stoic sect, on account of his numerous and learned treatises, explains a picture at Samos, in which Juno was represented as committing unspeakable abominations with Jupiter.  This reverend philosopher says in his treatises, that matter receives the spermatic words39093909    τοὺς σπερματικοὺς λόγους. of the god, and retains them within herself, in order to ornament the universe.  For in the picture at Samos Juno represents matter, and Jupiter god.  Now it is on account of these, and of countless other similar fables, that we would not even in word call the God of all things Jupiter, or the sun Apollo, or the moon Diana.  But we offer to the Creator a worship which is pure, and speak with religious respect of His noble works of creation, not contaminating even in word the things of God; approving of the language of Plato in the Philebus, who would not admit that pleasure was a goddess, “so great is my reverence, Protarchus,” he says, “for the very names of the gods.”  We verily entertain such reverence for the name of God, and for His noble works of creation, that we would not, even under 520pretext of an allegorical meaning, admit any fable which might do injury to the young.


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