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Chapter XX.

But since our views regarding the resurrection have, as far as time would permit, been stated in part on the present occasion (for we have systematically examined the subject in greater 552detail in other parts of our writings); and as now we must by means of sound reasoning refute the fallacies of Celsus, who neither understands the meaning of our Scripture, nor has the capacity of judging that the meaning of our wise men is not to be determined by those individuals who make no profession of anything more than of a (simple) faith in the Christian system, let us show that men, not to be lightly esteemed on account of their reasoning powers and dialectic subtleties, have given expression to very absurd41564156    σφόδρ᾽ ἀπεμφαίνοντα. opinions.  And if we must sneer41574157    μυχθίζειν. at them as contemptible old wives’ fables, it is at them rather than at our narrative that we must sneer.  The disciples of the Porch assert, that after a period of years there will be a conflagration of the world, and after that an arrangement of things in which everything will be unchanged, as compared with the former arrangement of the world.  Those of them, however, who evinced their respect for this doctrine have said that there will be a change, although exceedingly slight, at the end of the cycle, from what prevailed during the preceding.41584158    [Comp. book iv. capp. lxv.–lxix. pp. 526–528, supra.]  And these men maintain, that in the succeeding cycle the same things will occur, and Socrates will be again the son of Sophroniscus, and a native of Athens; and Phænarete, being married to Sophroniscus, will again become his mother.  And although they do not mention the word “resurrection,” they show in reality that Socrates, who derived his origin from seed, will spring from that of Sophroniscus, and will be fashioned in the womb of Phænarete; and being brought up at Athens, will practise the study of philosophy, as if his former philosophy had arisen again, and were to be in no respect different from what it was before.  Anytus and Melitus, too, will arise again as accusers of Socrates, and the Council of Areopagus will condemn him to death!  But what is more ridiculous still, is that Socrates will clothe himself with garments not at all different from those which he wore during the former cycle, and will live in the same unchanged state of poverty, and in the same unchanged city of Athens!  And Phalaris will again play the tyrant, and his brazen bull will pour forth its bellowings from the voices of victims within, unchanged from those who were condemned in the former cycle!  And Alexander of Pheræ, too, will again act the tyrant with a cruelty unaltered from the former time, and will condemn to death the same “unchanged” individuals as before.  But what need is there to go into detail upon the doctrine held by the Stoic philosophers on such things, and which escapes the ridicule of Celsus, and is perhaps even venerated by him, since he regards Zeno as a wiser man than Jesus?


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