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Chapter XXVIII.

With some such object as this in view does Celsus seem to have been actuated, when he alleged that Christians term the Creator an “accursed divinity;” in order that he who believes these charges of his against us, should, if possible, arise and exterminate the Christians as the most impious of mankind.  Confusing, moreover, things that are distinct,44254425    φύρων δὲ τὰ πράγματα. he states also the reason why the God of the Mosaic cosmogony is termed “accursed,” asserting that “such is his character, and worthy of execration in the 587opinion of those who so regard him, inasmuch as he pronounced a curse upon the serpent, who introduced the first human beings to the knowledge of good and evil.”  Now he ought to have known that those who have espoused the cause of the serpent, because he gave good advice to the first human beings, and who go far beyond the Titans and Giants of fable, and are on this account called Ophites, are so far from being Christians, that they bring accusations against Jesus to as great a degree as Celsus himself; and they do not admit any one into their assembly44264426    συνέδριον. until he has uttered maledictions against Jesus.  See, then, how irrational is the procedure of Celsus, who, in his discourse against the Christians, represents as such those who will not even listen to the name of Jesus, or omit even that He was a wise man, or a person of virtuous44274427    μέτριος τὰ ἤθη. character!  What, then, could evince greater folly or madness, not only on the part of those who wish to derive their name from the serpent as the author of good,44284428    ἀρχηγοῦ τῶν καλῶν. but also on the part of Celsus, who thinks that the accusations with which the Ophites44294429    ᾽Οφιᾶνοι:  cf. Irenæus, vol. i. pp. 354–358. are charged, are chargeable also against the Christians!  Long ago, indeed, that Greek philosopher who preferred a state of poverty,44304430    τὴν εὐτέλειαν ἀγαπήσας. and who exhibited the pattern of a happy life, showing that he was not excluded from happiness although he was possessed of nothing,44314431    ἀπὸ τῆς παντελοῦς ἀκτημοσύνης. termed himself a Cynic; while these impious wretches, as not being human beings, whose enemy the serpent is, but as being serpents, pride themselves upon being called Ophites from the serpent, which is an animal most hostile to and greatly dreaded by man, and boast of one Euphrates44324432    “Euphraten hujus hæresis auctorem solus Origenes tradit.”—Spencer; cf. note in Spencer’s edition. as the introducer of these unhallowed opinions.


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