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14. What say you, O races and nations, given up to such beliefs? When these things are brought forward, are you not ashamed and confounded to say things so indecent? We wish to hear or learn from you something befitting the gods; but you, on the contrary, bring forward to us the cutting off of breasts, the lopping off of men’s members, ragings, blood, frenzies, the self-destruction of maidens, and flowers and trees begotten from the blood of the dead. Say, again, did the mother of the gods, then, with careful diligence herself gather in her grief the scattered genitals with the shed blood?43674367    Lit., “flows.” With her own sacred, her own divine43684368    Lit., “herself with sacred, herself with divine.” hands, did she touch and lift up the instruments of a disgraceful and indecent office? Did she also commit them to the earth to be hid from sight; and lest in this case they should, being uncovered, be dispersed in the bosom of the earth, did she indeed wash and anoint them with fragrant gums before wrapping and covering them with his dress? For whence could the violet’s sweet scent have come had not the addition of those ointments modified the putrefying smell of the member? Pray, when you read such tales, do you not seem to yourselves to hear either girls at the loom wiling away their tedious working hours, or old women seeking diversions for credulous children,43694369    [γραώδεις μύθους, 1 Tim. iv. 7. Compare Ignatius, vol. i. p. 62, note 3. But even the old wives’ tales among Hebrews were clean in contrast with the horrible amusements here imputed even to the girls at the loom, and children, among the Gentiles.] and to be declaring manifold fictions under the guise of truth? Acdestis appealed to43704370    Lit., “spoke with.” Jupiter to restore life to his paramour: Jupiter would not consent, because he was hindered by the fates more powerful than himself; and that he might not be in every respect very hard-hearted, he granted one favour—that the body should not decay through any corruption; that the hair should always grow; that the least of his fingers alone in his body should live, alone keep always in motion. Would any one grant this, or support it with an unhesitating assent, that hair grows on a dead body,—that part43714371    i.e., the part cut off and buried separately. perished, and that the rest of his mortal body, free from the law of corruption, remains even still?


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