CELL: Usually the room or hut in which a monk, nun, hermit, or friar lives, but also a dependency of a large monastery, ruled by a prior, dean, or abbot, who was the virtual choice of the abbot of the mother house. Such "cells" were frequently country houses which with the grounds were bestowed upon the abbey as a source of revenue, as the monks living therein had to pay a certain part of their revenue to the mother house. Sometimes the "cell" was an important building, as Tynemouth Priory near Newcastle, England, which was a "cell" of the Benedictine abbey of St. Albans (20 m. n. of London); or Bermondsey, which was a "cell" of the Cluniac abbey of La Charité (140 m. s. of Paris). Originally a "cell" was an oratory erected over the grave of a martyr or saint.
CELLARIUS. See BORRHAUS, MARTIN.
CELSUS: A pagan philosopher and controversialist against Christianity.
The "True Discourse" of Celsus was composed in the last years of Marcus Aurelius. It notices the rescript of that emperor, issued in 177 (or 176 at the earliest), against popular tumults caused by the introduction of a new religion (viii, 69). In viii. 71 the author speaks of two emperors reigning at the time, which fixes the date in the joint rule of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, from 177 to 180. He was thus at least a contemporary of the Celsus to whom Lucian dedicated his "Alexander," and some have supposed the two to be identical. Lucian's friend, however, was an Epicurean, while our Celsus, in spite of Origen, stands out clearly as a Platonist; and the books kat€m€gwn (Lucian, Alex., lxi.; Origen, i. 68, kat€ mageiav do not seem to fit in with the conception and tone of the "True Discourse."
After the introduction, there follow objections against Christianity from the Jewish standpoint, which should be compared with Justin's dialogue with Trypho. With book iii. begins the direct attack, which is directed not against Christianity alone, but also against Judaism, although a slight preference is shown for the latter. Celsus shows a good knowledge of Genesis and Exodus; Aubé; thinks he can prove an acquaintance with the Prophets and with the Psalms, and a reference to Jonah and Daniel is indeed found in vii. 53. His knowledge of Christianity is sufficient to be of some value to the historian of today, and Harnack has used it in his Dogmengeschichte. The manner in which Celsus employs the New Testament corresponds to the stage of development of the canon which the Acts of the Martyrs of Scili show in 180. He knew and used our Gospels, showing a preference for the synoptic type; his acquaintance with the Acts is disputed, while familiarity, with Pauline ideas, though not with the epistles themselves, is generally admitted. Gnosticism he knew well; his relation to Marcion needs further investigation. His whole criticism is not irreligious; it is that of a pious pagan of Platonic tendencies, though his Platonism is that of his age, as we meet with it, for example, in Plutarch. It is the religion of well-to-do, self-confident people, and shows no conception of those crying needs of the time which helped Christianity to spread so rapidly, of the reasons why it was welcomed by the poor and oppressed. Again, he fails to appreciate the significance of the church idea, though he under stands the relation of the local communities to the Church at large (v. 59, 61), and knows that all Christians do not belong to the latter (iii. 12). But it presents itself to him rather in its opposition to the Gnostic sects than as a great bond of unity, whose importance he undervalues while seeing in the conflict of sects a sign of weakness. Still, Christianity seems to him important enough to make him desirous of winning back its adherents; and he closes, not, as he began (i. 1), with the accusation of secret and illegal association, but with the hope that an understanding may be reached.
The book had no influence on the attitude of the Roman government, and scarcely a trace of acquaintance with it can be found in classical literature. Such traces have been seen, on the other hand, in Minucius Felix and in the Apologeticum of Tertullian; but Origen was the first to call general attention to it. The Neoplatonic controversialists naturally went back to it; certain fundamental thoughts reappear in Porphyry, whom Julian follows, and the LçgoifilalÐqeiv ("Truth-loving Discourses") of Hierocles point to it in their very title. Meantime, however, the canon of the New Testament had been completed, and it was possible for assaults on Christianity to take the form of assaults on its sacred writings. Later Christian antiquity saw the typical literary attack from the pagan side not in Celsus but in Porphyry; Theodosius II. ordered the books of Porphyry, not those of Celsus or of Julian, to be burned in 448.
According to the account of Origen, the principal charges brought by Celsus against Christianity were as follows. The Christians were members of illegal secret associations which were necessary to them because they would suffer death if their practises were known. The origins, of Christianity were derived from secondary sources, some of these even barbarous, and Moses himself simply borrowed the ordinances which he promulgated. The alleged divinity of Jesus can not be proved from his miracles, since they were the mere tricks of a juggler, while the indications of his life and character are equally against the doctrine. Jewish converts to Christianity were ipso facto renegades, since the new religion was no improvement upon the old. Both the Jewish and the Christian religions were really rebellious against the state. The alleged theophanies were really the, appearances of demons, and the Christian eschatology is, irrational and incredible.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The best edition of Origen's Contra Celsum is by P. Koetschau, Leipsic, 1899, and the translation is most accessible in ANF, iv. 395 sqq. T. Keim, Celsus' Wahres Wort, Zurich, 1893, puts together in German the quotations by Origen and so reconstructs the original text. Consult: K. R. Jachmann, De Celso philosopho, Königsberg; 1836; B. Aubé, La Polémique paienne à la fin du deuxième siècle, Paris, 1878; E. Pelagaud, Un conservateur au second siècle. Étude sur Celse, Lyons, 1873; C. Bigg, Christian Platonists of Alexandria, pp. 254-268, Oxford, 1886; idem, Neoplatonism, pp. 98-118, London, 1895; K. J. Neumann, Der römische Staat and die allgemeine Kirche, i. 58-59, 256-273, Leipsic, 1890; J. A. Robinson, On the Text of Origen Contra Celaum, in Journal of Philology, xviii. (1890) 288-296; P. Koetschau, Die Gliederung des Alethes Logos des Celsus, in JPT xviii. (1892) 604-632; J. Patrick, Apology of Origen, Edinburgh, 1892; F. M. Müller, Die wahre Geschichte des Celsus, in Deutsche Rundachau, lxxxiv. (1895) 79--97; Harnack, History of Dogma, vols. i. ii., passim, Boston, 1895-97; idem, Litteratur, II. i. 314-315; A: C. MeGiffert, in his edition of Eusebius, NPNF, i. 278-279; Moeller, Christian Church, i. 169-170; Neander, Christian Church, vol. i., passim; Schaff, Christian Church, ii. 89-93; DCB, i. 435-436.
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