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JOHN GRANGER COOK

The Interpretation
of the Old Testament
in Greco-Roman
Paganism

Studien und Texte zu


Antike und Christen tum
23

Mohr Siebeck
Studien u n d Texte zu A n t i k e u n d Christentum
Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity

H e r a u s g e b e r / E d i t o r : CHRISTOPH MARKSCHIES (Berlin)

Beirat/Advisory Board
H U B E R T CANCIK ( B e r l i n ) · GIOVANNI C A S A D I O ( S a l e r n o )
SUSANNA E L M (Berkeley) · JOHANNES H A H N (Munster)
JORG R U P K E (Erfurt)

23
John Granger Cook

The Interpretation
of the Old Testament
in Greco-Roman Paganism

Mohr Siebeck
JOHN GRANGER COOK, b o r n 1 9 5 5 ; 1 9 7 6 B.A. in Philosophy, D a v i d s o n College; 1 9 7 9 M . Div.,
U n i o n Theological Seminary ( V A ) ; 1 9 8 2 - 8 3 D o c t o r a l research at the University of G o t t i n -
gen; 1 9 8 5 P h . D . at E m o r y University; 1 9 8 5 - 9 1 Pastor at R e e m s C r e e k Presbyterian Parish in
Weaverville, N C / U S A ; 1 9 9 1 - 9 4 post doctoral studies at E m o r y University; since 1 9 9 4
Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at L a G r a n g e College, G A / U S A .

ISBN 3-16-148474-6
ISSN 1 4 3 6 - 3 0 0 3 (Studien und Texte zu A n t i k e und Christentum)

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© 2004 by M o h r S i e b e c k , T u b i n g e n , G e r m a n y .

This b o o k m a y n o t b e r e p r o d u c e d , in w h o l e o r in p a r t , in a n y f o r m ( b e y o n d t h a t p e r m i t t e d
by copyright law) without the publisher's written permission. This applies particularly to
r e p r o d u c t i o n s , t r a n s l a t i o n s , m i c r o f i l m s a n d s t o r a g e a n d p r o c e s s i n g in e l e c t r o n i c s y s t e m s .

T h e b o o k w a s p r i n t e d by G u l d e - D r u c k in T u b i n g e n o n n o n - a g i n g p a p e r a n d b o u n d b y
B u c h b i n d e r e i H e l d in R o t t e n b u r g .

P r i n t e d in G e r m a n y .
For my doctoral fathers,
Prof. David Hellholm and the late Prof. William Beardslee,
with heartfelt gratitude
Table of Contents

Introduction 1
0.1 H e c a t a e u s o f A b d e r a (ca 300 B.C.E.) 4
0.2 M a n e t h o (III B.C.E.) 6
0.3 Ocellus Lucanus (II B.C.E.) 8
0.4 Lysimachus 9
0.5 A p o l l o n i u s M o l o n (I B.C.E.) 11
0.6 A l e x a n d e r Polyhistor (ca 105-35 B.C.E.) 13
0.7 D i o d o r u s Siculus (I B.C.E.) 16
0.8 Nicolaus of D a m a s c u s 19
0.9 Strabo (ca 64 B.C.E. to I C E . ) 21
0.10 P o m p e i u s Trogus (I B.C.E. to I C E . ) 23
0.11 Tacitus (ca 56-11 C E . ) 26
0.12 Chaeremon ( I C E . ) 29
0.13 A p i o n (I C E . ) 30
0.14 Ps. Longinus (I C E . ) 32
0.15 Ps. Ecphantus (I - II C.E.?) 34
0.16 N u m e n i u s (II C E . ) 36
0.17 Historians 41
0.18 The L X X in Magical Texts 42
0.19 Pompey: Inscriptions and Art 48
0.20 Hermetica 49
0.21 Conclusion 52

1. Celsus 55
1.1 Celsus o n the A l l e g o r y of the Old Testament 59
1.1.1 Character of the H e b r e w Scriptures 59
1.1.2 Allegorists: A Higher Class of Jews and Christians 61
1.1.3 O T Texts A b s e n t of Allegorical Meaning 62
1.2 Creation 64
1.2.1 The Mosaic A c c o u n t as N o n s e n s e 64
1.2.2 The S e v e n D a y s of G e n 1 65
1.2.3 Time and the D a y s of Creation 66
1.2.4 Light 67
1.2.5 The Sabbath 69
1.2.6 G o d ' s M o u t h , Voice, and Image 71
VIII Table of Contents

1.2.7 A d a m , E v e , and the Snake 71


1.2.8 The Creator G o d and the Serpent 74
1.2.9 The Tree of Life 77
1.2.10 The G a r d e n of E d e n as C o m e d y 80
1.2.11 T h e Spirit, the Highest G o d , the Creator G o d , and the
Strangers 80
1.2.12 Celsus Against an Anthropocentric Creation 82
1.2.13 All is M a d e for H u m a n s ? 84
1.2.14 Weather and Plants: For P e o p l e or A n i m a l s ? 85
1.2.15 C e l s u s ' V i e w of the Created Order 86
1.2.16 The World is G o d ' s Child 88
1.2.17 A n i m a l s and H u m a n s 88
1.2.18 Celsus' Conclusions A b o u t the Created Order 90
1.3 Seventy Punished A n g e l s 91
1.4 The Flood 92
1.5 F l o o d s and Conflagrations 94
1.6 T h e Misunderstood Plato 95
1.7 A n U n c r e a t e d U n i v e r s e and Floods/Conflagrations 96
1.8 T h e F l o o d , G o d ' s Inability to Persuade,
and his R e p e n t a n c e 97
1.9 T h e Existence of Evil and God's Correction
of the World 99
1.10 T h e Tower of B a b e l 100
1.11 A b r a h a m ' s Circumcision 102
1.12 T h e Destruction of S o d o m and G o m o r r a h 103
1.13 Lot and his D a u g h t e r s 104
1.14 A b r a h a m and Sarah, R e b e c c a h , Jacob and E s a u ,
Cain and A b e l 106
1.15 Wells, Marriages, Brides, and Slaves (Sarah and Hagar) 107
1.16 T h e G e n e a l o g y of the Progenitors 108
1.17 Esau's Hatred 109
1.18 T h e R a p e of D i n a h and S i m e o n and Levi's R e v e n g e 110
1.19 Joseph, His Brothers, and Jacob 110
1.20 M o s e s and A n c i e n t W i s d o m 112
1.21 T h e Jews' Worship of A n g e l s , and M o s e s as their
E x e g e t e of Magic 115
1.22 M o s e s and G o d 116
1.23 T h e H e r d e r s ' N a m e s for G o d 117
1.24 T h e Egyptian Origin of the Jews 120
1.25 T h e Jews as Fugitive Slaves 121
1.26 M o s e s and the A n g e l 123
1.27 The Flight from Egypt 124
1.28 Laws 125
1.28.1 The C u s t o m s of Different Nations 125
1.28.2 Celsus o n F o o d C u s t o m s 127
1.28.3 Circumcision and Pork 127
1.28.4 Israel and the N a t i o n s 129
Table of Contents IX

1.29 D o c t r i n e s 130
1.29.1 Purity, H e a v e n , and E l e c t i o n 131
1.29.2 The Worship of H e a v e n and A n g e l s 132
1.29.3 G o d Higher than H e a v e n 134
1.29.4 S e v e n H e a v e n s 135
1.29.5 Promises to the Jews: Population and Resurrection 136
1.30 Prophets and Prophecy 137
1.30.1 Jonah and D a n i e l 138
1.30.2 The Prophets as Inspired 138
1.30.3 Prophecy is not U n i q u e to Judaism 139
1.30.4 Celsus' Jewish Persona o n O l d Testament Prophecy
of a S o n of G o d 140
1.30.5 Celsus' Charges Against the Jews and Christians'
Belief in a Savior 141
1.31 Versus the Wrath of G o d 143
1.32 A Person's A n g e r with the Jews and God's A n g e r 145
1.33 Celsus o n the Jews' Current Status 146
1.34 G e n t i l e Proselytes to Judaism 147
1.35 Conclusion 148

2. Porphyry 150
2.1 R e m a r k s o n Judaism from Porphyry's Philosophy Drawn from
Oracles 151
2.1.1 T h e R o a d to the G o d s 152
2.1.2 S e v e n h e a v e n s 154
2.1.3 The Creator G o d of the H e b r e w s 155
2.1.4 The Transcendent S e c o n d G o d 157
2.2 Porphyry's Contra Christianos and Other Texts 159
2.2.1 Ε 1 of Porphyry's Against the Christians:
O n the M y t h o l o g i e s of the Jews 160
2.2.2 Against Allegorical Interpretation of the L X X 163
2.2.3 G e n 1:2 and Souls 167
2.2.4 G e n 2:7 and the Soul 169
2.2.5 E d e n 170
2.2.6 G e n 3:21: Garments of Skin 172
2.2.7 D r e a m s : Pythagoras and the H e b r e w s 173
2.2.8 T h e Chronology of M o s e s 174
2.2.9 M o s e s and the Egyptian Magicians 177
2.2.10 Ecclesiastes 4:8: D o e s G o d have a Son? 179
2.2.11 The Prophets Against Sacrifice? 180
2.2.12 Porphyry's Excerpt from Theophrastus o n Sacrifice 181
2.2.13 H o s e a ' s Marriage to a Prostitute 183
2.2.14 Jonah 185
2.2.15 Zechariah and A n t i o c h u s E p i p h a n e s 187
2.2.16 D a n i e l 187
χ Table of Contents

2.2.16.1 Porphyry's Eastern Sources? 188


2.2.16.2 Porphyry's Cultural Identity and Language . . 191
2.2.16.3 The Western Sources 193
2.2.16.4 Jerome's K n o w l e d g e of Porphyry 196
2.2.16.5 The Twelfth V o l u m e of Porphyry's
Contra Christianos: A F o r e s e e n Future
is Impossible 197
2.2.16.6 S u s a n n a , T h e Language of D a n i e l ,
and Its Authenticity 200
2.2.16.7 Porphyry's and Jerome's Sources 203
2.2.16.8 D a n 2:35 205
2.2.16.9 D a n 2:46 208
2.2.16.10 D a n 2:48 209
2.2.16.11 D a n 3:98 209
2.2.16.12 D a n 5:10 210
2.2.16.13 D a n 7:7 and the Four Beasts 211
2.2.16.14 D a n 7:8,14. The Little H o r n and the S o n
of M a n 213
2.2.16.15 D a n 7:18 and the H o l y O n e s 216
2.2.16.16 The King in D a n 9:1 216
2.2.16.17 The A b o m i n a t i o n of the D e s o l a t i o n in
D a n 9:27 217
2.2.16.18 Jerome's U s e of Porphyry in D a n 11 219
2.2.16.19 The Kings of D a n 11:20 219
2.2.16.20 D a n 11:21: A n t i o c h u s or Antichrist? 221
2.2.16.21 D a n 11:25 and the Invasion of Egypt 224
2.2.16.22 D a n l l : 2 7 - 2 8 a and A n t i o c h u s 224
2.2.16.23 D a n l l : 2 8 b - 3 0 a : the Failure of A n t i o c h u s
or the Antichrist? 225
2.2.16.24 A n t i o c h u s Against Jerusalem and D a n 11:30b 226
2.2.16.25 D a n 11:31 and the A b o m i n a t i o n
of the D e s o l a t i o n 227
2.2.16.26 D a n 11:32 and the R e n e g a d e s 229
2.2.16.27 D a n 11:33 and the Sufferings of the Jews . . . . 229
2.2.16.28 T h e M a c c a b e e s and D a n 11:34-35 230
2.2.16.29 D a n 11:36: A n t i o c h u s or Antichrist
in the Temple? 231
2.2.16.30 D a n 11:37-39: The D e s i r e of W o m e n
and the G o d of M a o z i m 232
2.2.16.31 D a n l l : 4 0 - 4 1 a and an A l l e g e d Late Invasion
of Egypt by A n t i o c h u s 234
2.2.16.32 D a n 11:41b and a R e p r i e v e for Three N a t i o n s 235
2.2.16.33 D a n 11:42-43 o n Libya and Ethiopia 236
2.2.16.34 D a n 11:44-45: "Apedno," the Persians,
and Jerome's Summary of the A r g u m e n t . . . . 236
2.2.16.35 The Resurrection, the M a c c a b e e s and
D a n 12:1-3 240
Table of Contents XI

2.2.16.36 Dan 12:5-6 and the Time of the E n d 242


2.2.16.37 Dan 12:7a and Chronology 243
2.2.16.38 Dan 12:7b and the Scattering of God's P e o p l e 244
2.2.16.39 Dan 12:11 and the 1290 D a y s 245
2.2.16.40 Dan 12:12 and the Forty-Five days 245
2.2.16.41 Dan 12:13 and the Resurrection 246
2.3 Conclusion 247

3. Julian 248
3.1 The Language of the O T 251
3.2 The Incomplete Creation A c c o u n t 252
3.3 Genesis 1 254
3.4 Plato o n Creation of the Universe and of H u m a n s 256
3.5 T h e K n o w l e d g e of G o o d and Evil 258
3.6 A d a m and E v e 259
3.7 The Serpent's Language 260
3.8 Garments of Skins 262
3.9 Julian's Conclusion about the S e c o n d Creation Narrative 263
3.10 Myth and A l l e g o r y 264
3.11 Cain and A b e l 267
3.12 The Sons of G o d and the Daughters of H u m a n s 269
3.13 The Tower of Babel 271
3.14 B a b e l and the Difference in Customs of Nations 272
3.15 W h o H e l p e d G o d Confuse the Languages? 275
3.16 The G o d of A b r a h a m 275
3.17 A b r a h a m and Eleazar as Diviners 276
3.18 The Faith of A b r a h a m 278
3.19 The Covenant with A b r a h a m , Circumcision, and the Christians 279
3.20 G e n e s i s 49:10 and the Messiah 282
3.21 Israel and God's C h o s e n People, M o s e s and Pharaoh 283
3.22 Israel as God's Firstborn S o n 285
3.23 Slavery and the Jews 286
3.24 The Passover and the Christians 288
3.25 The D e c a l o g u e 289
3.26 God's Jealousy and Theological Language 291
3.27 God's V e n g e a n c e of the Fathers' Sins o n Children 293
3.28 Lev 7:20 and Christian Practice 294
3.29 Fire from H e a v e n ( L e v 9:24 and 1 Kgs 18:38) 295
3.30 Lev 11:3 and Christian D i e t 296
3.31 The A t o n e m e n t 298
3.32 Sin: D i d M o s e s and Jesus Take it Away? 300
3.33 N u m 24:17 and Jesus 301
3.34 P h i n e h a s ( N u m 25:1-11) 302
3.35 Phinehas or Greek Lawgivers and Philosophers? 305
3.36 M o s e s ' Cruelty 307
3.37 M o s e s and the P e r m a n e n c e of the Law 307
XII Table of Contents

3.38 M o s e s and M o n o t h e i s m in D e u t e r o n o m y 309


3.39 D e u t 6:13 Against Matt 28:19 310
3.40 A Prophet Like M o s e s 311
3.41 D e u t 32:9, E x o d 22:28, and the Christians' R e l a t i o n to Judaism
and H e l l e n i s m 312
3.42 D a v i d and S a m s o n 314
3.43 Solomon's Wisdom 315
3.44 Elijah's Sacrifice outside Jerusalem 317
3.45 T h e Fast of M o s e s , Elijah, and Jesus 318
3.46 Esdras (Ezra) and the Writings of M o s e s 319
3.47 A C o m m e n t o n Prophecy in The Letter to a Priest 320
3.48 Isaiah, Mary, and Johannine Christology 323
3.49 Mary, the Word of G o d , Isa 7:14, and D e u t 32:39 325
3.50 Incubation and Isa 65:4 326
3.51 H o s e a 11:1 and the U s e of Prophecy in the N T 327
3.52 Sacrifice and Jerusalem 327
3.53 Sacrifice in H e l l e n i s m , Judaism, and Christianity 329
3.54 Julian's Identification of the G o d of Israel 330
3.54.1 Julian's N e o - P l a t o n i c Triad 330
3.54.2 H e l i o s in the Contra Galilaeos 331
3.54.3 B e i n g s Superior to the G o d of Israel? 332
3.54.4 The H e b r e w s ' G o d is Confined 333
3.54.5 Creator G o d or Guardian? 334
3.54.6 The H e b r e w s ' G o d in the Pyramid Structure of
Polytheism 335
3.54.7 G o d and his Other N a m e s 336
3.54.8 G o d and Julian's R e i g n 337
3.54.9 Conclusion 338
3.55 The Gifts of the Jews: Prophets, Law, Manna, A n o i n t i n g Oil,
and Teachers 339
3.56 G o d ' s Care for Israel, Israel's Blessings, and the Blessings
of the G r e e k s 341
3.57 G r e e k s D e s e r t i n g to the Jews 343
3.58 Conclusion 344

Conclusion 345

Bibliography 351
A n c i e n t Sources 351
Scholarship 356

Indexes 368
G r e e k and Latin Literature 368
Old Testament 375
N e w Testament 382
A n c i e n t Jewish Literature 383
Table of Contents XIII

A n c i e n t Christian Literature 386


A n c i e n t Individuals 394
M o d e r n Authors 396
Subjects 397
Acknowledgements

For his e n c o u r a g e m e n t and frequent advice o n this project I thank Prof. Martin
H e n g e l . For accepting the work in his series Studien und Texte zu A n t i k e und
Christentum I thank Prof. Christoph Markschies. It has b e e n a pleasure to
k n o w and work with him. I am grateful to Mr. G e o r g Siebeck for publishing the
manuscript. Dr. H e n n i n g Ziebritzki and Mr. Matthias Spitzner of M o h r
Siebeck have m a d e the production of this work possible. M a n y have offered
m e helpful and critical comments. Prof. Giancarlo Rinaldi's work has b e e n an
inspiration. Dr. Richard Goulet's continual willingness to help has m a d e this
project m u c h easier. Others w h o have assisted include Prof. Timothy Barnes,
Prof. H a n s D i e t e r Betz, Prof. John J. Collins, Prof. John Finamore, Prof. John
Hayes, Prof. K a t h l e e n McVey, and Prof. Steven Strange. Their suggestions have
b e e n invaluable. I thank Prof. Vernon R o b b i n s for his bibliographical help -
without which this b o o k , like its c o m p a n i o n , would not have b e e n possible. I
thank L a G r a n g e C o l l e g e for awarding m e a Sabbatical L e a v e in 2001 to pursue
the project. I am grateful to President Stuart Gulley and D e a n Jay S i m m o n s
( L a G r a n g e C o l l e g e ) for providing m e with the opportunity to d o this work. Dr.
Arthur R o b i n s o n , longsuffering librarian at the college, has b e e n invaluable in
procuring sources for me. I thank the librarians of the Special Collection at
S e w a n e e for making the A s s e m a n i edition of E p h r a e m available to me. M y
students offer continuing inspiration in understanding the Bible's interaction
with ancient culture. They have also h e l p e d with numerous clerical tasks. Prof.
Sam H o r n s b y has b e e n an endless font of editorial wisdom. The errors are m y
own.

The G r e e k font used (Graeca) is from Linguist's Software, P O B o x 580, E d ­


monds, W A 98020, U S A . 425-775-1130. www.linguistsoftware.com
Introduction

The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World

W h i l e writing The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman


Paganism it b e c a m e apparent that the pagan authors w e r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h the
Christians' e x t e n s i v e u s e o f the O l d T e s t a m e n t to support and understand
1
their faith . I also realized that I could not include m u c h o f the O T material in
the book. There w i l l inevitably b e s o m e overlap b e t w e e n the t w o b o o k s , but I
w i l l n o t repeat all o f the introductory material c o n c e r n i n g t h e authors
t h e m s e l v e s and their w o r k s . T h i s monograph will survey the r e s p o n s e s to the
2
O T literature in C e l s u s (II C.E.), Porphyry (III C.E.), and Julian (IV C E . ) .
I h a v e intentionally adopted the term "Old T e s t a m e n t " in the title e v e n
3
though that is a specifically Christian n a m e for the scriptures o f Israel . M o r e
4
academically neutral terms such as "First Testament" or "Hebrew B i b l e " are
not as relevant to m y project b e c a u s e it w a s the advent o f Christianity that
s e e m s to h a v e finally generated a c l o s e reading o f the O T o n the part o f pagan
5
intellectuals . S u c h a j u d g m e n t can only b e based on the extant sources. It is

1
J. G. COOK, The Interpretation of the N e w Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism, S T A C
3, ed. C. MARKSCHIES, Tubingen 2000.
2
Still of importance is the survey of E. STEIN, Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik in der
spathellenistischen Bibelkritik, L w o w 1935 (offprint of the article that originally appeared in
Collectanea Theologica Societatis Theologorum Polonorum 1 6 , 1 9 3 5 , 38-83).
3
See, for example, Melito of Sardis (II C E . ) apud Eus., H.E. 4.26.14 (the books of the
Old Testament; τ ά τ η ς π α λ α ι ά ς διαθήκης βιβλία), Origen, D e Princ. 3.1.16 (Origenis de
principiis libri IV, Texte zur Forschung 2 4 , ed. and trans. H. GORGEMANNS/H. KARPP,
Darmstadt 1976, 224,11 [p. 5 2 0 , the editors use KOETSCHAU'S page and line numbers in the
margins, and I will include their o w n page numbers in brackets]), Clement Alex., Strom.
3.6.54.4, 4.21.134.2 (GCS Clemens Alex. II, 221,15; 307,32 STAHLIN/FROCHTEL). 2 Cor
3:14 has similar language.
4
E v e n this term is too c l o s e to Heb 9:15 to be "neutral" b e t w e e n Judaism and
Christianity.
5
J. FREUDENTHAL, Alexander Polyhistor und die von ihm erhaltenen Reste judaischer und
samaritanischer Geschichtswerke, Hellenistische Studien 1-2, Breslau, 1875, 180 remarks
with regard to Celsus and Julian that it was Christianity's struggle against paganism that led
all e y e s to look at the B i b l e which was Christianity's foundation. W. NESTLE, Die
Haupteinwande des antiken Denkens gegen das Christentum, A R W 37, 1941 ( 5 1 - 1 0 0 ) 59
makes the important point that Christians like Justin derived the entire life of Jesus from the
2 Introduction

p o s s i b l e that the G r e e k translation o f the O T ( S e p t u a g i n t , L X X ) w a s read


e x t e n s i v e l y b e f o r e Christianity, but the e v i d e n c e is not a v a i l a b l e at this time.
A r g u m e n t s f r o m s i l e n c e are n o t o r i o u s l y d a n g e r o u s . The evidence may have
6
b e e n l o s t d u e to any n u m b e r o f r e a s o n s .
V i c t o r T c h e r i k o v e r t o o k this p o s i t i o n h a l f a c e n t u r y a g o : "The fact,
h o w e v e r , i s that the translation o f the H o l y Scriptures i n t o G r e e k m a d e n o
impression w h a t e v e r in t h e G r e e k w o r l d , s i n c e i n t h e w h o l e of Greek
literature there i s n o i n d i c a t i o n that the G r e e k s read the B i b l e b e f o r e the
7
Christian p e r i o d . " T h e r e are s o m e e x c e p t i o n s to the rule as L o u i s F e l d m a n
8
has p o i n t e d o u t . I w i l l briefly survey t h o s e e x c e p t i o n s in this introduction.
T o round o u t the picture I w i l l a l s o c o n s i d e r the q u e s t i o n o f O T traditions in
9
m a g i c a l t e x t s and in the H e r m e t i c literature . T h e f a s c i n a t i n g r e f e r e n c e s in
rabbinic literature to certain C y n i c p h i l o s o p h e r s ( w h o are a w a r e o f biblical
10
traditions) w i l l not appear in the f o l l o w i n g s u r v e y .

OT. S e e Justin, Apol. 1.30.1 (PTS 3 8 , 76,1-7 MARCOVICH) and the entire Dialogue with
Trypho including Dial. 2 9 . 2 , 4 0 . 1 - 4 1 . 4 (PTS 4 7 , 116,10-2; 1 3 6 , 1 - 1 3 8 , 2 6 MARCOVICH).
Consequently the critics had to read the OT.
6
Could the texts (left by pre-Christian readers of the L X X ) have been destroyed due to
the revolt o f 115-17 in Egypt (a conjecture of Prof. HENGEL in a personal letter)? Most of the
(pagan) Greek literature concerning the Jews written between IV B.C.E. to II C.E. has been
lost, as a glance at F. JACOBY'S FGrH will show.
7
V. TCHERIKOVER, Jewish Apologetic Literature Reconsidered, E o s 4 8 , 1956, (169-93)
177. H e refers to previous authors such as W. BOUSSET, D i e Religion des Judentums, H N T
3
2 1 , ed. H. GRESSMANN, Tubingen, 1926 , 4 3 7 (the L X X was not read in literate circles, but
was possibly used for propaganda among people visiting synagogues) / Η. B. SWETE, A n
2
Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, Cambridge 1914 , 2 2 . A. D . NOCK has a similar
view also (Conversion: The Old and the N e w in Religion from Alexander the Great to
Augustine of Hippo, Oxford 1933, 7 9 ) . NOCK'S judgement is shared by A. M. A. HOSPERS-
JANSEN, Tacitus over de Joden, Groningen 1949, 6 8 - 9 . L. FELDMAN discusses the issue in
Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World. Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to
Justinian, Princeton 1993, 311-12. M. STERN, The Jews in Greek and Latin Literature, in:
The Jewish People in the First Century, ed. S. S A F R A I / M . S T E R N , CRINT, V o l . II,
Philadelphia 1976, (1101-59) 1139 argues that the L X X had "little effect on Greek literature."
A general discussion can be found in G. DORIVAL, La Bible des Septante chez les auteurs
pai'ens (jusqu'au Pseudo-Longin), in: Lectures anciennes de la Bible, Cahiers de la Biblia
patristica 1, Strasbourg 1987, 9-26 / C. AziZA, L'utilisation polemique du recit de l'Exode
chez des ecrivains alexandrins, A N R W 11.20.1, 1 9 9 7 , 4 1 - 6 5 .
8
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 311-14.
9
In his discussion o f the ancient world's knowledge o f the L X X , H. J. C A D B U R Y
mentions the case of Ps. Longinus, On the Sublime 9.9 (to be discussed below) as the "single
exception that 'proves the rule'." He concludes: "The influence of the L X X is probably first
manifest in less literary circles, as in the Corpus Hermeticum and in the magical papyri"
2
(Septuagint, O C D , 978-79).
1 0
For A b n i m o s ( w h o is probably Oenomaus o f Gadara) s e e M. L u z , Oenomaus and
Talmudic Anecdote, JSJ 2 3 , 1992, 4 2 - 8 0 / Idem, A Description o f the Greek Cynic in the
Jerusalem Talmud, JSJ 2 0 , 1989, 49-60 / Idem, Abnimos, Nimos, and Oenomaus: A Note,
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 3

Patristic writers c a m e to c a l l the G r e e k translation o f the O T the


"Septuagint" since according to the Letter ofAristeas s e v e n t y - t w o translators
had p r o d u c e d a G r e e k v e r s i o n o f the first f i v e b o o k s under P r o l e m y II
11
Philadelphus ( 2 8 2 - 2 4 6 B . C . E . ) . M o d e r n scholars h a v e j u d g e d the letter to
be largely a matter o f l e g e n d , but h a v e retained the date o f P t o l e m y II for the
translation o f the Pentateuch. H e n g e l notes that a Christian author first u s e d
"Septuagint" for the s e v e n t y (-two) translators in reference to this c o l l e c t i o n
12
of writings . O n e c a n c o n c l u d e f r o m the Letter of Aristeas that the
Pentateuch w a s translated at s o m e t i m e during P t o l e m y I P s reign, perhaps
towards the m i d d l e o f the third century ( B . C . E . ) . T h e rest o f the d o c u m e n t s
1 3
w e r e probably translated b y the end o f the first century ( C E . ) . T h e letter
itself contains an interesting if legendary explanation o f the si l en ce o f Greek
literature c o n c e r n i n g the L X X . T h e librarian o f A l e x a n d r i a , D e m e t r i u s ,
answers P t o l e m y I P s question concerning w h y the Greek historians and poets
d o not m e n t i o n the L X X : " B e c a u s e the legislation w a s h o l y and had c o m e
from G o d , and i n d e e d , s o m e o f those w h o m a d e the attempt w e r e smitten by
14
G o d , and refrained f r o m their d e s i g n . " T w o e x a m p l e s o f unfortunate
G r e e k s are the historian T h e o p o m p u s and the p o e t T h e o d e c t e s (both I V
15
B . C . E . ) . W h i l e o n e cannot attribute m u c h historical value to this statement
it d o e s s h o w the author's o w n understanding of the lack o f awareness o f the
L X X o n the part o f the ancient world.

JQR 77, 1986-7, 191-5. I thank RICHARD GOULET for the reference to Abnimos. Whatever
the historical value o f the Rabbinic anecdotes, they show how the "Cynic-type was
conceived" during the period. See LUZ, Oenomaus, 52.
1 1
Ep. Arist. 10, 309. See the edition: Lettre d'Aristee a Philocrate (SC 89, 104, 2 3 2
PELLETIER).
12
J o s e p h u s , Antiq. 12.56, 57 mentions seventy-two translators and then reduces the
number to seventy. Cf. M . HENGEL/with the assistance of R. DEINES, Die Septuaginta als
„christliche Schriftensammlung", ihre Vorgeschichte und das Problem ihres Kanons, in: Die
Septuaginta zwischen Judentum und Christentum, ed. M . HENGEL/A. M . SCHWEMER, W U N T
72, Tubingen 1994, (182-284) 187-8. See Justin, Dial. 68.7, 124,3 ( 1 8 8 , 5 0 - 5 1 ; 285,14-5
MARC.).
1 3
HENGEL, D i e Septuaginta, 183-4. A. RAHLFS argues that most of the OT was translated
towards the end of the second century B.C.E. Cf. History of the Septuagint Text, in:
Septuaginta, Stuttgart 1935, (LVI-LXV) LVI. He appeals to Sirach, Prologue, in support of
this position. Cp. the similar position in HENGEL, Idem, 244-51.
1 4
Ep. ad Arist. 312-13 (234 PELL.). ET from OTP II, 33. Demetrius was not actually the
librarian of Ptolemy II with whom he had had a falling out. See PELLETIER, Lettre, 66-70 / C.
R. HOLLADAY, Fragments from Hellenistic Jewish Authors. Volume III. Aristobulus, SBLTT
39, Pseudepigrapha Series 13, Atlanta 1995, III, 213 n.70.
1 5
Ep. ad Arist. 314-16 (234-36 PELL.).
4 Introduction

0.1 Hecataeus ofAbdera (ca 300 B.C.E.)

Exceptions can certainly be found to Tcherikover's generalization in


1 6
M e n a h e m S t e r n ' s c o l l e c t i o n o f G r e c o - R o m a n authors w h o refer t o the J e w s .
O n e o f t h e first authors t o w r i t e an a c c o u n t o f the J e w s w a s H e c a t a e u s o f
1 7
A b d e r a w h o l i v e d during the t i m e o f A l e x a n d e r t h e Great a n d P t o l e m y I .
Stern c a l l s attention t o o n e o f H e c a t a e u s ' statements d e s c r i b i n g the practices
o f the J e w s : " A t the e n d o f the l a w s (τοις νόμοις em TeXexrrfjs) is a d d e d
the s t a t e m e n t that ' M o s e s w h e n h e heard t h e s e t h i n g s f r o m G o d told t h e m to
1 8
the J e w s ' " ( Μ ω σ ή ς άκουσας* τ ο υ 0eou τάδε Xeyei τοις Ίουδαίοις) .
A l t h o u g h this is n o t a direct q u o t e f r o m the L X X — w h i c h probably d i d n o t
e x i s t y e t — it is c l o s e e n o u g h to texts s u c h as L e v 2 6 : 4 6 , 2 7 : 3 4 , N u m 3 6 : 1 3
and D e u t 3 2 : 4 4 that o n e w o n d e r s i f t h e author w a s a w a r e o f the b i b l i c a l
19
tradition . John G a g e r n o t e s that the A l e x a n d r i a n J e w s m i g h t h a v e h a d s o m e
informal Greek translations that Hecataeus heard orally from Jewish
20
acquaintances . It s e e m s i m p o s s i b l e t o demonstrate here that H e c a t a e u s had

1 6
M. STERN, ed., Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. Vol. I, From Herodotus
to Plutarch, Jerusalem 1974; Vol. II, From Tacitus to Simplicius, Jerusalem 1980; Vol. Ill,
Appendixes and Indexes, Jerusalem 1984. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 3 1 2 lists several of
the most important exceptions.
1 7
On Hecataeus see G. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani. I. Quadro storico, La Bibbia nella
storia 19, Bologna 1998. La Bibbia dei pagani. II. Testi e Documenti, La Bibbia nella storia
20, B o l o g n a 1 9 9 8 , I, 7 1 n.126 / STERN I, 20-5 / J. G. GAGER, M o s e s in Greco-Roman
Paganism, N a s h v i l l e / N e w York 1 9 7 3 , 26-37 / J. C. D A R O C A / P P. F. GONZALEZ, Hecatee
d'Abdere, Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques, ed. R. GOULET, Vol. 3 , Paris 1989, 505-25.
1 8
STERN I, § 11 = Diod. Sic. 40.3.6. Cf. DAROCA/GONZALEZ, Hecatee, 512-3, 5 t 8 - 2 0
w h o argue for an interpretation which recognizes the ambivalent attitude o f Hecataeus
towards the Jews.
1 9
S T E R N , T h e Jews, 1106 believes that Hecataeus' comment is "an almost direct
quotation from the Bible."
2 0
GAGER, Moses, 32. Some (admittedly questionable) support for this hypothesis can be
found in Ep. Arist. 3 0 (118-20, PELL.) which may imply the existence o f some Greek versions
that were in competition with the LXX. On the question (with much bibliography) see R. J.
H. SHUTT'S note in OTP I, 14. G. ZUNTZ shows that the text in no way proves the existence
of pre-LXX translations. See Idem, Aristeas Studies II: Aristeas o n the Translation of the
Torah, in: Studies in the Septuagint: Origins, Recensions, and Interpretations, ed. S.
JELLICOE, N e w York 1974, 2 0 8 - 2 2 5 (= JSS 4 , 1959). PELLETIER (Lettre, 118 n.3) in his
comment on the text, is in agreement with ZUNTZ. H e calls attention, however, to another
(probably legendary) statement by Aristobulus that there existed translations of the exodus,
the conquest, and the laws before the translation in Demetrius' time. A . implies that Plato
and Pythagoras used such a translation. Cf. Aristobulus F. 3a = Clem. Alex., Strom.
1.22.150.1-3 (HOLLADAY, Fragments, III, 150,1-154,43; see also HOLLADAY's remarks in III,
67-8, 215). Ε. Τ ο ν argues that one can accept the existence o f a translation of most texts in
the O T prior to the L X X translation in: D i e griechischen Bibelubersetzungen, ANRW
I I . 2 0 . 1 , 1 9 9 7 , ( 1 2 1 - 8 9 ) 132-33.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 5

a direct k n o w l e d g e o f an O T text, although he clearly had a g o o d source. H i s


reference to "the e n d o f the l a w s " is the first appearance in extant Greek
literature of a reference to the B i b l e and probably is a kind o f title — like the
later m e n t i o n o f the l a w and the prophets that appears in texts s u c h as the
21
Prologue to S i r a c h . It w a s a c o m m o n p l a c e in the ancient w o r l d that certain
l a w g i v e r s r e c e i v e d their l a w s from a divinity, and Hecataeus m a y be m e r e l y
22
v i e w i n g M o s e s in that p e r s p e c t i v e . H e c a t a e u s w a s aware o f an e x o d u s
tradition through his informants although it is again not p o s s i b l e to s h o w that
h e had a Greek version o f the b o o k — if such e v e n existed before that o f the
L X X . In brief, a c c o r d i n g to his version, there w a s a p l a g u e in E g y p t and
foreigners are b l a m e d . A m o n g the foreigners e x p e l l e d f r o m E g y p t w e r e
certain individuals sent to Judaea w h o s e leader w a s M o s e s . B e c a u s e o f their
expulsion from Egypt, M o s e s introduced a misanthropic and inhospitable w a y
o f life. H e f o u n d e d the t e m p l e , established the d i v i s i o n o f the p e o p l e into
t w e l v e tribes, and appointed priests to j u d g e the p e o p l e ( D e u t 19:17, 2 1 : 5 ) .
H e a l l o w e d n o i m a g e s o f the g o d s and b e l i e v e d that H e a v e n is g o d . Moses
a l s o d i v i d e d the land into equal shares for c o m m o n p e o p l e and g a v e the
23
priests a greater a l l o c a t i o n . T h e c o m m o n e r s cannot sell their land ( L e v
24
2 5 : 1 3 ) . H e c a t a e u s ' a c c o u n t probably reflects the situation in p o s t e x i l i c
25
Israel w h e r e land o w n e r s h i p w a s a great c o n c e r n . T h e p e o p l e a l s o must
26
raise their children ( i m p l y i n g n o infanticide) . There are inaccuracies in his
account of Israelite origins from the perspective o f the biblical tradition (e.g.
M o s e s g i v e s the legislation in Judaea w h i c h he never set foot in according to
the B i b l e ) . H o w e v e r , w h a t is undeniable is the fact that H e c a t a e u s had a
2 7
Jewish source — o n e that w a s ultimately based o n the O T .

2 1
Sir, Prol. 24-5: "the law and the prophets and the other scrolls."
2 2
See § 1.28.3. See also Diodorus and Strabo below (§ 0 . 7 , 0 . 9 ) .
2 3
See Num 35, Josh 21 for priestly cities. They (priests and Levites) have no land
according to Deut 10:9, 12:12, 18:1 and Num 18:24. GAGER, Moses, 33 calls attention to
Ezek 48:8-14 where priests receive allotments of land.
2 4
STERN I, § 11 = Diod. Sic. 40.3.1-7. Diodorus also writes that the Egyptians colonized
the nation of the Jews (with voluntary colonists) in 1.28.2 = STERN I, § 55. GAGER, Moses
28-29 notes that one can attribute the earlier version to Hecataeus also.
2 5
STERN 1,32 / GAGER, Moses, 33.
2 6
See Tacitus b e l o w ( § 0 . 1 1 ) and S T E R N II, 41 on the practice in antiquity and its
rejection by the Christian apologists such as Tert., Apol. 9.8 (CChr.SL 1, 103,31-6 DEKKERS)
and Min. Felix, Oct. 30.2 (BiTeu 29,5-8 KYTZLER).
2 7
This is also the conclusion of DORIVAL, La Bible, 12 who hypothesizes a Jewish
informant that summarized Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers for Hecataeus. Cp. DAROCA/
GONZALEZ, Hecatee, 5 1 9 - 2 0 who note that Hecataeus' text does not imply the existence of a
translation of Jewish texts prior to the LXX, but it is nevertheless a response to Jewish texts.
6 Introduction

0.2 Manetho (III B.C.E.)

A figure w h o p r e s e n t s n u m e r o u s literary d i f f i c u l t i e s i s the E g y p t i a n author


M a n e t h o w h o l i v e d as a priest in H i e r a p o l i s during the era o f P t o l e m y I and
28
I I . T h e t w o m a i n e x c e r p t s o f his w o r k that deal w i t h the J e w s are s o m e t i m e s
2 9
s e p a r a t e d i n t o v a r i o u s strands o f a M a n e t h o and P s . M a n e t h o . F o r the
p u r p o s e s o f this introduction I w i l l p r o v i s i o n a l l y a c c e p t S t e r n ' s and C l a u d e
3 0
A z i z a ' s j u d g m e n t that b o t h f r a g m e n t s are g e n u i n e . In t h e first f r a g m e n t
M a n e t h o d e s c r i b e s an i n v a s i o n o f E g y p t b y the S h e p h e r d s ( H y k s o s ) w h o m
J o s e p h u s e q u a t e s w i t h the Israelites ( C . A p . 1.91) — an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n that
Manetho probably also made. In t h e s e c o n d t e x t , J o s e p h u s w r i t e s that
M a n e t h o , b y h i s o w n a d m i s s i o n , records m y t h s and talk c o n c e r n i n g the J e w s
3 1
(τά μυθευόμενα και λεγόμενα περί των Ιουδαίων) . A pharaoh,
3 2
A m e n o p h i s , w a n t s to s e e the g o d s . A seer tells h i m that h e c a n o n l y d o that
if E g y p t is c l e a n s e d o f lepers and other polluted p e o p l e . T h e E g y p t i a n lepers
are put in s t o n e quarries. T h e y are later a l l o w e d to m o v e t o an o l d S h e p h e r d
33
c i t y ( A v a r i s ) and a p p o i n t a priest o f H i e r a p o l i s ( O s a r s i p h ) as their l e a d e r .
H e c o m m a n d s t h e m n o t t o w o r s h i p the g o d s or to abstain f r o m eating any o f

2 8
AziZA, L'utilisation, 48 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 7 0 n.127.
2 9
STERN I, § 19 = Jos., C. Ap. 1.73-91; STERN I, § 21 = C. A p . 1.228-52. Manetho
becomes a legendary magician in the magical papyri. S e e P G M III, 4 4 0 ; XIII, 2 3 and H. D .
BETZ, T h e Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, including the D e m o t i c Spells,
Chicago/London 1986, 30 n . 9 2 , 1 7 2 n.8.
3 0
STERN I, 6 3 - 4 / AziZA, L'utilisation, 5 3 - 5 . Cf. also E. SCHURER, The History of the
Jewish People in the A g e of Jesus Christ (175 B . C . — A . D . 135), ed. and rev. G. VERMES/F.
MILLAR/M. GOODMAN, Vols. 1-3, Edinburgh 1986, III/l, 5 9 6 . P. SCHAFER argues that the
equation o f Osarsiph and Moses is secondary (Judeophobia. Attitudes toward the Jews in the
Ancient World, Cambridge, Mass./London 1997, 19).
3 1
J o s . , C . A p . 1.229.
3 2
It is an interesting coincidence that the Oracle of the Potter is addressed to Pharaoh
Amenophis. In it hated foreigners (the belt-wearers), w h o have oppressed Egypt, are finally
punished. When a messianic king comes from the Sun (or east) those w h o have died ask to
rise to take part in the blessings. The sun which has been darkened during the time of the evil
doers (probably the Greeks) will shine again when it brings punishment to the evil. S e e P.
Oxy. XXII, 2 3 3 2 / L. ΚΟΕΝΕΝ, D i e Prophezeihungen des Topfers, Z P E 2, 1968, 178-209.
References are to P (Oxy.) col. 3, 6 3 - 7 1 , P (Rainer), col. 2, 47-55 (207-8 KOENEN). On the
3 2

text cf. M. HENGEL, Judaism and Hellenism. Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine in the
Hellenistic Period, Vols. 1-2, Philadelphia 1 9 7 4 , 1 , 1 8 4 - 5 .
3 3
Other authors w h o identify Moses as a priest are: Pompeius Trogus (STERN I, § 137 =
Justinus, Hist. Philip. 36, Epit. 2.16); Strabo 16.2.35 (STERN I, § 115); Chaeremon apud Jos.,
C. A p . 1.290 ( S T E R N I, § 178). H e is closely associated with Egyptian priests in the
Hellenistic Jewish author Artapanus, F. 3 = Eus, P. E. 9.27.4, 6 (C. R. HOLLADAY, Fragments
from Hellenistic Jewish Authors. Volume I. Historians, SBLTT 2 0 , Pseudepigrapha Series
10, Chico, C A 1 9 8 3 , 1 , 210,3-5.10-13). Cp. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 5 2 2 n.67.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 1

the E g y p t i a n s a c r e d a n i m a l s ( E x o d 2 0 : 3 - 6 ; c p . L e v 11, 18:3). He also


d e m a n d s that t h e y o n l y a s s o c i a t e w i t h their o w n kind. W i t h the h e l p o f the
S h e p h e r d s t h e y c o n q u e r E g y p t , burn t e m p l e s , and roast the s a c r e d a n i m a l s .
T h e y are later e x p e l l e d t o Syria. M a n e t h o (or P s . M a n e t h o ) e q u a t e s O s a r s i p h
w i t h M o s e s , but q u a l i f i e s the statement in the f o l l o w i n g w a y : "it i s s a i d that
the priest w h o s e t d o w n their p o l i t y and l a w s w a s O s a r s i p h o f H i e r a p o l i s . . .
3 4
w h o later c h a n g e d h i s n a m e to M o s e s . " D . M e n d e l s a r g u e s that M a n e t h o
" . . . attempts to refute the J e w i s h v e r s i o n o f the E x o d u s w h i c h w a s p r o b a b l y
35
p u b l i s h e d at the t i m e in G r e e k . " W h i l e this c o n c l u s i o n i s t o o strong, it is
difficult n o t to b e l i e v e that M a n e t h o h a d a J e w i s h informant — p r o b a b l y an
oral a n d n o t a w r i t t e n s o u r c e . T h e L X X w a s a l m o s t c e r t a i n l y later than
M a n e t h o (but n o t later than the p r o p o s e d P s . M a n e t h o ) . A z i z a a l s o finds it
l i k e l y that in M a n e t h o ' s t i m e a n d b e f o r e there w a s an a n c i e n t Egyptian
36
v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s that w a s a r e s p o n s e t o the J e w i s h f o r m o f the s t o r y .
T h e E g y p t i a n s suffer the p l a g u e o f a skin d i s e a s e in E x o d 9 : 8 - 1 2 , and in the

3 4
Jos., C. A p . 1.250. According to AziZA (L'utilisation, 53-4) an interpolator would not
have written "it is said" to identify Osarsiph and M o s e s , but w o u l d have made the
identification without any qualifications. The full account is in STERN I, § 21 = C. Ap. 1.228-
52. HENGEL identifies Osarsiph with Joseph (Judaism, II, 176-77). Cp. STERN I, 85 w h o
notes that possibly Io (the Jewish God) was removed from Joseph's name and replaced with
Osiris.
3 5
D . M E N D E L S , T h e Polemical Character o f Manetho's Aegyptiaca, in: Purposes of
t h n d
History. Studies in Greek Historiography from the 4 to the 2 Centuries B.C. Proceedings
of the International Colloquium Leuven, 24-26 May 1988, ed. H. VERDIN/G. SCHEPENS/E. DE
KEYSER, Studia Hellenistica 3 0 , Louvain 1990 (91-110) 108-09. H e refers to a study by A.
KASHER, The Propaganda Purposes of Manetho's Libellous Story about the Base Origin of
the Jews, in: Studies in the History of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel, Vol. 3 , ed. B.
ODED et al., Haifa 1974, 69-84 (in Hebrew). KASHER argues that Manetho sought to counter
the Ptolemaic interest in Israel's Law (and the likely tarnishing of the image of Egypt in the
exodus tradition) by attacking the Jews with a set of calumnies (in 7 2 - 3 he argues for the
authenticity of Manetho's text in Josephus). GAGER is probably correct in holding that there
were ancient Egyptian stories in which invaders (Hyksos, Syrians, etc.) devastated Egypt and
were later driven out by hero-kings. This account then later was given Jewish features. Cf.
GAGER, M o s e s , 116 / P. W . VAN DER H O R S T , Chaeremon: Egyptian Priest and Stoic
Philosopher, Leiden 1 9 8 4 , 4 9 n . l . Nevertheless the Egyptian writers had to have Jewish
informants or sources to be able to reformulate the stories in accord with Exodus. Cp.
GAGER, M o s e s , 116 n.6 on the argument that Hecataeus fused "Egyptian and Jewish
elements."
3 6
AziZA, L'utilisation, 4 6 , 53-4. He also calls attention to C. A p . 1.251 where Josephus
mentions after Manetho's account that "the Egyptians tell these things about the Jews."
STERN, The Jews, 1114 is willing to argue that the Jewish version of the exodus could "have
been circulated in s o m e form or other earlier" than the L X X in Egypt. HOSPERS-JANSEN,
Tacitus over de Joden, 35-6, 119 appears to approve Josephus' claim that Manetho responded
to the Jewish version o f the exodus with his o w n account. Manetho did not make the
identification of Osarsiph with Moses, however, according to HOSPERS-JANSEN.
8 Introduction

Egyptian v e r s i o n the J e w s t h e m s e l v e s suffer from leprosy. A z i z a thinks that


the E g y p t i a n s h a v e reversed the story. In E x o d u s M o s e s is a H e b r e w w h o
b e c o m e s an Egyptian prince, w h i l e in the Egyptian tradition h e is an Egyptian
w h o b e c o m e s leader o f the H e b r e w s ( E x o d 2 : 5 - 1 0 ) . T h e l a w s o f M o s e s
37
(Osarsiph) are reminiscent o f the D e c a l o g u e . M a n e t h o probably felt s o m e
38
je alousy towards the favors e n j o y e d b y the J e w s under P t o l e m y I and I I .

03 Ocellus Lucanus (II B.C.E.)

Philo k n o w s the Pythagorean O c e l l u s o f Lucania in Southern Italy and refers


to h i m in his discourse o n the eternity o f the universe ( D e aetern. 12) for the
v i e w that the w o r l d is uncreated and indestructible. In the fourth chapter of
O c e l l u s ' o w n w o r k On the Nature of the Universe, h e includes a d i s c u s s i o n o f
the o r i g i n o f h u m a n k i n d . T h e date o f the treatise m a y b e II B . C . E . or I
39
B . C . E . . T h e p u r p o s e o f h u m a n s e x u a l i t y is n o t for p l e a s u r e but for
generation:
Reflecting on these things first, it is not necessary to approach sexual pleasures like
irrational animals, but to accept as necessary and g o o d what g o o d people think is
necessary and g o o d — namely that houses will not only be filled with inhabitants and
40
most of earth's area will be filled (τον π λ ε ί ο ν α τχ\ς γης· τ ό π ο ν πληρουσθοα ), (for
the human is the most civilized and best living being of all) but what is the greatest thing,
41
that they will abound in good p e o p l e .

G e n 1:28 has "increase and g r o w in number and fill the earth" ( α ύ ξ ά ν β σ θ ε


και ττληθύνεσθέ και π λ η ρ ώ σ α τ ε τ η ν γ ή ν ) . Harder and Sterij argue that
42
there is a reference to G e n 1:28 in O c e l l u s . It w o u l d not b e astonishing for a
G r e c o - R o m a n researcher to find a Pentateuch in a nearby ghetto, according to

3 7
AZIZA, L'utilisation, 54.
3 8
AziZA, L'utilisation, 55. GAGER, Moses, 118 dates Ps. Manetho to 4 0 C.E. - the era of
Apion and Chaeremon's version of the exodus. That was also a time of conflict between
Jews and Gentiles.
3 9
STERN I, 131-32 / R. HARDER, Ocellus Lucanus — Text und Kommentar, Berlin 1926,
31, 149 / H. DORRIE, Pythagoreismus, PRE X X I V , 1963 (268-77) 2 7 2 / FELDMAN, Jew and
2
Gentile, 2 0 4 , 3 1 2 / W. D . R O S S , Ocellus, O C D , 745 / H. DORRIE, Okellus, KP IV, 1972,
270.
4 0
The verb stands only in the Marcianus 263 M S . HARDER, Ocellus, 128 defends the
reading as likely given the context.
4 1
Ocellus Lucanus, D e universi natura 4 6 (22,14-20 HARDER) = STERN, I § 40 = H.
THESLEFF, The Pythagorean Texts of the Hellenistic Period, Abo 136,4-9 / RINALDI, La
Bibbia dei pagani, II, 78. Author's ET.
4 2
HARDER, Ocellus, 128- 32 / STERN I, 131 / R. Walzer, Galen on Jews and Christians,
Oxford 1949, 2 2 / Feldman, Jew and Gentile, 204, 312.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 9

4 3
Harder — g i v e n their o w n interest in barbarian l a w s . T h e c o n t e x t s in
G e n e s i s and in O c e l l u s are similar since both are referring to the call o f G o d
44
to humanity to procreate. O n the other hand this c o u l d all b e c o i n c i d e n c e .
It i s , h o w e v e r , p o s s i b l e that O c e l l u s w a s aware o f J e w i s h tradition. Other
philosophers w e r e aware o f Judaism. S o m e Peripatetic philosophers such as
Theophrastus ( I V B . C . E . ) and Clearchus w e r e very s y m p a t h e t i c t o w a r d s
Judaism. After a d i s c u s s i o n o f the differences b e t w e e n J e w i s h and Greek
sacrifice (the J e w s burn the sacrifices and s o d o not c o n s u m e t h e m like the
G r e e k s ) , T h e o p h r a s t u s c a l l s the J e w s "a p e o p l e w h o are p h i l o s o p h e r s
(φιλόσοφοι τ ό γένος ovres)." T h e y speak with each other about the divine
45
and at night o b s e r v e the s t a r s . Clearchus (IV B.C.E.) creates an account in
w h i c h Aristotle m e e t s a J e w w h o not o n l y speaks Greek but " w h o has the
p s y c h e (or spirit, s o u l ψ υ χ ή ) o f a Greek." Aristotle also admires the J e w s '
"amazing perseverance" ( θ α υ μ ά σ ι ο ν κ α ρ τ ε ρ ί α ν ) and prudence
( σ ω φ ρ ο σ ύ ν η ν ) . T h e ancestors o f the J e w s are Indian philosophers according
46
to C l e a r c h u s ' A r i s t o t l e . H e r m i p p u s ( 2 0 0 B . C . E . ) traces the o r i g i n s o f
47
Pythagoras' p h i l o s o p h y to the J e w s . T h e s e o p i n i o n s o n the relationships
b e t w e e n the J e w s and the philosophers such as Aristotle and Pythagoras s h o w
that O c e l l u s c o u l d h a v e b e e n drawn to G e n e s i s . Proof is lacking s i n c e the
e v i d e n c e is s o slender, but o n e c a n assert that O c e l l u s m a y h a v e k n o w n
G e n e s i s in its L X X version.

0.4 Lysimachus

A v i r u l e n t l y a n t i - J e w i s h v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s appears in the writer


L y s i m a c h u s w h o m a y h a v e l i v e d in the s e c o n d or first century B . C . E . and

4 3
HARDER, Ocellus, 131.
4 4
DORIVAL, La Bible, 17-9 argues against Ocellus' use of Genesis.
4 5
STERN I, § 4 = Porphyry, D e abst. 2.26.
4 6
STERN I, § 15 = Jos., C. Ap. 1.176-83. On the Jews as a nation of philosophers see the
comments in J. GAGER, The Origins of Anti-Semitism. Attitudes Toward Judaism in Pagan
and Christian Antiquity, N e w York/Oxford 1983, 39, 69, 74, 76. SCHURER, History, III/l, 17
accepts the authenticity of the reported meeting between Aristotle and the Jew. Megasthenes
(ca 300 B.C.E.) also compares the Brahman philosophers of India with the Jews, both being
philosophers outside of Greece (STERN I, § 14 = Clem. Alex., Strom. 1.15.72.5). Numenius
also includes the Jews along with his reference to Brahmans, Magi, and Egyptians as a source
of Pythagoras (STERN II, §364a = F. l a DES PLACES).
4 7
STERN, I § 25 = Jos., C. Ap. 1.162-65; § 26 = Origen, C. Cels. 1.15. See also § 2.2.7.
Aristobulus (F. 3a = Clem. Alex., Strom. 1.22.150.1-3 [III, 150,1-154,43 HOLLADAY]) and
Josephus believe Pythagoras was dependent on Moses' understanding of God (C. Ap. 2.167-
68).
10 Introduction

48
w h o w a s p r o b a b l y from E g y p t . A c c o r d i n g to h i m , during the r e i g n o f
Pharaoh B o c c h o r i s , the J e w s w h o had leprosy, s c a b i e s , and other d i s e a s e s
b e g g e d in t e m p l e s . W h e n the crops began to fail, the oracle o f A m m o n told
the k i n g to d r o w n the lepers and t h o s e with scabies and to drive the others
49
into the w i l d e r n e s s . In the w i l d e r n e s s at night they light fires and torches,
fast, and ask the g o d s to save them. T h e next day "a certain" M o s e s c o u n s e l s
t h e m to m a k e for inhabited land, s h o w k i n d n e s s ( ε ύ ν ο ή σ ε ι ν ) to n o o n e , to
g i v e o n l y the worst counsel to outsiders, and to destroy the temples and altars
o f the g o d s . T h e y mistreat the people they c o m e upon and finally build a city
called H i e r o s y l a ("temple robberies"). T h e y later call it H i e r o s o l y m a because
5 0 51
o f the disgraceful n a m e . L y s i m a c h u s numbers the f u g i t i v e s as 1 1 0 , 0 0 0 .
A z i z a thinks the o c c a s i o n o f the text c o u l d b e P t o l e m y V I Philometor's grant
of a t e m p l e site in L e o n t o p o l i s (ca 160) to the priest Onias I V — a refugee
52
from P a l e s t i n e . Stern m e n t i o n s the r e l i g i o u s p o l i c y o f the H a s m o n e a n
conquerors o f Palestine as another possible context (to mirror the destruction
53
o f t e m p l e s in L y s i m a c h u s ' s t o r y ) . L y s i m a c h u s m a y refer to the J e w i s h
54
practice o f Sabbath lights, but this is u n c l e a r . F e l d m a n a l s o notes that the
d e p i c t i o n s o f the J e w s as b e g g a r s and as guilty o f e x c l u s i v e n e s s w e r e
55
c o m m o n p l a c e s in antiquity . O n e can agree with A z i z a that L y s i m a c h u s uses
an anti-Jewish v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s that is probably different from the o n e

4 8
H E N G E L , Judaism, II, 172 dates Lysimachus to I B.C.E. See also A. G U D E M A N ,
Lysimachus (20), PRE XIV, 1928, 32-9 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 7 0 n.128 / STERN
I, 382.
4 9
Pompeius Trogus also mentions the exiles as the ones afflicted with leprosy and scabies
(STERN I, § 137 = Justinus, Hist. Philip. 36, Epit. 2.12).
5 0
STERN I, § 158 = Jos., C. Ap. 1.304-11. Tacitus probably made use of Lysimachus for
one of his versions of Israelite origins. See § 0.11 below (FELDMAN, 192-94).
5 1
STERN I, § 160 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.20.
5 2
AZIZA, L'utilisation, 57. Onias founded a temple on the site of an old ruined temple.
See SCHURER, History, III/l, 47-48, 145-46 / HENGEL, Judaism, II, 186. Cf. Jos., Antiq.
12.387,13.70. AziZA does not explain how this context would explain the temple robberies.
5 3
STERN I, 385. Hyrcanus destroyed the temple on Gerizim (Jos., Antiq. 13.255-56;
SCHURER, History, I, 207; II, 18-9). The Maccabees tore down altars and sacred precincts (2
Mace 10:2).
5 4
STERN I, 386 / FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 1 6 3 , 1 6 6 .
5 5
Beggars: Martial 12.57.13 (= STERN, I § 246); Juvenal 3.10-6; 6.542-47 (= STERN, II
§ 296, 299). Jewish exclusiveness or misanthropy: Hecataeus apud Diod. Sic. 40.3.4 (=
STERN, I § 11); Apollonius Molon apud Jos., C. Ap. 2.148 (= STERN, I § 49); Diod. Sic. also
has a statement that one of the laws was to show good will to no other nation (μηδ' evvoeiv)
34-5.1.2 (= STERN, I § 63); Apion mentions an oath to show good will to no foreigner
(μηδ€ΐ/ι evvor\oeiv άλλοφύλω) and his verb is the same that Lysimachus uses apud Jos., C.
Ap. 2.121 (= STERN, I § 173]); cp. also Tacitus, Hist. 5.5.1 (= STERN, II § 281) and Juvenal
14.103-06 (= S T E R N , II § 301). On this issue see FELDMAN 1 2 5 - 3 1 , 143-44, 171-72 /
HENGEL, Judaism, 1,172 n.26.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 11

56
that w a s M a n e t h o ' s s o u r c e . T h e boils o f E x o d 9 : 8 - 1 2 b e c o m e leprosy and
scabies ( e v e n though these unfortunates were drowned in L y s i m a c h u s ' story).
T h e d r o w n i n g s mirror the fate o f Pharaoh's army in E x o d 1 4 : 2 8 . The
6 0 0 , 0 0 0 fugitives in E x o d 12:37 b e c o m e 1 1 0 , 0 0 0 . It is unnecessary to k n o w
w h o m a d e s u c h c h a n g e s in the e x o d u s narrative, but it is probable that a
Jewish informant p l a y e d a role in providing L y s i m a c h u s ' source with e n o u g h
material from the original narrative. Certainly L y s i m a c h u s did not h a v e a
L X X in front o f him.

0.5 Apollonius Molon (I B.C.E.)

T h e orator A p o l l o n i u s M o l o n distinguished himself as a teacher o f Cicero and


Caesar. H e w a s from Caria in A s i a Minor and besides his work o n rhetoric he
wrote what E u s e b i u s c a l l e d a "propaganda-piece against the J e w s " ( τ η ν
57
σ υ σ κ ε υ ή ν τ η ν κ α τ ά Ι ο υ δ α ί ω ν ) . In E u s e b i u s ' fragment (originally from
A l e x a n d e r Polyhistor), A p o l l o n i u s s h o w s an interest in the g e n e a l o g y o f the
patriarchs. T h e i n d i v i d u a l ( G e n 9) left after the f l o o d is e x p e l l e d f r o m
A r m e n i a by the inhabitants. H e c o m e s to Syria, and after three generations
5 8
Abraham the w i s e is born ( G e n l l : 1 0 - 2 7 ) . O n e of Abraham's w i v e s is from
his p l a c e and is a relative o f his ( G e n 2 0 : 1 2 ) , and the other is an E g y p t i a n
slave (Gen 16:1-2). T h e Egyptian bears h i m t w e l v e sons ( G e n 2 5 : 1 2 - 1 8 ) w h o
59 6 0
b e c o m e kings in A r a b i a . F r o m his w i f e ( γ α μ έ τ η ν ) h e has a child w h o is
61
called G e l o s (laughter) in Greek ( G e n 1 7 : 1 9 ) . A b r a h a m d i e s in o l d a g e

5 6
AZIZA, L'utilisation, 57 / STERN 1,382 / GAGER, Moses, 118.
5 7
SCHURER, History, III/l, 5 9 8 - 9 9 with reference to Quint. 3.1.16, 12.6.7 and Suet.,
Caesar 4 among other texts. Eus., P.E. 9.19.1 = STERN I, § 46. SCHURER translates the term
as "attack" or "polemic." See, however, the remarks on the word in Eusebe de Cesaree. La
Preparation Evangelique, ed. JEAN SIRINELLI/EDOUARD DES PLACES, s.j., SC 206, 228, 262,
266, 369, Paris 1974-91, SC 206, 301-302 (SIRINELLI); SC 369, 417 n.26 (DES PLACES). R.
GOULET, (Hypotheses recentes sur le traite de Porphyre Contre les Chretiens, in: Hellenisme
et christianisme, Mythes, Imaginaires, Religions, ed. M. NARCY/E. REBILLARD, Villeneuve
d'Ascq 2004, [61-109] 7 2 ) suggests "complot" or "pamphlet discriminatoire" (plot;
discriminatory pamphlet) as good translations. On Molon see also RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei
pagani, I, 7 2 n.136 / STERN I, 148-9 / M. WEISSENBERGER, Molon (2), Der Neue Pauly VIII,
2000, 347 / Schafter, Judeophobia, 2 1 .
5 8
See STERN I, 151. There are nine generations (ancestors) between Noah and Abraham
in Genesis.
5 9
Ishmael (Hagar's son) is the father of twelve sons in Genesis.
6 0
The Greek term is opposed to "concubine."
6 1
Isaac's name is connected to laughter in Hebrew. STERN I, 151 refers to Philo, D e mut.
nom. 2 6 1 ; De Abrah. 2 0 1 ; D e praem. et poem. 3 1 . He also notes that the name (Gelos) was
used by Greeks.
12 Introduction

( G e n 2 5 : 8 ) . G e l o s and his o w n local w i f e have t w e l v e s o n s o f w h i c h the last


6 2
is J o s e p h ( G e n 4 6 : 8 - 2 7 ) , and the third (grandson) from J o s e p h is M o s e s
63
(Exod 6:16-20) .
T h e fragments preserved in Josephus are far more anti-Jewish. A p o l l o n i u s
d i s c u s s e d the e x o d u s , but Josephus o n l y says that h e dates it according to his
64
"own opinion." A p o l l o n i u s and P o s i d o n i u s a c c u s e t h e J e w s o f not
worshipping the s a m e g o d s that other p e o p l e do. P o s i d o n i u s and A p o l l o n i u s
M o l o n w e r e A p i o n ' s sources for the charges c o n c e r n i n g the a s s ' s head and
65
the G r e e k c a p t i v e in the t e m p l e according to J o s e p h u s . A p o l l o n i u s and
L y s i m a c h u s b e l i e v e that M o s e s is a m a g i c i a n and i m p o s t o r ( γ ό η τ α και
6 6
α π α τ ε ώ ν α ) and that his l a w s contain t e a c h i n g s o f v i c e and not virtue.
M o l o n calls the J e w s atheists and misanthropes. A t o n e t i m e h e calls t h e m
c o w a r d s and at another h e a c c u s e s t h e m o f reckless c o u r a g e ( τ ό λ μ α ν ) and
67
madness (άπόνοιαν) . W i t h o u t culture ( ά φ υ ε σ τ α τ ο υ ^ ) the J e w s h a v e
contributed n o useful invention ( ε ύ ρ η μ α ) to civilization, and are atheists and
68
m i s a n t h r o p e s . M o l o n also criticized the J e w s for not w e l c o m i n g others w h o
h a v e different " p r e c o n c e i v e d o p i n i o n s " about the g o d s . T h e y also d o not
69
h a v e f e l l o w s h i p w i t h t h o s e w h o c h o o s e to l i v e d i f f e r e n t l y . *In this text
Josephus a l s o includes a reference to A p i o n as o n e o f the s e n s e l e s s o n e s (των
α ν ό η τ ω ν ) — presumably with reference to his v i e w s o n the g o d s . Josephus
then asserts that real Greek p h i l o s o p h e r s reject the c o l d pretenses o f the
70
allegorists. P o s s i b l y M o l o n indulged in s o m e a l l e g o r y .
M o l o n had a c c e s s to s o m e reasonably s o u n d biblical traditions, but it is
clear that h e did not h a v e a L X X , g i v e n all his mistakes in the description o f
his g e n e a l o g i c a l research a c c o r d i n g to E u s e b i u s . H i s j u d g m e n t that the
M o s a i c t e a c h i n g s are e v i l and not virtuous is s o m e w h a t ironic g i v e n

6 2
Apollonius confused Joseph and Jacob.
6 3
STERN I, § 46 = Eus., P.E. 9.19.1. There are three generations between Moses and Levi
who is the half brother of Joseph in Exodus.
6 4
STERN I, § 47 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.16.
6 5
STERN I, § 48 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.79-80, 8 9 , 9 1 - 9 6 . See Apion below (§ 0.13).
6 6
On Moses as a magician see § 1.20. The word can, however, mean "impostor."
6 7
See FELDMAN's discussion of pagan views of Jews' courage (Jew and Gentile, 220).
6 8
STERN I, § 49 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.145, 148. On this important issue in antiquity (inventors)
see K . THRAEDE, Erfinder II (geistesgeschichtlich), R A C V , 1962, 1191-1278. On the
accusation of atheism and contempt of the gods see SCHURER, History, III/1, 612 / COOK,
Interpretation 3 8 3 s.v. "atheism." Pliny, N.H. 13.4.46 speaks of a nation scornful of the
divinities. See Tacitus below (§ 0.11).
6 9
STERN I, § 50 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.236, 2 5 5 , 2 5 8 , 295.
7 0
Jos., C. Ap. 2.255. On allegory see § 1.1.2-3, 2.2.2, 3.10 and COOK, Interpretation, 12-
13.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 13

Josephus' charge that M o l o n w a s guilty o f raping the w i v e s o f neighbors and


71
castrating their c h i l d r e n .

0.6 Alexander Polyhistor (ca 105-35 B.C.E.)

Alexander Polyhistor or L. Cornelius Alexander w a s born in M i l e t u s , but w a s


e n s l a v e d during S u l l a ' s wars against Mithridates V I . H e w a s captured b y a
Cornelius Lentulius, b e c a m e his instructor ( π α ι δ α γ ω γ ό ς ) , w a s freed b y Sulla,
and l i v e d in R o m e around 8 0 - 4 0 B . C . E . where he taught, a m o n g others, Julius
72
H y g i n u s . H e is responsible for the transmission o f m a n y H e l l e n i s t i c - J e w i s h
w r i t i n g s that o t h e r w i s e w o u l d h a v e b e e n lost. H i s w o r k On the Jews
preserves m a n y f r a g m e n t s o f authors s u c h as D e m e t r i u s , E u p o l e m u s , and
Artapanus w h o w r o t e o n biblical tradition and Jewish origins. H e a l s o wrote
o n C h a l d e a n h i s t o r y a n d i n that w o r k f o l l o w s the B a b y l o n i a n author
73
B e r o s s u s . H e n g e l observes that Alexander Polyhistor is an "exception to the
74
rule" b e c a u s e o f h i s great interest in H e l l e n i s t i c - J e w i s h a u t h o r s . M a i n l y
important for this introduction is Polyhistor's awareness o f the e x i s t e n c e o f
O T texts.
In E u s e b i u s ' excerpts from Alexander Polyhistor there are three references
7 5
to the sacred b o o k s . In a reference to Philo the Epic Poet, Polyhistor writes,
7 6
"Philo bears w i t n e s s to the sacred b o o k s (ταΐς· ίεραΐς· β ί β λ ο ι ^ ) in h i s
77
fourteenth b o o k ' C o n c e r n i n g J e r u s a l e m . ' " Polyhistor a l s o takes material
from D e m e t r i u s the Chronographer (end o f III B . C . E . ) in w h i c h h e refers to

7 1
Jos., C. Ap. 2.270 accepted without comment by SCHURER, History, III/l, 600.
7 2
FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 16-35 / HOLLADAy, Fragments I, 8 / SCHURER, History,
III/l, 510 / STERN I, 157 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 72 n.138 / FGrH III, A 2 7 3 , T l
(= Suda s.v. Α λ έ ξ α ν δ ρ ο ς ό Μιλήσιος); T2 (= Serv. Dan., Vergil A 10.388).
7 3
On Berossus s e e STERN I, 55 / P. S C H N A B E L , Berossos und die babylonisch-
hellenistische Literatur, Leipzig-Berlin 1923,134-68.
7 4
HENGEL, Judaism, 1,70.
7 5
N . WALTER argues that Eusebius did not k n o w Polyhistor directly in: Zur
Uberlieferung einiger Reste friiher jiidisch-hellenistischer Literatur bei Josephus, Clemens
und Euseb, StPatr VII, ed. F. L. CROSS, Berlin 1966, 314-20.
7 6
This expression can be found in OGIS 56.70 ( U p a s βύβλους) and in Jos., Vita 4 1 8
(βιβλίων ιερών). Ep. Arist. 316 (236 PELL.) is apparently the first reference to the Bible as
the Book (βίβλος); cp. PELLETIER (236 n.2). 1QS 6.7 uses "book" (nao) to refer to the
Torah.
7 7
STERN I, § 51a = Eus., P.E. 9.24.1 = Philo the Epic Poet F. 3 (C. R. HOLLADAY,
Fragments from Hellenistic Jewish Authors. Volume II: Poets. The Epic Poets Theodotus and
Philo and Ezekiel the Tragedian, SBLTT 30, Pseudepigrapha Series 12, Atlanta 1989, II,
238,2-3). The fragments from Philo (along with discussion) are in HOLLADAY, Fragments, II,
205-99. He may be dated to ca 100 B.C.E. (HOLLADAY, Ibid, 208-9).
14 Introduction

from D e m e t r i u s the Chronographer (end o f III B . C . E . ) in w h i c h h e refers to


7 8
the sacred literature o f the J e w s . Concerning the life o f M o s e s , he writes,
"With respect to his slaying o f the Egyptian and his d i s a g r e e m e n t w i t h the
informant about the dead m a n ( E x o d 2 : 1 1 - 1 4 ) , D e m e t r i u s ' account agrees
w i t h that o f the writer o f the S a c r e d B o o k (τά) τ η ν iepav βίβλον
7 9
γράψανα)." A g a i n with reference t o M o s e s ' life, Polyhistor writes, "From
there they traveled three d a y s ( E x o d 1 5 : 2 2 - 2 7 ) , as D e m e t r i u s h i m s e l f says
— a n d the S a c r e d B o o k ( σ υ μ φ ώ ν ω ν τ ο ύ τ ω ή ιερά βίβλος-) agrees w i t h
80
t h i s . " T h e s e c o m m e n t s about Philo and Demetrius are an e x a m p l e o f a rare
occurrence in Polyhistor — something that l o o k s like an actual evaluation o f
81
an a u t h o r . In the introduction to an excerpt from E u p o l e m u s (II B . C . E . ) ,
82
E u s e b i u s remarks that Polyhistor k n e w o f J e r e m i a h . E u s e b i u s writes, "In
addition t o t h e s e t h i n g s , P o l y h i s t o r has a l s o m e n t i o n e d the p r o p h e c y o f
8 3
Jeremiah . . . " A l t h o u g h h e m a y not h a v e m a d e an overt reference to the
B o o k o f Jeremiah, it is apparent that h e k n e w the content o f the b o o k through
E u p o l e m u s and probably k n e w o f its e x i s t e n c e as a separate entity o f the O T .
T h e three references to "Holy B o o k " or " B o o k s " are certainly dependent o n
84
Polyhistor's written sources, according to S t e r n . T h e references d o not say
8 5
m u c h about his attitude concerning h o w h o l y h e felt the b o o k s to b e . It is
more o f an ethnographic reference than a c o n f e s s i o n o f faith. H e d o e s not
86
m a k e j u d g m e n t s o f h i s o w n in h i s w o r k s a c c o r d i n g t o F r e u d e n t h a l .

7 8
On Demetrius see HOLLADAY, Fragments, I, 51-92 / FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 35-82,
205-207 / cf. also COOK, Interpretation, 2.
7 9
STERN I, § 51a = Eus., P.E. 9.29.1 = Demetrius, F. 3 (I, 74,7-10 HOLLADAY). The ET
is HOLLADAY's. Cp. FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 40-1 on Demetrius' awareness of Genesis
and Exodus which FREUDENTHAL believes argues for the existence of this portion of the L X X
in the middle of III B.C.E. With regard to the fragments from Eupolemus, he argues that by
the middle of II B.C.E. the L X X version of Josh, Kgs, Chr, Job existed (Alexander, 119).
8 0
STERN I, § 51a = Eus., P.E. 9.29.15 = F. 4 (1,76,9-10 HOLLADAY). ET is HOLLADAY's.
8 1
FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 179. FREUDENTHAL also notes, however, that Polyhistor
makes a similar evaluation concerning Cleodemus Malchus F. la,b (I, 254,8-13 HOLLADAY)
= Eus., P.E. 9.20.3 = Jos., Antiq. 1.240. Cleodemus conflates the genealogy of Abraham's
sons by Keturah. See HOLLADAY, I, 258 n.13. Polyhistor's statement is: "Cleodemus the
prophet, also called Malchus, reported concerning the Jews, just as M o s e s their own lawgiver
has reported, that numerous children were bora to Abraham by Kettourah ..." (ET by
HOLLADAY).
8 2
On Eupolemus see HOLLADAY, Fragments, 1,93-156.
8 3
STERN I, § 51a = Eus., P.E. 9.39.1 = Eupolemus, F. 4 (1,132,6-9 HOLLADAY).
8 4
STERN 1,158. Cp. FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 174-84 / SCHURER, History, III/l, 511.
8 5
Cp. Eusebius' similar "objective" remark about the Sacred Books of the Greeks in P.E.
9.1.4 (GCS Eusebius VIII/1, 485,17 M R A S ) and see the extremely skeptical reference to the
"Sacred Books" of the Jews in § 1.10.
8 6
FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 31.
The Septuagint*s Reception in the Greco-Roman World 15

H o w e v e r , what is quite interesting is that Polyhistor w o u l d h a v e had a great


deal o f difficulty in comparing the slaying o f the Egyptian and the three day
journey in D e m e t r i u s ' account with the B i b l e if h e did not h a v e s o m e w a y o f
verifying the data. Perhaps h e had another intermediate source, but h e m a y
h a v e had a c c e s s to a L X X through contact with J e w s in R o m e . H e d o e s not
n e e d to h a v e had a great deal o f k n o w l e d g e about the L X X , h o w e v e r , since
m o s t o f h i s k n o w l e d g e o f J e w i s h traditions c l e a r l y c o m e s f r o m the
87
Hellenistic-Jewish authors t h e m s e l v e s .
In an unusual text, the B y z a n t i n e E n c y c l o p e d i a (the Suda) i n c l u d e s this
description o f Polyhistor: "And about R o m e , five books. In these he s a y s , Ά
H e b r e w w o m a n M o s o ( Μ ω σ ώ ) e x i s t e d w h o s e c o m p o s i t i o n is the l a w s o f the
88
H e b r e w s ' ( σ ύ γ γ ρ α μ α ό π α ρ ' Έβροάοις* ν ό μ ο ι ς ) . " W h y Polyhistor w o u l d
rename M o s e s as M o s o has still not b e e n adequately explained, but is not the
89
central issue h e r e . Probably h e just wanted to pass along a strange tradition
about M o s e s . T h e title o f the Torah/Pentateuch ("Laws" in his formulation),
h o w e v e r , is significant and s h o w s that Polyhistor (like H e c a t a e u s , D i o d o r u s ,
and N i c o l a u s o f D a m a s c u s ) had a clear c o n c e p t i o n o f that part o f the B i b l e .
Freudenthal c o n c l u d e s that P o l y h i s t o r p o s s i b l y had read the B i b l e , w h i c h
w o u l d h a v e b e e n difficult Greek for h i m , but put Hellenistic tales before the
L X X . H e w a s u n c o n c e r n e d with historical truth, and wanted m o s t to present
90
his audience with piquant tales about the J e w s .

8 7
GAGER, M o s e s , 2 0 , 23 believes that he had a close familiarity with the L X X . Cp.
FELDMAN'S more reserved judgment in: Jews, 312. FELDMAN does include Polyhistor in his
discussion of authors who knew the LXX.
8 8
STERN I, § 52 = Suda s.v. Α λ έ ξ α ν δ ρ ο ς ό Μιλήσιο^ (Alexander the Milesian).
8 9
For bibliography on the question see GAGER, Moses, 20 / STERN I, 163-64 / FELDMAN,
Jews, 238 (who compares Polyhistor's name with the Doric form of Muse [Μώσα Mosa] and
the normal form [Μούσα Mousa]). Artapanus (F. 3 = Eus., P.E. 9.27.3 [I, 208,19-20
HOLLADAY]) and Numenius (§ 0.16) call Moses "Mousaios" (the mythic poet). The source
could have confused all of this. But this still does not explain why Polyhistor would deliver
such an unqualified statement given his knowledge of Jewish tradition. FREUDENTHAL argues
that Polyhistor is entirely uncritical in his work and merely passes along traditions
(Alexander, 2 9 - 3 1 , 181 ["leichtglaubige kritiklose gedankenarme Vielschreiber"]). Two
scholars who do not believe that the text about M o s o comes from Polyhistor's pen are J. G .
HULLEMAN, Commentatio de Corn. Alexandra Polyhistoro, Utrecht, 1849, 106 (F. gives the
title as Miscelleanea philologica et paedagoga I) and J. K. R A U C H , Commentatio de
Alexandri Polyhistoris vita atque scriptis, Heidelberg, 1843, 5, 20. They believe that
Polyhistor had read the Bible and so reject the fragment (referred to in FREUDENTHAL,
Alexander, 29). According to FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 179, however, RAUCH concluded
that Polyhistor was Jewish. Prof. HENGEL (in a letter) conjectures that the tradition was a
joke designed to denigrate the law.
9 0
FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 31. FREUDENTHAL also believes that the Concerning the
Jews of Alexander could be part of Concerning Syria (Idem, 34).
16 Introduction

0.7 Diodorus Siculus (IB.CE.)

T h e S i c i l i a n h i s t o r i a n D i o d o r u s p r e s e r v e s s e v e r a l traditions a b o u t J e w i s h
9 1
o r i g i n s , s o m e o f w h i c h h e attributes t o H e c a t a e u s . One version of Jewish
history a c c o r d i n g t o D i o d o r u s d e p i c t s the J e w s as c o l o n i s t s f r o m E g y p t w h o
v o l u n t a r i l y s e t t l e i n the area b e t w e e n A r a b i a a n d S y r i a a n d w h o p r a c t i c e
9 2
c i r c u m c i s i o n as the E g y p t i a n s d o . In an a c c o u n t o f A n t i o c h u s V I I S i d e t e s '
s i e g e o f J e r u s a l e m ( c a 1 3 5 / 4 B . C . E . ) D i o d o r u s d e s c r i b e s the a d v i c e o f s o m e
93
of the k i n g ' s friends who want Jerusalem and the J e w s annihilated .
A c c o r d i n g to t h e s e p e o p l e , the ancestors o f the J e w s w e r e c h a s e d out o f E g y p t
b e c a u s e t h e y w e r e i m p i o u s and h a t e d b y the g o d s . T h o s e w i t h dull w h i t e
9 4
(άλφούς a l p h o u s ) or l e p r o u s i n d i c a t i o n s o n their b o d i e s w e r e gathered
together a n d c a s t b e y o n d the borders for the s a k e o f purification — as if the
people were cursed. T h o s e w h o were banished take the places around
J e r u s a l e m for t h e J e w i s h n a t i o n a n d e s t a b l i s h as a tradition the hatred o f

9 1
Hecataeus' account is discussed in § 0.1 (STERN I, § 65 = Diod. Sic. 4 0 . 3 = STERN I,
§11).
9 2
STERN I, § 5 5 , 57 = Diod. Sic. 1.28.1-3; 1.55.5. On the Greco-Roman traditions about
circumcision see § 1.11, 1.28.3.
9 3
SCHURER, History, I, 2 0 2 n.5 discusses the problem of the date. Jos., Ant. 13.236-44
shares part of the account with Diodorus although Josephus does not include the advice of the
anti-Jewish counselors.
9 4
This word for dull-white leprous marks may have given rise to the tradition of Moses as
Alpha. Nicarchus, possibly in I C.E., says that Moses was called alpha because of his dull
white (leprous) spots (alphous; STERN I, § 2 4 8 = Photius, L e x i c o n s.v. άλφα [alpha]).
Ptolemy Chennus o f Alexandria (II C.E.), the mythographer, has the same tradition (STERN
II, § 3 3 1 = Photius, Bibl., Cod. 190, p. 151b). Helladius of Antinoupolis (IV C.E.), a
collector o f texts, preserves the tradition on the authority of Philo (probably Philo Byblos and
not Philo of Alexandria as AZIZA, L'utilisation, 6 4 claims with reference to Philo, Vita Mos.
1.79 where Philo only mentions a white hand and not leprosy; STERN II, § 4 7 2 = Photius,
Bibl., Cod. 2 7 9 , p. 529b). S e e GAGER, Moses 129-32 / J. GAGER, Moses and Alpha, JThS 2 0 ,
1969, 245-48 / AZIZA, L'utilisation, 63-5 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 7 3 n.143 (relates
Nicarchus' work to the anti-Roman revolts o f the Jews under Nero, Trajan, and Hadrian) /
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 240-41, 535 n.30. The derivation may be more grammatical than
anti-Jewish according to GAGER (Moses, 131-2) w h o calls it an onomastic-etymological pun.
He calls attention to another of Helladius' puns (Photius, Bibl., Cod. 2 7 9 , p. 531b). The
mother of the king o f Corinth (Cypselus) was called Labda because she limped due to one
foot being shorter than the other (κολοβωτέρω σκά£ουσα τω έτέρω ποδί, Λάβδα
e καλεΐτο). The pun is based on the fact that one leg of the archaic letter Lambda is shorter
than the other. Nevertheless the tradition is based on the anti-Jewish Alexandrian tradition of
the exodus, and Photius evaluates the statements so: Nicarchus speaks nonsense (φλυαρεί);
Ptolemy utters nonsense; Helladius utters nonsense and a lie. Helladius is, consequently, the
last representative of this tradition (AZIZA, L'utilisation, 64).
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 17

people. Consequently they invent c o m p l e t e l y extraordinary c u s t o m s ( ν ό μ ι μ α


π α ν τ ε λ ώ ς έ ξ η λ λ α γ μ έ ν α ) — not to share the table o f any other p e o p l e nor to
95
s h o w any g o o d w i l l ( ε ύ ν ο ε ΐ ν ) w h a t s o e v e r .
D i o d o r u s i n c l u d e s in the account o f these counselors a reference to what
Antiochus I V d i s c o v e r e d in the innermost sanctuary o f G o d ( τ ο ν α δ υ τ ο ν τ ο υ
96
θεοϋ σ η κ ό ν ) w h i c h o n l y the priest can lawfully enter ( L e v 1 6 : 2 ) . There h e
finds a marble i m a g e o f a long-bearded m a n mounted o n an ass with a scroll
97
in his h a n d . A n t i o c h u s identifies h i m as M o s e s w h o had created Jerusalem,
e s t a b l i s h e d the n a t i o n , and l e g i s l a t e d misanthropic and i l l e g a l p r a c t i c e s
( μ ι σ ά ν θ ρ ω π α και π α ρ ά ν ο μ α εθη). H e then decides to destroy their c u s t o m s
because o f this hatred o f all nations. H e orders that their sacred scrolls/books
(τάς ι ε ρ ά ς α υ τ ώ ν β ί β λ ο υ ς ) , w h i c h contain x e n o p h o b i c l a w s ( μ ι σ ό ξ ε ν α
ν ό μ ι μ α ) , b e sprinkled with pig-broth after he sacrifices a pig before the statue
and altar o f the g o d . T h e continually burning lamp is also e x t i n g u i s h e d and
98
all, including the h i g h priest, are forced to eat p o r k . T h e source for this
99
passage could b e P o s i d o n i u s , but this is far from o b v i o u s . D i o d o r u s (or his
source) c o n c l u d e s that A n t i o c h u s VII, being o f a gentle nature, rejected the
charges against the J e w s . If the source is Posidonius, then h e w o u l d probably
have b e e n against destruction o f J e w s , but m a y h a v e criticized t h e m for other
reasons. T h e friends o f A n t i o c h u s " k n o w that the J e w s w e r e driven from
E g y p t and settled around Jerusalem." T h e reference to impiety and leprosy
and the purification o f the country are c l o s e to L y s i m a c h u s ' version and are
100
different f r o m that o f H e c a t a e u s . L y s i m a c h u s a l s o refers to M o s e s '
instructions to s h o w g o o d w i l l to n o one. In L y s i m a c h u s ' version, h o w e v e r ,
the lepers are d r o w n e d . D i o d o r u s c o n s e q u e n t l y has a source that k n e w a
G r e c o - E g y p t i a n v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s different from that o f H e c a t a e u s .
U l t i m a t e l y it w a s a transformation o f E x o d u s — probably not b a s e d o n

9 5
See § 0.4 on misanthropy. Cp. the "extraordinary sacrifices" (θυσίας έξηλλαγμένας)
in Hecataeus (STERN I, § 11 = Diod. Sic. 40.3.4).
9 6
The high priest. STERN I, 184 notes that this was lawful only on the day of the
atonement.
9 7
On the alleged Jewish worship of an ass see § 0.13.
9 8
STERN I, § 63 = Diod. Sic. 34-35.1.1-5.
" S e e the discussion in G A G E R , Moses 126 / STERN I, 142-44, 184. E. NORDEN, for
example, is clear that the source is Posidonius (Jahwe und M o s e s in hellenistischer
Theologie, in: Festgabe fur Adolf von Harnack, Tubingen 1921, [ 2 9 2 - 3 0 1 ] , 2 9 7 ) . For
Josephus, C. Ap. 2.79 (worship of an ass in the temple = STERN I, § 44), Posidonius is anti-
Jewish. Posidonius also accuses the Jews of being magicians who use incantations (STERN I,
§ 45 = Strabo 16.2.43). Neither of these texts are encouraging for those who want to find
Posidonius to be a friend of the Jews.
1 0 0
See § 0.4. SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 23 compares Diodorus to Lysimachus, Manetho,
and Molon.
18 Introduction

reading but o n oral encounters w i t h J e w s . D i o d o r u s i n c l u d e s an important


reference to the J e w i s h h o l y scrolls/books. O n e cannot, h o w e v e r , a s s u m e that
this is a reference to the L X X . H e d o e s k n o w that the scrolls contain l a w s .
H e c a t a e u s ' m e n t i o n o f "the e n d o f the l a w s " ( p r e s e r v e d b y D i o d o r u s ) ,
P o l y h i s t o r ' s references to the "Sacred B o o k ( s ) , " and the text in D i o d o r u s
c o n c e r n i n g A n t i o c h u s I V c o m p r i s e the earliest references to the O T u s i n g
101
something like a "title" o n the part o f G r e c o - R o m a n a u t h o r s .
D i o d o r u s includes a reference to the alleged d i v i n e origins o f the J e w i s h
1 0 2
l a w s . T h e rhetoric o f p e r s u a s i o n t i n g e s his d e p i c t i o n o f the e v e n t s .
M n e v e s o f E g y p t w a s able to persuade ( π ε ι σ α ι ) p e o p l e to o b e y written l a w s
and c l a i m e d H e r m e s as his source. A m o n g the Greeks, M i n o s c l a i m e d Z e u s
and L y c u r g u s c l a i m e d A p o l l o as the source o f their l a w s . T h e slightly
skeptical c o m m e n t o f Diodorus is: " A m o n g m a n y other nations this form o f
understanding has b e e n handed d o w n and is the c a u s e o f m a n y g o o d things to
t h o s e w h o h a v e b e e n p e r s u a d e d " (τοις π ε ι σ θ ε ί σ ι ) . H e then i n c l u d e s
Zathraustes (Zarathustra) o f the Arians w h o said that the G o o d D e m o n w a s
the inspiration for his l a w s . A m o n g the Getae, Z a m o l x i s points to Hestia as
his source, and a m o n g the J e w s M o s e s asserts that the g o d w h o is i n v o k e d as
Iao w a s source o f the l a w s . D i o d o r u s includes a pragmatic conclusion. T h e
lawgivers did these things either b e c a u s e they b e l i e v e d that such a conception
w a s d i v i n e and w o u l d help p e o p l e , or they b e l i e v e d that p e o p l e w o u l d more
1 0 3
probably o b e y the l a w s if they b e l i e v e d t h e m to b e d i v i n e . If Hecataeus
w a s D i o d o r u s ' source here, o n e has to a s s u m e that Iao w a s available to that
author as a n a m e o f the J e w i s h G o d . Its u s e in a L X X v e r s i o n found at
Qumran, and the u s e o f a similar n a m e for G o d in A r a m a i c texts probably
104
constitutes a r e a s o n a b l e argument that H e c a t a e u s c o u l d h a v e heard i t .
Diodorus shared s o m e skepticism about the divine nature o f l a w s with Strabo,
105
but d o e s not want to entirely reject the tradition .

1 0 1
Titles are important in text-linguistics because they describe the nature of a
communication, and as such stand on a "higher" narrative level than the text that they
describe. See J. G. COOK, The Structure and Persuasive Power of Mark, Semeia Studies,
Atlanta 1995, 116-7, 128-9 / P. HELLWIG, TITULUS oder UBER D E N ZUSAMMENHANG
V O N TITELN U N D TEXTEN. Titel sind ein Schlussel zur Textkonstitution, Zeitschrift fur
Germanistische Linguistik 12,1984,1-20.
1 0 2
See COOK, The Interpretation, 384 s.v. "persuasion."
1 0 3
STERN I, § 58 = Diod. Sic. 1.94.1-2. GAGER, Moses 30-31 and STERN I, 172 discuss
the issue of Diodorus' source in this text. Hecataeus and Posidonius are two possibilities.
Diodorus claimed Hecataeus as his source for one account of Jewish origins. See his version
of Hecataeus above (§ 0.1).
1 0 4
On Iao see § 1.23.
1 0 5
See § 0.9.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 19

0.8 Nicolaus of Damascus

N i c o l a u s o f D a m a s c u s (ca 6 4 B . C . E . to I C.E.), the Peripatetic philosopher,


106
historian, and friend o f Herod, w a s a pagan w h o k n e w the J e w i s h t r a d i t i o n .
In a s p e e c h in d e f e n s e o f the J e w s o f Ionia before Marcus Agrippa, Josephus
has N i c o l a u s say: "Nor d o w e m a k e a secret o f the precepts that w e u s e as
guides in religion and h u m a n relations . . . N o w our c u s t o m s are e x c e l l e n t in
1 0 7
t h e m s e l v e s , if o n e e x a m i n e s t h e m carefully, and they are also ancient . . , "
Feldman argues that the w o r d s imply that the J e w s a l l o w e d Gentiles to read
1 0 8
the L X X . A l t h o u g h o n e cannot assume that these are N i c o l a u s ' w o r d s , it is
apparent that J o s e p h u s b e l i e v e d n o n - J e w s c o u l d investigate J e w i s h tradition
first hand if they s o desired. N i c o l a u s h i m s e l f did that. T h e material that
Josephus preserves f r o m N i c o l a u s ' 1 4 4 v o l u m e history, h o w e v e r , d o e s not
include m u c h from the biblical tradition.
th
Josephus records a text o f N i c o l a u s from the 9 6 b o o k o f his Histories. He
109
d e s c r i b e s a m o u n t a i n c a l l e d Baris in A r m e n i a ( G e n 8 : 4 ? ) . T h e story,
a c c o r d i n g to N i c o l a u s , is that during the f l o o d m a n y f l e d there t o b e
preserved. A certain individual, carried in an ark, ran aground o n the summit.
Bits o f the w o o d w e r e l o n g saved. N i c o l a u s c o n c l u d e s , "This is perhaps the
110
person about w h o m M o s e s the Jewish legislator w r o t e . " Josephus includes
a reference to B e r o s s u s , the priest from B a b y l o n (ca 3 3 0 - 2 5 0 B . C . E . ) w h o
111
also located the ark in A r m e n i a . B e r o s s u s ' n a m e for the survivor w a s
112
X i s u t h r u s . W h a t is m o s t important for the purposes o f this introduction is

1 0 6
SCHURER, History, I, 28-32 / STERN I, 227-32 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 73
n.142.
1 0 7
Jos., Ant. 16.43-44. ET from R. MARCUS' LCL edition.
1 0 8
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 313.
109 STERN I, 236 argues that the Jews in Armenia may have identified Baris with Ararat.
Nicolaus says that Armenia was above "Minyas" which is probably the Minni of Jer 51:27 (=
Jer 28:27 LXX).
1 1 0
STERN I, § 85 = Jos., Ant. 1.93-5.
1 1 1
Jos., Ant. 1.93. Cp. SCHNABEL, Berossos, 180-2,264-6.
1 1 2
See Alexander Polyhistor's version of Berossus in STERN III, § 560a = FGrH III, C
680, F3. Cyril preserves a version of Polyhistor's account in which Cronos tells Xisuthrus to
construct an ark to carry himself and animals in C. Jul. 1.8 (PG 76, 513d-516a = SC 322,
120,1-7 BURGIERE/ EviEUX; and see 122 n.l on the tradition). Cyril also refers to a version
of the story in Abydenos, a historian apparently dependent on Polyhistor. In Abydenos'
version Xisuthrus sails to Armenia and sends out birds three times before they find mud; C.
Jul. 1.8-9 (PG 76, 516a-b = SC 3 2 2 , 120,8-122,22 BURG./ E v . ) . In Eusebius' parallel version
of Abydenos, the w o o d of the ship's ruins in Armenia provides amulets to people for the
treatment of poison; Eus., P.E. 9.12.1-5 (VIII/1, 498,2-16 MRAS). For other Greco-Roman
references to the flood see § 1.4.
20 Introduction

that N i c o l a u s clearly k n e w the L X X — although he preserves other traditions


in the texts a b o v e . H i s reference to " M o s e s wrote" is o n e o f the first overt
references to the L X X (or h o l y Jewish texts) in Greek literature besides those
113
o f Hecataeus, Polyhistor, and D i o d o r u s .
In his fourth b o o k , N i c o l a u s writes that A b r a m e s w a s a k i n g in D a m a s c u s
w h o had c o m e from B a b y l o n o f the Chaldees with an army ( G e n 11:28, 3 1 ) .
1 1 4
H e left D a m a s c u s and m o v e d to Judaea with his p e o p l e . In the s a m e book,
N i c o l a u s m e n t i o n s A d a d o s o f Syria w h o w a g e s war against k i n g D a v i d o f
Judaea and after m a n y battles is finally b e a t e n at the Euphrates river.
115
A d a d o s ' third descendant o v e r c a m e the land c a l l e d S a m a r i t i s . N i c o l a u s
s e e m s to b e aware o f the f o l l o w i n g e p i s o d e s . In the B i b l e Hadadezer wars
with D a v i d in the trans-Jordan ( 2 K g d m s 10:6-19; 1 Chr 19:6-19) and in Syria
( 2 K g d m s 8 : 3 - 1 2 ; 1 Chr 1 8 : 3 - 1 1 ) w h e n H a d a d e z e r w a s o n the w a y to the
Euphrates. If the "third" k i n g is B e n Hadad II o f the B i b l e o n e can find
r e a s o n a b l e parallels: B e n H a d a d w a s defeated b y A h a b at Samaria in 3
K g d m s 2 0 : 1 - 3 4 , but the king o f A r a m (presumably B e n Hadad) defeats A h a b
1 1 6
at R a m o t h Gilead in 3 K g d m s 2 2 .
N i c o l a u s undoubtedly had a c c e s s to a L X X e v e n if h e did not k n o w it well.
His c l o s e relationship with Herod provided h i m with a c c e s s to a c o p y . It is o f
c o u r s e p o s s i b l e that h e o n l y k n e w o f G e n e s i s through d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h
Jewish informants. But he clearly k n o w s that " M o s e s " has written a book and
he k n o w s s o m e o f the contents o f that book. B e n Z i o n W a c h o l d e r b e l i e v e s

1 1 3
In text linguistics titles such as "Book I," "Genesis," and narrative remarks such as
"she said" or "he wrote" are called "meta-communicative markers." Although the formalism
is not particularly important here, what is so unusual is that a Greek author finally makes use
of the words of the L X X and consciously refers to what he is doing. See COOK, Structure,
116-7,128-9.
1 1 4
S T E R N I, § 83 = Jos., Ant. 1.159-60. A s STERN I, 2 3 4 notes, the Bible does not
mention a sojourn of Abraham in Damascus. However, the road from Harran to Canaan goes
through Damascus. Prof. HENGEL, in a letter, notes that the tradition might go back to Jews
in Damascus. See also M. HENGEL/A.M. SCHWEMER, Paul Between Damascus and Antioch.
The Unknown Years, trans. J. BOWDEN, Louisville 1997, 55. Pompeius Trogus locates the
origins of the Jews in Damascus and depicts Abraham as one of the kings there (STERN I,
§ 137 = Just., Hist. Phil. 36, Epit. 2.1-3). The first extant reference to Abraham in (pagan)
Greco-Roman literature is Apollonius Molon (§ 0.5). See also Alexander Polyhistor (§ 0.6),
Celsus (§ 1.11), Julian (§ 3.16) and F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile, 5 3 0 n . l . Cleodemus-
Malchus identifies one of Abraham's son by Keturah as Sures after whom Assyria is named
(Jos., Ant. 1.240-1 = F . la, [I, 252,5-12 HOLLADAY]).
1 1 5
STERN I, § 84 = Jos., Ant. 7.101-103.
1 1 6
Β. Z. WACHOLDER, Nicolaus of Damascus, Berkeley/Los A n g e l e s 1962, 57 argues
that Adados III could not have been Ben Hadad II since there are more than 100 years
between the death of David and Ahab.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 21

that N i c o l a u s ' biblical history w a s a c o m b i n a t i o n o f J e w i s h a p o l o g e t i c s and


117
"Hellenistic e m b e l l i s h m e n t s . "

0.9 Strabo (ca 64 B.C.E. to I CE.)

Strabo o f A m a s e i a in A s i a M i n o r w a s a geographer and historian w h o had a


great deal o f admiration for the J e w i s h tradition of M o s e s . H e b e l i e v e d that
M o s e s w a s a priest o f E g y p t . M o s e s b e c a m e d i s g u s t e d w i t h the current
circumstances and w e n t to Judaea with a number o f p e o p l e w h o h o n o r e d the
divine (TO θ ε ί ο ν ) . H e b e l i e v e d the E g y p t i a n s and L i b y a n s w e r e w r o n g to
compare the d i v i n e to w i l d animals and cattle. T h e Greeks w e r e a l s o w r o n g
1 1 8
in creating anthropomorphic m o d e l s o f the d i v i n e . Strabo w r i t e s , " O n e
thing o n l y is G o d : it surrounds ( π ε ρ ι έ χ ο ν ) us all, both earth and sea, it w h i c h
119
w e call h e a v e n and c o s m o s and the nature o f all existent t h i n g s . " Moses
asks that p e o p l e l e a v e off the making o f w o o d e n i m a g e s . W h e n they h a v e set
up a sacred e n c l o s u r e ( t e m e n o s ) and a sanctuary they should w o r s h i p without
i m a g e . In the e n c l o s u r e p e o p l e w h o h a v e g o o d dreams s h o u l d s l e e p for the
120
sake o f t h e m s e l v e s and o t h e r s . T h o s e w h o l i v e w i s e l y w i t h righteousness
can e x p e c t s o m e t h i n g g o o d f r o m G o d . M o s e s and his f o l l o w e r s capture
Jerusalem easily, and he p r o m i s e s a form o f worship that d o e s not burden the
people. Individuals from all around flock to this attractive g o v e r n m e n t and

1 1 7
WACHOLDER, Nicolaus of Damascus, 56 / HENGEL, Judaism, II, 69 n.332.
1 1 8
Cp. Celsus' discussion of images in § 1.1.15. STERN I , 306 notes that many Greco-
Roman authors noted the Jews' rejection of image worship including: Hecataeus (above);
Varro (STERN I , § 72a = Aug., D e civ. Dei 4.31); Livy (STERN I , § 133 = Scholia in Lucanum
2.593); Tacitus (STERN I I , § 281 = T a c , Hist. 5.5.4); and D i o Cassius (STERN II, § 4 0 6 = Hist.
Rom. 3 7 . 1 7 . 2 ) . Cf. SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 36-40.
1 1 9
STERN I , 3 0 6 argues that this cannot be a formula of Posidonius given Strabo's
concept of G o d ' s "encompassing" the universe. Posidonius believed that "God is an
intelligible spirit that permeates (διήκων) all being" according to the Scholia in Lucanum,
Pharsalia 9.578 = F. 100 ( 1 0 4 , 4 - 5 EDELSTEIN). Cp. C i c , D e div. 2 . 1 5 . 3 5 where for
Chrysippus, Antipater, and Posidonius there is a sentient and divine force which is diffused in
the whole universe (vim quandam sentientem atque divinam, quae toto confusa mundo sit).
Posidonius holds that Zeus dwells (τον π ά ν τ α διοικούντα) in all things according to Lydus,
De mens. 4.71.48 = F. 102 (105,3 EDELSTEIN). According to Diog. Laert. 7.148 the being of
God is the whole c o s m o s and heaven. Cp. 7.137-8. See also § 1.2.16, 1.23, 1.29.2 and
GAGER, M o s e s 41 n.46. Herodotus 1.131 (quoted in by Celsus in C. Celsum 5.41 [355,29-
356,1 MARCOVICH]) notes that the Persians call the circle of heaven Zeus.
1 2 0
Strabo 14.1.44, 17.1.17 mentions this practice elsewhere. Posidonius speaks of
divination from dreams in C i c „ D e div. 1.30.64, but not incubation in a temple. Julian
accused the Christians of incubation around tombs. See § 3.50 and STERN I , 264.
22 Introduction

1 2 1
situation. Later superstitious p e o p l e b e c a m e priests w h o encouraged
abstinence from m e a t s , c i r c u m c i s i o n , f e m a l e e x c i s i o n , and similar
122
p r a c t i c e s . H e c o n c l u d e s his treatment o f M o s e s w i t h a d i s c u s s i o n o f the
t w o p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f the origin o f l a w s : they are either h u m a n or from the
g o d s . M o s e s , a c c o r d i n g to Strabo, is a prophet (μ,άντις) like Teiresias,
Trophonius, Orpheus and others w h o g a v e oracles w h i l e alive and after death.
M o s e s w a s o n e o f the l a w g i v e r s w h o r e c e i v e d l a w s from the g o d s , but those
w h o f o l l o w e d h i m (in leadership) b e c a m e w o r s e . Strabo, h o w e v e r , d o e s
preface t h e s e remarks about the d i v i n e origin or l a w s w i t h a cautionary
123
qualification: "whatever b e the truth in these t h i n g s . "
W h i l e the Stoic philosopher P o s i d o n i u s has often b e e n c l a i m e d as Strabo's
source, the q u e s t i o n is controversial, and perhaps S t e r n ' s p o s i t i o n is best:
P o s i d o n i u s c a n neither b e p r o v e d nor disproved to b e Strabo's source in the
1 2 4
a b o v e p a s s a g e . Schurer a s s u m e s that the s o u r c e is J e w i s h , and G a g e r
argues that a J e w in A l e x a n d r i a w h o k n e w S t o i c p h i l o s o p h y m i g h t h a v e
125
encountered S t r a b o . Whether a H e l l e n i z e d J e w or P o s i d o n i u s w a s Strabo's
i m m e d i a t e s o u r c e o n e c a n still s e e t r a c e s o f t h e e x o d u s and the
c o m m a n d m e n t s against making i m a g e s and worshipping t h e m ( E x o d 2 0 : 3 - 6 ) .

1 2 1
Superstition was a frequent charge against the Jews. See HENGEL, Judaism, II, 173 n.
30. Cf. Agatharcides of Cnidos (II B.C.E., STERN I, § 30a = Jos., C. Ap. 1.205-11); Cicero,
(a "barbaric superstition" STERN I, § 68 = Pro Flacco 28:67); Quintilian (STERN I, § 230 =
Inst. 3.7.21); Tacitus (STERN II, § 2 7 6 = Hist. 2.4.3). See also Plutarch's discourse on the
topic with its references to Jews (STERN I, § 2 5 5 , 2 5 6 = D e superstitione 3, 8).
1 2 2
G A G E R , M o s e s , 47 refers to Philo, D e migr. 89 (where some Jews like to find the
symbolic meaning in the Torah but reject its literal meaning) and to the Hellenizing Jews of
the Maccabean period (1 Mace 1:11-15, 2 Mace 4:7-20). FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 533
n.18 also calls attention to Exod 4:24-26 where Moses has forgotten to circumcise his own
sons. This could have encouraged some to assume that circumcision was later than Moses.
See also § 1.11, 1.28.3. FELDMAN, Ibid., 503 n.40 argues that Strabo is trying to defend the
Jews against the charge of misanthropy. On excision of females compare Strabo 16.4.9 =
STERN I, § 118 (the Creophagi) and 17.2.5 (the Egyptians).
1 2 3
STERN I, § 115 = 16.2.34-39. On the seers see GAGER, M o s e s , 45 who notes that
Amphiaraus, Teiresias, the Tyrrhenians (Etrurians), the Chaldeans, and the Magi are also in
Cicero's list in D e div. 1.40.88-41.92.
1 2 4
STERN I, 264-65 / GAGER, M o s e s , 47. NORDEN, Jahwe, 2 9 4 argues that a Jew who
would say that M o s e s came from Egypt is impossible. The fact that apparently no extant
Jewish sources identify Moses as an Egyptian is important, but a Jew Strabo encountered
might have been confused slightly or Strabo could have gotten a detail wrong. In any case
GAGER's arguments (idem, 44-47) show why FELDMAN's arguments for Posidonius as the
source d o not have to be accepted (Jew and Gentile, 4 9 8 n . l l ) . The very arguments
FELDMAN uses are the ones GAGER has already shown to be lacking in probative force.
H E N G E L , Judaism I, 2 5 8 - 6 0 argues for a derivation from Posidonius. Cf. also SCHAFER,
Judeophobia, 2 4 (we do not have Posidonius' version of the exodus).
1 2 5
SCHURER, History, III/l, 154-55.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 23

M o s t o f the material in a s e n s e c o u l d b e derived from what Strabo or his oral


sources could "see": n a m e l y , t h e t e m p l e and the l a c k o f i m a g e s ,
circumcision, and the practice o f f o o d l a w s . Ultimately, h o w e v e r , the source
for the e x o d u s story has to b e the J e w i s h c o m m u n i t y and its scriptures u n l e s s
o n e w a n t s to p o s i t an i n d e p e n d e n t E g y p t i a n s o u r c e o f the e x o d u s w h i c h
includes an e x p l i c i t m e n t i o n o f M o s e s . S u c h a source is not extant in the
k n o w l e d g e o f contemporary scholarship.

0.10 Pompeius Trogus (I B.C.E. to I CE.)

P o m p e i u s Trogus w a s a Celt (Vocontian) from Gallia Narbonensis w h o wrote


during the era o f Caesar A u g u s t u s . O n e o f his works w a s a universal History
(Historia Phillipicae) that c o n t a i n s an a c c o u n t o f J e w i s h o r i g i n s as a
d i g r e s s i o n f r o m T r o g u s ' d i s c u s s i o n o f A n t i o c h u s V I I ' s c o n f l i c t w i t h John
126
H y r c a n u s . P o m p e i u s T r o g u s s h o w s s o m e awareness o f biblical traditions
in his narrative. T h e J e w s ' origin is D a m a s c u s from w h i c h the A s s y r i a n
1 2 7
rulers i n c l u d i n g S e m i r a m i s c a m e . A b r a h a m and Israhel w e r e k i n g s o f
D a m a s c u s . Israhel b e c o m e s w e l l k n o w n b e c a u s e o f his ten s o n s ( G e n 4 6 : 8 -
2 7 ) . H e called his d e s c e n d a n t s J e w s after his s o n Juda and d i v i d e d his rule
into ten k i n g d o m s for his s o n s . Trogus continues:
Joseph was the youngest of the brothers. Being afraid of his excellent ability (excellens
ingenium) his brothers took him secretly and sold him to some merchants (Gen 37:27-
28)128 Taken to Egypt, Joseph learns the magical arts with skillful talent (sollerti
1 2 9
ingenio) and becomes loved by the k i n g . He was extremely shrewd in understanding
portents (prodigiorum sagacissimus) and founded the first s c i e n c e of interpreting
130
dreams . N o t h i n g of divine or human law appeared to be u n k n o w n to him.

1 2 6 2
STERN I, 3 3 2 - 3 3 / A. H. M C D O N A L D , Trogus, Pompeius, O C D , 1096-97 / GAGER,
Moses, 4 9 . The history of Pompeius appears in the work of Justin (II-III C.E.). One of
Trogus' primary sources was Timagenes (STERN I, 222 / RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 71
n.129). Trogus h i m s e l f w a s one of Jerome's sources in his commentary on Daniel
(§ 2.2.16.7). For the conflict with Hyrcanus see Diodorus above (§ 0.7). Trogus' prologue
that mentions Jewish origins (origo ludeorum) is STERN I, § 136 = Hist. Phil., X X X V I prol.
1 2 7
See FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 182, 190 / STERN I, 164. Alexander Polyhistor claims
that Juda and Idoumea are among the children of Semiramis (STERN I, § 53 = Steph. Byz.,
s.v. Ι ο υ δ α ί α [Judea]). Nicolaus of Damascus locates Jewish origins in Assyria as does one
of Tacitus' traditions (STERN II, § 281 = Hist. 5.2.3). Cp. § 2.2.8 where Semiramis is merely
a chronological anchor for dating Moses.
1 2 8
Benjamin was the youngest (Gen 42:32), and Trogus mistakes the number of tribes.
There were ten northern tribes (Israel as opposed to Judah).
1 2 9
STERN I, 339 calls this a rationalistic account of Joseph's rise to power, however the
reference to "magical arts" implies more than mere rationalism.
1 3 0
Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 205, 285 and § 2.2.7.
24 Introduction

Consequently he was even able to foresee the sterility of the cultivated lands many years
in advance (Gen 41:1-36). If the king, warned by him, had not commanded in an edict
that the fruits of the earth be stored for many years, all Egypt would have perished
because of hunger (Gen 41:34-36). Such were the demonstrations of his ability, so that
131 1 3 2
his utterances (responsa) seemed to be given not from a human but from a g o d .

Trogus then turns to the topic o f M o y s e s w h o m h e describes as Joseph's son


133 134
( E x o d 6 : 1 6 - 2 0 ) . M o y s e s inherits his father's k n o w l e d g e and is b e a u t i f u l .
T h e E g y p t i a n s w e r e suffering from scabies and leprosy, and warned by an
oracular r e s p o n s e (responso) they drove M o y s e s w i t h the other sick p e o p l e
1 3 5
b e y o n d the boundaries o f E g y p t s o that the plague (pestis) might not crawl
a m o n g the majority. M o y s e s b e c o m e s the leader and furtively ( E x o d 3 : 2 1 -
136
2 2 , 11:2, 1 2 : 3 5 - 3 6 ) carries off the sacred objects o f the E g y p t i a n s . S e e k i n g
their t h i n g s b y m e a n s o f w e a p o n s the Egyptians are f o r c e d back h o m e by
131
tempests (tempestatibus) . G o i n g back to D a m a s c u s , M o y s e s o c c u p i e s Mt.
Sinai ( E x o d 19:1). T o get there they h a v e to fast s e v e n d a y s in the Arabian
desert, and s o arrive very tired. M o y s e s therefore dedicates for all time the
seventh day (called "Sabbath" b y his nation) as a fast day b e c a u s e that day
w a s the e n d o f their hunger and uncertain travel (errorem; E x o d 16:3, E x o d
14 - J o s h 4 ) . S i n c e they w e r e e x p e l l e d from E g y p t b e c a u s e o f the fear o f
c o n t a g i o n , t h e y d e c i d e n o t t o l i v e w i t h f o r e i g n e r s (cum peregrinis
conviverunt) — lest they b e c o m e hated by the surrounding p e o p l e s for the
s a m e reason. T h e n M o y s e s ' s o n A r m a s (Aaron, E x o d 6:20) b e c o m e s priest
138
over the Egyptian rites .
P o m p e i u s Trogus confuses the celebration o f the Sabbath with a fast day as
did other G r e c o - R o m a n authors, but h e d o e s not s e e m to scorn the Sabbath

1 3 1
On this term for oracular responses see Lucretius 1.736, C i c , D e or. 1.7.26, and 2 Tim
3:16 Vulgate.
1 3 2
STERN I, § 137 = Hist. Phil. 36, Ep. 2.6-10. Author's ET. Part of this passage can be
found also in RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 110a.
1 3 3
Cp. Molon's account (§ 0.5).
1 3 4
On this topic see FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 239, 250 / GAGER, Moses, 50. Cf. Exod
2:2 L X X , Philo, Vita Mos. 1.9. In the rhetoric of praise (encomium), beauty and wisdom are
important elements. S e e H. L A U S B E R G , Handbuch der Literarischen Rhetorik. Eine
3
Grundlegung der Literaturwissenschaft, Stuttgart 1990 , § 376 (p. 206), § 1129 with reference
to Prise. 7.
1 3 5
Cp. Diodorus above (§ 0.7) where they are driven beyond the "borders."
1 3 6
In Exodus some things are freely given to the Hebrews, but they also plunder Egypt.
Philo, D e vita Mos. 1.140-42 defends the act as fair wages for slavery.
1 3 7
STERN I, 340 calls this "rationalistic," but see Exod 14:21.
1 3 8
GAGER, Moses, 123 argues that Apion also depicts Moses' following Egyptian rites in
Jerusalem. Cf. STERN I, § 165 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.10-11.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 25

1 3 9
c u s t o m as they d i d . H e c o n c l u d e s this part o f his a c c o u n t w i t h admiration.
For the J e w s the s a m e p e o p l e are k i n g s and priests, and " . . . b e c a u s e o f their
j u s t i c e c o m b i n e d w i t h r e l i g i o n they g r e w a m a z i n g l y strong" (iustitia religione
140
permixta incredibile quantum coaluere) . J u s t i c e w a s an e l e m e n t i n the
1 4 1
ancient rhetoric o f p r a i s e , a n d it is apparent that T r o g u s h a s this in m i n d .
T r o g u s m a y n o t h a v e had a L X X in front o f h i m , but o n e o f h i s s o u r c e s k n e w
biblical tradition f r o m the L X X or f r o m a J e w i s h informant. T h e r e are m a n y
c l o s e c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n T r o g u s ' J o s e p h narrative and the L X X . O n the
o t h e r h a n d h e m a d e u s e o f t h e E g y p t i a n tradition a b o u t t h e e x o d u s that
M a n e t h o and his s u c c e s s o r s handed down. T h e origin o f the J e w s in
Damascus i s a third strand o f tradition that T r o g u s u s e s — somewhat
142
inconsistently .

1 3 9
Strabo (STERN I, § 115 = 16.2.40) probably believed the Sabbath w a s a fast day.
Augustus thinks it is a fast day and is observed for an hour into the evening (STERN II, § 3 0 3
= Suet., Aug., 76.2). FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 163 compares the extension to b. Shabb
118b. Juvenal speaks o f the Sabbath contemptuously (kings g o around with bare feet; STERN,
II § 2 9 8 = 6.159); Petronius, (STERN, I § 195 = Frag. 37) has scorn for the Sabbath fast; so
also Martial (STERN, I § 2 3 9 = Epigr. 4.4). Agatharcides of Cnidos appeals to Sabbath
observance as an example o f superstition (STERN I, § 30a = Jos., C. Ap. 1.205-11). Tacitus
probably regards it as a fast day (STERN II, 281 = Hist. 5.4.3). Ovid recognizes it as a feast
day, but seems to deride it ( S T E R N , I § 142 = Ars 1.416). Cp. his notice o f the travel
restrictions on the Sabbath (STERN, I § 143 = Remedia 217-20). A s an example o f an
enslaving superstition (STERN I, 4 3 6 ) , Perseus alludes to the Sabbath with its lamps and
consumption o f fish (STERN I § 190 = Sat. 5.176-84). Seneca felt that the custom w a s
idleness (STERN, I § 186 = D e superstitione apud Aug., D e civ. Dei 6.11). H e also censured
the practice of lighting lamps on the Sabbath, which the gods don't need (STERN, I § 188 =
Ep. mor. 95.47). Synesius, during his pre-Christian period, was shocked at the behavior of a
Jewish sea captain w h o refused to guide the ship during a life-threatening storm and persisted
in reading his scroll/book (βιβλιον). H e finally relents when death is near (STERN III § 5 6 9 =
Ep. 5 ) . Philo must have known o f the charge o f idleness given his arguments against that
understanding o f the Sabbath (Hypothetica 7.12-4; D e spec. leg. 2.60). Cf. also § 1.2.5,
§ 3.19, 25 / FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 158-67 / RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 15
SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 82-92.
1 4 0
STERN I, § 137 = Hist. Phil. 36, Ep. 2.1-16. STERN I, 341 notes that this reflects
conditions during the Hasmonean age. Cp. Tacitus (STERN II, § 281 = Hist. 5.8.3). On pagan
discussions of Jewish power see FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 1 7 4 , 2 2 6 - 2 7 .
1 4 1
LAUSBERG, Handbuch, § 376.
1 4 2
On his possible use o f the L X X see FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 3 1 2 / STERN I, 3 3 2 /
GAGER, Moses, 56.
26 Introduction

0.11 Tacitus (ca 56-11 CE.)

O n e o f the l o n g e s t accounts o f the origins o f the J e w s appears in the work o f


143
Cornelius T a c i t u s . In his Histories, w h i c h roughly c o v e r the years b e t w e e n
6 9 and the death o f Domitian, h e introduces a passage o n the J e w i s h war with
a narrative o f the b e g i n n i n g s (primordia) o f Jerusalem. H e i n c l u d e s six
p o s s i b l e t h e o r i e s that e x p l a i n the J e w s ' e m e r g e n c e in history. T h e last
c o m p r i s e s the a n t i - J e w i s h v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s that e m e r g e d in G r e c o -
144
E g y p t i a n c i r c l e s . T h e others, h o w e v e r , c o n t a i n s o m e c o m p l i m e n t a r y
material. In o n e version the J e w s c o m e from Crete and are called "Idaei" and
then "Iudaei" b e c a u s e o f Mt. Ida. Another states that they w e r e from Egypt
during the rule o f Isis. H i e r o s o l y m a and Juda led the e x c e s s population to
145
lands in the r e g i o n . In another tradition they were Ethiopians w h o migrated
b e c a u s e o f fear and odium. T h e narrative c l o s e s t to the O T is that they were
poor strangers (convenas) from A s s y r i a w h o w e n t to E g y p t , took part o f it,
146
and then w e n t to the H e b r e w lands and S y r i a . Still others identify H o m e r ' s
1 4 7
S o l y m i (II 6 . 1 8 5 , Od. 5 . 2 8 3 ) , a celebrated people, with the J e w s .
T h e version w h i c h Tacitus s e e m s to favor is that a p l a g u e in E g y p t caused
K i n g B o c c h o r i s to consult the oracle at A m m o n w h o tells h i m to purify his
148
land b y s e n d i n g the race ( J e w s ) , w h o w e r e hated b y g o d s , to other p l a c e s .
In the desert, w e e p i n g , they are told b y M o s e s not to l o o k for aid from the
g o d s or f r o m p e o p l e , but to trust in t h e m s e l v e s and in the o n e w h o as a

1 4 3 2
M. P. CHARLESWORTH/G. B. TOWNEND, Tacitus, O C D , 1034-5 / STERN II, 1-6 /
HOSPERS-JANSEN, Tacitus over de Joden / H. LEWY, Tacitus on the Origins and Manners of
the Jews, Zion 8, 1943, 1-26 (Hebrew) / GAGER, Moses, 82-6, 127-28 / FELDMAN, Jew and
Gentile, 184-96 / SCHURER, History, III/l, 150-53, 612.
1 4 4
HOSPERS-JANSEN, Tacitus over de Joden, 122 believes that Tacitus took this account
from the Alexandrians, Lysimachus and Apion in particular.
1 4 5
Cp. Plutarch (STERN I, § 259 = D e Is. et Os. 31) where these two rulers are the sons of
Typhon. FELDMAN , Jew and Gentile, 195 notes that Typhon was the god of evil. See Isis'
negative role in Chaeremon's version ( § 0 . 1 2 ) . In Diodorus 1.29.5, Egypt establishes
colonies because of overpopulation (STERN II, 33). Cp. Philo, D e spec. leg. 1.2.
1 4 6
Gen 11:26-12. Tactitus' tradition is also close to that of Nicolaus of Damascus (§ 0.8).
HOSPERS-JANSEN, Tacitus over de Joden, 116-7 also compares the account to that of
Pompeius Trogus (§ 0.10). He argues that Tacitus' sources may be alluding to OT tradition
(the origin of the Jews in Mesopotamia). FELDMAN , Jew and Gentile, 190, 520 n.52 agrees
that the account is close to the Bible.
1 4 7
On the five theories see STERN'S notes (II, 32-5) and the comments of FELDMAN, Jew
and Gentile, 184-96. Cf. also HOSPERS-JANSEN, Tacitus over de Joden, 110-9.
1 4 8
Tacitus' version is closest to Lysimachus who also mentions Bocchoris and Ammon.
He does, however, leave out a number of Lysimachus' extremely anti-Jewish comments. See
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 192-3 (nine different elements of Lysimachus' version that are
not included).
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 27

1 4 9
h e a v e n l y leader (duce caelesti) is able to h e l p t h e m . Thirst f a t i g u e s t h e m ,
and M o s e s f o l l o w s a herd o f w i l d a s s e s to water. After a s i x - d a y m a r c h , they
1 5 0
obtain lands and consecrate a t e m p l e . T o e s t a b l i s h h i s p o s i t i o n for all
p o s t e r i t y , M o s e s c r e a t e s n e w rituals contrary t o all o t h e r h u m a n s . In an
i n n e r m o s t shrine (penetrali) t h e y c o n s e c r a t e a statue (effigiem) o f the animal
1 5 1
that e n d e d their j o u r n e y i n g a n d thirst — in apparent s c o r n o f Ammon .
T h e y d o n o t eat p o r k b e c a u s e o f the s c a b i e s that troubled t h e m in E g y p t and
1 5 2
to w h i c h the p i g i s a l s o l i a b l e . Their fasts bear w i t n e s s to their l o n g hunger.
T h e bread w i t h o u t l e a v e n i s eaten b e c a u s e o f the fruits o f the earth that t h e y
153
plundered (or "ate h a s t i l y " raptarum frugum argumentum) . T h e y s a y that
1 5 4
they rest o n the s e v e n t h d a y b e c a u s e it e n d e d their l a b o r s . T h e s e v e n t h year
1 5 5
is a year o f n o w o r k w h a t s o e v e r ( L e v 2 5 : 1 - 7 ) .
A f t e r this s o m e w h a t a p p r e c i a t i v e s u r v e y o f J e w i s h p r a c t i c e s , Tacitus
makes a severe evaluation: T h e s e rituals, h o w e v e r they w e r e introduced, are
156
d e f e n d e d b y their a n t i q u i t y . T h e rest o f their c u s t o m s are s i n i s t e r a n d
filthy. H e attacks t h o s e w h o a b a n d o n their ancestral traditions to b e c o m e

1 4 9
Thus in Tacitus' version they do actually receive help from the gods in the form o f a
leader. In Lysimachus' version (C. A p . 1.309) M o s e s tells them to "hazard themselves to
danger" ( π α ρ α β α λ λ ο μ ε ν ο υ ς ) . Η. S T . J. THACKERAY (LCL) translates "take their courage in
their own hands."
1 5 0
Apion also has a seven day march ( § 0 . 1 3 ) . Cf. also Pompeius Trogus ( § 0 . 1 0 ) .
STERN II, 36, however, points out that this may be coincidence since the time needed for the
walk from Egypt to Palestine is seven days.
1 5 1
STERN II, 3 7 calls attention to Pausanius 10.18.4 where the Ambrakiots dedicate a
copper effigy of an ass in honor of their victory over the Molossians (due to the braying o f an
ass). Cf. also FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 146. Manetho claims that the Jews violated
Egyptian sanctuaries. S e e § 0.2 above on Manetho and § 0.13 on the worship of an ass.
1 5 2
Scabies also appears in Lysimachus and Pompeius Trogus. GAGER, M o s e s , 8 4 notes
that Tacitus, like Hecataeus and Pompeius Trogus, relates certain laws of the Jews to the
exodus tradition.
1 5 3
S e e Exod 12:39. In Hist. 5.13.3, Tacitus mentions 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 besieged people in
Jerusalem during the Jewish war. This is another possible connection to Exod 12:37-39. S e e
STERN II, 37.
1 5 4
Tacitus also mentions a theory that the Sabbath is in honor of Saturn. S e e STERN'S
comment in II, 38. Tibullus calls the Sabbath the day of Saturn (STERN II, § 281 = Carm.
1.3.18)
1 5 5
For Julian's remarks o n unleavened bread s e e § 3 . 1 9 , 2 4 . T h e mention o f the
sabbatical year is apparently unique in Greco-Roman literature. There may be an oblique
reference to it in STERN II, § 305 = Suet., Tib. 32.2.
1 5 6
On the issue o f antiquity in debates between paganism, Judaism, and Christianity see
STERN, I, 39 / COOK, Interpretation, 3 8 3 s.v. "ancestral traditions." Cicero, in a comment on
the Jews in the era before Pompey took Jerusalem, remarks that " . . . the religion o f their
sacred rituals is opposed to the splendor of this empire, the gravity o f our name, and the
institutions of the ancestors" (STERN I, § 68 = Pro Flacco 28:6).
28 Introduction

1 5 7
J e w s . T h e y get circumcised, abandon the g o d s and country, d e s p i s e their
o w n f a m i l i e s , and send tribute to Jerusalem. T h e J e w s s h o w m e r c y to e a c h
158
other but hatred to all o t h e r s . T h e y h a v e n o s e x w i t h foreign w o m e n and
159
differentiate t h e m s e l v e s from others b y m e a n s o f c i r c u m c i s i o n . T h e y d o
not practice table f e l l o w s h i p with n o n - J e w s . T h e souls o f t h o s e w h o die in
battle are immortal. T h e y b e l i e v e in o n e g o d and reject i m a g e - m a k e r s as
profane b e c a u s e the i m a g e s represent g o d w i t h mortal materials in the
l i k e n e s s o f h u m a n s (qui deum imagines mortalibus materiis in species
160
hominum effingant) . J e w s put n o statues in cities or t e m p l e s and so do not
honor the Caesars. S o m e relate the priests' singing and garlands o f i v y with
161
the cult o f Liber, but Tacitus rejects that t h e o r y .
Perhaps Tacitus wrote his ethnographic account to e x p l a i n the rebellious
162
character o f the J e w s during the J e w i s h W a r . Whatever his reasons, he w a s
able to gather the m o s t traditions about the J e w s o f any G r e c o - R o m a n writer.
H i s A s s y r i a n tradition is identical with the account in G e n e s i s e x c e p t for the
statement that they "gained the mastery o f part o f Egypt. That is not present
in G e n e s i s or E x o d u s . Tacitus, consequently, must h a v e gotten this tradition
from a source that had a Jewish connection and thus a k n o w l e d g e o f the L X X .
T h e s a m e applies to his transformed v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s narrative. T h e
plague in Egypt, the flight from the king, the leadership o f M o s e s , the thirst in
the w i l d e r n e s s , and the, M o s a i c legislation are all e l e m e n t s o f the original
story in E x o d u s . That they h a v e b e e n obscured a l m o s t b e y o n d recognition
d o e s not c h a n g e the fact that they had their ultimate origin in a Jewish contact
— e v e n if the contact w a s o n l y oral o n the part o f s o m e G r e c o - E g y p t i a n
author like M a n e t h o . T h e J e w i s h source itself k n e w the biblical tradition or
part o f it.

1 5 7
See comparable attacks in § 1 . 3 4 , 3 . 5 6 .
1 5 8
On misanthropy see § 0 . 4 .
1 5 9
Cp. Celsus' account of the Jews in § 1 . 2 9 . 1 .
1 6 0
Is Tacitus' account inconsistent since he includes a reference to the effigy of the ass in
the temple shrine? Tacitus does not say they worshipped the ass. Tertullian, Apol. 1 6 . 1 - 4
( 1 1 5 , 1 - 2 1 D E K . ) thought Tacitus had contradicted himself since he also writes that Pompey
found no image in the temple and "empty secret places" (inania arcana) in Hist. 5 . 9 . 1 ( 6 3
B.C.E.).
1 6 1
STERN II, § 2 8 1 = Hist. 5 . 2 . 1 - 5 . 5 . See the reference to Liber in § 1 . 2 3 .
1 6 2
GAGER, Moses, 1 2 8 with reference to LEWY, Tacitus, 9 . FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile
1 9 2 - 9 3 shows that it was usual for Tacitus to give some ethnographic account of nations he
was concerned with. See Agricola 1 0 - 2 on the Britons and Germania 2 on the Germans.
The Septuagint*s Reception in the Greco-Roman World 29

0.12 Chaeremon(IC.E.)

In the first c e n t u r y ( C . E . ) , an A l e x a n d r i a n p r i e s t ( s a c r e d s c r i b e -
hierogrammateus) n a m e d C h a e r e m o n wrote a history o f E g y p t that contains
an anti-Jewish version o f the e x o d u s narrative that has similarities with that o f
Manetho. H e m a y b e the s a m e Chaeremon w h o w a s o n e o f the Alexandrian
e n v o y s to C l a u d i u s c o n c e r n i n g s o m e riots b e t w e e n the J e w s and other
163
A l e x a n d r i a n s . H e w a s a S t o i c w h o wrote allegories o f Egyptian religious
tradition (e.g. the E g y p t i a n g o d s are the planets), and according to Porphyry
he w a s o n e o f O r i g e n ' s inspirations for his o w n allegorical interpretations o f
1 6 4
the O T . L i k e , M a n e t h o , C h a e r e m o n p l a c e s the e v e n t s in the r e i g n o f
Pharaoh A m e n o p h i s . Isis appears to h i m in a dream and c o m p l a i n s about the
165
destruction o f her t e m p l e in w a r t i m e . A sacred scribe (hierogrammateus)
a d v i s e s h i m to c l e a n s e E g y p t o f its p o l l u t e d p e o p l e ( τ ο υ ς μ ο λ υ σ μ ο ύ ς
ε χ ό ν τ ω ν ) . T w o sacred scribes, M o s e s and Joseph ( w h o m h e identifies as
166
Tisithen and P e t e s e p h ) , lead 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 e x i l e s to the border at P e l u s i u m where
they m e e t 3 8 0 , 0 0 0 p e o p l e w h o had b e e n abandoned by the king. T h e y all
attack Egypt. T h e k i n g ' s s o n , R a m e s s e s , later drives the J e w s ( 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 n o w )
167 168
to S y r i a . T h e m e n t i o n o f Joseph is a rarity in G r e c o - R o m a n literature .
T h e e x i l e s and border p e o p l e together number 6 3 0 , 0 0 0 — w h i c h is c l o s e to
the figure o f 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 in E x o d 12:37. C h a e r e m o n also s e e m s to k n o w w h o
1 6 9
M o s e s is in contrast with L y s i m a c h u s w h o mentions "a certain" M o s e s . A s
w i t h the other A l e x a n d r i a n authors the story is a reversal o f the e x o d u s
narrative if o n e identifies C h a e r e m o n ' s J e w s with the p o l l u t e d p e o p l e o f
Egypt. A z i z a n o t e s that C h a e r e m o n d o e s not refer to any i n h u m a n e J e w i s h
l a w s — s o m e t h i n g that w o u l d h a v e b e e n e a s y to refute in first century

1 6 3
SCHURER, History, III/l, 601-3 / AziZA, L'utilisation, 5 9 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei
pagani, I, 71 n.131 / H. DORRIE, Chaeremon 2, KP I, 1964, 1121. Cf. CPJ 2, 153.
1 6 4
Porphyry, Ep. ad Anebonem 12b (23,7-24,2 SODANO). Porphyry, Contra Christianos
F. 39 = Eus. H.E. 6.19.8 (A. VON HARNACK, Porphyrius "Gegen die Christen," 15 Bucher.
Zeugnisse, Fragmente und Referate, APAW.PH 1, Berlin 1916). Cf. A . BARZANO,
Cheremone di Alessandria, A N R W II.32.3,1985,1981-2001 / VAN DER HORST, Chaeremon.
1 6 5
STERN I, 4 2 0 refers to an incomplete text (CPJ 3, 520) in which the wrath of Isis is
mentioned in line 9. Line 8 refers to lawless ones who are driven from Egypt. Line 4
contains a word (fragment) that may be "Jews." Cf. also HENGEL, Judaism, II, 125 n.519.
1 6 6
H.-R. SCHWYZER, Chaeremon, Leipzig 1932, 57 sees here an indication of an earlier
Egyptian tradition that did not have the names of Moses and Joseph. Cf. STERN I, 421 and
SCHURER, History, III/l, 601 / VAN DER HORST, Chaeremon, 4 9 n.l, 50 n.8.
1 6 7
STERN I, § 178 = Jos., C. Ap. 1.288-92.
1 6 8
Pompeius Trogus (STERN I, § 137 = Justinus, Hist. Philip. 36, Epit. 2.6-10) and
Apollonius Molon (STERN I, § 4 6 = Eus., P.E. 9.19.3).
1 6 9
AziZA, L'utilisation, 6 1 .
30 Introduction

170
Alexandria . O n the other h a n d h e s h o w s n o firsthand k n o w l e d g e o f the
LXX.

0.13 Apion (ICE.)

T h e H o m e r i c grammarian A p i o n taught i n R o m e during the r e i g n o f Tiberius


and C l a u d i u s . H e r e c e i v e d c i t i z e n s h i p f r o m A l e x a n d r i a , and after a riot
1 7 1
b e t w e e n J e w s and G r e e k s there, h e slandered the J e w s b e f o r e C a l i g u l a . He
wrote a history of Egypt of w h i c h Josephus includes several fragments.
1 7 2
A p i o n i d e n t i f i e s h i s s o u r c e as certain "elders o f E g y p t . " Consequently, he
d o e s n o t k n o w t h e L X X directly, but r e l i e s o n oral E g y p t i a n traditions that
t h e m s e l v e s are a r e s p o n s e to E x o d u s . M o s e s , in A p i o n ' s a c c o u n t , c o m e s from
1 7 3
H i e r a p o l i s and f o l l o w s his ancestral c u s t o m s ( π α τ ρ ί ο ι ς εθεσι) . H e erects
o p e n - a i r e d h o u s e s o f prayer (that f a c e east) in the c i t y and pillars w i t h b o a t
1 7 4
models beneath (sun d i a l s ) . Later i n h i s t e x t J o s e p h u s refers to A p i o n ' s
v e r s i o n o f the e x o d u s . In 7 5 2 B . C . E . M o s e s l e a d s 1 1 0 , 0 0 0 l e p e r s , blind, and
1 7 5
l a m e p e o p l e forth f r o m E g y p t . T h e y march s i x d a y s , g e t s w o l l e n g l a n d s in
1 7 6
their g r o i n s , reach Judaea, and rest o n the s e v e n t h d a y . S i n c e the E g y p t i a n
w o r d for this g r o i n i l l n e s s is sabbatosis they call the s e v e n t h d a y "Sabbaton"

1 7 0
AZIZA, L'utilisation, 6 1 .
1 7 1
Jos., Antiq. 18.257-9, SCHURER, History, III/l, 604-7 / H. GARTNER, Apion, K P I,
1994, 4 3 2 / F. MONTANARI/T. HlDBER, Apion, Der neue Pauly I, 1997, 845-7. FELDMAN,
Jew and Gentile, 5 3 1 n.3 notes that some of Apion's comments o n Homer have been found
(P. Rylands 1.26) in a text from the first century. S e e also Literary Papryi, London 3 0 ;
British M u s e u m inv. 271 for a mention of Apion among some o f the commentators on the
Odyssey. Cf. also RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 71 n.130 / Idem, I cristiani c o m e
hesterni. U n a riflessione sulle origini del comparativismo storiografico, in: Rivedendo
antichi pregiudizi. Stereotipi sull'alltro nell'eta classica e contemporanea, ed. G. A .
LUCHETTA, Chieti 2 0 0 2 , (49-61) 5 1 . Apion's life and work are succinctly reviewed by S.
NEITZEL, Apions Γλώσσοα Όμηρι,καί, SGLG 3 , Berlin/New York 1977, 188-9.
1 7 2
STERN I, § 164 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.10.
1 7 3
For Manetho, M o s e s also c o m e s from Hierapolis. S e e § 0 . 2 . STERN I, 395 also
mentions the temple o f Onias IV which was in the nome of Hierapolis as a reason why Jews
were associated with the city. For the issue of "ancestral customs" in the debate between
pagans, Jews, and Christians see § 1.28.1.
1 7 4
STERN I, § 164 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.1-11. The shadow cast by the structure follows the
course o f the sun. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 2 4 0 argues that this is an implied compliment
of M o s e s ' scientific ability. GAGER, Moses, 123 thinks that this text refers to Moses' actions
in Jerusalem. Since Apion does not mention the exodus in this passage, o n e can probably
assume that Egypt is still meant.
1 7 5
The date is roughly the same as that of Lysimachus' King Bocchoris (STERN 1,397).
1 7 6
Ironically, Apion died from gangrene that set in after a therapeutically necessary
circumcision due to an ulcer (Jos., C. Ap. 2.143).
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 31

(cp. E x o d 2 0 : 8 - 1 1 ) . In a n o t h e r a c c o u n t A p i o n s a y s that M o s e s w e n t u p t o
M o u n t Sinai w h i c h h e l o c a t e s b e t w e e n E g y p t and Arabia. T h e r e h e is h i d d e n
for forty d a y s , a n d w h e n h e c o m e s d o w n h e g i v e s l a w s t o the J e w s ( E x o d
1 7 7
24:16-8) .
J o s e p h u s , in another text, m e n t i o n s P o s i d o n i u s and A p o l l o n i u s as A p i o n ' s
s o u r c e s for the f o l l o w i n g tradition: the J e w s w o r s h i p p e d a g o l d e n a s s ' s h e a d
1 7 8
i n the t e m p l e that A n t i o c h u s I V d i s c o v e r e d . Apion also includes an
a c c o u n t o f A n t i o c h u s I V s " d i s c o v e r y " in the t e m p l e o f a G r e e k prisoner w h o
had b e e n fattened up by his Jewish captors for ritual slaughter and
1 7 9
consumption. W h i l e sacrificing h i m they s w e a r e n m i t y to the G r e e k s . It is
o b v i o u s to h i m that the J e w i s h l a w s are unjust and that t h e y d o n o t w o r s h i p
1 8 0
(evoefieiv) G o d as t h e y s h o u l d s i n c e the J e w s are s l a v e s o f the n a t i o n s . A
c l o s e l y related a r g u m e n t i s A p i o n ' s c l a i m that the J e w s h a v e n o t p r o d u c e d
a m a z i n g i n d i v i d u a l s w h o are i n v e n t o r s i n t e c h n i c a l arts or w h o e x c e l in
wisdom. E x a m p l e s h e g i v e s are S o c r a t e s , Z e n o , and C l e a n t h e s . H e adds his

1 7 7
STERN I, § 165 = Jos., C. A p . 2.15-7, 2 0 - 1 , 2 5 , 28. STERN I, 3 9 7 argues that Apion
may have asserted that M o s e s attempted to get the Jews to accept his laws as having a divine
origin. Cp. also FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 5 3 4 n.22. He compares this to Strabo's apparent
skepticism about the divine origin of laws in 16.2.38-39 (= STERN I, § 115). SCHAFER,
Judeophobia, 2 9 remarks that for Apion Moses transferred religious customs from Egypt to
Judea.
1 7 8
STERN I, § 165 = Jos., C. A p . 2.79-80. This was a commonplace. Mnaseas o f Patara
(ca 2 0 0 B.C.E.), according to Apion, is the earliest account (STERN I, § 28 = Jos., C. Ap.
2.112-4); Damocritus (I C.E.?) holds that the Jews used to worship the golden head of an ass
and every seven years used to offer a foreigner sacrificially (STERN I, § 2 4 7 = Suda, s.v.
Δ α μ ό κ ρ ι τ ο ς ) ; Diod. Sic. (I B.C.E.) wrote that Antiochus IV found a statue of an ass with a
bearded man (Moses?) sitting on it holding a scroll (STERN I, § 6 3 = Diod. Sic. 34-35.1.3);
Tacitus has the Jews dedicate a shrine to an ass since wild asses had led them to water in the
wilderness (STERN II, § 281 = Tacitus, Hist. 5.4.2). Plutarch has a similar reference (to T a c ;
STERN I, § 258 = Quaest. conv. 4.5.2). The charge continued against Christians: Tert. Apol.
16.1-3 (115,1-16 D E K . ) ; Minucius Felix, Octavius 9.3 (7,18-9 KYTZLER). A pagan drew a
mural on the Palatine hill with a person worshipping a crucified man with an ass's head, and
the subtext is "Alexander worships god" (RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 7 5 , 122-24). Cp.
COOK, Interpretation, 4-5 / SCHURER, History, ΙΠ/1, 152 / L. ALEXANDER, Gospels.
1 7 9
STERN I, § 171 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.89-90. Josephus, in another context, also includes a
reference to Apion's charge that the Jews take an oath to show good will to no foreigner
(μηδειΛ εύνοήσειν άλλοφύλω) — especially Greeks. S e e STERN I, § 173 = Jos., C. Ap.
2.121. Apion also quotes Mnaseas for an account of the discovery of the golden head o f an
ass in the temple (STERN I, § 172 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.112-14). Cp. Fronto's charges that the
Christians are guilty o f Thyestean feasts in Min. Felix Oct. 9.5 (7,26-32 KYT.) and see COOK,
Interpretation 5-6 / SCHURER, History, III/l, 153. On the ass's head and cannibalism see the
review in W. SCHAFKE, Fruhchristlicher Widerstand, A N R W II.23.1, 1979, ( 4 6 0 - 7 2 3 ) 5 7 9 -
99. Cp. also GAGER, M o s e s 125 n.28.
1 8 0
STERN I, § 1 7 4 = Jos., C. A p . 2.125. On this argument s e e FELDMAN, Jew and
Gentile, 230. Celsus used a similar argument (§ 1.33); see also § 3.56.
32 Introduction

o w n n a m e t o that list and c a l l s A l e x a n d r i a b l e s s e d for h a v i n g s u c h a


181
citizen ! J o s e p h u s briefly m e n t i o n s c h a r g e s o f A p i o n ' s that i n c l u d e
criticism o f the J e w s for sacrificing domestic animals, for not eating pork, and
182
for practicing c i r c u m c i s i o n .
A p i o n m u s t h a v e k n o w n s o m e biblical traditions from his sources. Stern
b e l i e v e s that h e a d d e d t h e s e traditions to the o l d E g y p t i a n v e r s i o n o f the
1 8 3
e x o d u s . Gager is w i l l i n g to consider the possibility that A p i o n might h a v e
read E x o d u s s i n c e h e w a s o s t e n s i b l y an o f f i c i a l o f t h e A l e x a n d r i a n
1 8 4
M u s e u m . G i v e n A p i o n ' s o w n t e s t i m o n y , h o w e v e r , this s e e m s unlikely.
His sources are probably for the m o s t part oral.

0.14 Ps. Longinus (I CE.)

O n e o f the m o s t f a m o u s texts o n literary criticism to survive from the ancient


1 5
world is P s . L o n g i n u s ' On the Sublime * . H e argues that greatness o f mind is
necessary for e x c e l l e n c e in literary art. H e admires H o m e r ' s battles o f the
g o d s in II 2 1 . 3 8 8 and 2 0 . 6 1 - 5 , but if they cannot b e allegorically interpreted
they are c o m p l e t e l y atheistic and d o not preserve what is fitting (el μή κ α τ '
ά λ λ η γ ο ρ ί α ν λ α μ β ά ν ο ι τ ο , π α ν τ ά π α σ ι ν ά θ ε α και ο ύ σ ώ ζ ο ν τ α τό
1 8 6
π ρ έ π ο ν ) . T e x t s he lauds for presenting the divine (τό δ α ι μ ό ν ι ο ν ) truly as
unalloyed, majestic, and pure ( ά χ ρ α ν τ ό ν τ ι καΐ μ έ γ α ... καΐ ά κ ρ α τ ο ν ) are
187
the portrayal o f P o s e i d o n in H o m e r II. 13.18; 2 0 . 6 0 , 13.19 and 1 3 . 2 7 - 2 9 .

1 8 1
STERN I, § 175 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.135.
1 8 2
STERN I, § 176 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.137. Josephus replies that Egyptian priests did not eat
pork (C. Ap. 2 . 1 3 7 , 1 4 1 ) . Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 224. See § 1.28.3.
1 8 3
STERN 1,397.
1 8 4
GAGER, M o s e s , 124. Gager identifies Apion as an official of the Museum based on
the testimony in the Suda that "Apion succeeded Theon the grammarian" (s.v. Ά π ί ω ν § 3215
ADLER). FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 534 n.22 thinks that the mention of forty days on Sinai
indicates that Apion knew a Septuagint or had oral contact with a Jew. On Theon see C.
WENDEL, Theon 9, PRE 2. Reihe V , 1 9 3 4 , 2 0 5 4 - 9 .
1 8 5
For the immense bibliography on the Genesis quotation in Ps. Longinus see STERN, I,
361-3 / GAGER, Moses, 56-63 / RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 30. The edition used
here is 'Longinus' On the Sublime, ed. and comm. D. A. RUSSELL, Oxford 1964. On the
Jewish specialist in rhetoric, Caecilius of Calacte, whom Ps. Longinus writes against (De
Subl. 1.1; 4.2; 8.1, 4; 31.1; 3 2 . 1 , 8 [1,1.9; 5,12; 8,27; 9,16; 3 7 , 1 0 . 2 2 ; 40,13 R U S S . ] ) see
SCHURER, History, III/l, 701-4 / STERN, I, 566 / RUSSELL, Longinus, 58-9. Caecilius lived
during the time of Augustus.
1 8 6
Longinus, De subl. 9.6-7 (10,25-11,11 R U S S . )
1 8 7
Longinus, D e subl. 9.8 (11,17-25 Russ.). See also GAGER, Moses, 57.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 33

1 8 8
In the same way the lawmaker (ό θ ε σ μ ο θ έ τ η ς ) of the Jews, not an average man ( ο ύ χ
ό τυχών άνήρ), since he grasped and revealed the power o f the divine in a worthy
manner ( τ η ν τ ο υ θείου δύναμιν κατά την άξίαν έχώρησε κ ά ξ έ φ η ν ε ν ) , writing
immediately in the beginning of the laws says: "God said" — what? "Let there be light
1 8 9
(γενέσθω) A n d there was (Gen 1:3). Let there be earth (γενέσθω γ η ) . A n d there
190
was (Gen 1 : 9 - 1 0 ) . "

T h e r e are s o m a n y c o n t a c t s b e t w e e n the "pagan" author a n d " H e l l e n i s t i c "


J u d a i s m that E . N o r d e n c o n j e c t u r e d an actual e n c o u n t e r b e t w e e n P h i l o and
1 9 1
the a n o n y m o u s a u t h o r . H e a l s o c a l l s attention t o an e x t r e m e l y close
1 9 2
parallel b e t w e e n the t h o u g h t o f P s . L o n g i n u s and J o s e p h u s . J o s e p h u s asks
h i s a u d i e n c e if M o s e s h a s u n d e r s t o o d G o d ' s nature i n a w o r t h y f a s h i o n (el
την τε φύσιν άξίως αύτοϋ κ α τ ε ν ό η σ ε ) and to e x a m i n e w h e t h e r M o s e s
has always attributed acts to G o d that b e f i t his p o w e r (τή δυνάμει
πρέπουσας αεί τάς πράξεις ά ν α τ έ θ ε ι κ ε ) — k e e p i n g h i s a c c o u n t pure
from the s h a m e f u l m y t h o l o g y present in other authors ( π ά σ η ς καθαρόν τον
περί αύτοϋ φυλάξας λόγον της παρ* άλλοις άσχή μονός

1 8 8
GAGER, Moses, 5 9 notes that this is the first time this word is used for Moses. STERN,
Moses, I, 3 6 4 refers to t w o uses in Philo: D e migr. Abr. 23 "the lawgiving word"; and God
as legislator of the ten commandments in Quis rerum divinarum heres 167.
1 8 9
The L X X has the form γενηθήτω. Aquila has the same form as Ps. Longinus, as does
Eus., P.E. 13.13.12 (VIII/2, 2 0 1 , 2 0 M R A S ) . S e e Genesis, ed. J. W . W E V E R S , Septuaginta.
Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum, I,
Gottingen, 1 9 7 4 , 7 5 - 6 , app. crit.
1 9 0
Ps. Longinus, D e sublimitate 9.9 ( S T E R N , I § 148 = 11,26-12,3 R U S S . ; s e e also
RUSSELL'S commentary on 92-4). Author's ET.
1 9 1
E. N O R D E N , D a s Genesiszitat in der Schrift v o m Erhabenen, in: Idem, Kleine
Schriften zum klassischen Altertum, ed. B. KYTZLER, Berlin 1966, (286-313) 3 0 7 - 1 3 . Cp.
also H. D . BETZ, Eduard Norden und die friihchristliche Literatur, in: Idem, Antike und
Christentum. Gesammelte Aufsatze IV, Tubingen 1998, (78-99) 9 7 - 8 . BETZ notes that for
NORDEN the meeting (of Philo and the author) would be an ideal example of the encounter
between Judaism and Hellenism. "Hellenism" has b e c o m e a problematic category in
scholarship. S e e the review of HENGEL's Judaism and Hellenism by J. K. AlTKEN (JBL 123,
2004, 331-41). Porphyry and Julian tend to use "Hellene" to describe a person w h o is not a
Christian or Jew (cf. § 2 . 1 . 2 [Eus., H.E. 6.19.5-8], § 2.2.1 [combined with "barbarians"],
§ 3.7, 10, 17). Celsus used "Romans" to describe non-Christians and non-Jews (cf. the
reference to C. Cels. 8.69 [585,18-23 M A R C ] in § 1.22). Cp. G. W. BOWERSOCK, Hellenism
in Late Antiquity, Jerome Lectures 18, Ann Arbor 1 9 9 0 , 1-14 ("Hellenism" can mean
"paganism" in late antiquity, but it can also mean "Greek culture"). Gregory of Nazianzus
argues that it (he uses the verb form έ λ λ η ν ί ζ ε ι ν ) can mean "the Greek nation and language"
or "religion" in Or. 4 . 1 0 3 ( S C 3 0 9 , 252,1-10 BERNARDI). Gregory is protesting Julian's law
against Christian teachers. S e e also Ps. Justin's text in n. 15 in the concluding chapter.
1 9 2
NORDEN, Das Genesiszitat, 290.
34 Introduction

1 9 3
μυθολογίας) . T h e r e is little a g r e e m e n t w h e t h e r the author is a H e l l e n i z e d
1 9 4
J e w or a H e l l e n e w i t h strong J e w i s h s y m p a t h i e s . In G a g e r ' s j u d g m e n t it
1 9 5
really m a k e s n o d i f f e r e n c e w h i c h alternative is t r u e . F e l d m a n points out
that the author regards M o s e s as sufficiently w e l l k n o w n n o t t o n e e d a n a m e ,
196
and that the author a s s u m e s the a u d i e n c e w o u l d b e a w a r e o f the q u o t a t i o n .
P s . L o n g i n u s k n o w s t h e L X X , p o s s i b l y t h r o u g h an i n t e r m e d i a r y , but h i s
paraphrase i s o n e o f the c l e a r e s t r e f e r e n c e s to G e n e s i s b y a p a g a n author in
antiquity b e f o r e Christianity spread and attracted the r e s p o n s e s o f C e l s u s ,
197
Porphyry and J u l i a n . T h o s e latter authors k n e w parts o f the L X X w e l l .

0.15 Ps. Ecphantus (I - II CE. ?)

A n o b s c u r e P y t h a g o r e a n author ( P s . E c p h a n t u s ) m a y b e d e p e n d e n t o n the
account o f G e n e s i s and describes h u m a n s s o :

On earth the human is a being settled in a far land, falling short of his purer nature and
weighted down by the great earth. He would be scarcely lifted up from the mother if
some kind o f inspiration o f divine nature (θεοιμοίρης* ... έμττνοίτ\σις) did not join him
(συνάψεν) to the eternal living being, showing to his better part the sacred appearance
198
(ττότοψις) of the B e g e t t e r .

1 9 3
Jos., Antiq. 1.15. S e e , for other Jewish connections (with Philo specifically),
RUSSELL, Longinus, xxix, x x x , xl, 7 2 , 9 4 , 188. For example, D e subl. 3.4 has parallels with
Philo, D e plant. 156-8; cp. D e subl. 44.3 with D e ebriet. 198.
1 9 4
RUSSELL (Longinus, x x x ) points to the expression "By Zeus" (ι/ή Δ ί α ; μά Δ ί α ) used
by the author as evidence against the author's being a Hellenized Jew. S e e D e subl. 11.2,
33.1, 3 5 . 4 , 4 3 . 1 , 4 4 . 2 (17,11; 40,25; 44,10; 51,5; 5 3 , 1 5 RUSS.). Josephus uses it rarely (C.
Ap. 1.255 and possibly 2.263). Philo does not use it. The Hellenistic Jewish authors
excerpted by Eusebius and Clement of Alexandria also do not use the expression.
1 9 5
GAGER, Moses, 63 followed by FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 5 3 3 n.21.
1 9 6
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 2 3 9 , 312. Quintilian refers to M o s e s as the author of the
Jewish superstition (STERN, I § 230 = Inst. 3.7.21).
1 9 7
DORIVAL, La Bible, 21 calls the text the first citation of the L X X in pagan literature.
1 9 8
STERN, III § 564a = Ps. Ecphantus, D e regno apud Stobaeus 4.6.22. Author's ET. On
the date and author s e e STERN III, 33-5 / H. THESLEFF, A n Introduction to the Pythagorean
Writings o f the Hellenistic Period, Acta Academiae Aboensis Humaniora 2 4 / 3 , Abo 1 9 6 1 ,
38-9, 6 5 - 7 1 , 100-1 (Southern Italy in III B.C.E.) / L. DELATTE, Les Traites de la Royaute
d'Ecphante, Diotogene et Sthenidas, Liege 1 9 4 2 , 108 / W. B U R K E R T , Zur
geistesgeschichtlichen Einordnung einiger Pseudopythagorica, in: Pseudepigrapha, Vol I.,
ed. K. VON FRITZ, Entretiens sur l'Antiquite Classique 18, Vandoeuvres-Geneva 1972, 23-55
/ FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 204, 312, 5 2 6 n.25. For a completely skeptical view of the date
2
of Ps. Ecphantus' treatise see G. T. GRIFFITH, Ecphantus, O C D , 3 6 9 . The Pythagorean
Ecphantus appears in Iamblichus, Vita Pyth. 267. On both see B. CENTRONE, Ecphante de
Crotone, Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques, ed. R. GOULET, Vol. 3 , Paris 1989, 55 and
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 35

T h e context o f "inspiration" s e e m s to imply that he is thinking o f humans as a


combination o f earth and inspiration from G o d . In support o f the thesis that
Ecphantus m a y b e alluding to G e n 2:7 is Philo w h o holds that the soul w o u l d
not b e able to understand G o d , if G o d had not inspired ( ε ν έ π ν ε υ σ ε ) it and
1 9 9
p o w e r f u l l y grasped ( ή ψ α τ ο ) i t . For an alternative v i e w o f h u m a n s s e e
P h i l o ' s treatise D e aetern. 5 5 - 7 , where Critolaus the Peripatetic philosopher
argues that p e o p l e are uncreated and the race has a l w a y s e x i s t e d o n an earth
that has a l w a y s existed. P e o p l e are not generated from mother earth, but h a v e
always been generated sexually.
A g a i n , Ps. E c p h a n t u s , in his treatise o n k i n g s h i p , argues that the k i n g ' s
nature is superior to that o f other humans. His body ( σ κ ά ν ο ς ) is the s a m e as
that of other h u m a n s , " . . . but h e is m a d e b y the best Artificer ( τ ε χ ν ί τ α ) w h o
crafted h i m using h i m s e l f as archetype ( ά ρ χ ε τ ύ π ω ) . " Consequently the king
is the o n l y creature ( κ α τ α σ κ ε ύ α σ μ α ) w h o is a type ( τ ύ π ο ς ) o f the H i g h e r
2 0 0
King. Here the author clearly d o e s not assert that all people are m a d e in the
i m a g e o f G o d , but h e m a y b e indebted to G e n 1:26-27 for his c o n c e p t w h i c h
201
is s o unusual in G r e c o - R o m a n l i t e r a t u r e . A n o t h e r P y t h a g o r e a n author,
E u r y s u s , h o l d s that "the d e m i u r g e u s i n g h i m s e l f as t h e p a r a d i g m
( π α ρ α δ ε ί γ μ α τ ι ) m a d e the human." Eurysus then continues with a phrase that
Ps. Ecphantus o n l y a p p l i e s to the king: "The b o d y is like t h o s e o f other
b e i n g s w h i c h e x i s t s f r o m the s a m e matter, h a v i n g b e e n m a d e b y the best
202
Artificer w h o m a d e it u s i n g h i m s e l f as the a r c h e t y p e . " A s with Ocellus
Lucanus it is p o s s i b l e that Ps. Ecphantus had s o m e kind o f a c c e s s to a L X X
g i v e n the linguistic e v i d e n c e , or it m a y be a coincidental agreement.

B. CENTRONE, Pseudo-Ecphante in Ibid., 55-6. CENTRONE's bibliography shows that the


question of dating is unresolved. M . FREDE argues for a date in II or III C E . in Ekphantos
(2), Der neue Pauly III, 1 9 9 7 , 9 4 2 .
1 9 9
Philo, Leg. alleg. 1.38.
2 0 0
STERN III § 564b = Ps. Ecphantus, D e regno apud Stobaeus 4.7.64. Author's ET.
2 0 1
STERN III, 37 notes that Diog. Laert. 6.51 (Diogenes held that good men are the
images of the gods [θεών ε ι κ ό ν α ς ] ) is not the same as the concept found in Genesis. In
Cicero's De nat. deor. 1.34.96, humans are nearer to the image of the gods in virtue than in
form. For this tradition see Plato, Theaet. 176b / cf. also H. MERKI, Ό μ ο ί ω σ ι ς θεώ. Von der
Platonischen Angleichung an Gott zur Gottahnlichkeit bei Gregor von Nyssa, Paradosis 7,
Freiburg 1 9 5 1 , 6 5 - 7 1 (humans as the "image" of God/gods in Greco-Roman tradition).
2 0 2
Clem. Alex., Strom. 5.5.29.1-2 (II, 3 4 4 , 1 8 - 2 3 ST./FR.).
36 Introduction

0.16 Numenius (IICE.)

N u m e n i u s , a Pythagorean or M i d d l e Platonist philosopher, l i v e d in the s e c o n d


203
century and w a s from A p a m e a in S y r i a . L i k e P s . L o n g i n u s h e s h o w e d
great s y m p a t h y for M o s e s and the L X X . H i s f a m o u s statement summarizes
204
this attitude: "What is Plato but M o s e s Atticizing (speaking Attic G r e e k ) ? "
T h i s statement c o u l d serve as the title for E u s e b i u s ' Preparation for the
Gospel, B o o k s X I and XII, in w h i c h h e finds m u c h o f Plato in the O T . In
C l e m e n t ' s version o f the saying, h e prefaces his quotation o f N u m e n i u s with a
reference to A r i s t o b u l u s ' v i e w that Plato f o l l o w e d the J e w i s h l a w and that
there w a s a translation o f the O T into Greek before that o f D e m e t r i u s (the
2 0 5
L X X ) . Pythagoras also learned from the J e w s according t o Aristobulus.
Clement then includes his reference to N u m e n i u s w h i c h h e describes with this
endorsement: " N u m e n i u s the P y t h a g o r e a n p h i l o s o p h e r w r i t e s o p e n l y
2 0 6
(άντικρυς γράφει)."
N u m e n i u s m a y h a v e u s e d P h i l o in his writings, but h e clearly k n e w the
L X X according to Origen w h o says that N u m e n i u s puts m a n y texts o f M o s e s
and the prophets in his writings and g i v e s them a not unpersuasive allegorical
2 0 7
interpretation (και ουκ άττιθάνως α υ τ ά τ ρ ο π ο λ ο γ ο ϋ ν τ α ) . Such
interpretations appeared in N u m e n i u s ' Hoopoe, Concerning Numbers, and
Concerning Place. In his book On the Good, he allegorizes a narrative about
2 0 8
Jesus w i t h o u t m e n t i o n i n g his n a m e . Origen, in another p a s s a g e , again
refers to N u m e n i u s ' book On the Good where he includes the J e w s a m o n g the

^Porphyry, Vita Plot. 17,18 (OCT, Plotini Opera, I, 20 HENRY/SCHWYZER) and the
Suda, s.v. Νουμήνιος § 517 ADLER = STERN II, § 363e. Cf. also GAGER, Moses, 63 / STERN
II, 206-8 / E. DES PLACES, Numenius Fragments, CUFr, Paris 1 9 7 3 , 7 .
2 0 4
STERN II, § 363a-e = Numenius, F. 8 (51,13 DES PLACES). S e e FELDMAN, Jew and
Gentile, 241-2 who views the saying as a tremendous compliment.
2 0 5
Aristobulus F. 3a = Clem. Alex. Strom 1.22.150.1-3 (III, 150,1-154,43 HOLLADAY).
See the discussion of Hecataeus above (§ 0.1).
2 0 6
STERN II, § 363a = Clem. Alex., Strom 1.22.150.4. STERN I, 2 0 9 argues that doubts
concerning the authenticity of the statement are unfounded. Cp. GAGER, M o s e s , 67-8.
GAGER discusses how the Christian tradition modified this statement of Numenius to imply
that Plato "stole" his material from Moses. See Theodoret (STERN II, § 363d = Graec. Affect.
Curatio 2.114), Hesychius of Miletus in FHG 4, 171 MULLER, and Suda, s.v. Νουμήνιος
§ 5 1 7 ADLER). Eusebius has doubts about the attribution of the statement to Numenius,
according to M. J. E D W A R D S , Atticizing M o s e s ? Numenius, the Fathers and the Jews,
VigChr 4 4 , 1990, (64-75) 67. See Eus., P.E. 11.10.14 (VIII/2, 28,8-11 MRAS). Eusebius,
however, does not express any open doubts about the attribution.
2 0 7
STERN II, § 366 = Origen, C. Cels. 4.51 = Numenius, F. l c , 10a (43,1-5; 52 DES
PLACES) = RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 12. EDWARDS, Atticizing Moses?, 6 8 , 6 9 , 7 2 -
3 suggests that Numenius may only have known the LXX through Christian apologists.
2 0 8
See also COOK, Interpretation, 164.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 37

nations that b e l i e v e G o d h a s n o b o d y ( α σ ω μ ά τ ο υ ) . H e a l s o u s e s w o r d s o f the


2 0 9
prophets in h i s b o o k s and a l l e g o r i z e s t h e m . T h i s c o r r e s p o n d s to N u m e n i u s '
2 1 0
v i e w that b e i n g is incorporeal ( τ ό ov ... άσώματον) .
T h e J e w s appear i n N u m e n i u s ' r e v i e w o f the forerunners o f P l a t o and
Pythagoras:

[Also from the Pythagorean philosopher himself, I mean Numenius, I will quote as
follows from his first book On the Good.] But when one has spoken upon this point and
sealed it by the testimonies o f Plato, it will be necessary to g o back and connect it with the
precepts of Pythagoras, and to appeal to the nations of good repute, bringing forward their
rites and doctrines, and their institutions (τάς τελετάς και τ α δ ό γ μ α τ α τ ά ς τε
ι δ ρ ύ σ ε ι ς ) which are formed in agreement with those of Plato, all that the Brahmans, and
211
the Jews, and Magi and Egyptians arranged.

H i s r e f e r e n c e t o r e l i g i o u s rituals, d o g m a s , and institutions p r o b a b l y i m p l i e s


that h e h a d m a d e a s t u d y o f J e w i s h traditions a l o n g w i t h h i s study o f the
LXX. H i s a p p r o a c h t o the J e w s as a r e s p e c t a b l e and w i s e p e o p l e stands i n
2 1 2
contrast w i t h that o f C e l s u s . N u m e n i u s surely b e l i e v e d that t h e s e p e o p l e s
p o s s e s s e d an a n c i e n t w i s d o m that w a s e i t h e r the s o u r c e o f or c o u l d be
2 1 3
c o m p a r e d to the later t e a c h i n g o f Pythagoras and P l a t o .
N u m e n i u s p r o b a b l y referred to G e n 1:2 in h i s m e n t i o n o f the spirit o f G o d
2 1 4
being borne u p o n the w a t e r . H e also probably c o m b i n e s G o d ' s self-
identification in E x o d 3 : 1 4 (I a m the o n e w h o is ε γ ώ είμι ό ώ ν ) w i t h the
Platonic c o n c e p t i o n o f a b s o l u t e b e i n g ( τ ό ov):

And as again there is a relation between the husbandman and him that plants, exactly in
the same w a y is the First God related to the Demiurge. The one w h o is sews the seed of
all soul (ό μ ε ν γ ε ών σ π έ ρ μ α πάσης ψυχής σ π ε ί ρ ε ι ) in all things that partake of
Himself. But the Lawgiver plants, and distributes and transplants into each of us the
215
germs which have been previously deposited from the higher s o u r c e .

2 0 9
STERN II, § 364b = Origen, C. Cels. 1.15 = Numenius, F. l b (42,1-43,7 DES PLACES).
Cf. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 217.
2 1 0
Numenius, F. 7 (50,1 DES PLACES) = Eus., P.E. 11.10.9.
2 1 1
STERN II, § 364a = Eus., P.E. 9.7.1 = Numenius, F. l a (42,1-9 DES PLACES). E T from
E. HAMILTON GIFFORD, Eusebius. Preparation for the Gospel, Part 1. B o o k s 1-9, Part 2.
Books 10-15, Oxford 1 9 0 3 , 1 , 4 4 3 .
2 1 2
S e e § 1.20. S e e also § 0.3 and 2.2.7.
2 1 3
Cf. E. DES PLACES, Numenius et la Bible, in: Idem, Iitudes Platoniciennes 1929-1979,
EPRO 9 0 , Leiden 1 9 8 1 , ( 3 0 9 - 1 5 ) 3 1 3 - 4 (originally published in Homenaje a Juan Prado,
Madrid 1975, 4 9 7 - 5 0 2 ) w h o discusses Numenius' theory of the chain of thought that goes
back into antiquity (άναχώρησις).
2 1 4
This text is discussed in § 2.2.3.
2 1 5
STERN II, § 3 6 9 = Eus., P.E. 11.18.14 = Numenius, F. 13 (55,1-7 DES PLACES). ET
modified from GlFFORD, Eusebius II, 581 w h o translates the phrase in question as "the former
being the seed of all soul." I follow the translation of STERN and DES PLACES there, given the
38 Introduction

N u m e n i u s quotes Plato's reference to absolute being ( τ ό δ ν ) in Tim. 21 ά-


2 1 6
28a . J o h n W h i t t a k e r n o t e s that P h i l o r e l a t e s t h e b i b l i c a l e x p r e s s i o n in
2 1 7
E x o d u s (ό ώ ν ) t o P l a t o n i c thought in several p a s s a g e s . In h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f
the E x i s t e n t , P h i l o m e n t i o n s that n o n a m e c a n b e g i v e n t o the O n e w h o is and
2 1 8
then h e q u o t e s E x o d 3 : 1 4 . P h i l o a l s o q u o t e s the s a m e text f r o m E x o d u s in
a p a s s a g e w h e r e h e contrasts G o d ' s b e i n g w i t h that o f o t h e r s w h o e x i s t in
a p p e a r a n c e o n l y , j u s t as P l a t o ( a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y N u m e n i u s ) d o e s i n h i s
219
Timaeus . P s . Justin c o n t i n u e s the d e v e l o p m e n t o f this p o s i t i o n and links
P l a t o ' s t h o u g h t i n Tim. 2 7 d - 2 8 a w i t h that o f M o s e s . The being w h o m Moses
2 2 0
c a l l s "the o n e w h o i s (ό ώ ν ) " i s the s a m e as P l a t o ' s "the E x i s t e n t " ( τ ό δν) .
It is a l s o important to r e c o g n i z e h e r e that N u m e n i u s apparently identifies the
G o d o f the J e w s w i t h the s u p r e m e b e i n g o f P l a t o n i s m — u n l i k e Porphyry and
221
Julian .
N u m e n i u s m a y a l s o refer to texts s u c h as E x o d 2 0 : 3 , 3 4 : 1 4 , and D e u t 4 : 2 4
w h e n h e m e n t i o n s the nature o f the G o d o f the J e w i s h t e m p l e :

2 2 2
Following this o n e [Livy], L u c a n says that the temple o f Jerusalem belongs to an
obscure g o d (άδηλου θεοϋ), whereas Numenius says that he is not shared (άκοινώνητον),

argument that "the o n e w h o is" (ό ών) is a technical term in Hellenistic Judaism. S e e J.


WHITTAKER, M o s e s Atticizing, Phoenix 2 1 , 1967, 196-201 and A . J. FESTUGIERE, La
revelation d'Hermes Trismegiste, I-IV, Paris 1944-1954, III, 4 4 n.2 w h o notes that it is
Numenius* normal usage to put a noun before a participle that modifies it. This is against E.
R. DODDS' emendation ("the one w h o is first" ό μ ε ν ye d ών). S e e DODDS, Numenius and
Ammonius, in: Entretiens sur l'Antiquite Classique 5, Vandoeuvres-Geneva 1960, (3-32) 15.
His emendation has been rejected by several other scholars (J.-H. WASZINK, Porphyrios und
Numenios, in: Porphyre, Entretiens sur l'Antiquite Classique 12, Vandoeuvres-Geneva 1965,
(33-78) 5 0 n . 4 / STERN II, 216). D E S PLACES argues that "the most natural construction" of
the phrase is the one in the translation adopted above. See DES PLACES, Numenius et la Bible,
311-12. EDWARDS, Atticizing Moses?, 6 5 - 6 argues for the translation, "the one w h o is the
seed." Cf. also RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 118.
2 1 6
Numenius, F . 7 (50,1-15 DES PLACES) = Eus., P.E. 11.10.9-11.
2 1 7
WHITTAKER, Moses, 197-98.
2 1 8
Philo, D e mut. nom. 7 , 1 1 .
2 1 9
Philo, Quoddet. 160.
2 2 0
Ps. Justin, Cohortatio 22.1-2 (PTS 3 2 , 53,1-15 MARCOVICH). WHITTAKER, M o s e s ,
198 also points out that Eusebius "derives the Platonic conception of Being from Exodus 3.14
and quotes the same passage of the Timaeus to prove his point." S e e Eus., P.E. 11.9.1-10.16
(VIII/2 2 4 , 1 - 2 8 , 2 2 M R AS). Many of the fragments of Numenius appear in 11.10. One of
Eusebius' conclusions is that Numenius clearly interprets Plato's teachings and the much
earlier ones o f Moses; P.E. 11.10.14 (VIII/2, 28,8-11 MRAS). In that context he quotes the
statement about "Moses Atticizing."
2 2 1
S e e § 2.1.4 and 3 . 5 3 . Cp. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 169 n.228 / WASZINK,
Porphyrios und Numenios, 57.
2 2 2
STERN I, § 191 = Lucan, Pharsalia 2.592-95 "Judaea o f an uncertain god" (incerti
Iudaea dei).
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 39

and that he is father o f all the gods and judges and that no other is worthy o f sharing in his
2 2 3
honor (or "worship" άπαξιουντα κοινωνεΐν αύτω τ η ς τ ι μ ή ς τ ι ν α ) .

D e s P l a c e s n o t e s that N u m e n i u s ' w o r d "not shared" appears o n l y o n c e in the


L X X w h e r e it refers t o the i n c o m m u n i c a b l e n a m e o f G o d ( W i s 1 4 : 2 1 ) in a
224
p a s s a g e against i d o l a t r y . T h e c o n t e x t in N u m e n i u s i s s i m i l a r a l t h o u g h it
d o e s not appear l i n k e d w i t h G o d ' s n a m e . C a l c i d i u s m a y b e translating the
s a m e w o r d for G o d w h e n h e writes that the d i v i n e i s "in n e e d o f n o s o c i e t y "
215
(nullius societatis indiguus) . H i s translation d o e s n o t a p p l y v e r y w e l l to
N u m e n i u s ' text, h o w e v e r , g i v e n the f o l l o w i n g l i n e (in N . ) w h i c h e x p l a i n s
2 2 6
w h a t "not shared" m e a n s . T h e picture o f a G o d w h o d o e s n o t share h i s
h o n o r i s v i e w e d p o s i t i v e l y b y N u m e n i u s , but Julian t a k e s a completely
2 2 7
different o u t l o o k and finds G o d ' s j e a l o u s y to b e a reprehensible i d e a .
N u m e n i u s a l s o k n e w an e x t r a - b i b l i c a l tradition a b o u t the e n c o u n t e r o f
M o s e s and the E g y p t i a n m a g i c i a n s :

[Also in his third book the same author makes mention of Moses speaking as follows:]
And next in order came Jannes and Jambres, Egyptian sacred scribes ( ί ε ρ ο γ ρ α μ μ α τ ε ΐ ς ) ,
men judged to have no superiors in the practice of magic at the time when the Jews were
being driven out of Egypt. S o then these were the ones chosen by the people of Egypt as
2 2 8
fit to stand beside Musaios (Exod 7:11, 2 2 ; 8 : 3 ) , w h o led forth the Jews, a man w h o
was most powerful in prayer (βϋξασθαι δυνατωτάτω) to God; and of the plagues which

2 2 3
STERN II, § 3 6 7 = Lydus, D e mens. 4.53 = Numenius, F. 5 6 (100,1-4 DES PLACES).
Author's ET. On the epithets for God see DES PLACES, Numenius et la Bible, 2 9 7 / E.
NORDEN, Agnostos Theos. Untersuchungen zur Formengeschichte religioser Rede, Stuttgart
1971, 59-61 (rep. of 1913 original). NORDEN also comments on Livy's text: "To which one
of the gods the temple in Jerusalem belongs they do not name, nor is there any likeness
(simulacrum) there, nor even do they attribute any form to god (dei figuram)" S e e STERN I,
§ 133 = Scholia in Lucanum 2.593. Cp. also Varro in STERN I, § 72a = A u g . , D e civ. D e i
4.31 and § 0.9 above. Cf. SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 38.
2 2 4
E. DES PLACES, L e «Dieu incertain» des Juifs, in: Etudes Platoniciennes, (294-9) 2 9 7 -
8 (first published in Journal des savants 1973, 289-93). He also refers to a couch that is not
shared with a man in Euripides, Androm. 469-70. Cp. also idem, Numenius et la Bible, 3 1 4 -
5 / SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 4 2 .
2 2 5
J. H. W A S Z I N K , Timaeus a Calcidio translatus commentarioque instructus,
London/Leyden 1962, 2 2 6 (204,8-9 WASZINK). Cf. also E. DES PLACES, U n terme biblique
et Platonicien: Akoinonetos, in: Etudes Platoniciennes, 300-4 (first published in Forma
Futuri . . . Cardinal Michele Pellegrino, Turin 1975,154-8).
2 2 6
DES PLACES, U n terme, 3 0 3 .
2 2 7
See § 3.26.
2 2 8
Exod 8:14-15 L X X (8:18-9 ET) is apparently left out of Numenius' account.
40 Introduction

2 2 9
Musaios brought upon Egypt, these individuals showed themselves powerful enough
230
(δυνατοί) to disperse the most v e h e m e n t .

Origen refers to the s a m e text but o n l y says that N u m e n i u s told the story o f
231
M o s e s , Jannes, and J a m b r e s . That m a y i m p l y that N u m e n i u s told m o r e o f
232
the story than E u s e b i u s i n c l u d e s . 2 T i m 3:8 m e n t i o n s b o t h n a m e s as
magicians w h o resisted M o s e s . N u m e n i u s m a y h a v e k n o w n a text called The
Book ofJamnes and Mambres that Origen k n e w and m e n t i o n s as a source o f 2
2 3 3
T i m 3 : 8 . A papyrus text has " A n d in the p r e s e n c e o f the k i n g , Jannes
234
o p p o s e d M o s e s and his brother Aaron by doing everything they had d o n e . "
The Testament of Solomon (I-III C E . ) e x p l a i n s the m a g i c i a n s ' p o w e r . A
d e m o n f r o m the R e d S e a n a m e d A b e z e t h i b o u says: "I a m the o n e w h o m
Jannes and Jambres, t h o s e w h o o p p o s e d M o s e s in E g y p t , c a l l e d to their
235
aid." T h e n a m e s w e r e k n o w n to Pliny the Elder and A p u l e i u s (II C.E.).
P l i n y i d e n t i f i e s a faction o f m a g i c i a n s that d e r i v e s f r o m M o s e s , Jannes,
2 3 6
L o t a p e s and the J e w s . H e apparently b e l i e v e s that Jannes w a s a J e w i s h
237
m a g i c i a n . A p u l e i u s m e n t i o n s a number o f m a g i c i a n s and includes M o s e s
238
and J o h a n n e s . W h i l e N u m e n i u s c o m m e n t s o n M o s e s as a person powerful
in prayer, h e o n l y refers to the m a g i c i a n s ' power. H e nevertheless s e e s them
as equal to M o s e s in their abilities to create and resist destructive events.

2 2 9
Artapanus uses this name for M o s e s ( F . 3 = Eus., P.E. 9 . 2 7 . 3 [I, 208,19-20
HOLLADAY]). See § 0 . 6 .
2 3 0
STERN II, § 365 = Eus., P.E. 9.8.1-2 = Numenius, F . 9 (51,1-9 DES P L A C E S ) =
RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 125. ET from GlFFORD, Eusebius, 1,443.
2 3 1
STERN II, § 366 = Origen, C. Cels. 4.51 = Numenius, F . 10a (52,1-5 DES PLACES).
2 3 2
A. PiETERSMA/R. T. LUTZ, Jannes and Jambres, OTP 1,428.
2 3 3
Origen, In Matt. 23:37 Comment. Ser. 28; 27:9 Comment. Ser. 117 (GCS Origenes XI,
51,2-5; 250,6-9 KLOSTERMANN). He contrasts the "public books" with the "secret book" of
Jamnes and Mambres. See GAGER, Moses, 139 / PIETERSMA/LUTZ, Jannes and Jambres, OTP
II, 4 2 7 - 3 6 (introduction) and 4 3 7 - 4 4 2 (text of P. Chester Beatty X V I and P. Vindob. G 29
4 5 6 \ The Book of Jannes and Jambres).
2 3 4 r v
Jannes and Jambres, P. Chester Beatty 26a and P. Vindob. G 2 9 4 5 6 ( F . B) (OTP II,
438). In C D 5:18-19 Jannes (mrr) and "his brother" are sons of Belial.
2 3 5
T. Sol. 25:4 (OTP I, 985). D . C. DULING, Testament of Solomon, OTP I, (935-59)
941-2 discusses the question of date.
2 3 6
STERN I, § 221 = Pliny, N.H. 30.1.11.
2 3 7
S T E R N I, 4 9 9 . Cp. G A G E R , M o s e s , 137-9 w h o also notes that six of the eight
magicians that Apuleius mentions are also found in Pliny, H.N. 30.2.8-11.
238 STERN II, § 361 = Apuleius, Apologia 90. Names corresponding to the Greek forms
Johannes and Jannes appear in the rabbinic and midrashic tradition (e.g. b. Menah. 85a wrrr
Yochana). On the names see also SCHURER, History, III/2,781 / Str-B III, 660-4.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 41

It is difficult, but not i m p o s s i b l e , to argue that N u m e n i u s did not k n o w


239
s o m e biblical t e x t s .

0.17 Historians

Various authors wrote histories w h o s e subject w a s the J e w s or w h i c h included


references to the J e w s . Posidonius ( 1 3 5 - 5 1 B.C.E.?) certainly wrote about the
J e w s , but the contents o f his texts are unknown. P o s s i b l y D i o d o r u s S i c u l u s '
2 4 0
and Strabo's c o m m e n t s about the J e w s are indebted to h i m . That is not
proven, h o w e v e r , and the n o m i n a l fragments o f P o s i d o n i u s that m e n t i o n the
2 4 1
J e w s are f e w . T e u c e r o f C y z i c u s in A s i a Minor, for e x a m p l e , wrote s i x
b o o k s o f a Jewish History. S i n c e the Suda o n l y preserves the n u m b e r o f
242
b o o k s in the history, nothing is k n o w n o f its c o n t e n t s . Philo o f B y b l o s (I-II
243
C E . ) wrote o n Phoenician History and a history o f the time o f H a d r i a n .
Origen writes that P h i l o B y b l o s doubted the g e n u i n e n e s s o f the b o o k about
the J e w s that is attributed to Hecataeus o f Abdera. Philo ( B y b l o s ) c o n c l u d e s
that if H e c a t a e u s really did write the b o o k that h e had b e e n " s e i z e d b y the
persuasiveness o f the J e w s and converted b y their teaching" ( σ υ ν η ρ π ά σ θ α ι
α π ό τ η ς π α ρ ά Ι ο υ δ α ί ο ι ^ π ι θ α ν ό τ η τ ο ς καΐ σ υ γ κ α τ α τ β θ β ΐ σ θ α ι α υ τ ώ ν
2 4 4
τ ω λ ό γ ω ) . P h i l o B y b l o s ' references in his Phoenician History to the J e w s
in the w o r k o f S a n c h u n i a t h o n are d i s c u s s e d in the chapter o n Porphyry
245
(§ 2 . 2 . 8 ) . E u s e b i u s refers to a work by Philo B y b l o s On the Jews . The

2 3 9
See, however, EDWARDS, Atticizing Moses?, 64-75. Against this view RINALDI notes
that Apamea had a Jewish community (La Bibbia dei pagani, II, 53-4). Cf. also STERN II,
407 / FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 215, 313.
2 4 0
See § 0.7, 9.
2 4 1
STERN I, § 4 4 = Jos., C. Ap. 2.79-80, 89, 91-96 (see Apollonius Molon above); I, § 45
= Strabo, Geog., 16.2.43 (the people [Jews] are magicians and simulate the use of spells to
extract asphalt). On the issue of attribution of fragments see S T E R N I, 141-44, 184
(Diodorus), 264-67 (Strabo). HENGEL (Judaism, I, 258-61 and see the index s.v. Posidonius)
is not nearly as skeptical as STERN. In any case Posidonius cannot be "proved" to be the
author of the fragments in Diodorus and Strabo, nor can he be "disproved" to be the author.
The question has little bearing on this introduction.
2 4 2
STERN I, § 5 4 = Suda, s.v. TeOicepos ό Κυζικψός = FGrH III, A 2 7 4 T l .
2 4 3
See the testimonies of the Suda, s.v. φίλων βύβλιο^ (Philo Byblios) and Porphyry, D e
abst. 2.56.1 (H. W. ATTRIDGE/R. A. ODEN Jr., Philo of Byblos, The Phoenician History.
Introduction, Critical Text, Translation, Notes, C B Q M S 9, Washington, D.C., 1981, 17,1-
9.23-5).
2 4 4
STERN I, § 325 = Origen, C. Cels. 1.15. See Hecataeus above (§ 0.1).
2 4 5
STERN I, § 326 = Eus., P.E. 1.10.42. Since Eus. mentions "the same person in the
compilation concerning the Jews" (ev τω περί Ιουδαίων σ υ γ γ ρ ά μ μ α τ ι ) , P. NAUTIN (Trois
autres fragments du livre de Porphyre «Contre les Chretiens», RB 57, 1950, 4 0 9 - 4 1 6 ) has
42 Introduction

s u r v i v i n g texts o f P h i l o B y b l o s d o not indicate any particular a w a r e n e s s o f the


LXX. It i s difficult t o a c c e p t u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y F e l d m a n ' s t h e s i s that T e u c e r
2 4 6
and P h i l o B y b l o s u s e d the L X X in their w o r k s , but it is certainly p o s s i b l e .

0.18 The LXX in Magical Texts

It is i n t r i g u i n g that Stern d i d n o t c h o o s e to i n c l u d e a n y material f r o m the


Greek Magical Papyri ( P G M ) in h i s c o l l e c t i o n — a l t h o u g h h e m a k e s several
2 4 7
r e f e r e n c e s to the papyri in his f o o t n o t e s . O n e o f the c h i e f p r o b l e m s p o s e d
b y L X X ( a n d J e w i s h ) e l e m e n t s i n the m a g i c a l t e x t s i s w h e t h e r the t e x t s in
t h e m s e l v e s are p a g a n , J e w i s h , or Christian. T h e texts are s o syncretistic that
it i s u n l i k e l y that o n e c a n a n s w e r s u c h a q u e s t i o n w i t h a n y confidence.
Marvin M e y e r ' s c o l l e c t i o n o f Coptic (and s o m e Greek) texts is probably
2 4 8
Christian in o r i g i n . Shaul S h a k e d and J o s e p h N a v e h ' s collection of
249
A r a m a i c t e x t s m a y c o m e f r o m a predominantly J e w i s h e n v i r o n m e n t . In his

tried to identify the writer as Porphyry and not Philo Byblos. His thesis has been generally
rejected. S e e STERN, II, 143 / COOK, Interpretation, 150 / ATTRIDGE/ODEN, Philo of Byblos,
93 n.147. FREUDENTHAL, Alexander, 3 4 believes that Philo's work on the Jews was part of a
larger work (the one on the Phoenicians).
2 4 6
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 312.
2 4 7
Cf. STERN III, 9 9 s.v. Papyri Graecae Magicae. The evidence used below can be
verified in H. D . BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri. PGM L X X X I I - C X X X (in BETZ) are not
in the edition o f K. PREISENDANZ (Papyri Graecae Magicae. D i e Griechischen Zauberpapyri.
2 vols., ed. E. HEITSCH/A. HENRICHS, Stuttgart 1973/1974) which includes the Greek texts
and a German translation. U s e below will also be made of proof-photographs of vol. 3 (1941)
which w a s destroyed in an Allied bombing raid during W W II. The photos are available on
microfiche in the U.S. The TLG C D also includes the PGM (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae C D
ROM # E , U. Cal. Irvine 1999). The authors on the disk are listed by L. BERKOWITZ/K. A.
SQUITIER, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae. Canon o f Greek Authors and Works, N e w
3
York/Oxford 1990 ). I will also use the collection o f Greek inscriptions and papyri on the
Packard Humanities Institute C D ROM # 7 , 1991-96 (Cornell Epigraphy Project and the Duke
Documentary Papyri).
2 4 8
M. MEYER, Ancient Christian Magic. Coptic Texts of Ritual Power, San Francisco
1994.
2 4 9
J. N A V E H / S . SHAKED, Amulets and Magic B o w l s . Aramaic Incantations of Late
Antiquity, Jerusalem 1987. On Jewish magic see L. B L A U , D a s altjudische Zauberwesen,
2
Strassburg 1898, 1 9 1 4 / J . TRACHTENBERG, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in
Folk-Religion, N e w York 1939 / G. G. SCHOLEM, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism,
2
and Talmudic Tradition, N e w York 1 9 6 5 / GAGER, M o s e s , 134-61 / D . SPERBER, Some
Rabbinic Themes in Magical Papyri, JSJ 16, 1985, 9 3 - 1 0 3 / P. SCHAFER, Jewish Magic
Literature in Late Antiquity and Early M e d i e v a l A g e s , JJS 4 1 , 1 9 9 0 , 7 5 - 9 1 / W.
WISCHMEYER, M a g i s c h e Texte. Voruberlegungen und Materialien z u m Verstandnis
christlicher spatantiker Texte, in: Heiden und Christen im 5. Jahrhundert, ed. J. VAN OORT/
D. W Y R W A , Leeuven 1998, (88-122) 9 6 - 7 / BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, lii n.47
(bibliography) / P. S. ALEXANDER, Jewish elements in Gnosticism and Magic c. C E 7 0 - c.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 43

introduction t o the E n g l i s h translation o f the P G M , H a n s D i e t e r B e t z n o t e s


that

... the origin and nature o f the section representing Jewish magic in the Greek magical
papyri is far from clear. Did this material actually originate with Jewish magicians? H o w
did it get into the hands o f the magicians w h o wrote the Greek magical papyri? What
kind of transformation took place in the material itself? If the texts in question c o m e from
250
Judaism, what type o f Judaism do they r e p r e s e n t ?

T h e f o u n d a t i o n o f t h e P G M , h o w e v e r , is E g y p t i a n m a g i c a c c o r d i n g t o Janet
2 5 1
K. J o h n s o n . M o s t o f the g o d s in the P G M are G r e e k or E g y p t i a n e v e n if
2 5 2
I a o is u s e d n u m e r i c a l l y m o r e than any other n a m e . But the presence o f
J e w i s h and Christian n a m e s for G o d , the a n g e l s , and Christ m a k e it l i k e l y that
the authors o f the m a g i c a l texts u s e d material that i t s e l f w a s i n d e b t e d t o the
L X X and o t h e r J e w i s h traditions. I w i l l refrain f r o m j u d g m e n t s a b o u t the
final textual p r o d u c t s . M y interest is in the e l e m e n t s in the m a g i c a l r e c i p e s
that u l t i m a t e l y d e r i v e f r o m t h e L X X — h o w e v e r m a n y i n t e r m e d i a t e s t a g e s
there are b e t w e e n the B i b l e and the syncretistic w r i t e r - m a g i c i a n ' s reed p e n .
T h e m a g i c a l w o r d s (voces magicae) in the papyri i n c l u d e numerous
2 5 3
e x a m p l e s o f n a m e s f o r the G o d o f the O T : Adonai (Lord), Iao, I e o u ,
2 5 4
S a b a o t h ( H o s t s ) , E l o e , and e v e n I a w e h . T h e texts a l s o a b o u n d in J e w i s h
d e s i g n a t i o n s and n a m e s o f a n g e l s i n c l u d i n g the c h e r u b i m ( 3 K g d m s 6 : 2 3 - 3 5 ,

CE 2 7 0 , in: The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 3 . The Early Roman Period, ed. W.
HORBURY/W. D . DAVIES,/J. STURDY, Cambridge 1 9 9 9 , 1 0 5 2 - 7 8 .
250 BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, xlv. Cf. also H. D . BETZ, Jewish Magic in the
Greek Magical Papyri ( P G M VII.260-71), in: Idem, Antike und Christentum. Gesammelte
Aufsatze IV, Tubingen 1998 (187-205), 187-88. GAGER, Moses, 135-6 notes that this issue
(distinguishing pagan and Jewish magic) is an old dispute. He is willing only to speak of a
general syncretism and thinks the distinction between pagan and Jewish is a false dichotomy.
The charms have been collected and kept by pagans.
2 5 1
J. H. JOHNSON in BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, lv.
2 5 2
BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, xlvii. According to a TLG search, Iao (Ιαω) appears
about 128 times. In the PHI C D # 7 Iao appears 139 times - mostly in magical contexts. That
includes appearances in the N a g Hammadi texts.
2 5 3
S e e § 1.23 and 2.2.8.
2 5 4
These will b e easily found in the index being prepared for BETZ'S edition. For those
with access to the TLG C D they can be easily constructed. PGM Vol. Ill, 2 1 1 - 3 4 is a sort of
cross between an index and concordance of the gods, demons, and mythological figures
named. For the various names see: "I call on you . . . according to the Jews Adonai Sabaoth"
(Lord of Hosts; PGM XII, 263-4); Ieou (PGM XIII, 810); Iaweh (Ίαα PGM XXIII, 31 BETZ
= 11, 151,6 PREIS.). For Eloe see the references in BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 3 3 4 s.v.
Eloaios. Mara (Aramaic for Lord) may appear in a Demotic text in BETZ (PDM 14, 1120-25)
which contains M A R A R A A N T O N E . JOHNSON assumes a possible reference to Adonai
(BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 2 4 8 n.600). One might also assume the Aramaic word
also at the beginning o f the magical phrase. BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 331 notes that
Adonaios in the papyri is the name of a god and not an epithet meaning "Lord."
44 Introduction

Ps 7 9 : 2 , E z e k 1 0 : 1 - 2 0 , D a n 3:55 L X X ) , the seraphim (Isa 6:2), Raphael (Tob


3 : 1 7 ) , Gabriel ( D a n 8 : 1 6 , 9 : 2 1 ) , M i c h a e l ( D a n 10:13 L X X ) , E m a n u e l (Isa
255
7:14) and U r i e l . O n l y the last n a m e d o e s not appear in the L X X . A d a m
m a k e s an appearance as d o the n a m e s o f the patriarchs i n c l u d i n g Abraham,
2 5 6
Isaac, and J a c o b . T h e m a g i c i a n s appeal frequently to M o s e s and to his
257
magical w r i t i n g s . S o l o m o n and his p o w e r are not forgotten in a text that
mentions his seal placed o n Jeremiah's tongue with the result that the prophet
2 5 8
s p o k e . Satan is there. There are references to the "Hebrew" language, and

2 5 5
A magician mentions the one who sits over the cherubim w h o bear the throne in PGM
VII, 2 6 4 - 5 . In another text (PGM X X X V , 11-2) the lord of the "whole host which is under
heaven" is surrounded by two cherubim and seraphim. PGM III, 148-9 (Michael, Souriel,
Gabriel, Raphael); IV, 16-7 (Michael the . . . angel with God); X C , 1-5 ( 3 0 2 BETZ, not in
PREIS.; Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Ouriel, Emanouel, Sabaoth, Iao and other magical words).
On Uriel see 1 Enoch 19:1 (Uriel), 20:1-2 (Suru'el; OTP I, 23) where he is an archangel. On
Suriel see SCHOLEM, Jewish Gnosticism, 46.
2 5 6
Adam: PGM III, 146 where Adam is called "forebearer" and the magician says "my
name is Adam;" and a possible occurrence in a sequence of magical words in Hebrew
("Adam w a s the source of secrets") in PGM XIII, 9 7 2 - 3 (see BETZ, The Greek Magical
Papyri, 194 n.136). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: PGM IV, 1231-2 (in Old Coptic); XII, 287;
XIII, 815-6 (the magician has received "the power of A. I., and J."); X X X V , 14. A magician
calls "Abraham" a "famous name" in PGM VII, 314-5. See M. RIST, The God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob: A Liturgical and Magical Formula, JBL 57, 1939, 2 8 9 - 3 0 3 / L. GINZBERG,
The Legends of the Jews, 7 vols., Philadelphia 1909-38,1, 349-58 / BETZ, The Greek Magical
Papyri, 336.
257 writings associated with M o s e s ' name include: PGM VII, 619-27 has an excerpt from
The Diadem of Moses (see GAGER, M o s e s , 151-2); PGM XIII, 1, 3 4 4 , 731 mentions in
varying forms The Monad or Eighth Book of Moses; PGM ΧΠΙ, 21 names The Key of Moses
written by the compiler of the entire text (see XIII, 229); XIII, 1077-8 probably mentions The
Tenth Book of Moses although the reading is uncertain. On the Eighth Book see M. SMITH'S
note in BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 181 / GAGER, Moses, 146-8. On the Tenth Book
see BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 195 / GAGER, Moses, 148 (who argues that "tenth" is
not the correct reading). The material in XIII, 731-1078 is quite different from the material in
lines 1-730 (three versions of Moses' eighth book). GAGER, Moses, 149 discusses the Key as
does BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 172 n.8. The Archangelic (book?) of Moses appears
in PGM XIII, 9 7 0 - 1 . On that text see GAGER, Moses, 150 / BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri,
193 n.136. P G M XIII, 1059 refers to a Secret Moon Prayer of Moses (Μοϋσέως απόκρυφος
Σ ε λ η ν ι α κ ή ) which GAGER (Moses, 151) believes was a book that contained more than this
prayer.
2 5 8
P G M IV, 3 0 3 9 - 4 1 . S o l o m o n ' s seal was famous in the ancient world. BETZ, The
Greek Magical Papyri, 9 6 n.394. The haggadic tradition has been lost however. See
SPERBER, S o m e Rabbinic themes, 9 5 - 9 . Could Jeremiah have been confused for Ezekiel
(3:26-27)? S e e also PGM XCII,5-10 (303 BETZ) which mentions S o l o m o n ' s eyes. Cp.
Julian's remarks on Solomon in § 3.43. There is a reference to the "prophets of Israel" who
pass down the correct name of God in PGM V, 116-17.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 45

2 5 9
H e b r e w words s u c h as A n o c h i (I), A m e n , and Hallelujah e x i s t in the t e x t s .
T h e m a g i c i a n s i n c l u d e Jerusalem in their recipes. T h e r e are a n u m b e r o f
references to biblical texts including: the creation a c c o u n t in G e n e s i s , the
giants o f G e n e s i s , the babble o f languages, S o d o m and Gomorrah, the e x o d u s
tradition w i t h its r e v e l a t i o n o n a m o u n t a i n , and the p r o p h e t B a l a a m in
Numbers.
The creator o f G e n e s i s 1 (e.g. 1 : 1 , 4 , 14, 18) almost certainly appears in an
invocation in P G M V , 4 5 9 - 6 1 : "I i n v o k e y o u w h o created earth and b o n e s
and all flesh and e v e r y spirit and w h o set in place the sea and ? the h e a v e n ,
2 6 0
w h o distinguished light from darkness . . . " Another text with m a n y J e w i s h
e l e m e n t s e n d s w i t h , "I adjure y o u w h o in the b e g i n n i n g m a d e h e a v e n and
2 6 1 2 6 2
earth and all things in it ( G e n l : l - 2 ) . Halleluiah, A m e n . " The L X X
263
reference functions in a text w h i c h is a recipe for the ascent o f a u t e r u s .
P G M IV, 3 0 5 9 - 6 0 depicts a magician w h o says, "I conjure y o u w h o burned
up the stiff-necked giants with lightning storms" in an apparent reference to
2 6 4
G e n 6 : 4 . T h e s a m e m a g i c i a n also mentions the o n e w h o "revealed the 140
2 6 5
l a n g u a g e s and d i v i d e d t h e m b y his o w n c o m m a n d . " A reference to the
destruction o f S o d o m appears in P G M X X X V I , 2 9 8 - 3 0 4 :

The heavens of the heavens opened and the angels of god descended and overthrew the
2 6 6
pentapolis of S o d o m , and Gomora, Adama, Sebouie and Segor (Deut 2 9 : 2 3 ) A
woman who heard the voice became a salt pillar (Gen 19:26). You are the sulphur, which

2 5 9
PGM IV, 1239 (Satan). Lucian's false prophet, Alexander, used some meaningless
Hebrew or Phoenician words also (Alex. 13 = STERN, II, § 373). A Jewish magician appears
in Lucian's Tragodopodagra 173 (= STERN, II, § 374). See "I adjure you in the Hebrew
sound" in PGM III, 119; "in Hebrew Anoch" (I) in PGM XIII, 82; P G M IV, 3 0 8 4 - 8 5
identifies a recipe ( λ ό γ ο ς ) as being in Hebrew; Amen is in PGM XII, 86 and see BETZ, The
Greek Magical Papyri, 156 n.22; Hallelujah and Amen in VII, 2 7 1 . On PGM VII, 260-71
see BETZ, Jewish Magic, 187-205. The "Law" in Hebrew is mentioned in PGM XIII, 975-6
in a passage that lists Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob followed by a set of magical words that
include Iao.
2 6 0
Author's ET. For comment on the textual corruption (the "?") see BETZ, The Greek
Magical Papyri, 109 n.59.
2 6 1
BETZ, Jewish Magic, 195 n.38 also refers to Gen 2:4, Exod 20:11, Ps 145:6, Isa 42:5,
Acts 4:24 and Rev 10:6.
2 6 2
PGM VII, 269-70.
2 6 3
On this text see BETZ, Jewish Magic, 187-205.
2 6 4
See § 1.3, 3.12.
2 6 5
PGM IV, 3056-7. On the number of languages see BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri,
97 n.400.
2 6 6
Segor is the L X X term for Zoah (Gen 19:23). Deut 29:23 L X X has Seboim instead of
the Sebouie of the magical text. Zoar survives the blast according to Gen 19:22.
46 Introduction

God rained down in the midst of Sodom and Gomora, Adama and Sebouie and Segor, you
2 6 7
are the sulphur which served G o d .

Other than a f e w minor mistakes (Lot's w i f e l o o k e d b a c k ) , the m a g i c i a n has


s o m e g o o d L X X tradition. W e are a l o n g w a y f r o m the L X X , h o w e v e r ,
because the story from G e n e s i s n o w appears in a l o v e potion.
E x o d u s traditions (along with that o f Joshua) appears in a reference to the
R e d Sea:
I adjure (or conjure ορκίζω) you by the one who appeared to Osrael in a bright pillar and
in a cloud by day (Exod 13:21-22), who delivered his people from the Pharaoh and who
inflicted the ten plagues upon Pharaoh because he disobeyed (Exod 7:14-12:31) ... I
adjure y o u by the mighty god Sabaoth, through w h o m the Jordan River retreated
backwards (Josh 3:13-17, Ps 113:3 L X X ) and the Red Sea, which Israel went through,
2 6 8
was made uncrossable (Exod 14:27) . . .

A d o l f D e i s s m a n calls this text Jewish, but it appears in a m a g i c a l papyrus that


269
is o v e r w h e l m i n g l y G r e c o - E g y p t i a n . Consequently one cannot conclude
that it is a "Jewish text" and ignore the rest o f P G M IV. A pagan m a g i c i a n
270
made u s e o f E x o d u s traditions in his magical w o r k . It is quite p o s s i b l e that
a J e w i s h author wrote the smaller magical recipe, but another author adapted
it, and eventually it w a s put into quite a large text. W h a t is important here is
that the L X X has b e e n u s e d in a fourth century (C.E.) p a g a n text. Another
reference n a m e s M o s e s (in a D e m o t i c text) as the object o f the l o n g i n g that
"the g o d , the s o n o f Sirius, felt for M o s e s w h i l e h e w a s g o i n g to the hill o f
271
N I N A R E T O S to offer water to his g o d , his lord, his I A H O s a b a h o . " The
tradition o f the e x o d u s has b e e n contorted, but it is o b v i o u s l y present. A
m a g i c i a n t e l l s a m i g h t y creator ( o f earth, h e a v e n , night, d a y , light and
d a r k n e s s ) in a r e c i p e d i r e c t e d to O s i r i s ( O s o r o n n o p h r i s — O s i r i s the
beautiful): "I a m M o s e s y o u r prophet, to w h o m y o u h a n d e d o v e r y o u r
272
mysteries that are enacted ( σ υ ν τ ε λ ο ύ μ ε ν α ) b y I s t r a e l . " T h e celebrant d o e s
not m e n t i o n Mt. Sinai, but m a y k n o w the narrative. A n o t h e r m a g i c i a n

2 6 7
Author's ET done with reference to BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 276.
2 6 8
PGM IV, 3033-7; 3052-5. Author's ET. Cp. BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 96.
2 6 9 st
A. DEISSMAN, Light from the Ancient East, Grand Rapids 1978 ( 1 ed. 1922), 256-4
identifies what is now PGM IV, 3007-3086 as Jewish.
2 7 0
Text linguistics has attempted to analyze entire texts into "functional text sequences"
that are governed by ever-larger text sequences. S e e D . HELLHOLM, The Problem of
Apocalyptic Genre and the Apocalypse of John, in: S B L 1982 Seminar Papers, ed. K.
RICHARDS, Chico, C A 1982, (157-198) 171 / COOK, Structure, 119.
2 7 1
P D M xiv, 1030ff. ET in BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 245. Cp. PDM xiv, 130ff.
which is a request for a revelation "in the manner of the form of revealing yourself to Moses
which you made upon the mountain, before which you had already created darkness and
light." ET in BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 202.
2 7 2
PGM V, 98-101.108-110. On this text see GAGER, Moses, 142-3.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 47

m e n t i o n s the mountain, but not M o s e s : "I a m the o n e w h o m y o u m e t under


the h o l y mountain and to w h o m y o u g a v e the k n o w l e d g e o f the great n a m e
( E x o d 3 : 1 3 - 1 4 ) w h i c h I will k e e p pure not transmitting it to a n y o n e e x c e p t to
273
your o w n w h o h a v e b e e n initiated into your holy m y s t e r i e s . " A l t h o u g h the
magician is in error c o n c e r n i n g L X X tradition, he is aware that M o s e s k n e w
274
something extremely s p e c i a l .
B a l a a m the p r o p h e t ( o f N u m 2 2 : 5 - 2 4 , 2 4 : 1 - 2 4 , 3 1 : 8 , 16, D e u t 2 3 : 5 )
probably appears in P G M X X X V , 3 3 - 4 0 : " I adjure y o u (or conjure y o u )
according to the g o d o f Sarachael, or Biliam, and o f the o n e w h o m a d e h e a v e n
275
and earth and all in i t . "
Jerusalem and its t e m p l e are elements o f the m a g i c recipes. T h e m a g i c i a n
or narrator o f P G M XIII, w i t h reference to the Monad ( o f M o s e s ) , tells an
apprentice that h e had m a d e h i m s w e a r in the t e m p l e o f Jerusalem that h e
276
w o u l d k e e p the b o o k s e c r e t . T h o u g h the t e m p l e w a s p r o b a b l y l o n g
destroyed by the t i m e o f the c o m p o s i t i o n o f the magical recipe, the multiple
authors (recipe, and P G M XIII itself) are aware o f its ancient e x i s t e n c e . T h e
s a m e narrator m e n t i o n s the "great n a m e that is in Jerusalem" (Ps 4 7 : 3 L X X ,
2 7 7
Matt 5:35) in XIII, 9 9 7 .
H y m n i c l a n g u a g e o f the L X X resounds in a m a g i c i a n ' s reference to the
sand that bounds the s e a and the abyss w h i c h o b e y e d ( P G M I V , 3 0 6 0 - 4 ; Job
3 8 : 1 0 - 1 1 , 3 0 , 3 4 , Jer 5:22). A spell, w h i c h conjures (or adjures) M i c h a e l and
Sabaoth against fever, quotes (very roughly) several biblical texts (Ps 9 0 : 1 - 2 ,

2 7 3
PGM XII, 92-4. Author's ET. Cp. GAGER, Moses, 144.
2 7 4
On the power of the divine name (YHWH) see G A G E R , Moses, 142. The Greek letters
PIPI ( Π Ι Π Ι ) may be an attempt at expressing the Hebrew for the name of God (mrr) and can
be found in P G M III, 5 7 5 , IV, 595 and see B E T Z , The Greek Magical Papyri, 4 9 n.85.
Josephus says he is forbidden to speak the name (Antiq. 2.276), and Philo (Vita Mos. 2.114)
notes that only those purified in ears and tongue can hear and speak it in holy places (temple).
Cp. Philo, Legatio 3 5 3 . A scoffing Pharaoh wants to hear the divine name. Moses whispers
it in his ear, and the king falls dead, but is raised by Moses according to Artapanus. A priest
who shows contempt for the name that Moses wrote on a tablet dies of convulsions. See F. 3
= Eus. P.E. 9.27.24-6 (I, 218,19-29; 220,1-4 H O L L A D A Y ) .
2 7 5
See the note in B E T Z , The Greek Magical Papyri, 268 n.5 for bibliography on the
prophet and his reputation in magic.
2 7 6
PGM XIII, 2 3 0 - 3 3 . BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 179 n.56 calls the oath
"pretentious hokum." What is interesting is that this sort of thing continues. The Sixth and
Seventh Book(s) of Moses are still available "under the table" in Jerusalem markets and on
various Internet web sites.
2 7 7
Cp. PGM IV, 3 0 6 9 - 3 0 7 0 which mentions the one in Jerusalem and the unquenchable
fire there — a probable reference to the menorah in the temple according to B E T Z , The Greek
Magical Papyri, 97 n.407. The reference is quite clear in IV, 1219. The undying flame of the
menorah appears also in Diod. 34-35.1.4 (= S T E R N I, § 63) and Ps. Hecataeus apud Jos., C.
Ap. 1.199 = F. 1 (I, 312,3-4 H O L L A D A Y ) . On the renowned altar fire see 2 Mace 1:19-2:1.
48 Introduction

278
Is 6:3 L X X , Matt 6 : 9 - 1 1 ) . T h e spell m a y originate from a Christian, but it
is s y n c r e t i s t i c w i t h several m a g i c a l w o r d s . T h e d i s t i n c t i o n i s not very
important here, s i n c e it functions in a culture ( o f m a g i c ) that w a s not t o o
279
concerned with religious d i s t i n c t i o n s .
A w e l l - k n o w n inscription from E u b o e a that w a s (II C E . ?) d e s i g n e d to
k e e p p e o p l e from defiling a grave includes a list o f ills (such as fever) that is
repeated f r o m D e u t 2 8 : 2 2 , 2 8 , but the divinities m e n t i o n e d are G o d , the
2 8 2 8 1
furies, Grace, and H y g e i a ° . D e i s s m a n argues that the text is syncretistic.
282
T h e rich material in amulets and inscriptions w i l l not b e d i s c u s s e d h e r e .
Clearly there is an opportunity for a monograph o n the place o f the B i b l e in
the m a g i c a l ( a n d n o n - m a g i c a l ) p a p y r i , a m u l e t s , a n d i n s c r i p t i o n s o f
283
antiquity .

0.19 Pompey: Inscriptions and Art

In P o m p e y there is an inscription that o n l y comprises the w o r d s " S O D O M f A ]


2 8 4
and G O M O R ( r ) A . " A l t h o u g h the words were probably written by a J e w or
perhaps a Christian as s o m e kind o f curse, Rinaldi argues that they reflect the
circulation o f biblical t h e m e s in pagan environments. A n e x a m p l e from the
magical papyri has already b e e n g i v e n above. Gager i n c l u d e s a Jewish spell
in his c o l l e c t i o n o f curse tablets that w a s found in the Cairo G e n i z a that also
285
refers to the angel Abrasax w h o overthrew the t w o c i t i e s . A n individual

2 7 8
PGM LXXXIII, 1-20 (300 B E T Z - not in P R E I S E N D A N Z ) .
2 7 9
See the note in BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 300.
2 8 0 3
W. DITTENBERGER, Syll 1240 = R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 169. Cf. J. G.
COOK, In Defense of Ambiguity: Is There a Hidden Demon in Mark 1.29-31? NTS 4 3 , 1997,
(184-208) 194. A n ET of the text may be found in J. G A G E R , Curse Tablets and Binding
Spells from the Ancient World, N e w York/Oxford 1 9 9 2 , 1 8 4 - 5 .
2 8 1
D E I S S M A N , Light, 23 n.4 argues that the inscription was not composed by a proselyte.
On the Bible in inscriptions see D. FEISSEL, La Bible dans les inscription grecques, in: Le
monde grec ancien et la Bible, ed. C . M O N D E S E R T , Paris 1984 (223-31) 225 (non-Christian
inscriptions).
2 8 2
S e e , for e x a m p l e , R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 7 9 - 8 3 , II, 169-71 / L.
M A L U N O W I C Z , Citations bibliques dans l'epigraphie grecque, in: Studia Evangelica VII, T U
126, ed. E. LIVINGSTONE, Berlin 1982, 333-37 (the Bible in Christian inscriptions).
2 8 3
Examples are the reference to Gen 1:5-9 (God's separation of heaven from earth, day
from night) in RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 3 1 A (PSI 10, 1162) and the possible
reference to Job 19:25 in La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 189b (CIL VIII, Supp. 4, § 23245).
2 8 4
CIL IV, 4 9 7 6 from Regio IX, ins. 1, n. 26 published in RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani,
II, § 9 1 A with bibliography.
2 8 5
G A G E R , Curse Tablets, 108. The original text and bibliography is in N A V E H / SHAKED,
Amulets, 230-6.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 49

from Carthage in III C E . a l s o wrote a curse tablet against a charioteer and


286
m e n t i o n e d the i n f a m o u s cities as part o f his r e c i p e . A f r e s c o f o u n d in
P o m p e y depicts a w o m a n b e n d i n g before the throne ( b e m a ) o f a j u d g e w i t h
t w o other l e s s e r j u d g e s sitting o n e a c h side. A child is o n a table w i t h a
soldier h o l d i n g a s w o r d o v e r it. T h e story's inspiration is l i k e l y 3 K g d m s
2 8 7
3 : 1 6 - 2 8 , the j u d g m e n t o f S o l o m o n . A g a i n , e v e n if a J e w had the f r e s c o
created, the a m b i a n c e is pagan. L e s s likely to b e inspired b y the L X X is a
f r e s c o that s h o w s a s m a l l p e r s o n ( p y g m y ? ) b e i n g d e v o u r e d b y a
288
hippopotamus o n the e d g e o f a river . T h e i m a g e is t o o distant f r o m the
2 8 9
b o o k o f Jonah to b e a g o o d parody, but the question is o p e n . Jonah w a s
popular as an i m a g e for sarcophagi and it is p o s s i b l e that they are not all
290
C h r i s t i a n . T h e s e e x a m p l e s s h o w the presence o f biblical t h e m e s in G r e c o -
R o m a n culture, e v e n if they c o m e from Jewish or Christian sources.

0.20 Hermetica

T h e literature ascribed to "thrice great Hermes" e m e r g e d in late antiquity and


has attracted the attention o f m a n y generations o f a p o l o g i s t s and later o f
scholars. Lactantius i n c l u d e s a tradition in w h i c h H e r m e s T r i s m e g i s t u s
asserts that G o d has n o name: the o n e w h o is cannot b e n a m e d ( ε σ τ ί ν γ α ρ ό
2 9 1
ών α ν ώ ν υ μ ο ς ) . H e a l s o asserts in another p a s s a g e that the H e r m e t i c

2 8 6
D . R. J O R D A N , N e w Defixiones from Carthage, in: The Circus and a Byzantine
Cemetery at Carthage, apud 1, ed. J. H. H U M P H R E Y , Ann Arbor 1988, (117-34) § 1, 121,9-10
(the text) 123 (comment). Cf. G A G E R , Curse Tablets, 108 n.96.
2 8 7
See the image in RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, § 182 with bibliography. The
fresco is from Regio VIII, ins. 6, n. 6. In addition to the research mentioned by RINALDI, see
also P. P R I G E N T , Le Judaisme et l'image, TSAJ 24, Tubingen 1990, 106-8 (who notes that
some doubt the reference to Solomon). RlNALDl also points out that P. Oxy. XLI, 2944,5-13
(I/II C E . ) has a judgment story which is similar to 3 Kgdms 3:16-28. Philiscus of Miletus
who studied with Isocrates quotes the tale. The text is as follows: "For example, Philiscus of
Miletus has written on the subject of the child, which the two women claimed was theirs, that
when both of them were pretending to be its mother, he gave orders to cut it in two, and to
give a half to each of them" (ET from P. Oxy. XLI, 7).
2 8 8
For an image see also R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, I, § 283 with bibliography. The
fresco is also from Regio VIII, ins. 6, n. 6.
2 8 9
R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 2 4 4 argues against the position taken by H.
LECLERQ, Manuel d'Archeologie chretienne, Paris 1907, II, 651 who believed that the fresco
was a parody of the biblical account.
2 9 0
A point made by Prof. H E N G E L to me in a letter. For the sarcophagi see PRIGENT, Le
Judaisme, passim.
2 9 1
Corpus Hermeticum, Fragmenta varia 3a (CUFr, IV, 105,1-8 N O C K / F E S T U G I E R E ) =
Lact., Div. inst. 1.6.4. See WHITTAKER, Moses, 199.
50 Introduction

2 9 2
literature agrees w i t h the prophets in substance and in w o r d . Cyril a l s o
293
m a d e u s e o f the Hermetic writings i n h i s reply to J u l i a n . M i c h a e l Psellus
(XI C E . ) c o m m e n t e d o n the treatise called Poimandres (1.18):
This magician ( γ ό η ς ) appears to have had more than a cursory acquaintance with the
divine scripture. Beginning with it, he attempts a creation of the cosmos, not hesitating at
times to put down the ordinary ( φ ι λ ά ς ) Mosaic words, as in the entire aforementioned
294
speech. For the "And God said, increase and multiply (Αυξάνεσθε καΐ π λ η θ ύ ν ε σ θ ε ) "
2 9 5
is clearly from the Mosaic creation of the c o s m o s .

C. H. D o d d built o n P s e l l u s ' p o s i t i o n in an investigation first published in


I935296 i first treatise entitled Poimandres,
n m e D o d d finds a number o f
linguistic similarities with G e n e s i s that h e relates to G e n 1-2: "the spiritual
297 2 9 8
w o r d w a s c a r r i e d " ; "having s e e n the beautiful c o s m o s " ; "they w e r e
299 300
separated f r o m o n e a n o t h e r " ; "the earth brought f o r t h " ; "four-footed
301
a n i m a l s , serpents, w i l d a n d d o m e s t i c b e a s t s " ; [the h u m a n ] "having the
302 303
i m a g e o f the f a t h e r " ; "the h u m a n . . . b e c a m e a soul and a m i n d " ; "God
304
said w i t h a h o l y word, 'Increase in an increase, and multiply i n m u l t i t u d e ' " ;
305
"they multiplied according t o k i n d " . H i s work has b e e n criticized b y Ernst
H a e n c h e n , b u t t h e l i n g u i s t i c similarities D o d d n o t i c e d ( a n d c o n c e p t u a l

2 9 2
Lact., Div. inst. 6.25.10 (= W. SCOTT/A. S . F E R G U S O N , Hermetica. The Ancient Greek
and Latin Writings Which Contain Religious or Philosophic Teachings Ascribed to Hermes
Trismegistus, IV, London 1968, 22,2-3).
2 9 3
See, for example, § 3 . 3 , 4 .
2 9 4
Cp. Gen 1:22,28; 8:17,9:7.
2 9 5
S C O T T / F E R G U S O N , Hermetica, IV, 244,16-245,3. The comment from Psellus appears
in M S S Β and M. The text from C. H. 1.18 (I, 13,7-8 N . / F . ) actually reads: "And God said
with a holy word, 'Increase in an increase, and multiply in multitude' ( α υ ξ ά ν ε σ θ ε εν
αυξήσει και πληθύνεσθε ε ν πλήθει)." Psellus argues that the Hellenic conception of God
comes from the East. On this point s e e A . G O N Z A L E Z B L A N C O , Hermetism, A
Bibliographical Approach, A N R W II.17.4, 1984, (2240-81) 2258-59. R. REITZENSTEIN is in
agreement with Psellus (Poimandres. Studien zur griechisch-agyptischen und fruhchristlichen
Literatur, Leipzig 1904, 51).
2 9 6
C. H. D O D D , The Bible and the Greeks, London 1935.
2 9 7
D O D D , The Bible, 101. C. H. 1.5 (I, 8,13 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:2.
2 9 8
C. H. 1.8 (I, 9,14 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:4, 8, 12, 1 8 , 2 1 , 2 5 , 3 1 .
2 9 9
C. H. 1.11 ( 1 , 1 0 , 1 1 - 2 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:4, 6, 7 , 1 4 , 18.
3 0 0
C. H. 1.11 (I, 10,13 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:12.
3 0 1
C. H. 1.11 ( 1 , 1 0 , 1 4 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:24.
3 0 2
C. H. 1.12 ( 1 , 1 0 , 1 6 - 7 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:27.
3 0 3
C. H. 1.17 (I, 12,20-1 N . / F . ) = Gen 2:7.
3 0 4
C. H. 1.18 (I, 13,7-8 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:22, 28.
3 0 5
C. H. 1.19 (I, 13,14 N . / F . ) = Gen 1:11, 12, 2 1 , 2 4 , 25.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 51

s i m i l a r i t i e s ) h a v e e n c o u r a g e d other s c h o l a r s to c o n t i n u e this l i n e o f
306
investigation o f the Hermetic literature .
H. L u d i n J a n s e n n o t e s several pecularities in the P o i m a n d r e s that h e
307
b e l i e v e s s h o w it to b e by a J e w i s h a u t h o r . T h e b o d y g o e s through s e v e n
308
spheres in a j o u r n e y o f p u r i f i c a t i o n . After the d i s s o l u t i o n o f the mortal
b o d y , the p e r s o n g i v e s the b o d y o v e r to a transformation and b e c o m e s
invisible ( π α ρ α δ ί δ ω ^ α υ τ ό τ ό σ ώ μ α εις άλλοίωσι,ν καΐ τ ό β ΐ δ ο ς δ
3 0 9
ε ΐ χ € 9 α φ α ν έ ς γ ί ν ε τ α ι ) . Jansen b e l i e v e s that an O T w o r l d v i e w is present
in Poimandres w i t h its creator G o d w h o is behind earthly events. T h e h y m n
at the e n d w h i c h u s e s the w o r d "holy" eight times ( w i t h an e c h o but not
310
quotation o f Isa 6:3) to describe G o d is another i n d i c a t i o n . In a curious
311
twist, the h y m n w a s adapted by a later Christian author for u s e in a p r a y e r .
In a variation o n J a n s e n ' s p o s i t i o n , B i r g e r P e a r s o n r e v i e w s the J e w i s h
elements in Poimandres and c o n c l u d e s that the author w a s a J e w (perhaps a
312
proselyte or "god-fearer") w h o left Judaism and founded a n e w c u l t . A n
alternative to t h e s e v i e w s is that o f Jorg B u c h l i w h o s e i n v e s t i g a t i o n s o f
Poimandres r e s u l t e d in h i s c o n c l u s i o n that the H e r m e t i c literature is a
reaction o f p a g a n i s m to Christianity. S i n c e the L X X b e c a m e the b o o k o f the
church (and w a s rejected b y ancient Judaism), B u c h l i argues that the e c h o e s
o f the L X X in texts s u c h as the o n e quoted b y Psellus c o m e from a Christian
3 1 3
b o o k — the B i b l e o f the c h u r c h ( L X X ) . It w o u l d b e a s e r i o u s

3 0 6
E. H A E N C H E N , Aufbau und Theologie des „Poimandres", ZThK 5 3 , 1956, (149-91)
150-1, 177 (C. H. 1.18 is not a blessing of the creation but a curse of transitoriness). See M.
P H I L O N E N K O , Le Poimandres et la liturgie juive, Les syncretismes dans les religions de
l'antiquite: Colloque de Besancon (22-23 Oktober 1973), ed. F. D U N A N D / P . LiVEQUE,
EPRO 4 6 , Leiden 1975, 2 0 4 - 1 1 / J. H O L Z H A U S E N , Der «Mythos v o m Menschen» im
hellenistischen Agypten. Eine Studie zum "Poimandres" (= CH I), zu Valentin und dem
gnostischen Mythos, Athenaums Monografien Theophaneia 33, Hain 1994, 5 2 , 54 (examples
of LXX influence).
3 0 7
H. L. JANSEN, D i e Frage nach Tendenz und Verfasserschaft im Poimandres, in:
Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Gnosticism. Stockholm August 20-25 1973,
ed. G. WlDENGREN/D. HELLHOLM, Stockholm 1977, (157-63) 162-3.
3 0 8
C. H. 1.24-26 (CUFr I, 15,7-16,15 N./F.).
3 0 9
C. H. 1.24 (I, 15,9-11 N./F.). J A N S E N ' S point is apparently that bodily survival after
death is quite Jewish.
3 1 0
C. H. 1.31 (1,17,23-18,10 N./F.) = RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 222a.
3 1 1
P. Berol 9 7 9 4 in the apparatus to C. H. 1.31 (1,18 N./F.).
3 1 2
B. A. P E A R S O N , Jewish Elements in Corpus Hermeticum I (Poimandres), in: Studies
in Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions Presented to GILLES Q U I S P E L on the Occasion of his
th
6 5 Birthday, ed. R. V A N D E N B R O E K / M . J. V E R M A S E R E N , EPRO 9 1 , Leiden 1981, (336-48)
347.
3 1 3
J. B U C H L I , Der Poimandres. Ein paganisiertes Evangelium, W U N T 2/27, Tubingen
1987, 104-5, 174-5, 209-10. He refers to the fact that the MSS of the L X X in the second and
third centuries were Christian using K. A L A N D , Repertorium der griechischen christlichen
52 Introduction

misrepresentation o f scholarship o n the Hermetica not t o m e n t i o n the fact that


many researchers h a v e not f o c u s e d o n the L X X in their work o n texts such as
214
the Poimandres .

0.21 Conclusion

Hecataeus, Ocellus Lucanus, Alexander Polyhistor, Diodorus Siculus,


N i c o l a u s o f D a m a s c u s , and Ps. L o n g i n u s are pagan authors w h o are aware o f
the L X X (or the Jewish b o o k s o f l a w s ) although extant quotations are sparse.
Hecataeus s e e m s to paraphrase texts from the Pentateuch in o n e instance, but
he l i v e d before t h e L X X translation w a s made. O c e l l u s m a y u s e o n e o f the
phrases in G e n e s i s , and Ps. L o n g i n u s quotes the L X X (in I C.E. or later). T h e
other authors s e e m t o b e aware o f the e x i s t e n c e o f the L X X (or O T ) and in
s o m e instances s u c h as that o f A l e x a n d e r Polyhistor m a y k n o w a f e w g i v e n
passages. Historians such as Posidonius, Teucer, and Philo B y b l o s m a y h a v e
m a d e u s e o f t h e L X X , but this i s o n l y a h y p o t h e s i s that h a s n o t b e e n
demonstrated. T h e Greco-Alexandrian tradition o f the e x o d u s responded t o a
J e w i s h oral o r written version. It i s proof that the B i b l e or a part o f it w a s
k n o w n i n s o m e f o r m t o o n e o f t h e E g y p t i a n writers ( s u c h as M a n e t h o or
s o m e o n e before h i m ) w h o felt it necessary to respond with a counter-version.
Ps. Ecphantus m a y h a v e used the L X X in his conception o f the creation o f the
k i n g . N u m e n i u s probably k n e w s o m e texts in t h e B i b l e . T h e m a g i c a l
literature s h o w s that the L X X m a d e its w a y into that side o f the ancient world.
J e w s a n d Christians w e r e probably t h e s o u r c e s for that j o u r n e y , but the
p a g a n s e a g e r l y a d o p t e d their contributions. W h i l e Poimandres in the
Hermetic literature remains something o f a mystery, it i s difficult to deny that
Jewish influences, specifically G e n e s i s , are present. T h e presence o f biblical

Papyri I, Berlin 1976 / J. V A N H A E L S T , Catalogue des papyri litteraires juifs et Chretiens, Paris
1976. H E N G E L extensively analyzes the problem o f the adoption o f the L X X by the church
and its consequent rejection by ancient Judaism in: D i e Septuaginta. B U C H L I , Der
Poimandres, 207 dates the tractate to the period after 200. A . CAMPLANI, Riferimenti biblici
nella letteratura ermetica, A S E 10, 1993, (375-425) 386 n.46 finds B U C H L I ' S arguments for
the date unconvincing. C A M P L A N I finds many echoes of the L X X in the Hermetica —
probably t o o many. Cf. R I N A L D I , La Bibbia de pagani, II, § 23a (= C. H. F. 23.10 [IV, 4
N./F.]), § 26a (C. H. Asclepius 14 [II, 313,3-7 N./F.]), § 35a (= C. H. Asclepius 8 [II, 304,20-
306,7 N./F.]) for several other possible uses of Genesis.
3 1 4
S e e the r e v i e w o f literature in, for e x a m p l e , H. J. S H E P P A R D / A . K E H L / R M c L .
W I L S O N , Hermetik, R A C XIV, 1988, 780-808. H. D . B E T Z , Hermetism and Gnosticism: The
Question of the Poimandres, in: Antike und Christentum. Gesammelte Aufsatze IV, 206-21
analyzes the text from the point o f v i e w o f its anthropology. T h e quest for self-
understanding, theodicy, and cosmology all appear in B E T Z ' interpretation of the text.
The Septuagint's Reception in the Greco-Roman World 53

t h e m e s at P o m p e y is an architectural form o f e v i d e n c e that the L X X had


seeped into the R o m a n world.
Can o n e c o n c l u d e that the J e w s s i m p l y did not want p a g a n s to obtain
c o p i e s o f t h e L X X , p e r h a p s in fear that t h e y w o u l d m i s u s e t h e
3 1 5
T e t r a g r a m m a t o n ( Y H W H ) , the H o l y n a m e o f G o d ? D i d J e w i s h
c o m m u n i t i e s d e n y their G e n t i l e n e i g h b o r s a c c e s s to the L X X b e f o r e the
316
advent o f C h r i s t i a n i t y ? This seems unlikely given s o m e of Philo's
statements. After the Christians' adoption o f the L X X , the Jewish c o m m u n i t y
gradually rejected it, and o n e text e v e n v i e w e d the day o f its translation as o n e
317
o f d a r k n e s s . T h e L X X w a s probably esoteric literature in the e y e s o f a
cultured pagan. H e or she s i m p l y m a y not h a v e b e e n very interested. T h e y
d o not s e e m to h a v e p e r c e i v e d ancient Judaism as a "threat" — despite the
318
occasional anti-Jewish e x p r e s s i o n s and v i o l e n c e . T h e rise and spread o f
Christianity in the s e c o n d century provided the impetus for "outsiders" to
finally take a c l o s e l o o k at the L X X . O n e can a s s u m e that C e l s u s and others
obtained their c o p i e s o f the O T (and N T ) from Christians w h o w i l l i n g l y
shared their faith. C e l s u s objected to O T and N T texts w i t h equal v e r v e .
Porphyry and Julian r e s e r v e d their greatest scorn not for L X X t e x t s in
t h e m s e l v e s , but for the u s e that Christians m a d e o f t h o s e texts to p r o v i d e a
basis for their r e l i g i o n . In m y v o l u m e o n the interpretation o f the N T in
p a g a n i s m I argued that the p a g a n authors realized that Christianity w a s
threatening the roots o f G r e c o - R o m a n culture, and s o they felt it necessary to

315 p f H E N G E L makes this hypothesis in a letter. The tetragrammaton in Hebrew letters


r o

appears in pre-Christian copies of the LXX. See O. ElSSFELDT, The Old Testament. An
Introduction, trans. P. R. ACKROYD, Oxford 1965 (first German ed. 1934), 706-7.
3 1 6
F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile, 313 refers to texts such as Philo, D e vita M o s . 2.26
(before the L X X the laws' beauty had not been revealed to the rest of humankind who did not
know the Chaldean language), 2.27, 2.36 (the Alexandrian Jews' pray that the philosophical
and beautiful laws might help the entire race of humanity). In D e vita M o s . 2.40, Philo
pictures Chaldeans and Greeks who have learned each other's languages and who approve of
the L X X translation. In D e vita Mos. 2.41 there is a festival on Pharos where Jews and a
"multitude" c o m e to celebrate the translation. Jos., Antiq. 20.44-6 depicts the king of
Adiabene, Izates, who converts after reading the L X X version of the law.
3 1 7
H E N G E L , D i e Septuaginta, 205 refers to Sepher Tora 1.6, and Sopherim 1.7 which
claim that the day of translation was as bad as that of the day in which they made the golden
calf. MegTaan 13 (a late addition) says that when the Torah was translated into Greek that
three days of darkness came upon the earth. The Rabbis' analysis of the L X X (and other
Greek translations) was not completely negative. See Ε. Τ ο ν , The Rabbinic Tradition
Concerning the "Alterations" Inserted into the Greek Pentateuch and Their Relation to the
Original Text of the L X X , JSJ 15, 1984, 65-89.
3 1 8
See, for example, the many positive portrayals of Judaism in G A G E R , The Origins of
Anti-Semitism / F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile. T o o often scholars summarize the ancient
attitude to Jews as one of overwhelming negativity. The translations of Aquila, Symmachus,
and Theodotion were clear rejections of the LXX.
54 Introduction

attack the sources. T h e persuasive p o w e r o f N T texts w a s apparent to them.


In this v o l u m e it will b e c o m e clear that the pagan authors thought that if they
could refute o n e o f the primary foundations o f Christianity, n a m e l y its u s e or
interpretation o f the L X X , then the n e w religion w o u l d perhaps crumble. T h e
p a g a n s ' v o i c e is important, s i n c e it s h o w s h o w L X X texts appeared in the
e y e s o f G r e c o - R o m a n intellectuals. It w a s not an abstract interest, h o w e v e r ,
b e c a u s e they k n e w that Christianity p o s e d a grave danger to s o m e o f their
dearest beliefs, self-understanding, and w a y o f life.
1. Celsus

Celsus' Critique of the Old Testament

C e l s u s w a s a Platonist p h i l o s o p h e r w h o probably wrote his True Discourse


1
( Α λ η θ ή ς Λ ό γ ο ς True L o g o s ) during the reign o f Marcus A u r e l i u s . Origen
2
r e s p o n d e d to his b o o k b e t w e e n 2 4 6 and 2 4 8 . A l t h o u g h O r i g e n a c c u s e s
C e l s u s o f b e i n g an Epicurean, C e l s u s ' o p e n admiration for Plato and other
3
e v i d e n c e s h o w that Origen is almost certainly w r o n g . C e l s u s felt driven to

1
Cf. C O O K , Interpretation, 17-24 (I will not repeat those introductory comments here) / G .
RlNALDl, Biblia Gentium: primo contributo per un indice delle citazioni, dei riferimenti e
delle allusioni alia bibbia negli autori pagani, greci e latini, di eta imperiale, Rome 1989, 121-
9. Cf. also Idem, La Bibbia dei pagani, I, 107-18 / P . D E L A B R I O L L E , La reaction paienne.
e r e
Etude sur la polemique antichretienne du I au V I Siecle, Paris 1948, 111-70 / R. WlLKEN,
The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, N e w Haven/London 1984, 9 5 - 1 2 5 . The original
text used is from Origenes Werke, Vols. I-II, ed. P . K O E T S C H A U , GCS 2, 3, Leipzig 1899 /
M . B O R R E T s.j., Origene Contre Celse. Introduction, Texte Critique, Traduction et Notes,
Vols. I-V, SC 132, 136, 147, 150, 227, Paris 1967-1976 (referred to below as " B O R R E T " with
volume and page) / M . M A R C O V I C H , Origenes Contra Celsum libri VIII, Texts and Studies of
Early Christian Life and Language, Supp. VigChr 5 4 , Brill 2 0 0 1 . A l s o useful has been the
reconstruction of R. B A D E R , Der ΑΛΗΘΗΣ ΛΟΓΟΣ des Kelsos, T B A W 3 3 , Stuttgart/Berlin
1940 (referred to below as " B A D E R " ) . Of immense use has been H. C H A D W I C K , Origen:
Contra Celsum. Translated with an Introduction & Notes, Cambridge 1953, (referred to
below as "CHADWICK, Origen").
2
COOK, Interpretation, 22-3 with reference to Eus., H . E . 6.36.2.
3
C O O K , Interpretation, 18-22 with particular reference to M . F R E D E , Celsus' Attack on
the Christians, in: Philosophia Togata II. Plato and Aristotle at Rome, ed. J. B A R N E S / M .
GRIFFIN, Oxford 1997, ( 2 1 8 - 4 0 ) 2 2 3 - 2 8 / Idem, Celsus Philosophus Platonicus, A N R W
II.36.7, 1994, 5 1 8 3 - 5 2 1 3 / Idem, Origen's Treatise Against Celsus, in: Apologetics in the
Roman Empire. Pagans, Jews, and Christians, ed. M . E D W A R D S / M . G O O D M A N / S . PRICE,
Oxford 1999, 131-55. S.-P. B E R G J A N has recently argued that Origen identifies Celsus as an
Epicurean because of his (Celsus') views on providence, making much use of the second
century discussion of providence among the Stoic, Platonist, and Peripatetic schools. See
Celsus the Epicurean? The Intepretation of an Argument in Origen, Contra Celsum, HTR 94,
2001, 149-204. She particuarly refers to C. Cels. 5.3 (321,1-7 M A R C ) where Origen seems
to identify Epicureans with those w h o reject providence for individuals (Celsus, 194, 198).
C. M A R K S C H I E S , (Epikureismus bei Origenes und in der origenistischen Tradition, in: M .
E R L E R / R . B E E S , Epikureismus in der spaten Republik und der Kaiserzeit : Akten der 2.
Tagung der Karl-und-Gertrud-Abel-Stiftung v o m 30. September - 3. Oktober 1998 in
56 1. Celsus

read t h e s y n a g o g u e ' s a n d c h u r c h ' s B i b l e d u e t o t h e o n g o i n g spread o f


4
Christianity . H e also describes the persecution o f the church and apparently
5
approves o f it . H e w a s appalled at a v i s i o n h e had o f the emperor converting
6
to Christianity . S h o u l d the R o m a n s convert, C e l s u s d o e s not b e l i e v e that the
Christians' G o d w o u l d c o m e d o w n and d e f e n d the empire. T h e miserable
situation o f the J e w s a n d Christians ( n o h o m e for t h e former, and death-
7
bringing persecution for the latter) clinches this argument for C e l s u s . C e l s u s
w o u l d h a v e probably b e e n infuriated b y Constantine's c o n v e r s i o n and texts
such as A u g u s t i n e ' s City of God (in w h i c h A u g u s t i n e , in part, d e f e n d s the
thesis that the sack o f R o m e in 4 1 0 w a s not due to the p r e s e n c e o f Christians
8
in the c i t y ) .
In this c o n t e x t C e l s u s c o m p o s e d h i s True Discourse o r True Doctrine
( l o g o s ) w i t h the implication that Judaism and Christianity w e r e false teaching.
H e h a s m u c h scorn for O T texts, but reserves h i s greatest disdain for N T
narratives. H i s concern for O T traditions is based o n his b e l i e f in the dangers
9
that Christianity p o s e s for the R o m a n social order . H e d o e s n o t i n c l u d e
similar c o m m e n t s about the J e w s , although h e d o e s n o t e their unimpressive
current circumstances ( s e e § 1.33 b e l o w ) . H e k n o w s that the L X X b e l o n g s to
the s y n a g o g u e a n d church. Jeffery Hargis writes that " . . . e v e n a cursory
reading o f C e l s u s , Porphyry and Julian reveals that J u d a i s m d o m i n a t e s the
1 0
discourse t o an o v e r w h e l m i n g degree . . . " C e l s u s d e v o t e s m u c h energy to
his attempt t o s h o w that Jewish texts are highly problematic.

Wurzburg, Philosophie der Antike 11, Stuttgart 2 0 0 0 , 190-217) also rejects the thesis that
Celsus was an Epicurean.
4
C O O K , Interpretation, 82-8.
5
C O O K , Interpretation, 89.
6
He refers to the conversion of "those w h o n o w reign over us" in C. Cels. 8.71 (587,24-
26 M A R C ) . Cf. C O O K , Interpretation, 9 1 .
7
C. Cels. 8.69 (585,19-586,6 M A R C ) . Cf. C O O K , Interpretation, 9 0 .
8
Aug., D e civ. D e i 1.1 (CChr.SL 4 7 , 2,19-21 DOMBART/KALB). Cf. also Aug., Retract.
2.43.2 (CChrSL 5 7 , 124,1-8 M U T Z E N B E C H E R ) . RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 90a
(Serm. 3 9 7 D e urbis excidio 2.2 [CChr.SL 4 6 , 2 5 1 , 5 7 - 6 6 O'REILLY]) includes an excerpt
from one o f Augustine's sermons in which he argues against pagans w h o assert, using Gen
18:22-6, that in the midst of a city of so many monks and other faithful there must not have
even been ten righteous people. S e e also COOK, Interpretation, 123-5 on A . V O N H A R N A C K ,
Porphyrius "Gegen die Christen," 15 Bticher. Zeugnisse, Fragmente und Referate, APAW.PH
1, Berlin 1916, F. 8 0 .
9
C . Cels. 8.68 (584,10-15 M A R C ) . Cf. COOK, Interpretation, 9 0 / E. P E L A G A U D , U n
conservateur au second siecle. Celse et les premieres luttes entre la philosopie antique et le
christianisme naissant, Paris 1879, 453-61.
1 0
J. W . H A R G I S , Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic,
Patristic Studies 1, N e w York et al. 1999, 30.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 57

W h a t sources C e l s u s had, other than a L X X , are unclear. H e o n l y quotes


11
the L X X o n c e , and that text is very brief . H i s k n o w l e d g e o f the L X X is
very spotty since h e concentrates o n G e n e s i s and a f e w v a g u e traditions from
12
E x o d u s that h e m i g h t h a v e found e l s e w h e r e . H e probably k n o w s s o m e texts
from N u m b e r s and D e u t e r o n o m y , but again it is difficult to say w h i c h texts,
1 3
in particular, h e k n o w s . H e mentions the Spirit (of G e n 1), the serpent, the
m a n and w o m a n created b y G o d , M o s e s , Jonah, D a n i e l , the s e v e n t y a n g e l s
that w e r e p u n i s h e d , the ark, the t o w e r , S o d o m and G o m o r r a h , and L o t ' s
daughters. H e i n c l u d e s a n u m b e r o f a n o n y m o u s v e r s i o n s o f patriarchal
narratives such as o n e about procreation b e y o n d the normal a g e , stories about
w e l l s , e n m i t y (Esau?), the trickeries o f a mother ( R e b e c c a h ) , a rape ( D i n a h )
and the c o n s e q u e n t v e n g e a n c e , and the plots o f brothers versus e a c h other
14
(Joseph and his b r o t h e r s ) . H e includes stories about herders and the e s c a p e
15
o f slaves from E g y p t w h i c h is C e l s u s ' version o f E x o d u s . T h e k i n g s o f the
J e w s appear in a brief m e n t i o n (§ 1.32). H e k n o w s o f the e x i s t e n c e o f the
prophets, but n e v e r actually quotes o n e although h e k n o w s that they refer to
16
the c o m i n g o f s o m e kind o f future ruler . N a m e s for G o d that h e includes are
Adonai, Sabaoth and Highest.

1 1
"Let this be" from Gen 1:3-31 in C. Cels. 6.60 (437,12-20 M A R C ) . See § 1.2.3.
1 2
F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile, 313 notes that Celsus knew certain narratives well such as
the flood, the tower of Babel, and the story of Joseph. Cf. also D E L A B R I O L L E , La reaction,
125 / P. M E R L A N , Celsus, R A C II, 1954, (954-65) 958 / G. T. B U R K E , Celsus and the Old
Testament, V T 36, 1986, 241-5 (Celsus may have used a Marcionite source for his references
to Gen 1-3 in C. Cels. 6.49-63, but is directly dependent on Genesis in 4.20-53). Even if
Celsus is dependent on a Marcionite source, he does mention the "writing" ( γ ρ α φ ή v )
concerning the creation of humankind (C. Cels. 6.49 [427,26-7 M A R C ] . H. CHADWICK,
Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition, Oxford 1984 (1st edition 1966), 23-30
summarizes Celsus' attack on the OT (and Christianity). W. V O L K E R , D a s Bild v o m
nichtgnostischen Christentum bei Celsus, Halle 1 9 2 8 , 8 0 : C. only knows Genesis.
1 3
See § 1.28.4. There is a possible reference to the Psalms in that text.
1 4
For a summary of these accounts see M. B O R R E T , L'ficriture d'apres le pai'en Celse, in:
MONDESERT, Le m o n d e grec, ( 1 7 1 - 9 3 ) 187. P E L A G A U D , U n conservateur, 2 7 9 - 3 8 2
summarizes the entire text of Celsus.
1 5
B U R K E , Celsus, 244-5 notes that this material may not come direcctly from Exodus, but
from conversations with Jews (taking a position from P E L A G A U D , Un conservateur, 4 0 6 , n.73;
however it must be noted that P E L A G A U D believed Celsus knew Genesis and Exodus).
1 6
Origen argues that Celsus knew little (or nothing) of the prophets in C. Cels. 1.49
(50,25-51,3 M A R C ) . PiLAGAUD, U n conservateur, 407 believed Celsus had read the prophets
(with reference to C. Cels. 4.71; see § 1.31 below). This is doubtful since Celsus' allusions to
the prophets are so vague. Cp. B U R K E , Celsus, 244. B U R K E mentions the passage in C. Cels.
6.50 (428,22-3 M A R C ) where Celsus mentions that "Moses and the prophets left writings."
58 1. Celsus

O n e can ask whether C e l s u s had a c c e s s to written J e w i s h sources other


17
m a n the B i b l e . A n e x a m p l e is C e l s u s ' d i s c u s s i o n o f s e v e n t y angels w h o
w e r e p u n i s h e d and w h o s e tears create hot springs. C e l s u s did not find that
story in the L X X , although h e probably k n e w the account in G e n 6. E v e n if
he did not h a v e a c o p y o f E n o c h , h e must have had an acquaintance, perhaps a
Jewish informant, w h o g a v e h i m the information. C e l s u s also had to find his
1 8
v i e w that the J e w s worship angels s o m e w h e r e other than in the L X X . H e
also k n o w s the text entitled the Controversy between one Papiscus and Jason.
In that text a Christian s h o w s a J e w , in a dispute, that the O T p r o p h e c i e s
19
apply to J e s u s . A g a i n , C e l s u s m a y h a v e o n l y k n o w n that d o c u m e n t by
hearsay, s i n c e he d o e s not actually use it. H e m a y have read s o m e o f the texts
o f J e w i s h allegorists such as P h i l o and Aristobulus, or h e m a y h a v e o n l y
20
k n o w n that such writers e x i s t e d . It is probably not p o s s i b l e to determine the
limits o f C e l s u s ' library w i t h p r e c i s i o n . W h a t is clear is that h e k n o w s
e n o u g h O T to b e l i e v e that it deserved serious reading and refutation. H e w a s
21
able to get his hands o n the texts he n e e d e d .
A f t e r s u r v e y i n g C e l s u s ' a c c o u n t o f G e n e s i s , E x o d u s , and h i s brief
reference to Jonah and Daniel I will e x a m i n e his critique o f J e w i s h l a w s and
doctrines including his approach to O T prophecy. Finally I will survey his
v i e w s o n the J e w s ' current status and the practice o f proselytism.

1 7
K. PlCHLER, Streit um das Christentum. Der Angriff des Kelsos und die Antwort des
Origenes, Regensburger Studien zur Theologie 2 3 , Frankfurt am Main/Bern 1980, 4 3 - 5 2
surveys the sources Celsus might have used and ends on a skeptical note. From COOK,
Interpretation, 27 n.51: D. R O K E A H is skeptical of Celsus' use of written Jewish sources, but
provides no alternative hypothesis (Jews, Pagans and Christians in Conflict, StPB 3 3 ,
Jerusalem-Leiden 1982, 58). M. L O D S , Etude sur les sources juives de la polemique de Celse
contre les Chretiens, RHPhR 2 1 , 1941, (1-33) 31 is more open to Celsus' use of Jewish
traditions and to Justin's Dialogue with Trypho. M. F E D O U also believes Celsus used written
Jewish sources (Christianisme et religions pai'ennes dans le Contre Celse d'Origene, ThH 8 1 ,
Paris 1988, 4 2 n.29). P E L A G A U D ' s remarks on Celsus' sources are still useful (Un
conservateur, 385-425).
1 8
See § 1.21.
1 9
4.52 (269,5-9 M A R C ) . On this document see COOK, Interpretation, 64.
2 0
S e e § 1.1.2-3. Cf. S T E I N , Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 12, 23 with reference to C.
Cels. 4.51 where Origen argues that Celsus had not read Philo. S T E I N believes Origen to be
wrong. Instead, Celsus adopted Philo's critique of the literal sense, but rejected his
allegorical intepretations.
2 1
From C O O K , Interpretation, 102 n.272: Tert., Apol. 31.1 (142,5-6 D E K . ) says that
Christians do not hide their books which "many occasions transfer to outsiders." A. V O N
H A R N A C K describes the sale of Bibles in the fourth century (Uber den privaten Gebrauch der
heiligen Schriften in der alten Kirche, Beitrage zur Einleitung in das Neue Testament, Leipzig
1912, 68-69). He argues that Celsus had no trouble obtaining a copy of the gospels (Uber den
privaten Gebrauch, 31).
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 59

1.1 Celsus on the Allegory of the Old Testament

C e l s u s ' approach to the allegory o f the O T w a s twofold. T h e texts t h e m s e l v e s


w e r e s o clear that t h e y d i d not n e e d a l l e g o r y , and in fact c o u l d not b e
allegorized at all. H e also admits a higher class o f J e w s and Christians w h o
are ashamed o f their texts (the O T ) and w h o consequently e n g a g e in allegory.
A l t h o u g h h e s h o w s a kind o f grudging admiration for the allegorists, h e d o e s
not c o n c e d e that they are correct in submitting their texts to allegory.

1.1.1 Character of the Hebrew Scriptures


A c c o r d i n g to Origen, C e l s u s preferred Egyptian narratives to those o f M o s e s :
[If the Egyptians mythologize, they are believed to philosophize through enigmas and
unspeakable mysteries (δι' α ι ν ι γ μ ά τ ω ν καΐ απορρήτων), but if Moses writes narratives
for a whole nation and leaves them laws, they are thought to be empty myths (μύθοι
κενοί), and his words cannot admit allegory (μηδ' άλληγορίαν ε π ι δ ε χ ό μ ε ν ο ι ) . This is
22
the opinion of Celsus and the Epicureans].

T h e Epicureans did reject allegory, and Epicurus thought poetry w a s a pit o f


23
m y t h s . C e l s u s did not reject allegory c o m p l e t e l y since h e approves o f the
24
E g y p t i a n interpretation o f their o w n animal w o r s h i p as e n i g m a t i c t r u t h s .
T h e topic c o n c e r n i n g w h i c h texts or c o n c e p t s w e r e o p e n to allegory w a s a
constant e l e m e n t in the debate b e t w e e n Judaism, Christianity, and H e l l e n i s m
25
in the ancient world. J o s e p h u s rejected allegory o f pagan t e x t s . A m o n g
C h r i s t i a n a p o l o g i s t s A t h e n a g o r a s , for e x a m p l e , r e j e c t e d t h e p a g a n s '
2 6
allegorical interpretation o f their o w n m y t h s about the g o d s . Another

2 2
C. Cels. 1.20 (22,9-13 M A R C ) .
2 3
See Velleius (an Epicurean) in Cicero, D e nat. deorum 1.14.36. He rejects Stoic
allegory of Hesiod. For Epicurus' opinions on poetry see Heraclitus, Quaest. Horn. 4.2
(CUFr, 4 B U F F I E R E ) = U S E N E R , Epicurea, Leipzig 1887, F. 229. Cp. C O O K , Interpretation,
12,71.
2 4
C. Cels. 3.19 (165,13-8 M A R C ) . See also his elaborate quotation of myths of divine
conflict in 6.42 (417,21-420,11 M A R C ) although he rejects the Christian belief about the
struggle between Satan and God. Cp. J. PEPIN, Mythe et allegorie. Les origines grecques et
les contestations judeo-chr&iennes, Paris 1958, 449-52 / COOK, Interpretation, 39-40. STEIN,
Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 14 notes the inconsistency of Celsus' position: admitting
allegory of Egyptian traditions, but denying its validity in the case of the OT. See also D E
LABRIOLLE, La reaction, 162.
2 5
C. Ap. 2.255-57. See R O K E A H , Jews, 97-107.
2 6
L e g a t i o 22.1-12 (OECT, 4 8 - 5 2 S C H O E D E L . ) . Marcion may have rejected any allegory
of the scriptures. See A. V O N H A R N A C K , Marcion: Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott. Eine
Monographie zur Geschichte der Grundlegung der katholischen Kirche, T U 4 5 , Leipzig
2
1 9 2 4 , 2 6 0 * . Cp. Tert, Adv. Marc. 5.18.1 (CChr.SL 1,717,5-6 K R O Y M A N N ) .
60 1. Celsus

27
Christian a p o l o g i s t , A r n o b i u s o f S i c c a , attacked G r e c o - R o m a n allegory .
A m o n g the p a g a n s N u m e n i u s (II C E . ) w a s apparently w i l l i n g to allegorically
interpret M o s e s , the prophets, and a story about J e s u s i n w h i c h J e s u s i s n o t
2 8
mentioned by n a m e . Porphyry attacked O r i g e n ' s a l l e g o r i c a l interpretation
2 9
of OT texts . M a c a r i u s ' a n o n y m o u s p a g a n c r i t i c i z e d J o h n 6 : 5 4 w i t h the
30
argument that e v e n allegory c o u l d not h e l p that o b j e c t i o n a b l e s a y i n g . Julian
b e l i e v e d that i n c o n g r u i t y i n G r e e k t e x t s i n d i c a t e d a h i d d e n allegorical
31
m e a n i n g , b u t h e c o u n s e l e d ( G r e e k ) priests n o t to read s u c h literature . For
Julian, N T texts are n o t d i v i n e , i.e. inspired ( θ ε ΐ ο ν ) , and t h e y appeal t o the
32
part o f the s o u l that l o v e s m y t h s (τω φ ι Λ ο μ ύ θ ω ) . H e f o u n d n o allegorical
m e a n i n g in the N T . C e l s u s w a s h i s precursor in that v i e w . Julian did b e l i e v e
that s o m e O T t e x t s s h o u l d b e a l l e g o r i z e d (§ 3 . 1 0 ) . A n a n o n y m o u s Christian
a s k e d w h y , s i n c e the b o d i l y terms u s e d b y the p o e t s t o d e s c r i b e the G r e e k
g o d s are to b e understood allegorically and similarly the b o d i l y terms u s e d b y
the prophets about G o d are a l s o t o b e a l l e g o r i z e d , are n o t b o t h s h o w n to b e
3 3
myth ?

2 7
Adv. nat. 5.38-45 (297,8-305,6 MARCHESI). Cp. Adv. nat. 5 . 3 2 (290,1-10 M A R C H . )
where Arnobius quotes a pagan's defense o f allegorical interpretation. Cf. COOK,
Interpretation, 129.
2 8
Numenius F. l c , 10a ( 4 3 , 5 2 D E S P L A C E S ) from C. Cels. 4.51 (51,16-25 M A R C ) .
R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, II, 51 notes that Numenius certainly had some knowledge of
the LXX. S e e § 0 . 1 6 .
2 9
H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 39 = Eus., H . E . 6.19.4-8.
3 0
Macarius M a g n e s , M o n o g e n e s 3.15.1-6 (Macarios de M a g n e s i e , Le M o n o g e n e s .
Edition critique et traduction francaise, T o m e I Introduction generate. T o m e II Edition
critique, traduction et commentaire, ed. and trans. R. G O U L E T , Textes et traditions 7, Paris
2 0 0 3 , II, 1 4 0 , 8 - 1 4 2 , 2 1 = H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 6 9 ) . G O U L E T has altered B L O N D E L ' s
numeration in certain texts.
3 1
Or. 7.17, 222c (CUFr I I / l , 68 ROCHEFORT = II, 119 W R I G H T ) . Frag. Ep. 89b, 301a,b
(CUFr 1/2,169,1-9 BlDEZ = II, 326-27 W R . ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 287.
3 2
C. Gal. 39a,b ( 8 7 , 1 - 6 M A S A R A C C H I A = III, 3 1 8 W R I G H T ) . Cp. C O O K , Interpretation
287.
3 3
Ps. Justin, Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos, Quaest. 10, 397c (Corpus
Apologetarum Christianorum V , 16 O T T O ) = Quaest. 15 (θεοδωρήτου ε π ι σ κ ό π ο υ πόλεως
Κύρρου π ρ ο ς τ ά ς έ π ε ν ε χ θ ε ί σ α ς αύτω ε π ε ρ ω τ ή σ ε ι ς παρά τ ί ν ο ς τ ω ν έ ξ Α ι γ ύ π τ ο υ
ε π ι σ κ ό π ω ν α π ο κ ρ ί σ ε ι ς , ed. P A P A D O P O U L O S - K E R A M E U S , Zapiski Istoriko-filologicheskago
fakulteta Imperatorskago s.-peterburgskago universiteta 3 6 , St. Petersburg 1895, 36,15-7 [a
better M S of Ps. Justin than the one O T T O had with 15 additional questions; rep. Leipzig
1975, ed. G. H A N S E N ] ) . Cf. CPG III, § 6285. G. B A R D Y compares the text of Ps. Justin and
Celsus in his La litterature patristique des quaestiones et responsiones sur l'Ecriture Sainte,
RB 4 1 , 1 9 3 2 , 2 1 0 - 3 6 , 3 4 1 - 6 9 , 5 1 5 - 3 7 ; 4 2 , 1933 (14-30, 2 1 1 - 2 9 , 3 2 8 - 3 5 2 ) 2 1 7 . When
referring to this text I will use O T T O ' S numbering for the questions (Paris M S ) and include
P A P A D O P O U L O S - K E R A M E U S ' numbering (Constantinople M S ) in parentheses. On Ps. Justin
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 61

1.1.2 Allegorists: A Higher Class of Jews and Christians

O r i g e n m e n t i o n s C e l s u s ' e n m i t y toward biblical texts after a brief d i s c u s s i o n


34
o f C e l s u s ' v i e w o f the J o s e p h narrative :

[Then, as if he had given himself over to only hating and being at enmity with the doctrine
3 5
(λόγω) of the Jews and Christians, he says:] The more rational ( ε π ι ε ι κ έ σ τ ε ρ ο ι ) Jews
and Christians allegorize these. [And he claims that] the ones w h o are ashamed of these
36
texts flee to allegory ( ά λ λ η γ ο ρ ί α ν ) .

O r i g e n r e s p o n d s that m a n y e l e m e n t s o f p a g a n m y t h s are s h a m e f u l in their


literal m e a n i n g s u c h as d i v i n e s o n s castrating d i v i n e fathers ( K r o n o s castrated
37
U r a n u s ) . In an earlier text C e l s u s had already criticized Christians as b e i n g
in the majority i g n o r a n t and countrified (οί ίδιώτοα καΐ άγροικότερου).
Origen notes that for C e l s u s , Christian l o v e o n l y attracts the ignorant b e c a u s e
it i s i g n o r a n t a n d h a s n o p o w e r b a s e d o n cultural t r a d i t i o n s ( δ ι α τό
Ιδιωτικόν και ουδαμώς έν λόγοις δυνατόν). Y e t C e l s u s c o n s e n t s that:
"Among them are some moderate, rational and u n d e r s t a n d i n g people
(μετρίους και επιεικείς και σ υ ν ε τ ο ύ ς ) w h o are r e a d y t o understand
38
allegory." A n o t h e r variation o f a similar text o f C e l s u s f o l l o w s h i s critique
o f the creation o f A d a m and E v e ( G e n 2 : 2 1 - 2 2 ; s e e § 1.2.7 b e l o w ) . Origen
writes:

[He did not want to seem to admit that such things were allegories (και ουκ ηθέλησε γ ε
προσποιήσασθαι άλληγορεΐσθαι τ ά τοιαύτα) even though in what follows he says that]
the more rational of the Jews and Christians are ashamed of these things and try somehow
39
to allegorize t h e m .

see also G. R I N A L D I , Tracce di controversie tra pagani e cristiani nella letteratura patristica
delle "quaestiones et responsiones", A S E 6 , 1 9 8 9 , (99-124) 116-20.
3 4
C. Cels. 4.47. S e e § 1.19 below.
3 5
This meaning of the word can be found in Plato's dialogues (e.g. Tim. 67d in which he
refers to a rational theory of colors as έπιεικεΐ λόγω or Apol. 34d where rational statements
are expressed with επιεική ... λ έ γ ε ι ν ) .
3 6
C. Cels. 4.48 (264,21-4 M A R C ) . S e e F E D O U , Christianisme, 125-8 for a discussion of
Celsus' position on allegory / BORRET, L'Ecriture, 187-88.
3 7
C. Cels. 4.48 (264,25-265,21 M A R C ) . The text can be found in Hesiod, Opera et Dies
164-82 and cf. CHADWICK, Origen, 223 n.3. Origen also argues that it is pagan myths that are
extremely stupid and impious. Biblical texts, on the other hand, are written for the simple
minded majority — something the pagan authors did not do. See 4.50 (267,27-268,4 M A R C ) .
Origen clearly agrees with Celsus on one thing: the more intelligent will know that texts need
allegory (4.50 [267,20-2 M A R C ] with reference to Hos 14:10 LXX). On Origen's respect for
the letter of Christian texts (and his attack on the literal meaning of pagan texts) see F E D O U ,
Christianisme, 132-5.
3 8
C. Cels. 1.27 (29,11-20 M A R C ) .
3 9
C. Cels. 4.38 (252,23-6 M A R C . ) = R I N A L D I , Biblia Gentium § 5 1 . Cf. also Idem, La
Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 5 2 .
62 1. Celsus

Origen a n s w e r s that criticism b y quoting H e s i o d ' s story o f the creation o f


40
P a n d o r a . H e asks C e l s u s w h y the inspired H e s i o d ' s m y t h has an allegorical
meaning w h i l e the account o f the trance and rib from A d a m has n o reason (or
41
doctrine) and hidden significance ( π α ν τ ό ς λ ό γ ο υ καί τ ί ν ο ς έ π ι κ ρ ύ ψ ε ω ς ) .
W h a t o n e c a n c o n c l u d e f r o m t h e s e three forms o f C e l s u s ' v i e w s o n the
interpretation o f O T texts is that there are t w o tiers o f J e w s and Christians —
those w h o read o n l y the literal s e n s e and those w i t h d e e p e r understanding
42
w h o are ready to allegorize t e x t s . S h a m e drives t h e m to their allegories.
A l t h o u g h C e l s u s b e l i e v e d that O T texts w e r e not subject to allegory, h e did
approve o f the group o f p e o p l e w h o attempted to allegorize them. Plato and
Epicurus did not approve o f the p o e t s ' depictions o f the g o d s , and Plato did
43
not want poets in his state e v e n if the poetic texts c o u l d b e a l l e g o r i z e d .

1.1.3 OT Texts Absent of Allegorical Meaning


E v e n t h o u g h C e l s u s w a s w i l l i n g to c o n c e d e that a higher rank o f J e w s and
Christians w e r e w i l l i n g to allegorize the scriptures, h e still did not b e l i e v e that
they c o n t a i n e d any allegorical m e a n i n g : "[If C e l s u s had read the scripture
w i t h o u t partiality, h e w o u l d not h a v e said that our scriptures are not]
4 4
susceptible to allegory (ούχ οΐα ά λ λ η γ ο ρ ί α ν έ π ι δ έ χ ε σ θ α ι ) . " Origen
responds that C e l s u s m i g h t b e correct if o n l y J e w s and Christians o f "our"
o w n t i m e interpreted the texts w i t h allegory. H o w e v e r , the biblical authors
t h e m s e l v e s o c c a s i o n a l l y u s e a l l e g o r y (or similar t e c h n i q u e s ) , and Origen
mentions A s a p h (Ps 7 7 : 1 - 3 — problems and parables) and Paul (1 Cor 9:9-10,
45
10:1-4, E p h 5 : 3 1 - 3 2 ) . C e l s u s has already c o n c e d e d that the scriptures h a v e
b e e n interpreted a l l e g o r i c a l l y , but i s arguing that the a l l e g o r i e s are not
coherent.
C e l s u s s u m m a r i z e s his position: "The m o r e rational J e w s and Christians
try to allegorize them, but they are not susceptible to allegory and are clearly

S. B E N K O , Pagan Criticism of Christianity During the First T w o Centuries A.D., A N R W


II.23.2, 1980, ( 1 0 5 5 - 1 1 1 8 ) 1101 summarizes Celsus' attack on the Christian attempt at
allegory.
4 0
C. Cels. 4.38 (252,26-255,4 M A R C ) . Celsus does not quote Gen 2:21-22 according to
Origen, but mocks at it. Hesiod, Opera 5 3 - 8 2 , 9 0 - 8 .
4 1
C. Cels. 4.38 (252,29-253,3 M A R C ) .
4 2
Christians do not, for example, offer any better interpretations of their tales about Jesus
than Egyptians do about their own worship of animals. C. Cels. 3.19 (165,13-8 M A R C ) . See
C o o k , Interpretation, 7 1 .
4 3
Plato, Resp. 378d (cf. J. T A T E , Plato and Allegorical Interpretation, CQ 2 3 , 1929, (142-
54) 1 4 6 - 4 7 ; U S E N E R , Epicurea, F. 228 from Plutarch, Moralia 1086. S e e C O O K ,
Interpretation 1 1 - 1 2 / PEPIN, Mythe, 112-21,134-38.
4 4
C. Cels. 4.49 (265,21-2 M A R C ) .
4 5
C. Cels. 4.49 (266,3-267,2 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 63

4 6
very foolish myths (άλλ' άντικρυς εύηθεστατα μεμυθολόγητοα)."
O r i g e n p r e f a c e s t h i s remark b y a p p e a l i n g t o t e x t s s u c h as E z e k 2 9 : 3 (the
dragon in the river) a n d 3 2 : 6 ( P h a r a o h ' s d u n g spread o n the m o u n t a i n s o f
47
E g y p t ) t o argue that certain t e x t s d e m a n d s o m e k i n d o f a l l e g o r y . It w a s a
c o m m o n p l a c e for p a g a n s and Christians to attack e a c h other's " m y t h s " and t o
reject the a l l e g o r i c a l d e f e n s e o f t h o s e m y t h s . Origen reminds Celsus of
P l a t o ' s b a n i s h m e n t o f the p o e t s ( a n d their m y t h s ) f r o m h i s p h i l o s o p h e r ' s
48
state .
C e l s u s ' r e a s o n s for rejecting the J e w i s h and Christian a l l e g o r i e s appear in
a text that is frustratingly brief. T h i s probably c o m p r i s e s the c o r e o f C e l s u s '
argument:

[It seems to me that he has heard that there are writings which contain allegories of the
law — indeed if he had read them he would not have said,] The allegories, then, which
have apparently been written about them are far more disgraceful and absurd than the
myths (των μύθων αίσχίους καΐ άτοπώτεραι) because they connect things — by some
amazing and completely stupid foolishness — that can in n o w a y be put together
49
(άρμοσθηναι).

T h e p r o b l e m C e l s u s f i n d s i s that J e w i s h and Christian a l l e g o r i e s d o n o t


h a r m o n i z e w i t h the texts t h e y purport t o e x p l a i n and c o n s e q u e n t l y are m o r e
5 0
absurd than the t e x t s t h e m s e l v e s . O r i g e n a s s u m e s C e l s u s is referring to
f i g u r e s s u c h as A r i s t o b u l u s and P h i l o . H e i n c l u d e s N u m e n i u s (a p a g a n
thinker) a m o n g t h o s e w h o a l l e g o r i z e O T and N T texts. O r i g e n s u r m i s e s that
5 1
C e l s u s h a d n o t r e a d their b o o k s . A c c o r d i n g to E d o u a r d d e s Places,

4 6
C. Cels. 4 . 5 0 ( 2 6 7 , 2 3 - 7 M A R C ) = R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 13. G.
LOESCHE, (Haben die spateren Neuplatonischen Polemiker gegen das Christenthum das Werk
des Celsus benutzt? ZWTh 2 7 , 1884, [257-302] 2 7 1 ) compares this passage to Porphyry's
charge that Origen introduced Greek ideas into foreign myths (Eus., H.E. 6.19.7 = H A R N A C K ,
Porphyrius, F. 39.). Cf. P E L A G A U D , Un conservateur, 325.
4 7
C. Cels. 4.50 (267,3-268,4 M A R C ) .
4 8
Plato, Resp. 349c,d. Cf. COOK, Interpretation 5, 8 , 1 1 - 1 2 .
4 9
C. Cels. 4.51 (268,5-10 M A R C ) .
5 0
Celsus w a s n o more impressed by Gnostic Christians' allegories of M o s e s ' creation
account and laws (C. Cels. 6.29 (406,5-10 M A R C ) . Cf. also G A G E R , M o s e s , 9 8 - 1 0 0 w h o
summarizes Celsus' position: M o s e s and the Jews abandoned the ancient tradition (archaios
logos); consequently there can be no allegorical interpretation of Mosaic texts; and M o s e s
represents God in a philosophically objectionable way (e.g. claiming that God "rested" — see
§ 1.2.5 below).
5 1
C. Cels. 4.51 (268,10-28 M A R C ) . On Aristobulus see H O L L A D A Y , Fragments, Π Ι (the
text, comments and bibliography). Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 5. The fragments from
Numenius that Origen uses are edited as Numenius F. l c , 10a (43, 5 2 DES PLACES). Origen's
brief reference to Numenius' treatment of Jannes and Jambres (in Exod 7:11) is found in Eus.
P.E. 9.8.1-2 (= F. 9 [51 D E S P L A C E S ] ) . On Numenius' treatment of the Bible see DES PLACES,
Numenius et la Bible, 310-15. Cf. also § 0.16.
64 1. Celsus

52
N u m e n i u s w a s t h e first Greek (pagan) t o interpret t h e O T a l l e g o r i c a l l y .
Porphyry attacked O r i g e n ' s o w n e x e g e s i s o f O T texts u s i n g terms similar to
those C e l s u s did. H e accuses Origen o f an "absurd" form o f allegory ( τ ρ ό π ο ς
ττ\ς ά τ ο π ί α ς ) . H i s interpretations d o n o t c o h e r e w i t h or h a r m o n i z e with
what h a s b e e n written ( ά σ υ ν γ κ λ ώ σ τ ο υ ς και ανάρμοστους· τοις
5 3
γεγραμμένοις) .

1.2 Creation

O f all t h e texts in t h e Old Testament, the creation narrative draws the m o s t


scorn from C e l s u s . H e refers to specific texts in G e n e s i s often and m a k e s a
more general attack o n the concept that the world w a s created for the sake o f
humanity. In t h e c o u r s e o f h i s critique, C e l s u s a l s o finds fault w i t h t h e
concept o f a G o d w h o has a v o i c e and rests. C e l s u s m a y h a v e b e e n aware o f
Justin's attempt t o argue that Plato w a s dependent o n O T teachers, i.e. the
L o g o s (word, reason) speaking through them, in his account o f the creation o f
54
the u n i v e r s e . F o r Justin, Plato took t e a c h i n g s f r o m t h e O T , and C e l s u s
55
argued that Christ w a s dependent o n P l a t o . C l e m e n t o f Alexandria pursued
this line o f argument, and found e v i d e n c e o f Greek p l a g i a r i s m o f creation
from "the barbarian" p h i l o s o p h y o f the H e b r e w s , including the creation o f
56
humans from the earth .

1.2.1 The Mosaic Account as Nonsense


C e l s u s h e l d a l o w v i e w o f t h e creation t h e o l o g y f o u n d i n M o s e s and the
57
prophets. After a discussion o f the garden o f Eden h e w r i t e s :

[Then after these he collects in simple affirmations (ψιλαΐς ά π ο φ ά σ ε σ ι ) ] the different


theories expressed by the ancients concerning the origin ( γ ε ν έ σ ε ω ς ) of the cosmos and of

5 2
D E S P L A C E S , Numenius et la Bible, 313.
5 3
H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 3 9 = E u s . , H.E. 6 . 1 9 . 4 - 8 . Cp. § 2 . 2 . 2 and C O O K ,
Interpretation, 129.
5 4
Justin, Apol. 1.59.1-5 (115,1-13 M A R C ) . Cp. Plato, Tim. 51a, 69b,c, and Alcinoos,
Didask. 8 - 1 3 1 6 2 , 2 4 - 1 6 9 , 1 5 (CUFr, A l c i n o o s , 19-31 W H I T T A K E R / L O U I S ) . S e e also
M A R C O V I C H ' S apparatus ad loc.
5 5
Justin, Apol. 1.59.1-60.11 (PTS 3 8 , 115,1-117,30 MARCOVICH). Origen, C. Cels. 7.58
(508,24-509,17 M A R C ) . Cp. C O O K , Interpretation, 7.
5 6
Clem. A l e x . , Strom. 5.14.92.1-4; 5.14.99.1-100.3 (GCS Clemens Alex. II, 3 8 6 , 2 1 -
387,4; 392,7-22 STAHLIN/FRUCHTEL).
5 7
C. Cels. 6.49 (427,13.26-7; 428,2-6.9-12 M A R C ) . For a discussion of Celsus' creation
account see D . B R I Q U E L , Creation d'Adam et mythe d'autochtonie, Helmantica 50, 1999, 85-
96.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 65

humans [and he says that] those w h o left our writings did not know what the nature
58
(φύσις) of the cosmos and humans was and composed total nonsense (λήρον β α θ ύ ν ) .

O r i g e n ' s criticism o f C e l s u s ' bare or s i m p l e statements has the c o n n o t a t i o n o f


59
"unargued" . M a r c u s A u r e l i u s a c c u s e d the Christians o f bare o b s t i n a n c y
60
(ψιλήν π α ρ ά τ α ξ ι ν ) in their b e l i e f s . T h e various o p i n i o n s o f the ancients d o
n o t appear in t h i s t e x t , but C e l s u s d o e s m e n t i o n a t h e o r y in a f o l l o w i n g
fragment c o n c e r n i n g the q u e s t i o n o f the creation and destructibility o f the
61
universe . O r i g e n r e s p o n d s p l a y f u l l y in k i n d t o C e l s u s and l a b e l s C e l s u s '
62
o w n c o m p o s i t i o n , the True Discourse, as total n o n s e n s e .

1.2.2 The Seven Days of Gen 1

T h e creation a c c o u n t in G e n 1 w a s full o f i n c o h e r e n c e a c c o r d i n g to C e l s u s .
63
Shortly before a list o f various G n o s t i c g r o u p s , C e l s u s m a k e s a general point
about the b e l i e f s o f J e w s and Christians:

Then Celsus says next:] Surely then it is the same God that both the Jews and these
people have, [plainly meaning the Christians. And as if drawing a conclusion that would
not be conceded he says this:] Clearly those from the Great Church confess this and
believe that the things are true in the creation story ( κ ο σ μ ο γ ο ν ί α ς ) that was produced by
the Jews — for example, in the six days (Gen 1:3-31) and the seventh in which [as the
scripture says] God [ceased from his works (Gen 2:2-3), departing into contemplation of
64
himself. Celsus, not keeping to what is written and not understanding it, says] "rested"
(αναπαύσαμενος) [which is not written].

Origen g o e s o n t o refer to H e b 4:9 and 5:11 in his allusion to the m y s t e r i e s o f


6 5
creation and the sabbatical rest for G o d ' s p e o p l e . C e l s u s then m a k e s w h a t
Origen thinks is a p o i n t l e s s reference t o the first human: " . . . the first p e r s o n
( G e n 1:26), w h o m w e i n d e e d say is the s a m e as the o n e the J e w s n a m e , and

5 8
C, Cels. 6.50 (428,20-4 M A R C ) . Cf. P E L A G A U D , U n conservateur, 3 5 3 . The apostles
labeled the women's affirmation of Christ's resurrection with the same term in Lk 24:11.
5 9
S e e LSJ s.v. IV. 1 for a connotation of "unargued" or "unproven" for this word.
Aristotle, Rhet. ad A l e x . 1438b uses it for the "bare facts" presented in the narratio of a
speech. Cp. C O O K , Interpretation, 273.
6 0
M a r c u s Aur., In semet ipsum 11.3.2 ( S C H E N K L ) in W. D E N B O E R , Scriptorum
paganorum I-IV saec. de Christianis testimonia, Textus Minores II, Leiden 1 9 4 8 , 9 .
6 1
C. Cels. 6.52 (430,7-10 M A R C ) discussed in § 1.2.11 below.
6 2
C. Cels. 6.50 (428,27-30 M A R C ) ,
6 3
C. Cels. 5.62 ( 3 7 3 , 3 - 2 0 M A R C . ) with reference to the Simonians and followers of
Helena or Helenus, Marcellina, Salome, Mariamne, Martha, and Marcion. Patristic
references to these groups can be found in CHADWICK, Origen, 3 1 2 , B O R R E T 3.168-69, and
BADER 138,139.
6 4
This phrase is almost identical with Plato, Pol. 272e and is probably not from Celsus.
Cf. B O R R E T 3.163 n . l . On the difference between "cease" and "rest" see § 1.2.5 below.
6 5
C. Cels. 5.59 (370,24-371,4 M A R C ) .
66 1. Celsus

6 6
w e trace t h e s a m e g e n e a l o g y from h i s d e s c e n d a n t s as t h e y d o . " Celsus
subsequently m e n t i o n s s o m e other incidents in G e n e s i s that w i l l b e discussed
b e l o w . O r i g e n c o n c e d e s that J e w s a n d Christians share t h e s a m e inspired
b o o k s , but n o t the s a m e interpretation with a reference to 2 Cor 3 : 1 5 - 1 8 and
6 7
the J e w s ' i n a b i l i t y t o u n d e r s t a n d i n g the d e e p e r m e a n i n g o f t h e l a w .
Origen's c o m m e n t a b o v e about a c o n c l u s i o n that w o u l d not b e c o n c e d e d (i.e.
the s a m e G o d and creation story for J e w s and Christians) is unnecessary g i v e n
C e l s u s ' n e x t point that s o m e Christians b e l i e v e in the s a m e G o d as the J e w s
while others b e l i e v e in another G o d to w h o m the first is o p p o s e d . Celsus then
68
continues with a discussion o f Gnostic and Jewish Christian g r o u p s .

123 Time and the Days of Creation


Origen d i d n o t i n c l u d e C e l s u s ' criticism o f the creation account in the text
g i v e n a b o v e ( C . C e l s . 5 . 5 9 ) , but h e d o e s indicate s o m e o f his problems with
the narrative i n later texts. In the midst o f a d i s c u s s i o n o f creation, Origen
writes after c o m m e n t i n g o n C e l s u s ' verbosity:
69
... he says in other similar words things like those examined a little a b o v e : ] B y far the
70
most stupid ( ε ύ η θ έ σ τ ε ρ ο ν ) thing is to divide the creation o f the world ( κ ο σ μ ο γ ο ν ί α )
into several days, before there were days; for heaven (ουρανού) was not yet made, nor was
the earth yet made firm, nor was the sun being revolved around it — h o w could days
exist? [For h o w do these words differ from:] Again referring to the matter discussed
71
above let us examine how it would not be absurd ( ά τ ο π ο ς ) for the first and greatest God
to command, "let this be (γενέσθω [LXX has Γενηθήτω]), and this other, or that," and to
make ( τ ε κ τ α ι ν ό μ ε ν ο ς ) just s o much o n the first day, and again o n the second day
72
something more, and on the third and fourth and fifth and sixth [Gen 1:3-31]?

Origen rejects a literal or superficial interpretation ( π ρ ο χ α ρ ο τ ε ρ α ν εκδοχή ν )


o f the s i x d a y s and appeals to G e n 2:4 in what s e e m s t o b e an argument for

6 6
C. Cels. 5.59 (371,5-8 M A R C ) .
6 7
C. Cels. 5.60 (371,20-372,2 M A R C ) .
6 8
C. Cels. 5.61 (372,3-5.17-32 M A R C ) . The Ebionites reject Paul's letters according to
Origen in C. Cels. 5.65 (375,12-4 M A R C ) . On Valentinus and the Valentianians s e e C.
MARKSCHIES, Valentinus Gnosticus? Untersuchungen zur valentinischen Gnosis mit einem
Kommentar zu den Fragmenten Valentins, W U N T 65, Tubingen 1992.
6 9
C. Cels. 6.50-1 (428,20-430,2 M A R C ) .
7 0
Philo, L e g . alleg. 1.2 uses the same word (εύηθε'ς) to argue against the literal
interpretation o f the days of creation. Cp. STEIN, Alttestamendiche Bibelkritik, 16.
7 1
Celsus used this concept (absurdity) in the fragments of C. Cels. 2.20 (97,9-18 M A R C ) ,
2.44 ( 1 1 5 , 9 - 1 3 M A R C ) , 4.51 (268,6-10 M A R C ) , 5.14 (331,1-24 M A R C ) , and 8.49 (564,2
M A R C ) . Porphyry used the same concept against Christian e x e g e s i s in H A R N A C K ,
Porphyrius, F. 3 9 (cf. § 2.2.2). Cp. also the anonymous philosopher in Macarius Magnes,
Monog. 3.19.4 (II, 146,33 G O U L E T = H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 2 3 ) . See COOK,
Interpretation, 4 7 , 5 9 , 7 1 , 1 2 9 , 1 8 6 .
7 2
C. Cels. 6.60 (437,10-20 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 67

73
the simultaneity o f the act o f c r e a t i o n . Q u i n t i n o Cataudella p o i n t s out that
C e l s u s ' o b j e c t i o n t o creation in s i x d a y s and G o d ' s fatigue are similar t o an
E p i c u r e a n a r g u m e n t in C i c e r o , De nat. deor. (On the Nature of the Gods),
w h e r e V e l l e i u s argues against S t o i c creation t h e o l o g y . H e c o n t e n d s that d a y s
and n i g h t s c o u l d n o t e x i s t w i t h o u t the circular m o t i o n o f the u n i v e r s e . He
then w o n d e r s w h y P r o v i d e n c e s u d d e n l y after " a g e s " s t o p p e d b e i n g idle. Was
74
it t o a v o i d f a t i g u e ? G o d cannot be fatigued. A n a n o n y m o u s p a g a n (or
75
Christian) f o u n d it i n c r e d i b l e that d a y s c o u l d e x i s t b e f o r e the stars e x i s t e d .
Julian also had p r o b l e m s w i t h the creation account ( s e e § 3 . 3 ) .
C e l s u s ' o b j e c t i o n s against creation as the result o f G o d ' s c o m m a n d s w e r e
apparently not shared b y the a n o n y m o u s author o f On the Sublime.

In the same way the lawmaker (ό θεσμοθέτης) of the Jews, not an average man (ούχ ό
τυχών άνήρ), since he grasped and revealed the power of the divine in a worthy manner,
writing immediately in the beginning of the laws says: "God said" — what? "Let there be
light. And there w a s (Gen 1:3). Let there be earth (γενέσθω γ ή ) . And there w a s (Gen
76
1:9-10)."

A s s u m i n g that this author w a s n o t J e w i s h , o n e finds h e r e o n e o f the m o s t


s y m p a t h e t i c r e s p o n s e s t o the L X X in H e l l e n i s m . Certainly C e l s u s d o e s not
share that s y m p a t h y .

1.2.4 Light

C e l s u s f o u n d a p r o b l e m w i t h G e n 1:3, "Let there b e light." O r i g e n d o e s not


specify w h a t k i n d o f s o u r c e C e l s u s m a y h a v e had:

7 3
C. Cels. 6.60 (438,4-7 M A R C ) . In D e prin. 4.3.1 (323,3-6 [730] G./K.), Origen argues
against the literal sense of the days of creation in a section entitled the "Impossibility and
Irrationality of the Literal Sense" (του κατά τ ό ρητόν ε ν τ ι σ ι ν αδυνάτου ή αλόγου).
He notes that the first three days could not exist without sun, moon, or stars. Cp. Origen,
Comm. In Matt. 14.9 (GCS Origenes X , 296,24-298,3 K L O S T E R M A N N ) where he says that
God does not need time to make the world (discussed in CHADWICK, Origen, 376 n . l ) . Philo,
Leg. alleg. 1.2 also rejected the idea of creation in six days in favor of the belief that it was
not created in time. Time is created by means of the existence of the world and its motion. In
D e opif. mundi 13, Philo argues that God created the world simultaneously, and the six days
show that there was a need for order for things coming into existence. In D e aetern. mundi 4
Philo accepts the Stoic definition of time as the interval of cosmic motion. Cp. STEIN,
Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 15-6. For a similar position see Ambrosiaster's answer to an
anonymous objector w h o wonders why Genesis does not say God created all in one moment.
See Ambrosiaster, Quaest. Vet. et N. Test. 106.18 (CSEL 50, 244,3-6 S O U T E R = R I N A L D I , La
Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 24).
7 4
Q. C A T A U D E L L A , Celso e l'Epicureismo, A S N S P 12, 1943, (1-23) 11-12. S e e B O R R E T ,
3.328 n.l with reference to C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.9.21-22.
7 5
Ps. Just., Quaest. et resp. ad Orthod. § 6 2 (76), 427c (88 OTTO = 73,19-23 P.-K./H.).
7 6
Author's ET. Ps. Longinus, D e Sublimitate 9.9 = STERN I, § 148. Cf. § 0.14.
68 1. Celsus

[He did not understand, I think, some wretched heresy (μοχθηρά^ αιρέσεων) which
badly explains the "let there be light" as said prayerfully (εύκτικώς) by the creator. He
said,] For the creator (δημιουργός) did not use light from above like those w h o light their
lamps from those of neighbors. [And misunderstanding another impious heresy he said,]
77
If there is an a c c u r s e d God, the enemy of the great God, w h o made these things against
78
that God's will, why did he lend him l i g h t ?

O r i g e n a g r e e s that s u c h i d e a s s h o u l d b e attacked, but n o t e s that C e l s u s has


79
little k n o w l e d g e o f the sects h e is d e s c r i b i n g . Paul K o e t s c h a u calls attention
80
to s e v e r a l f r a g m e n t s f r o m Tatian that i l l u m i n a t e C e l s u s ' c r i t i q u e . In h i s
treatise On Prayer, O r i g e n i n c l u d e s a v i e w o f Tatian that s o u n d s like the o n e
C e l s u s i s a w a r e of:

Tatian did not understand that the "let there be" does not always signify an act of prayer
(τό ε ύ κ τ ι κ ό ν ) , but can also sometimes be an act of command. H e most impiously
supposed that the God who said, "let there be light" did it as one praying and not as one
commanding light to be, since as he [Tatian] said with atheistic understanding, "God was
81
in darkness."

In another f r a g m e n t f r o m Tatian, C l e m e n t o f A l e x a n d r i a w r i t e s : "Against


Tatian w h o s a y s that the w o r d s , 'let there b e light' are a prayer: if then h e
w h o uttered the prayer w a s aware o f a G o d higher than h i m s e l f , w h y d o e s h e
8 2
s a y , Ί a m G o d and there i s n o other but Γ (Isa 4 5 : 5 , 4 6 : 9 ) . " T h e primary

7 7
S e e also C. Cels. 6.27 (404,14-8 M A R C ) where Origen writes: "[For this reason w e
also share the anger of those w h o complain against such people — if there are any — ] who
say that the God of the Jews is cursed w h o rains and thunders and is the demiurge of this
cosmos, the God of Moses and of the creation of the cosmos described by him." Cp. C. Cels.
6.29 (406,3-5 M A R C ) . The expression "accursed" is probably not Marcionite. S e e the
Marcionite criticisms of the creator God in H A R N A C K , Marcion, 97-118 including the list of
the creator's sins from P s . C l e m e n t , Horn. 2 . 4 3 . 1 - 4 4 . 5 , 3 . 3 8 . 2 - 4 0 . 1 ( G C S D i e
Pseudoklementinen I, 52,26-53,22; 70,23-71,2 B. R E H M / J . IRMSCHER = H A R N A C K , Marcion,
278-79*).
7 8
C. Cels. 6.51 (429,25-430,2 M A R C ) . Cf. PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 353.
7 9
C. Cels. 6.51 (430,2-6 M A R C ) .
8 0
C. Cels. 6.51 (II, 122, app. crit. K O E T . ) .
8 1
Origen, D e orat. 24.5 (GCS Origenes II, 356,6-10 K O E T . ) . One of the criticisms of the
creator in the Ps. Clementine literature is that he exists in gloom, darkness, and storm (γνόφω,
σκότω και θυελλη) a reference to theophanies like Deut 4:11; Ps. Clem., Horn. 2.44.3
(53,13-14 R E H M = H A R N A C K , Marcion, 278*).
8 2
C l e m . A l e x . , Eel. Proph. 3 8 . 1 ( G C S C l e m e n s A l e x . I l l , 1 4 8 , 1 7 - 9
S T A H L I N / F R U C H T E L / T R E U ) , ET by C H A D W I C K , Origen, 368 n . l . Texts similar to Isa 45:5,
46:9 exist in Gnostic texts also as a boast of the creator God. S e e K. R U D O L P H , Gnosis. The
Nature and History o f Gnosticism, trans. R . M. W I L S O N , San Francisco 1987, 7 9 with
reference to Pap. Ber. 8502 44,10-18 and Ap. John N H C II, 1, 11,15-22 (The Coptic Gnostic
Library. A Complete Edition of the N a g Hammadi Codices, Vol. 2, ed. J. ROBINSON, Leiden
2 0 0 0 , 6 9 - 7 1 , 7 8 ) . Cp. Irenaeus, A d v . Haer. 2 . 9 . 2 ( S C 2 9 4 , 8 4 , 3 1 - 6 R O U S S E A U /
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 69

83
argument here is the nature o f the speech act o f G o d ' s statement in G e n 1 : 3 .
Tatian's v i e w that it is a prayer is a heterodox interpretation according to
Origen. C e l s u s is aware o f heterodox Christian groups, but h e o c c a s i o n a l l y
8 4
s e e m s to a s s u m e that all Christians share their v i e w s . C e l s u s w a s certainly
able to d i s t i n g u i s h the v i e w s o f the "Great Church" f r o m t h o s e o f n o n -
85
Orthodox Christian g r o u p s .

7.2.5 The Sabbath


C e l s u s o b j e c t e d to the c o n c e p t o f G o d ' s resting. O r i g e n d e s c r i b e s the
criticism:
He thinks that "he stopped ( κ α τ έ π α υ σ ε ) on the seventh day" (Gen 2:2-3) is the same as
"He rested ( ά ν ε π α ύ σ α τ ο ) , " and he says,] After this, truly, just like a bad handworker
86
( χ ε ι ρ ο τ έ χ ν η ς ) he was worn out (έκκαμών) and needed leisure time for relaxation (προς
άνάπαυσιν α ρ γ ί α ς δεηθείς) [... Then as if the scripture spoke this way or w e ourselves
describe God as having rested] when he was worn out [he says,] It is not right that the
87
First God should become weary or work with his hands or give c o m m a n d s .

C e l s u s m a y b e indirectly indebted to a H e l l e n i s t i c J e w i s h author s u c h as


Aristobulus w h o argued that G o d ' s resting did not imply "as s o m e s u p p o s e "
that G o d d i d n o t h i n g (ού τ ο ί ν υ ν , ώ σ π ε ρ τινές ύπολαμβάνουσι την
8 8
ά ν ά π α υ σ ι ν τ ο υ θβου, π έ π α υ τ α ι π ο ι ώ ν ό 0 € 0 s ) . O n c e G o d c e a s e d
( κ α τ α π ε π α υ κ έ ν α ι ) , the arrangement o f all created things w a s preserved for all
time. Aristobulus is l e s s concerned than Origen with the particular w o r d i n g
in the L X X . If C e l s u s k n e w Aristobulus, then he clearly did not accept his
point o f v i e w . P h i l o , h o w e v e r , w a s c o n c e r n e d with a linguistic distinction
similar to the o n e that Origen noted. H e distinguishes "he rested" from "he
c e a s e d " ( κ α τ έ π α υ σ ε ν ... έ π α ύ σ α τ ο ) s i n c e G o d n e v e r c e a s e s w o r k i n g (ού

D O U T R E L E A U ) where the creator does not know the power above him as he says the words in
Isa 46:9. Irenaeus says the Gnostics attribute lies and wickedness to this creator.
8 3
On speech acts see C O O K , Structure, 106-10.
8 4
Cf. Origen's complaint in C. Cels. 6.27 (404,18-22 M A R C ) .
8 5
C. Cels. 5.59 (370,24-9 M A R C ) .
8 6
Philo, Leg alleg. 1.18 denies that God is a mere "craftsman" ( τ ε χ ν ί τ η ς ) or "artificer"
who ceases from his creation.
8 7
C. Cels. 6.61 (438,12-6.22-4 M A R C . ) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 4 0 w h o
refers to Aug., D e civ. Dei 11.8. Augustine interprets the passage to mean the rest of those
who rest in God and not a reference to God's toil (327,1-328,25 D O M B A R T / K A L B ) . See also
CHADWICK, Origen, 376 n.3. S T E R N II, 305 refers to Rutilius Namatianus ( S T E R N II, § 542)
who notes of the Sabbath: "each seventh day is condemned to ignoble sloth, as 'twere an
effeminate picture of the god fatigued" (ET from J. W. D U F F / A . M . D U F F ' S LCL edition). Cf.
also F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile, 163, 166 / R I N A L D I , La Bibbia dei pagani, II, 85 / § 0.10,
11. On the second God see § 2.1.4.
8 8
Aristobulus F . 5, 5b = Eus., P.E. 13.12.11, Clement Alex., Strom. 6.16.141.7b (III,
182,54-70 H O L L A D A Y ) .
70 1. Celsus

89
π α ύ ε τ α ι 8e π ο ι ώ ν αυτός) . S t o i c s and Epicureans u s e d the c o n c e p t o f
God's "labor" to attack o n e another. C i c e r o ' s Epicurean friend, V e l l e i u s ,
asked the Stoic w h y Providence remained idle or at rest (cur Pronoea vestra
90
cessaverit) during the a g e s before c r e a t i o n . Fatigue or w o r k (labor) cannot
touch G o d . C i c e r o ' s B a l b u s (the S t o i c ) , o n the other hand, argued that the
g o d s ( h e a v e n l y b o d i e s ) h a v e n o b o n e s or s i n e w s and are neither idle nor
91
burdened b y toil (cum labore operoso) . H e c r i t i c i z e d Epicurus for his
c o n c e p t o f d o - n o t h i n g g o d s (nihil agentes). Epicurus had to invent such a
c o n c e p t o f the g o d s b e c a u s e he v i e w e d t h e m as h a v i n g h u m a n forms — the
9 2
semblance of bodies . The concept of G o d ' s "handwork" was also
objectionable to C e l s u s . V e l l e i u s the Epicurean objects to the philosopher
(Plato) w h o d e p i c t e d the w o r l d as h a v i n g b e e n born and "almost m a d e by
93
hand" e v e n t h o u g h it is eternal . Origen explains e x p r e s s i o n s s u c h as the
"hands" o f G o d as b e i n g figurative w i t h reference to texts such as Ps 18:2
9 4
L X X . Aristobulus had earlier argued that expressions referring to the hands
9 5
of G o d w e r e metaphors for the p o w e r o f G o d . It is apparent that C e l s u s '
c o n c e r n s about t h e s e e l e m e n t s in the creation story are part o f the o n g o i n g
p h i l o s o p h i c a l d i s c u s s i o n s in antiquity. T h e n e x t fragment a l s o contains his
objections to the u s e o f body language to describe G o d .

8 9
Philo, Leg. alleg. 1.6, 18. An objector asks how, if God rested on the seventh day, is
his activity not temporally limited — like fire which is extinguished? Ps. Justin, Quaest. et
resp. ad Orthod. § 147 (136,22-9 P.-K./H.).
9 0
C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.9.22.
9 1
C i c , D e nat. deor. 2.23.59. See Plato, Tim. 33a,b. Cp. Augustine's reference to the
childish view of God as laboring with toil (laborauerit operando) in D e civ. Dei 11.8 (327,3
D./K.).
9 2
C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.18.46-49 (Velleius argues for gods with the semblance of human
form), 1.25.71 (Cotta the Academic criticizes the Epicureans who believe the gods have only
a semblance of a body because otherwise they could perish). The gods' semblance to mortals
did not, however, cause the Epicureans to assert creation in the image of god. The primordial
principles of things (atoms) of Lucretius c o m e together and create humans (Lucretius 5.181-
91) by chance. Lactantius summarized Epicurean doctrine: "Providential reason has done
nothing in creating animals" (Nihil in procreandis animalibus providentiae ratio molita est;
Div. inst. 3.17.8 = U S E N E R , Epicurea, F . 370). Cp. Lucretius' attack on the idea that members
of our bodies (such as eyes) have been created for human use (4.823-57). Cicero, in his
defense of the skepticism of the Academy, asks in another dialogue where, when, and how
did providence fabricate a human (Academica 2.27.87).
9 3
C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.18.49.
9 4
C. Cels. 6.61 (II, 439,1-10 M A R C ) .
9 5
Aristobulus, F . 2, Eusebius, P.E. 8.10.8 (III, 138,43-53 HOLLADAY) and cp. COOK,
Interpretation, 3.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 71

1.2.6 God's Mouth, Voice, and Image


C e l s u s continues his attack o n the c o n c e p t s u s e d to picture G o d in G e n e s i s .
Origen charges that C e l s u s m i g h t h a v e heard simplistic interpreters o f texts
such as Isa 1:20 (a reference to the mouth o f the Lord):
[...Celsus did not understand the reasons why what is said by way of the names of bodily
members refer to the powers of God. He said,] He has neither mouth nor voice. [Truly
96
God has no voice if voice is air that has been struck ... He adds,] There is nothing else
97
characteristic of God that w e know, [but what things we know he does not make c l e a r ] .

Origen agrees that G o d d o e s not have bodily m e m b e r s , but argues that w e d o


98
k n o w s o m e characteristics o f G o d such as virtue and d i v i n i t y . Philo earlier
argued that G o d w a s not anthropomorphic and that humans are not similar to
99
G o d in their o w n b o d i l y f o r m . H e also g a v e a metaphorical interpretation o f
100
G o d ' s s p e e c h . C e l s u s ' o w n c o n c e p t o f G o d is thoroughly Platonic. True
101
b e i n g is w i t h o u t any k i n d o f f o r m or q u a l i t y . T h e S t o i c s w e r e a l s o
102
unwilling to say that G o d r e s e m b l e d any human f o r m . C e l s u s ' c o n c l u s i o n
from such premises is logical: "He did not make man in his o w n i m a g e (ούδ'
άνθρωττον έ π ο ί η σ ε ν ε ι κ ό ν α α ύ τ ο ϋ ) , for G o d is not o f this sort ( τ ο ι ό σ δ ε ) ,
1 0 3
nor is h e like any f o r m (άλλω ε ϊ δ ε ι ούδενΐ ό μ ο ι ο ς ) . " Origen responds
that it is p o s s i b l e to read the story as inferring that the i m a g e is the h u m a n
body, but that n o o n e b e l i e v e s that. Instead it is the inward part or soul o f the
1 0 4
human being that is the i m a g e .

1.2.7 Adam, Eve, and the Snake


Origen notes that C e l s u s refers to matters from a narrative that is outside o f
scripture:

9 6
KOETSCHAU gives references to such ancient theories of sound in his note to C. Cels.
6.62 (II, 132, app. crit. KOET.); e.g. Plato, Tim. 67b.
9 7
C. Cels. 6.62 (439,13-6.21-2 M A R C ) .
9 8
C. Cels. 6.62 (439,22-5 MARC).
9 9
Philo, D e opif. mundi 69 with reference to Gen 1:26. Cp. Leg. alleg. 1.31-2.
1 0 0
Philo, D e sacrif. Abelis et Caini 65-6.
1 0 1
C. C e l s . 6.19 ( 3 9 6 , 3 0 - 2 ; 3 9 7 , 1 0 - 5 M A R C ) , and see the references in C O O K ,
Interpretation, 100-01.
1 0 2
J. VON A R N I M , Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta = SVF 2.1021.
1 0 3
C. Cels. 6.63 (440,15-6 MARC). See RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 3 4 who
refers to a discussion of the problem of God's image in Philo, D e opific. 69-71 (the image
does not refer to the body, but is the intellect).
1 0 4
C. Cels. 6.63 (440,17-441,10 M A R C ) .
72 1. Celsus

... matters concerning those people w h o claim antiquity — Athenians, Egyptians,


105
Arcadians, Phrygians — who say that some of them were born from the e a r t h and who
106
each furnish proofs ( τ ε κ μ ή ρ ι α ) for these things. He then adds: The Jews, bowed down
1 0 7
in s o m e corner of Palestine, completely without education ( α π α ί δ ε υ τ ο ι ) and not
having previously heard that these things have been sung of old by Hesiod and many
108
thousands o f other inspired i n d i v i d u a l s , constructed the most unpersuasive and
unrefined ( ά π ί θ α ν ω τ α τ α και ά μ ο υ σ ό τ α τ α [without the Muses]) accounts — some
person formed by the hands of God and breathed into ( π λ α σ σ ό μ ε ν ό ν τε και
109
έμφυσώμενον) (Gen 2:7), a woman from his rib (Gen 2:21-22), commandments from
God (Gen 2:16-17), a serpent who acted against these (Gen 3:1-5), and the serpent who
prevailed over God's ordinances. A myth like they tell to old women, depicting God in a
1 1 0
most unholy way, who at once from the start is weak and unable to persuade ( π ε ΐ σ α ι )
111
the one person whom he himself f o r m e d .

Origen r e s p o n d s that Plato m u s t not h a v e thought p o e t s l i k e H e s i o d to b e


inspired s i n c e h e e x p e l l e d t h e m from his Republic. M o s e s w a s earlier than
1 1 2
H e s i o d s i n c e h e l i v e d l o n g before the Trojan w a r . H e n o t e s that G e n 2:7
1 1 3
d o e s not m e n t i o n G o d ' s hands although Job 10:8 and P s 1 1 8 : 7 3 L X X d o .
H e s i o d ' s o w n account o f the creation o f the w o m a n Pandora is not superior to
114
the o n e in G e n e s i s , according to O r i g e n . If H e s i o d is to b e interpreted

1 0 5
For this Stoic view see S V F 2.739 = C. Cels. 1.37 (39,7-10 M A R C ) and Philo, D e
aetern. mundi 55-69 (e.g. the Peripatetic Critolaus who believed the world and man were
uncreated, and w h o described the story of the Spartoi w h o sprang fully armed from the
ground as a mythical fiction μύθου πλάσμα in Ibid. 58). Cp. BORRET 2.275 n.l / CHADWICK,
Origen, 36 n.4 /BRIQUEL, Creation, 85-9. CHADWICK, Origen, 211 n.l refers to various texts
in which the groups mentioned by Celsus claim to be the oldest humans on earth.
106 p j
o r m rhetoric and the debate against Christianity see COOK, Interpretation,
s t e r m m

318, and for the question of proof in general see 385 s.v. "proofs."
1 0 7
For the charge that Christians are ignorant and rustic see COOK, Interpretation, 383.
1 0 8
On inspired individuals in Celsus see COOK, Interpretation, 4 2 and the discussion of
Greco-Roman and Christian prophecy in 77-82.
1 0 9
These terms are clearly derived from the L X X of Gen 2:7.
1 1 0
A basic rhetorical text is Plato, Gorgias 453a that is quoted by Origen in the plural
(creators of persuasion) in C. Cels. 6.57 (435,10-1 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 9.
Celsus also refers to God's inability to persuade in a reference to anti-Marcionite diatribe in
6.53, 57 (431,21; 434,24 M A R C ) .
1 1 1
Origen, C. Cels. 4.36 (250,14-28 MARC.) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 41
with bibliography. Cf. also ROKEAH, Jews, 108 / PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 324.
1 1 2
Origen, C. Cels. 4.36 (251,1-18 M A R C ) . Philo, D e aetern. 18-19 appeals to Hesiod for
the view that the world is created, and argues that Moses preceded him by a long time. Cf.
Plato, Resp. 387c,d.
1 1 3
C. Cels. 4.37 (251,19-22 M A R C ) .
1 1 4
C. Cels. 4.38 (252,26-254,13 M A R C . ) with reference to Hesiod, Op. 53-82. Cp.
Theophilus' attack on Hesiod's creation story in A d Autolycum 2.5, 6, 12, 13 (OECT 28, 30,
4 6 G R A N T ) . He argues, for example, that Hesiod will call the world created ( γ ε ν η τ ό ν ) , but
will not say by whom.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 73

a l l e g o r i c a l l y , O r i g e n a s k s , then w h y d o e s C e l s u s think that J e w i s h texts


115
should not b e a l l e g o r i z e d ? O n e o f the k e y c o n c e p t s in C e l s u s ' critique is
G o d ' s inability to persuade his creature — an argument that C e l s u s a l s o u s e d
1 1 6
against J e s u s . T h e g o a l o f p e r s u a s i o n w a s o n e o f the c h i e f c o n c e r n s o f
ancient rhetoric. C e l s u s ' reference to the proofs that ancient p e o p l e u s e d is
a l s o important in rhetoric. T h e q u e s t i o n o f u n h o l i n e s s or i m p i e t y in the
d e p i c t i o n o f G o d w a s a f r e q u e n t e l e m e n t in t h e p a g a n c r i t i q u e o f
117
Christianity . T h e serpent w i l l reappear in C e l s u s ' c o m m e n t s b e l o w .
C e l s u s ' general v i e w that the account is a m y t h is reminiscent o f the remark
of P h i l o , w h o after describing the story o f E v e and the serpent, d e n i e s that
such stories are m y t h i c a l fictions (μύθου π λ ά σ μ α τ α ) . P h i l o s a y s that s u c h
stories call us to allegorical interpretation — a m o v e that C e l s u s w o u l d h a v e
118
d e n i e d . O n the other hand P h i l o d o e s say that the creation o f E v e from
1 1 9
A d a m ' s side is m y t h i c a l ( μ υ θ ώ δ ε ς ) in its literal s e n s e . H e a l s o d e n i e s that
1 2 0
God p h y s i c a l l y breathed into A d a m . P h i l o rejects the idea that G o d has
121
physical characteristics such as h a n d s .
C e l s u s ' negativity toward the concept o f G o d ' s "breathing into" the h u m a n
being m a y not h a v e b e e n universal a m o n g G r e c o - R o m a n readers o f the L X X
or Hellenistic J e w i s h texts. A n obscure Pythagorean author (Ps. Ecphantus)
may b e dependent o n the account o f G e n e s i s and describes humans so:

On earth the human is a being settled in a far land, falling short of his purer nature and
weighted down by the great earth. He would be scarcely lifted up from the mother if

1 1 5
C. Cels. 4.38 (252,26-253,3 M A R C ) . In 4.39 (255,5-13 M A R C ) Origen writes that
besides his attempt to find comedy in the story of the serpent, Celsus did not include anything
about the paradise of plants, the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge in it (Gen 2:8-9). The
friendly reader will see that such things can be interpreted allegorically. Cf. R I N A L D I , La
Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 56 / P E P I N , Mythe, 4 5 8 - 9 who notes that Origen argues forcefully
against Celsus that to be consistent he would have to admit that if Greek texts should be
interpreted allegorically, so should L X X texts. Origen included Plato's Symposium 203b-e
with its myth of the garden of Zeus and the birth of Eros in 4.39 (255,14-256,15 M A R C ) as an
example of a text that a reader like Celsus would be forced to rail at if he or she rejected
allegory of any myth. Cf. Plato, Protagoras 320d-321d and Menexenus 237a-b for examples
of creation and autochthony.
1 1 6
C. Cels. 2.39 (112,25-6 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 50.
1 1 7
C O O K , Interpretation, 45 (Jesus' unholy actions in C. Cels. 2.7 [82,14 M A R C . ] ) , 133
n.152, 385 s.v. "piety/impiety".
1 1 8
Philo, D e opif. mundi 157. Cp. STEIN, Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 18.
1 1 9
Philo, Leg alleg. 2.19. Cp. STEIN, Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 17.
1 2 0
Philo, Leg. alleg. 1.36. See § 2.2.4.
1 2 1
Philo, Quod D e u s sit imm. 57-9 and D e conf. ling. 98. See also § 1.2.5. BRIQUEL,
Creation, 90-4 argues that Celsus finds the view of God as a worker in clay to be pitiful — an
example of the devaluation of hand-work as opposed to agriculture (i.e. autochthony).
74 1. Celsus

some kind of inspiration of divine nature (θεοί μούρης ... έ μ π ν ο ί η σ ι ς ) did not join him
(σύναψεν) to the eternal living being, showing to his better part the sacred appearance
122
(πότοψις) of the B e g e t t e r .

T h e context o f "inspiration" s e e m s to imply that he is thinking o f humans as a


c o m b i n a t i o n o f earth and inspiration from G o d . In support o f the thesis that
Ecphantus m a y b e alluding to G e n 2:7 is Philo w h o holds that the soul w o u l d
not b e able to understand G o d , if G o d had not inspired (ενέπνευσε) it and
1 2 3
powerfully grasped ( ή ψ α τ ο ) i t .

1.2.8 The Creator God and the Serpent


Origen charges C e l s u s with passing o n m a l i c i o u s rumors and trying to prove
that Christians are the m o s t i m p i o u s o f p e o p l e b e c a u s e they call the creator
g o d "cursed":
[He m i x e s up matters and expounds on the reason why the God of the Mosaic creation
story is called] cursed (κατηραμένον) [saying that] He is of such a kind and is worthy of a
curse (άρας άξιος) according to those who think these things about him, since he cursed
( κ α τ η ρ α σ ά τ ο ) the serpent who brought the knowledge of good and of evil to the first
1 2 4
humans [Gen 2:17, 3 : 1 4 ] .

Origen responds that the Ophites d o not let anyone into their m e e t i n g s unless
they first curse Jesus. H e denies that the v i e w s o f the Ophites reflect those o f
125
Christians in g e n e r a l . Koetschau and Chadwick note that Ps. Tertullian and
Epiphanius d i s c u s s Gnostic groups with v i e w s o f the serpent similar to those
in C e l s u s ' text a b o v e , because the serpent imparted k n o w l e d g e to people. T h e
126
Gnostics c o n s e q u e n t l y prefer the serpent to C h r i s t . A n ancient b o w l s h o w s
what m a y b e a n u d e group o f Ophites in a circle w o r s h i p i n g a w i n g e d snake
127
in its c e n t e r . T h e Peratae, w h o w e r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h a w o r l d serpent,

1 2 2
Stobaeus 4.6.22 = S T E R N III, § 564a. In Philo's treatise D e aetern. 55-7 Critolaus the
Peripatetic philosopher argues that people are uncreated and that the race has always existed
on an earth that has always existed. People are not generated from mother earth, but have
always been generated sexually. See § 0.15.
1 2 3
Philo, Leg. alleg. 1.38.
1 2 4
C. Cels. 6.28 (405,8-13 MARC.) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 62.
1 2 5
C. Cels. 6.28 (405,14-22 M A R C ) . Cp. Origen, Catena F. 4 7 in I Cor 12:3 (C. F.
J E N K I N S , Origen on 1 Corinthians, JThS 10, 1909 [29-51] 30,30-34) / C H A D W I C K , Origen,
344 n.2. On the diagram of the Ophites known through C. Cels. 6.24-38 see A. J. W E L B U R N ,
Reconstructing the Ophite Diagram, N o v T 2 3 , 1 9 8 1 , 261-87.
1 2 6
C. Cels. 6.28 (II, 98, app. crit. K O E T . ) , CHADWICK, Origen, 3 4 4 n . l . Cf. Ps. Tert.,
Adv. omn. haer. 2.1 (CChr.SL 2, 1403,3-5 K R O Y M A N N ) , Epiphan., Panarion 37.3.1 (GCS
Epiphanius II, 53,13-7 H O L L / D U M M E R ) . See also RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 4 9 for
bibliography on Christians who venerated the snake / N. B R O X , Gnostische Argumente bei
Julianus Apostata, JAC 10, 1967, (181-6) 183-4.
1 2 7
S e e R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 2 3 , Table 8, 247. Cp. the snake-worshiping ceremony in
Epiphan., Panarion 37.5.6-8 (57,12-58,5 H./D.).
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 75

128
described the creator o f the w o r l d as a "murderer from the b e g i n n i n g " . The
Testimony of Truth f r o m N a g H a m m a d i contains admiration for the role o f the
serpent in the G e n e s i s story and c r i t i c i s m o f G o d ' s j e a l o u s y . Elaine Pagels
w r i t e s that the author o f the text tells the G e n e s i s story f r o m the s e r p e n t ' s
1 2 9
point o f v i e w . A f t e r a s u m m a r y o f the narrative in G e n 2 : 1 6 - 3 : 2 3 , the text
has:

And he cursed the serpent (Gen 3:14), and he called him "devil"... But of what sort is this
God? First [he] envied Adam that he should eat from the tree o f knowledge. And
secondly he said, "Adam, where are y o u ? " (Gen 3:9) A n d G o d d o e s not have
foreknowledge, that is, since he did not know this from the beginning. [And] afterwards
he said, "Let us cast him [out] of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life and live for
1 3 0 131
ever. Surely he has shown himself to be a malicious e n v i e r .

T h e author has m a n y c r i t i c i s m s o f the Creator o f G e n e s i s i n c l u d i n g h i s e n v y


o f A d a m ' s k n o w l e d g e and h i s apparently unjust c o n d e m n a t i o n o f the serpent.
A n o t h e r text f r o m N a g H a m m a d i , the Hypostasis of the Archons (Reality of
the Rulers) g i v e s a d i f f e r e n t picture o f the s e r p e n t that i s temporarily
p o s s e s s e d b y the spirit o f E v e :

And the Snake, the Instructor, said, "With death you (pi.) shall not die; for it was out of
jealousy that he said this to you (pi.). Rather your (pi.) eyes shall open and you (pi.) shall
c o m e to be like g o d s , recognizing evil and good (Gen 2:4-5)." A n d the Female
Instructing Principle was taken away from the Snake, and she left it behind merely a thing
132
of the e a r t h .

T h e author c o n t i n u e s w i t h the narrative and after G o d ' s q u e s t i o n i n g o f A d a m


( G e n 3 : 1 2 - 1 3 ) h e w r i t e s that "the arrogant R u l e r c u r s e d the W o m a n (Gen
1 3 3 1 3 4
3:16)." T h e A u t h o r i t i e s t h e n c u r s e the s n a k e . These texts from N a g
H a m m a d i d o not actually call the Creator "cursed," but they are h i g h l y critical

1 2 8
R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 87 with reference to Hippolytus, Ref. 5.17.7 (PTS 2 5 , 186,33-35
MARCOVICH). Origen mentions a Euphrates as the founder of the Ophites in C. Cels. 6.28
(406,1-2 M A R C ) . C H A D W I C K , Origen, 3 4 4 n.5 observes that Hippolytus names Euphrates as
the founder of the Peratics (Ref. 4 . 2 . 1 , 5 . 1 3 . 9 , 1 0 . 1 0 . 1 [92,1; 176,42-3; 385,1 M A R C ] ) .
1 2 9
E. PAGELS, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, N e w York 1988, 6 9 and Idem, Exegesis and
Exposition of the Genesis Creation Accounts in Selected Texs from N a g Hammadi, in: N a g
Hammadi, Gnosticism, and Early Christianity, ed. C. HEDRICK/R. H O D G S O N , Peabody, Mass.
1986, 257-86.
1 3 0
This is a version of Gen 3:22-23.
1 3 1
Testim. Truth N H C IX, 3 , 4 7 , 5 - 2 9 ( N H S 15, 162-4 P E A R S O N ) . ET from J. M.
R O B I N S O N , ed., The N a g Hammadi Library in English, trans, by members of the Coptic
Gnostic Library Project o f the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, San Francisco 1977,
412.
1 3 2
Hyp. Arch. N H C II, 4 , 9 0 , 7 - 1 2 (NHS 2 0 , 2 4 2 L A Y T O N ) . Cp. PAGELS, Adam, 66-67.
1 3 3
Hyp. Arch. N H C II, 4, 90,29-30 (NHS 2 0 , 2 4 4 L A Y T O N ) .
1 3 4
Hyp. Arch. N H C II, 4 , 9 0 , 3 1 - 9 1 , 3 (NHS 2 0 , 2 4 4 L A Y T O N ) .
76 1. Celsus

n o n e t h e l e s s o f his e n v y , lack o f f o r e k n o w l e d g e , and j e a l o u s y . Simon Magus,


in the P s e u d o - C l e m e n t i n e s , makes s i m i l a r c r i t i c i s m s that are probably
Marcionite: G o d d o e s not k n o w if A d a m w i l l actually eat o f the tree o f life or
not ( G e n 3 : 2 2 ) ; in the critic's r e v i s i o n o f G e n 3 : 2 2 , "Let us cast h i m out lest
perhaps ( μ ή π ω ς ) h e eat o f the t r e e . . . , " G o d is a l s o e n v i o u s o f the p o s s i b i l i t y
135
that A d a m m i g h t l i v e f o r e v e r .
A p e l l e s , the f o l l o w e r o f M a r c i o n , had this c r i t i c i s m o f G o d ' s c o m m a n d in
G e n 2:17:

If the human had not tasted death, he could not have known this death that he had not
tasted. Therefore if he had not tasted it, he did not know it. If he did not know it he could
not fear it. Therefore it is in vain that God threatened with the warning of death those
1 3 6
humans who did not fear i t .

A p e l l e s d o e s n o t c a l l G o d e n v i o u s or unjust, but s i m p l y v i e w s h i m as
irrational. H e a l s o apparently argued that it w a s not g o o d o f G o d to forbid the
1 3 7
k n o w l e d g e o f g o o d and e v i l , s i n c e it i s g o o d to h a v e s u c h k n o w l e d g e . In
this r e g a r d A m b r o s e s u m m a r i z e s an o p i n i o n o f A p e l l e s or like-minded
interpreters:

It is not always evil to disobey a commandment. If indeed the commandment is good,


obedience is virtuous (honesta); whereas if the commandment is perverse (improbum),
obedience is not beneficial (utile). Therefore it is not always an evil not to obey a
commandment, but not to obey a good commandment is perverse. However, the tree
producing (operatorium) the knowledge of good and evil is good, because God even knew
good and evil. Finally he said: Behold Adam has been made like one of us (Gen 3:22).
If then it is good to have the knowledge of good and evil, and moreover it is good to have
what even G o d has, it seems that the one w h o forbade it to humans did not correctly
1 3 8
forbid i t .

H e w a s w i l l i n g t o a c c u s e G o d o f cruelty w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o the death A d a m


w a s p u n i s h e d with: "If w e say that G o d is the creator o f death, w e a c c u s e h i m

1 3 5
Ps. Clement, Horn. 3.39.3 (71,8-12 REHM = H A R N A C K , Marcion, 278*).
1 3 6
From Ambrose, D e paradiso 5.28 (CSEL 3 2 . 1 , 2 8 5 , 2 - 5 S C H E N K L ) = H A R N A C K ,
Marcion, 4 1 3 - 4 * ; discussed in E. JUNOD, L e s attitudes d'Apelles, disciple de Marcion, a
l'ogard de l'Ancien Testament, A u g 2 2 , 1982, (113-33) 121. Hippolytus, Ref. 7.38.1-2
(320,1-321,9 M A R C = H A R N A C K , Marcion, 411*) mentions four beings in Apelles' system
(God, the righteous angelic demiurge, the angel of fire w h o spoke to M o s e s , and the angel
who creates evil). These do not correspond exactly to JUNOD's reconstruction (126-127). An
anonymous person asks Ps. Justin how Adam (rational or irrational) could have feared death
since he had never seen it. The Christian's answer is that Adam knew the meanings of words
(τάς ε ν ν ο ί α ς ) , w a s consequently rational, and thus knew what death w a s . Cf. Ps. Just.,
Quaest. et resp. ad Orthod. § 91 (102), 447d-448a (136-38 O T T O = 94,5-17 P.-K./H.).
1 3 7
From Ambrose, D e paradiso 6.30 (286,23-287,9 S C H E N K L ) = H A R N A C K , Marcion,
414-5*. Cp. JUNOD, Attitudes, 126.
1 3 8
Ambrose, D e paradiso 6.30 (286,23-287,9 SCHENKL) = HARNACK, Marcion, 414-5*.
See JUNOD, Attitudes, 126 / RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, 89.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 77

doubly — to either b e cruel (immitis) because h e didn't want to pardon w h e n


139
h e c o u l d , or if h e c o u l d n o t pardon, t o appear w e a k (infirmus)" Apelles
also found ground t o attack G o d ' s o w n k n o w l e d g e with regard t o G e n 2:17:
Did God know that Adam would transgress his commandments or did he not? If he did
not know, that is not an affirmation o f divine power. If he knew it and if, knowing it, he
ordained things that were going to be neglected, this is not an act o f God to command
something that is useless (superfluum). But he commanded something useless to Adam
the first formed because he knew that he would not serve him. God has, however, done
1 4 0
nothing useless, consequently the Scripture is not from G o d .

Pagan critics, b e s i d e s the Gnostic Christians, also found m a n y problems with


the account i n G e n e s i s . Porphyry criticized the O T G o d for n o t g i v i n g the
first humans k n o w l e d g e . Julian criticized the Creator for not a l l o w i n g p e o p l e
to h a v e k n o w l e d g e o f g o o d and e v i l , and argued that the serpent w a s a
b e n e f a c t o r rather than a d e s t r o y e r o f the h u m a n race ( ε ύ ε ρ γ έ τ η ν ...
1 4 1
λ υ μ ε ώ ν α ) . H e c o n s e q u e n t l y d e s c r i b e d G o d as "jealous" ( β α σ κ α ν ο ς ) .
Theophilus argued against the thesis that G o d w a s e n v i o u s o f A d a m b y noting
that a n e w b o r n c h i l d b e g i n s with milk and not solid food: "Therefore G o d
w a s n o t j e a l o u s ( φ θ ό ν ω ν ) as s o m e s u p p o s e , in ordering h i m n o t t o e a t o f
142
knowledge." C e l s u s d e s p i s e d the Christian c o n c e p t o f Satan, and thought
143
that the very c o n c e p t w a s b l a s p h e m o u s . H e d o e s , h o w e v e r , n o t m a k e a n y
link b e t w e e n the serpent o f G e n e s i s and the devil.

1.2.9 The Tree of Life


C e l s u s m a k e s several references t o the tree o f life (Gen. 3 : 9 ) that are drawn
from c o n t e x t s other than the narrative in G e n e s i s . H e m e n t i o n s a G n o s t i c
Christian t e a c h i n g about "the S e a l " ( σ φ ρ α γ ΐ δ ο ς ) w h i c h i s p r o b a b l y a
d e v e l o p m e n t o f the ancient Christian practice o f anointing the n e w l y baptized

1 3 9
Ambrose, D e paradiso 7.35 (292,9-13 SCHENKL). See JUNOD, Attitudes, 125.
1 4 0
From Ambrose, D e paradiso 8.38 (294,9-15 S C H E N K L ) = H A R N A C K , Marcion, 415-6*;
discussed in Junod, Attitudes, 121. Objections similar to those of Apelles to the narrative of
the temptation and fall can be found in a text of Ps. Marius Victorinus, D e physicis 9 (PL 8,
1300) = RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 55. Objectors ask, for example, why God gave a
commandment that h e knew would be disobeyed. If God could not keep humans from
sinning he was weak. Why did God let the tempter come near, they ask.
1 4 1
Porphyry's text is in: S T E R N II, § 463 = F. 4 2 H A R N A C K (who notes that it is not
certain that this text is from the C. Chr. although it is probably from that work). S e e § 2.2.5.
Julian, C. Gal. 89a-b, 93d-94a (94,2-12; 105,1-106,17 M A S . = III, 324-28 W R . ) . Cf. R I N A L D I ,
La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 4 8 with comments on 8 9 . Cp. § 3.5, 3.9 and L O E S C H E , D i e
Neuplatonischen, 273.
1 4 2
Theophilus, A d Autolycum 2.25 (66 G R A N T ) . ET by G R A N T .
1 4 3
C. Cels. 6 . 4 2 (417,20-418,7 M A R C ) . Cp. C O O K , Interpretation, 39-40 / P E L A G A U D ,
Un conservateur, 350-1.
78 1. Celsus

1 4 4
with o i l : "He w h o applies the seal is called Father; the o n e w h o is b e i n g
sealed is called y o u n g person and son, and h e responds, Ί h a v e b e e n anointed
with the w h i t e unction ( κ έ χ ρ ι σ μ α ι χ ρ ί σ μ α τ ι ) o f the tree o f l i f e . ' " Origen
145
has not heard o f s u c h a c e r e m o n y e v e n a m o n g the h e r e s i e s . H e f o l l o w s
with another q u o t e from C e l s u s c o n c e r n i n g the a n g e l s w h o a c c o m p a n y the
146
soul during its ascent after d e a t h . Chadwick refers to a Gnostic narrative o f
Jesus' baptism in the P s e u d o - C l e m e n t i n e literature that is very similar to the
text o f C e l s u s : " . . . h i m first the Father anointed with oil that w a s taken from
147
the tree o f l i f e . " A n o i n t i n g with oil played a role in G n o s t i c ritual and is
1 4 8
probably the "seal" in C e l s u s ' text a b o v e . T h e G o s p e l o f Philip has: "But
the tree o f life is in the midst o f paradise (paradeisos) and the o l i v e tree from
w h i c h the o i l o f a n o i n t i n g (chreisma) c o m e s ; t h r o u g h it [ c a m e ] the
149
resurrection." T h e s a m e g o s p e l continues with:

The anointing (chreismd) is superior to baptism. For from the anointing we were called
"anointed ones" (Christians), not because of the baptism. And Christ also was (so) named
because of the anointing, for the Father anointed the son, and the son anointed the
apostles, and the apostles anointed us. He (therefore) who has been anointed has the All.
1 5 0
He has the resurrection, the light, the cross, the Holy Spirit.. ,

There is a c o n n e c t i o n for Christ and for Christians b e t w e e n the anointing with


the oil o f the tree o f life and the resurrection in the G o s p e l o f Philip. C e l s u s
i n c l u d e s a n o t h e r G n o s t i c text w i t h a similar c o n c e p t u a l structure. He
c o m p l a i n s , in the m i d s t o f a l o n g d e s c r i p t i o n o f G n o s t i c Christianity:
151
"Everywhere there the q u e s t i o n c o m e s u p o f the tree o f life and the
resurrection o f the flesh from the tree, b e c a u s e — I think — their teacher w a s

1 4 4
Cf. G. W. H. L A M P E , The Seal of the Spirit, A Study in the Doctrine of Baptism and
Confirmation in the N e w Testament and the Fathers, London 1951. S e e Ibid, 125 on oil
coming from the tree of life, and 162-70 on Origen's use of "seal." Cp. C H A D W I C K , Origen,
342 n.2 and the oil from the tree of life in Apoc. Mos. 9 , 1 3 (5, 6 TlSCH.).
1 4 5
C. Cels. 6.27 (404,1-7 M A R C ) .
1 4 6
C. Cels. 6.27 404,7-12 M A R C ) . R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 229 gives Gnostic parallels for the
protective function of anointing (a kind of extreme unction) during the soul's ascent after
death.
1 4 7
C H A D W I C K , Origen, 342 n.2; Ps. Clem., Recog. 1.45.4 (GCS D i e Pseudoklementinen
II, 3 4 , 2 3 - 2 4 R E H M / P A S C H K E ) .
1 4 8
R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 227-28.
1 4 9
R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 2 2 9 from the Gos. Phil. N H C II, 3 , 7 3 , 1 6 - 1 9 (NHS 20, 188
L A Y T O N ) . Another ET can be found in ROBINSON, The Nag Hammadi Library, 144.
1 5 0
R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 229 from the Gos. Phil. N H C II, 3 , 7 4 , 12-21 (NHS 20, 190
LAYTON).
1 5 1
In the Gnostic text that Celsus is using.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 79

152
nailed to the c r o s s and w a s a carpenter b y t r a d e . " O r i g e n takes u p the
reference to the tree o f life:
One will discuss the tree of life at a more opportune time while explaining what is written
in Genesis about the garden of God which he planted. Often Celsus has scoffed at the
resurrection which he did not understand. N o w , not satisfied with what he has said, he
adds that] it is a matter of the resurrection of the flesh from the tree [not hearing correctly
what has been said symbolically that through the tree comes death and through the tree of
153
life comes death in Adam and life in C h r i s t .

T h e relation b e t w e e n C h r i s t ' s a n o i n t i n g f r o m the tree o f l i f e a n d h i s


resurrection is clear in the text from the G o s p e l o f Philip quoted a b o v e , and
C e l s u s must b e d r a w i n g from such a tradition. Origen refers to C e l s u s ' text
concerning the tree o f life again:
He thinks that w e are giving a figurative explanation ( τ ρ ο π ο λ ο γ ο ΰ ν τ α ς ) of the cross by
creating the fiction ( ά ν α π β π λ α κ ε ν α ι ) of the tree of life and inferring from his mistake
about this he says that] if he had happened to be thrown from a cliff, or thrust into an
abyss, or strangled by hanging, w e would have created the fiction of a cliff of life above
154
the heavens, or an abyss of resurrection, or a rope of immortality.

C e l s u s r e j e c t e d the resurrection o f Christ o n c o n c e p t u a l a n d h i s t o r i c a l


155
grounds . H e m a d e m a n y c h a r g e s a b o u t the f i c t i o n s o f C h r i s t i a n
156 1 5 7
d i s c o u r s e . H e o b j e c t e d to any form o f Christian allegory o f O T t e x t s .
1 5 8
"Orthodox" Christians performed allegories o n the tree o f l i f e . Justin, for
e x a m p l e , s a w the tree o f life as a general s y m b o l o f Christ and his future
1 5 9
c o m i n g in g l o r y . T h e G n o s t i c branch o f Christianity m a d e e q u a l l y
v i g o r o u s u s e o f the tree as a s y m b o l . A s Origen p o i n t s out, C e l s u s o n l y
d i s c u s s e d the tree in the c o n t e x t o f G n o s t i c discourse and apparently did not
analyze its u s e in the G e n e s i s narrative.

1 5 2
C. Cels. 6.34 410,23-5 M A R C ) .
1 5 3
C. Cels. 6.36 (412,25-413,2 M A R C ) .
1 5 4
C. Cels. 6.37 (413,8-13 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 50.
1 5 5
See COOK, Interpretation, 55-61.
1 5 6
For example, s e e C. C e l s . 2.26 (104,20-1 M A R C . ) and s.v. "fiction" in C O O K ,
Interpretation, 383.
1 5 7
C. Cels. 1.20 (22,9-13 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 70-71.
1 5 8
See B O R R E T 3.262 n.l for many references to patristic figures.
159 τ „ ^ ί « r*;«i Q& 1 /rrrc ΑΠ O O I ι i x i A D r n v i ^
80 1. Celsus

1.2.10 The Garden of Eden as Comedy

Celsus makes the global judgment that "the Mosaic creation story
160
( κ ο σ μ ο γ έ ν β ι α ) i s stupid ( β ύ η θ ι κ ή ) . " O r i g e n r e s p o n d s that C e l s u s d o e s not
e x p l a i n h i s r e a s o n s for thinking s o . H e continues:

[He plainly declares that] the scripture concerning the creation of people is extremely
stupid (εύηθι,κήν) [without including the words or even arguing with them. I think that he
did not have arguments able to refute "the human was made in the image of God" (Gen
1:27). But he does not understand either] the garden planted by G o d , the life that the
human first led there, and what happened as a result of the crisis when he was cast out
because o f his sin and made to dwell opposite the garden of delight [(του παραδείσου
της· τρυφή^) Gen 3 : 2 4 ] . . . Or then Moses understanding nothing wrote these things, but
did something like the poets of the old comedy w h o playfully wrote: Proteus married
1 6 1 162
(εγημε) Bellerophon, and Pegasus was from A r c a d i a .

T h e t e x t i s an e l e m e n t o f t h o s e s t o r i e s that C e l s u s b e l i e v e s are s i m p l y
163
ridiculous . G a g e r s u r m i s e s that C e l s u s m a y b e thinking o f Justin's charge
1 6 4
that the G r e e k s read the p r o p h e t s , but d i d n o t understand t h e m . Justin
argues that the p o e t s (and d e m o n s ) did not understand the b i n d i n g o f the foal
to the v i n e in G e n 4 9 : 1 0 and c o n s e q u e n t l y said that B e l l e r o p h o n a s c e n d e d
1 6 5
into h e a v e n o n a h o r s e . C e l s u s m a y then b e turning Justin's argument o n
its h e a d b y a s s u m i n g that M o s e s b o r r o w e d f r o m the G r e e k s . S e e § 1.20
b e l o w for further d i s c u s s i o n o f the i s s u e o f cultural plagiarism.

1.2.11 The Spirit, the Highest God, the Creator God, and the Strangers

C e l s u s attacks the c r e a t i o n story o n a n u m b e r o f fronts w i t h o u t specific


reference t o the texts in G e n e s i s . Origen includes this text after his d i s c u s s i o n
o f C e l s u s ' critique o f G e n 1:3:

1 6 0
C. Cels. 6.49 (427,11-6 M A R C ) . Herodotus employs similar terms to criticize a myth
( ε ύ ή θ η ς ) in 2 . 4 5 and the use of a woman to depict a fake Athena in 1.60 ( π ρ ή γ μ α
εύηθεστατον).
1 6 1
B O R R E T 3.303 translates this as Proteus gave his daughter to Bellerophon. That
probably misses the joke, however, since Proteus' wife conceived an adulterous desire for
Bellerophon (Homer, II. 6.153-197). S e e also Pausanius 2 . 4 . 1 , 2.31.9; 9.31.3. Origen's
fragment is edited as Adespota F. 4 2 in J. M. E D M O N D S , Fragments of Attic Comedy, Leiden
1 9 5 7 , 1 , 9 6 5 . Justin, Apol. 1.21.2, 1.54.7 (64,12-13; 109,30-31 M A R C . ) mentions an attempt
by the d e m o n s to imitate prophecies o f Christ's coming ( G e n 4 9 : 1 0 - 1 1 ) by creating
Bellerophon's ascent into heaven on a horse.
1 6 2
C. Cels. 6.49 (427,26-428,6.9-12 M A R C ) . Cp. B O R R E T , L'Ecriture, 188.
1 6 3
This is Celsus' approach to many of the narratives concerning Jesus' life. See COOK,
Interpretation, § 1.2.
1 6 4
G A G E R , Moses, 98 with reference to Justin, Apol. 1.54.5-7 (108,16-109,31 M A R C ) .
1 6 5
Justin, Apol. 1.54.4 (108,12-4 M A R C ) .
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 81

[After these things Celsus says:] I will say nothing for the moment about the question of
the creation and destruction of the cosmos — whether it is uncreated and indestructible or
166
the c o n t r a r y . [Consequently w e also will not speak about these matters now. For the
composition before us does not demand it. But w e do not say] that the Spirit o f [the
supreme] G o d existed ( γ ε γ ο ν έ ν α ι ) here as among strangers [as in "The Spirit of God
rushed ( έ π ε φ ε ρ ε τ ο ) over the water" (Gen 1:2); nor do w e say that] some things were
maliciously engineered (κακώς· μ η χ α ν ώ μ ε ν α ) by another creator ( δ η μ ι ο υ ρ γ ο ύ ) —
different from the great God — against his Spirit; things that the higher God endured and
that needed to be destroyed . . . [We have never heard that] after the great God gave the
Spirit to the creator, he demanded it back (Gen 6:3?). [Then he next foolishly charges
with these impious words,] What God gives anything that he is going to demand back?
For one w h o needs demands back, but God needs nothing. [And he adds to these words
this wise remark against certain individuals,] Why when he lent did he not know that he
was lending to an evil being. [He also says,] Why did he overlook the evil creator w h o
1 6 7
was working against h i m ?

R e c e n t editors and translators h a v e not included the q u o t e d text f r o m G e n 1:2


1 6 8
as C e l s u s ' w o r d s . H o w e v e r the p r e v i o u s text in the C . C e l s . clearly m a k e s
169
a reference to G e n 1 : 3 . S o the larger c o n t e x t o f C. C e l s . 6 . 5 2 indicates that
C e l s u s m a y b e attacking the text about G o d ' s Spirit in G e n 1:2 — w h e t h e r h e
q u o t e d it or not. T h i s i s c o n f i r m e d b y all the r e f e r e n c e s t o the Spirit in
C e l s u s ' a c c o u n t o f the h e t e r o d o x e x e g e s i s o f the creation story. A c c o r d i n g t o
Porphyry, N u m e n i u s m a d e a brief reference to G e n 1:2 to support the v i e w
that s o u l s e x i s t around water, w h i c h is animated b y a d i v i n e spirit, during the
1 7 0
process of generation . T h e r e f e r e n c e t o the h i g h e r G o d d e m a n d i n g h i s
Spirit b a c k c o u l d b e an i n d i r e c t u s e o f G e n 6:3 b y s o m e o f the G n o s t i c
interpreters. C e l s u s had s o m e o f h i s o w n v i e w s about the nature o f the Spirit
of god. H e o b j e c t s t o the i d e a o f G o d s e n d i n g his Spirit into the b o d y o f a

1 6 6
B O R R E T , 3.308 n.l notes the three hypotheses of interpretation of Plato's Timaeus: the
world is uncreated and indestructible; created and indestructible; or created and destructible.
Celsus opts for uncreated and indestructible in C. Cels. 4 . 7 9 (293,12-5 M A R C ) . Cf. C.
A N D R E S E N , L o g o s und N o m o s . D i e Polemik des Kelsos wider das Christentum, A K G 3 0 ,
Berlin 1955, 2 9 5 / C O O K , Interpretation 9 9 , 2 2 1 . Modern cosmologists still struggle with
10
these issues (cf. S. H A W K I N G , A Brief History of Time, N e w York et al., 1 9 9 8 , 7 - 1 4 ) .
1 6 7
C. Cels. 6.52 (430,7-26 M A R C ) .
1 6 8
B A D E R 167 n.4 argues that this text explains Celsus' attack on scripture in the previous
comment. CHADWICK, Origen, 368 n.5 does not agree, but does not offer an argument for his
position. K O E T S C H A U (II, 123,9), B O R R E T 3.308 n.4, and M A R C O V I C H ( 4 3 0 , 1 2 - 3 ) d o not
identify the text as Celsus', but also offer no arguments.
1 6 9
C. Cels. 6.51 (429,25-8 M A R C ) .
1 7 0
S T E R N II, § 4 5 6 b from Porph., D e antro 10 = Numenius, F. 3 0 (CUFr, 80-81 D E S
PLACES). See § 2 . 2 . 3 .
82 1. Celsus

1 7 1
w o m a n . W i t h regard to the risen Jesus, C e l s u s also argued that G o d w o u l d
1 7 2
not take his Spirit back with Jesus' b o d y .
173
There are m a n y Gnostic and Marcionite e c h o e s i n C e l s u s ' t e x t . Marcion
could refer to the supreme G o d as "the Stranger." T h e Marcionites also could
call t h e m s e l v e s "strangers" and they proclaimed a strange or foreign g n o s i s
(ξένη ν γ ν ώ σ ι ν ) — a term that r e v e a l s s o m e o f their p h i l o s o p h y o f
174
e x i s t e n c e . Irenaeus p o s e d this question to Marcion: "In what w a y will h e
be g o o d w h o draws the strangers a w a y from h i m w h o created t h e m and calls
175
them to his k i n g d o m ? " Plotinus objected to the G n o s t i c propensity to find
176
fault w i t h t h e u n i v e r s e and its c a u s e ( t h e c r e a t o r ) . P o r p h y r y ' s title for
Plotinus' tractate against the G n o s t i c s is: "Against t h o s e w h o s a y that the
177
demiurge o f the universe and the universe are e v i l . " A text that is probably
M a r c i o n i t e f r o m t h e P s e u d o C l e m e n t i n e s a c c u s e s t h e G o d o f the O T o f
creating e v i l s , b e i n g unmerciful, n o t b e i n g g o o d , and b e i n g subject to harsh
178
passions .

1.2.12 Celsus Against an Anthropocentric Creation


Celsus rejected the c o n c e p t that the world w a s created for the sake o f human
beings:
After this, he laughs, as is his custom, at the race of Jews and Christians and compares all
to a chain o f bats, or ants c o m i n g out o f their hole, or frogs sitting in council

1 7 1
C. Cels. 6 . 7 3 ( 4 4 9 , 1 7 - 2 2 M A R C ) . Cp. C O O K , Interpretation 2 9 .
1 7 2
C. Cels. 6 . 7 2 ( 4 4 8 , 2 7 - 4 4 9 , 1 3 M A R C ) . Cp. C O O K , Interpretation 6 1 .
1 7 3
Cf. CHADWICK, Early Christian Thought, 2 6 for Celsus' use o f Marcion.
1 7 4
S e e Adamantius, Dial 2 . 1 8 (GCS, 9 8 , 1 - 2 B A K H U Y Z E N : ό ξένος και ά γ ν ω σ τ ο ς
θεός the strange God and unknown one) and C. Cels. 6 . 5 3 ( 4 3 1 , 1 8 - 9 M A R C ) ; and H A R N A C K ,
Marcion, 2 6 7 * with reference to Clem. Alex., Strom. 3 . 3 . 1 2 . 3 (II, 2 0 1 , 9 - 1 0 S T . / F R . — the
strange gnosis). On the Marcionites as strangers s e e Iren., A d v . Haer. 4 . 3 3 . 2 (alienos
homines; S C 1 0 0 , 8 0 6 , 3 4 R O U S S E A U / H E M M E R D I N G E R / D O U T R E L E A U / M E R C I E R ) ; 3 . 1 1 . 2 (SC
3 4 , 1 8 2 , 2 2 - 3 S A G N A R D ; Christ did not come to his own but to aliens). Mani also referred to
himself as "the stranger." See B O R R E T , 3 . 3 0 8 n . 3 .
1 7 5
Iren., Adv. Haer. 4 . 3 3 . 2 (SC 1 0 0 , 8 0 6 , 3 3 - 5 R./H./D./M.). Cp. CHADWICK, Origen 3 6 9
n.4.
1 7 6
Plot., Ennead. 2 . 9 . 1 3 , 2 . 9 . 1 5 , 3 . 2 . 3 (OCT, Plotini Opera, I, 2 2 1 , 1 - 2 ; 2 2 5 , 1 0 - 1 7 ; 2 4 9 , 1 -
5 H E N R Y / S C H W Y Z E R ) . In the anonymous tractate from Nag Hammadi (On the Origin of the
World), Pistis (faith) sees the "godlessness" o f the demiurge whom she calls "Samael" — a
blind god whose deficient works will finally be dissolved (NHC II 5 , 1 0 3 , 3 - 3 2 [NHS 2 1 / 2 ,
4 0 - 2 L A Y T O N ] ) . Cf. R U D O L P H , Gnosis, 6 1 , 7 5 .
1 7 7
Porphyry, Vita Plot. 2 4 , 5 6 - 7 (I, 3 4 H . / S C H . ) for Plot., Ennead 2 . 9 titulus (I, 2 0 3
H./SCH.).
1 7 8
Ps. Clement, Horn. 2 . 4 3 . 4 , 2 . 4 4 . 4 , 3 . 3 8 . 2 ( 5 3 , 7 . 1 7 - 8 ; 7 0 , 2 5 - 6 R E H M = H A R N A C K ,
Marcion, 2 7 8 * ) where Simon Magus is speaking against Peter.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 83

179
(συνεδρεύουσιν) around their pond or worms holding an assembly ( έ κ κ λ η σ ι ά σ ο υ σ ι ) in
a muddy corner arguing with each other about which of them is most sinful and saying:
God reveals and predicts all things beforehand to us and neglects the whole universe, the
heavenly movement, and overlooking the vast earth he governs for us alone and to us
alone he communicates by heralds — not ceasing to send them and to seek that w e might
be united with him forever. [He continues his fiction describing us to be] similar to
worms w h o say that God exists and immediately after him w e w h o have been created by
him entirely like God (Gen 1:26), and all things have been subordinated (ύττοβέβληται) to
us (Gen 1:28): the earth, water, and stars; all things exist for our sake and have been
ordained (τέτακτοα) to serve us.

C e l s u s c o n t i n u e s w i t h a r e f e r e n c e t o the c o m i n g o f G o d ' s s o n t o b r i n g
1 8 0
j u d g m e n t or e v e r l a s t i n g l i f e . H e w a s h i g h l y critical o f the C h r i s t i a n s '
1 8 1
attempt to u s e O T p r o p h e c i e s t o p r o v e their b e l i e f s a b o u t C h r i s t . The
w o r m s o f C e l s u s m a k e s o m e rather obscure allusions to t h e m e s in the creation
story i n c l u d i n g G e n 1:26 and 1:28. Perhaps C e l s u s a l s o had texts s u c h as P s
8:7 L X X in m i n d w i t h its reference to "you h a v e put all ( υ π έ τ α ξ α ^ ) under his
feet." Origen simply denies most of Celsus' charges. Christians, for
e x a m p l e , d o not c l a i m that they are like G o d in e v e r y t h i n g , nor d o they c l a i m
1 8 2
that the stars are under t h e m .
A n o t h e r o f P l a t o ' s d i s c i p l e s , P l o t i n u s , a l s o b e l i e v e d that the p l a c e o f
183
h u m a n b e i n g s i n the u n i v e r s e w a s rather i n s i g n i f i c a n t . Celsus may be
a w a r e o f the t h e m e o f subordination in Christian a p o l o g e t i c s . Theophilus,
during the t i m e o f M a r c u s A u r e l i u s , said that G o d subordinated all things to
1 8 4
h u m a n s as their subjects and s l a v e s . Aristides, probably during the t i m e o f
1 8 5
Hadrian, a l s o c l a i m e d that G o d m a d e all for p e o p l e .

1 7 9
The verbs here s e e m too close to "Sanhedrin/council" ( σ υ ν ε δ ρ ι ο ν ) and "church"
(εκκλησία) to be coincidental. The bats come from Homer, Od. 24.6-8, where they are an
image of Penelope's suitors. Plato quotes that text in Resp. 387a. The ants and frogs are in
Plato, Phaedo 109a-b where their dwelling is compared to that of humans (quoted by Celsus
in C. Cels. 7.28 [482,13-6 M A R C . ] ) . See B O R R E T 2.238 n.l.
1 8 0
C. Cels. 4.23 (236,14-237,4 M A R C ) . On this text see also COOK, Interpretation, 67.
1 8 1
COOK, Interpretation, 70-76.
1 8 2
C. Cels. 4.30 (243,1-14 M A R C ) .
1 8 3
Plotinus, Ennead. 3.2.8 (I, 256,4-257,16 H./SCH.) and compare Marcus Aurel. 4.3.3.
Plotinus believed that in the universe all things exist for each other (Ennead. 6.7.3 [III, 187,19
H./SCH..]). Similar views were held by Plato, Leges 903c.
1 8 4
Theophilus, A d Autolycum 2.18 (56 G R A N T ) . Cp. Ad Autolycum 1.6 (8 G R A N T ) , 2.36
(from the Sibyllines, 9 0 G R A N T ) . S e e also R. G R A N T , Greek Apologists o f the Second
Century, Philadelphia 1988, 132-35 w h o is somewhat skeptical of V E R M A N D E R ' s claims with
regard to Theophilus' use of Celsus (J.-M. V E R M A N D E R , Theophile d'Antioche contre Celsus:
A Autolycos III, REAug 17, 1971, 203-25). Cp. Justin, Apol. 1.10.2, Apol. 2.5.2 (45,6-7;
143,3-6 M A R C ) . On Celsus' possible use of the apologists see Cook, Interpretation, 6-8.
1 8 5
Aristides, Apol. 1.2 (C. V O N A , L'apologia de Aristide. Introduzione versione dal
siriaco e commento, Lateranum, N . S . 16, Rome 1950, 72). This edition includes an Italian
84 1. Celsus

1.2.13 All is Made for Humans?


Origen and C e l s u s h a v e a l o n g "discussion" c o n c e r n i n g the anthropocentric
v i e w o f creation:
He next accuses us at length of] saying that God made all for the human. [He wants to
1 8 6
prove, on the basis of a description of animals and their shrewdness ( ά γ χ ι ν ο ί α ς ) that]
all things have c o m e into existence not any less for the sake of people than for animals
187
who do not have human reason ( ά λ ο γ ω ν ) .
1 8 8
Origen r e s p o n d s that C e l s u s thereby attacks the S t o a . C h a d w i c k remarks
that w h e n C e l s u s s h o w s an affinity with the A c a d e m y in its arguments against
189
the S t o i c s that O r i g e n w i l l take the o p p o s i t e s i d e (or v i c e v e r s a ) . T h e
190
Stoics b e l i e v e d in an anthropocentric c r e a t i o n . C i c e r o describes the Stoic
v i e w o f creation: "The world itself in the first place w a s m a d e for the sake o f
g o d s and p e o p l e , and the things in it w e r e p r o v i d e d and i n v e n t e d for the
191
enjoyment of people." Plato, o n the other hand, b e l i e v e d that all things
were created for e a c h other and that humans are a little fragment in the w h o l e .
1 9 2
T h e w o r l d is n o t m a d e for p e o p l e , but p e o p l e are m a d e for the w o r l d .
C i c e r o ' s A c a d e m i c , Cotta, spends a great deal o f t i m e trying to destroy the
193
Stoic v i e w o f p r o v i d e n c e . Cotta is w i l l i n g to c o n c e d e , for e x a m p l e , that
194
h u m a n s a l o n e p o s s e s s reason, but n o t e s that they m i s u s e it t e r r i b l y . H e
195
faults the g o d s for the h u m a n abuse o f r e a s o n . O r i g e n , w i t h the Stoa,

translation of the Syriac text and the Greek fragments. The text referred to above is from the
Syriac tradition. Cp. Aristides, Apol. 16.1 (110 V O N A ) where he claims that the beautiful
things in the world are for human beings. V O N A refers to similar thoughts in Hernias, Mand.
12.4.2 (world created for humans and all creation subordinated to them), Vis. 1.1.6 (all things
created for the church) and other patristic sources.
186 philo uses this word to describe the serpent in Gen 3:1 in a fragment of his Quaest. in
Gen., F. 31 ( R . M A R C U S , Philo. Supplement II. Questions and Answers on Exodus, LCL,
London/Cambridge 1 9 5 3 , 1 8 3 ) .
1 8 7
C. Cels. 4.74 (287,12-6 M A R C ) . Porphyry uses this word to discuss Stoic views of
animals in D e abst. 3.2.2 (CUFr, Porphyre de l'abstinence, II, 153, B O U F F A R T I G U E /
PATILLON). Porphyry uses the word in a general sense for animals in D e abst. 1.4.1 and
3.13.1 (I, 4 4 ; II, 168 B . / P . ) . See C O O K , Interpretation, 2 0 4 . On C e l s u s ' attack on
anthropocentrism see PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 328.
1 8 8
C. Cels. 4.74 (287,19-21 M A R C ) .
1 8 9
C H A D W I C K , Origen, x.
1 9 0
H. C H A D W I C K , Origen, Celsus, and the Stoa, JThS 48, 1947, 36-8 / B O R R E T 2.367 n.3
/ M. POHLENZ, Die Stoa, Vol. I, Gottingen 1948, 81-93.
1 9 1
C i c , D e nat. deor. 2.62.154. Cp. S V F 2.1152-67. Animals are made for humans
according to D e nat. deor. 2.14.37.
1 9 2
Plato, Leges 903c. See also Seneca, Ep. 73.6-7.
1 9 3
C i c , D e nat. deor. 3.26.66-40.95.
1 9 4
C i c , D e nat. deor. 3.26.67-31.76.
1 9 5
C i c , D e nat. deor. 3.31.77-78.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 85

affirms the b e l i e f that all t h i n g s e x i s t principally for the b e n e f i t o f rational


196
creatures . T h e entire d i s c u s s i o n is part o f a d e b a t e about the o r i g i n s o f
1 9 7
h u m a n culture that h a s b e e n e x p l o r e d b y Arthur D r o g e .

1.2.14 Weather and Plants: For People or Animals?

C e l s u s e x t e n d s the d i s c u s s i o n to the world o f weather and plants:

... Celsus and those that think the same things he does commit an even greater impiety
(άσεβοΰσιν) against the God w h o watches over (προνοοϋντα) rational beings by saying:]
Why should these things have been made for the nourishment of people rather than for
that of plants, trees, herbs, and thorns? [For he thinks in the first place that] thunders,
1 9 8
lightnings, and rains are not works of G o d , [already quite clearly Epicureanizing. Then
in the second place he says,] If some should concede that these are works of God, they
have not been made for the nourishment of people any more than for plants, trees, herbs,
and thorns [conceding that these things happen by chance and not by providence
(πρόνοιαν) like a true Epicurean ... Then he says,] Even if you should say that these grow
for people [clearly meaning plants, trees, herbs, and thorns] why would you say that they
199
grow more for people than for irrational (άλόγοις) and wild a n i m a l s ?

A s in the p r e v i o u s f r a g m e n t , O r i g e n and C e l s u s are d e b a t i n g i s s u e s o f the


philosophical schools: S t o i c i s m , the A c a d e m y o f P l a t o , and E p i c u r e a n i s m .
O r i g e n ' s thesis that C e l s u s w a s an Epicurean has m e t w i t h great resistance in
2 0 0
the m o d e r n e r a . W h a t is important in this c a s e is that C e l s u s is m a k i n g u s e
o f arguments f r o m a n y s c h o o l o f ancient p h i l o s o p h y t o attack the c o n c e p t o f
creation in the O T . H i s v i e w s are m o s t l y Platonist, but that d o e s not stop h i m
(or Origen either) f r o m b o r r o w i n g from other traditions w h e n h e felt the n e e d
to d o s o . T h e S t o i c s in C i c e r o ' s d i a l o g u e o n the nature o f the g o d s b e l i e v e
that the u n i v e r s e is ruled b y the m i n d and reason o f the g o d s : "Fruits o f the
earth ( a n d o t h e r s t h i n g s that the earth p r o v i d e s ) , s t o r m s , c h a n g e s in the
s e a s o n s , and alterations in the h e a v e n s , b y w h i c h all the t h i n g s that earth

1 9 6
C. Cels. 4 . 7 4 (287,20-288,1 M A R C ) . Cp. Origen, Sel. in Psalmos (Ps 1:3; PG 12,
1089) = SVF 2.1156.
1 9 7
A. D R O G E , Homer or Moses? Early Christian Interpretations of the History o f Culture,
HUTh 26, Tubingen 1 9 8 9 , 1 5 3 - 5 4 and passim.
1 9 8
S e e C. Cels. 6.27 (404,15-8 M A R C . ) and its reference to God raining and thundering.
Cp. § 1.2.4.
1 9 9
C. Cels. 4.74-75 (288,10-20; 289,3-6 M A R C ) .
2 0 0
Cf. the discussion and bibliography in COOK, Interpretation, 18-22, including
C A T A U D E L L A , Celso e l'Epicureismo, 1-23 which is one of the few contributions in recent
years to defend Origen's thesis. M. F R E D E defends Celsus' identity as a Platonist in: Celsus
Philosophus Platonicus, 5 1 8 3 - 5 2 1 3 , and Idem, Celsus' Attack, 218-40. Cp. MARKSCHIES,
Epikureismus, 195-203 (Origen knew little about Epicureanism).
86 1. Celsus

201
creates g r o w and mature, are g i v e n b y the immortal g o d s t o h u m a n k i n d . "
C i c e r o then remarks that the A c a d e m i c p h i l o s o p h e r Carneades argued w i t h
202
this p o s i t i o n , a s Cotta the A c a d e m i c d o e s later in the d i a l o g u e . Epicurus'
t h e o r y i s that t h e w e a t h e r i s a matter o f c h a n c e a n d n o t p r o v i d e n c e .
Lactantius asks him: "If there is n o providence, w h y d o the rains fall, grains
rise, trees f l o w e r ? H e says that those are n o t for t h e sake o f living things,
since they are o f n o profit to providence, but all things m u s t happen o f their
203
own accord." Lucretius, t h e R o m a n f o l l o w e r o f E p i c u r u s , h a s l e n g t h y
descriptions o f the Epicurean v i e w o f these matters. T h e p o e t b e l i e v e d that
2 0 4 205
"the u n i v e r s e w a s n o t created for u s b y d i v i n e p o w e r . " Lightning,
206 207 208
s t o r m s , t h u n d e r s , and r a i n are all natural p h e n o m e n a and are not due to
actions o f the g o d s .
C e l s u s w i l l try an E p i c u r e a n p o s i t i o n b y h o l d i n g that m e t e o r o l o g i c a l
p h e n o m e n a are n o t t h e w o r k s o f G o d . T h e n h e ventures a m o r e skeptical
position from t h e A c a d e m y (e.g. Carneades) b y noting that e v e n if they are
works o f G o d , they are not created for humans any m o r e than any others that
d w e l l o n the earth.

7.2.75 Celsus' View of the Created Order


After an attack o n allegory o f the O T , C e l s u s g i v e s a Platonist account o f
creation m u c h different from that o f Genesis:
But I rather choose to teach this according to nature ( φ ύ σ ι ν ) : G o d has made nothing
mortal. But all the immortals are the works of God, while mortals are their works. The
209
soul is the work o f God, but the nature (φύσις) o f the body is distinct. And indeed
with regard to this there will be no difference between the body of a bat, maggot, frog, or

2 0 1
C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.2.4. The Epicurean response is that storms etc. can destroy
human works as much as help them, so they are not evidence of providence (Lucretius 5.195-
221).
2 0 2
Cotta's criticisms of Stoic providence have been lost for the most part (see C i c , D e
nat. deor 3.25.65).
2 0 3
Lactantius, D i v . inst. 3.17 (= U S E N E R , Epicurea, F. 3 7 0 fin). E T by M A R Y F .
M C D O N A L D , O.P., Lactantius. The Divine Institutes Books I-VII, FC 4 9 , Washington 1964.
For natural explanations o f celestial and atmospheric phenomena s e e the summary o f
Epicurus' thought in Diog. Laert. 10.76-82. On Epicurus' theories about natural phenomena
see C A T A U D E L L A , Celso e l'Epicureismo, 14.
2 0 4
Lucretius 5.195-99, and see the section in 5.156-99.
2 0 5
Lucretius 6.160-218. Cp. Diog. Laert. 10.101 (from Epicurus' letter to Pythocles).
2 0 6
Lucretius 6.83-85.
2 0 7
Lucretius 6.96-159. Cp. Diog. Laert. 10.100.
2 0 8
Lucretius 6.495-526. Cp. Diog. Laert. 10.100.
2 0 9
Celsus states that he is teaching about the whole of nature (πβρί τ η ς όλης φύσεως)
in several of Origen's fragments: 4.73, 8 4 (287,5; 299,9 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 87

person: the matter is the same, and their principle of perishibility (τό φθαρτόν) is also
210
similar.
211
O r i g e n r e s p o n d s that C e l s u s is paraphrasing P l a t o ' s Timaeus . He
admittedly must cast doubt o n his o w n thesis that C e l s u s is an Epicurean and
advances the h y p o t h e s i s that C e l s u s converted t o Platonism or o n l y shared a
212
n a m e with Celsus the Epicurean p h i l o s o p h e r . Origen also notes that C e l s u s
2 1 3
is not o n l y attacking Christians but Stoics a l s o . H e reaffirms the creation
t h e o l o g y o f the scriptures with the Stoics in his support. C e l s u s u s e s Plato in
this text to attack a fundamental i m a g e in G e n e s i s : that o f G o d ' s creation o f
humans. C e l s u s rejects the G e n e s i s account o f creation, but h e is w i l l i n g to
use it in a later attack o n the Christians' rejections o f i m a g e s . In a d i s c u s s i o n
o f their dishonoring o f statues o f the g o d s , C e l s u s argues that Christians also
b e l i e v e G o d r e s e m b l e s h u m a n form. If they deny that the statues o f the g o d s
r e s e m b l e the g o d s , t h e y contradict t h e m s e l v e s w h e n they affirm G e n e s i s :
"For forgetting they prove they are w r o n g w h e n e v e r they say ' G o d m a d e the
human in h i s o w n i m a g e (eiKOva)' ( G e n 1:26-27) — the form (€1809) b e i n g
214
like h i m s e l f . " A l t h o u g h C e l s u s rejected the G e n e s i s account o f creation, h e
215
found it useful in the d e f e n s e o f i m a g e s . Another pagan author m a y h a v e
found the G e n e s i s account useful. This Pythagorean author (Ps. Ecphantus),
in a treatise o n k i n g s h i p , argues that the k i n g ' s nature is superior to that o f
other humans. H i s b o d y ( σ κ ά ν ο $ ) is the s a m e as that o f other h u m a n s , " . . .
but h e is m a d e b y the best Artificer ( τ ε χ ν ί τ α ... λ ω σ τ ω ) w h o crafted h i m
using h i m s e l f as archetype ( ά ρ χ ε τ ύ π ω ) . " Consequently the k i n g is the o n l y

2 1 0
C. Cels. 4 . 5 2 (269,9-15 M A R C ) / P E L A G A U D , U n conservateur, 3 2 6 . Cp. COOK,
Interpretation, 65 for Celsus' reference (in 4.52) to the Controversy Between Jason and
Papiscus concerning the messianic prophecies in the OT.
2 1 1
C. Cels. 4 . 5 4 (270,19-271,9 M A R C ) . See Plato, Tim. 42d, 69c-d. Similar views are in
Alcin., Didask. 16, 171,38-42 (36 W./L.) and Ps. Sallustius, D e diis 6 (10,28-29 N O C K ) where
gods inside the universe create the universe. Gods outside the universe have other functions.
2 1 2
This issue is treated in COOK, Interpretation, 18-22.
2 1 3
Cf. Chadwick, Origen 228 n.2 and B O R R E T 2.322 n . l . For Stoic views of creation of
animals for the sake of humans s e e S V F 2.1152-67 / § 1.2.13 above. Chrysippus, e.g.,
includes humans in his general account of creation. They are not made by a different order of
gods as in Plato ( C i c , D e nat. deor. 2.14.37). Cf. MERKI, Όμοίωσις, 65-71.
2 1 4
C. Cels. 7.62 (513,11-5 M A R C ) . Cp. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 35 with a
discussion of the issue of images in antiquity. S e e C O O K , Interpretation, 9 2 , 235-37 for a
discussion of Celsus' text and the defense of images by Macarius Magnes' pagan philosopher
in Monog. 4 . 2 1 b . l - 4 (II, 310,15-312,18 G O U L E T ) . LOESCHE, D i e neuplatonischen Polemiker,
278 called attention to the parallel. STEIN, Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 21 notes that this is
the only place that Celsus attempts to find a contradiction in the OT.
2 1 5
The pagans were well aware of the Jews' rejection of images. See STERN I, 306.
88 1. Celsus

2 1 6
creature ( κ α τ α σ κ ε ύ α σ μ α ) w h o is a type ( τ ύ π ο ς ) o f the H i g h e r K i n g . Here
the author clearly d o e s not assert that all p e o p l e are m a d e in the i m a g e o f
G o d , but h e m a y b e indebted to G e n e s i s for his c o n c e p t w h i c h is s o unusual in
G r e c o - R o m a n literature. T h e Pythagorean author E u r y s u s h o l d s that "the
d e m i u r g e u s i n g h i m s e l f as the paradigm ( π α ρ α δ ε ί γ μ α τ ι ) m a d e the human"
and "the b o d y is like those o f other b e i n g s w h i c h exists from the s a m e matter,
h a v i n g b e e n m a d e b y the best Artificer w h o m a d e it u s i n g h i m s e l f as the
217
archetype."

1.2.16 The World is God's Child


In the c o n t e x t o f an explanation for the Christians' u s e o f the term " S o n o f
G o d " to describe Jesus, C e l s u s d o e s s e e m to approve o f the general c o n c e p t
that the w o r l d is G o d ' s child and a d e m i g o d : "Ancient m e n u s e d to n a m e this
2 1 8
c o s m o s — as it e x i s t s from G o d — his child and a d e m i g o d ( ή μ ί θ ε ο ν ) . "
219
Plato c o u l d picture the w o r l d as divine in s o m e s e n s e in the Timaeus . It
2 2 0
was, for e x a m p l e , a "happy g o d " (εύδαίμοι>α θ ε ό ν ) . P h i l o , in discussing
2 2 1
G r e e k t h o u g h t , c o u l d call the w o r l d a " v i s i b l e g o d " ( ό ρ α τ ό ν θ ε ό ν ) .
C i c e r o ' s Epicurean ( V e l l e i u s ) s e v e r e l y q u e s t i o n s the doctrine as found in
222
various philosophical s e c t s .

1.2.17 Animals and Humans


C e l s u s w a s not o n l y a philosopher but also a natural philosopher. H e creates
an intriguing argument against G e n e s i s using the contemporary k n o w l e d g e of
animal history that w a s available to h i m . A s C e l s u s stated in the a b o v e
d i s c u s s i o n (§ 1.2.12), h e had doubts about the subordination o f the animal
k i n g d o m to that o f human b e i n g s ( G e n 1:28). T h e rich parallels g i v e n in the
notes o f the editors and translators o f the C. Celsum indicate that Greek and
R o m a n authors w e r e fascinated b y the e v i d e n c e o f "rational" and other forms

2 1 6
Ps. Ecphantus, D e regno apud Stobaeus 4.7.64 = S T E R N III, § 564b with bibliography
on the author and his obscure date. See § 0.15.
2 1 7
Clem. Alex., Strom. 5.5.29.1-2 (II, 3 4 4 , 1 8 - 2 3 S T ./FR.). See § 0.15.
2 1 8
C. Cels. 6.47 (425,21-3 M A R C ) . Vaticanus 386 has "unmarried youth" (ήίθεον), but
as K O E T S C H A U notes ( I I , 118 app. crit.) Origen's repetition (C. Cels. 6.47 [ I I 118,23-24
K O E T . = 4 2 5 , 2 6 M A R C ] ) of Celsus' statement has "of God" (9eou) in the place of Celsus'
second descriptive category (translated "demigod" above). Consequently "demigod" or some
such concept must have been Celsus' term. M A R C O V I C H emends Origen's repetition to "of a
demigod" (<ήμι>θ€ου).
2 1 9
Plato, Tim. 30b, 34a-b, 92c.
2 2 0
Plato, Tim. 34b.
2 2 1
Philo, D e aetern. 1 0 , 2 0 .
2 2 2
C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.10.24 (si mundus est deus - if the world is a god), 1.11.28,
1.13.34. See also § 0.9 and 1.29.2.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 89

223
o f activity a m o n g a n i m a l s . H u m a n s d o not rule animals s i n c e animals c a n
2 2 4
hunt humans w i t h their natural p o w e r s . Instead o f the subjection o f G e n
1:28, C e l s u s b e l i e v e s that G o d subjected ( ύ π έ β α λ ε ν ) p e o p l e t o t h e w i l d
225
animals since before civilization animals captured and ate h u m a n s . B e e s
and ants h a v e c i v i l i z a t i o n s s i n c e they h a v e leaders, c i t i e s , a n d p u n i s h the
226
w a y w a r d . C e l s u s praises the forethought o f ants w h o plan for the winter,
227
create graveyards, h a v e discussions, and are r a t i o n a l . Snakes k n o w sorcery
2 2 8
— including the p o w e r o f certain stones to protect their y o u n g . Birds k n o w
the future and are w i s e r and more l o v e d b y G o d than humans. Elephants k e e p
2 2 9
their p r o m i s e s and are m o r e faithful to G o d w h o m they k n o w . A n i m a l s
without reason ( ά λ ο γ α ζώα) are m o r e l o v e d b y G o d ( θ ε ο φ ι λ έ σ τ ε ρ α ) and
h a v e a purer understanding o f the divine ( τ ο υ θ ε ί ο υ τ η ν έ ν ν ο ι α ν έ χ ε ι ν
2 3 0
κ α θ α ρ ω τ έ ρ α ν ) than p e o p l e d o . There i s n o essential difference b e t w e e n
2 3 1
w h a t is d o n e b y h u m a n s a n d ants and b e e s . O r i g e n d e n i e s C e l s u s '
arguments at e v e r y point b y usually appealing to the rationality o f h u m a n
232
action and the natural instinct that is at the root o f animal b e h a v i o r . D r o g e
argues that C e l s u s is using s o m e kind o f handbook o f A c a d e m i c p h i l o s o p h y in
w h i c h the s k e p t i c s argued against the S t o i c rejection o f the rationality o f
233
a n i m a l s . There w a s a Christian apologist w h o had s o m e "sympathy for the
animals." A r n o b i u s s h o w s m a n y similarities b e t w e e n animals and h u m a n s ,

2 2 3
The discussion in this section will not include the many parallels from ancient
literature that could be given to the arguments Celsus uses concerning the indications o f
rational behavior in the animal kingdom. Cf. the editions of B A D E R , B O R R E T , K O E T S C H A U ,
M A R C O V I C H and the E T o f CHADWICK. Cf. in particular the defense o f the rationality o f
animals by Philo's nephew Alexander in De animalibus (A. T E R I A N , Philonis Alexandri de
animalibus: The Armenian Text with an Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, Studies
in Hellenistic Judaism 1 , Chico, C A 1 9 8 1 ) . Alexander's defense o f animals' rationality is in
D e animal. 1 0 - 7 1 (Armenian text = 2 1 6 - 5 1 T E R I A N ) , while Philo's attack on the rationality o f
animals is D e animal. 7 7 - 1 0 0 (AT = 2 5 3 - 6 2 T E R I A N ) . See T E R I A N ' S discussion of the Stoic
and Academic (skeptical) positions with regard to animals' rationality in Idem, Philonis, 3 5 -
5 3 . See also D R O G E , Homer, 1 5 5 .
2 2 4
C. Cels. 4 . 7 8 ( 2 9 2 , 2 - 9 M A R C ) .
2 2 5
C. Cels. 4 . 7 9 , 8 0 ( 2 9 3 , 2 - 7 M A R C ) .
2 2 6
C. Cels. 4 . 8 1 ( 2 9 4 , 2 3 - 2 9 5 , 6 M A R C ) . Cp. B E R G J A N , Celsus, 1 8 9 for many parallels to
this argument.
2 2 7
C. Cels. 4 . 8 3 , 8 4 ( 2 9 7 , 5 - 8 . 1 2 - 1 3 ; 2 9 8 , 4 - 6 ; 2 9 9 , 1 - 3 . 9 . 1 1 - 1 5 M A R C ) .
2 2 8
C. Cels. 4 . 8 6 , ( 3 0 1 , 1 - 6 M A R C ) .
2 2 9
C. Cels. 4 . 8 8 ( 3 0 3 , 1 2 - 3 0 4 , 7 M A R C ) .
2 3 0
C. Cels. 4 . 5 8 ( 2 7 4 , 2 8 - 9 M A R C ) .
2 3 1
C. Cels. 4 . 8 5 ( 2 9 9 , 2 1 - 3 0 0 , 1 M A R C ) .
2 3 2
C. Cels. 4 . 8 5 ( 3 0 0 , 1 - 6 M A R C ) .
2 3 3
D R O G E , Homer, 1 5 7 .
90 1. Celsus

2 3 4
and has t h e m c o m p l a i n about their o w n use as sacrifices to the g o d s . H e i s
c l o s e i n s o m e o f h i s v i e w s w i t h Porphyry in h i s treatise On Abstinence.
235
Porphyry w a s concerned with issues such as the rationality o f a n i m a l s .

1.2.18 Celsus' Conclusions About the Created Order


After m a n y arguments c o n c e r n i n g the p l a c e o f animals i n t h e created order
Celsus c o n c l u d e s :
Therefore all things have not been created ( π ε π ο ί η τ α ι ) for the human, nor likewise for
the lion, nor the eagle, nor for the dolphin, but s o that this c o s m o s might be made
2 3 6
complete and perfect (όλόκληρον και τ έ λ ε ι ο ν ) in all things as the work of G o d . For
this reason all things have been made commensurate ( μ ε μ έ τ ρ η τ α ι ) not with one another
— except incidentally — but with the whole (όλου). A n d G o d is concerned with the
237
whole, and p r o v i d e n c e never abandons this whole, nor does it become more evil, nor
does — after a time — God turn it back to himself (ουδέ δ ι α χρόνου π ρ ο ς ε α υ τ ό ν ό
2 3 8
θεός· ε π ι σ τ ρ έ φ ε ι ) , nor does he become wrathful ( ο ρ γ ί ζ ε τ α ι ) because of humans — or

2 3 4
Arnobius, Adv. nat. 2 . 1 6 , 7 . 9 ( 8 3 , 1 6 - 8 5 , 2 0 ; 3 5 1 , 1 - 3 5 2 , 2 6 M A R C H . ) . H e is willing to
argue that animals often show the appearance of reason and wisdom in their activities in Adv.
nat. 2 . 1 7 ( 8 6 , 1 5 - 2 0 M A R C H . ) . He apparently would not have much patience for Theophilus'
view that the sin of humans made animals evil (Ad Autolycum 2 . 1 7 [ 5 4 G R A N T ] ) .
2 3 5
Cp., for example, Porphyry, D e abst. 3 . 2 . 1 - 4 where he argues for the rationality of
animals against the Stoics and asserts that they have some kind of language (II, 1 5 3 - 5 4
B./P.). In D e abst. 2 . 4 2 . 3 (II, 1 0 9 B . / P . ) , Porphyry argues that demons enjoy animal sacrifice.
2 3 6
This formulation is close to a Stoic view of the universe as "fully equipped and
complete and perfect in all its details and parts" (aptum atque perfectum expletumque) in C i c ,
D e nat. deor. 2 . 1 3 . 3 7 .
2 3 7
Epicurus believes the greatest harms happen to the evil and the greatest benefits
( ώ φ έ λ ε ι α ι ) to the good "from the gods" (έκ θεών) in Diog. Laert. 1 0 . 1 2 4 . He does not,
however, believe that the immortals feel special benevolence toward anyone (Diog. Laert.
1 0 . 7 7 ) . The many summaries and testimonies in U S E N E R ' S collection show that later authors
(pagan and Christian) believed Epicurus denied providence. For a Christian see U S E N E R ,
Epicurea, F. 3 5 9 = Hippolytus, Refutatio 1 . 2 2 . 3 ( 8 4 , 9 - 1 4 M A R C . ) and for a Hellenist s e e
U S E N E R , Epicurea, F. 3 6 8 = Plotinus, Ennead. 2 . 9 . 1 5 (I, 2 2 4 , 8 H . / S C H . ) . CATAUDELLA
argues that "providence" for C e l s u s refers to immutable physical laws ( C e l s o e
l'Epicureismo, 1 7 with reference to C. Cels. 4 . 9 9 [ 3 1 6 , 7 - 1 6 M A R C . ] ) . T h e entire issue of
providence in Celsus' thought has been thoroughly explored in B E R G J A N , Celsus, 1 7 9 - 2 0 4 .
See also the discussion of the wrath of God in Celsus* thought (§ 1 . 3 1 ) .
238 A (Vaticanus 3 8 6 ) and the Philocalia tradition have αυτό (it) here. K O E T S C H A U reads
ε α υ τ ό ν since Origen repeats the phrase later as δια χρόνου έ π ι σ τ ρ έ φ ε ι ν τ ό όλον π ρ ο ς
ε α υ τ ό ν (I, 3 7 2 , 1 7 ; 3 7 3 , 1 2 - 1 3 Κ Ο Ε Τ . = 3 1 6 , 1 3 ; 3 1 7 , 8 M A R C ) . B O R R E T 2 . 4 3 3 translates the
phrase as "God does not call it back to himself after a time" and C H A D W I C K , Origen, 2 6 2 has
"nor does God turn it back to himself after a time." C A T A U D E L L A , Celso e l'Epicureismo, 1 7
translates: "nor after a determined time does G o d turn to himself." T w o manuscripts
(Patmius 2 7 0 , Venetus Marcianus 4 7 ) of the Philocalia have the future tense επιστρέψει (will
turn). C A T A U D E L L A (Ibid. 1 9 , followed by B O R R E T 2 . 4 3 3 in his note) conjectures that if both
readings are correct (present and future tense of the verb with "or" in between), then there is a
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 91

because of apes or rats. Nor does he make threats against these, each of which in its own
239
turn (έν τ φ μέρει.) has received its fate ( μ ο ΐ ρ α ν ) .

T h e S t o i c s , in contrast to C e l s u s , b e l i e v e d that things w e r e created for o n e


another: for e x a m p l e , plants w e r e m a d e for a n i m a l s , and a n i m a l s for
240
h u m a n s . Cataudella calls attention to C e l s u s ' opposition to o n e o f Plato's
241
m y t h s . Plato, in a m y t h in the Statesman, depicts various a g e s ( C r o n o s ,
Z e u s ) o f the c o s m o s . In o n e the supreme G o d g u i d e s the c o s m o s in its
rotation, and in the other era G o d releases his control and the c o s m o s b e g i n s
242
to rotate in the o p p o s i t e d i r e c t i o n . D e s t i n y ( ε ι μ α ρ μ έ ν η ) controls the world
then, and m a n y things are destroyed. A t the end o f this era o f destiny e v e n
the g o o d things are corrupted with evil, and c h a o s e m e r g e s . G o d then takes
2 4 3
control again and heals the c o s m o s .

1.3 Seventy Punished Angels

In a passage in w h i c h C e l s u s c o n c e d e s the opinion that Jesus w a s an angel, he


m e n t i o n s the a n g e l s in G e n 6 : 1 - 6 . H e d o e s not m a k e a p o i n t o f the
expression ( s o n s o f G o d ) in G e n 6:2, but categorizes the b e i n g s c o n c e r n e d as
"angels". If Christians w e r e to d e n y the e x i s t e n c e o f a n g e l s (other than
J e s u s ) , they w o u l d l i e w h i l e contradicting t h e m s e l v e s ( έ λ έ γ χ ο ι ν τ ο dv
ε ν α ν τ ί α σφίσι ψευδόμενοι):

very close correspondence to a statement of Epicurus who argued that celestial phenomena
such as eclipses are not due to one who commands or who will command ( δ ι α τ ά τ τ ο ν τ ο ς ή
δ ι α τ ά ξ ο ν τ ο ς ) and who is also a being who enjoys perfect happiness and immortality (Diog.
Laert. 10.76-77). The same being is not touched by anxieties or outbursts of wrath (όργαί) or
deeds of kindness ( χ ά ρ ι τ ε ς ) . Cf. anger/wrath in the subject index.
2 3 9
C. Cels. 4.99 (316,7-16 M A R C ) . Epicurus has a phrase in which all things are ruled
by fate (ειμαρμένης ... π ά ν τ α κρατούσης in G. ARRIGHETTI, Epicuro Opere, Biblioteca de
cultura filosofica 4 1 , Torino, 1973, F . 212 [= F . 395 U S E N E R ] ) . That is not his complete
view, however, since he believes that chance and freedom (for human actions) also exist in
the universe (Diog. Laert. 10.133-34). Cotta the skeptic ( C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.25.69) attacks
Epicurus' doctrine of the "swerve" of the atoms as absurd.
2 4 0
C i c , D e nat. deor. 2.14.37.
2 4 1
CATAUDELLA, Celso e l'Epicureismo, 18-19.
2 4 2
Plato, Polit. 269c, 270a.
2 4 3
Plato, Polit. 2 7 2 e , 273d. Celsus' word for God's turning is similar to some used in
Plato. In 272e destiny reverses the revolution of the cosmos (τον δέ δη κόσμον π ά λ ι ν
άνέστρεφεν ε ι μ α ρ μ έ ν η ) , and when God heals the disorder, he turns (στρέψας) the diseased
and destroyed parts back into their former state (273d-e). Cp. C A T A U D E L L A , Celso e
l'Epicureismo, 18.
92 1. Celsus

For they say that others have often come, and even sixty or seventy together; and indeed
they became evil and were punished with chains and cast under the earth; for this reason
244
hot springs are their t e a r s .

O r i g e n a r g u e s that C e l s u s m i s u n d e r s t o o d E n o c h , w h i c h is not g e n e r a l l y
2 4 5
a c c e p t e d as inspired b y the c h u r c h e s a n y w a y . E n o c h ' s v i e w s o n hot
246
springs are s e e n b y C e l s u s as s o m e k i n d o f Christian b e l i e f . The
apocalypticist m e n t i o n s hot springs that w i l l punish the a n g e l s ( 6 7 : 1 1 ) , but
d o e s not say that the hot springs are the a n g e l s ' tears. C e l s u s d o e s not
actually m e n t i o n that this tradition c o m e s from the b o o k o f E n o c h , but o n l y
affirms that "they say" — referring to the Christians. O r i g e n d e n i e s that
247
a n g e l s ' tears form hot s p r i n g s . It s e e m s unlikely that C e l s u s had E n o c h at
hand - a l t h o u g h Jude ( 1 4 ) q u o t e s E n o c h ( 6 0 : 8 ) and refers to the s a m e
rebellious angels that C e l s u s d o e s w h o are punished with eternal chains (Jude
2 4 8
6 ) . S e c o n d Peter refers to the s a m e angels (2:4, 9) and has t h e m punished
in Tartarus ( 2 : 4 ) . In more general terms, C e l s u s , as Origen n o t e s , did not
l o o k carefully at G e n 6:2 w i t h its reference to the "sons o f G o d . " Origen
2 4 9
g i v e s an a l l e g o r i c a l e x p l a n a t i o n o f the p a s s a g e as d o e s P h i l o . Julian
offered his o w n interpretation o f the text in defense o f p o l y t h e i s m (§ 3.12).

1.4 The Flood

C e l s u s w a s aware o f the story o f the flood ( G e n 6 : 1 4 - 9 : 1 4 ) in G e n e s i s and


a t t a c k e d it f r o m the p o i n t o f v i e w that the w o r l d i s u n c r e a t e d and
indestructible:
250
Then — counterfeiting and making a fraud ( π α ρ α χ α ρ ο ί τ τ ο υ ν τ ε ς και
ρ ά δ ι ο υ ρ γ ο υ ν τ ε ^ ) of the story of Deukalion — they speak of some flood (κατακλυσμοί/)

2 4 4
C. Cels. 5.52 (365,4-9 M A R C ) .
2 4 5
C. Cels. 5.54 (366,24-367,9 M A R C ) . In the course of this passage, Origen notes
another of Celsus' references to the Marcionites and Apelles in particular.
2 4 6
S e e Enoch 6-10, 66-69. Cp. C H A D W I C K , Origen, 305 n.l and B O R R E T , 3.147 n.2.
Chadwick's reference to Enoch 89:59 for the number seventy does not seem relevant since it
takes place after the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. Enoch 6:6 mentions 200 as the
number of angels involved in the account in Gen 6. The text used is E. I S A A C , 1 Enoch, in:
OTP, ed. J. H. C H A R L E S W O R T H , I, 13-89. S T R - B 3.48-9 discusses rabbinic traditions about
the seventy angels of the nations.
2 4 7
C. Cels. 5.55 (367,25-368,2 M A R C ) .
2 4 8
Jude uses the same word for chains (δεσμοΐς) that Celsus does.
2 4 9
C. Cels. 5.55 (367,10-6 M A R C ) . Philo, D e gigant. 6-18.
2 5 0
D R O G E , Homer, 77 discusses Celsus' views on Christian "counterfeiting." See also
COOK, Interpretation, 26-7. Tatian uses the same verb to accuse the Greek sophists of
counterfeiting what they had learned from Moses in Oratio 40.2 (PTS 4 3 , 7 2 , 7 MARCOVICH).
1
Celsus Critique of the Septuagint 93

and a strange ark (κιβωτόν) holding all things inside of it with a dove ( π ε ρ ι σ τ ε ρ ά ν ) and a
251
crow as messengers (Gen 8 : 7 - 8 ) . For I do not think that they believed that these things
2 5 2
would come to light, but simply told the myths (έμυθολόγησαν) to little b a b e s .

C e l s u s d o e s not attack the m e a s u r e m e n t s o f the ark, w h i c h O r i g e n is at pains


to d e f e n d , but o n l y c l a i m s that the a c c o u n t is a fraudulent v e r s i o n o f the
2 5 3
Greek a c c o u n t o f D e u k a l i o n . O r i g e n a l s o argues that C e l s u s c a n n o t p r o v e
that the story o f the d o v e is a fiction ( π λ α σ μ α τ ώ δ ε ς ) and that h e tries to m a k e
2 5 4
the story m o r e l a u g h a b l e b y c h a n g i n g the r a v e n into a c r o w . A s in his
attacks o n the N T s t o r i e s , C e l s u s w a n t s t o s h o w that certain t e a c h i n g s in
G e n e s i s are b o r r o w e d and d e b a s e d v e r s i o n s o f Greek a c c o u n t s and h a v e b e e n
" m y t h o l o g i z e d " i n the h a n d s o f the L X X authors. Christian apologists
i n c l u d i n g Justin and T h e o p h i l u s had e q u a t e d N o a h w i t h D e u c a l i o n as h a d
2 5 5 2 5 6
P h i l o before t h e m . C e l s u s c o u l d a l s o call N T stories m y t h s or f i c t i o n s .
In the c a s e o f the f l o o d , h e apparently a c c e p t s the identification o f N o a h and
D e u k a l i o n , but o b j e c t s t o the d e b a s i n g or counterfeiting o f the story that takes
p l a c e in the L X X . H e is far m o r e n e g a t i v e c o n c e r n i n g the L X X a c c o u n t o f
the f l o o d than N i c o l a u s o f D a m a s c u s w h o wrote:

... many refugees found safety at the time of the flood, and one person, transported upon
an ark (λάρνακος), grounded upon the summit, and relics of the timber were for long

2 5 1
The Greek words for ark, flood, and dove are from the L X X of Gen 6:14, 17, and 8:8.
2 5 2
C. Cels. 4.41 ( 2 5 8 , 2 - 6 MARC.) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 7 6 with
bibliography. S e e also the discussion in FEDOU, Christianisme, 4 8 7 / PELAGAUD, Un
conservateur, 324.
2 5 3
C. Cels. 4.41 (258,7-259,4 M A R C ) . Plato includes the flood of Deukalion in his works
(Critias 112a and Tim. 22a with κατακλυσμό ν for "flood"). The Stoics used that term also
(SVF 2.186,26). Origen squares the measurements (e.g. 3 0 0 cubits becomes 9 0 , 0 0 0 ) and
b,s
creates a small ark-city. Cp. Orig., Horn, in Gen. 2.2 (Rufinus' Latin text is in S C 7 , 86,19-
8 8 , 3 2 DOUTRELEAU) which CHADWICK, Origen, 2 1 7 n.3 quotes). Apelles (in Origen's
comment on Genesis) noted the problem of the measurements (84,6-86,18 D o u r . ) . S e e
JUNOD, Attitudes, 120 and B A R D Y , La litterature, 220. JUNOD notes that Apelles did not
believe the ark could hold even four elephants (in Rufinus' version of the text of Origen).
Apelles concludes that the account is a lie and a myth. It is not, therefore, inspired by God
(ψευδής άρα ό μύθος. Ουκ άρα έκ θεου ή γραφή Horn, in Gen. 2.2 [GCS Origenes VI,
28,14 BAEHRENS]). For the texts see HARNACK, Marcion, 413*.
2 5 4
C. Cels. 4.42 (I, 315,6-11 K O E T . ) .
2 5 5
Justin, Apol. 2.7.2 (147,7-9 M A R C ) , Theophilus, A d Autolycum 2.30, 3.19 ( 7 6 , 124
G R A N T ) , Philo, D e praemiis et poenis 2 3 . Cf. A l s o Hippolytus, Ref. 10.30.6 (406,23-27
MARC).
2 5 6
C. Cels. 2.26, 5.57 (104,20-1; 368,26 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 14, 2 6 , 141
and see the index s.v. "fiction" and "myth." Celsus accuses Jews and Christians of writing
stupid myths (εύηθέστατα μεμυθολόγηται) in 4.50 (267,26-7 M A R C ) .
94 1. Celsus

preserved; this might well be the same person of w h o m M o s e s , the Jewish legislator
257
(νομοθέτης), w r o t e .

N i c o l a u s probably k n e w the L X X and l i v e d before the o n s e t o f Christianity


(§0.8).

1.5 Floods and Conflagrations

A n idea that Christians (and presumably J e w s ) have plagiarized is the c y c l e o f


floods and burnings that has b e e n underway for ages:
[After these matters he wants to prove that w e have nothing remarkable (παράδοξον) or
new to say about] a flood or burning, [but that w e have] misunderstood what has been said
by the Greeks or barbarians about these events [and have believed what has been said
about these in our scriptures. He continues:] When they misunderstood (παρακούσασιν)
2 5 8 2 5 9
these ideas of those p e o p l e , it came to them that after cycles of long t i m e s and
risings and conjunctions of stars, that burnings and floods take place and that after the last
deluge in the time of Deukalion the periodic return (ή περίοδος) requires a conflagration
according to the cyclic alternation (άμοιβήν) of all things. These beliefs have made them
260
— in an erring opinion — say that God will come down like a torturer bringing f i r e .

Plato in his Timaeus has a great fire that recurs due to the m o t i o n o f heavenly
261
b o d i e s . A c c o r d i n g to Plato the g o d s a l s o purify the earth with recurring

2 5 7
Nicolaus of Dam. apud Jos., Antiq. 1.95 = S T E R N I, § 85. ET from H. T H A C K E R A Y ' S
LCL edition of Josephus. Josephus also finds witnesses to the flood tradition in Berossus the
Chaldean (III-II B.C.E.), Mnaseas (III B.C.E.), and Hieronymus the Egyptian (Antiq. 1.93-
94), but they do not refer to Noah. Berossus mentions the ship on the mountain in Armenia.
Cp. Jos., C. A p . 1.130 (reference to Berossus on the flood). Apollonius Molon (1 B.C.E.)
also was aware of the biblical account of the flood and mentions "the one who was left after
the flood" in D e Iudaeis, apud Eus., P.E. 9.19.1 (VIII/1, 505,5-8 M R A S ) = S T E R N I, § 46.
Eusebius found that tradition in Alexander Polyhistor. Polyhistor also refers to Berossus'
account o f the flood and then the later author (or possibly Eusebius w h o records this text in
his Chronicle) identifies it with the one mentioned by M o s e s . S e e S T E R N III, § 560a =
Jacoby, FGrH III, C680, F3 and the commentary in S T E R N III, 17. Cp. § 0.8 / RlNALDl, La
Bibbia dei pagani, II, 106-7. On Berossus' flood narrative see S C H N A B E L , Berossos, 180-2,
264-6. For the possible existence of pagan coins that picture Noah's ark in Phrygian Apamea
see RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, Π § 77.
2 5 8
That is: Greeks and barbarians.
2 5 9
Celsus has μακρών χρόνων here as does Plato in Tim. 22d in his own explanation of
recurring conflagrations on earth.
2 6 0
C. Cels. 4.11 (225,11-21 M A R C ) . On fire in Julian see § 3.26, 2 9 , 4 7 .
2 6 1
Plato (Tim. 22d) has a great destruction on earth due to fire which takes place after
long times (same Greek expression as Celsus) due to a parallax of the celestial bodies that
travel around the earth (των περί γ ή ν κατ' ούρανόν ι ό ν τ ω ν π α ρ ά λ λ α ξ ι ς και δια
μακρών χρόνων γ ι γ ν ο μ έ ν η των ε π ί γ η ς πυρί πολλφ φθορά. Not all are destroyed by
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 95

262
floods . C e l s u s ' attack o n Christian e s c h a t o l o g y attracts a g o o d deal o f
263
attention from O r i g e n . B e l o w I will d i s c u s s his attack o n the narrative
concerning S o d o m (§ 1.12). Origen responds that C e l s u s did not k n o w h o w
264
ancient M o s e s w a s and u s e s Inachus as his ( O . ' s ) c h r o n o l o g i c a l a n c h o r .
Porphyry w a s w i l l i n g t o c o n c e d e the great antiquity o f M o s e s , u n l i k e
265
C e l s u s . O r i g e n , a c c o r d i n g t o D r o g e , is not c o n c e r n e d to d e m o n s t r a t e
266
M o s e s ' antiquity s i n c e p r e v i o u s apologists had already d o n e t h a t . C e l s u s
d o e s not question the identification o f the L X X flood with that o f D e u k a l i o n ,
but h e attacks Christian e s c h a t o l o g y and probably the destruction o f S o d o m .
Philo also argued that it w a s an impiety to a s s u m e that G o d acually c o m e s
267
d o w n to e a r t h .

1.6 The Misunderstood Plato

In B o o k Four C e l s u s argues that the Christians and J e w s m i s u n d e r s t o o d the


Greeks w i t h regard to their doctrine o f f l o o d s and conflagrations. O r i g e n
writes in B o o k Six:
[Many things may be found in Moses and the prophets who are older not only than Plato
but also than H o m e r and the invention of their alphabet by the Greeks, things
corresponding to their gift from God and full of great understanding. They did not, as
268
Celsus thinks] misunderstanding (παρακούσαντες) Plato [say such t h i n g s ] .

C e l s u s ' statement m u s t h a v e b e e n slightly ambiguous since Origen is not sure


if it m e a n s the O T authors or the Christians. Celsus attributed the story o f the
flood and S o d o m to J e w i s h misunderstanding (or downright plagiarism) o f
Greek texts. B u t i m m e d i a t e l y after this text, Origen admits that C e l s u s m a y

fire or flood in Plato's view. COOK, Interpretation, 98 has a discussion of the cycle of fires
and floods in Celsus' philosophy.
2 6 2
Plato, Tim. 22d.
2 6 3
See COOK, Interpretation, 97-9.
2 6 4
C. Cels. 4.11 (225,22-5 M A R C ) . On Inachus see also § 2.1.8.
2 6 5
See § 2.2.8.
2 6 6
D R O G E , Homer, 159. For the reference to M o s e s and Inachus, D R O G E refers to
Ptolemy of Mendes w h o m Origen may have known through Tatian, Or. 38.1 (= S T E R N I,
§ 157a) or Clement of Alex, Strom. 1.21.101.5 (65,9-13 S T . / F R . = S T E R N I, § 157b). Apion's
similar opinions may have come to Origen the same way from Tatian, Or. 38.2-3 (= S T E R N I,
§ 163a) and Clement of A l e x , Strom. 1.21.101.3-4 (65,1-9 S T . / F R . = S T E R N I, § 163b).
B O R R E T 2.232 n.3 has an extensive comment on the issue of the priority of Moses or Homer.
2 6 7
Philo, D e confus. ling. 134. He interprets the descent allegorically in Quaest. in Exod
2.45.
2 6 8
C. Cels. 6.7 (383,23-7 M A R C ) . Cp. the statement in 6.1 (377,4-7 M A R C . ) = RlNALDl,
La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 3 where Origen notes that Celsus compared certain passages of
Plato with those of the scriptures.
96 1. Celsus

b e thinking o f the apostles. H e argues that Paul the tentmaker and Peter and
269
John the fishermen w o u l d not h a v e b e e n students o f P l a t o . This m a y be the
correct interpretation s i n c e C e l s u s c o u l d a l s o argue that Jesus corrupted
270
Plato's t e a c h i n g s . Either w a y C e l s u s m a y have b e e n responding to o n e o f
the stock arguments o f Christian a p o l o g e t i c w h i c h h e l d that Greek w i s d o m
2 7 1
derived from H e b r e w w i s d o m .

7.7 An Uncreated Universe and Floods/Conflagrations

T h e root b e l i e f C e l s u s p o s i t s is the c o n t i n u i n g recurrence o f f l o o d s and


conflagrations. Origen later includes this statement o f C e l s u s : "The c o s m o s is
uncreated and incorruptible and o n l y those o n earth suffer f l o o d s and burnings
272
and not all fall into these t o g e t h e r . " Plato only c l a i m s that there h a v e b e e n
many destructions o f humans due to floods and burnings {Tim. 2 2 c ) . C e l s u s
273
w a s c o n v i n c e d , h o w e v e r , that the u n i v e r s e w a s e t e r n a l . Lucretius w a s
willing to c o n c e d e that fire and water c o u l d bring destruction to the earth and
274
sky (but not to individual atoms w h i c h cannot be d e s t r o y e d ) .
C e l s u s b e l i e v e d these events (floods and burnings) h a v e b e e n taking place
forever: " M a n y conflagrations and m a n y d e l u g e s h a v e taken p l a c e in every
age (έκ παντός αιώνος) and the latest is the flood that took place recently in
275
the time o f D e u k a l i o n . " H e also includes a reference to the fire during the
276
time o f Phaethon w h i c h will be d i s c u s s e d b e l o w (§ 1 . 1 2 ) . Origen responds
that if C e l s u s u s e s Plato to establish this belief, then Christians must b e l i e v e
277
M o s e s to h a v e m o r e authority than P l a t o . B o t h authors are at a sort o f
i m p a s s e : w h i c h B i b l e (Plato or the L X X ) is a c c e p t a b l e to the culture o f
antiquity? Origen d o e s m a k e a reference to a p h i l o s o p h i c a l v i e w that if the

2 6 9
C. Cels. 6.7 (383,27-384,4 M A R C ) .
2 7 0
S e e C O O K , Interpretation, 42-3 with reference to C. Cels. 6.16, 7.58 (393,13-8;
508,24-509,17 M A R C . ) and other texts.
2 7 1
See the references in § 1.2 (introductory paragraph), 1.20, and 3.43.
2 7 2
C. Cels. 4.79 (293,12-5 M A R C ) .
2 7 3
Cp. the views of Macarius' anonymous philosopher concerning the indestructibility of
the universe in C O O K , Interpretation, 220-2, 231-34. See in particular Monog. 4.1.1-5, 4.7.1-
4 (II, 240,6-242,13; 248,8-29 G O U L E T = H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F . 34, 90a). The Bible could
even be used in the debate. Simplicius, Comm. in Arist. de c o e l o 1.3 (VII, 141,26-142,3
H E I B E R G ) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 193 used Ps 18:5 and 103:5 L X X to argue
for the eternity of the world. Cf/ § 1 . 2 . 1 1 .
2 7 4
Lucretius 5.338-44, 351-55.
2 7 5
C. Cels. 1.19 (21,7-9 M A R C ) .
2 7 6
C. Cels. 1.19 (21,14 M A R C ) .
2 7 7
C. Cels. 1.19 (21,14-9 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 97

w o r l d is indestructible t h e n p r o v i d e n c e w i l l not a l l o w an e l e m e n t to d e s t r o y
278
all the o t h e r s .

1.8 The Flood, God's Inability to Persuade, and his Repentance

In a p a s s a g e i n w h i c h C e l s u s i n c l u d e s m a n y r e f e r e n c e s t o Marcionite
doctrines, h e asks:

How can he be unable to persuade (πείθειν) and rebuke (νουθετεΐν)? H o w can he, when
they became ungrateful and evil (Gen 6:6-7), repent ( μ ε τ α μ ε λ ε ι ) , find fault, hate his
creation, threaten and annihilate his children ( ε κ γ ο ν α ) ? Or where can he possibly take
2 7 9
them out of this world which he m a d e ?

C e l s u s k n e w that s o m e Christians b e l i e v e d the w o r l d to b e the creation o f a


"strange" G o d ( s e e § 1.2.11). H e found m a n y p h i l o s o p h i c a l and t h e o l o g i c a l
p r o b l e m s in the a c c o u n t o f the f l o o d . If G o d m a d e the w o r l d , then h e a l s o
m a d e the e v i l p e o p l e in it that h e d e s t r o y e d b y the f l o o d . C e l s u s apparently
wants to draw the c o n s e q u e n c e that G o d therefore m a d e e v i l . O r i g e n b e l i e v e s
that C e l s u s w i l l a l s o h a v e t o a n s w e r the question o f e v i l ' s origin s i n c e C e l s u s
h o l d s that G o d c r e a t e d the u n i v e r s e . In other w o r d s C e l s u s i s o p e n t o the
s a m e objection that the L X X texts are.
Origen mentions t h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n e v i l as G o d ' s w o r k o r the
2 8 0
consequence of God's w o r k . One can find a theory of evil as a
c o n s e q u e n c e o f t h i n g s g o o d in t h e m s e l v e s in o n e o f C h r y s i p p u s ' texts. The
S t o i c s a l s o a r g u e d that the g o d s w e r e n o m o r e the c a u s e o f u n r i g h t e o u s

2 7 8
C. Cels. 4 . 6 3 ( 2 7 8 , 7 - 1 2 M A R C ) . Theophrastus (apud Philo, D e aetern. 144-45)
mentions floods and fires which destroy many people. The same author (Theophrastus apud
Philo, D e aetern. 117, 143-44) rejects, however, the future destruction of the entire cosmos.
CHADWICK, Origen, 2 3 5 n.2 refers to authors such as Philo, D e aetern. 107-12, 116, Seneca,
N.Q. 3.10.3, 3.29.5 (the destruction of all things followed by a new beginning), Cicero, D e
nat. deor. 2.33.84-5 (Balbus' Stoic v i e w ) , and Plotinus, Ennead. 2.1.1 (I, 131,1-132,40
H . / S C H . ) . These authors see the four elements as being continually transformed into one
another to maintain equilibrium. Cp. CHADWICK, Origen, 2 7 9 n.6 for later Stoic v i e w s that
reject the idea of a universal destruction and a restoration of everything as it was before (e.g.
Panaetius in Arius Didymus, Epit. F. 3 6 [469,7-10, DiELS, Doxographi Graeci] and C i c , D e
nat. deor. 2.46.118).
2 7 9
C. Cels. 6.53 (431,21-5 M A R C ) .
2 8 0
C. Cels. 6.53 ( 4 3 1 , 2 5 - 4 3 2 , 1 0 M A R C ) . Cp. also Origen's position in C. Cels. 7.68,
8.68 (517,21-518,8; 585,3-5 M A R C ) . For Origen's approach to evil see also B O R R R E T 3.312
n.l with bibliography. In C. Cels. 5.24 (339,20-2 M A R C ) , Celsus argues that God is not the
source of "wrongful appetite (πλημμελούς ορέξεως) or erroneous disorder but of right and
just nature."
98 1. Celsus

2 8 1
actions than the l a w w a s the c a u s e o f illegal d e e d s . Origen also responds
that G o d d i d not m a k e e v i l s — m e a n i n g m o r a l e v i l s c o m m i t t e d by
282
i n d i v i d u a l s . T h e distinction b e t w e e n different kinds o f evil m a y g o back to
Aristotle. H e identifies three kinds o f good: those o f the soul such as courage
and justice; t h o s e o f the b o d y such as strength and beauty; and exterior g o o d s
s u c h as g l o r y and friendship. T o t h e s e g o o d s c o r r e s p o n d three k i n d s o f
2 8 3
e v i l . Origen w a s w i l l i n g to c o n c e d e that G o d created physical and external
2 8 4
e v i l s t o bring p e o p l e back to h i m and to purify h u m a n b e i n g s . T h i s is
similar to P l a t o ' s v i e w that external g o o d s (and g o o d s o f the b o d y ) are not
properly s p e a k i n g g o o d s and s o external e v i l s are not properly speaking
2 8 5
evils .
W i t h regard to persuasion w h i c h is the object o f the ancient rhetor, Origen
notes that G o d grants p e o p l e the freedom to accept his w o r d s or not (Gal 5:8,
2 8 6
Isa l : 1 9 - 2 0 ) . C e l s u s w a s intensely concerned with the ability o f Christian
287
language (and presumably Jewish texts) to persuade h e a r e r s . In response to
C e l s u s ' criticism o f G o d ' s repentance, Origen quotes G e n 6:5-7 and writes
288
that G o d ' s repentance is s i m p l y not m e n t i o n e d in the t e x t . L i k e w i s e the
author o f G e n e s i s d o e s not say that G o d hated his work. S i n c e human souls
are immortal, G o d is not annihilating h u m a n b e i n g s but trying to convert
them. T h e floodwaters purify the earth. P h i l o l i k e w i s e w a s aware o f s o m e
interpreters (probably Jewish) w h o thought that the creator perhaps repented
( μ β τ β γ ν ω ) w h e n h e s a w the impiety o f humankind. H e also argues that G o d
289
d o e s not repent or get a n g r y .

2 8 1
For Chrysippus see S V F 2.1170 where disease exists as an effect of nature and not by
nature. On the comparison of gods and laws see S V F 2.1125. Texts on evil and providence
in general can be found in S V F 2.1160-86.
2 8 2
C. Cels. 6.55 (433,13-8 M A R C ) . See also the "evil of the soul" in 6.54 (432,21-4
MARC).
2 8 3
D I E L S , D o x o g r . gr. 5 7 0 , 2 6 - 8 = Hippolytus, Refutatio 1.20.5 (82,20-7 MARC).
M A R C O V I C H gives many references for this distinction in his apparatus.
2 8 4
C. Cels. 6.56 (434,4-23 M A R C ) .
2 8 5
D I E L S , Doxogr. gr. 568,29-569,3 = Hippolytus, Refutatio 1.19.15 (79,57-9 M A R C ) .
Plato, Leges 697b ranks goods of the soul, body, and externals (such as wealth) in that order.
2 8 6
C. Cels. 6.57 (435,1-25 M A R C ) . Origen's reference is probably to Plato's Gorgias
453a (discussion in COOK, Interpretation, 9, 85).
2 8 7
See, for example, C. Cels. 2.46 (117,19-21 M A R C ) . Cf. C O O K , Interpretation, 40, 84,
85, 88 and see the index under "persuasion."
2 8 8
C. Cels. 6.58 (435,29-436,17 M A R C ) .
2 8 9
Philo, Quod deus sit imm. 21-33. See Idem, 51-52 (with reference to Gen 6:7) for
Philo's position that God does not get angry. Cf. Philo, Quaest. in Gen. 1.95 for a similar
statement. See also § 1.2.18,1.31,3.26, 3.34 on God's anger.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 99

L9 The Existence of Evil and God's Correction of the World

O n e other conceptual objection C e l s u s brings to the flood narrative is that the


quantity o f g o o d a n d e v i l i n the universe d o e s n o t c h a n g e . H e u s e d this
290
argument a l s o against the Christian c o n c e p t o f the incarnation o f C h r i s t .
H e writes, "There w o u l d never b e an increase or decrease o f evils in the world
in the past, present, or in the future: for the nature o f all things (ή τ ω ν όλων
291
φ ύ σ ι ς ) is o n e and the s a m e , and the generation o f evils is a l w a y s the s a m e . "
B e s i d e s arguing that C e l s u s h a s n o t u n d e r s t o o d P l a t o ' s Theatetus 1 7 6 a
292
c o r r e c t l y , Origen also quotes Timaeus 2 2 d in w h i c h the g o d s purify ( ϋ δ α σ ι ν
καθαίροντες κ α τ α κ λ ύ £ ω σ ι ν ) t h e earth b y water. U s i n g Plato, O r i g e n
293
concludes that e v i l s are l e s s in such a c a s e (the g o d s ' flooding the e a r t h ) .
After repeating o n e o f C e l s u s ' v i e w s against an anthropocentric creation,
O r i g e n a l s o repeats C e l s u s ' principle that "Neither g o o d s n o r e v i l s e v e r
b e c o m e l e s s or m o r e a m o n g mortals." Origen then includes another strong
attack o n stories such as the flood in Genesis:

God does not need to make a new correction (διορθώσεως). [But] it is also not like a
person who has made something deficiently and formed it in an uncraftsmanlike way that
God brings correction to the cosmos by purifying it (καθαίρων αυτόν κατακλυσμω) with
294
a flood or b u r n i n g .

Although C e l s u s d o e s not m a k e this clear, it s e e m s probable that h e rejects the


principle in the O T account o f the flood in G e n 6:5-8: n a m e l y , that h u m a n
e v i l s o n earth i n c r e a s e d s o m u c h that G o d d e s t r o y e d all but the righteous
N o a h . C e l s u s b r o u g h t a similar o b j e c t i o n t o t h e b e l i e f i n G o d ' s final
j u d g m e n t e v e n t h o u g h h e a c c e p t s t h e b e l i e f i n s o m e k i n d o f final
295
p u n i s h m e n t . F o r C e l s u s , p e o p l e m a y suffer j u d g m e n t , b u t t h e entire
universe will not perish in a fire o f G o d ' s wrath.

2 9 0
S e e C O O K , Interpretation, 6 5 - 6 .
2 9 1
C. Cels. 4 . 6 2 (277,18-21 M A R C . ) / P E L A G A U D , Un conservateur, 326.
2 9 2
See COOK, Interpretation, 65 for a discussion of this text.
2 9 3
C. Cels. 4 . 6 2 (277,26-278,3 M A R C ) . Origen also believed that Plato, Theaet. 176a
implies that evils are less at times.
2 9 4
C. Cels. 4.69 (282,24-7 M A R C ) .
2 9 5
See C O O K , Interpretation, 97-99. Cp. a text against apocalyptic judgment such as C.
Cels. 5.14 (331,1-5 M A R C ) . His view of final punishments may be found in C. Cels. 8.48
(562,28-563,8 M A R C ) .
100 1. Celsus

1.9 The Tower of Babel

C e l s u s ' thinking c o n c e r n i n g the purification o f the w o r l d b y m e a n s o f the


flood is similar to his v i e w s c o n c e r n i n g the story o f the t o w e r o f B a b e l in
Genesis (11:1-9):
[I do not know h o w ] the flood which purified the earth, [as the teaching ( λ ό γ ο ς ) of the
296
church claims] is comparable to the casting down of the tower ( π ύ ρ γ ο υ ) . For if the
story of the tower [contained in Genesis] does not hint darkly at anything ( μ η δ έ ν
α ι ν ί σ σ η τ α ι ) , [but as Celsus thinks] happens to be clear ( σ α φ ή ς ) , [it does not in this way
appear to have taken place for the purification of the earth ... And he thinks that] Moses,
who wrote d o w n the matters concerning the tower [and the confusion of languages]
297 2 9 8
counterfeits ( π α ρ α φ θ ε ί ρ α ν τ α ) the things told about the A l o e i d s and wrote them
299
concerning the t o w e r .

2 9 6
L X X G e n 11:5 uses this word for tower but mentions no destruction o f it.
M A R C O V I C H adds "for the purification of the earth" (καθαροίφ τ η ς γ η ς ) here (234,8
M A R C . ) due to Origen's use of the same phrase below (234,11-2 M A R C ) .
2 9 7
Philostratus, Vita Ap. 2.29 uses this term for counterfeiting coinage and places it in
parallel with those who pretend to be philosophers but are not.
2 9 8
Homer, II. 5.384-87 has Otus and Ephialtes (reputed sons of Aloeus) bind Ares for
thirteen months. In Od. 11.305-14 they attempt to pile Mt. Pelion on Mt. Ossa, and the latter
on Mt. Olympus to reach heaven. Apollo killed them. Atticus describes the presumption
( φ ρ ό ν η μ α ) of the Aloeids in their attempt to reach heaven in Fr. 2 (CUFr, 42,52-5 D E S
PLACES = Eus., P.E. 15.4.7). See J. PEPIN, Le challenge Homere-Moise aux premiers siecles
Chretiens, RevScRel 29, 1955, (105-22) 109 n.2 / Idem, Mythe, 2 2 8 - 3 1 . Polyhistor has a
version of the L X X story (God destroyed the tower with winds) which he derives from the
"Sibyl." After the flood Titan and Prometheus come into existence, and then there is war
between Titan and Cronos (STERN, III, § 560 b l , 560 b2) and cp. Oracula Sibyllina 3.97-104.
Cp. also the version of Polyhistor in Cyril, C. Jul. 1.9 (PG 76, 516d = SC 3 2 2 , 122,16-124,6
B U R G . / E V . ) . Cronos, Titan, and Iapetus, the children of Gaia and Ouranos, are not clearly
identified as the builders of the tower in the Sibyllines (3.110, contra PEPIN, Mythe, 228). An
interpreter o f Plato probably knew the Babel narrative from the Sibylline literature. See
Scholia Platonica, In Phaedrum 244b = S T E R N III, § 5 7 1 . In Abydenus' version, men of great
strength think they are better than the gods and build a tower where Babylon is. A s the tower
gets near heaven, winds help the gods and destroy the tower. People, after being of one
language, receive confused languages from the gods. Then follows a war between Cronos
and Titan; Eus., P.E. 9.14.1-2 (VIII/1, 499,20-500,8 M R A S ) . In Cyril's version of Abydenus'
account the ruins of the tower become Babylon; C. Jul. 1.9 (PG 76, 516d = SC 322, 124,7-13
B U R G . / Ον.). Ps. Justin, sees the account as another example of Homer's indebtedness to
Moses in Cohortatio 28.5 (PTS 32, 64,51-9 M A R C O V I C H ) . Ps. Aristot., D e mundo 1, 391a
(CUFr, 4 8 , 1 0 - 1 L O R I M E R ) uses Homer's story as an example of a foolish attempt to see
heaven physically.
2 9 9
C. Cels. 4.21 (234,6-11.15-8 M A R C . ) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 81 with
bibliography. S e e , for example, D E L A B R I O L L E , La reaction, 119 / PiLAGAUD, U n
conservateur, 21
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 101

N o t all authors in antiquity agreed that the sons o f A l o e u s w e r e identical with


the builders o f the tower. P s . E u p o l e m u s identifies the builders w i t h giants
3 0 0
w h o survived the f l o o d and n a m e s o n e as B e l u s . Philo, o n the other hand,
is w i l l i n g to say that story r e s e m b l e s that o f the A l o e i d s . H e a l s o m e n t i o n s
t h o s e w h o c r i t i c i z e the J e w i s h ancestral p o l i t y ( π α τ ρ ί ω π ο λ ι τ ε ί α ) b y
d e n o u n c i n g M o s a i c l a w s . O n e o f the critics' arguments is that the s o called
h o l y b o o k s contain m y t h s (αί iepai λ ε γ ό μ ε ν α ι β ί β λ ι ο ι π α ρ ' ύ μ ΐ ν και
μύθους· τ τ ε ρ ι έ χ ο υ σ ι ν ) . T h e y point out that the J e w s deride similar m y t h s
w h e n others tell t h e m . P h i l o g i v e s his o w n allegorical interpretation o f the
301
Genesis account .
Origen c o n c e d e s that the c o n f u s i o n o f languages m i g h t b e understood b y
302
C e l s u s to m e a n a purification o f the e a r t h . H e , h o w e v e r , g i v e s his o w n
anagogical (or m y s t i c a l ) interpretation o f the text later in the C. Celsum —
o n e that undoubtedly C e l s u s w o u l d have rejected since he did not b e l i e v e O T
303
texts needed to b e a l l e g o r i z e d . Celsus could c o n c e d e that s o m e o f the more
rational J e w s and Christians w e r e w i l l i n g to allegorize their t e x t s , but the
stories w e r e s u c h stupid m y t h s that they c o u l d not b e interpreted in s u c h a
3 0 4
w a y . O n the other hand, C e l s u s criticized Christians for not s e e i n g the dark
s a y i n g s or e n i g m a s ( α ι ν ί γ μ α τ α ) c o n t a i n e d in the E g y p t i a n w o r s h i p o f
305
a n i m a l s . Porphyry faulted Christians for finding e n i g m a s ( α ι ν ί γ μ α τ α )

3 0 0
Ps. Eupolemus, F. 1, F. 2 (= Eus, P.E. 9 . 1 7 . 1 , 9.18.2 in I, 1 7 1 , 9 - 1 5 , 177,1-7
HOLLADAY).
3 0 1
Philo, D e conf. 2-4. The critics sound like pagans, but R. G O U L E T notes that the
critics are devoted to a great deal of criticism of Jewish texts and may be Jews themselves (La
philosophie de Moi'se. Essai de reconstitution d'un commentaire philosophique prephilonien
du Pentateuque, H D A C 11, Paris 1987, 229 with reference to P E P I N , Mythe, 229 w h o also
believes the critics are Jews). S T E I N , Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 6 believes the critics are
Jewish apostates. The expression "so called holy books" inclines one to believe that the
critics may be pagan. Julian critiqued the story of Babel in C. Gal. 134d-135d (116,4-117,37
M A S . ) and called the story a mythical explanation ( α ί τ ί α ν ... κομιδή μυθώδη) of the
difference in languages (§ 3.13-5). He also compared the text to Homer's myth of the
Aleoeids. The critics in Philo ( D e conf. 9 and see also 4) use the same word (mythical
μυθώδης) to describe the story of Babel.
3 0 2
C. Cels. 4.21 (I, 290,11-12 K O E T . = 234,10-1 M A R C ) . K O E T S C H A U thinks these words
are those of Celsus ("for the purification of the earth").
3 0 3
Origen's o w n v i e w s are in C. Cels. 5.29-32 ( 3 4 3 , 2 3 - 3 4 7 , 1 2 M A R C ) . S e e COOK,
Interpretation, 70-2 for Celsus' critique of the allegory of OT texts and § 1.1 above. F E D O U ,
Christianisme, 519-21 discusses Origen's interpretation of the tower of Babel.
3 0 4
C. Cels. 4.50 (267,24-27 M A R C ) .
3 0 5
C. Cels. 3.19 ( 1 6 5 , 1 3 - 8 M A R C ) . F E L D M A N (Jew and Gentile 144-45) discusses
negative attitudes on the part of the Greeks to animal worship. Celsus apparently chose to
ignore those critiques. See, for example, C i c , D e nat. deor. 1.36.101 and Juvenal 15.1-12.
The apologists such as Aristides ( 1 2 . 1 , 6 , 7 [96-99 V O N A ] ) and Justin adopted the
philosopher's criticisms (Apol. 1.24.1-3 [67,1-10 M A R C . ] ) . Cf. also H O L L A D A Y , Fragments I,
102 1. Celsus

3 0 6
a m o n g the w r i t i n g s o f M o s e s in texts w h i c h w e r e written c l e a r l y . Celsus
clearly s e e s M o s e s as s u b s e q u e n t in t i m e to H o m e r as in h i s similar c h a r g e
3 0 7
c o n c e r n i n g the narratives o f f l o o d s and burnings in G e n e s i s . J e w i s h and
Christian a p o l o g i s t s w e r e e m p h a t i c in their denial o f the p o s i t i o n C e l s u s took
( H o m e r i s prior t o M o s e s ) i n c l u d i n g f i g u r e s s u c h as A r i s t o b u l u s , P h i l o ,
308
J o s e p h u s , and J u s t i n .

1.11 Abraham's Circumcision

After a d i s c u s s i o n o f M o s e s ' w i s d o m ( s e e § 1.20), C e l s u s m e n t i o n s the origin


of Jewish circumcision:

[After these things Celsus, who does not criticize the circumcision of private parts carried
out by the Jews, says:] It came from the Egyptians [believing the Egyptians rather than
309
Moses w h o says that of all humans Abraham was first circumcised (Gen 1 7 : 2 4 ) ] .

In a n o t h e r t e x t i n w h i c h C e l s u s a t t a c k s t h o s e w h o a b a n d o n their own
traditions t o b e c o m e J e w s , h e m e n t i o n s that c i r c u m c i s i o n d i d not originate in
Israel: " N e i t h e r w o u l d t h e y b e m o r e h o l y than t h e s e b e c a u s e t h e y are
3 1 0
c i r c u m c i s e d — for the E g y p t i a n s and C o l c h i a n s w e r e first to d o t h i s . " As
an argument for the relationship o f A b r a h a m to G o d , O r i g e n m e n t i o n s the u s e
o f the e x p r e s s i o n " G o d o f A b r a h a m " in m a g i c a l t e x t s , e v e n t h o u g h the

234 n.51 w h o also includes Jewish attacks on the practice such as Jos., C. Ap. 1.224-25, 2 5 4 ;
2 . 6 6 , 8 1 , 8 6 , 139.
3 0 6
E u s . , H . E . 6 . 1 9 . 4 = H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 3 9 . S e e § 2 . 2 . 2 . Cp. COOK,
Interpretation 1 2 8 - 3 3 , 182. Macarius* anonymous philosopher attacks the unclarity of
Christian texts ( C O O K , Interpretation, 181-84 with reference to Monog. 4 . 8 [ 9 ] . l - 6 , [II, 250,1-
23 G O U L E T = H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 5 4 , 5 2 ] ) .
3 0 7
See § 1.5 above on floods and conflagrations.
3 0 8
References can be found in COOK, Interpretation, 3-7 / D R O G E , Homer, passim /
B O R R E T 2.232 n.3 with particular reference to Tatian. Cf. § 1.5,2.28.
3 0 9
C. Cels. 1.22 (23,5-6 M A R C ) . For references to Abraham in Greco-Roman literature
see F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile, 5 3 0 n . l . S e e also § 1.28.3 for Celsus' attitude toward
circumcision.
3 1 0
C. Cels. 5.41 (356,3-5 M A R C ) . See Herodotus 2.104 = S T E R N I, § 1 for the question
of the origin of circumcision. Herodotus uses the Egyptian origin of the practice to argue that
the Colchians (in Pontus) are Egyptians. Artapanus claims Moses taught it to the Ethiopians
and perhaps also to the Egyptian priests. See Artapanus, F. 3 (Eus., P.E. 9.27.10 = I, 2 1 2 ,
H O L L A D A Y ) . H O L L A D A Y , Fragments, I, 2 3 6 n.63 gives many classical parallels to Celsus'
views as does S T E R N I, 2-3 (comment on § 1). See, for example, Diodorus 1.28.2-3 = S T E R N
I, § 55 and 1.55.5 = S T E R N I, § 57. The last text mentions Jews and Colchians. Barnabas 9:6
notes that Arabs, Syrians, Egyptians, and pagan priests practiced circumcision. Origen
mentions that circumcision was illegal for the Sicarii and only legal for Jews (2.13 [91,13-20
M A R C ] ) . Cp. Justin., Digest. 48.8.8.11 where it is considered castration for anyone but Jews
(quoted in Borret 1.320 n.2).
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 103

magicians do not k n o w w h o Abraham is. The magicians include Egyptian


311
practitioners . T h e y a l s o u s e the e x p r e s s i o n " G o d o f I s a a c and G o d o f
3 1 2
Jacob." C e l s u s h a d great d i s d a i n for m a g i c , but a c c e p t e d its reality.
Nevertheless he w o u l d probably not accept Origen's argument since no
313
c h r o n o l o g i c a l a n c h o r s are p r e s e n t . T h e argument i s an e x a m p l e o f o n e o f
the "culture w a r s " o f the a n c i e n t w o r l d : w h o s e culture i s o l d e s t ? Droge
s u r v e y s H e c a t a e u s o f A b d e r a ' s attempted d e m o n s t r a t i o n o f the antiquity and
3 1 4
superiority o f E g y p t i a n culture o v e r that o f G r e e c e . Jewish apologists such
as Artapanus turned the a r g u m e n t o n its h e a d and attempted t o d e m o n s t r a t e
315
that E g y p t i a n culture o w e d m u c h to H e b r e w c u l t u r e .

7.72 The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

After h i s c o m p a r i s o n o f the narratives o f the f l o o d and T o w e r o f B a b e l w i t h


their G r e e k c o u n t e r p a r t s , C e l s u s c o n t i n u e s w i t h a s i m i l a r c r i t i q u e o f the
account o f S o d o m and G o m o r r a h ' s fall [ G e n 1 9 : 1 - 2 9 ] :

And the matters concerning Sodom and Gomorrah — obliterated on account o f their sin
316
— as narrated [by Moses in G e n e s i s , . . . Celsus compares to] the narrative of P h a e t h o n .

Earlier in h i s text O r i g e n had d i s c u s s e d C e l s u s ' v i e w s o n f l o o d s and burnings:

3 1 1
C. Cels. 1.22 (23,8-14 M A R C ) .
3 1 2
C. Cels. 1.22 (23,14-6 M A R C ) . Cf. also C. Cels. 4.33 (247,30-248,4 M A R C . ) where
Origen mentions the use o f "God o f Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" in Jewish exorcism and
pagan magic; s e e C. Cels. 4 . 3 4 (248,9-13 M A R C ) which contains a question of Origen to
those w h o use the powerful names concerning the source of their effectiveness. Practitioners
of magic like to use names in their original language to confer their effectiveness, and those
w h o practice exorcism also use the Hebrew names (C. Cels. 5.45 [ 3 5 8 , 2 5 - 3 5 9 , 9 . 1 4 - 2 0
M A R C . ] ) . S e e also Justin, Dialog. 85.3 (216,16-217,22 M A R C . ) for Jewish exorcists using the
formula and Iren. 2.6.2 (62,37-9 R O U S S . / D O U T R . ; Jewish exorcists use the Name). Magical
texts that mention the patriarchs include an exorcism recipe in P G M IV, 1230-32 (with the
names of the patriarchs transliterated into Coptic letters), and various recipes for power in
PGM XII, 2 8 7 , XIII, 8 1 6 - 1 7 , 9 7 6 . Cp. B O R R E T 1.130 n.l / C H A D W I C K , Origen, 3 0 0 n.l / J.
D I L L O N , The Magical Power o f Names in Origen and Later Platonism, in: Origeniana Tertia.
The Third International Colloquium for Origen Studies, ed. R. H A N S O N / H . C R O U Z E L , Rome
1985,203-16.
3 1 3
S e e F R E D E , Celsus' Attack, 2 2 4 with reference to C. Cels. 1.68 and 4 . 8 6 (71,3-18;
301,1-3 M A R C ) . Cp. C O O K , Interpretation, 22.
3 1 4
D R O G E , Homer, 4-8. Diodorus 1.10-98 contains a great amount of Hecataeus' work.
3 1 5
D R O G E , Homer, 25-35. Texts of Artapanus can be conveniently found inHOLLADAY,
Fragments, 1,189-245 (texts, translations, and commentary).
3 1 6
C. Cels. 4.21 (235,1-3 M A R C ) .
104 L Celsus

Many conflagrations and many deluges have taken place in every age and the latest is the
flood that took place recently in the time of Deukalion and the burning during the time of
317
Phaethon.
318
Origen argues that the account o f M o s e s is older than that o f P h a e t h o n .
Pepin o b s e r v e s that C e l s u s ' b e l i e f that M o s e s plagiarized H o m e r and other
Greek writers is part o f his general v i e w that M o s e s g o t his "divine n a m e "
319
from studying the w i s e a n c i e n t s . Plato has an Egyptian priest narrate to the
"young" S o l o n the fiery destruction o f humankind w h e n Phaethon y o k e d the
320
horses to h i s father's ( H e l i o s ' ) chariot and drove t o o near the e a r t h . T h e
Egyptian then interprets the myth to m e a n that the burning o f things o n earth
321
is due to the position o f heavenly b o d i e s . Celsus b e l i e v e d in the alternation
o f floods and burnings. T h e s e h a v e b e e n d i s c u s s e d a b o v e w i t h reference to
his v i e w s o n the flood (§ 1.4). U n d o u b t e d l y his reference to G o d as torturer
( s e e § 1.5) i m p l i e s that Celsus did not think m u c h o f Christian e s c h a t o l o g y or
that the story o f S o d o m w a s very impressive from a moral point o f v i e w . This
is also probably related to C e l s u s ' v i e w s that evils n e v e r increase or decrease
on earth. H e d o e s not attack the story as S i m o n M a g u s (Marcion?) d o e s
3 2 2
w h e n h e criticizes G o d ' s lack o f k n o w l e d g e in G e n 1 8 : 2 1 . C e l s u s w a s not
as interested in exegetical details as, for e x a m p l e , Porphyry w a s .

1.13 Lot and his Daughters

With regard to the story o f the incest o f Lot and his daughters, Origen thinks
that C e l s u s s h o u l d h a v e b e e n impressed with the honesty ( τ ό φ ι λ α λ ή θ η ) o f
the writings and not h a v e v i e w e d the m o r e astonishing stories as fictions (και
π α ρ α δ ο ξ ο τ έ ρ ω ν ώς ού π ε π λ α σ μ έ ν ω ν ) :
[He did the opposite and said that the matters concerning Lot and his] daughters were
more wicked than Thyestean evils [ — without examining either the literal or the
323
anagogical m e a n i n g .

O n e o f the c o m m o n p l a c e accusations against ancient Christians w a s that they


324
w e r e guilty o f Thyestean feasts (cannibalism) and O e d i p o d e a n i n t e r c o u r s e .

3 1 7
C. Cels. 1.19 (21,12-4 M A R C ) .
3 1 8
C. Cels. 4.21 (235,3-6 M A R C ) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 92.
3 1 9
PEPIN, Le challenge, 115 with reference to C. Cels. 1.21 (22,14-6 M A R C ) . See § 1.20
below.
3 2 0
Plato, Tim. 22c. Euripides, Hippolytus 735-41 and Apollon., Argon. 4.595-99 include
the story of Phaethon.
3 2 1
Plato, Tim. 22d, and see § 1.5 above.
3 2 2
H A R N A C K , Marcion, 278-9* with ref. to Ps. Clem., Horn. 3.38.2-3 (70,25-71,1 R E H M ) .
3 2 3
C. Cels. 4.45 (261,20-5 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 105

C e l s u s d o e s not, i n fact, u s e such accusations against Christianity, but h e i s


aware o f the incest i n G e n 1 9 : 3 0 - 3 5 . Origen d o e s not explain the mystical or
anagogical m e a n i n g o f the p a s s a g e , but attempts a sort o f d e f e n s e o f L o t ' s
daughters b a s e d o n the S t o i c distinction b e t w e e n g o o d , bad, and indifferent
325
( α δ ι ά φ ο ρ α ) a c t i o n s . Indifferent actions are n o t b a s e d o n a n y c h o i c e , and
Origen claims that o n these terms Stoics w o u l d say intercourse with daughters
is an "indifferent" action. A n action i s n o t g o o d or e v i l if there i s n o t an
3 2 6
element o f c h o i c e . Indifferent actions are done without a c h o i c e or m o t i v e .
H e then c l a i m s that S t o i c s pictured a w i s e m a n left a l o n e w i t h h i s daughter
after all other h u m a n s w e r e destroyed. T h e S t o i c s a d v o c a t e d that s e x u a l
intercourse w a s justified i n that c a s e . Origen c o u l d b e correct e v e n though
this illustration has not b e e n found elsewhere. Sextus Empiricus b e l i e v e d that
327
the S t o i c s o c c a s i o n a l l y v i e w e d incest as a morally indifferent a c t . P h i l o
g i v e s the s a m e "soft d e f e n s e " o f the daughters' actions. T h e y have an e x c u s e
328
since they b e l i e v e that the w o r l d ' s inhabitants are d e s t r o y e d . Irenaeus also
i n c l u d e s a tradition o f a "presbyter" w h o n o t e s that t h e scriptures d o n o t
c o n d e m n the daughters' actions. H e then continues b y g i v i n g an allegorical
329
interpretation o f both daughters as the t w o s y n a g o g u e s or c o n g r e g a t i o n s .
C h a d w i c k n o t e s that O r i g e n t a k e s u p t h e p r e s b y t e r ' s a l l e g o r i c a l
330
e x p l a n a t i o n . O r i g e n finally admits that the inspired scripture neither
approves nor c o n d e m n s the actions o f L o t ' s daughters w h i c h c a n b e g i v e n a
331
certain defense and an allegorical m e a n i n g .

3 2 4
Cf. W. S C H A F K E , Fruhchristlicher Widerstand, A N R W 11.23.1, 1979, (460-723) 5 7 9 -
96. S e e also S. B E N K O , Pagan R o m e and the Early Christians, Bloomington/Indianapolis
1986, 5 4 - 7 4 / C O O K , Interpretation, 6. R I N A L D I discusses Celsus' text and the charge of
incest against Christians in La Bibbia dei pagani, II, 123-4 / cf. P E L A G A U D , U n conservateur,
325.
3 2 5
C. Cels. 4.45 (262,4-17 M A R C . = S V F 3.743).
326
E p i c t e t u s 3.10.18 argues that outside of purpose (προαιρέσεως) there are no good or
bad actions. S e e Chadwick, Origen, 2 2 0 n.3. On the Stoics' views of good and evil s e e S V F
3.68-116. S e e also S V F 3.117-123 for their views o f indifferent actions. S V F 3.517 is a text
in which the correctness o f an action depends on choice. Sextus Empiricus (Pyrr. 3.22.177-
78) discusses the concept. H e registers his shock that the Stoics held homosexual intercourse
to be an άδιάφορον (Pyrr. 3.24.200; cp. COOK, Intepretation, 225).
3 2 7
Sext. Emp., A d v . math. 11.192 = S V F 3.745 and cp. Idem, Pyrr. 3.246 in the same
excerpt in S V F 3.745 (referring to Chrysippus). Diogenes Laertius 7 . 1 8 8 gives the same
view in Chrysippus' Republic (= S V F 3.744). Chrysippus mentions in another treatise that
such marriages are not to be chosen for their own sake, i.e. they are not a "good."
3 2 8
Philo, Quaest. in Gen. 4 . 5 6 (LCL). He allegorizes the text in D e post. Caini 175-77
and D e ebrietate 164-205.
3 2 9
Iren. 4.31.1-2 (SC 100, 786,1-794,63 R./H./D./M.).
3 3 0
Chadwick, Origen 221 n.l with reference to Origen, Horn, in Gen. 5.4-5 (170,1-180,65
D O U T R . ) . Cf. F E D O U , Christianisme, 132.
3 3 1
C. Cels. 4.45 (262,26-263,2 M A R C ) .
106 1. Celsus

LI4 Abraham and Sarah, Rebeccah, Jacob and Esau, Cain and Abel

O n e o f O r i g e n ' s t e x t s s u m m a r i z e s C e l s u s ' a p p r o a c h t o the patriarchal


narratives i n c l u d i n g Sarah's c o n c e p t i o n o f Isaac in her o l d a g e and the plots
o f brothers against e a c h other. Origen writes:

[He says,] Procreation beyond the age (έ'ξωρον π α ι δ ο π ο ί α ν ) is extremely absurd


( ά τ ο π ω τ ά τ η ν ) [and even if he did not give the names, it is clear that he is speaking about
Abraham and Sarah (Gen 2 1 : 1 - 7 ) . He also throws about] the schemes of brothers [either
speaking of Cain's plot against Abel (Gen 4 : 8 ) or in addition to that one, the plot of Esau
3 3 2
against Jacob (Gen 2 4 : 4 1 ) . ] The sorrow of a father [is perhaps that of Isaac over
Jacob's departure and perhaps that of Jacob over Joseph sold into Egypt. I think that
when he writes of] the trickeries (ενέδρας) of a mother [he means Rebeccah's arranging
that the blessing of Jacob would not come upon Esau but upon Jacob (Gen 2 7 : 5 - 1 7 ) . If
w e say:] G o d w a s extremely c l o s e to all these ( ό ί γ χ ι σ τ α δέ τ ο ύ τ ο ι ς · πάσι
σ υ μ π ο λ ι τ ε υ ό μ ε ν ο ν ) [what are w e doing that is] absurd [being persuaded that his divinity
is never separated from those w h o are dedicated to living well and healthily. He mocked
at the property acquired by Jacob from Laban not understanding the meaning of "the
unmarked were Laban's and the marked belong to Jacob (Gen 3 0 : 4 2 ) , " and he says,] God
333
gave his sons donkeys and sheep and c a m e l s .

Origen continues by quoting 1 Cor 10:11 and gives an allegorical


interpretation o f the marked a n i m a l s as m e a n i n g the n a t i o n s w h o b e l i e v e d in
334
Christ . W h a t s e e m s to c o n v i n c e C e l s u s m o s t o f the absurdity o f the
patriarchal narratives is the c l o s e relationship b e t w e e n G o d and all the e v e n t s
and p e o p l e c o n c e r n e d . T h e w o r d for this relationship is often translated "be a
335
f e l l o w c i t i z e n " and i m p l i e s an intimate a s s o c i a t i o n . G i v e n Celsus' exalted
c o n c e p t o f the s u p r e m e G o d , s u c h narratives as those o f C a i n and A b e l , Jacob
and E s a u , and Sarah and A b r a h a m are patently absurd s i n c e the supreme G o d
3 3 6
is not s o i n t i m a t e l y i n v o l v e d i n h u m a n l i f e . Later in h i s b o o k , O r i g e n

3 3 2
Celsus may also have in view the schemes of Jacob against Esau in Gen 2 5 : 2 9 - 3 4 and
27:18-29.
3 3 3
C. Cels. 4 . 4 3 ( 2 5 9 , 2 3 - 2 6 0 , 1 1 M A R C ) .
3 3 4
C. Cels. 4 . 4 3 ( 2 6 0 , 1 1 - 6 M A R C ) . With regard to the animals of Jacob and Laban, Philo
says that M o s e s is not concerned with the differences between animals, but with the way that
leads to goodness (De somniis 1 . 2 0 9 ) .
3 3 5
Origen uses the word (συμπολιτεύεται) for this kind of close relation in his Exhort, ad
martyrium 2 7 (I, 2 4 , 2 K O E T . ) . LPGL s.v. offers the sense "associate" in texts such as
Hippolytus, Ref. 5 . 1 9 . 2 2 ( 1 7 0 , 1 2 7 M A R C ) where Saul associates (συμττολιετυόμένος) with
the evil demon.
3 3 6
S e e C O O K , Interpretation 1 0 0 - 0 1 for a summary of Celsus' views of the highest God.
M. F E D O U , Christianisme, 2 3 5 - 4 1 discusses Celsus' concept of God as does A N D R E S E N ,
Logos, 9 3 - 9 6 .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 107

criticizes C e l s u s ' e x p r e s s i o n ("the s c h e m e s o f brothers") s i n c e Cain plotted


against A b e l , and Jacob plotted against Esau and not A b e l against Cain and
3 3 7
Esau against J a c o b . C e l s u s ' recourse to the c o n c e p t o f absurdity w a s a
338
c o m m o n p l a c e in the pagan critique o f Christianity .

7.75 Wells, Marriages, Brides, and Slaves (Sarah and Hagar)

Celsus apparently groups various patriarchal narratives in a text w h i c h Origen


introduces as f o l l o w s : "[He is far from the intention o f the scriptures w h e n he
3 3 9
s a y s , ] G o d g a v e w e l l s to righteous p e o p l e ( G e n 1 6 : 1 4 , 2 1 : 1 9 , 2 6 : 2 2 ) . "
C e l s u s ' objection to the w e l l s is unclear, but he m a y h a v e k n o w n o f P h i l o ' s
3 4 0
allegorical e x p l a n a t i o n o f t h e m and s i m p l y rejected i t . O r i g e n r e s p o n d s
3 4 1
that C e l s u s m i s s e d the deeper m e a n i n g o f the w e l l s . C h a d w i c k m e n t i o n s
Eustathius o f A n t i o c h w h o criticized Origen for allegorizing the w e l l s s i n c e
342
they can be s e e n "to this d a y . " Origen is, h o w e v e r , aware o f w e l l s s u c h as
that o f A s c a l o n that are still to b e s e e n , and b e l i e v e s they m a y b e the w e l l s
3 4 3
referred to b y G e n e s i s . In his Homilies on Genesis and other texts, Origen
did g i v e allegorical explanations o f the w e l l s such as: the w e l l s refer to souls
studying the scriptures and understanding them in their spiritual or allegorical
344
s e n s e . Origen c o n t i n u e s his summary o f C e l s u s ' critique: "Such are the
texts concerning] w e l l s [and those concerning] marriages [and various] sexual
345
unions o f the righteous." C e l s u s m a y b e thinking o f A b r a h a m ' s relations

3 3 7
C. Cels. 5.59 (371,9 [a repetition of Celsus' phrase]; 371,9-11 [Origen's response]
M A R C ) . In this text Celsus is commenting on the fact that Christians accept these Jewish
stories. See also RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 72.
3 3 8
Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 129 with reference to Celsus' views that Christian allegories
of OT texts are more absurd than the myths themselves (C. Cels. 4.51 [268,6-10 M A R C ] ) .
Cf. § 1.1.3. Porphyry takes a similar view of Christian allegory of OT texts (§ 2.2.2 =
H A R N A C K , Porphyrius, F. 39 = Eus., H.E. 6.19.4-8). C. Cels. 2.20 (97,14-6 M A R C . ) refers to
the absurdity of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas (see C O O K , Interpretation, 47). See also
§ 1.2.3.
3 3 9
C. Cels. 4.44 (260,17-8 M A R C ) .
^ P h i l i o , D e somniis 1.39. STEIN, Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 19. It seems unlikely
that Celsus knew Philo that well.
3 4 1
C. Cels. 4.44 (260,18-26 M A R C ) .
3 4 2
Chadwick, Origen, 219 n.8 with reference to Eustathius, D e Engastrim. 21 (Origenes
Eustathius von Antiochien und Gregor von Nyssa tiber die Hexe von Endor, Kleine Texte 83,
48,22-6 K L O S T E R M A N N ) .
3 4 3
C. Cels. 4.44 (261,1-5 M A R C ) .
3 4 4
See B O R R E T 2.297 n.2. Cp. Horn, in Gen. 7.5, 10.2, 11.3, 12.5, 13.1-4 (206,1-207,22;
258,1-260,19; 286,18-290,82; 306,59-308,82; 310,1-332,92 D O U T R . )
3 4 5
C. Cels. 4.44 (260,27-8 M A R C ) .
108 1. Celsus

with Hagar and Sarah in G e n 16:1-6 and 2 1 : 1 - 7 g i v e n O r i g e n ' s c o m m e n t s o n


3 4 6
the n e x t brief reference to brides and f e m a l e s l a v e s . F o r O r i g e n t h e s e
accounts are like those about the w e l l s — it is easier to interpret t h e m in the
347
proper c o m m e n t a r y . C e l s u s (according to O r i g e n ' s interpretation) m a d e
s o m e kind o f reference to Sarah and Hagar. Origen briefly summarizes: [ W e
d o not t e a c h that the] brides and f e m a l e s l a v e s [are t o b e interpreted
figuratively ( ά ν ά γ ε σ θ α ι επί τ ρ ο π ο λ ο γ ί α ν ) , but w e h a v e r e c e i v e d it from
3 4 8
w i s e p e o p l e before u s . " H e continues, "And w h o e v e r wants to take up the
letter to the Galatians w i l l understand h o w the a c c o u n t s o f ] the marriages
[and] the sexual unions with the slave w o m e n [are to b e a l l e g o r i z e d ] . " T h e
w i s e p e o p l e before Origen include Paul, and Origen quotes Paul's allegory o f
3 4 9
the account o f Sarah and Hagar in Galatians 4 : 2 1 - 2 4 , 2 6 . C e l s u s ' objection
to these stories is probably that G o d d o e s not associate s o c l o s e l y with human
b e i n g s ( s e e § 1.14). H e o c c a s i o n a l l y criticizes the allegorical interpretation
o f O T t e x t s , but O r i g e n d o e s not m e n t i o n that o b j e c t i o n in this c o n t e x t
(§ 1.1.2-3).

1.16 The Genealogy of the Progenitors

Celsus had an objection to the g e n e a l o g y o f the patriarchs in Genesis. Origen


writes:
[After these matters, Celsus runs over things from the first book of Moses, which is
350
inscribed "Genesis" and says,] They s h a m e l e s s l y attempted to establish their
genealogical ties with the first seed of people who were magicians and wanderers
( γ ο ή τ ω ν και π λ ά ν ω ν ) , by calling as witness dim and ambiguous words, hidden in
darkness, and by explaining them to unlearned and senseless people; and this is the case
even though such a claim has never been argued (αμφισβητηθεί/το^) in the lengthy period
351
that p r e c e d e d .

Origen i n c l u d e d another text that clarifies the final phrase o f C e l s u s in a


f o l l o w i n g section:

3 4 6
Philo, D e congressu 180 interprets the women to be minds. S T E I N , Alttestamentliche
Bibelkritik 19 thinks Celsus could have been aware of that interpretation and rejected it.
3 4 7
C. Cels. 4.44 (260,28-261,1 M A R C ) .
3 4 8
C. Cels. 4.44 (261,6-7 M A R C ) .
3 4 9
C. Cels. 4.44 (261,7-19 M A R C ) .
3 5 0
Chadwick, Origen, 209 n.l conjectures ά ν α ι σ χ ύ ν τ ω ς (shamelessly) for ώς (as) based
on the appearance of similar words in the identical context of the phrase found in C. Cels.
4.34, 35 (249,34; 249,18 M A R C ) . M A R C O V I C H (247,17) includes the word in brackets. Cp.
C. Cels. 4.33 ( I , 303 app. K O E T . ) .
3 5 1
C. Cels. 4.33 (247,16-22 M A R C ) . Cf. F E L D M A N , Jew and Gentile, 199, 529 n.56 /
RlNALDi, I cristiani, 5 2 / PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 323.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 109

[He notes quickly that in these matters concerning names from which the Jews trace their
genealogy] that there has never been a claim made in the lengthy period that preceded
concerning such names, but now Jews make claims about these to certain other people
3 5 2
[whom he does not n a m e ] .

Origen responds that C e l s u s ' o w n c l a i m is rather obscure. O r i g e n ' s reference


to those w h o use the words "God o f Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" in m a g i c has
353
b e e n m e n t i o n e d (§ 1 . 1 1 ) . T h e magical use o f the patriarchs' n a m e s c o u l d
b e the reason for C e l s u s ' u s e o f the w o r d s "magicians and wanderers" (or
"deceivers"). H e a l s o v i e w e d M o s e s as a m a g i c i a n ( s e e § 1.20). O r i g e n ' s
arguments o n the p o w e r o f the n a m e s in m a g i c w o u l d o n l y b e s u c c e s s f u l for
pagan m a g i c i a n s and perhaps for C e l s u s h i m s e l f if h e b e l i e v e d in the actual
354
effectiveness o f the patriarchs' n a m e s in m a g i c f o r m u l a s . In his attack o n
3 5 5
J e s u s ' m i r a c l e s C e l s u s d o e s appear to b e l i e v e in the p o w e r o f m a g i c .
Origen a l s o argues that the progenitors' H e b r e w n a m e s link t h e m to the
356
H e b r e w s . Finally, Origen argues that Celsus cannot m a k e a counter-claim
3 5 7
to the g e n e a l o g y o f G e n e s i s . C e l s u s did m a k e such a counter-claim to the
358
g e n e a l o g y o f Jesus b y s i m p l y d e n y i n g its t r u t h . H i s v i e w o f the stupid
p e o p l e w h o listen to the J e w i s h c l a i m s about their g e n e a l o g i e s parallels his
359
v i e w o f the Christians' deception o f the uneducated and s e n s e l e s s . Origen
s e e m s to a s s u m e that others h a v e established the antiquity o f the ancestors as
h e d o e s in the c a s e o f M o s e s and his temporal r e l a t i o n s h i p to H o m e r
360
(§ 1 . 5 ) .

7 . 7 7 Esau's Hatred

C e l s u s objected to the relationships o f Israel's ancestors — in particular that


o f Esau and Jacob in G e n 2 7 : 4 1 - 4 5 . H i s d i s c u s s i o n o f the plots o f brothers
against e a c h other has b e e n treated a b o v e (§ 1.14). O r i g e n d e s c r i b e s his
objection: "[Celsus casts about the] enmity [I think o f Esau, a m a n w h o m the

3 5 2
C. Cels. 4.35 (250,3-6 M A R C ) .
3 5 3
C. Cels. 4.33 (247,22-248,4 M A R C ) .
3 5 4
C. Cels. 4.34 (248,9-26 M A R C ) .
3 5 5
C. Cels. 1.68 (71,3-18 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 36-37.
3 5 6
C. Cels. 4.34 (249,4-9 M A R C ) .
3 5 7
C. Cels. 4.35 (249,17-26; 250,6-13 M A R C ) .
3 5 8
C. Cels. 2.32 (108,11-5 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 28.
3 5 9
See COOK, Interpretation, 82-88. Celsus uses the same word ("senseless" ανόητους)
in C. Cels. 3.18 (165,11 M A R C ) .
3 6 0
GAGER, M o s e s , 93 n.30 believes that Celsus (in 4.33) is trying to invalidate the
argument that the patriarchs lived before the Trojan war (with reference to Jos., Antiq. 1.69-
218).
110 1. Celsus

361
scripture r e c o g n i z e s to b e bad, towards J a c o b ] . " Gen 27:45 mentions
E s a u ' s anger ( ό ρ γ ή ν ) . T h e S t o i c s l o o k e d d o w n o n hatred ( μ ΐ σ ο ^ ) and anger
( ο ρ γ ή ) as irrational desire. Hatred for e x a m p l e , is a desire that it will g o evil
3 6 2
w i t h s o m e o n e . A rhetorician s u c h as Quintilian d i d not v i e w hatred
(odium) as an a c c e p t a b l e part o f the orator's ethos (character). Hatred,
h o w e v e r , is a part o f the pathos or e m o t i o n that an orator m i g h t try to create
363
in an audience with regard to a person or a person's a c t i o n s .

1.18 The Rape of Dinah and Simeon and Levi's Revenge

C e l s u s objected to the v e n g e a n c e that S i m e o n and L e v i , t w o o f Jacob's s o n s ,


took w h e n their sister D i n a h w a s raped ( G e n 3 4 : 2 , 2 5 - 3 1 ) : " [ A n d without
clearly setting forth the account o f S i m e o n and L e v i ] w h o set out b e c a u s e o f
the rape o f their sister [after s h e w a s v i o l a t e d b y the s o n o f the k i n g o f
3 6 4
S h e c h e m — h e brings charges against both o f t h e m . ] " S i m e o n and L e v i ' s
act o f u n m e a s u r e d v e n g e a n c e m u s t h a v e i n c e n s e d C e l s u s , w h o probably
w o n d e r e d w h y they n e e d e d to kill all the m a l e s in the t o w n o f S h e c h e m . In a
h o m i l y , Origen m a k e s an offhand reference to the violation o f Dinah, but d o e s
365
not c o m m e n t o n the act o f r e v e n g e .

1.19 Joseph, His Brothers, and Jacob

Celsus found points for criticism in the narrative o f Joseph and his brothers:
[He speaks of] brothers selling [meaning the sons of Jacob and] a brother sold [meaning
Joseph, and] a father w h o was beguiled [meaning Jacob, since he did not have any
suspicion concerning the brothers who showed him "the many-colored coat" of Joseph,
but believed them and "mourned" over Joseph, who was a slave in Egypt, as if he were
366
dead] (Gen 3 7 : 2 6 - 3 6 ) .

O r i g e n c o m p l a i n s that C e l s u s c r i t i c i z e s the narrative w h e n h e finds


b l a m e w o r t h y characteristics ( κ α τ η γ ο ρ ί α ν ιιεριέχειν ή ι σ τ ο ρ ί α ) , but d o e s

3 6 1
C. Cels. 4.46 (263,3-4 M A R C ) .
3 6 2
S V F 3.396 = Diog. Laert. 7.113.
3 6 3
Quintilian 6.2.14; 6.2.10-21. Cp. LAUSBERG, Handbuch, § 257.2a, 257.3 and Cook,
Interpretation, 9-10.
3 6 4
C. Cels. 4.46 (263,4-6 M A R C ) . MARCOVICH does not identify any words in this text
as those of Celsus in contrast with CHADWICK, Origen, 2 2 1 . Clearly Celsus found the text in
Genesis to be objectionable.
3 6 5
Origen, Horn, in Gen. 15.4 (360,20-22 DOUTR.). The Jewish poet Theodotus also
describes the scene in F. 8 (II, 124,1-126,21 HOLLADAY = Eus., P.E. 9.22.10-1).
3 6 6
C. Cels. 4.46 (263,7-11 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 111

not c o m m e n t on J o s e p h ' s noteworthy self-control when Potiphar's wife


367
t e m p t e d h i m to a d u l t e r y . C e l s u s ' p r o b l e m s w i t h t h e s e t e x t s are c l e a r l y
moral. O n e o f A r i s t o t l e ' s e l e m e n t s o f literary c r i t i c i s m w a s the q u e s t i o n o f
3 6 8
the moral g o o d n e s s or e v i l o f the actions o f actors in a s t o r y . T h e brothers'
actions are probably e v i l in C e l s u s ' sight, and h e d o e s not understand w h y the
biblical narrative w o u l d i n c l u d e s u c h objectionable stories.
C e l s u s c o n t i n u e s h i s attack o n the J o s e p h narratives:

[After these things, Celsus, for form's sake, mentions with extreme unclarity the] dreams
[of the chief cup-bearer and the chief baker of Pharaoh] and their interpretation [because
of which Joseph w a s taken out o f prison to be entrusted by Pharaoh with the second
throne of Egypt (Gen 40-41). What absurdity (άτοπον), therefore, did the account o f this
369
narrative have in its o w n t e r m s , so that Celsus made of it part of his accusation — he
w h o wrote the True Discourse and w h o does not set forth doctrines, but accuses
Christians and Jews?] And the one w h o was sold was kind to the brothers w h o sold him
when they were famished and were sent with the asses to trade; [but the things he did
Celsus did not include. He mentions] the recognition (άναγνωρισμόν), [but I do not know
what he meant to say and what he wanted to show to b e ] absurd ( ά τ ο π ο ν ) in the
3 7 0
recognition (Gen 42:1-45:5). [For not even, as the expression goes, M o m u s himself
would be able to reasonably accuse these accounts that without any figurative explanation
are too attractive ( ά γ ω γ ό ν ) . He mentions also Joseph] w h o was sold as a slave and set
free and w h o came with a grand procession ( π ο μ π ή ς ) to the tomb o f his father (Gen 50:4-
14); [and he thinks that the account deserves criticism (κατηγορίαν) which says:] B y him
[clearly Joseph] the glorious and divine (λαμπρόν και θ ε σ π ε σ ι ο ν ) race o f the Jews,
spread out in a multitude in Egypt, was ordered to live somewhere else and to shepherd
3 7 1
their flock in inglorious places (Gen 4 7 : l - 5 ) .

O r i g e n ' s r e s p o n s e i s that C e l s u s h a s n o t s h o w n a n y t h i n g to b e w o r t h y o f
372
criticism in the n a r r a t i v e s . T h e c o n c e p t o f absurdity (§ 1.2.3, 1.14) w a s o n e
o f C e l s u s ' t o o l s o f literary and p h i l o s o p h i c a l criticism as has b e e n m e n t i o n e d
3 7 3
above. In other c o n t e x t s , C e l s u s c o u l d argue that d r e a m s w e r e d e c e i t f u l .
H e m a y h a v e l o o k e d u p o n the prisoners' dreams in the s a m e light and f o u n d
the s t o r y t o b e i n h e r e n t l y absurd. Joseph became associated with the
3 7 4
interpretation o f d r e a m s a c c o r d i n g t o P o m p e i u s T r o g u s . Taken by his

3 6 7
C. Cels. 4.46 (263,12-7 M A R C ) .
3 6 8
Aristot., Poet. 25.15 and cp. COOK, Interpretation 10-11.
3 6 9
That is, "in its literal sense."
3 7 0
In Plato, Resp. 487a, Momus is the chief o f critics. He is the personification o f fault­
finding.
3 7 1
C. Cels. 4.47 (263,22-264,12 M A R C ) .
3 7 2
C. Cels. 4.47 (264,17-20 M A R C ) .
3 7 3
C. Cels. 2 . 5 5 , 6 0 ( 1 2 7 , 7 - 1 2 8 , 2 ; 131,24-6 M A R C ) . These texts refer to visions or
"dreams" of the risen Jesus. Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 2 1 , 5 5 .
3 7 4
STERN I, § 137 = Iustinus, Historiae Philippicae, Libri X X X V I Epitoma, 2.7-8. S e e
also § 0.10 and 2.2.7 for the text of Pompeius.
112 1. Celsus

brothers to E g y p t , according to P o m p e i u s , Joseph learned m a g i c and b e c a m e


w i s e in the area o f p r o d i g i e s and dream interpretation. J o s e p h w a s s o
successful in his predictions concerning the famine that P o m p e i u s concludes:
"Such w e r e the demonstrations o f his k n o w l e d g e that they appeared to b e
oracular r e s p o n s e s g i v e n not by a person but by a g o d " (tantaque experimenta
315
eius fuerunt, ut non ab homine, sed a deo responsa dari viderentur) .
Celsus s a w n o such virtue in Joseph and found the entire story ridiculous.
T h o u g h h e apparently did not "unpack" his argument, C e l s u s m a y h a v e
thought that it w a s ridiculous that the brothers did not r e c o g n i z e J o s e p h
immediately. I m p o s s i b l e or irrational events were o n e o f the topics o f literary
376
criticism a c c o r d i n g to A r i s t o t l e . In a tragedy, the author should s e e k to
377
portray the " p r o b a b l e " . A r i s t o t l e ' s term for the d i s c o v e r y or recognition
( α ν α γ ν ώ ρ ι σ η ) that is an e l e m e n t o f tragedy is quite similar to that u s e d b y
378
Celsus in his brief reference to this part of the Joseph n a r r a t i v e .

120 Moses and Ancient Wisdom

Celsus has a l o w v i e w o f M o s e s : " M o s e s , therefore, p o s s e s s e d a divine n a m e


( ό ν ο μ α δ α ι μ ό ν ι ο ν ) b e c a u s e h e heard o f this doctrine ( λ ό γ ο υ ) w h i c h exists
379
a m o n g w i s e nations and m e n o f high r e p u t a t i o n . " C e l s u s , in another text,
includes the Egyptians, A s s y r i a n s , Indians, Persians, Odrysians,
Samothracians, and Eleusinians a m o n g the w i s e p e o p l e w h o h e l d the ancient
3 8 0
doctrine ( α ρ χ α ί ο ς λ ό γ ο ς ) . O r i g e n s e e m s to paraphrase a p o s i t i o n o f

3 7 5
STERN I, § 137 = Iustinus, Hist. Phil. 36.2.10. STERN refers to a tradition in which
Joseph was later worshiped under the name Sarapis (II, 340) in Tert., A d nat. 2.8.10
(CChr.SL 1, 5 3 , 2 5 - 5 4 , 1 BORLEFFS), Firmicus Maternus, D e errore 13.1.2 (CUFr 105
TURCAN) and Suda, s.v. Sarapis ( § 1 1 7 ADLER).
3 7 6
Aristot., Poet. 25.32 and cp. COOK, Interpretation 10.
3 7 7
Aristot., Poet. 15.10
3 7 8
Aristot., Poet. 11.4-8.
3 7 9
C. Cels. 1.21 (22,14-6 M A R C ) . ANDRESEN, Logos 11-2 adds the following to the
fragment from 1.21 (22,19-21 M A R C ) : "[But if, as you say], he agreed with wise and true
teachings (δόγμασι σοφοί s και άληθεσι) and taught his o w n people by means of them,
[what did he do worthy of accusation?]" MARCOVICH identifies the text as Celsus' also. The
text may only be a paraphrase of the earlier lines. Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 2 4 1 , 286 /
PICHLER, Streit, 121-3 / PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 284.
3 8 0
C. Cels. 1.14 (18,2-7 M A R C ) . S. SWAIM notes that Diogenes Laertius 1.1-11 also
leaves the Jews out of his lists of peoples who were "competitors to the Greeks." See Idem,
Defending Hellenism. Philostratus, In Honour of Apollonius, in: Apologetics in the Roman
Empire, ed. EDWARDS/GOODMAN/PRICE, (157-96) 183. Diog. Laert. 1.8 does mention the
Jews as possible descendants of the Magi. See Clearchus in § 0.3. H. CHADWICK, Early
Christian Thought, 134 n.66 refers to a similar passage in Lucian where philosophy first
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 113

C e l s u s w i t h regard t o the b i a s o f M o s e s and the prophets i n the c a s e o f their


o w n people:

If, obligingly for the sake o f their o w n doctrine (κεχαρισμενως ... τ φ εαυτών λόγψ),
M o s e s and the prophets wrote much about matters pertaining to their o w n people, w h y
381
can w e not say something similar concerning the historians of other n a t i o n s ?

Apparently, C e l s u s felt that the historians o f other n a t i o n s w e r e u n b i a s e d . In


another c o n t e x t h e a l s o i n c l u d e s the H y p e r b o r e a n s , H o m e r ' s Galactophagi
("milk d r i n k e r s " II. 1 3 . 6 ) , t h e D r u i d s o f G a u l , a n d t h e G e t a e s i n c e t h e y
b e l i e v e d o c t r i n e s a k i n t o t h o s e o f the J e w s ( π ε ρ ι των συγγενών τοις
3 8 2
ιουδαϊκοί^ λόγοις διαλαμβάνοντας) . Celsus' class of wise men
c o m p r i s e s L i n u s , M u s a e u s , O r p h e u s , P h e r e c y d e s , Zoroaster the P e r s i a n , and
383
P y t h a g o r a s w h o s e o p i n i o n s are written and still in c i r c u l a t i o n . He leaves
M o s e s and the H e b r e w s out o f his lists although h e m a k e s a grudging
c o n c e s s i o n i n the c a s e o f the G a l a c t o p h a g i , D r u i d s and G e t a e . Numenius'
f a m o u s q u e s t i o n , " W h a t i s P l a t o but M o s e s s p e a k i n g A t t i c G r e e k ? , " i s the
3 8 4
o p p o s i t e o f C e l s u s ' n e g a t i v i t y w i t h regard t o M o s e s ' w i s d o m . Gager
o b s e r v e s that C e l s u s ' refusal to c l a s s M o s e s in the group o f the w i s e stands in
contrast to the p o s i t i o n o f Hecataeus o f Abdera, Strabo, and Diodorus
3 8 5
Siculus . C e l s u s m a y a l s o b e reacting t o the J e w i s h and Christian v i e w that
3 8 6
the G r e e k s d e r i v e d m a n y o f their t e a c h i n g s from M o s e s .

comes to the Brahmans, then o n to the Indians (Oxydracae), the Ethiopians, the Chaldeans
and Magi, the Scythians, the Thracians, and then on to Greece where it is soon corrupted by
the Sophists (Fugivi 6-10). The Jews do not appear in Lucian's list.
3 8 1
C. Cels. 1.14 (17,23-5 M A R C ) . BORRET 1.114 n.2 does not include this text as a
verbal quotation o f Celsus, nor does MARCOVICH (17,23-5). It is, if anything, a paraphrase.
CHADWICK, Origen, 16 b e l i e v e s it expresses C e l s u s ' thought as d o e s B A D E R 4 4 . Cf.
PELAGAUD, U n conservateur, 283.
3 8 2
C. Cels. 1.16 (18,22-4; 19,6-9 M A R C ) . Numenius the Pythagorean included as Plato's
predecessors the Brahmans, Jews, Magi, and Egyptians (F. 1 [42 DES PLACES]). Origen
refers to the text in C. Cels. 1.15 (I, 67,21-7 KOET.). See FEDOU, Christianisme, 4 9 9 - 5 0 3 on
Origen's response to Celsus' argument concerning ancient tradition.
3 8 3
C. Cels. 1.16 (19,18-21 M A R C ) .
3 8 4
Numenius F. 8 (51 DES PLACES) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 18 = STERN Π,
§ 3 6 3 a - e . Cf. § 0 . 1 6 .
3 8 5
GAGER, M o s e s , 2 6 - 4 7 , 9 6 . S e e Hecataeus apud Diod. Sic. 40.3.3 = STERN I, § 11;
Strabo 16.2.39 = STERN I, § 115 (who includes Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, Musaeaus,
Zamolxis, groups such as the Magi, and concludes that Moses was an individual like those);
and Diodorus 1.94.1-2 = STERN I, § 58. Cf. § 0 . 1 , 7 , 9 .
3 8 6
GAGER, M o s e s , 2 6 with reference to Josephus, C. A p . 2.257, Tatian, Oratio 40.1-3
( 7 2 , 1 - 1 4 M A R C ) , and Justin, Apol. 1.44.8-10, 1.59.1-60.11 ( 9 4 , 1 9 - 9 5 , 2 6 ; 115,1-117,30
M A R C ) . For many other ancient Christian texts that make the same claim s e e MARCOVICH'S
apparatus on 9 4 . Cp. also COOK, Interpretation, 4 - 5 , 7. Aristobulus, e.g., makes similar
claims for Plato and Pythagoras in F. 3 , Eus. P.E. 13.12.1 (III, 1 5 2 , 1 7 - 2 2 ; 154,39-43
HOLLADAY). S e e also Aristobulus F. 4 , Eus. P.E. 13.12.4 (III, 162,7-17 HOLLADAY) where
114 1. Celsus

A t e v e r y p o i n t O r i g e n o b j e c t s that C e l s u s has n o t i n c l u d e d M o s e s and the


H e b r e w s in his lists. H e a p p e a l s , for e x a m p l e , t o J o s e p h u s ' C. Apionem
{Against Apion) and Tatian and t o an argument f r o m c o n s e q u e n c e : A whole
3 8 7
nation that i s spread throughout the w o r l d h a s the l a w s o f M o s e s . In other
words, M o s e s ' l a w s have had a lasting influence o n humanity. Origen
d e v e l o p s the argument further b y c h a l l e n g i n g C e l s u s :

... arrange the poems o f Linus, Musaeus, and the writings o f Pherecydes against the laws
of M o s e s — comparing histories with histories, and ethical statements with laws and
commandments — and see which can immediately convert ( έ π ι σ τ ρ έ ψ α ι ) the hearers and
388
which o f them hurt the h e a r e r s .

Julian u s e d a s i m i l a r a r g u m e n t a g a i n s t Christian w r i t i n g s m u c h later, and


3 8 9
O r i g e n m a k e s frequent u s e o f it against C e l s u s ' attack o n the N T .
What d o e s C e l s u s mean by a "divine name"? S i n c e h e u s e s " d i v i n e " or
" d e m o n i c " t o refer to a d i v i n e quality, h e probably refers t o M o s e s ' abilities
3 9 0
in m a g i c o f w h i c h h e w a s c o n v i n c e d . O r i g e n , w i t h reference to the charges
about M o s e s ' d i v i n e n a m e (in C . C e l s . 1.21 q u o t e d a b o v e ) , lists intellectual

Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato follow Moses. Philo sees a dependent relationship between
Heraclitus and M o s e s in Quaest. in Gen. 3.5, 4.152. Clement o f Alexandria calls the Greeks
thieves o f the barbarian philosophy and gives many examples o f Greek plagiarism from
Hebrew texts in Strom. 2.1.1.1, 2.5.20.1-24.5 ( 1 1 3 , 3-5; 123,7-126,7 S T . / F R . ) . Cp. § 1.6
above.
3 8 7
C. Cels. 1.16 ( 1 8 , 2 4 - 1 9 , 3 . 1 5 - 6 M A R C ) . On the argument from consequence s e e
COOK, Interpretation, 38-9, 316-18 and § 1.33 below.
3 8 8
C. Cels. 1.18 (20,12-5 M A R C ) .
3 8 9
Julian, C. Gal. 2 2 9 d - 2 3 0 a ( 1 5 0 , 2 2 - 2 9 M A S . = III, 3 8 4 - 8 7 , W R . ) . Cp. C O O K ,
Interpretation, 316-18. On Origen's use of the argument against Celsus s e e , for example, C.
Cels. 1.26 (28,25-30 M A R C ) and COOK, Interpretation, 4 4 .
3 9 0
C. Cels. 1.26. 5.41 (27,21-2; 356,13-6 MARC). Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 2 8 6 /
PlCHLER, Streit, 150. T w o of Celsus' uses o f the adjective "divine" (or "demonic") follow.
In 6.39 ( 4 1 6 , 3 MARC.) "divine shapes" ( δ α ι μ ό ν ι ο υ ς σ χ η μ α τ ι σ μ ο ύ ς ) is a reference to the
shapes that magicians can create. In 8.63 (579,25 MARC.) the emperor has "divine power" to
rule ( δ α ι μ ό ν ι α ς ισχύος). ΡέΡΙΝ, L e challenge, 115, however, refers to C. Cels. 4 . 3 6
(250,20-1 M A R C . ) where Origen mentions other "divine m e n " such as Hesiod w h o were
inspired by God. H e consequently refers to M o s e s ' identity as a "divine man" and not as a
magician. Origen d o e s use another word there for "inspired m e n " (άνδράσιν ένθέοις).
CHADWICK, Origen, 21 n.2 believes the term refers to M o s e s ' divine power and mentions
texts that refer to his magical power such as Pliny, Nat. Hist. 30.11 (= STERN I, § 2 2 1 ) and
Apuleius, Apol. 9 0 (= STERN II, § 361). Philo may have been aware of the tradition since he
mentions people in the wilderness w h o called M o s e s a magician or impostor (γόητα
Apologia 6.2, 3). On this text cf. ROKEAH, Jews, 173. Apollonius Molon, Lysimachus, and
others use the same word to describe Moses (along with "deceiver" ( α π α τ ε ώ ν α ) in Jos., C.
Ap. 2.145 (= STERN I, § 49). Cp. a similar accusation against M o s e s in Jos., Antiq. 2.284
where Pharaoh asserts that Moses is using deeds of wonder and magic ( τ ε ρ α τ ο υ ρ γ ί α ι ς και
μ α γ ε ί α ι ς ) against him. On this charge of Celsus against Moses s e e also GAGER, Moses 9 5 ,
and 140-52 on the traditions in the magical papyri that appeal to Moses.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 115

p r o b l e m s in G r e e k tradition (in his v i e w ) and d o e s not deal w i t h the i s s u e o f


magic. H e m e n t i o n s the p r o b l e m s i n E p i c u r e a n a n d A r i s t o t e l i a n t h o u g h t
c o n c e r n i n g p r o v i d e n c e a n d a l s o p o i n t s to the S t o i c v i e w o f G o d ' s material
391
nature . Borret n o t e s that i n O r i g e n ' s e y e s , the doctrine o f the H e b r e w s i s
superior to that o f all three s c h o o l s o f Greek thought. Aristotle's providence,
for e x a m p l e , w a s u n d e r s t o o d t o b e e x t e n d e d f r o m the h e a v e n s t o the m o o n
3 9 2
and o n l y o n a m i n i m a l l e v e l to h u m a n s . A t this point, O r i g e n ' s c o n c e r n is
not to deal w i t h the c h a r g e o f m a g i c , but to s h o w that M o s e s ' grasp o f ancient
tradition w a s in n o w a y i n f e r i o r t o that o f v a r i o u s ancient schools of
philosophy. T h e e n t i r e attack o n M o s e s and h i s tradition i s , a c c o r d i n g t o
O r i g e n , an attack o n the o r i g i n or f o u n d a t i o n ( α ρ χ ή ς ) o f Christianity w h i c h
3 9 3
itself d e p e n d s o n J u d a i s m .

121 The Jews' Worship of Angels, and Moses as their Exegete of Magic

C e l s u s ' characterization o f M o s e s ' a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s is n o t laudatory. In his


v i e w the J e w s learned m a g i c through the g u i d a n c e o f M o s e s :

[Let us see in what w a y Celsus, w h o announces ( έ π α γ γ έ λ λ ο μ έ ν ο ς ) that he knows all,


accuses the Jews w h e n h e says that] they worship angels and are devoted to magic
394
(γοητεία) o f which M o s e s was their interpreter ( ε ξ η γ η τ ή ς · ) . [The one w h o announces
that he knows the things o f the Christians and Jews, let him say where he found in the
writings o f M o s e s that the legislator commanded the worship o f angels. A n d h o w is
magic possible among those w h o received the law o f M o s e s , w h o read "you shall not
attach yourselves to charmers (έπαοι,δοΐς) and be defiled by them" (Lev 19:31). H e then

3 9 1
C. Cels. 1.21 (22,21-23,4 M A R C ) . Cf. also BERGJAN, Celsus, 179-204. In particular
see Nemesius, Nat. horn. 4 3 , (BiTeu, 125,20-1,127,12-16 MORANI).
3 9 2
BORRET 1.128-29 n.2. This summary can be found in Ps. Plut., D e placitis 2.3 =
330,5-12 DlELS, Doxogr. gr. Cp. also C. Cels. 3.75 (211,17-31 M A R C ) . S V F 2.1028-48
presents the Stoic belief in God as corporeal (often in Christian sources). S V F 2.1049-56 has
Stoic sources in w h i c h G o d is mutable. For God as a fiery spirit ( π ν ε ύ μ α ν ο ε ρ ό ν και
πυρώδες) see Aetius, Plac. 1.6.1 ( S V F 2.1009 = 292,23-4 DlELS, Doxogr. gr.). On Epicurus'
providence see Diog. Laert. 10.124 in § 1.2.18 above. Cp. C o o k , Interpretation 19 n.6.
3 9 3
C. Cels. 1.16 (19,3-6 M A R C ) .
394 Tfjjg w o r ( j means something like "interpreter" in Celsus' attack. Cf. the use in 8.48
( 5 6 3 , 1 - 2 M A R C . ) "the interpreters, priests, and initiators o f those sacred things" (οί των
ιερών εκείνων έ ξ η γ η τ α ΐ τελεσταί τ ε και μυσταγωγοί). PELAGAUD, U n conservateur,
285, n.16 notes that the word could refer to an interpreter of oracles (see LSJ s.v. ε ξ η γ η τ ή ς ,
Πυθόχρηστος). For other texts supporting the charge that Moses w a s a magician s e e § 1.20.
GAGER, M o s e s , 9 5 points out that Origen asked some Jews about the charges made by
Egyptians w h o claim that M o s e s did his miracles by magic in C. Cels. 1.45 (45,7-17 M A R C ) .
Cp. also the same charge made by Egyptians in C. Cels. 3.5 (156,20-3 MARC).
116 1. Celsus

announces that he will] teach how the Jews erred being led astray by lack of learning
395
(άμαθία<?).

Origen, in a later text, notes that C e l s u s often a c c u s e s J e w s and Christians of


3 9 6
lack o f learning and e d u c a t i o n ( ά μ α θ ί α ν ε γ κ α λ ώ ν καΐ ά π ο α δ ε υ σ ί α ν ) .
397
Origen a l s o d e n i e s that what C e l s u s thinks are errors are really errors at a l l .
C e l s u s ' general v i e w o f Christians w a s that they w e r e s i m p l e t o n s , and he took
the s a m e v i e w o f J e w s with the apparent e x c e p t i o n o f those w h o w e r e o p e n to
allegorical interpretations o f their crude w r i t i n g s ( s e e § 1.1.2). O r i g e n is
u n w i l l i n g to deal w i t h the possibility that s o m e J e w s practiced angel w o r s h i p
3 9 8
and m a g i c . C e l s u s ' c h a r g e s o f J e w i s h a n g e l w o r s h i p are treated m o r e
e x t e n s i v e l y in a text b e l o w (§ 1.29.2).

7.22 Moses and God

Celsus d o e s not admire Jewish m o n o t h e i s m :


[After these, Celsus says that] following their leader M o s e s , the herders of goats and
sheep were beguiled by rustic deceits (άγροίκοις· άπάταις ψ υ χ α γ ω γ η θ ε ί τ ε ^ ) into
believing that God is one. [Let him accordingly show if] the herders of goats and sheep
3 9 9
irrationally ( α λ ό γ ω ν ) [as he thinks] turned away from worshiping the gods [how he is
able to establish the multitude o f the g o d s of the Greeks or o f the other barbarian
4 0 0
peoples].

O r i g e n c o n t i n u e s b y c h a l l e n g i n g C e l s u s to p r o v e the e x i s t e n c e o f various
Greek g o d s s u c h as M n e m o s u n e and T h e m i s . H e appeals to a w e l l k n o w n
c o m m o n p l a c e in G r e c o - R o m a n thought: inspection o f the v i s i b l e world leads
401
to the c o n c l u s i o n that it has a c r e a t o r . Celsus w a s very c o n c e r n e d about the

3 9 5
C. Cels. 1.26 (27,20-8 M A R C ) .
3 9 6
C. Cels. 4.36 (251,2 M A R C ) . Celsus accused the Christians of all kinds of stupidity.
Cf. COOK, Interpretation 84-9.
3 9 7
C. Cels. 1.26 (27,28-28,2 M A R C ) .
3 9 8
For some of the evidence for Jewish magic see NAVEH/SHAKED, Amulets. Cf. § 0.18.
3 9 9
ANDRESEN, Logos 210 translates this "in their unhistorical thought." This improbable
translation is unjustified by Greek use. It is not necessary to completely identify logos
(reason, word) and nomos (law, tradition) in Celsus' thought. Cp. BORRET 5.167 and COOK,
Interpretation 19-20, 82-8. Celsus believed Christianity (and Judaism in the text in question)
was simply irrational. Cp. (for the his view of Christians) C. Cels. 1.9 (12,9-21 M A R C ) .
4 0 0
C. Cels. 1.23 (23,23-8 M A R C ) . Cp. BORRET, L'Ecriture, 183. For a discussion of
Celsus' and Origen's v i e w s on monotheism see C. W. HOVLAND, The Dialogue Between
Origen and Celsus, in: Pagan and Christian Anxiety. A Response to E. R. DODDS, ed. R. C.
SMITH/J. LOUNIBOS, Lanham, MD/London 1984, (191-216) 193-4.
4 0 1
Cp. Ps. A r i s t o t , D e mundo 6, 399b (89,14-90,22 LORIMER) / COOK, The Logic and
Language of Romans 1,20, Bib. 7 5 , 1 9 9 4 , (494-517) 498-500.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 111

402
cultural c o n s e q u e n c e s o f m o n o t h e i s m . If the R o m a n s w e r e persuaded to
b e c o m e Christians, for e x a m p l e , C e l s u s b e l i e v e d that the Christian G o d w o u l d
403
not d e f e n d the e m p i r e . A s C e l s u s charged the H e b r e w s w i t h b e i n g rustic
404
and irrational, s o h e charged the C h r i s t i a n s .

1.23 The Herders' Names for God

C e l s u s c o n t i n u e s h i s c r i t i c i s m o f the H e b r e w s ' b e l i e f in o n e G o d w i t h an
argument about G o d ' s m a n y names:
[After these he says that] the herders of goats and sheep believed in one God — either the
405 406
Highest or Adonai or the Heavenly one or S a b a o t h — or whatever and however
they are glad to call the cosmos. And they know nothing more. [And in what follows he
4 0 7
says,] It makes no difference whether one calls the one w h o is God of all, Z e u s (the
name in use among the Greeks) or "so and so" (the name in use among the Indians), or
408
"so and so" (the name in use among the E g y p t i a n s ) .

4 0 2
See COOK, Interpretation 8 9 - 9 0 , 9 4 - 7 .
4 0 3
C. Cels. 8.69 (585,18-23 M A R C ) .
4 0 4
C. Cels. 1.9, 6.1 (12,9-21; 377,12 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation 82-8 and see the
index on 383 s.v. "Christians as rustic and ignorant."
4 0 5
S e e STERN'S comment on "Highest" in II, 2 9 4 . It was a popular title for G o d in
Hellenistic Jewish literature. Melchisedek served the "Highest God" in Gen 14:18. It is a
name for the God of Paul (in the mouth of the pagans) in Acts 16:17. S e e also HENGEL/
SCHWEMER, Paul, 122, 163 for various inscriptions to the Highest God emanating from pagan
and Jewish circles / A. D . NOCK, The Guild of Zeus Hypsistos, in: Idem, Essays on Religion
and the ancient World, Cambridge, 1,414-43.
4 0 6
Sabaoth (Armies, hosts) and Adonai (Lord) are names that appear in the L X X
primarily in the prophetic texts, which Celsus does not concentrate on. "Jupiter-Sabazius" is
the name for God that Valerius Maximus (Facta 1.3.3) attributes to the Jews w h o are exiled
from R o m e in 139 or 142 B . C . Sabazius may be identified with Sabaoth. S e e the text in
STERN I, § 147b and commentary on I, 359 where STERN notes that Sabaoth can be found in
Sib. Or. 1.304, 316; 2.239 (Sabaoth and Adonai). Cp. PGM IV, 9 8 1 , 1 4 8 5 , 3 0 5 2 - 3 ; V, 352.
^ C h a d w i c k , Origen, 2 3 omits Δ ί α (Zeus). BORRET 1.136 n.l notes that this is not
necessary since Origen in 5.45 (II, 48,5-10 KOET.) seems to repeat what is already here in
1.24. BADER 49,5 does not omit the word either.
4 0 8
C. Cels. 1.24 (24,19-25 M A R C ) . GAGER, Moses, 94 describes Celsus' position as a
monotheism in the tradition of theological syncretism. Matters are not quite this simple since
Celsus also recognizes the existence of gods other than the supreme deity. See, for example,
C. Cels. 8.2 ( 5 2 1 , 1 5 - 5 2 2 , 1 7 M A R C . ) and the discussion in COOK, Interpretation, 94-7. The
image is one of a supreme God with many gods, demons, and heroes below. S e e also FEDOU,
Christianisme, 2 4 2 - 3 , 2 8 8 - 9 1 . FEDOU calls Celsus' position "henotheism." He also notes
that for Celsus God has all names, but in another sense in which God is beyond description,
God has no name.
118 L Celsus

A s B o r r e t n o t e s , the t h e s i s o f the s u p r e m e G o d ' s m a n y n a m e s w a s w i d e l y


4 0 9
h e l d in H e l l e n i s m . Plato, the Stoics, followers of Isis influenced by
S t o i c i s m , f o l l o w e r s o f O r p h e u s , P h i l o , and H e r m e t i c texts bear w i t n e s s to the
belief. P l a t o , for e x a m p l e , c a l l s this b e i n g C o s m o s ( w o r l d ) , O l y m p u s , or
4 1 0
Uranus ( h e a v e n ) . G o d is r e a s o n , fate, and Z e u s for the Stoics. H e is a l s o
4 1 1
the c o s m o s and the creator of the cosmos as orderly arrangement .
M a c r o b i u s p r e s e r v e s a tradition o f C o r n e l i u s L a b e o i n w h i c h a t e x t of
O r p h e u s a n d an o r a c l e o f the Clarian A p o l l o i d e n t i f y I a o (the J e w i s h G o d )
4 1 2
w i t h L i b e r ( D i o n y s u s ) , Z e u s , H e l i o s , and H a d e s . Ps. Aristotle calls G o d
"many n a m e d " ( π ο λ υ ώ ν υ μ ο ς ) i n c l u d i n g Z e n and Z e u s , and later Varro argued
413
that Jupiter and the G o d o f the J e w s w e r e i d e n t i c a l . C e l s u s h a s a similar
text: "I d o n o t t h i n k that t h e r e i s a n y advantage (ουδέν ούν οΐμαι

4 0 9
BORRET 1.135 n.3 refers to (among many) Philo, D e decal. 9 4 , P l u t , D e Is. et Os. 67
(barbarian and Greek gods are identical), and Corpus Hermeticum 5.10, Asclepius 20 (64,7-8;
3 2 0 , 9 - 3 2 1 , 1 7 N./F.). FEDOU, Christianisme, 2 3 2 discusses Greco-Roman syncretism with
reference to Celsus.
4 1 0
Plato, Epinomis 977b. See also his Tim. 28b.
4 1 1
D i o g . Laert. 7.135-7, 147 (many names). Cp. S V F 2.1070. Other texts calling the
world or c o s m o s "God" can be found in Seneca, N.Q. 2.45.3, Cicero, D e nat. deor. 2.17.45.
Cp. § 0.9, 1.2.16, 1.29.2. Strabo attributed the belief to the Jews that their God was "heaven"
or "cosmos" (16.2.35 = STERN I, § 115). Hecateus shares the same v i e w (apud Diod. Sic.
40.3.4 = STERN I, § 11). Cp. STERN'S comment on 1,305.
4 1 2
Labeo apud Macrobius, Saturn. 1.18.18-21 = STERN II, § 4 4 5 . Plutarch (Quaest.
Conv. 4.6.1-2, 671c-d = STERN I, § 2 5 8 ) and Tacitus (Hist. 5.5.5= STERN II, § 2 8 1 ) indicate
that the G o d o f the Jews has been identified with Dionysus (FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 151).
Cf. SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 52-3.
4 1 3
Ps. Aristotle, D e mundo 7, 4 0 1 a (98,12-99,27 LORIMER). Varro argues that names are
unimportant and identifies Jupiter with the G o d of the Jews in Aug., D e cons. ev. 1.22.30 =
STERN I, § 72b. H e also identifies the God of the Jews with the divinity called Iao in the
Chaldean mystical texts. S e e STERN I, § 7 5 = Lydus, D e mens. 4 . 5 3 . HENGEL, Judaism, I,
2 6 0 notes that those texts are as syncretistic as Jewish magical literature. Diodorus Siculus
writes that the Jews called god Iao in Diod. 1.55.5 = STERN I, § 5 8 . S e e § 0.7. STERN I, 172
in his commentary o n the text notes that the word does not appear in the L X X , but appears in
Jewish papyri in Egypt in the Aramaic form Y H W (liT) in P. 1,2; 2 , 2 ; 12,2 (Yahu the god
who dwells in Yeb); E. G. KRAELING, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri, N e w Haven
1953, 132; 142; 2 7 0 ) and in the magical papyri. Cp. also FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 6 9 for
use o f the word in magical texts. HENGEL, Judaism, I, 171 n.22 remarks that L X X fragments
from a M S o f Leviticus were found in cave 4 of Qumran with the name I A O (IΑΩ) for God.
Lev. 4:27 has ε ν τ ο λ ώ ν Ιαω ("commandments of Iao") in a Qumran M S that probably comes
b
from the first century B.C.E. S e e 4 Q 1 2 0 (4QLXXLev ) F. 2 0 (DJD XII, 174,4, and Plate X L
SKEHAN/ULRICH/SANDERSON). It may also appear in 4 Q 1 2 0 F.6 (DJD XII, 170,12) in Lev
3:12 (a reconstruction based on Ι]αω). Porphyry transmits the name o f a Phoenician God as
Ieuo. S e e § 2.2.8. Iao is the fundamental name o f god used in the magical texts (cf. § 0.18).
One magician appeals to "Zeus Iao Zen Helios" in PGM C V , 5-7 (BETZ, The Greek Magical
Papyri, 310). Caligula may know this name of God in Philo, Legatio 353.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 119

δ ι α φ έ ρ ε ι ν ) in calling Z e u s H i g h e s t or Z e n or A d o n a i or Sabaoth or A m m o n
414
l i k e the E g y p t i a n s or P a p a i o s l i k e the S c y t h i a n s . " The anonymous
philosopher o f M a c a r i u s M a g n e s argued that it m a d e n o difference w h e t h e r
4 1 5
o n e called divinities " g o d s " or "angels" in his argument w i t h the N T . A
Hellenistic-Jewish author w a s w i l l i n g to identify the G o d o f Israel w i t h Z e u s
4 1 6
or D i s .
Origen answers b y arguing that n a m e s are important and remarks that it is
417
an o n g o i n g debate in p h i l o s o p h y . Aristotle b e l i e v e d that n a m e s w e r e
418
conventional ( θ έ σ ε ι , ) . T h e Stoics, according to Origen, asserted that n a m e s
4 1 9
were g i v e n b y nature ( φ ύ σ ε ι ) and are imitations o f what they refer t o . A s
M a x P o h l e n z points out, O r i g e n ' s position is an oversimplification s i n c e the
S t o i c s apparently c o m b i n e d s o m e o f e a c h ( c o n v e n t i o n and nature) in
420
explaining the origin o f l a n g u a g e . T h e Epicureans took a slightly different
position and argued that p e o p l e g i v e n a m e s by nature, but that n a m i n g is not
an "epistemic" activity. It is more like a n a m e g i v e n by a naturally i n d u c e d
4 2 1
m o a n , for e x a m p l e . Plato includes e l e m e n t s o f both positions ( c o n v e n t i o n
and nature) in his Cratylus 4 3 5 a - c . H i s c o n c l u s i o n is apparently that it is not
from w o r d s that o n e m u s t b e g i n ; but to learn and investigate the real, it is
4 2 2
from the real itself that o n e must b e g i n . H e c e d e s the issue o f divine n a m e s
to tradition and a r g u e s that o n e s h o u l d u s e t h o s e n a m e s that p l e a s e the
423
d i v i n i t i e s . For O r i g e n n a m e s such as A d o n a i and Sabaoth are g i v e n b y a
424
mysterious divine s c i e n c e attributable only to the C r e a t o r .

4 1 4
C. Cels. 5.41 (356,1-3 M A R C ) .
4 1 5
Macarius Magnes, Monog. 4 . 2 1 b . l - 4 (II, 3 1 0 , 1 5 - 3 1 2 , 1 8 G O U L E T = HARNACK,
Porphyrius F. 76) discussed in COOK, Interpretation, 235-36.
4 1 6
Ep. ad Arist. 16 ( 1 1 0 , PELL.). "Dis" is another linguistic form of "Zeus." See
FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 6 6 , 1 5 1 .
4 1 7
C. Cels. 1.24 ( 2 4 , 2 5 - 2 5 , 5 M A R C ) . A similar discussion appears in 5.45 (358,23-
360,10 M A R C ) .
4 1 8
Aristot, D e interp. 2 (16a, 27).
4 1 9
S e e the references in CHADWICK, Origen 23 n.5-7, B O R R E T 1.136 n.2 and M.
POHLENZ, D i e Stoa. Geschichte einer geistigen B e w e g u n g . 2. Band. Erlauterungen.
4
GSttingen 1972 ,24.
4 2 0
POHLENZ, D i e Stoa, 2.34 with reference to Ammonius, In Aristot. de interp. 35.16
among other texts. Origen's discussion is included in S V F 2.146. Cf. also DILLON, Magical
Power, 207-9.
4 2 1
Cf. Diog. Laert. 10.75, USENER, Epicurea, F. 335,12-20, Lucretius 5.1028-90.
4 2 2
Plato, Cratylus 4 3 9 b in BORRET's note 1.136 n.2.
4 2 3
Plato, Cratylus 400e.
4 2 4
C. Cels. 1.24 (25,12-6 M A R C ) .
120 1. Celsus

1.24 The Egyptian Origin of the Jews

C e l s u s , f o l l o w i n g a n u m b e r o f G r e c o - R o m a n w r i t e r s , h y p o t h e s i z e d an
Egyptian origin for the J e w s .
[After these matters, Celsus thinks that] the Jews, happening to be Egyptians by race,
abandoned Egypt after forming a sedition against the state of the Egyptians and scorning
what is customary in the religious rites of Egypt (τό έ ν Α ί γ ύ π τ ω σ ύ ν η θ ε ς περί τάς
θρησκείας ύ π ε ρ φ ρ ο ν ο ΰ ν τ α ς ) [and he says that] they suffered what they did to the
Egyptians from those w h o associated with Jesus and w h o believed in him as Christ. In
425
each instance sedition against the state was the cause of i n n o v a t i o n (της καινοτομίας
426
τ ό σ τ α σ ι ά £ ε ιν π ρ ο ς τ ό K O L V O V ) .

Origen r e s p o n d s b y insisting that C e l s u s departs from the text o f G e n e s i s and


4 2 7
E x o d u s in w h i c h the J e w s are clearly not Egyptians ( G e n 4 6 - 4 7 , E x o d l ) .
C e l s u s c o u l d h a v e f o u n d his v i e w o f J e w i s h d e s c e n t in a n u m b e r o f sources
including Strabo, M a n e t h o , C h a e r e m o n , and Plutarch — a w i d e l y
4 2 8
disseminated Hellenistic v i e w . S t r a b o b e l i e v e d that t h e J e w s w e r e
Egyptians and that M o s e s w a s an Egyptian priest w h o m e r e l y persuaded s o m e
429
to f o l l o w h i m to P a l e s t i n e . A c c o r d i n g to M a n e t h o (III B . C . E . ) the J e w s
r e v o l t e d w h i l e l i v i n g in a c i t y o f A v a r i s that b e l o n g e d to the a n c i e n t
"shepherds" — a g r o u p w h o troubled the E g y p t i a n s . T h e J e w s ' leader w a s
430
Osarsiph ( M o s e s ? ) w h o w a s a p r i e s t . C h a e r e m o n depicts the L X X M o s e s
as an E g y p t i a n n a m e d Tisithen, and although h e d o e s not s a y that the J e w s
w e r e E g y p t i a n s , h e g i v e s the i m p r e s s i o n that they w e r e . T h e y are banished
431
from the country b e c a u s e o f their d i s e a s e s , but attack the E g y p t i a n s f i r s t .
Plutarch d o e s not d i s c u s s J e w i s h ancestry but d o e s m e n t i o n t w o s o n s o f the
432
god T y p h o n : H i e r o s o l y m u s and J u d a e u s .

4 2 5
Julian also called Christianity an "innovation" in C. Gal. F. 107 (191 MAS.).
4 2 6
C. Cels. 3.5 (156,4-11 M A R C ) . MERLAN, Celsus, 9 6 0 emphasizes that Celsus fully
rejected the biblical narratives about the origin of the Jews. BURKE, Celsus, 243-4 is sceptical
that Celsus k n e w Exodus and notes that he could have gotten his information from
conversation with Jews.
4 2 7
C. Cels. 3.5 (156,11-26 M A R C ) .
4 2 8
S e e the commentary on C. Cels. 3.5 in STERN II, 299.
4 2 9
Strabo 16.2.34-35 = STERN I, § 115. Cf. § 0.9.
4 3 0
Manetho apud Jos., C. Apion. 1.238-242 = STERN I, § 2 1 . He uses ά π ό σ τ α σ ι ν (revolt)
for the Jews' actions against the Egyptians. See § 0.2 for the literary problem of Manetho and
Ps. Manetho. MENDELS, The Polemical Character, 108-09 believes that Manetho attempted
to refute the Jewish version of the exodus (in Exodus) that had already been published in a
Greek translation. Cf. also AziZA, L'utilisation, 41-65.
4 3 1
Chaeremon apud Jos., C. Apion. 1.288-92 = STERN I, § 178. S e e STERN'S comment
on 1,421. Cf. § 0 . 1 2 .
4 3 2
Plut. D e Is. et Os. 31 = STERN I, § 259.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 121

C e l s u s ' attack o n Judaism as sedition is clearly paralleled b y his attack o n


4 3 3
Christianity as a sedition against Judaism and R o m e . A n d r e s e n d e n i e s the
political side o f C e l s u s ' critique, but probably g o e s t o o far in d i s m i s s i n g the
political in the interest o f supporting his o w n thesis about the identity o f l o g o s
and n o m o s ( c u s t o m , l a w ) in C e l s u s ' thought. In A n d r e s e n ' s v i e w the sedition
434
is o n l y against the r e l i g i o u s order including p o l y t h e i s m . T h i s p o i n t o f
v i e w , h o w e v e r , i s in contrast to that o f C e l s u s ' G r e c o - R o m a n s o u r c e s
d i s c u s s e d a b o v e ( e . g . M a n e t h o ) and the texts o f the L X X that C e l s u s a l s o
k n e w where the J e w s d o , in s o m e s e n s e , rise against the Egyptians. For this
reason a w o r d like "state" ( τ ό κοινόν) cannot b e translated, as A n d r e s e n
435
d o e s , with "society" as united in tradition by the c u l t .
O r i g e n a l s o r e s p o n d s to C e l s u s ' b e l i e f in an E g y p t i a n o r i g i n o f the
H e b r e w s b y u s i n g a l i n g u i s t i c argument: H o w c o u l d they h a v e i n v e n t e d
H e b r e w i m m e d i a t e l y after they left E g y p t ? W h y w o u l d they not h a v e u s e d
4 3 6
S y r i a c or P h o e n e c i a n ? H e continues: "[This argument proves m y
c o n c l u s i o n that it is a lie that] s o m e p e o p l e , being Egyptian b y race, revolted
against the Egyptians, abandoned Egypt, c a m e to Palestine, and inhabited the
437
region n o w called J u d e a . " C h a d w i c k mentions a text b y Gregory o f N y s s a
in w h i c h certain scholars c l a i m that H e b r e w w a s a m i r a c u l o u s gift to the
438
Israelites w h i c h t h e y r e c e i v e d after l e a v i n g E g y p t . C e l s u s k n e w little o f
H e b r e w , a l t h o u g h g i v e n his o c c a s i o n a l u s e o f terms s u c h as S a b a o t h and
Adonai he m a y h a v e b e e n aware o f its existence.

1.25 The Jews as Fugitive Slaves

C e l s u s appears to h a v e little k n o w l e d g e o f E x o d u s , or if h e did, h e did not


accept its v e r s i o n o f e v e n t s . H e disparages J e w s with this c o m m e n t w h i c h
s e e m s to s h o w a m i n i m u m o f k n o w l e d g e o f E x o d 1: "The J e w s w e r e fugitive
slaves ( δ ρ α π έ τ α ς ) from Egypt, w h o never did anything remarkable
439
( ά ξ ι ό λ ο γ ο ν ) and w e r e n e v e r o f any value or n u m b e r ( ο ΰ τ ' ev λ ό γ ω ο ΰ τ '

4 3 3
S e e COOK, Interpretation, 89-90. Cp. C. Cels 3.14; 5.33; 8.49 [ σ τ ά σ ε ι ] (162,11;
347,15-9; 564,8 MARC.])
4 3 4
ANDRESEN, Logos, 2 1 1 , 2 1 6 .
4 3 5
ANDRESEN, Logos, 215-17. Cp. COOK, Interpretation 19-20, BORRET 2.22 n.l and his
extensive discussion in 5.153-82.
4 3 6
C. Cels. 3.6 (156,27-157,5 M A R C ) .
4 3 7
C. Cels. 3.6 (157,5-8 M A R C ) .
4 3 8
CHADWICK, Origen 132 n.l. Gregory of Nyssa, C. Eunomium 2.256 ( G N O I, 301,7-
12 JAEGER).
4 3 9
This is an expression derived from the oracle's response to the Megarians (CHADWICK,
Origen 207 n.l; BORRET, 2.260 n.2). Cp. Theocritus 14.48 and Callimachus, Epigr. 25.
122 1. Celsus

440
έν α ρ ι θ μ ώ ) . " Origen responds w i t h a rejection o f C e l s u s ' b e l i e f that the
4 4 1
J e w s w e r e runaway s l a v e s . It is interesting that n o n e o f C e l s u s ' k n o w n
p o s s i b l e s o u r c e s for the b e l i e f that the J e w s w e r e E g y p t i a n s c l a i m that they
w e r e s l a v e s . M a n e t h o , h o w e v e r , d o e s depict the rebels as p e o p l e w h o w e r e
put to w o r k in stone quarries b e c a u s e o f the Pharaoh's fear o f their diseases.
442
Pharaoh A m e n o p h i s let them travel to Avaris later, s o they w e r e not s l a v e s .
443
In C h a e r e m o n the e x i l e s are diseased and not s l a v e s . Consequently C e l s u s
m a y h a v e a d o p t e d the o n e characteristic o f E x o d 1 that attracted h i m —
n a m e l y , the fact that the J e w s had b e e n e n s l a v e d during their sojourn in
E g y p t . It c o n t r i b u t e d to h i s t h e s i s that the J e w s had d o n e n o t h i n g o f
c o n s e q u e n c e . This argument b e c a m e a c o m m o n p l a c e in the pagan critique o f
J u d a i s m and Christianity. A p o l l o n i u s M o l o n in the first century B . C . E .
4 4 4
argued that the J e w s invented nothing useful for life ( μ η δ έ ν ... ε ύ ρ η μ α ) .
A p i o n (the first part o f the first century C.E.) also argues that the J e w s had
produced n o inventors (evperas) or w i s e p e o p l e such as Socrates, Z e n o and
445
Cleanthes .
Julian later u s e d the s a m e o b j e c t i o n against b o t h the J e w s and the
Christians — arguing that the J e w s produced n o great generals like Alexander
or Caesar and n o decent law c o d e or medical tradition. In addition h e pointed
446
out that the J e w s had b e e n e n s l a v e d during m o s t o f their h i s t o r y . H i s

4 4 0
C. Cels. 4.31 (245,2-5 M A R C ) . Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 217 / PELAGAUD, Un
conservateur, 323.
4 4 1
See § 1.24.
4 4 2
Manetho apud Jos., C. Apion. 1.233-35 = STERN I, § 21. Cf. § 0.2.
4 4 3
Chaeremon apud Jos., C. Apion. 1.290 = STERN I , § 178. Cf. § 0.12.
4 4 4
Apollonius M o l o n apud Jos., C. Apion. 2.148 = STERN I , § 4 9 . See also STERN'S
comments on lists of inventions in antiquity in I , 155. Cp. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 7.191. On these
arguments against the Jews see FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 2 4 3 , 317. Hellenistic Jewish
authors such as Eupolemus (ca. 150 B.C.E.) argued that Moses was the first wise man and the
inventor of the alphabet which the Jews gave to the Phoenicians. He was also the first to
write down laws ( F . l a , l b [ I , 112 HOLLADAY = Clem. Alex., Strom 1.23.153.4; Eus., P.E.
9.25.4-26.1]). Ps. Eupolemus attributes the invention of astrology to Abraham (and originally
to Enoch) w h o excelled all in wisdom. He also taught the Phoenecians about the movements
of sun and moon. See Ps. Eupolemus, F . 1 (1,170-72; 174 HOLLADAY = Eus., P.E. 9.17.3-4,
8). Artapanus g o e s much further. Abraham teaches the Egyptians astrology. Joseph
improves Egyptian agriculture. M o s e s invents ships, Egyptian weapons, hieroglyphics,
machines for war, philosophy, divides Egypt into thirty-six nomes (and assigns a god to be
worshipped in each), and taught the Egyptians circumcision. See F . 1, 2, 3 ( I , 2 0 4 - 2 1 2
H O L L A D A Y = Eus., P.E. 9.18.1; 9.23.1-4; 9.27.1-10). H O L L A D A Y remarks that these
inventions were attributed to many other figures in Greek literature ( I , 232-33 with numerous
references). Cp. K . THRAEDE, Erfmder, 1191-1278 / DROGE, Homer, 15-35.
4 4 5
Apion apud Jos., C. Apion. 2.135 = STERN I , § 175. On this topos used against the
Jews see also STERN I I , 300 (comment on C. Cels. 4.31).
4 4 6
Jul, C. Gal. 218b-c, 222a = also STERN Π, § 4 8 1 . Cf. § 3.23.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 123

argument e x p a n d s to include Jesus' ministry and the work o f the Christians.


Jesus conferred n o benefit o n his p e o p l e , and Christianity d o e s n o g o o d
447
w h a t s o e v e r for s o c i e t y . T h e ultimate c o n c l u s i o n o f these arguments from
c o n s e q u e n c e is this: s i n c e the J e w s produced nothing o f any c o n s e q u e n c e ,
Judaism itself is not worthy o f belief.
Origen responds to C e l s u s b y e x p r e s s i n g admiration for the l a w c o d e o f
448
M o s e s and the s o c i e t y it h e l p e d c r e a t e . H e conjectures that C e l s u s m i g h t
try to s h o w that the J e w s had d o n e nothing worthy o f admiration s i n c e they
449
are not m e n t i o n e d in the Greek h i s t o r i a n s . S u c h a c l a i m w o u l d b e false, o f
course, and it d o e s not s e e m likely that Celsus actually m a d e it.

126 Moses and the Angel

C e l s u s w a s aware o f the appearance o f angels to M o s e s and other figures in


the L X X . In the c o n t e x t o f his larger argument that Jesus w a s an angel, h e
writes that an angel appeared to M o s e s and others: "And w h y is it necessary
to carefully investigate all things and enumerate the angels said to h a v e b e e n
4 5 0
sent to M o s e s and to others o f their o w n ? " H e w a s probably thinking o f
texts such as E x o d 3:2-5 where the angel o f the Lord ( L X X ά γ γ ε λ ο ς κυρίου)
appears to M o s e s . T h e c o n c e p t o f an angel o f G o d (and not G o d h i m s e l f )
g i v i n g the l a w to M o s e s w a s influential in later Hellenistic Judaism as in the
4 5 1
c a s e o f S t e p h e n ' s s p e e c h in A c t s ( A c t s 7:30, 3 5 , 3 8 , 5 3 ) . C e l s u s m a y also
h a v e b e e n aware o f the t w o angels w h o appear to Abraham ( G e n 18:2, 19:1),
and the angel o f the Lord ( ά γ γ ε λ ο ς κυρίου) w h o appears to G i d e o n (Judg
6:12).

4 4 7
Jul., C. Gal. 213b,c; 218b-224c = 144,6-147,6 M A S . Cp. COOK, Interpretation 299,
316-18. See also Julian's remarks on Judaism in § 3.23, 56.
4 4 8
C. Cels. 4.31 (245,5-246,8 M A R C ) .
4 4 9
C. Cels. 4.31 (245,7-9 M A R C ) . Julian similarly claimed that Jesus was not mentioned
in Greek historians in C. Gal. 206a,b (142,10-14 MAS.) discussed in COOK, Interpretation
288.
4 5 0
C. Cels. 5.52 (365,15-6 M A R C ) . See also § 1.3, 1.28.2 and COOK, Interpretation, 69-
70.
4 5 1
S e e Deut 33:2 L X X . Jos., Antiq. 15.136 may refer to divine messengers (or earthly)
through whom the laws were given. Philo, D e somnis 1.143 depicts Exod 20:19 as a request
for a heavenly angel to speak to the people. Some rabbinic texts (Str-B 2.354) depict angels
as being present with God when the Torah was given including Pesiq. R. 21 (103b). A n angel
reveals things to M o s e s in Jub. 1.24,29; 2.1; 6.22; 30.12, 2 1 ; 50,1-2, 6, 13. Michael reveals
the law in Apoc. Mos. Inscriptio (1 TlSCHENDORFF) and cp. Herm. Sim. 8.3.3. For the N T
see also the commentaries on Heb 2:2 and Gal 3:19.
1. Celsus

1.27 The Flight from Egypt

Origen depicts C e l s u s ' distillation o f the narrative o f E x o d u s : "To the e x o d u s


o f the p e o p l e ] from E g y p t [he g i v e s the n a m e ] "flight" ( φ υ γ ή ν ) [without the
least recollection o f the things written in the b o o k o f E x o d u s about the e x o d u s
452
o f the H e b r e w s from the land o f E g y p t ] . " A l t h o u g h C e l s u s d o e s not s h o w a
c l o s e k n o w l e d g e o f the narrative o f E x o d u s , his m e n t i o n o f m a n y e l e m e n t s in
the Joseph narrative s h o w s that h e probably k n e w the outlines o f the biblical
account e v e n if it did not interest h i m . Origen notes that C e l s u s did not say
m u c h against the stories e v e n in their literal s e n s e , s i n c e C e l s u s g i v e s n o
argument ( λ ό γ ω ) against w h a t h e thought w a s w r e t c h e d ( μ ο χ θ η ρ ό ν ) in the
453
texts .
In a later text C e l s u s c o m p a r e s the beliefs h e l d in c o m m o n b y J e w s and
Christians and includes the emigration to Egypt and the flight from there:
[Let us concede that] they and w e speak of the same migration ( ά π ο δ η μ ί α ν ) to Egypt
(Gen 4 6 - 4 7 ) and the [return] from there [and not] a flight [as Celsus believes. Why,
therefore, do these statements support an accusation against us or the Jews? When he
thought to mock us concerning the story of the Hebrews he called it a "flight." But when
4 5 4
the issue at hand (τό π ρ α γ μ α τ ι κ ό ν ) was to examine what was written of the plagues
4 5 5
that came upon Egypt from God, he willingly kept s i l e n t ]

C e l s u s p rob ab ly c o u l d h a v e attacked the p l a g u e s h a d h e c h o s e n to d o s o .


R i n a l d i refers to a text in E u s e b i u s in w h i c h the historian d e s c r i b e s the
d e s t r u c t i o n o f M a x e n t i u s and h i s army in a river. H e c o m p a r e s the
destruction w i t h that o f Pharaoh in E x o d u s and describes the O T narratives as:
" . . . t h o s e things w h i c h w e r e inscribed o f o l d in the sacred writings against
g o d l e s s p e o p l e that w e r e d i s b e l i e v e d as a m y t h i c a l story (ώς έν μύθου
4 5 6
λ ό γ ω ) by m o s t , but w e r e trustworthy for the faithful , . . " In a similar v e i n ,
C e l s u s m i g h t h a v e argued that the p l a g u e s w e r e m y t h i c a l , or h e (in the
tradition o f N u m e n i u s ) might h a v e compared M o s e s ' m i g h t y d e e d s with the
Egyptian m a g i c i a n s . N u m e n i u s argues that the Egyptian m a g i c i a n s w e r e able

4 5 2
C. Cels. 4.47 (264,14-7 M A R C ) .
4 5 3
C. Cels. 4.47 (264,17-20 M A R C ) .
4 5 4
This is a term of the rhetoricians used for proofs concerning matters of fact. See
LAUSBERG, Handbuch § 3 5 5 , 3 5 7 .
4 5 5
C. Cels. 5.59 (371,13-9 M A R C ) .
4 5 6
Eusebius, H.E. 9.9.4-7 = RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, I I , § 127a who refers to
AZIZA, L'utilisation polemique, 41-65 (AZIZA reviews the authors who wrote before Celsus).
Josephus, Antiq. 2.347-8 defends the exodus narrative with the remark that it could have
happened by the will of God or "automatically" (κατά τ α ύ τ ό μ α τ ο ν ) and refers to a similar
event that happened to Alexander the Great when the Sea of Pamphylia withdrew and let him
pass.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 125

4 5 7
t o d i s p e r s e the w o r s t c a l a m i t i e s that M o s e s brought o n E g y p t . Celsus'
approach to the story o f the e x o d u s is that o f the G r e c o - R o m a n historians w h o
s a w the J e w s ' a c t i o n s as a rebellion. U n l i k e t h o s e historians, h o w e v e r , C e l s u s
refers t o the e x o d u s as an e s c a p e or flight — a w o r d that i s actually u s e d in
E x o d 14:5 L X X w h e r e the E g y p t i a n o f f i c i a l s tell P h a r a o h that the " p e o p l e
h a v e fled" ( π ε φ ε υ γ ε ν ) . T h e e l e m e n t o f flight and pursuit w h i c h d o e s appear
in E x o d 14 is c o n d e n s e d b y C e l s u s into o n e c o n c e p t — e s c a p e .

1.28 Laws

C e l s u s m a k e s a n u m b e r o f r e f e r e n c e s to J e w i s h p r a c t i c e s that s h o w some
familiarity w i t h b i b l i c a l texts. It i s difficult to identify w h i c h texts h e has in
m i n d , but it i s c l e a r that h e i s a w a r e o f m a n y o f t h e P e n t a t e u c h a l legal
traditions. Consequently the references t o scripture in p a r e n t h e s e s are
guesses.

1.28.1 The Customs of Different Nations

J e w i s h c u s t o m s or l a w s are not objectionable to C e l s u s :

The Jews, then, became a distinct nation and established laws according to c o m m o n
practice in their country (τό έπιχώριοι/). They keep these until the present and preserve a
religion that, whatever it is like, is traditional ( π ά τ ρ ι ο ι ) — acting in this manner like
other people because each honors the traditional practices (τά π α τ ρ ί α ) , whatever kind
458
have happened to be created. It seems to me that this is useful ( σ υ μ φ έ ρ ε ι ν ) not only
because it came into the mind o f different peoples to make laws differently and that it is
necessary to keep those that have been decided for the public interest ( τ ά ές κοινόν
κ€κυρωμένα), but also because most probably the different parts of the earth were from
4 5 9
the beginning distributed to different tutelary divinities ( έ π ό π τ α ι ς ) and were divided
up among different d o m i n i o n s ( κ α τ ά τινας ε π ι κ ρ α τ ε ί α ς ) and in this w a y are
administered. And s o the practices in each nation are done correctly if they are loved by

4 5 7
Numenius F. 9 (51,1-9 DES PLACES) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 125. S e e
§0.16.
4 5 8
ANDRESEN, Logos, 196 n.22 translates "happen" with usages such as Herodotus 3.129.
It can also mean "to be useful" or "beneficial" as in Aristot., Rhet. 1.3.5 and is part o f the
arguments considered in deliberative rhetoric. CHADWICK, Origen, 2 8 3 and BORRET 3.75
translate with "act" (they act this way) but have to add "like the rest o f mankind" — a phrase
not in Celsus. Celsus is arguing in favor o f this course o f events, s o the usage from
deliberative rhetoric fits the context.
4 5 9
ANDRESEN, L o g o s , 198 n.24 discusses examples of these divinities. S e e C. Cels. 7.68
(517,9-20 M A R C ) / Cook, Interpretation, 9 4 - 6 / FEDOU, Christianisme, 516-8. Cp. Julian in
§ 3.22.
126 1. Celsus

those beings (οπη έκείνοις· φίλον). It would not be holy to destroy laws established (τά
460
... ν ε ν ο μ ι σ μ έ ν α ) from the beginning in each r e g i o n .

Origen asks Celsus who d i s t r i b u t e d t h e earth t o d i f f e r e n t powers and


c o n j e c t u r e s that h e m i g h t a n s w e r " Z e u s . " H e a l s o w o n d e r s if Z e u s a g r e e d
w i t h the l a w s m a d e for the J e w s . H o w e v e r , in his interpretation o f the B a b e l
narrative, O r i g e n c o n c e d e s that different n a t i o n s are a p p o i n t e d t o different
4 6 1
angelic r u l e r s . O r i g e n a l s o p o i n t s o u t the d i f f e r e n c e o f c u s t o m s s u c h as
parricide and i n c e s t in different nations and asks if it is i m p i o u s to break s u c h
4 6 2
ancestral l a w s . C l e a r l y C e l s u s is w i l l i n g to admit that d e s p i t e the E g y p t i a n
o r i g i n o f t h e J e w s , t h e y are a n a t i o n w i t h c u s t o m s a n d traditions that are
4 6 3
w o r t h y o f a certain r e s p e c t . H i s e m p h a s i s is o n the c o n c e p t o f ancestral
traditions ( τ ά π ά τ ρ ι α ) , and in this r e s p e c t h e argues a t h e m e that w a s Used
464
frequently against the e m e r g i n g Christian tradition . Celsus was also
w i l l i n g t o a r g u e that s i n c e J e s u s o b s e r v e d J e w i s h p r a c t i c e s i n c l u d i n g their
4 6 5
sacrifices, h e should not be w o r s h i p p e d . Philo defended abstention from
pork i n front o f R o m a n o f f i c i a l s b y a r g u i n g that e a c h n a t i o n h a s its o w n
4 6 6
different c u s t o m s ( ν ό μ ι μ α ... έ τ ε ρ α ) .

4 6 0
C. Cels. 5.25 (340,10-23 M A R C ) . For similar texts see COOK, Interpretation, 96. Cf.
PICHLER, Streit, 149 / PELAGAUD, U n conservateur, 3 3 4 / H. REMUS, Outside/Inside: Celsus
on Jewish and Christian Nomoi, in: Religon, Literature, and Society in Ancient Israel,
Formative Christianity and Judaism, N e w Perspectives o n Ancient Judaism V o l . 2 , ed. J.
NEUSNER et al., Lanham/New York/London 1 9 8 7 , 1 3 3 - 5 0 .
4 6 1
C. Cels. 5 . 2 6 ( 3 4 1 , 1 3 - 9 M A R C ) . A . MEREDITH, Porphyry and Julian Against the
Christians, A N R W II.23.2, 1980, (1120-49) 1144 points out that Origen seems to believe that
nations were divided between angels. S e e Origen, C. Cels. 5.29 (with reference to Deut 32:8-
9), 3 0 (as the consequence o f the building o f the tower of Babel people and nations are
handed over to different angels), 31 (Israel, at first God's portion, is then abandoned to other
national beings) (343,18-23; 345,10-20; 345,21-346,17 M A R C ) .
4 6 2
C. Cels. 5.27 (341,27-342,2 M A R C ) . S e e CHADWICK, Origen, Celsus, and the Stoa, 35
for development o f the theme in other authors including Tertullian, Apol. 9.2-18 (102,4-
105,87 D E K . ) , Aenesidemus in Diog. Laert. 9.83-4, Eusebius, P.E. 6.10.15-6 (VIII/1, 337,20-
338,5 MRAS), P S . Sallustius, D e diis 9 (19,16-18 NOCK). DELABRIOLLE, La reaction, 134 n.4
notes that Cicero, D e leg. 1.15.42 thought it ridiculous to equally value the laws o f all
countries.
4 6 3
S e e § 1.24. Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 130.
4 6 4
S e e the index o f COOK, Interpretation, 3 8 3 s.v. "Ancestral traditions".
4 6 5
In C. Cels. 2.6 (81,12-4 M A R C . ) Celsus' Jew argues: "Jesus observed all the Jewish
customs including their sacrifices ( τ ά κατά Ιουδαίους εθη μέχρι και των π α ρ ' αύτοΐς
θυσιών). [Why does he conclude this:] one should not have faith in him as the son of God?"
See COOK, Interpretation, 4 5 .
4 6 6
Philo, Legatio 362.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 127

1.282 Celsus on Food Customs


C e l s u s quotes an a c c o u n t o f Herodotus ( 2 . 1 8 ) that describes a question to the
oracle o f A m m o n f r o m the cities o f Marea and A p i s w h o d o not w a n t to b e
considered E g y p t i a n and w h o c o n s e q u e n t l y want to b e a l l o w e d to eat any
f o o d and in particular the flesh o f c o w s . T h e g o d did not a l l o w t h e m to d o
that since the N i l e watered their lands. C e l s u s then writes:
A m m o n is in no w a y worse than the angels of the Jews in sending divine messages
(διαπρεσβεΟσαι τ ά δ α ι μ ό ν ι α ) . Therefore there is no injustice if each country observes
4 6 7
their own religious practices (εκάστους τ ά σφέτερα νόμιμα θρησκεύειν)

C e l s u s c o n t i n u e s w i t h q u o t e s from Herodotus c o n c e r n i n g different n a t i o n s '


practices w i t h regard to the c o n s u m p t i o n o f animals. O r i g e n u s e s several
arguments to a n s w e r C e l s u s . T h e u s e o f c o w s is morally neutral ( ά δ ι ά φ ο ρ ο ν ) ,
and A m m o n g i v e s n o r e a s o n for the prohibition o f their c o n s u m p t i o n . O T
regulations c o n c e r n i n g a n i m a l s ( s e e 1 C o r 9:9) actually contain a "natural
4 6 8
truth" ( φ υ σ ι ο λ ο γ ί α ν ) for the sake o f h u m a n k i n d . H e then resists C e l s u s '
entire argument b y a p p e a l i n g to natural l a w w h i c h c o m e s f r o m G o d and
469
w h i c h is different from the l a w s o f c i t i e s .

128.3 Circumcision and Pork


In an e x t e n d e d c o m p a r i s o n o f the J e w s w i t h other ancient p e o p l e s , C e l s u s
writes:
Neither would they be more holy ( ά γ ι ώ τ ε ρ ο ι ) than these because they are circumcised
(Gen 17:9-14) — for the Egyptians and Colchians were first to do this. Neither are they
more holy because they abstain from pigs (Lev 11:7, Deut 14:8, 1 Mace 1:42), for the
470
Egyptians d o this and also abstain from sheep, c o w s , and fish; P y t h a g o r a s and his
4 7 1
followers abstain from beans and all living beings ( ε μ ψ ύ χ ω ν )

C e l s u s d o e s not object to the practice o f c i r c u m c i s i o n or o f abstention from


certain f o o d s s i n c e h e respects l o n g established c u s t o m s o f different cultures.

4 6 7
C. Cels. 5.34 (349,5-7 M A R C ) . Cf. PICHLER, Streit, 150 and § 1.26. On Celsus' (and
Origen's) use of citations see E. BAMMEL, Die Zitate in Origenes' Schrift wider Celsus, in:
Origeniana Quarta. D i e Referate des 4. Internationalen Origeneskongresses (Innsbruck, 2.-6.
September 1985) ed. L. LIES, Innsbruck/Vienna 1 9 8 7 , 2 - 6 .
4 6 8
C. Cels. 5.36 (351,16-23.28-352,2 M A R C ) .
4 6 9
Cp. C. Cels. 5.37, 8.26 (352,13-6; 5 4 2 , 1 9 - 2 0 M A R C ) . On natural law see BORRET
3.104 n . l , 111 n.l / CHADWICK, Origen, 293 n.l / W. A. BANNER, Origen and the Tradition
of Natural Law Concepts, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 8, Cambridge 1954, 4 9 - 8 2 . Cf. S V F
3.314-26.
4 7 0
Cf. DffiLS, Doxogr. gr. 557,20-30; 590,10-11, Diog. Laert. 8.33-34.
4 7 1
C. Cels. 5.41 (356,3-8 M A R C ) . Celsus also briefly refers to the abstention of Jews
from the flesh of certain sacrificial victims in 8.28 (543,23-5 M A R C ) . Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and
Gentile, 224 / PJELAGAUD, U n conservateur, 337.
128 1. Celsus

H e did n o t h a v e the vegetarian scruples o f Porphyry w h o k n e w that J e w s , for


4 7 2
e x a m p l e , d o not eat p i g s . A p i o n , o n the o t h e r h a n d , d e r i d e d J e w s for
4 7 3
practicing c i r c u m c i s i o n and for n o t eating p o r k . Caligula asked Philo w h y
4 7 4
the J e w s a b s t a i n e d f r o m p i g s — as if it w a s a b a s i c mark o f b e i n g a J e w .
G r e c o - R o m a n c o m m e n t s o n the J e w s ' a b s t e n t i o n f r o m pork are g e n e r a l l y
d e r i s i v e , and at o n e p o i n t Plutarch records a c o m m e n t in w h i c h the J e w s ' o w n
a c c o u n t o f their c u s t o m is c a l l e d " m y t h s . " O n e h a s t o a s s u m e the L X X i s
4 7 5
meant . G a l e n a l s o regarded M o s e s ' m e t h o d o f e s t a b l i s h i n g his t e a c h i n g as
inadequate: " . . . it is his m e t h o d in his b o o k s to write w i t h o u t offering p r o o f s ,
4 7 6
saying, 'God commanded, G o d s p o k e . ' " Gager compares Galen's view
4 7 7
w i t h that o f H e c a t a e u s o f A b d e r a . After r e v i e w i n g the story o f the J e w s ,
H e c a t a e u s states o f M o s e s that, "At the e n d o f the l a w s is a d d e d the statement
that ' M o s e s w h e n h e heard t h e s e t h i n g s f r o m G o d t o l d t h e m t o the J e w s . ' "
478
H e calls the J e w s "easily persuaded" or "obedient" ( ε ύ τ τ ι θ ε ΐ ς ) . Clement of
A l e x a n d r i a c o m p l a i n e d that the G r e e k s w o u l d n o t a c c e p t t h e truth o f the

4 7 2
Porphyry, D e abst. 4.11.1 (CUFr m, 17 PATILLON/ SEGONDS/BRISSON).
4 7 3
Apion apud Jos., C. Ap. 1.137 = STERN I, § 176. Cf. § 0.13.
4 7 4
Philo, Legatio 361.
4 7 5
Plutarch, Mor. (Quaest. conv.) 6 6 9 e - 6 7 1 c = STERN I, § 2 5 8 . T h e remark about the
"myths" is by Callistratus in 669f. In C. Cels. 1.4 (9,6-15 M A R C ) , in a reference to Exod
31:18, Origen observes that the episode in which G o d writes the commandments with his
own finger is v i e w e d as a myth (μύθω) by Hellenes. Origen applies the text to show that
everyone is without defense ( α ν α π ο λ ό γ η τ ο ς cp. R o m 1:20) in the day o f judgment. This is
because G o d has implanted certain common conceptions (κουνάς ε ν ν ο ί α ς ) in human beings.
On the c o m m o n conceptions see CHADWICK, Origen 8 n.6. Other comments on Jewish
abstention from pork include: Diod. Sic. 34-35.1.4 = STERN I, § 6 3 ; Petronius, Frag. 37 =
STERN I , § 195; Erotianus in STERN I, § 196; Epictetus apud Arrian, Diss. 1.22.4 = STERN I,
§ 2 5 3 ; Tacitus, Hist. 5.4.2 = STERN II, § 2 8 1 ; Juvenal 6.160; 14.98 = STERN II, § 2 9 8 , 3 0 1 ;
Sextus Empiricus, Hypotyp. 3.222-3 = STERN II, § 334; Macrobius, Saturn. 2.4.11 = STERN II,
§ 543. A magician also forbids the consumption of pork as part of a recipe in PGM IV, 3078-
80 (see BETZ, The Greek Magical Papyri, 97 n.410). Cf. SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 66-81.
4 7 6
R. WALZER, Galen on Jews and Christians, London, 1949, 1 1 , 18-23 from a version
that exists only in Arabic o f Galen's On Hippocrates' Anatomy.
4 7 7
GAGER, Moses, 88.
4 7 8
Hecataeus apud Diod. Sic. 40.3.6 = STERN I, § 11. STERN (I, 32) notes that Jewish
credulity became a Greco-Roman theme from Hecataeus onwards. Diod. Sic. 1.94.1-2 =
STERN I, § 5 8 writes that the first to persuade ( π ε ι σ α ι ) the multitudes to follow written laws
was Mneves in Egypt who claimed Hermes as their source. He lists similar states of affairs (a
lawgiver and a revealing god) among many peoples and writes of Moses, " . . . among the Jews
M o s e s called on Iao." STERN I, 172 refers to literature o n that name o f God (see § 1.23
above). Strabo (16.2.37-8 = STERN I, § 115) also says that many ancient peoples trace their
law c o d e s t o divine revelation including M o s e s : "Like s o m e others, M o s e s and his
successors had beginnings that were not bad, but had a turn for the worse." Herodotus 1.60.3
saw credulity as a characteristic o f barbarians. On Christian credulity s e e C O O K ,
Interpretation, 3 8 3 s.v. "Christian credulity." S e e § 0 . 1 , 7 , 9 .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 129

belief that G o d g a v e the l a w t o M o s e s e v e n though they ( u n k n o w i n g l y ) honor


479
M o s e s in their o w n w r i t e r s . H e g i v e s several e x a m p l e s o f Greeks ( s u c h as
M i n o s ) w h o r e c e i v e d l a w s from the g o d s .
Celsus k n e w the account o f Abraham's circumcision, but argued
480
p r e v i o u s l y that h e w a s n o t t h e f i r s t . G r e c o - R o m a n writers h a d an
ambivalent attitude towards the J e w i s h practice o f circumcision. Strabo, for
e x a m p l e , c o m p a r e d it t o the Egyptian practice, but also v i e w e d it (as w e l l as
481
abstention from f o o d ) as a d e c l i n e in J e w i s h r e l i g i o n . D i o d o r u s regarded
circumcision as a practice o f the Colchians and J e w s w h o had derived it from
482
Egypt . M o s t o f t h e p a g a n authors v i e w e d c i r c u m c i s i o n n e g a t i v e l y
483
including poets s u c h as Horace, Persius, Martial and J u v e n a l , Later writers
such as Tacitus and Suetonius are aware o f the practice, but d o not deride it as
4 8 4
m u c h as the p o e t s d o . O r i g e n responds that the J e w s w o u l d distinguish
their circumcision from that o f neighboring p e o p l e s , and notes that abstention
from pigs is based o n the distinction b e t w e e n clean and unclean. H e also uses
Gal 5:2, Matt 1 5 : 1 1 , 17 and A c t s 11:8-9 t o g i v e N T v i e w s o n c i r c u m c i s i o n
4 8 5
and f o o d .

128A Israel and the Nations


In the context o f an argument in w h i c h C e l s u s c l a i m s that Jesus contradicts
M o s e s ' t e a c h i n g , C e l s u s s u m m a r i z e s s o m e o f that t e a c h i n g c o n c e r n i n g
Israel's relationship t o other nations:
If the prophets o f the God o f the Jews predicted this person to be the child of God, h o w is
it that G o d through M o s e s ordains by law that they should be rich and have dominion
(Gen 1 : 2 8 , Deut 1 5 : 6 , 2 8 : 1 1 - 1 2 ) and fill the earth (Gen 1 : 2 8 , 8 : 1 7 , 9 : 1 - 7 ) and slaughter
their enemies from the youth up and kill the entire race (Exod 1 7 : 1 3 - 1 6 , N u m 2 1 : 3 4 - 3 5 ,
Deut 2 5 : 1 9 , Ps 1 3 6 : 8 - 9 ) — which he does before the eyes o f the Jews (Exod 3 4 : 1 1 , Deut

4 7 9
Clem. Α Ι . , Strom. 1 . 2 6 . 1 7 0 . 2 - 4 (II, 1 0 5 , 2 9 - 1 0 6 , 1 1 ST./FR.),
4 8 0
See § 1 . 1 1 .
4 8 1
Strabo, Geog. 1 6 . 2 . 3 7 (food and circumcision), 1 6 . 4 . 9 , 1 8 . 2 . 5 (Egyptians and Jews) =
STERN I, § 1 1 5 ; 1 1 8 ; 1 2 4 . Cf. § 0 . 9 .
4 8 2
Diod. Sic. 1 . 2 8 . 2 - 3 = STERN I, § 5 5 .
^Horace, Serm. 1 . 9 . 7 0 = STERN I, § 1 2 9 ; Persius, Saturae 5 . 1 8 4 = STERN, I, § 1 9 0 ;
Petronius, Satyricon 1 0 2 . 1 4 = STERN I, § 1 9 4 ; Martial, Epigr. 7 . 3 0 , 7 . 8 2 , 9 . 9 4 = STERN I,
§ 2 4 0 , 2 4 3 , 2 4 5 ; Juvenal 1 4 . 9 9 = STERN II, § 3 0 1 . Cf. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei Pagani II,
1 1 8 - 9 / SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 9 3 - 1 0 5 .
4 8 4
Tacitus, Hist. 5 . 5 . 2 = STERN II, § 2 8 1 ; Suetonius, Domitianus 1 2 . 2 = STERN II, § 3 2 0 ;
Ps. Sallustius, D e diis 9 . 5 = STERN II, § 4 8 8 ; S H A Hadrianus 1 4 . 1 - 2 = STERN II, § 5 1 1 (with
comment on 6 2 0 - 2 1 concerning the outbreak of the Jewish revolt in Cyrene and the question
of circumcision); P s . Aero, Scholia in Hor. serm. 1 . 9 . 7 0 = STERN, II, § 5 3 9 ; Rutilius
Namatianus, D e reditu suo 1 . 3 8 8 = STERN II, § 5 4 2 .
4 8 5
C. Cels. 5 . 4 8 , 4 9 ( 3 6 1 , 2 1 - 3 6 2 , 2 0 ; 3 6 2 , 2 1 - 3 6 3 , 1 M A R C ) . Josephus, Antiq. 1 . 2 1 4 notes
that the Arabs circumcise their sons during the thirteenth year (as in the case of Ishmael).
130 1. Celsus

2 9 : 2 - 3 ) , as Moses says. In addition to these, if they do not obey he explicitly threatens to


4 8 6
do to them what he does to the enemies (Deut 1 : 2 6 - 4 5 , 7 : 4 , 9 : 1 4 , 2 8 : 1 5 - 6 8 ) .

Origen is u n w i l l i n g to accept the "literal" (προς· ρ η τ ό ν ) interpretation o f the


texts C e l s u s u s e s and argues that they m u s t b e interpreted in the "spiritual
1 487
sense" (προς δι,άνοιαν), as s o m e "before h i m " t a u g h t . H e appeals to E z e k
2 0 : 2 5 and 2 Cor 3:7-8 to argue for the t w o s e n s e s o f the scriptures. Origen
thinks it probable that C e l s u s draws o n a source that s e e s a contradiction
4 8 8
b e t w e e n the G o d o f the l a w and the G o d o f the g o s p e l . A c c o r d i n g to o n e
Marcionite d i s c i p l e , M o s e s destroys b y raising his hands ( s e e E x o d 17:8-16)
489
and Jesus s a v e s b y extending his h a n d s . W h i l e C e l s u s d o e s not quote any
L X X t e x t s e x p l i c i t l y , it is clear that h e k n o w s m a n y traditions from the
Pentateuch and perhaps traditions o f h o l y war from Joshua (Josh 6 : 1 7 - 2 1 , 8:1-
2, 1 0 : 3 8 - 4 2 ) . C e l s u s ' text also e c h o e s G e n 1:28 (have d o m i n i o n , and fill the
earth). A p a g a n author w h o m a y h a v e found that text acceptable is O c e l l u s
Lucanus w h o , in a d i s c u s s i o n o f the purpose o f human sexuality, argues that
it is not for pleasure but for generation s o "most o f the earth's area w i l l b e
4 9 0
filled" ( τ ο ν π λ ε ί ο ν α ττ\ς γ η ς τ ό π ο ν π λ η ρ ο ϋ σ θ α ι ) . W h i l e it is not
certain that O c e l l u s k n o w s G e n e s i s , it is quite p o s s i b l e g i v e n the linguistic
similarities o f both texts.

7.29 Doctrines

C e l s u s attacks m a n y individual doctrines o f the J e w i s h r e l i g i o n w i t h o u t


m e n t i o n i n g particular t e x t s in the L X X . N o n e o f their t e a c h i n g s are
particularly original according to C e l s u s , and the J e w s are not l o v e d any more
by the divine than any other nation o n earth.

4 8 6
C. Cels. 7 . 1 8 ( 4 7 3 , 5 - 1 1 M A R C ) . On Celsus' use of these texts against the teachings of
Jesus see COOK, Interpretation, 4 0 - 4 1 / NESTLE, D i e Haupteinwande, 9 4 - 5 / PELAGAUD, Un
conservateur, 3 6 1 . Cf. FELDMAN, Jew and Gentile, 1 1 2 for other references to Jewish wealth
in antiquity.
4 8 7
C. Cels. 7 . 2 0 ( 4 7 5 , 1 6 - 2 5 M A R C ) . Presumably the predecessors Origen is thinking of
include Philo ( D e spec. leg. 1 . 2 8 7 ) who distinguishes the literal meaning (τά μεν ρητά)
from an inner or spiritual sense (τά δε προς- διάνοι αν) that one sees using the rules of
allegory.
4 8 8
C. Cels. 7 . 2 5 ( 4 7 9 , 2 6 - 4 8 0 , 4 M A R C ) .
4 8 9
Megethius apud Adamantius, Dial. 1 . 1 1 ( 2 4 , 2 4 - 9 B A K . ) mentioned by HARNACK,
Marcion, 2 8 1 * .
4 9 0
STERN I, § 4 0 = Ocellus Lucanus, D e universi natura 4 6 . S e e § 0 . 3 . Gen 1 : 2 8 has
πληρώσατε τ η ν γ ή ν (fill the earth).
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 131

1.29.1 Purity, Heaven, and Election

C e l s u s traces the J e w i s h d o c t r i n e o f h e a v e n t o the P e r s i a n s — m u c h as h e


related their c i r c u m c i s i o n to an E g y p t i a n origin:

If, as though they k n o w something wiser, they exalt themselves and turn away from
fellowship (κοινωνίαν) with others as not being of equal purity (ουκ έζ Ισου καθαρών),
they have already heard that even their doctrine about heaven that they call their o w n , but
— that I may omit all other examples — has been taught long by the Persians as
Herodotus (1.131) somewhere indicates: "They have the custom o f ascending to the
highest places o f mountains to make sacrifices to Zeus — calling the entire circle o f
heaven Zeus." Therefore I think that to call Zeus Highest, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth,
491
or Amon (as the Egyptians do), or Papaeus (as the Scythians do) makes no d i f f e r e n c e .

C e l s u s c o n t i n u e s w i t h a d i s c u s s i o n o f c i r c u m c i s i o n and f o o d l a w s that h a s
been mentioned a b o v e (§ 1.28.3). H e t h e n d e n i e s that G o d s h o w s any
particular favor t o the J e w s :
4 9 2
It is not probable either that these enjoy God's good w i l l (ούδ' ευδοκιμεί ν παρά τψ
θεψ καΐ σ τ έ ρ γ ε σ θ α ι ) and are loved any differently from the others or that angels were
sent from there to them alone — as if they received by lot s o m e land o f the blessed
(μακάρων χώραν). For w e see them and their land and the things that both have merited.
Therefore, let this chorus leave after suffering the punishment for its boasting — not
knowing the great God, but being misled and deceived by M o s e s ' magic (or "imposture"
4 9 3
γ ο η τ ε ί α ς ) of which it became a disciple (μαθητής) for no good end

O r i g e n a n s w e r s C e l s u s ' c h a r g e against J e w i s h arrogance b y n o t i n g that it is


actually a c h a r g e a g a i n s t t h e J e w s ' b e l i e f in t h e m s e l v e s as a c h o s e n g r o u p
(e.g. Deut 32:9). H e t h e n o u t l i n e s s o m e o f the marks o f J e w i s h s o c i e t y s u c h
as the t e m p l e , the a b s e n c e o f theatres, and the a b s e n c e o f prostitutes. From
4 9 4
birth J e w s are taught about the t h i n g s o f G o d . Jewish doctrine is unlike
that o f the P e r s i a n s b e c a u s e the J e w s o n l y h a v e o n e h o u s e o f prayer and d o
4 9 5
n o t call h e a v e n Z e u s or G o d . T h e J e w s are right t o a v o i d f e l l o w s h i p w i t h
o t h e r s ( i n c l u d i n g p h i l o s o p h e r s ) w h o w o r s h i p i d o l s and are p o l l u t e d and
4 9 6
impious (εναγών καΐ άσεβων) .

4 9 1
On the names o f G o d see § 1.23. Papaeus can be found in Herodotus 4 . 5 9 . Origen
responds that Zeus is not Sabaoth but a demon. He holds the same opinion of A m o n and
Papaeus in C. Cels. 5.46 (360,16-27 M A R C ) . On this text see SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 43-4.
4 9 2
Compare the frequent use o f this word in the Greco-Roman writers' criticisms of
alleged Jewish misanthropy. S e e § 0.4.
4 9 3
C. Cels. 5.41 (355,24-356,3.8-16 M A R C ) . CHADWICK (Early Christian Thought, 2 6 )
notes that for Celsus "the Jews' belief that they are God's elect is a mere reflection o f inflated
national pride." For the question of Moses' magic see also § 1.20-1.
4 9 4
C. Cels. 5.42 (356,17-357,6 M A R C ) .
4 9 5
C. Cels. 5.44 (358,1-15 M A R C ) .
4 9 6
C. Cels. 5.43 (357,20-6 M A R C ) .
132 1. Celsus

C e l s u s ' references to J e w i s h concerns for purity, h e a v e n , and G o d ' s l o v e


for t h e m s h o w a k n o w l e d g e o f L X X t h e m e s e v e n though h e d o e s not specify
their origin. Levitical and priestly purity ( N u m 8:7, 2 Esdr 6:20 L X X = Ezra
6:20) and the distinction b e t w e e n the pure and foreigners w h o h a v e n o share
in the t e m p l e ( 2 Esdr 12:20 L X X = N e h 2:20) might b e traditions that Celsus
has in m i n d . Ezra's d e m a n d that the J e w s divorce their foreign w i v e s (10:11
= 2 Esdr 10:11 L X X ) c o u l d a l s o h a v e inspired h i m . It is a l s o likely that
C e l s u s w a s s i m p l y adopting a tradition o f pagans w h o a c c u s e d the J e w s o f
misanthropy. A n e x a m p l e is D i o d o r u s Siculus according to w h o m Antiochus
I V b e l i e v e d that M o s e s o r d a i n e d m i s a n t h r o p i c and l a w l e s s c u s t o m s
4 9 7
( ν ο μ ο θ β τ ή σ α ν τ ο ς τ ά μ ι σ ά ν θ ρ ω π α και π α ρ ά ν ο μ α € θ η ) . Although
S o l o m o n ' s prayer toward h e a v e n and his description o f G o d b e i n g a b o v e the
highest h e a v e n are s o m e w h a t relevant (3 K g d m s 8:22, 2 7 L X X = 1 K g s ) , it is
difficult to s e e h o w C e l s u s c o u l d glean from them his v i e w s expressed above.
It is m o r e probable that h e found such ideas in earlier writers such as Strabo
w h o n o t e s that for the J e w s G o d is h e a v e n and u n i v e r s e ( ο υ ρ α ν ό ν και
4 9 8
κ ό σ μ ο ν ) . L X X texts s u c h as t h o s e f o u n d in D e u t 4 : 3 7 and H o s 11:1
indicate h o w C e l s u s c o u l d h a v e d e v e l o p e d the tradition that the J e w s b e l i e v e d
G o d l o v e d t h e m in a special w a y . Celsus could h a v e derived his attack o n the
miserable c o n d i t i o n o f the J e w s from writers such as C i c e r o w h o traced the
4 9 9
l o w state o f the J e w s to their resistance towards R o m e .

7.29.2 The Worship of Heaven and Angels


Celsus b e l i e v e s the J e w s not o n l y identify G o d with h e a v e n , but also worship
it.
First among Jewish characteristics that is worthy of marvel: If they worship the heaven
and the angels in it, its most respectable (τά σ ε μ ν ό τ α τ α ) and most powerful parts — the
sun, the moon, and other stars, both the fixed stars and the planets — these they omit
(παραπεμπουσιν). A s if it were acceptable for the whole to be God, but its parts not to be

4 9 7
Diod. Sic. 34-35.1.3 = STERN I, § 6 3 . Tacitus, Hist. 5.5.1 = STERN II, § 281 (he
accuses the Jews of hatred for others), and Philostratus, Vita A p . 5.33 = STERN II, § 403
(Euphrates accuses the Jews of a revolt against humanity). Cf. also § 0.4, 0.10 / PELAGAUD,
U n conservateur, 283.
4 9 8
Strabo 16.2.35 = STERN I, § 115. Cp. Hecataeus of Abdera apud Diod Sic. 40.3.4 =
STERN I, § 11 (heaven is God, and M o s e s introduced a misanthropic way of life). Arrian,
Anabasis notes that the Arabs also worship heaven (7.20.1). Cp. HENGEL/SCHWEMER, Paul,
397 n.655 w h o refer to various inscriptions including one to a Heavenly Arabian God (Theos
Uranios Arabikos). Cp. § 1.23,1.29.1.
4 9 9
Cicero, Pro Flacco 28:69 = STERN I, § 68. Cp. Apion's charge that the Jews' laws are
unjust because they have been slaves of many empires (Jos., C. Ap. 2.125 = STERN I, § 174).
Caecilius in Minucius Felix' dialogue claims that the Jewish god is in captivity to Rome
(Octavius 10.4 [BiTeu, 8,20-23 KYTZLER]). The argument continued through Julian who
used it against Jews and Christians (see § 1.25 above).
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 133

divine; or that it is well to offer special worship to beings said to approach those w h o are
blinded in some darkness because o f a false magic (έκ γ ο η τ ε ί α ς ουκ ορθής) or w h o
dream o f faint apparitions, but the beings w h o prophesy clearly and brightly to all,
through w h o m rains, heat spells, clouds, and thunders (which they worship), lightnings,
fruits, and all products are regulated, through whom God is revealed to them, the heralds
the most manifest o f those above, the truly heavenly angels, these are thought to be
500
nothing.

O r i g e n s i m p l y d e n i e s that the J e w s w o r s h i p h e a v e n or the a n g e l s in it, u s i n g


Exod 20:3-5. Neither d o they worship any h e a v e n l y b o d i e s g i v e n Deut
5 0 1 5 0 2
4:19 . O r i g e n h i m s e l f d i d b e l i e v e t h e stars w e r e rational b e i n g s . For
C e l s u s , o n the other h a n d , the J e w i s h (and Christian) a n g e l s are n o t g o d s but
5 0 3
demons . H e t a k e s it as a g i v e n that the J e w s w o r s h i p a n g e l s . In another
text C e l s u s n o t e s that a n a n g e l appeared t o M o s e s : " A n d w h y is it n e c e s s a r y
t o carefully i n v e s t i g a t e all t h i n g s and e n u m e r a t e the a n g e l s s a i d to h a v e b e e n
5 0 4
sent t o M o s e s a n d t o o t h e r s o f their o w n ? " Christians c h a r g e d J e w s and
o n e another w i t h a n g e l w o r s h i p o c c a s i o n a l l y , and a rabbinic text warns
5 0 5
against m a k i n g a sacrifice w i t h a n g e l s in m i n d . C e l s u s rejects the b e l i e f in
a n g e l s that c o m e t o h u m a n b e i n g s in f a v o r o f a faith i n the h e a v e n l y a n g e l s
5 0 6
w h i c h are t h e stars a n d p l a n e t s that c o n t r o l w e a t h e r a n d c r o p s . It is
difficult, w i t h Cataudella, to d e n y that C e l s u s shares the ancient cultural b e l i e f

5 0 0
C. Cels. 5.6 (323,1-15 M A R C ) . Cf. PICHLER, Streit, 159 / MERLAN, Celsus, 9 5 2 / G.
RlNALDl, Sognatori e visionari 'biblici' nei polemisti anticristiani, Augustinianum 2 9 , 1989,
(7-30) 8. With regard to the worship of heaven cp. § 1.23,1.29.1.
5 0 1
C. Cels. 5.6 (323,16-32 M A R C ) .
5 0 2
C. Cels. 5.10 (327,26-30 M A R C ) . Cp. Plato, Tim. 40b, Alcin., Didask. 14.6 171.13-4
(35 W./L.), (and for the Stoics) S V F 2.685-88, Aristotle, D e caelo 2 . 1 2 (292a). BORRET 3.38
n.l includes many references to Origen's writings such as D e princ, 2.9.7 ( 1 7 1 , 1 0 - 1 2 [ 4 1 4 -
16] G./K.). Cf. also ANDRESEN, Logos, 9 9 n.32 and CHADWICK, Origen, 271 n.8. A. SCOTT
surveys the entire issue in antiquity including Origen's views in: Origen and the Life o f the
Stars. A History of an Idea, Oxford 1991.
5 0 3
C. Cels. 5.2 (320,8-12 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 62-3.
5 0 4
C. Cels. 5.52 365,15-6 M A R C ) . Cf. also § 1.26.
5 0 5
Col 2:18, Praedicatio Petri apud Clem. ΑΙ., Strom. 6.5.41.2 (II, 4 5 2 , 7 - 1 0 ST./FR.),
Aristides, Apol. 14.4 ( 1 0 4 V O N A ) , Origen (a reference to the Praed. Petri), In Jo. 13.17.104
(GCS Origenes I V , 2 4 1 , 2 1 P R E U S C H E N ) , t. Hul. 2:18 ( 5 0 3 Z U C K E R M A N D E L ) . J. B .
LlGHTFOOT, The Epistles of St. Paul to the Colossians and Philemon, London 1892, 6 5 notes
that Canon 35 of the Council o f Laodicea forbids Christians to invoke angels ( α γ γ έ λ ο υ ς
όνομά£ειν). Theodoret, In Col. 2:18 (PG 8 2 , 613b) claims Christians in the region o f Phrygia
and Pisidia worshipped angels to his day. H e also mentions the council o f Laodicea (CPG
IV, § 8607). Cf. PELAGAUD, U n conservateur, 285.
5 0 6
CHADWICK, Origen 2 6 7 n.5 mentions Varro, apud Tert., Ad nat. 2.5.2 (48,5-8 BOR.) as
evidence for this belief in antiquity.
134 1. Celsus

5 0 7
in the divinity o f the h e a v e n l y b e i n g s . H e also objects in a similar w a y to
5 0 8
the Christian b e l i e f in Jesus as the incarnation o f G o d . H e d o e s s e e m to be
w i l l i n g to c o n s i d e r the w h o l e as G o d , although e l s e w h e r e h e writes that the
5 0 9
ancients c a l l e d the c o s m o s the offspring o f G o d . O r i g e n refers to the
general Greek b e l i e f in the divinity o f the c o s m o s , but notes that e v e n then the
510
parts are n o t n e c e s s a r i l y d i v i n e — s u c h as the plants and a n i m a l s . H e
includes the S t o i c s (the world is the first G o d ) , Platonists ( s e c o n d G o d ) , and
5 1 1
those w h o call the c o s m o s the third G o d .

1.29.3 God Higher than Heaven


Christians s e e m to b e l i e v e in a G o d higher than the h e a v e n o f the J e w s
according to C e l s u s : "[After these things C e l s u s s a y s , ] Certain Christians
m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g Platonic s a y i n g s exalt the G o d a b o v e the h e a v e n s ( τ ο ν
ύ π ε ρ ο υ ρ ά ν ι ο ν θ ε ό ν ) and rise a b o v e ( ύ π ε ρ α ν α β α ί ν ο ν τ α ς ) the h e a v e n o f the
5 1 2
Jews." Origen questions whether C e l s u s m e a n s Christians w h o b e l i e v e that
5 1 3
they rise higher than the G o d o f the J e w s or o n l y the h e a v e n o f the J e w s .
Caecilius in M i n u c i u s F e l i x ' dialogue also thinks that it is a strange folly for a
person to w a n t to "step b e y o n d the limits o f our mortal c o n d i t i o n " {ultra
humilitatis nostrae terminos evagamur) and to "transcend h e a v e n and the
stars t h e m s e l v e s in our audacious desire" {caelum ipsum et ipsa sidera audaci
514
cupiditate transcendimus) . C e l s u s ' point is probably that Christians b e l i e v e
in a G o d a b o v e the h e a v e n s and hope to o n e day ascend t h e m s e l v e s a b o v e the
h e a v e n s . H e m a k e s this clear in several texts i m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w i n g the o n e
just quoted. O n e passage describes true being a b o v e the h e a v e n s with a quote
from Plato, and the other describes those w h o c o m e to the h i g h e s t h e a v e n s
5 1 5
after the troubles b e l o w and c o n t e m p l a t e b e i n g . T h e s e P l a t o n i c texts

5 0 7
CATAUDELLA, Celso e l'Epicureismo, 4-6. Cp. BORRET 3.26 n.2 and ANDRESEN,
Logos, 96-8.
5 0 8
C O O K , Interpretation 62-68.
5 0 9
C. Cels. 6.47 (425,21-3 M A R C ) . See § 1.2.16 and 1.23.
5 1 0
C. Cels. 5.7 (324,10-6 M A R C ) . Cp. CHADWICK, Origen, 268 n.3-5, BORRET 3.29 n.l-
3.
5 1 1
For the Stoics see Diog. Laert. 7.137-40, DlELS, D o x o g . Gr. 4 6 4 , and C i c , D e nat.
deor. 2.17.45. For the Platonists see DlELS, D o x o g . Gr. 305b, 6-8. Numenius calls the
cosmos the third God in F. 2 1 , 2 2 (60,3; 61,1-6 DES PLACES).
5 1 2
C. Cels. 6.19 (396,20-2 M A R C ) . CHADWICK, Origen, 331 translates with "place Him
higher" instead of "rise above." The fact that the object of the verb in the Greek text is
"heaven" (no "him" in the text) argues against this translation as do the meanings of the verb
found in LSJ s.v. (cross, rise above, transcend, but not "place"). Cf. PlCHLER, Streit, 157.
5 1 3
C. Cels. 6.19 (396,22-4 M A R C ) .
5 1 4
Minucius Felix, Octavius 5.6 (3,31-4 KYT.).
5 1 5
C. Cels. 6.19 (397,8-15 M A R C ) from Plato, Phaedrus 247c where ultimate being is in
the place above the heaven — τον ύπερουράνιον τόπον. C. Cels. 6.20 (398,5-6.10-1
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 135

i n d i c a t e C e l s u s ' p r e f e r e n c e for p h i l o s o p h y o v e r J u d a i s m or C h r i s t i a n i t y .
W h e n h e f i n d s s o m e t h i n g w o r t h w h i l e i n the t e x t s , h e o f t e n s e e s it as a
516
plagiarism f r o m G r e e k traditions or Plato in p a r t i c u l a r .

7 . 2 9 . 4 Seven Heavens

C e l s u s a p p a r e n t l y a r g u e d that J e w s and (or) C h r i s t i a n s b e l i e v e d i n s e v e n


heavens. Origen writes,

[The scriptures used in the churches d o not report] seven heavens [or any clearly
determined number o f them, but the texts appear to teach that there are heavens which are
517
either the spheres which the Greeks call planets or something else more m y s t e r i o u s ] .

O r i g e n finds a w i t n e s s t o the s e v e n w o r l d s or h e a v e n s (mundis vel caelis) in


5 1 8
the A p o c a l y p s e o f B a r u c h . G r e e k s s u c h as Porphyry a l s o f o u n d e v i d e n c e
5 1 9
for the b e l i e f in s e v e n h e a v e n s a m o n g the H e b r e w s . Celsus, following
P l a t o a c c o r d i n g t o O r i g e n , g o e s o n to m e n t i o n the w a y for s o u l s t o the earth
5 2 0
and a w a y f r o m t h e e a r t h . H e g i v e s an e x t e n s i v e illustration o f h i s o w n
b e l i e f s b y referring t o t h e M i t h r a i c m y s t e r i e s and their v i s i o n o f t h e s o u l s '
5 2 1
p a s s a g e through the p l a n e t s v i a a ladder w i t h s e v e n g a t e s . A t t h e t o p i s an

MARC.) using Plato, Phaedrus 247b-c. Justin describes God as always remaining in regions
above the heavens (του ev Τ0Ϊ9 ύπερουρανοΐς d e l μ,ένουντος) in Dial. 56.1 (161,3-4
M A R C ) . On contemplation in Origen see BORRET 3.230 n.3.
5 1 6
S e e C O O K , Interpretation, 4 1 - 3 for Celsus' approach to Jesus' teaching as a corruption
of Plato's.
5 1 7
C. Cels. 6.21 (398,16-9 M A R C ) . Cp. C. H. 1.24-26 (I, 15,7-16,15 N./F.) / § 0 . 2 0 and
§ 2.1.2. Cp. also the magicians' vision of seven immortal gods, gates, and seven virgins in
PGM IV, 619-29, 6 6 1 - 2 , 673-5. S e e also the notes (and bibliography) in BETZ, The Greek
Magical Papyri, 50-1 that relate the texts to the Mithraic mysteries with their seven gates,
seven grades o f initiation, and planetary gods. H e refers to, among many others, J.
BERGMAN, Per omnia vectus elementa remeavi. Reflections sur l'arriere-plan ^gyptien du
voyage de salut d'un myste isiaque, in: La soteriologia dei culti orientali nell' impero
romano, EPRO 9 2 , e d . U . BlANCHl/M. J. VERMASEREN, Leiden 1 9 8 2 , 6 7 1 - 7 0 8 . Cf.
PELAGAUD, U n conservateur, 345.
5 1 8
Origen, D e princ. 2.3.6 (122,25-123,1 [318-20] G./K.). The current text o f 3 Baruch
2-11 (OTP I, 6 6 5 - 7 5 ) has only five heavens. The apocalypticist v o y a g e s through seven
heavens in 2 (Slavonic) Enoch 3 - 2 0 (OTP I, 111-35). S e e also Clem. A l e x . , Strom.
4.25.159.2 (II, 318,28-31 S T . / F R . ) w h o describes those w h o believe in seven heavens. Cf.
Str-B 3.532. BORRET 3 . 2 3 1 n.4 gives bibliography on the ascent of the soul through the
seven heavens in the history o f religions.
5 1 9
Porphyry, D e philosophia e x oraculis hauerienda 324F (372,15-8 SMITH) = § 2.1.2.
5 2 0
C. Cels. 6.21 (398,19-21 M A R C ) . S e e Plato, Phaedrus 248c-e, Tim. 41d-42e, Origen,
D e princ. 2.11.6 ( 1 8 9 , 9 - 1 9 1 , 4 [450-54] G./K.) and Timaeus Locri 99d,e (Timaeus o f Locri.
On the Nature o f the World and the Soul, ed. and trans. Τ. Η. TOBIN, SBLTT 2 6 , Chico, C A
1 9 8 5 , 5 5 ) . BORRET 3.238 n.4 discusses this doctrine in late antiquity.
5 2 1
C. Cels. 6.22 (399,3-20 M A R C ) . CHADWICK, Origen, 3 3 4 n.2 has an extensive note on
this concept. S o m e o f the more recent literature on Mithraic astrology can b e found in
SCOTT, Origen, 81. S e e also the discussion in FEDOU, Christianisme, 164-76.
136 7. Celsus

eighth g a t e that l e a d s to the f i x e d stars. Origen prefers the i m a g e in G e n


1 8 : 1 2 - 1 3 o f J a c o b ' s ladder o f a n g e l s and m e n t i o n ' s P h i l o ' s treatise o n the
522
subject (De somniis) . H e q u e s t i o n s C e l s u s ' c h o i c e o f Persian m y s t e r i e s
o v e r others that are m o r e popular in G r e e c e (such as E l e u s i s ) . If the other
m y s t e r i e s are o f n o u s e in the criticism o f J e w s or Christians, w h y u s e the
Mithraic? H e also r e c o m m e n d s that a n y o n e w h o w i s h e s to learn deeper truths
about h o w s o u l s enter the d i v i n e realm s h o u l d read J e w i s h and Christian
5 2 3
b o o k s s u c h as E z e k i e l and the A p o c a l y p s e o f J o h n . O n e o f C e l s u s '
c o n c l u s i o n s about the J e w i s h and Christian t e a c h i n g s c o n c e r n i n g h e a v e n
(presumably including E z e k i e l and R e v e l a t i o n ) is that they are "speculations
524
( θ ε ω ρ ή μ α τ α ) requiring for hearers those w h o are fools and s l a v e s . "

1.29.5 Promises to the Jews: Population and Resurrection


In an attack o n G n o s t i c Christians w h o v i e w the creator G o d o f M o s e s as
accursed, C e l s u s describes several J e w i s h doctrines:
What is more stupid or crazy than this senseless wisdom? For h o w did the lawgiver
(νομοθέτης) of the Jews err? And how do you adopt for yourself his cosmogony or the
law of the Jews through some, as you say, general allegory (τυπώδους αλληγορίας) and
unwillingly you praise, Ο unholy person, the creator ( δ η μ ι ο υ ρ γ ό ν ) o f the cosmos who
promised all things to them, announcing that their offspring (γένος) would multiply to the
ends of the earth (Gen 8:17, 9:1, 7, 12:2-3, 15:5 etc.), would rise from the dead with the
same flesh and blood (Dan 12:1-3), and who inspired the prophets (τοις προφήταις
ε μ π ν έ ο ν τ α ) — and again you revile this being? But when you are forced by these
[Jews], you confess that you worship the same God, But when your teacher Jesus and
Moses of the Jews legislate contradictory things, you look for a god other than this one —
525
the F a t h e r .

Origen s i m p l y d e n i e s C e l s u s ' charges. Christians a c k n o w l e d g e o n e and the


s a m e G o d , and d o not b e l i e v e that the resurrection b o d y is the natural b o d y
5 2 6
that d i e s . O r i g e n i n other texts, h o w e v e r , admits that there are G n o s t i c
527
Christians w h o h o l d such b e l i e f s (against the C r e a t o r ) . C e l s u s h a s an
e x t e n s i v e critique o f the doctrine o f the resurrection and is c o n v i n c e d that the
528
c o n c e p t is incoherent since resurrection is i m p o s s i b l e . H e w a s a l s o aware
that there w e r e J e w s and C h r i s t i a n s w h o did n o t a c c e p t the t e a c h i n g
concerning the resurrection o f the body: "Since this teaching is not shared by

5 2 2
C. Cels. 6.21 (398,21-8 MARC).
5 2 3
C. Cels. 6.22, 23 (399,25-400,15.16-24 MARC).
5 2 4
C. Cels. 6.23 (401,3-5 MARC). What would he have thought of b. Chag.?
5 2 5
C. Cels. 6.29 (406,5-17 MARC). Cf. PiLAGAUD, Un conservateur, 347-8.
5 2 6
C. Cels. 6.29 (406,18-28 MARC).
5 2 7
See § 1.2.8 above.
5 2 8
Cf. C O O K , Interpretation 55-61 for Celsus' views of Jesus' resurrection and of the
concept of resurrection itself. See C. Cels. 5.14 (331,1-24 M A R C ) .
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 137

s o m e o f y o u ( J e w s ) and s o m e o f the Christians, its e x t r e m e impurity, its


529
abominable character, and its impossibility ( α δ ύ ν α τ ο ν ) are a p p a r e n t . " He,
through his J e w i s h persona, argues that the prophets b e l i e v e d in a M e s s i a h as
530
the initiator o f the r e s u r r e c t i o n .
T h o u g h C e l s u s d o e s not q u o t e the particular p r o m i s e s to A b r a h a m and
other patriarchs in G e n e s i s , h e is aware o f the general b e l i e f that the J e w s
w o u l d populate the entire earth. E l s e w h e r e he e x p r e s s e s h i s scorn for the
present situation o f the J e w s . H i s earlier statement that the J e w s are o f n o
value or number is an e x a m p l e o f his denial o f the reality o f the p r o m i s e to the
531
patriarchs . C e l s u s ' rejection o f the J e w i s h creation story and certain J e w i s h
l a w s has b e e n d i s c u s s e d a b o v e (§ 1 . 2 , 1 . 2 8 . 3 ) .

1.30 Prophets and Prophecy

C e l s u s ' references to the L X X are f o c u s e d o n traditions in the Pentateuch —


w i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f a brief reference to Jonah and D a n i e l . H e is aware that
532
there are m a n y prophets in J e w i s h t r a d i t i o n . H e d o e s not attack the b e l i e f
that the prophets w e r e inspired b y the creator (τοΪ9 π ρ ο φ ή τ α ι ς ε μ π ν έ ο ν τ α )
5 3 3
in the text q u o t e d a b o v e . C e l s u s m u c h preferred, h o w e v e r , the inspired
oracles, poets and philosophers o f H e l l e n i s m .

5 2 9
C. Cels. 5 . 1 4 ( 3 3 1 , 7 - 9 M A R C ) . On the larger context see COOK, Interpretation, 5 9 - 6 0 .
The Sadducees rejected the resurrection (Acts 2 3 : 8 ) . Cf. J. LEMOYNE, Les Sadduceens, Paris
1 9 7 2 , 1 6 7 - 7 5 / G. STEMBERGER, The Sadduccees — Their History and Doctrines, in: The
Cambridge History o f Judaism. Vol. 3 . The Early Roman Period, ed. W . HORBURY/W. D .
DAVIES,/J. STURDY, Cambridge 1 9 9 9 , ( 4 2 8 - 4 3 ) 4 4 0 - 1 . For Christians w h o rejected the
resurrection of the body or w h o believed it was already past see 1 Cor 1 5 : 1 2 , 2 T i m 2 : 1 8 ,
Iren. 5 . 1 3 . 2 - 3 (SC 1 5 3 , 1 6 8 , 3 7 - 1 7 0 , 4 8 ROUSSEAU/DOUTRELEAU/MERCIER), Tertullian, D e
carnis res. 4 8 . 1 - 4 9 . 1 3 (CChr.SL 2 , 9 8 7 , 1 - 9 9 2 , 6 8 BORLEFFS), Epiphanius, Panarion 4 0 . 2 . 5
( 8 2 , 2 6 - 7 H./D.; the Archontics believe only in a resurrection of the soul and not of the flesh).
For the N a g Hammadi literature see RUDOLPH, Gnosis, 1 8 9 - 9 4 . The Treatise on the
Resurrection s e e m s to depict the event as already happened, but also believes that living
members (not bodily members) will rise after death (NHC I, 4 , 4 9 , 2 2 - 2 5 ; 4 7 , 3 6 - 4 8 , 3 [NHS
2 2 , 1 5 2 - 5 4 ATTRIDGE]).
5 3 0
C. Cels. 2 . 7 7 ( 1 4 8 , 1 0 - 3 M A R C ) discussed below in § 1 . 3 0 . 4 .
5 3 1
See § 1 . 2 5 above with reference to C. Cels. 4 . 3 1 ( 2 4 5 , 2 - 5 M A R C ) .
5 3 2
Cf. C. Cels. 6 . 2 9 , 7 . 1 8 ( 4 0 6 , 5 - 1 7 ; 4 7 3 , 4 - 2 0 M A R C ) . Several general studies of
prophecy in Origen are: G. A. HALLSTROM, Charismatic Succession. A Study on Origen's
Concept of Prophecy, Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Society 4 2 , Helsinki 1 9 8 5 / R. J.
HAUCK, The More D i v i n e Proof. Prophecy and Inspiration in Celsus and Origen, A A R
Academy Series 6 9 , Atlanta 1 9 8 9 / L. S. NASRALLAH, An Ecstasy of Folly. Prophecy and
Authority in Early Christianity, Harvard Theological Studies 5 2 , Cambridge, Mass., 2 0 0 3 .
5 3 3
C. Cels. 6 . 2 9 ( 4 0 6 , 1 3 M A R C ) . Cf. § 1 . 2 9 . 5 .
138 1. Celsus

130.1 Jonah and Daniel


W h i l e arguing against the Christians' admiration o f the p a s s i o n o f Jesus,
C e l s u s m e n t i o n s a number o f Greek figures w h o suffered v i o l e n c e such as
534
E p i c t e t u s w h o w e r e able to offer admirable teachings simultaneously. T h e
last statement o f C e l s u s in Origen's quote is: "Jonah b e s i d e the gourd (Jonah
4:6), or D a n i e l delivered from the beasts ( D a n 6 : 1 6 - 2 3 ) , or others with e v e n
m o r e a m a z i n g actions ( τ β ρ α τ ω δ ε σ τ έ ρ ο ι ) w o u l d h a v e b e e n m o r e suitable for
535
y o u than J e s u s . " C e l s u s ' w o r d for an amazing action probably implies that
he d o e s not accept its veracity as in an earlier passage in w h i c h h e attacks the
536
resurrection o f J e s u s . Porphyry (or other pagans w h o m A u g u s t i n e k n e w )
found the story o f Jonah to b e incredible and k n e w o f the gourd. T h e pagans
asked what the purpose w a s o f the gourd that grew o v e r Jonah. T h e y laughed
a great deal o v e r the account, and n o allegorical interpretation s e e m e d likely
537
to t h e m . Christian authors report m u c h s k e p t i c i s m regarding the s t o r y .
538
C e l s u s m a y k n o w that Jonah and D a n i e l appear in Christian i c o n o g r a p h y .
Gary Burke doubts that Celsus actually k n e w the 138 b o o k o f Jonah, although
the r e f e r e n c e to the gourd i m p l i e s that C e l s u s had a s o u r c e other than
539
Christian art a l o n e .

1302 The Prophets as Inspired


H e noted that the Christians rejected the Greek oracles, but w e r e c o n v i n c e d o f
the truth o f the oracles o f Judea:
But the things predicted by the inhabitants of Judea, made in their manner — whether
really said or not and following the usage still in force in Phoenicia and Palestine — these
540
are considered to be amazing and unalterable (θαυμαστά καΐ απαράλλακτα).

G r e c o - R o m a n m e n and w o m e n h a v e predicted all sorts o f things in inspired


5 4 1
v o i c e s (ένΟέίύ φ ω ν ή π ρ ο ε ΐ π ο ν ) according to C e l s u s . C e l s u s a l s o m u s t

5 3 4
On the reliability of this testimony of Celsus, see CHADWICK, Origen, 4 4 0 n.l.
5 3 5
C. Cels. 7 . 5 3 ( 5 0 5 , 2 - 2 3 MARC.) = RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 2 8 6 . RINALDI
doubts that Celsus had actually read Jonah. Cf. PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 3 6 7 .
5 3 6
C. Cels. 2 . 5 5 ( 1 2 7 , 7 - 1 2 8 , 2 M A R C ) . See "tell amazing stories" (Greek stories of after-
death appearances that he recounts; τ ε ρ α τ ε ύ ο ν τ α ι ) and "amazing story" (Jesus' resurrection
τ ε ρ α τ ε ί α ) in lines 1 2 7 , 8 and 1 2 8 , 1 .
5 3 7
See §2.2.14.
5 3 8
RINALDI, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 2 5 3 (note on p. 2 1 8 ) , § 2 8 6 (p. 2 4 7 ) .
5 3 9
B U R K E , Celsus, 2 4 4 - 5 . He notes that to a pagan the story of Jonah and the whale
would have been far more impressive than the gourd (i.e. Celsus would have mentioned it had
he known it).
5 4 0
C. Cels. 7 . 3 ( 4 6 0 , 1 0 - 3 M A R C ) . See the discussion of Celsus' views on Greco-Roman
prophecy in FEDOU, Christianisme, 4 2 6 - 3 2 . Cp. also COOK, Interpretation, 7 9 - 8 2 for a survey
of Celsus' references to the oracles and their accomplishments and ibid. 7 7 - 8 for Celsus'
views on the question of contemporary Christian prophets.
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 139

h a v e b e e n aware o f s o m e o f the Jewish and Christian theories concerning the


542
inspiration o f s c r i p t u r e . Philo b e l i e v e s that the mind o f the prophet departs
543
w h e n the d i v i n e Spirit a r r i v e s . T h e N T has s e v e r a l s t a t e m e n t s o n
inspiration that C e l s u s m i g h t h a v e k n o w n such as A c t s 3 : 2 1 , 2 T i m 3 : 1 6 , and
2 Pet 1:21. H e m i g h t also b e aware o f the tradition shared b y apologists such
544
as Justin and A t h e n a g o r a s c o n c e r n i n g i n s p i r a t i o n . T h e debate b e t w e e n
Celsus and Origen here is as usual deeply rooted in the cultural differences o f
both m e n , e a c h preferring the revered figures o f H e l l e n i s m or J u d a i s m
respectively. O n e of Origen's methods of criticism of Greco-Roman
p r o p h e c y is to ask w h e t h e r it has m a d e p e o p l e ' s l i v e s better, e f f e c t i n g the
5 4 5
moral and religious reformation o f p e o p l e . It is likely that C e l s u s w o u l d
not h a v e b e e n w o n o v e r b y s u c h an argument s i n c e h e h i m s e l f lists m a n y
546
useful a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s o f the oracles in human s o c i e t y .

1.30.3 Prophecy is not Unique to Judaism


In the c o n t e x t o f a larger argument in w h i c h C e l s u s attacks the Christian
b e l i e f in the advent o f G o d ' s s o n to burn the unrighteous, h e c o m p a r e s the
debates b e t w e e n J e w s and Christians to those o f bats, ants, frogs or w o r m s :
... holding an assembly in a muddy comer arguing with each other about which of them
are most sinful and saying: God reveals and predicts all things beforehand to us and
neglects the whole universe, the heavenly movement, and overlooking the vast earth he
governs for us alone and to us alone he communicates by heralds (προς ημάς μόνους
έπικηρυκεύεται) — not ceasing to send them and to seek that w e might be united with
5 4 7
him forever (όπως άεί συνώμεν αύτψ).

C e l s u s ' main argument at this point is that the J e w s and Christians c l a i m that
prophets or heralds h a v e b e e n sent to them alone from G o d . T h i s contradicts
H e l l e n i s m ' s fundamental b e l i e f in oracular utterances and s o w a s repellent to
his sensibilities. T h e c o n c e p t o f eternal life is not objectionable to h i m , but
the idea that o n l y J e w s or Christians w o u l d experience it w a s unacceptable.

5 4 1
C. Cels. 8.45 (559,23-5 M A R C ) .
5 4 2
C. Cels. 6.29 (406,13 M A R C ) . For the text see § 1.29.5.
5 4 3
Philo, Quis rer. div. 2 6 3 - 6 6 , D e spec. leg. 1.65, 4.49. In C. Ap. 1.37, Josephus
describes the inspiration of the prophets using the term ε π ί π ν ο ι α ν which is similar to the one
used by Celsus in C. C e l s . 6.29 ( 4 0 6 , 1 3 M A R C ) . For rabbinic statements about the
inspiration of the prophets through the Holy Spirit see Str-B 4/2.435-51.
5 4 4
Justin, Apol. 1.36.1-2 (84,1-9 M A R C ) . Justin uses the same verb as Celsus to describe
prophetic inspiration (έμπεπνευσμένων) as does Theophilus (εμπνευσθε'ντες) in A d
Autolycum 2.9 (OECT 38, GRANT). Cp. Athenagoras, Legatio 9.1 (18-20 SCHOEDEL).
5 4 5
C. Cels. 7.6 (463,8-10.24-5 M A R C ) . See COOK, Interpretation, 80 on this argument
from consequence.
5 4 6
C. Cels. 8.45 (559,23-560,15 M A R C ) .
5 4 7
C. Cels. 4.23 (236,14-24 M A R C ) .
140 1. Celsus

Celsus b e l i e v e d in eternal life (for s o m e souls) and reincarnation (for as m a n y


548
as 3 0 , 0 0 0 periods) that led up to eternal l i f e .

1.30.4 Celsus* Jewish Persona on Old Testament Prophecy of a Son of God


In his attack o n Christianity he argues against Jesus b e i n g a fulfillment o f O T
prophecies about s o m e kind o f savior figure or child o f G o d . H e d o e s this b y
creating the persona o f a J e w w h o is skeptical o f J e s u s ' identity as the figure
549
o f O T p r o p h e c y . C e l s u s , through the J e w i s h antagonist, m a k e s o n l y the
v a g u e s t o f references to prophetic texts. There are n o q u o t e s o f prophetic
b o o k s and n o specific allusions to prophetic traditions. B e l o w I will catalog
s o m e o f his statements m a d e through his Jew concerning the "prophet." In a
curious reference to Jerusalem, h e states: " M y prophet said in Jerusalem o n c e
that the s o n o f G o d w i l l c o m e — a j u d g e o f the h o l y and punisher o f the
550
unrighteous." Probably h e is m e r e l y trying to create a prophetic persona
( w i t h an oracular l o c u s l i k e D e l p h i ) in order to illustrate the k i n d s or
a r g u m e n t s that h e e n v i s a g e s b e t w e e n J e w s and Christians. C e l s u s ' J e w
continues: "If a n y o n e predicted to y o u that i n d e e d the c h i l d ( π α ι ς ) o f G o d
551
w o u l d c o m e to p e o p l e it w a s our prophet and our G o d ' s p r o p h e t . " In an
explanation for the Jewish unbelief in Jesus, the Jew says:

But how, after w e have made known to all people that from God will come one to punish
the unrighteous, would we have dishonored him when he came? ... Why would w e have
dishonored the one w e publicly predicted (προ€κηρύσσομ€ν)? In order to be punished
552
more than the o t h e r s ?

T h e J e w i s h p e r s o n a is quite clear that the figure p r o p h e s i e d is not the


Christians' savior: "It is a great ruler ( δ υ ν ά σ τ η ν ) , lord (κύριον) o f all the
earth and o f all nations and armies w h o the prophets say w i l l c o m e ( τ ο ν
553
έ τ τ ι δ η μ ή σ ο ν τ α ) ... B u t they h a v e not a n n o u n c e d this p l a g u e ( δ λ ε θ ρ ο ν ) . "
C e l s u s ' J e w d o e s b e l i e v e in a c o m i n g ruler w h o w i l l b e an initiator o f the
resurrection o f the dead: "Doubtless w e h o p e to rise in our b o d y and h a v e
everlasting life and that the o n e w h o is sent to u s w i l l b e the m o d e l and

5 4 8
C. C e l s . 7.28, 8.49, 8.53 (482,4-6; 564,8-16; 568,11-16 M A R C ) . Cp. COOK,
Interpretation, 99-100.
5 4 9
On this imaginary Jew and his argument against Jesus as a fulfillment of OT prophecy
see COOK, Interpretation, 27, 7 2 - 7 5 . Celsus gives his o w n argument against Jesus as
fulfillment o f O T prophecy in 7.14 (469,24-470,4 MARC). Cf. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei
pagani, II, 194-5.
5 5 0
C. Cels. 1.49 (50,24-5 MARC.)
5 5 1
C. Cels. 2.4 (80,14-7 M A R C ) .
5 5 2
C. Cels. 2.8 (83,4-6.28-9 M A R C ) .
5 5 3
C. Cels. 2.29 (106,8-10.12 M A R C ) .
Celsus* Critique of the Septuagint 141

initiator ( ά ρ χ η γ ε τ η ν ) o f that, s h o w i n g it is not i m p o s s i b l e ( α δ ύ ν α τ ο ν ) for


554
G o d to raise s o m e o n e with the b o d y . "
It is difficult t o d e t e r m i n e the s o u r c e o f C e l s u s ' k n o w l e d g e for t h e s e
beliefs. T e x t s from Isa 9 : 5 - 6 , 11:1-9 and D a n 7 : 1 3 - 1 4 m i g h t h a v e b e e n o f
help. Justin's J e w i s h o p p o n e n t , T r y p h o , w a s w i l l i n g to interpret the texts
555
from Isa 11:1-3 and D a n i e l as the M e s s i a h . Trypho contrasts the p o w e r o f
D a n i e l ' s figure w i t h the l a c k o f h o n o r o f J e s u s and the c u r s e o f h i s
crucifixion. It is clear that s o m e Jewish apocalyptic texts from the time prior
to C e l s u s did picture the M e s s i a n i c era f o l l o w e d by the resurrection o f the
556
d e a d . C e l s u s , Porphyry, and Julian objected to the Christian u s e o f L X X
texts to establish b e l i e f in Jesus. T h e y strenuously o p p o s e d the thesis that
557
Jesus w a s e n v i s i o n e d in the ancient t e x t s . T h e i s s u e o f the christological
interpretation o f the L X X c o n t i n u e d as a point o f c o n t r o v e r s y b e t w e e n
Christians and p a g a n s . In the fifth century Isidore o f P e l u s i u m criticized
Christians w h o f o r c e d the entire O T to refer to Christ. H e n o t e s that s u c h
interpretation strengthens the hand o f pagans and heretics w h o reject the
5 5 8
O T . Isidore argues that such "pan-Christological" interpretation is invalid
and that it calls into q u e s t i o n the validity o f p a s s a g e s that really d o refer to
Christ.

7.50.5 Celsus' Charges Against the Jews and Christians' Belief in a Savior
W h e n not speaking through his personified Jew, Celsus describes part o f the
debate b e t w e e n J e w s and Christians in the f o l l o w i n g terms:

5 5 4
C. Cels. 2.77 (148,10-3 M A R C ) .
5 5 5
Justin, Dial. 3 2 . 1 , 87.1-2 (121,1-6; 221,4-11 M A R C ) . Trypho is also willing to admit
that the Messiah will suffer given Isa 53:7 in Dial. 90.1 (225,1-2 M A R C ) . It is difficult to
identify Rabbi Tarphon with this Trypho (if he is not a literary creation of Justin), since a
tradition of R. Tarphon in b. Ber. 116a (ET in ROKEAH, Jews 76-7) sharply discourages Jews
from associating with Christians in any way: "...if a man pursue a man in order to kill him
and a snake chase him in order to bite him, he should enter a house of idolatry and not enter
the houses of these people, because the latter know and deny [God] and the former do not
4
know and deny [Him], and of them Scripture says: And behind the doors and the posts thou
hast set up the symbol' (Isa 57:8)." On the identification of Trypho and Tarphon see J.
QUASTEN, Patrology. Vol. I. The Beginnings of Patristic Literature, Westminster, M D 1992,
202. Against the identification see SCHURER, History, II, 379 / T. RAJAK, Talking at Trypho.
Christian Apologetic as Anti-Judaism in Justin's Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, in:
Apologetics in the Roman Empire, ed. EDWARDS/GOODMAN/PRICE, (59-80) 64.
5 5 6
See, for example, 1 Enoch 61:5 and 2 Bar. 30:1-5. Cp. Str-B 4/2.1066.
5 5 7
S e e § 2 . 2 . 1 6 (Porphyry's attack on the apocalyptic interpretation of Daniel) and
§ 3 . 4 8 , 3 . 4 9 , 3.51.
5 5 8
Isidore, Ep. 195 (PG 78, 641). Cp. RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, 4 6 / CPG III,
§ 5557.
142 1. Celsus

[And h e thinks that] there is nothing serious ( σ ε μ ν ό ν ) in the debate between certain
Christians and the Jews — since both believe that it has been prophesied by a divine spirit
that a certain savior would come to live (έτηδημήσων) among the human race, but they no
5 5 9
longer agree concerning the fact that the one prophesied has already come or n o t .

Tertullian a l s o describes the d i s a g r e e m e n t b e t w e e n J e w s a n d Christians in


similar terms ( A p o l . 2 1 . 1 5 [ 1 2 5 , 7 2 - 5 D e k . ] ) : "The J e w s a l s o k n o w that the
Christ w i l l c o m e , for the prophets certainly spoke to them. For e v e n n o w they
await his c o m i n g . N o r is there any greater conflict b e t w e e n t h e m and us than
the fact that they d o n o t b e l i e v e h e h a s already c o m e . " C e l s u s repeats a
similar statement in another text:
With regard to this fact about some o f the Christians and the Jews: some say that a certain
god or son o f God has c o m e down, or (as others say) will c o m e down to earth as a judge
of all here — this is a shameful claim, and the refutation does not require a long
560
argument.

O r i g e n n o t e s that n o t all Christians b e l i e v e d J e s u s Christ w a s t h e o n e


prophesied. For Marcion the Christ w h o appeared during the time o f Tiberius
5 6 1
w a s n o t t h e Christ d e s t i n e d still t o c o m e a n d restore t h e J e w s . A g a i n
C e l s u s is u n c o n c e r n e d about the L X X source o f these affirmations. H e also
found t h e very concept o f an incarnation repulsive to his Platonist
562
s e n s i b i l i t i e s . In h i s o w n person (and n o t that o f t h e J e w ) C e l s u s writes:
"[According to h i m ] the J e w s s a y that life, being full o f e v e r y evil, n e e d s o n e
to b e sent from G o d , s o that the unrighteous might b e punished and all things
563
b e purified ( κ α θ α ρ θ ή ) a n a l o g o u s l y t o what h a p p e n e d i n the first flood."
C e l s u s ' o p i n i o n s o n the G e n e s i s account o f the f l o o d h a v e b e e n s u r v e y e d
a b o v e — w h a t h e finds objectionable i s that G o d or a s o n o f G o d d o e s the
purifying in h i s o w n person. Origen, with regard to the flood, quotes Plato's
Timaeus ( 2 2 d ) w h i c h describes the g o d s ' purifying the earth with floods. H e
asks C e l s u s w h y it should b e absurd to b e l i e v e that t h e o n e w h o c o m e s t o
purify t h e earth b e c a u s e o f e v i l w i l l a l s o treat e a c h a c c o r d i n g t o h i s or her
564
w o r t h . C e l s u s ' attack o n m e s s i a n i c h o p e e n v i s a g e s J e w s and Christians
together, s o t h e J e w i s h persona n o l o n g e r serves h i s p u r p o s e s . Later h e
appears w i l l i n g t o consider the possibility that an angel or d e m o n might c o m e
565 5 6 6
to e a r t h . H e i s m o r e o p e n t o the transformation o f a hero into a g o d .

5 5 9
C. Cels. 3 . 1 ( 1 5 3 , 1 3 - 7 M A R C ) .
5 6 0
C. Cels. 4 . 2 ( 2 1 8 , 9 - 1 2 M A R C ) .
5 6 1
Tert., A d v . Marc. 4 . 6 . 3 , cp. 3 . 1 5 . 1 - 7 ( 5 5 2 , 2 5 - 9 ; 5 2 7 , 1 7 - 5 2 8 , 6 KROY.). S e e HARNACK,
Marcion, 1 1 7 , 2 8 3 * , 2 9 0 * and BORRET 2 . 1 8 8 n . l .
5 6 2
Among the many discussions of this point is COOK, Interpretation, 6 2 - 7 .
5 6 3
C. Cels. 4 . 2 0 ( 2 3 3 , 1 7 - 2 0 M A R C ) .
5 6 4
C. Cels. 4 . 2 0 ( 2 3 3 , 2 1 - 7 M A R C ) . S e e § 1 . 5 above.
5 6 5
C. Cels. 5 . 2 ( 3 2 0 , 8 - 1 2 M A R C ) .
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 143

Here the conflict b e t w e e n C e l s u s and Jewish prophecy is deeply rooted in the


culture. C e l s u s f o u n d s o m e characteristics o f the c o n c e p t o f G o d in the
scriptures to b e h i g h l y objectionable.

1.31 Versus the Wrath of God

Celsus w a s offended b y the concept o f G o d ' s anger. Origen writes:


Then after these things, not understanding texts in the scriptures, which portray God as
subject to human feeling, (τάς περί θεοϋ ώς άνθρωποπαθοΰς· εν ταίς γραφάις
Χέζεις) Celsus attacks them — texts in which words of wrath ( ο ρ γ ή ς ) are spoken
567
concerning the impious and threats against those who have s i n n e d .

Origen, quoting D e u t 1:31, argues that G o d u s e s the form o f s p e e c h w h i c h


m o s t benefits t h o s e w h o are hearing. H e also creates a distinction b e t w e e n
5 6 8
the w e a k and those w h o are more intelligent using 1 Cor 2 : 1 3 . T h e W o r d
(or l o g o s ) a s s u m e s h u m a n qualities for the sake o f h u m a n g o o d . P h i l o
b e l i e v e d that to represent G o d as having human p a s s i o n s w a s an e x a m p l e o f
569
the "mythical f i c t i o n s o f the i m p i o u s . " For C e l s u s G o d is b e y o n d all
qualities such as anger. T h i s is also the kind o f supreme G o d o n e finds in a
m i d d l e Platonist s u c h as A l c i n o o s w h o w a s u n w i l l i n g to s a y that G o d
participates in qualities s u c h as g o o d or evil. G o d is g o o d o n l y in the s e n s e
570
that he brings g o o d to a l l . A l c i n o o s s e e s punishment as h e a l i n g for the
5 7 1
soul, and the S t o i c s w e r e w i l l i n g to say that providence p u n i s h e s the e v i l .
Epicurus also stated in reference to the g o d s that the greatest e v i l s happen to
5 7 2
the g o o d and the greatest harms to the e v i l . C e l s u s b e l i e v e d in final

5 6 6
In general see C. Cels. 3.22 and 2 4 (167,2-7; 169,3-6 M A R C ) . BORRET 2.50 n.3 refers
to parallel references in the Christian apologists. Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 62-3.
5 6 7
C. Cels. 4.71 ( 2 8 4 , 1 6 - 8 MARC). On the larger context see BORRET 2 . 3 5 8 n.l /
PELAGAUD, U n conservateur, 327. In 4.22 (235,14-8 MARC.) Celsus rejects the Christians'
concept of G o d ' s wrath against the Jews due their crucifixion of Jesus. Cp. COOK,
Interpretation, 51 / BORRET, L'Ecriture, 188. PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 4 0 7 believed that
this text indicated that Celsus had read the principal prophets - a position rightly rejected by
BURKE, Celsus, 244. PELAGAUD himself admitted that when speaking of the prophets Celsus
is vague as if speaking from hearsay.
5 6 8
C. Cels. 4.71 (284,18-285,7 M A R C ) .
5 6 9
Philo, Quod Deus sit imm. 59. Philo gives a metaphorical sense of "wrath" in idem,
52,70-3.
5 7 0
On Celsus' concept of God see C O O K , Interpretation, 100-01. Alcin., Didask. 10,
164,36; 165,6-15 (23-4 W./L.)
5 7 1
Alcin., Didask. 3 1 , 1 8 5 , 2 3 (64 W./L.). S V F 2.1176.
5 7 2
Diog. Laert. 10.124. Cf. § 1.2.18. See also COOK, Interpretation, 101.
144 1. Celsus

p u n i s h m e n t , but h e w a s n o t w i l l i n g t o d e p i c t an angry G o d t o m a k e that


5 7 3
point .
C e l s u s is r e p e l l e d b y the ascription t o G o d o f any k i n d o f h u m a n p a s s i o n ,
just as earlier P l a t o w a s put o f f b y the p o e t s ' description o f the g o d s as subject
5 7 4
to f e e l i n g s o f s o r r o w or s e x u a l p a s s i o n . Epicurus b e l i e v e d that anger w a s
5 7 5
n o t c o m p a t i b l e w i t h t h e b l e s s e d state o f the g o d s . L u c r e t i u s shares this
576
perspective . C i c e r o regarded it as a c o m m o n doctrine o f t h e p h i l o s o p h e r s
5 7 7
that G o d d o e s n o t g e t angry or h a r m . Porphyry affirms that it is n o t the
anger o f the g o d s that hurts u s , but our i g n o r a n c e o f t h e m . A n g e r is f o r e i g n to
them because it c o m e s in involuntary circumstances, and nothing is
5 7 8
i n v o l u n t a r y for t h e g o d s . G a l e n rejects the u s e o f the g o d s ' wrath to
5 7 9
explain d i s e a s e . Julian w a s quite o f f e n d e d b y the story in N u m b e r s ( 2 5 : 1 1 )
5 8 0
c o n c e r n i n g G o d ' s wrath and P h i n e h a s ' v i o l e n c e . N o t all Greco-Roman
writers c l o s e to the era o f C e l s u s felt that strongly. Arrian w a s w i l l i n g t o u s e
5 8 1
a term for d i v i n e anger ( θ ε ο μ η ν ί α ) to e x p l a i n historical e v e n t s .

5 7 3
C. Cels. 3 . 1 6 and 4 . 1 0 (163,25-7; 224,30-3 M A R C ) . S e e COOK, Interpretation, 9 7 - 9 .
Cf. G. M A Y , K e l s o s und Origenes uber die e w i g e n Strafen, in: M o u s o p o l o s Stephanos.
Festschrift fur HERWIG G O R G E M A N N S , ed. M. B A U M B A C H / H . K O H L E R / A . M. RITTER,
Bibliothek der Klassischen Altertumswissenschaften. Reihe 2. N e u e Folge 102, Heidelberg
1998,346-51.
5 7 4
Plato, Resp. 388b, 390b-c. Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 11-2.
5 7 5
Diog. Laert. 1 0 . 7 7 , 1 3 9 and the texts in USENER, Epicurea, F. 3 6 3 .
5 7 6
Lucretius 2.651.
5 7 7
Cicero, D e offic. 3.102.
5 7 8
Porphyry, A d Marcellam 18 (24,2-4 POTSCHER = ARRIGHETI, Epicuro F. 180 with
bibliography o n 5 3 8 ) . N e m e s i u s , D e nat. horn. 4 3 ( 1 2 7 , 5 - 6 MOR.) refers the belief to
Epicurus that anger is foreign to the gods because it is involuntary (όργή θεών άλλότριον.
em γ α ρ άβουλήτψ γίνεται- θεφ δε ουδέν άβούλητον). T h e text is omitted in the
Armenian translation. CHADWICK, Origen, 241 n.6 refers to Iamblichus, D e myst. 1.13 ( 4 3 , 1 -
8 DES PLACES) where the wrath of the gods means humans' turning away from them and the
darkness that consequently results. A similar understanding can be found in Hermias' (V
C E . ) comment o n Plato's Phaedrus (In Platonis Phaedr. [207,24-5 COUVREUR]), " . . . the
anger o f the gods is turning away from them; the gods do not b e c o m e angry" (όργή θεών
έ σ τ ι ν ή ά π ό σ τ α σ ι ς ή ά π ' α υ τ ώ ν ουδέ γ α ρ οργίζονται οί θεοί).
5 7 9
Galen, In Hippocrat. prognosticum comm. (vol. 18.2,17,12-18,4 KUHN).
5 8 0
C. Gal. 160c-d, 171c-172a ( 1 2 8 , 3 - 1 2 9 , 2 6 ; 131,1-18 MAS.). Julian refers to the
philosophical imitation o f God in the second o f these texts and then contrasts that with
Hebrews' anger and wrath (as their form of imitation). But he does not use the term "wrath
of God" (όργή θεου). That term seems largely restricted to Jewish and Christian texts
(around 2 6 6 on the TLG Ε C D ROM).
5 8 1
Arrian, Bithynicorum Fragmenta, FGrH II, Β 156, F 8 0 . Cp. Cassius D i o , Historiae,
7.30.1, version 2 (BiTeu, I, 87,5-6 BOISSEVAIN). This word w a s used primarily by late
Christian writers. Cp. Titus' appeal to "God manifesting his wrath" (through Titus' arms) to
explain his capture of the Jerusalem temple in Philostratus, Vita A p . 6.29 (θεφ δε όργήν
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 145

1.32 A Person's Anger with the Jews and God's Anger

C e l s u s m a k e s a c o m p a r i s o n b e t w e e n the vast anger o f an e n e m y o f the J e w s


and that o f G o d :
Or is it not laughable that a person who became enraged with the Jews destroyed all of
5 8 2
them from their youths up and set fires (to cities; e π υ ρ π ό λ η σ ε v ) so that they became
nothing, but when the greatest God, as they say, is enraged, angry, and threatens, he sends
583
his son, and he (Jesus) suffers such t h i n g s ?

The identity o f the person w h o b e c a m e enraged with the J e w s c o u l d b e Titus


5 8 4
as Borret and B a d e r h y p o t h e s i z e . O r i g e n a l s o m e n t i o n s the R o m a n
5 8 5
destruction o f the J e w s — due to their treatment o f J e s u s . B u t since C e l s u s
m e n t i o n s the e x a m p l e o f a "person" getting angry w i t h the J e w s first w h o
destroyed t h e m all (a past t e n s e ) and then m e n t i o n s the e x a m p l e o f J e s u s '
suffering (in the present t e n s e ) , it also s e e m s p o s s i b l e that h e is thinking o f a
k i n g such as N e b u c h a d n e z z a r w h o burned the t e m p l e and m u c h o f Jerusalem
5 8 6
(4 K g d m s 2 5 : 9 = 2 K g s ) . In that c a s e h e is l o o k i n g back into the history o f
the J e w s (the B a b y l o n i a n destruction o f Jerusalem) and c o m p a r i n g it w i t h the
inability o f G o d to a c c o m p l i s h anything through the ministry o f Jesus. H e
was a w a r e o f the e x i s t e n c e o f the k i n g s o f Judah and m a y h a v e k n o w n
5 8 7
s o m e t h i n g o f the B a b y l o n i a n e x i l e . C e l s u s s i m p l y finds it i n c o n c e i v a b l e
that the s u p r e m e G o d c o u l d b e enraged at all. H e is u n i m p r e s s e d b y the
588
threats used b y the G o d o f the B i b l e , b y Jesus, or b y Christian p r o p h e t s .

φ ή ν α ν τ ι ) = STERN II, § 404a. Apollonius approves of Titus' understanding of human and


divine matters.
5 8 2
CHADWICK's translation here (Origen, 242: "burnt down their city") is probably too
specific. The verb needs an object in normal Greek usage. The same grammatical form
appears on Jos. Antiq. 2 0 . 2 5 0 where Titus burned the city and temple of Jerusalem. In Eus.,
Comm. in Isaiam 45 (Isa 7:18-9) (GCS Eusebius IX, 51,19 ZlEGLER) the same verb form is
used for Nebuchadnezzar's burning of the Jerusalem temple. In Homer, Od. 10.30 another
grammatical form of the verb (with no object) means "setting a fire."
5 8 3
C. Cels. 4.73 (286,22-6 M A R C ) . Cf. PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 327.
5 8 4
BORRET 2.365 / BADER 119.
5 8 5
C. Cels. 4.73 ( 2 8 6 , 2 6 - 9 MARC). Celsus' treatment of Jesus' passion is reviewed in
COOK, Interpretation, 5 0 - 3 .
5 8 6
Berossus knew of Nebuchadnezzar's capture of Jewish prisoners. See STERN I, § 17 =
Jos., C. Ap. 1.137 / SCHNABEL, Berossos, 271-2.
5 8 7
He mentions that Christians trace Jesus' genealogy to the "first born person" and the
"kings of the Jews" in C. Cels. 2.32 (108,11-3 M A R C ) .
5 8 8
C. C e l s . 2 . 7 6 , 6 . 4 2 , 7 . 1 8 (145,24-7; 420,7-11; 473,10-1 M A R C ) . Cp. C O O K ,
Interpretation, 1 0 4 , 4 0 , 4 1 , 84.
146 1. Celsus

1.33 Celsus on the Jews' Current Status

Several texts o f C e l s u s indicate h i s l o w v i e w o f the J e w s ' a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s


and prestige. In a text that refers to the e x o d u s (discussed a b o v e ) , h e indicates
that the J e w s h a v e never d o n e anything memorable: "The J e w s w e r e fugitive
slaves ( δ ρ α π ε τ α ς ) from Egypt, w h o never did anything remarkable
( ά ξ ι ό λ ο γ ο ν ) and w e r e never o f any value or number ( ο υ τ ' έν λ ό γ ω ο ύ τ ' ev
589
άριθμφ)." T h i s w a s a frequent point o f attack against t h e J e w s found in
590
G r e c o - R o m a n texts and w a s later u s e d against the C h r i s t i a n s .
C e l s u s m a k e s a similar point later in h i s work w h e r e h e describes several
o f the m o s t inspired p e o p l e s ( έ ν θ ε ώ τ α τ α ) i n c l u d i n g t h e C h a l d e a n s , M a g i ,
E g y p t i a n s , Persians, and Indians. A c c o r d i n g to Origen, C e l s u s d o e s not call
J e w s "most inspired" (in contrast to his j u d g m e n t o f other nations) and e v e n
5 9 1
affirmed that they are "now perishing" ( ά υ τ ί κ α ά π ο λ ο υ μ έ ν ο υ ^ ) . Origen
n o t e s that C e l s u s i s h i m s e l f acting as a prophet w h o d o e s n o t s e e G o d ' s
e c o n o m y (or d i v i n e plan, ο ί κ ο ν ο μ ί α ν ) for the J e w s . H e then refers t o R o m
1 1 : 1 1 - 1 2 , 2 5 - 2 6 ) t o argue that there is a place for the J e w s i n the Christians'
592
understanding o f the f u t u r e .
In the c o n t e x t o f an argument in w h i c h C e l s u s speculates that Christians
surely w o u l d not s a y that if all R o m a n s w e r e persuaded to b e c o m e Christians,
then t h e G o d o f t h e Christians w o u l d d e s c e n d a n d d e f e n d t h e m , and they
w o u l d never n e e d any other defense ( ά λ κ η ς ) . H e describes the J e w s thus:

For earlier the same God promised these things to those w h o adhere to him — things even
greater than these — as y o u claim; observe h o w much he helped these and also y o u .
Instead o f their being masters ( δ έ σ π ο τ α ς ) o f the whole there is no clod of ground nor any
hearth left to them, and if any o f you should be wandering around unobserved, he or she is
5 9 3
searched out to be condemned to d i e .

C e l s u s i s n o t d e n y i n g the o m n i p o t e n c e or b e n e v o l e n c e o f G o d , as Epicurus
did w i t h h i s argument from e v i l , but s i m p l y d e n i e s that G o d exhibits a n y
594
special concern for the J e w s or C h r i s t i a n s . T h e particular promises Celsus
595
is thinking o f are probably those h e m e n t i o n e d e a r l i e r . O r i g e n responds
that G o d has not broken his promises, but since the J e w s did not keeps the law

5 8 9
C. Cels. 4.31 (245,2-5 M A R C ) . Cf. R O K E A H , Jews, 177.
5 9 0
S e e the references and discussion in § 1.25 above.
5 9 1
C. Cels. 6.80 (457,13-28 M A R C ) . For a similar list s e e § 1.20. S e e also the discussion
of C. Cels. 5.41 concerning the miserable land the Jews inherited in § 1.29.1.
5 9 2
C. Cels. 6.80 (457,28-458,5 M A R C ) .
5 9 3
C. Cels. 8.69 (585,18-586,6 M A R C ) . Cf. R O K E A H , Jews, 179 / M E R L A N , Celsus, 9 6 1 .
5 9 4
USENER, Epicurea, F. 374 from Lactantius, D e ira 13.19.
5 9 5
S e e C. Cels. 6.19 in § 1.29.5 and § 1.28.4 on C. Cels. 7.18.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 147

596
(and c o m m i t t e d a c r i m e against Jesus) they h a v e n o ground or hearth l e f t .
T h e rabbis had various solutions to the problem o f R o m a n domination o f the
5 9 7
J e w s including J e w i s h s i n s .
Other Christian authors struggled against the relationship b e t w e e n want,
persecution and providence. Caecilius (the pagan in Minucius Felix'
d i a l o g u e ) noted that Christians w e r e suffering c o l d and hunger without G o d
d o i n g anything. G o d i s either p o w e r l e s s or unjust ( a s i n t h e argument o f
598
E p i c u r u s ) . C l e m e n t o f Alexandria responds t o a similar objection ( i f G o d
cares for y o u w h y are y o u persecuted and killed) b y arguing that such e v e n t s
w e r e prophesied and appeals t o Plato's Apology ("If A n y t u s and M e l e t u s kill
m e t h e y w i l l n o t hurt m e i n t h e l e a s t " 3 0 c , d ) t o d e s c r i b e S o c r a t e s '
steadfastness i n t h e f a c e o f death. Christians share a similar attitude t o
599
d e a t h . T h e entire group o f texts o f C e l s u s rests o n the argument from
600
c o n s e q u e n c e identified b y Aristotle (Rhet. 2 . 2 3 . 1 4 ) . T h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f
an action c a n s e r v e either t o exhort or dissuade. S i n c e the J e w i s h religion
(and Christian) h a s brought such miserable c o n s e q u e n c e s , then they s h o u l d
both b e abandoned for C e l s u s . Origen, o f course, s e e s matters i n a different
light.

134 Gentile Proselytes to Judaism

6 0 1
C e l s u s a c c e p t e d t h e right o f e a c h nation t o o b s e r v e its o w n l a w s . H e ,
according to Origen, continues: "If then, according to these c u s t o m s the J e w s
should k e e p their o w n l a w s , o n e w o u l d not h a v e to b l a m e t h e m , but rather
those w h o h a v e left their o w n traditions behind and h a v e adopted those o f the
6 0 2
Jews." Tacitus shared C e l s u s ' aversion to proselytes w h e n h e writes that
those " w h o cross o v e r t o J e w i s h w a y s adopt them and are instructed first t o
s c o r n t h e g o d s , t h r o w o f f c o u n t r y a n d d e s p i s e parents, c h i l d r e n , a n d
603
brothers." P h i l o n o t e s that proselytes from t h e nobility h a v e this mark:
604
they h a v e left country, kin, and friends for the sake o f virtue and h o l i n e s s .
Stern b e l i e v e s that J e w i s h proselytism reached its zenith at the end o f the first

5 9 6
C. Cels. 8 . 6 9 ( 5 8 6 , 2 0 - 5 M A R C ) .
5 9 7
S e e ROKEAH, Jews, 2 0 6 - 0 7 .
5 9 8
Minucius Felix, Octavius 1 2 . 2 ( 1 0 , 1 - 3 KYT.).
5 9 9
Clem. Alex., Strom. 4 . 1 1 . 7 8 . 1 - 8 0 . 5 (II, 2 8 3 , 1 - 2 8 4 , 4 ST./FR.).
6 0 0
On this argument in Julian s e e Cook, Interpretation 3 1 6 - 1 8 and the use above in
§ 1.20.
6 0 1
C. Cels. 5 . 3 4 ( 3 4 8 , 2 0 - 3 5 0 , 1 2 M A R C ) . And see in particular § 1 . 2 8 . 2 .
6 0 2
C. Cels. 5 . 4 1 ( 3 5 5 , 2 2 - 4 M A R C ) .
6 0 3
Tacitus, Hist. 5 . 5 . 2 . Cf. § 0 . 1 1 . Cp. Juvenal 1 4 . 9 6 - 1 0 6 = STERN II, § 3 0 1 .
6 0 4
Philo, D e spec, leg 1 . 5 2 .
148 1. Celsus

century and the b e g i n n i n g o f the s e c o n d and included t h o s e from senatorial


605
circles . P o r p h y r y and Julian a l s o o b j e c t e d t o G r e e k s l e a v i n g their
6 0 6
traditions for those o f the J e w s .

7.55 Conclusion

Celsus s h o w s n o admiration for any part o f the O T . It c o m p r i s e s a number o f


myths that h a v e n o allegorical meaning. H e d e v o t e s a great deal o f attention
to the creation a c c o u n t o f G e n e s i s , w h i c h h e b e l i e v e s is n o n s e n s e . T h e
mention o f s e v e n days, the portrayal o f the serpent, the b e l i e f that all is m a d e
for h u m a n b e i n g s , and m a n y other e l e m e n t s o f the story are subject to his
critique. T h e narrative o f the flood is a counterfeit o f the Greek tradition as is
the story o f the t o w e r o f B a b e l . C i r c u m c i s i o n i s i t s e l f not e s p e c i a l l y
a d m i r a b l e , s i n c e it w a s taken f r o m E g y p t i a n practice. T h e patriarchal
narratives contain m a n y ridiculous c o m p o n e n t s . M o s e s ' w i s d o m is derived,
and he is the J e w s ' e x e g e t e o f m a g i c . C e l s u s reduces the e x o d u s tradition to
the belief that the J e w s are o f Egyptian origin and that they are fugitive slaves
f r o m that c o u n t r y . Their laws contain no particularly admirable
characteristics, but the J e w s at least k e e p their traditional l a w s as other
nations d o . A l t h o u g h C e l s u s d o e s not reject the inspiration o f the H e b r e w
prophets, h e d o e s not accept that G o d o n l y sent his m e s s e n g e r s to the J e w s
since m a n y inspired oracles exist in H e l l e n i s m . H e d o e s not accept the truth
o f the p r o p h e c y o f a savior (to c o m e in the c a s e o f the J e w s , and h a v i n g
already c o m e in the c a s e o f the Christians). T h e depiction o f G o d in the O T
as h a v i n g h u m a n feelings such as wrath w a s particularly o f f e n s i v e to C e l s u s .
T h e J e w s n o w e x i s t in m i s e r a b l e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , w h i c h contradicts the
m a g n i f i c e n t p r o m i s e s g i v e n to t h e m in the O T . C e l s u s ' primary form o f
a r g u m e n t a t i o n s e e m s to h a v e b e e n : G r e c o - R o m a n culture offers better

6 0 5
If one accepts D i o Cassius at his word (and does not v i e w Flavius Clemens as a
Christian), converts (or sympathizers) came from high ranks (Dio Cass. 64.14.1-3 = STERN II,
§ 435). M. HENGEL, Der alte und der neue 'SCHURER', JSS 35, 1990, (19-64) 39-40 makes
the important point that the question of Flavius' religion is unresolved since D i o Cassius
surely knew o f Christians given his official capacities, but never mentions them in his work.
STERN discusses proselytism in II, 4 1 , 382-84. While many proselytes were from the lower
class (e.g. Tacitus, Annales 2.85 = STERN II, § 284, the slaves evicted from Rome in 19 C.E.),
others were almost certainly aristocratic. Pomponia Graecina (Tacitus, Annales 13.32.2 =
STERN II, § 293) was probably attracted to Judaism (or Christianity) if that is the reference of
"external superstition." Jos., Antiq. 18.81 discusses Fulvia, wife of a friend of Tiberius, who
became a proselyte. FELDMAN, (Jew and Gentile, 344-8) discusses the pagan authors'
references to Jewish proselytism and those w h o sympathize with Judaism. Cf. Also
SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 106-18.
6 0 6
§ 2 . 2 . 1 , 3.57.
Celsus' Critique of the Septuagint 149

alternatives to O T narratives and beliefs. This includes C e l s u s ' c o n c e p t o f


G o d ( w h o d o e s not d i v i d e creation into d a y s , n e e d rest, or g e t angry, for
example).
Origen m a k e s an important c o m m e n t w h e n h e notes that C e l s u s ' attack o n
607
the J e w s ' w i s d o m is really an attack o n the foundation o f C h r i s t i a n i t y .
C e l s u s ' w o r k is not primarily an attack o n Judaism and its b e l i e f s , but an
attempt to undercut the basis o f Christian belief. T h e evangelistic s u c c e s s o f
Christianity d r e w C e l s u s t o attack the J e w i s h scriptures w i t h a v i g o r
apparently unmatched b y any o f his G r e c o - R o m a n predecessors. T h e authors
in pre-Christian t i m e s w h o did k n o w something o f the L X X w e r e not drawn
to read it as c l o s e l y as C e l s u s w a s . H e felt that Christianity w a s a great
danger to R o m a n s o c i e t y , and o n e s h o u l d not n e g l e c t this p o l i t i c a l and
608
cultural context o f C e l s u s ' w o r k . G e n e s i s s e e m s to h a v e attracted C e l s u s '
attention most. Perhaps h e felt that if h e could overturn that text, then the rest
o f the O T w o u l d fall w i t h it. T h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f that w o u l d h a v e b e e n
disastrous for Christianity. Origen d o e s not s e e m overly taxed in responding
to C e l s u s ' critique o f O T texts and traditions. T h e arguments b e t w e e n pagans
and Christians o v e r t h o s e texts did, h o w e v e r , last w e l l into late antiquity.

6 0 7
C. Cels. 1.16 (19,4-6 MARC) mentioned in § 1.20 above.
6 0 8
Cf. the perceptive comments in PELAGAUD, Un conservateur, 453-61.
2. Porphyry

Porphyry's Critique of the OT and Jewish Tradition

P o r p h y r y ' s (ca 2 0 4 - 3 0 5 ) attack o n the Christians {Against the Christians or


1
Contra Christianos = C. Chr.) is f a m o u s . H i s critique o f Christianity also
i n c l u d e d w h a t w a s probably a substantial analysis o f J e w i s h traditions. B y
chance, for e x a m p l e , a g o o d deal o f his interpretation o f D a n i e l has survived.
Porphyry w a s interested in Judaism in its o w n right (e.g. the E s s e n e s in his De
abstinentia [On Abstinence]), but h e o b j e c t e d to the u s e o f O T tradition
2
( e s p e c i a l l y D a n i e l ) to support Christianity . A l t h o u g h h e e x p r e s s e d s o m e
admiration for J e w i s h tradition and the G o d o f G e n e s i s , it w a s a limited
admiration and did not distract h i m from his unrelenting criticism o f ancient
Christianity.
T h e s o u r c e s Porphyry u s e d included a L X X and s o m e o f the writings o f
allegorists like Origen ( s e e § 2.2.2). H e m a y have b e e n aware o f an "Eastern"
tradition o f Christian interpretation o f D a n i e l a l t h o u g h this is d i s p u t e d
(§2.2.16.1). In h i s w o r k On Philosophy Drawn from Oracles {De
philosophia ex oraculis haurienda = De phil.) h e s h o w e d awareness o f Jewish
traditions, but his source there m a y h a v e b e e n oracles and not J e w i s h texts
(see § 2 . 1 ) .
T o create a reasonably accurate picture o f P o r p h y r y ' s v i e w s o n Judaism
and O T tradition I a m g o i n g to o m i t the fragments from Macarius M a g n e s '
3
Monogenes . T h o s e texts are probably based o n Porphyry's work, but h a v e

1
A brief summary of his life may be found in COOK, Interpretation, 103-6. Of
fundamental value is still J. BlDEZ, V i e de Porphyre, le philosophe neo-platonicien,
Hildesheim 1964 (lsted. 1913).
2
For Porphyry's views of the Essenes see STERN II, § 4 5 5 = De. abst. 4.11.1-14.4 (III, 17-
23 P./S./B.). Fragments from Porphyry will be given according to HARNACK'S numeration in
HARNACK, Porphyrius. Much use will be made of the edition of RINALDI, Biblia Gentium
and his Italian version in La Bibbia dei pagani, II. Cf. also idem, L'Antico testamento nella
polemica anti-cristiana di Porfirio di Tiro, Aug 22, 1982, 9 8 - 1 1 1 . Many fragmentary texts of
Porphyry can be found in A. SMITH, Porphyrii philosophi fragmenta, BiTeu, Stuttgart/Leipzig
1993.
3
See the editions of ADOLF VON HARNACK, Kritik des Neuen Testaments von einem
griechischen Philosophen des 3. Jahrhunderts [Die im Apocriticus des Macarius Magnes
enthaltene Streitschrift], T U 3 7 . 4 , Leipzig 1911 / G O U L E T , Macarios, I-II (a great
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 151

b e c o m e controversial in recent years and deserve to b e treated separately in


their o w n right.
T h e social and political background o f Porphyry's C. Chr. is important for
understanding Porphyry's attack. H i s work drew p e o p l e a w a y from the faith
4
according to Severian o f Gabala ( s e e § 2 . 2 . 5 ) . It created such a disturbance
in the church that Christian emperors had c o p i e s burned several t i m e s in
5
antiquity . O n e p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n for their b o o k - b u r n i n g fury is that
Porphyry had written his C. Chr. in service o f o n e o f the persecutions o f the
6
Christians . A u g u s t i n e noted that Porphyry w a s a witness o f the persecutions,
but d o e s not say w h i c h o n e and d o e s not say that h e wrote his w o r k against
7
the Christians during o n e o f t h e m . E v e n if Porphyry did not write in direct
support o f o n e o f the persecutions, his remark that O r i g e n ' s life w a s l a w l e s s
(§ 2.2.2) c o u l d not but help in the c a u s e o f the emperors against Christianity.
T h e larger purpose o f his w o r k ( C . Chr.) w a s to draw p e o p l e a w a y from the
n e w religion, and o n e n e e d s to read his texts o n the O T in that light.
B e l o w I w i l l first survey s o m e o f the oracles in De phil. that refer to J e w s
and J e w i s h beliefs. T h e n I w i l l discuss various texts that h a v e survived from
the C. Chr. and other writings that treat O T themes. T h e greater part o f that
d i s c u s s i o n w i l l b e d e v o t e d to Porphyry's work o n D a n i e l that has s u r v i v e d
due to Jerome's patient attempt to carefully refute Porphyry's v i e w s .

2.1 Remarks on Judaism from Porphyry's Philosophy D r a w n from Oracles

A l t h o u g h critical o f the J e w i s h scriptures in his Contra Christianos, Porphyry


s h o w e d a certain admiration for J e w i s h culture in his De philosophia ex

improvement over H A R N A C K ) . On the issue of the use of Macarius Magnes for the
reconstruction of Porphyry's thought see GOULET, Macarios, I, 112-49 / COOK, Interpretation,
126-27,171-75.
4
Cf. also COOK, Interpretation, 125.
5
The testimonies are discussed in COOK, Interpretation, 125. For Constantine see
Socrates, Hist. Eccl. 1.9.30 ( 3 3 , 1 9 - 3 4 , 1 0 H A N S E N = SMITH, Porphyrii, 38T). Compare
Athanasius, D e decret. N i c . synod. 39.1-2 (37,33-38,10 OPITZ). For Theodosius II and
Valentinian (Feb. 1 7 , 4 4 8 ) see Cod. Just. 1.1.3 = SMITH, Porphyrii, 40T.
6
S e e C O O K , Interpretation, 119-23 with reference to Eus., Η. E. 6 . 1 9 . 2 for help in
determining the date. The persecutions could be either the one that Christians believed
Aurelian was planning or the Great Persecution in 303. See T. D. BARNES, Scholarship or
Propaganda? Porphyry Against the Christians and its Historical Setting, BICS 39, 1994, ( 5 3 -
65) 65. MEREDITH, Porphyry, 1137 argues, on the other hand, that there is no trace of a
political philosophy in Porphyry's work. He does not attempt to refute BARNES' evidence.
7
D e civ. D. 10.32 (310,52-311,57 D./K.).
152 2. Porphyry

8
oraculis haurienda. T h i s w o r k w a s p r o b a b l y e a r l i e r than the C. CAr. .
E u n a p i u s d e s c r i b e s the w o r k s o :

He [Porphyry] himself says (but perhaps as seems likely he wrote this while he was still
young), that he w a s granted an oracle different from the vulgar sort; and in the same book
he wrote it down, and then went on to expound at considerable length h o w men ought to
9
pay attention to these oracles.

In that w o r k h e e x p r e s s e s m u c h a d m i r a t i o n for t h e G o d o f the J e w s , but


10
scorns the C h r i s t i a n s .

2.1.1 The Road to the Gods

E u s e b i u s i n c l u d e s e x c e r p t s f r o m P o r p h y r y that e x p r e s s a p p r o v a l o f J e w i s h
tradition:

But Porphyry, in the first book of his Philosophy from Oracles, introduces his o w n god as
himself bearing witness to the wisdom ( σ ο φ ί α ν ) of the Hebrew race as well as o f other
nations renowned for intelligence. It is his Apollo w h o speaks as follows in an oracle
which he is uttering; and while still explaining the subject of sacrifices, he adds words
which are well worthy of attention, as being full of all divine knowledge (θεοσοφίας):
Steep is the road and rough that leads to the blessed ones (οδός μακάρων).
Entered at first through portals bound with brass
Within are found vast paths,
Which for the endless good of all mankind
They first revealed w h o Nile's sweet waters drink.
The Phoenicians also learned paths of the blessed,
Assyrians, Lydians, and the race of Hebrew men.

1 1
Porphyry interprets the road o f the b l e s s e d as the road t o the g o d s :

For the road to the gods is bound with brass, and both steep and rough; the barbarians
discovered many paths thereof, but the Greeks went astray and those w h o already held it
even perverted it. The discovery w a s ascribed by the g o d to Egyptians, Phoenicians,
Chaldeans (for these are Assyrians), Lydians and Hebrews.

H e a l s o a d d s this remark o f A p o l l o : "Only Chaldees and Hebrews w i s d o m


1 2
f o u n d / In the pure w o r s h i p o f a self-born ( α ύ τ ο γ έ ν ε θ λ ο ν ) G o d . "

8
S e e COOK, Interpretation, 106.
9
Eunapius, Vitae Soph. 4.1 (457) (8,11-9,2 GIANGRANDE = [ET] 3 5 8 - 5 9 WRIGHT). On
the text and its date see BlDEZ, V i e de Porphyre, 14-16.
1 0
The texts on Christians are reviewed in COOK, Interpretation, 106-18.
1 1
Immediately before the words that follow, Eusebius, in a later text, includes these
words as Porphyry's: "Have y o u heard h o w much pains have been taken that a man may
offer the sacrifices o f purification for the body, to say nothing of finding the salvation o f the
soul? For the road . . . " Eus., P.E. 14.10.5 (VIII/2, 28714-5 M R A S ) = SMITH, Porphyrii, 324F.
ET is b y GlFFORD, Eusebius, II, 7 9 9 . S e e G. RlNALDl, Giudei e pagani alia vigilia della
persecuzione di Diocleziano: Porfirio e il popolo d'Israele, Vetera Christianorum 2 9 , 1992,
(113-36) 120.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 153

T h e Egyptians are the source o f k n o w l e d g e about G o d for Porphyry. Plato


recounts a story in the Timaeus in w h i c h the great l a w g i v e r S o l o n d i s c o v e r s
that h e d o e s not k n o w (and n o Greek k n o w s ) anything that is o l d . T h e
Egyptian priests then speak to h i m about the many destructions o f humankind
due to fire and water ( T i m . 2 2 a - d ) . Hecataeus o f Abdera a l s o b e l i e v e d that
13
E g y p t i a n culture p r e c e d e d that o f the G r e e k s . N u m e n i u s i n c l u d e s the
Brahmans, J e w s , M a g i , and the Egyptians in his list o f those w h o agree w i t h
14
P l a t o . In an oracle w i t h s o m e similarities to that o f Porphyry, a questioner
asks A p o l l o if o n e can get c l o s e to G o d through attention. T h e answer is that
it is unattainable. T h e o n l y o n e s w h o h a v e s u c c e e d e d are H e r m e s o f E g y p t ,
M o s e s o f the H e b r e w s , and the w i s e m a n o f the M a z a k e n e s ( A p o l l o n i u s o f
15
T y a n a ) . Just what this G o d o f Porphyry's is b e c o m e s a little unclear w h e n
c o m p a r e d w i t h s o m e o f Porphyry's other texts. A t this point h e s e e m s to
identify the G o d o f the H e b r e w s with the supreme G o d o f the pantheon. J. H.
W a s z i n k notes that in his treatise o n oracles, Porphyry finds n o difficulties in
identifying the G o d o f the H e b r e w s with the G o d o f Creation w h o is a l s o the
1 6
H i g h e s t G o d . T h i s is not the c a s e in his c o m m e n t a r y o n the C h a l d e a n
o r a c l e s , h o w e v e r (§ 2 . 1 . 4 ) . It is probably n o accident that an a m b i g u i t y
concerning the identity o f the G o d o f the H e b r e w s appeared in Julian w h o
o c c a s i o n a l l y w o n d e r e d if the G o d o f the H e b r e w s w a s a universal G o d or a
1 7
j e a l o u s , narrow, and sectional G o d . Porphyry's text a l s o reminds o n e o f
S y m m a c h u s ' f a m o u s question to the Christians in the Senate: "Is it p o s s i b l e
18
to reach s o great a m y s t e r y b y o n e p a t h ? " . O n e i m a g i n e s that Porphyry's

1 2
S T E R N II, § 4 5 0 = Eus., P.E. 9 . 1 0 . 2 - 4 (VIII/1, 4 9 5 , 1 8 - 4 9 6 , 1 5 M R A S ) = SMITH,
Porphyrii, 323-4F. ET is slightly modified from GlFFORD, Eusebius, II, 444-45. In the D.E.
3.3.6-7 (GCS Eusebius VI, 110,8-11 HEIKEL), Eusebius argues that the writer of the oracle
(the last phrase of Apollo) mentions "Chaldees" because Abraham was by race a Chaldean.
On the oracle of Apollo quoted above ("Only Chaldees ...") see N. ZEEGERS-VANDER VORST,
Les citations des poetes grecs chez les apologistes Chretiens du l i e siecle, Louvain 1972, 216-
23 who argues that the oracle was not a product of Jewish or Christian circles. Patristic
figures such as Ps. Justin, Cohortatio 1 1 , 2 4 (37,14-5; 56,28-9 MARC.) quoted the text.
1 3
DROGE, Homer, 4-8. S e e for example, Diod. Sic. 1.96-8 where Hecataeus discusses
Greek visitors to Egypt (such as Solon) who obtained their wisdom there. Celsus also revered
the Egyptians. Cf. § 1.20, 1.33.
1 4
STERN II, § 364a = Eus., P.E. 9.7.1 = Numenius, F. l a (42,1-9 DES PLACES). See
§0.16.
1 5
Textus Theosophiae Tubingensis 4 4 (BiTeu, Theosophorum Graecorum Fragmenta,
29,368-74 E R B S E ) . The text can also be found in STERN III, 66. Mazaka was a city in
Cappadocia (like Tyana). Cp. ROBIN LANE F O X , Pagans and Christians, Cambridge et al.
1 9 8 8 , 1 9 1 who argues that the oracle is not a Christian forgery.
1 6
WASZINK, Porphyrios und Numenios, 57 and see § 0.16.
1 7
See § 3 . 2 1 , 3.54.
1 8
Vno itinere non potest perueniri ad tarn grande secretum, Symmachus, Relatio 10
(CUFr Prudence, 110 LAVARENNE) / COOK, Interpretation 152-53.
154 2. Porphyry

answer w o u l d b e that there are m a n y paths to the great m y s t e r y and that the
H e b r e w s k n e w s o m e o f them. H e w o u l d h a v e b e e n far m o r e n e g a t i v e about
Christianity, and m a y b e referring to Christians w h e n h e speaks o f those w h o
1 9
p e r v e r t e d t h e w a y to G o d . T h e e p i t h e t " s e l f - b o r n " is rare in G r e e k
20
literature . T h e Chaldean Oracles u s e it to describe the paternal intellect that
21
is "born f r o m itself." T h e w o r d is u s e d a f e w t i m e s in Christian texts to
22
describe G o d or C h r i s t . T h e fact that Porphyry is w i l l i n g to ascribe w i s d o m
to the H e b r e w s is a fundamental step b e y o n d C e l s u s , w h o w a s u n w i l l i n g to
include the H e b r e w s in his list o f nations w h o p o s s e s s the "ancient tradition."
C e l s u s d o e s include the Egyptians and the A s s y r i a n s a l o n g w i t h a number of
2 3
other nations that p o s s e s s o l d w i s d o m .

2.1.2 Seven heavens


Porphyry w a s a l s o interested in the c o n c e p t o f s e v e n different h e a v e n s .
A p o l l o has this to say about the topic in Porphyry's rendition:
And being asked again, for what reason men speak of so many heavens, he gave the
following response:
One circle (κύκλος) girds the world on every side,
With seven spheres (συν ε π τ ά ζώναισιν) rising to the starlit paths:
These, in their sevenfold orbits as they roll,
24
Chaldees, and far-famed Hebrews "heavens" surnamed.

C e l s u s a l s o apparently thought that the J e w s and Christians b e l i e v e d in s e v e n


25
h e a v e n s . W h i l e C e l s u s argued that J e w i s h and Christian t e a c h i n g about

1 9
G. SCHROEDER and E. DES PLACES note that Christians may be in mind here in Eusebe
de C£saree. La Preparation Evangelique, ed. and trans. G. SCHROEDER/E. DES PLACES, SC
369, Paris 1 9 9 1 , 2 1 9 n.2.
2 0
On the TLG C D # Ε there are only 37 occurrences, some of which are doublets of the
same text in different authors. A similar term for God, "self-born" ( α υ τ ο φ υ ή ) , appears in
Euripides apud Clem. Alex., Strom. 5.14.114.2 (I, 403,15 S T . / F R . ) and Textus Theosophiae
Tubingensis 13 (8,106 ERBSE), Cf. F o x , Pagans and Christians, 1 7 0 , 7 1 1 n.7.
2 1
Orac. Chald. 39 (CUFr 77,1 DES PLACES). D E S PLACES notes (Oracles Chaldaiques,
avec un choix de commentaires ancients, texte etabli et traduit par E. DES PLACES, CUFr,
Paris 1971, 77 n.2) that there is an identification of the Father and paternal intellect in this
2
text as does H. L E W Y , Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy, Cairo 1956 (Paris 1 9 7 8 ed. M.
TARDIEU), 3 2 2 n.36. PGM IV, 1989 has "father of the world, self-born" (κόσμου πάτερ
αύτογένεθλε). Cp. PGM I, 342; IV, 943.
2 2
Ps. Johannes Damascenus, Homilia in nativitatem Mariae, PG 9 6 , 653 uses it of Christ
born of the theotokos (God bearing) Mary. Const. Apost. 6.11 criticizes the use of the word
for God. Ps. Didymus Caecus, De trin. 3 (PG 3 9 , 7 8 8 ) uses it to describe God.
2 3
S e e § 1.20.
2 4
STERN II, § 4 5 0 = Eus., P.E. 9.10.5 (VIII/2, 4 9 6 , 1 6 - 2 0 M R A S ) = SMITH, Porphyrii
324F. ET is slightly modified from GlFFORD, Eusebius, II, 445.
2 5
S e e § 1.29.4.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 155

h e a v e n w a s s p e c u l a t i o n fit for f o o l s and s l a v e s , Porphyry e x p r e s s e s h i s


acceptance o f the c o n c e p t o f s e v e n h e a v e n s interpreted in an astronomical
sense. H e is silent about any doctrine o f souls a s c e n d i n g through different
26
spheres in this text. H e m a k e s n o references to the apocalyptic tradition .
Porphyry m a y b e thinking o f C e l s u s ' i m a g e o f s e v e n spheres that lead to the
fixed stars (the star paths o f A p o l l o ' s oracle) although C e l s u s inserted the
astronomical doctrine into his philosophical theories about the ascent o f the
soul. In the Poimandres, the individual w h o has put off the material b o d y
(and w h o s e b o d y h a s b e e n transformed and rendered i n v i s i b l e ) a s c e n d s
through s e v e n planetary spheres (first sphere, etc. τ η π ρ ώ τ η ζώντ\ κ τ λ )
27
before reaching a state o f c o m p l e t e purification . A l t h o u g h Porphyry d o e s
not carry this i m a g e through the w a y the H e r m e t i c text d o e s , the fact that
E u s e b i u s i n c l u d e s this oracle i m m e d i a t e l y after the o n e s d i s c u s s e d a b o v e
encourages a reader to think o f the paths o f the b l e s s e d o n e s (the g o d s ) and
the difficult road that leads to them.

2.13 The Creator God of the Hebrews


In another text from h i s w o r k o n oracles, Porphyry attacks Christianity, but
supports Judaism. H e i n c l u d e s an oracle that c o n c l u d e s it is i m p o s s i b l e to
28
recall from her faith a Christian w i f e w h o w e e p s for a deluded g o d ( C h r i s t ) .
29
Augustine is the source for this text. H e quotes Porphyry :
For in the books which he calls On Philosophy Drawn from Oracles, in which he seeks
after and writes about supposedly inspired oracular responses iyelut divina responsa),
concerning things that relate to philosophy, — I put down his o w n words as they have
been translated from Greek into Latin:
To one w h o inquired what god he should propitiate in order to recall his wife from
Christianity, Apollo said these words in verses.
Then those words are given as words of Apollo:
You will probably find it easier to write imprinted letters on water or to fill light
wings with air and fly like a bird than to recall a polluted unfaithful (pollutae ...
impiae) w o m a n to sense. Let her g o on as she pleases persevering in her foolish
illusions (fallaciis) and lament singing to the god dead in his illusions w h o was
destroyed by right-minded judges, and in specious circumstances the worst death
— bound by iron — killed him.
Then after these verses of Apollo (which w e have given in a Latin version that does not
preserve the metrical form), he goes on to say:

2 6
Some references to that tradition may be found in § 1.29.4.
2 7
C . H . 1.25 (I, 15,15-16,4 N./F.). See also § 0.20. Vettius Valens has an astrological
passage in Anthol. 9.4 (BiTeu 323,19 PlNGREE) that uses Porphyry's terms for circle and
heavenly sphere.
2 8
The oracle is discussed in COOK, Interpretation, 113-14.
2 9
Here I will use indentations to help indicate Augustine's narration, Porphyry's
commentary, and the oracles of Apollo.
156 2. Porphyry

In these verses A p o l l o e x p o s e d the incurability of their thinking (inremediabile


30
sententiae eorum), saying that the Jews r e c e i v e God rather than those people (ludaei
suscipiunt Deum magis quam isti).

A u g u s t i n e then c o m m e n t s :
See how he stains Christ and gives the Jews preference to the Christians, confessing that
Jews receive (suscipiant) God. This was his explanation of Apollo's verses, in which he
says that Christ was put to death by judges who sentenced properly — as though he was
punished justly and deservedly by the judges. They will bear responsibility for what the
lying prophet of Apollo said concerning Christ along with him [Porphyry] who believed
it, or possibly he himself feigned that the prophet said something that he did not say. As
to the extent to which Porphyry is consistent with himself or rather is able to make those
oracles be consistent with each other, w e will see to that later. In this passage, however,
31
he says that the Jews as God's helpers (susceptores) judged Christ correctly when they
decided that he should be tortured with the worst death . . . But let us c o m e to still plainer
expressions, and hear how great a God Porphyry thinks the God of the Jews is.
Apollo, [he says,] when asked whether word, i.e., reason, or law (verbum sive ratio an
lex) is the better thing, replied in the following verses.
Then he gives the verses of Apollo, from which I select the following as sufficient:
Truly in God, the Generator and ruler prior to all things, before w h o m heaven and
earth, and the sea, and the hidden places of the infernal regions tremble, and the
divinities (numina) themselves shudder with fear before him, for their law is the
Father w h o m the holy Hebrews honor.
In this oracle o f his god Apollo, Porphyry avowed that the God of the Hebrews is so great
3 2
that the deities themselves shudder in fear before h i m .

In this text the H e b r e w G o d is very clearly at the top o f the p y r a m i d o f


divinities. A s a p r o b a b l e w o r k o f P o r p h y r y ' s y o u t h ( a c c o r d i n g to
33
E u n a p i u s ) , the Philosophy from Oracles d o e s not h a v e s o m e o f the precision
that o n e c a n find in Porphyry's later texts. T h i n g s probably c h a n g e d after

3 0
For this use of the verb see Mark 4:20 in the Vulgate.
3 1
This word appears in the Vulgate as "helper" or "protector" (Ps 3:4, 17:2). One could
translate "interpreter" here.
3 2
STERN II, § 451 = SMITH, Porphyrii, 343F, 344F = Aug., D e civ. Dei 19.23 (CChr.SL
4 8 , 690,1-691,27.29-36 DOMBART/KALB). ET by the author done with reference to that of M.
D O D S , St. Augustin's City of God and Christian Doctrine, N P N F Series 1, Vol. 2, Buffalo
1887, 4 1 5 - 1 6 . Lactantius has part of this oracle in Greek (De ira 23.12 = SMITH, Porphyrii,
344F app. crit.): The Milesian Apollo, consulted about the Jewish religion, introduced these
words into his response (responso): In God, king and begetter of all things, before w h o m
earth and heaven and sea tremble, and at w h o m the innermost Tartarean regions and the
divine (or demonic) beings shudder (Apollo Milesius de Iudaeorum religione consultus
responso haec introducit: ές δε θεόν βασιΛήα και ές γενετήρα προ πάντων, / δν
τρομέει και γαία καΐ ουρανός ήδέ θάλασσα /ταρτάρει,οί τε μυχοί και δαίμονες
ερρίγασιν). S e e RINALDI, Giudei, 120 / HARGIS, Against the Christians, 87 / SCHAFER,
Judeophobia, 2 2 9 n.79.
3 3
Eunapius, Vitae Soph. 4.1 (457) (8,11-9,2 GIANGRANDE = 358 WRIGHT). See COOK,
Interpretation, 106.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 157

Porphyry m e t Plotinus. T h e text that f o l l o w s s h o w s that Porphyry altered his


position w h e n h e b e g a n thinking in the terms o f the Chaldean Oracles. But
quite clearly in the w o r k o f his youth o n oracular p h i l o s o p h y h e had c o m e to
the c o n c l u s i o n that the J e w i s h c o n c e p t o f G o d is far superior to that o f the
Christians. T h e H e b r e w s honor the highest G o d , w h i l e the Christians lament
for a g o d w h o died in his illusions o n a cross. T h e text s h o w s the larger social
context o f the e x a m i n a t i o n o f the faith o f the H e b r e w s that w a s carried out in
the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d after the advent the Christianity. In the years before
Christ, pagan intellectuals o c c a s i o n a l l y took the trouble to criticize Judaism,
or they f o u n d p o s i t i v e a s p e c t s in it. B u t they apparently did not find it
n e c e s s a r y to s p e n d any t i m e reading the L X X c l o s e l y . After Christianity
b e g a n to spread, h o w e v e r , scholars like Porphyry w h o w e r e d e d i c a t e d to
refuting the n e w and dangerous religion felt it necessary to read the O T quite
carefully. Porphyry has n o w o r d s o f criticism for Jewish rituals or stories in
this passage. Rather h e is concerned with the foolish credulity o f Christians,
their stubbornness, and the fact that it s e e m s i m p o s s i b l e to c o n v i n c e t h e m o f
their intellectual error. O n e o f the Christians' apparent errors is to b e l i e v e
that G o d w a s in Christ. T h e J e w s , o n the other hand, d o not b e l i e v e that and
s o receive or c o n c e i v e o f G o d better than the Christians do. T h e "god dead in
his i l l u s i o n s " is an important c o m m e n t , g i v e n Porphyry's criticism o f the
34
c o n c e p t s i n v o l v e d in the resurrection o f L a z a r u s . It i m p l i e s that Porphyry
did not accept the resurrection o f Jesus, e v e n though this is not c o m p l e t e l y
clear in the surviving fragments o f his Contra Christianos.

2.1.4 The Transcendent Second God


In a text that is o n l y identified as a commentary o n the oracles ( ύ π ο μ ν ή μ α τ ι
τ ω ν λ ο γ ί ω ν ) , h e is m o r e precise about the nature o f the J e w s ' G o d . Stern
identifies the text as Porphyry's Commentary on the Chaldean Oracles, and
35
A n d r e w Smith identifies it as from Porphyry's text o n Julian the C h a l d e a n .
T h e text is as f o l l o w s :
But Porphyry in his Commentary on the Oracles thinks that the "transcendent second"
(δις έ π ε κ ε ι ν α ) , i.e. the demiurge of all things, is the One honored by the Jews w h o m the
36
Chaldean in his theology says is second from the *transcendent first' (άπαξ έπεκει,να) .

3 4
See COOK, Interpretation, 1 5 3 - 4 with reference to HARNACK, Porphyrius, F . 9 2 .
3 5
STERN II, § 4 5 2 = S M I T H , Porphyrii, 3 6 5 F = Lydus, D e mens. 4 . 5 3 . R. BEUTLER
discusses whether these two texts were one (as BlDEZ thought) or separate (Porphyrios 2 1 ,
PRE, XXII 1 9 5 4 , 2 9 6 - 9 7 ) .
3 6
W . THEILER conjectures that Julian may have coined these terms in his prose
commentary on the oracles (in: J. H . WASZINK, Porphyrios und Numenios. Discussion,
Entretiens sur l'antiquite classique XII, Vandoeuvres-Geneve 1 9 6 6 , ( 7 9 - 8 3 ) 8 0 . LEW Υ
believes that the text c o m e s from the De phil. and rejects the thesis that the two terms are
158 2. Porphyry

Stern d e s c r i b e s t h i s G o d as t h e w o r l d s h a p i n g I n t e l l e c t o f t h e Chaldean
oracles. N u m e n i u s a l s o i d e n t i f i e s the s e c o n d G o d as t h e d e m i u r g e who
3 7
creates his o w n "idea" and the universe ( α ύ τ ο π ο ι β ΐ την τβ ίδεαν).
A u g u s t i n e d e s c r i b e s P o r p h y r y ' s p o s i t i o n that there e x i s t s a G o d the father and
G o d t h e s o n w h o i s t h e paternal i n t e l l e c t or m i n d a l o n g w i t h a b e i n g i n
3 8
between these t w o . A u g u s t i n e a l s o refers to De regressu {On the Return of
Soul) with these words: " y o u assert the Father and h i s S o n , w h o m y o u call
the Intellect or M i n d o f the Father and y o u a l s o s p e a k o f a b e i n g b e t w e e n the
t w o , a n d w e i m a g i n e that y o u are referring to the H o l y Spirit. A n d it is y o u r
3 9
habit t o c a l l t h e m three g o d s . " T h i s is n o t P l o t i n u s ' o r d e r ( α γ α θ ό ν or
πατήρ [the g o o d or t h e f a t h e r ] , δημιουργός ... ό νους [the m i n d as
40 41
demiurge], ψ υ χ η [ s o u l ] ) . Porphyry d e s c r i b e s three g o d s i n his Hist. phil. .

from another writing o f Julian the Theurgist (i.e. other than the Oracles) since Porphyry only
included oracles (some o f them being Chaldean) in his De phil. (Chaldean Oracles, 7 7 n.43).
D E S PLACES, in his edition o f the oracles, argues that both expressions (first and second
transcendent) could end hexameters if Si ς is subject to metrical expansion (Oracles
Chaldaiques, 147) with reference to F. 169 ά π α ξ έπέκεινα {δις έπέκεινα) ( 1 0 7 DES
PLACES). H A D O T translates the expressions in the text above as "transcendent in a monadic
mode" and "transcendent in a dyadic mode" (Le metaphysique de Porphyre, Entretiens sur
l'antiquite classique XII, Vandoeuvres-Geneve, 1966 ( 1 2 7 - 1 5 7 ) 1 3 3 ) . Cp. P. H A D O T ,
Porphyre et Victorinus, V o l . I, Paris 1968, 2 6 2 n.3. S e e also RlNALDl, Giudei, 124-6 /
SCHAFER, Judeophobia, 4 6 .
3 7
Numenius F. 16 (57,10-12 DES PLACES).
3 8
From De regressu animae in A u g . , D e c i v . D e i 10.23 (CChr.SL 4 7 , 2 9 6 , 1 0 - 1 3
D O M B A R T / K A L B = SMITH, Porphyrii, 284F). Smith refers to Orac. Chald. F. 4 ή μ ε ν γ ά ρ
δύναμις σ υ ν έκείνψ, νους δ' ά π ' εκείνου (67 DES PLACES) and F. 109 πατρικός νόος
(paternal intellect; 9 3 DES PLACES). There appears to be this trio in the Chaldean oracles:
πατήρ, δ ύ ν α μ ι ς , ν ο υ ς (father, power, mind). S e e M. Psellus' comment o n the oracles in
PG 122, 1 1 4 9 c ( = Oracles Chaldaiques, 189,9, DES PLACES,). S e e also W. THEILER, D i e
chaldaischen Orakel und die Hymnen des Synesius, in: Forschungen z u m Neuplatonismus,
Berlin 1966, (252-301) 258-59 / E. R. DODDS, Proclus, the Elements o f Theology, a revised
text with Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Oxford 1 9 6 3 , 2 5 2 - 5 3 / HADOT,
Porphyre et Victorinus, I, 260-267. HADOT notes that the intermediary is the principle of life
— Hecate. H e also distinguishes a horizontal and vertical dimension with three principles in
each (thus creating a Porphyrian ennead). One vertical column contains the paternal intellect
(on the level o f being), an intellect (on the second level of life), and a demiurgic intellect (on
the level o f intellect). H e refers to Porphyry's In Parm. 9.4-5 (ed. H A D O T , Porphyre et
Victorinus, II, 9 0 - 9 2 ) / cf. LEWY, Chaldaean Oracles, 7 7 n . 4 3 , 3 1 8 , 3 9 5 . DES PLACES
discusses the text o f Porphyry in its larger context in Lydus in: Le «Dieu Incertain» des Juifs,
Journal des Savants 1 9 7 3 , 291 n.4. Cp. P. H A D O T , Citations de Porphyre chez Augustin,
REAug 6, 1960, (205-44) 236-37. FESTUGIERE notes that Hecate (world soul) stands between
the first and second gods (or intellects) in the Chaldean oracles in: La revelation, III, 57. On
this point compare DES PLACES, Oracles, 13 w h o refers to F. 6 and 3 2 . Psellus supports this
thesis in his commentary (PG 1 2 2 , 1 1 5 2 a = DES PLACES 189,3-5).
3 9
D e civ. D e i 10.29 (304,1-3 D./K. = SMITH, Porphyrii, 284aF).
4 0
Plotinus, Ennead. 5.1.8 (II, 197,1-9 H . / S C H . ) .
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 159

A c c o r d i n g to Cyril, Porphyry identifies three hypostases o f G o d in Plato: the


42
g o o d , the demiurge, and the World S o u l .
I i m a g i n e that instead o f holding to any o n e expression o f the divine triad,
Porphyry adopted different expressions o f it as it suited his purposes. W h a t is
clear is that b y the t i m e h e w a s c o m m e n t i n g o n t h e C h a l d e a n o r a c l e s ,
Porphyry had d e c i d e d that the J e w i s h G o d w a s not the supreme G o d o f the
43
Platonic s y s t e m . O n the other hand h e d o e s not subject the J e w i s h G o d to
the s a m e critique that Julian usually did.

2.2 Porphyry's Contra Christianos and Other Texts

Porphyry is m o r e n e g a t i v e about Judaism and the L X X in his w o r k Against


the Christians. T h e reason is almost certainly the fact that his main target is
the Christians and to g e t at that target h e n e e d e d t o attack o n e o f the
fundamental b a s e s o f Christianity — the L X X . B e l o w I w i l l r e v i e w the
f r a g m e n t s that h a v e s u r v i v e d o f P o r p h y r y ' s c o m m e n t s o n the J e w i s h
scriptures in g e n e r a l , v a r i o u s texts in t h o s e scriptures s u c h as the E d e n
narrative and Jonah, and in particular his sustained attack o n the apocalyptic
interpretation o f D a n i e l . S o m e o f the fragments are not "nominal" — that is,
they d o not h a v e Porphyry's n a m e attached to them. I h a v e tried to b e sparing
in the u s e o f s u c h fragments, but s o m e are almost unavoidable in a w o r k o f
this kind. It is better, in m y judgment, to err on the side o f including s o m e o f
the m o s t likely Porphyrian fragments than to l e a v e them out. S o m e o f the
fragments b e l o w c o m e f r o m other writings o f Porphyry, and t h o s e w i l l b e
noted. P o r p h y r y ' s interpretations are not profound. A n t h o n y M e r e d i t h
44
d e s c r i b e s h i s interpretations as " s o m e w h a t p e d a n t i c and l i t e r a l i s t i c . "
N e v e t h e l e s s , h e r e m a i n s a f o r c e to b e r e c k o n e d w i t h d u e t o h i s g o o d
k n o w l e d g e o f O T texts. O n e o f his primary reasons for attacking L X X texts
w a s h i s a w a r e n e s s that Christians u s e d t h e m to p e r s u a d e their hearers.
Jerome refers to o n e o f Porphyry's charges b y responding that the apostles
"strengthened [their orations] with testimonies (testimoniis) from another time
not that they m i g h t a b u s e the s i m p l i c i t y and i g n o r a n c e (simplicitate et
45
imperitia) o f the a u d i e n c e . . . " . Presumably Porphyry is referring to texts

4 1
SMITH, Porphyrii, 2 2 2 F = Cyril, C. Jul. 1.34 (PG 76, 553c-d) = S C 322, 200,19-202,25
B./E.
4 2
SMITH, Porphyrii, 2 2 I F = C. Jul. 8.271 (PG 76, 916b). Cp. part of the same excerpt in
C. Jul. 1.34 ( P G 7 6 , 553b).
4 3
On this point see HADOT, Le metaphysique de Porphyre, 133.
4 4
MEREDITH, Porphyry, 1129.
4 5
HARNACK, Porphyrius F. 5 = Jer., Comm. in Joel 2:28 (CChr.SL 7 6 , 194,663-67
ADRIAEN). Cp. COOK, Interpretation, 156 for a discussion of this fragment.
160 2. Porphyry

s u c h as p r o p h e c i e s here. Perhaps it is n o t c o i n c i d e n c e that m o s t o f the


surviving critique o f the O T from Porphyry's hand is o f a prophetic b o o k —
Daniel.

2.2.1 F. 1 of Porphyry's A g a i n s t the Christians: On the Mythologies of the


Jews
In the first fragment o f the C. Chr. (Contra Christianos) w h i c h is a n o n y m o u s
46
but u s u a l l y h e l d to b e f r o m P o r p h y r y , a H e l l e n i c critic c o m p l a i n s that
Christians are neither Greeks nor barbarians (in E u s e b i u s ' summary):
First one could reasonably wonder, w h o w e are that have c o m e to write — whether
Hellenes or barbarians — or if there is something in the middle of them; and w h o w e say
47
ourselves that w e are, not the name, because it is apparent to a l l , but the manner
(τρόπον) and choice of life (την προαίρεσιν του βίου). For one does not see us keeping
Hellenic tradition or practicing those of the barbarians. What then is strange ( ξ έ ν ο ν )
about us, and what is the revolution of our form of life (ό νεωτερισμός του βίου)?

N o w in all points would they not be impious and atheists (δυσεβεΐς dv καΐ άθεοι) who
abandon the ancestral gods (πατρψων θεών) — from w h o m every nation and every city
subsists? Or what good thing can they reasonably hope for w h o establish themselves as
e n e m i e s and opponents of what is salutary ( τ ω ν σ ω τ η ρ ί ω ν ) and w h o reject the
benefactors, and what else is this than fighting against the gods? Of what kind of pardon
would they be worthy of who turn away from those considered gods ( θ ε ο λ ο γ ο ύ μ ε ν ο υ ς )
from of old (έξ αιώνος) among all Hellenes and barbarians in cities and in country in all
kinds o f sacred rites, initiations, and mysteries, likewise among kings, lawgivers, and
philosophers; and w h o then have chosen what is impious and atheistic (τά άσεβη και
ά θ ε α ) among people. And to what kind of punishments w o u l d they not justly be
subjected, w h o deserting the ancestral customs (πατρίων φ υ γ ά δ ε ς ) have become zealots
for the foreign mythologies of the Jews, which are of evil report among all people (τών δ'
όθνείων και παρά πάσι διαβεβλημένων Ιουδαϊκών μυθολογημάτων)? And must it
not be a proof of extreme wickedness and levity (μοχθηρίας ... ε υ χ έ ρ ε ι α ς ) lightly to put
aside the customs of their own kindred (τών οικείων), and choose with unreasoning and
unquestioning faith (άλόγω δε και ά ν ε ξ ε τ ά σ τ ω π ί σ τ ε ι ) the doctrines of the impious
enemies of all nations? Nay, not even to adhere to the God, w h o is honored among the
Jews according to their customary rites (νόμιμα), but to cut out for themselves a new kind

4 6
U. VON WlLAMOWiTz-MOELLENDORFF, Ein Bruchstuck aus der Schrift des Porphyrius
g e g e n die Christen, Z N W 1 , 1 9 0 0 , 1 0 4 . J. SIRINELLI accepts WlLAMOwrrz' arguments
(Eusebe [SC 2 0 6 ] , 2 2 4 - 2 2 9 ) but notes that the identification is uncertain (Eusebe [SC 2 0 6 ] ,
3 1 n . 3 ) . Cf. COOK, Interpretation, 1 3 4 - 5 .
4 7
On hatred o f the Christian name see Tertullian, Apol. 1 . 4 ( 8 5 , 2 1 - 6 D E K . ) . For
bibliography on Christianity as a "third way" see SIRINELLI/DES PLACES, Eusebe [SC 2 0 6 ] ,
227.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 161

of deserted road-that-is-no-road (ερήμην ά ν ο δ ί α ν ) , that keeps neither the ways of the


4 8
Greeks nor those of the J e w s ?

E u s e b i u s then c o n c l u d e s that t h e s e are the q u e s t i o n s that a p h i l o s o p h i c a l


49
Greek might p o s e for the Christians . Whether these are the ipsissima verba
o f Porphyry or not is not s o important as the fact that they are the kinds o f
a c c u s a t i o n s that P o r p h y r y p r o b a b l y m a d e . Eusebius may have taken
P o r p h y r y ' s and o t h e r s ' c r i t i c i s m s and created a sort o f general attack o n
Christianity that h e then a n s w e r e d with his Preparation for the Gospel. Of
interest for our purposes is the H e l l e n e ' s attack o n Judaism in the text, and his
u s e o f that to undermine Christianity. Turning a w a y from the H e l l e n i c (and
barbarian) divinities for the sake o f all that is i m p i o u s and atheistic a m o n g
50
h u m a n b e i n g s is p r o b a b l y a reference to J e w i s h a t h e i s m . T h e c h a r g e
51
b e c a m e a c o m m o n p l a c e against the Christians a l s o . D i o d o r u s S i c u l u s
preserves a tradition in w h i c h the J e w s are charged w i t h impiety (and b e i n g
5 2
hated b y the g o d s ) . T h e J e w s w e r e often a c c u s e d o f m i s a n t h r o p y , and
Porphyry (or the a n o n y m o u s H e l l e n e ) here adopts this c o m m o n p l a c e w h e n he
53
calls t h e m the " e n e m i e s o f all n a t i o n s " . T h e "foreign m y t h o l o g i e s " are
undoubtedly the biblical traditions — as is made clear from a fragment o f the
C. Chr. that I w i l l d i s c u s s b e l o w . If the H e l l e n e is not u s i n g the rhetoric o f
vituperation, but describing an actual state o f affairs, then o n e can a s s u m e that
the "Jewish m y t h o l o g i e s " h a v e s e e p e d into G r e c o - R o m a n culture in a w a y
that had not happened before the c o m i n g o f Christ. T h e L X X w a s apparently
54
available to H e l l e n e s w h o cared to l o o k into i t . T h e critic also a s s u m e s that
the b i b l i c a l traditions are u n i v e r s a l l y "slandered" or " s p o k e n a g a i n s t "
( δ ι α β ε β λ η μ έ ν ω ν ) . Cultured despisers o f Judaism must h a v e b e e n numerous
w h o k n e w s o m e o f the biblical narratives and w h o thought t h e m ridiculous.
T h e "impious e n e m i e s o f all nations" are the J e w s in this H e l l e n e ' s e y e s . It is
difficult to s e e f r o m this fragment that Porphyry has m u c h admiration for
J e w i s h culture. H e d o e s , h o w e v e r , a c c u s e Christians o f refusal to o b e y
J e w i s h c u s t o m s — s o e f f e c t i v e l y the Christians h a v e a p o s t a s i z e d f r o m

4 8
HARNACK, Porphyrius, F. 1 = STERN II, § 458 = Eus., P.E. 1.2.1-4 (VIII/1, 8,20-9,15
MRAS). ET slightly revised of GiFFORD, Eusebius, I, 6. There are many admirable notes to
this text in SiRlNELLl/DES PLACES, Eusebe (SC 206), 224-30.
4 9
Eus., P.E. 1.2.5 (VIII/1,9,16-8 MRAS).
5 0
On atheism see Apollonius Molon in § 0.5. The reference of the phrase becomes
clearer when the Hellene says that Christians chose the beliefs of those "impious enemies of
all nations."
5 1
COOK, Interpretation, 383 s.v. atheism.
5 2
See § 0.7.
5 3
See § 0.4.
5 4
S e e the claim made by Nicolaus of Damascus (in Josephus* words) w h o seems to
assume that people can look at Jewish traditions if they choose to. Cf. § 0.8.
162 2. Porphyry

5 5
H e l l e n i s m and J u d a i s m . B u t u n d o u b t e d l y h i s v i e w s o f J u d a i s m in this text
are c o l o r e d b y t h e v i r u l e n c e o f h i s attack o n Christianity (if Porphyry i s the
author). In De abst., w h i c h m a y b e a s o m e w h a t later text, h e s e e m s to h a v e a
great d e a l o f admiration for the E s s e n e s , and there is little o n the Christians in
56
that t e x t . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d in the C. Chr. h e s e e m s t o retain a certain
r e s p e c t f o r the G o d o f the J e w s and for their ancestral l a w s . R e s p e c t for
57
ancestral c u s t o m s w a s a t o p o s in a n t i q u i t y .
T h e c h a r g e that C h r i s t i a n s h a v e an irrational and u n e x a m i n e d faith
reappears in E u s e b i u s ' Demonstration of the Gospel in w h i c h he wanted to
s h o w t h e truth o f Christianity b a s e d o n L X X p r o p h e c i e s . In h i s introduction
h e writes:

A s w e have such a m o b o f slanderers flooding us with the accusation that w e are unable
58
with proofs (δι/ α π ο δ ε ί ξ ε ω ν ) to present a clear demonstration of the truth w e hold, and
think it enough to retain those w h o come to us by faith alone, and that w e only persuade
( π ε ί θ ε ι ν ) our followers like irrational animals to shut their eyes and staunchly obey what
w e say without examining ( α ν ε ξ έ τ α σ τ ω ν ) it at all, and call them therefore "the faithful"
because of their irrational faith (ττ\ς άλογου χ ά ρ ι ν π ί σ τ ε ω ν ) , I made a natural division
of the calumnies of our position in my Preparation of the subject as a whole. On the one
side I placed the attacks o f the polytheistic Gentiles, w h o accuse us o f being apostates
( ά π ο σ τ ά τ α ι κ α τ ε σ τ η μ ε ν ) from our ancestral gods (πατρίων θεών), and make a great
point o f the implication, that in recognizing the Hebrew oracles w e honor the traditions of
barbarians ( τ ά βάρβαρα τ ω ν Ε λ λ ή ν ω ν π ρ ο τ ε τ ι μ ή κ α μ ε ν ) more than those o f the
Hellenes. And on the other side I set the accusation o f the Jews, in which they claim to be
justly incensed against us, because w e do not embrace their manner o f life (του βίου
59
τρόπον), though w e make use o f their sacred writings.

There i s e n o u g h shared v o c a b u l a r y b e t w e e n both texts that it i s apparent that


60
E u s e b i u s v i e w s t h e s e c h a r g e s as a sort o f g i v e n in the attack o n C h r i s t i a n i t y .
Porphyry m a y b e the primary s o u r c e for both. T h e c h a r g e that Christians are
guilty of levity ( e u x e p e i a g ) b e c a u s e t h e y put a s i d e their o w n ancestral

5 5
S e e o n this point M. FREDE, Eusebius' Apologetic Writings, in: Apologetics in the
Roman Empire, ed. EDWARDS/GOODMAN/PRICE, ( 2 2 3 - 5 0 ) 2 4 1 - 2 . Celsus had also made the
same accusation (cf. § 1 . 2 4 ) . Ironically an oracle of Apollo accuses s o m e Jewish questioners
of abandoning the law of their ancestor in Textus Theosophiae Tubingensis 5 2 ( 3 4 , 4 3 2 - 3 7
ERBSE).
5 6
STERN II, § 4 5 4 = D e . abst. 4 . 1 1 . 1 - 1 4 . 4 (III, 1 7 - 2 3 P./S./B.). The treatise on abstinence
would only be later if the late date for the C. Chr. ( 3 0 0 ) is wrong.
5 7
C o o k , Interpretation, 3 8 3 s.v. "ancestral traditions."
5 8
This is a term o f the rhetoricians. S e e LAUSBERG, Handbuch, § 3 5 7 with reference to
Quintilian 5 . 1 0 . 7 and other texts.
5 9
Eus., D . E . 1 . 1 . 1 5 - 6 ( 6 , 2 4 - 7 , 2 HEIKEL). ET slightly modified from W. J. FERRAR, The
Proof o f the Gospel. Eusebius, 2 vols., London/New York 1 9 2 0 , I, 6 - 7 . D.E. 1 . 1 . 1 5 is
HARNACK, Porphyrins, F. 7 3 .
6 0
Way o f life, unexamined faith, irrational faith, ancestral gods.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 163

61
c u s t o m s is o n e that H i e r o c l e s u s e d against the credulity o f Christian b e l i e f .
In his s u m m a r i e s o f H i e r o c l e s ' attack E u s e b i u s i n c l u d e s ε ύ χ β ρ β ι α ν ( e a s e ,
recklessness) and κ ο υ φ ό τ η τ α (credulity, legerete) to picture the irrationality
62
o f Christians . In the text from the Demonstration of the Gospel the critic
only c o m p l a i n s that Christians honor the barbarian ( H e b r e w ) traditions m o r e
than those o f the G r e e k s . E u s e b i u s must consequently h a v e toned d o w n the
virulence o f the attack o n Judaism and Christianity that is i m p l i c i t in the
words in the Preparation. W h e n he notes that Christians are accused o f being
apostates from the ancestral g o d s , by implication ("impious") the J e w s m a y
b e included in that charge. T h e accusation that Christians had abandoned
63
ancestral traditions w a s a c o m m o n p l a c e in antiquity . B o t h texts q u o t e d
a b o v e h a v e a political and rhetorical context. In the first text, Porphyry or
s o m e a n o n y m o u s H e l l e n e insists that Christians are worthy o f punishments.
In the second, the H e l l e n e refers to the persuasive p o w e r o f the faith that h e or
she v i e w s as fundamentally irrational. This p o w e r is o n e o f the c o n c e r n s o f
d e l i b e r a t i v e rhetoric. F o r a G r e c o - R o m a n intellectual, a b a n d o n i n g the
ancestral g o d s had direct s o c i a l and political c o n s e q u e n c e s . In a n o m i n a l
fragment o f P o r p h y r y ' s C. Chr. he c l a i m s that since Jesus has b e e n h o n o r e d
plague has not left the city: "And n o w they marvel if for s o m a n y years the
p l a g u e has o v e r c o m e the city, s i n c e A s c l e p i u s and the other g o d s are n o
l o n g e r there. F o r s i n c e Jesus has b e e n h o n o r e d ( τ ι μ ω μ έ ν ο υ ) n o o n e has
64
p e r c e i v e d public aid from the g o d s . " Honoring the traditions o f the J e w s
over those o f the G r e e k s has had actual effects o n the health o f the R o m a n s ,
according to Porphyry. T h e texts quoted a b o v e indicate h o w intertwined the
pagan attack o n the L X X and Christianity w a s .

2.2.2 Against Allegorical Interpretation of the LXX


Porphyry's v i e w s o f the O T are generally negative in the C. Chr. Porphyry
attacked Origen for his allegorical interpretation o f O T texts:

Listen therefore to what he expressly says: Given the depravity ( μ ο χ θ η ρ ί α ς ) of the


Jewish scriptures, some who are zealous to discover not a lapse [of their use] but an
explanation (ουκ απόστασα, λύσιν δέ Tives evpelv προθυμηθβντες) have been
driven to interpretations that do not cohere with or harmonize with what has been written

6 1
Eus., Contra Hier. 4.2, 4.44, 17.7, 20.3 (Eusebe de Cesaree Contre Hierocles, SC 3 3 3 ,
intro. and trans. M . FORRAT, ed. έ . DES PLACES, Paris 1986, 104, 108, 138, 144). For similar
charges see s.v. "Christian credulity" in COOK, Interpretation, 383.
6 2
See COOK, Interpretation, 2 7 1 - 4 , 288 (with regard to C. Cels. 1.9 ([12,14-7 MARC]
among other texts).
6 3
For references see C O O K , Interpretation, 133 n.149.
6 4
Porphyrius, F. 80 = Eus, P.E. 5.1.9-10. Cf. COOK, Interpretation, 123-4.
164 2. Porphyry

6 5
(άσυνγκλώστουν και ανάρμοστους τ ό ί ν γ ε γ ρ α μ μ έ ν ο ι ν ) — not rather producing an
apology for the foreign texts (ουκ άπολογίαν μάλλον υπέρ των ό θ ν ε ί ω ν ) but
acceptance and praise for their o w n personal writings. For they boast that the things that
are said clearly by M o s e s are enigmas ( α ι ν ί γ μ α τ α γάρ τά φανερών παρά Μωυσεΐ
λεγόμενα ε ΐ ν α ι ) , and they ascribe inspiration to them as if they were oracles full of
hidden mysteries ( έ π ι θ ε ι ά σ α ν τ ε ν ών θεσπίσματα πλήρη κρύφιων μυστηρίων).
B e w i t c h i n g the m i n d ' s critical faculty through nonsense (διά τε του τύφου τό
66
κριτικόν τ η ν ψ υ χ ή ν κ α τ α γ ο η τ ε ύ σ α ν τ ε ν ) , they bring forward interpretations.

In h i s treatise On Abstinence, Porphyry h a s a d i s c u s s i o n o f the s o u l ' s


intellectual nature and its unhappy d e s c e n t into the w o r l d o f the s e n s e s . H e
writes, " . . . through a certain perversity ( μ ο χ θ η ρ ί α ν ) o f soul, w h i c h d o e s not
d e s t r o y its o w n e s s e n c e b y b e g e t t i n g irrationality (TTJ TX\S ά λ ο γ ί α ς ·
γ ε ν ν ή σ ε ι ) , but through it (irrationality) b e c o m e s a t t a c h e d to the mortal
6 7 68
e l e m e n t , . . " H e c a n also u s e the w o r d (perversity) to describe moral e v i l .
T h e s e t w o u s e s s h o w that the perversity o f the scriptures that Porphyry refers
to m a y i n c l u d e a reference to their irrationality or e v e n immorality. H e d o e s
not m a k e the point entirely clear. Origen is the guilty party here w h o defends
the outlandish texts and e n g a g e s in an absurd form o f interpretation ( τ ρ ό π ο ς
6 9
τ η ς ά τ ο τ ά α ς ) . In Porphyry's Letter to Anebo, there is a text in w h i c h h e
d i s c u s s e s H e l l e n i s t i c prophecy (or divination). S o m e o f the seers are inspired
according to their i m a g i n a t i v e faculty (κατά τ ό φανταστικό ν
70
θ ε ι , ά ί ο υ σ ι ν ) . T h e letter d i s c u s s e s the question o f prophecy and divination at
length, and Porphyry defends the practice. Clearly h e finds m a n y p l a c e s in
G r e c o - R o m a n culture w h e r e inspiration m a y b e f o u n d . B u t there i s n o
inspiration, for h i m , in the M o s a i c t e x t s . Christians and J e w s "ascribe
inspiration ( έ π ι θ ε ι ά σ α ν τ ε ς ) " to their texts. O n e is at a cultural i m p a s s e here.

6 5
Compare Porphyry's use of the word ά σ υ ν γ κ λ ώ σ τ ο ν to describe the incompatibility
between plants and reason (De abst. 3.18.2 [II, 172 B./P.]). PEPIN interprets the reference to
mean interpretations that are not "internally coherent" in Mythe, 4 6 3 . PEPIN has an extended
discussion of Porphyry's allegorical techniques of interpreting Homer in: Porphyre, exegete
d'Homere, Entretiens sur l'Antiquite Classique 12, Vandoeuvres-Geneva 1965, 231-72 (from
COOK, Interpretation 130 n.134).
6 6
STERN II, § 465b = HARNACK, Porphyrius, F. 39 = Eus., Η. E. 6.19.4. Author's ET.
6 7
Porphyry, D e abst. 1.30.7 (1,65-66 B./P.).
6 8
The word describes those who are given to harming others in Porphyry, D e abst. 2.22.2
(II, 89 B../P.) and 3.26.2 (II, 187 B.P.).
6 9
Eus., H.E. 6.19.5.
7 0
Porphyry, Ep. ad Aneb. 2.2f (10,13 SODANO). Cp. Iamblichus, D e myst. 3.14 (132,4-5
DES PLACES). One can contrast Porphyry's reference to the "imaginative" faculty here with
his reference to the "critical" faculty of the soul in the fragment from Eusebius quoted above.
Similar usages (the soul/mind imagines [ή ψ υ χ ή ... φ α ν τ ά ζ ε τ α ι ] ; the mind begets an
imaginative power [of knowing] the future [ή ψυχή ... γ έ ν ν α δύναμιν φ α ν τ α σ τ ι κ ή ν του
μέλλοντον]) appear in Ep. ad Aneb. 2.4a,c (12,2-3.8-9 SODANO).
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 165

Porphyry ascribes inspiration to the seers o f his o w n culture, and the J e w s and
Christians ascribe inspiration to the prophets o f their culture. T h e references
to " e n i g m a s " and "mysteries" are terms that Porphyry u s e d in his allegorical
7 1
e x p o s i t i o n s o f H o m e r . R o b e r t L a m b e r t o n translates a p a s s a g e f r o m
Porphyry's discourse On the Styx so:
The poet's thought is not, as one might think, easily grasped, for all the ancients expressed
matters concerning the gods and daimones through enigmas ( ά ι ν ι γ μ ώ ν ) , but Homer went
to even greater length to keep the things hidden (άπέκρυφέ) and refrained from speaking
of them directly ( π ρ ο η γ ο υ μ έ ν ω ς ) but rather used those things he did say to reveal other
things beyond their obvious meaning. Of those w h o have undertaken to develop and
expound those things he expressed through secondary meanings ( υ π ό ν ο ι α ς ) , the
Pythagorean Cronius seems to have accomplished the task most ably, but on the whole he
fits extraneous material (άλλα τ ε ε φ α ρ μ ό ζ ε ι ) to the texts in question since he is unable
to apply Homer's o w n , and he has not endeavored to accommodate his ideas ( τ ά ς δόξας)
72
to the poet's words but rather to accommodate the poet to his own i d e a s .

A l t h o u g h critical o f C r o n i u s , P o r p h y r y r e c o g n i z e d t h e v a l i d i t y o f t h e
allegorical m e t h o d w h e n applied to H o m e r . In another e x p o s i t i o n o f H o m e r ,
Porphyry a n a l y z e s a p a s s a g e in w h i c h C i r c e turns s o m e o f O d y s s e u s '
unfortunate m e n into s w i n e (with human minds). T h e text, for Porphyry, is a
m y t h ( μ ϋ θ ο ς ) that is an e n i g m a ( α ί ν ι γ μ α ) concerning the things o f the soul
73
— n a m e l y its immortality and d e s t i n y . Porphyry's o w n work On the Cave
of the Nymphs is an e x a m p l e o f interpretation that he d o e s approve of. In an
early part o f that treatise, Porphyry describes Cronius' e x p o s i t i o n o f a text o f
H o m e r (Od. 1 3 . 1 0 2 - 1 2 ) in w h i c h it is clear ( ε κ δ η λ ο ν ) to the w i s e and to the
laity (σοφοί 9 ... ί δ ι ώ τ α ι ς ) that the poet is allegorizing and hinting at other
t h i n g s ( α λ λ η γ ο ρ ε ί ν ... α ι ν ί τ τ ε σ θ α ι ) . T h e narrative c o n t a i n s o b s c u r e
features ( α σ α φ έ ς ... α σ α φ ε ι ώ ν ) that indicate it is not a c h a n c e p i e c e o f
fiction ( π λ ά σ μ α ) , but o n e in w h i c h H o m e r allegorizes and speaks m y s t i c a l l y
74
(μυστικών). Porphyry, if h e is consistent here, m u s t h a v e c o n c l u d e d that
7 5
the writings o f M o s e s c o n t a i n e d n o s u c h obscurities as t h o s e o f H o m e r .
Unclarity, fiction, and indirect s p e e c h are s o m e o f the e l e m e n t s that encourage

7 1
SMITH, Porphyrii, 372F from Porphyry's περί Σ τ υ γ ό ς .
7 2
ET slightly modified from R. LAMBERTON, Homer the Theologian: Neoplatonist
Allegorical Reading and the Growth of the Epic Tradition, Berkeley et al. 1 9 8 9 , 1 1 3 .
7 3
SMITH, Porphyrii, 3 8 2 F with lines from Homer, Od. 10.239-40. Porphyry continues
with a discussion of reincarnation, which he accepted. For other references see COOK,
Interpretation, 130 n. 138.
7 4
D e antro nymph. 3 , 4 (Porphyry, The Cave of the Nymphs in the Odyssey, [text and
trans.], Seminar Classics 6 0 9 , State University of N Y at Buffalo, Buffalo 1969, 4,1-3.13.27-
31). Compare Porphyry's reference to mystical symbols (συμβόλων μ υ σ τ ι κ ώ ν ) in the
ancients' consecrations of sanctuaries in D e antro 4 (6,14-15 Sem.Cl. 609).
7 5
D E LABRIOLLE, La reaction, 263-5 concludes that Porphyry is inconsistent in his attack
on Christian allegory while using it himself.
166 2. Porphyry

a reader t o l o o k for a l l e g o r y in H o m e r . B u t is it n e c e s s a r y to d e f e n d
Porphyry? H e m a y b e s i m p l y i n v o l v i n g h i m s e l f in an i n c o n s i s t e n c y : the
"canon" o f G r e c o - R o m a n culture w h i c h at least c o m p r i s e s the writings o f
H o m e r can b e allegorized, but the c a n o n o f the J e w s and Christians cannot b e
allegorized. T h i s is particularly true since they are "clear." E u s e b i u s m a y not
h a v e i n c l u d e d e n o u g h o f Porphyry's text to tell whether h e w a s c o n s c i o u s o f
the l o g i c a l p r o b l e m h e w a s facing in his e x t r e m e rejection o f all allegory o f
the L X X . In fact it is quite clear b e l o w ( s e e § 2 . 2 . 1 6 . 3 5 ) that Porphyry
h i m s e l f allegorized a text in Daniel. T h e problem o f allegory (or its rejection)
of the r e s p e c t i v e c a n o n s o f H e l l e n i s m and the J e w s and Christians w a s an old
one in any c a s e , and Porphyry probably k n e w it w a s a t w o - e d g e d s w o r d that
76
c o u l d b e u s e d b y e a c h s i d e against the o t h e r . P o r p h y r y , in the s a m e
fragment from E u s e b i u s , describes Origen in this w a y :

But Origen, a Hellene brought up in Hellenic doctrines ( έ ν "Ελλησιν παιδευθείς


λ ό γ ο ι ς ) , ran aground on the Barbarian temerity (τόλμημα); and taking himself toward it
he retailed himself and his ability in doctrines, living like a Christian and in a lawless way
in his life, but in opinions about things and the divine ( π ρ α γ μ ά τ ω ν και του θειου
δ ό ξ α ς ) he acted as a Hellene and suborned (υποβαλλόμενος) the traditions of the Hellenes
for foreign myths (όθνείοις ... μύθοις). For he was always with Plato and consorted
with the writings of both Numenius and Cronius, both Apollophanes and Longinus, also
Moderatus and Nicomachus, and men held in regard among the Pythagoreans; he also
77
used both Chaeremon the Stoic and Cornutus in his b o o k s , from w h o m he learned the
7 8
figurative method ( μ ε τ α λ η π τ ι κ ό ν ... τρόπον) of the mysteries found among the
79
Hellenes and used it on the Jewish scriptures.

T h e l a n g u a g e o f rhetoric pervades the text o f Porphyry. " A p o l o g y " c o m e s


f r o m the rhetoric o f the l a w courts ( f o r e n s i c ) , w h i l e "praise" is part o f
epideictic rhetoric. T h e e n c o u r a g e m e n t to g i v e the texts up or to accept and
interpret t h e m is a matter of deliberative rhetoric that s e e k s to persuade p e o p l e
to take a c o u r s e o f action. H i s reference to O r i g e n ' s Christian and l a w l e s s
w a y o f life betrays another larger context: the p e r s e c u t i o n s . If B a r n e s is
correct in his v i e w that the C. Chr. w a s written (around 3 0 0 ) in service o f the

7 6
See § 1.1.
7 7
SMITH'S index (SMITH, Porphyrii) refers to Porphyry's discussions of these figures in
the fragments: Apollophanes (408F.50 = Eus., P.E. 10.3.1-15); Moderatus ( 2 7 6 F . 3 J 3 ;
435F.5); Chaeremon (353F.10). For Chaeremon see also D e abst. 4.6.1 (CUFr III, 9 P./S./B.;
cf. the notes in xx-xxv on Chaeremon in their introduction). See also § 0.12. Chaeremon's
allegory of the Egyptian gods is discussed by Porphyry in Ep. ad Aneb. 2.12b (23,7-24,6
SODANO). Numenius and Cronius: Vita Plot. 14.11-12, 21.7 (I, 17; 27 H./S.); SMITH,
Porphyrii, 433F, 444F.
7 8
L A U S B E R G , Handbuch, § 571 discusses metalepsis — the use of synonyms that are
inappropriate to the context. For more analysis of this method see COOK, Interpretation, 130
n.135.
7 9
Eus., H.E. 6.19.5-8. Author's ET.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 167

Great P e r s e c u t i o n ( 3 0 3 ) , o n e can readily understand the c o m m e n t about


80
l a w l e s s b e h a v i o r . If there w a s an intended persecution during the reign o f
81
Aurelian that w o u l d provide another cultural c o n t e x t . T h e larger c o n t e x t is
Porphyry's attempt to persuade p e o p l e to abandon the Christian faith, and
w h i l e he is d o i n g that h e finds it necessary to attack the integrity o f the Jewish
82
scriptures . H e is not rejecting the allegorical m e t h o d in general, but d o e s
not s e e it to b e o f any u s e for the H e b r e w scriptures. C e l s u s and Julian share
8 3
this s a m e g e n e r a l p o i n t o f v i e w . Porphyry certainly a p p r o v e d o f the
allegorical m e t h o d w h e n applied to Greek texts such as those o f H o m e r , but
M o s e s ' writings c o n t a i n n o m y s t e r i e s . In M e r e d i t h ' s interpretatation o f
Porphyry, learned Christians are apostates in a double sense: first from their
84
Jewish roots and s e c o n d from Hellenic culture .
There are unfortunately not m a n y n o m i n a l fragments left o f P o r p h y r y ' s
w o r k o n the O T other than t h o s e in D a n i e l w h i c h appear in J e r o m e ' s
commentary o n that text. T h e f e w texts that remain o f his w o r k o n G e n e s i s
are not all negative h o w e v e r .

2.2.3 Gen 1:2 and Souls


O n e o f his c o m m e n t s in De antro (On the Cave of the Nymphs) is a reference
85
to N u m e n i u s . That w o r k is an allegorical e x p o s i t i o n o f H o m e r ' s Odyssey
1 3 . 1 0 2 - 1 2 in w h i c h a c a v e o n Ithaca is said to h a v e t w o entrances — o n e in
the south for immortals and o n e in the north for p e o p l e . Porphyry d e v e l o p s
an allegorical e x p o s i t i o n o f the text using the prior work o f N u m e n i u s and his
86
pupil Cronius the P y t h a g o r e a n . N u m e n i u s and Cronius interpret the c a v e
( H o m e r ' s e n i g m a α ί ' ν ι γ μ α ) t o b e "an i m a g e and s y m b o l ( ε ι κ ό ν α και
8 7
σ ύ μ β ο λ ο ν ) o f the c o s m o s . " South and north refer to the tropics o f Capricorn
88
and Cancer r e s p e c t i v e l y o n the celestial s p h e r e . T h e y a l s o say that s o u l s
d e s c e n d t h r o u g h t h e g a t e o f C a n c e r and a s c e n d t h r o u g h the g a t e o f
89
Capricorn . N u m e n i u s takes O d y s s e u s as o n e w h o bears a s y m b o l o f a

8 0
BARNES, Scholarship or Propaganda, 65 discussed in COOK, Interpretation, 120-3,133.
8 1
COOK, Interpretation, 122-3. See "lawless" in the index — a term used in persecution.
8 2
The text may have included other fragments on Origen's attempt to convert a village.
See COOK, A Possible Fragment of Porphyry's Contra Christianos from Michael the Syrian,
ZAC 2 , 1 9 9 8 , 1 1 3 - 2 2 / Idem, Interpretation, 128.
8 3
See § 1.1,3.10.
8 4
MEREDITH, Porphyry, 1131. They are apostates from Judaism because they claim to
understand the hidden meanings of Moses' sayings due to their Christian faith.
8 5
STERN II, § 456b from D e antro 10 = Numenius, F. 30 (CUFr, 80-81 DES PLACES).
8 6
COOK, Interpretation 130-31 / A. MEREDITH, Allegory in Porphyry (see bibliography).
8 7
D e antro 21 (22,2-6 Sem.Cl. 609).
8 8
D e antro 22 (22,17-8 Sem.Cl. 609).
8 9
D e antro 2 2 (22,16-17 Sem.Cl. 609).
168 2. Porphyry

person p a s s i n g s u c c e s s i v e l y through g e n e s i s ( ε ι κ ό ν α φ έ ρ ε ι ν ... τ ο υ δ ι α


9 0
της εφεξής γενέσεως διερχομένου) .
In a stricter sense it is the powers presiding over waters that w e call naiad nymphs, but the
91
ancients also give this name to all the souls in general descending into g e n e s i s . For they
thought that the souls settle by water, which is divinely inspired (θεοπνόψ ό ν τ ι ) , as
Numenius says; in support of this he cites the words of the prophet, "the spirit of God was
92
borne upon the w a t e r s . "

T h i s brief r e f e r e n c e to M o s e s "the prophet" s e r v e s m e r e l y as a c o g in his


argument, but it is a clear reference to the text in G e n 1:2 L X X . T h e spirit of
G o d h o v e r s o v e r the waters. G a g e r interprets N u m e n i u s t o m e a n that the
water is " d i v i n e l y b l o w n " d u e to "the e f f e c t o f the d i v i n e breath o n the
93
water's s u r f a c e . " A l l s o u l s that d e s c e n d into b e i n g ( g e n e s i s ) settle b y the
water according to Porphyry. N u m e n i u s , according to Porphyry, also appeals
to Heraclitus in support o f his interpretation o f the text: "It is pleasure and
not death for s o u l s to b e c o m e w e t " — w h i c h m e a n s for h i m that the descent
9 4
into g e n e s i s is pleasure for the s o u l s . T h e c a v e o f the n y m p h s c o n t a i n s
95
water that f l o w s f o r e v e r . Beutler dates De antro to the t i m e after Porphyry
m e t P l o t i n u s , but it is not i n v o l v e d in the s t r u g g l e w i t h Christianity, s o
9 6
Porphyry is free w i t h his admiration o f M o s e s . Porphyry is far m o r e w i l l i n g
to grant H o m e r a d e g r e e o f admiration than h e is to grant it to the biblical
literature h o w e v e r . H i s c o n c l u s i o n is:

When the wisdom of antiquity (την π ά λ α ι α ν σοφίαν), all the intelligence of Homer, and
his perfection in every virtue are taken into account, one should not reject the possibility
that in the fiction of a myth (μυθαρίου π λ ά σ μ α τ ι ) that poet was intimating images of
97
more divine things (εικόνας τών θειοτερων ή ν ί σ σ ε τ ο ) .

O n e s h o u l d c o m p a r e this e x p a n s i v e statement with his attitude to the H e b r e w


98
scriptures .

9 0
D e antro 3 4 (32,13-5 Sem.Cl. 609).
9 1
For this understanding of the naiads see also D e antro 12 (14,14-5 Sem.Cl. 609).
9 2
STERN II, § 4 5 6 b from D e antro 10 = Numenius, F. 30 (80-81 DES PLACES). ET by
Sem.Cl. 6 0 9 , 13. There is a possible reference to the same text (Gen 1:2) in C.H. Asclepius
14 [II, 313,3-7 N./F.) = RlNALDl, La Bibbia dei pagani, II § 26a.
9 3
GAGER, Moses, 66.
9 4
D e antro 11 (12,20-1 Sem.Cl. 6 0 9 ) = Heraclitus, F Β 77 DlELS-KRANZ. Cf. DES
PLACES, Numenius et la Bible, 313.
9 5
Homer, Od. 13.109, D e antro 10 (12,8 Sem.Cl. 609).
9 6
BEUTLER, Porphyrios, 279.
9 7
D e antro 36 (34,9-11 Sem.Cl. 609). Revised ET of Sem.Cl. 609.
9 8
See § 2.2.2.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 169

2.2.4 Gen 2:7 and the Soul

G a g e r and B e u t l e r h a v e q u e s t i o n e d w h e t h e r Ad Gaurum (a t e x t o n h o w the


fetus is e n s o u l e d that i s o s t e n s i b l y b y G a l e n ) is actually b y P o r p h y r y or not.
S i n c e the text i s s o u n l i k e G a l e n ' s p o s i t i o n it m a y b e p o s s i b l e that Porphyry is
its s o u r c e ( B e u t l e r ) or that h e actually w r o t e i t " . It c o n t a i n s a r e f e r e n c e to
Genesis:

100
When n a t u r e c o m e s forth to the light with its work (προελθούσης· τ η ς φύσεως μετά
του έ ρ γ ο υ ) , the pilot c o m e s in without being forced. Just as I have seen in theatres —
when those w h o play Prometheus, as the figure lies (κειμένου τ ο υ π λ ά σ μ α τ ο ς ) , are
forced to make the soul g o into the body. Perhaps the old ones, by means o f the myth, did
not wish to show the necessity of the entrance, but wanted to show only that ensoulment
happens after the conception and fabrication o f the body ( μ ε τ ά τ η ν κύησιν και
π λ α σ θ έ ν τ ο ς τ ο υ σ ώ μ α τ ο ς ή έ μ φ ύ χ ω σ ι ς ) . This is what the theologian o f the Hebrews
appears to mean when after the formation of the human body and when it has received its
bodily structure, he says (Gen 2:7) that God breathed the spirit into it so that it becomes a
1 0 1
living soul (έμφυσήσαι τ ο ν θεόν αύτφ ε ι ς φυχήν ζώσαν λ έ γ η τ ό π ν ε ύ μ α ) .

Earlier the author ( A d G a u r u m 1 0 . 3 ) s p e a k s o f the s p e r m or s e e d o f a plant


that h a s the p o w e r t o create a m e m b r a n e around i t s e l f (ευθύς* [ή] βμπηξι,ν
βξωθβν ύμενώδη (της ev) τω σπέρματι δυνάμεως περιβαλλούσης). He
a l s o a r g u e s that there is a " v e g e t a t i v e (or natural) s o u l " ( τ η ν φυτική ν ...
ψ υ χ ή ν ) that the p r o v i d e n c e o f the ordaining C a u s e o f the u n i v e r s e d o e s n o t
leave without a pilot ( A d Gaurum 10.6). T h e s o u l that c o m e s i n t o t h e
"vegetative s o u l " g u i d e s it. O n e can then interpret the author t o m e a n that the
v e g e t a t i v e s o u l p r o d u c e s its fruit or w o r k (the b o d y ) as a s e e d p r o d u c e s a
1 0 2
plant. Stern refers t o T e r t u l l i a n ' s treatise o n the s o u l . Tertullian asserts
that the s o u l is c o n c e i v e d i n the w o m b (De anima 25.2 [34,29-32 Waszink]).
G o d b r e a t h e s t h e s o u l i n t o the b o d y , and the s o u l i s c o r p o r e a l ( 9 . 7 , 22.2

9 9
GAGER, M o s e s , 7 3 - 7 6 / BEUTLER, Porphyrios, 2 9 0 . In m y view GAGER is not willing
enough to give enough emphasis to the evidence of Michael Psellus (SMITH, Porphyrii 267F)
who distinguishes the opinions o f Hippocrates and Galen (the embryo is alive) from that of
Porphyry (the embryo is not alive or ensouled, but is like a plant not moved by the soul but by
nature). SMITH in his app. gives many parallels between the views of Porphyry catalogued by
Psellus and those o f the author o f A d Gaurum, Recent literature is willing to accept the text
as Porphyrian. S e e the bibliography in S M I T H , Porphyrii, 2 9 3 app. In particular cf.
FESTUGlfcRE, Revelation, III, 2 6 5 - 3 0 2 (a translation) / H. DORRIE, Porphyrios* Symmikta
Zetemata. Ihre Stellung in S y s t e m und Geschichte d e s Neuplatonismus nebst e i n e m
Kommentar zu den Fragmenten, Zetemata 2 0 , Munchen 1 9 5 9 , 161-65 / K. LlMBURG,
Porphyrios, D i e Beseelung der Embryonen. Text, Ubersetzung u. Erlauterungen, Diss. Koln
1975. More bibliography may be found in RlNALDi, La Bibbia dei pagani, II, § 4 2 .
100 FESTUGlfeRE, Revelation, III, 2 8 5 translates this as "vegetative soul with the fruit" -
presumably the embryo and see 2 8 4 n . l .
1 0 1
STERN II, § 4 6 6 = A d Gaurum 11. Author's ET.
1 0 2
STERN II, 4 8 3 .
170 2. Porphyry

[ 1 2 , 7 - 9 ; 3 1 , 7 W a s z i n k ] ) . Tertullian denies that the soul is inserted into the


b o d y w h e n it c o m e s forth from the w o m b in a lifeless state ( 2 5 . 2 [ 3 4 , 2 9 - 3 5 , 1
W a s z i n k ] ) . Plato s e e m s to b e l i e v e that souls enter b o d i e s at birth ( P h a e d o
113a souls are "sent forth again to the births o f living creatures" and Phaedrus
2 4 8 d the "soul enters the human babe"). J. H. W a s z i n k n o t e s , h o w e v e r , that
103
Plato did not m a k e a definite statement o n the s u b j e c t . P h i l o interprets the
text to m e a n that G o d inspired or "ensouled" (evinvevoev ή έψύχωσβ τά
ά ψ υ χ α ) b e i n g s without soul. H e says that it w o u l d b e absurdity ( ά τ ο τ ά α ^ ) to
104
b e l i e v e that G o d had a mouth or n o s t r i l s . If Porphyry wrote Ad Gaurum, he
is making u s e o f G e n e s i s to establish a Platonic v i e w o f the soul. T h e author
finds M o s e s the theologian to b e in support o f his philosophical v i e w s o n the
e n s o u l m e n t o f the b o d y . T h e u s e o f the word "theologian" to describe M o s e s
is unique in the G r e c o - R o m a n literature although P h i l o u s e s that term for
1 0 5 1 0 6
M o s e s . G a g e r argues that s i n c e (in an undisputed t e x t ) Porphyry o n l y
uses l a w g i v e r ( ν ο μ ο θ έ τ η ν ) for M o s e s , the author o f the treatise o n the fetus
m a y b e another Neo-Platonist. This argument is not o v e r p o w e r i n g , and the
statement b y M i c h a e l P s e l l u s that Porphyry wrote a treatise o n the e m b r y o
107
m a y not b e m e r e l y a c o i n c i d e n c e .

2.2.5 Eden
Porphyry m a y h a v e attacked an aspect o f the story o f E d e n . Severian of
Gabala writes:
Many say, and particularly those who follow the God-hated Porphyry who wrote Against
the Christians and w h o drew many away from the divine dogma (και του θείου
δόγματος πολλούς άποστήσαντι). They say accordingly: Why did God forbid the
knowledge of good and evil? Let it be the case that he forbade the evil. Why then also
the good? For when he said, "From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall
1 0 8
not eat" he says that he keeps him from the knowledge of evil; why then also the g o o d ?

1 0 3
J. H. WASZINK, Quinti Septimi Florentis Tertulliani de anima, Amsterdam 1947, 322.
WASZINK notes that Plato was quoted in support of both conflicting views. Alcinous read
Plato as believing that souls entered embryos in Didask. 25 178,33-35 (50
WHITTAKER/LOUIS).
1 0 4
Philo, Leg. alleg. 1.36. His remarks may indicate that some Alexandrians criticized
the anthropomorphisms in the text. See STEIN, Alttestamentliche Bibelkritik, 17.
105 philo, Vita Mosis 2.115 and D e praemiis et poenis 53. See GAGER, Moses, 75.
1 0 6
P o r p h . , D e abst. 4.13.6 (III, 2 2 P./S./B.). The editors (75 n.202) note that this is
ordinarily the title for Moses in Hellenistic Judaism.
1 0 7
GAGER, Moses, 76.
1 0 8
STERN II, § 4 6 3 = HARNACK, Porphyrius, F. 4 2 (who notes that it is not certain that
this text is from the C. Chr. although it is probably from that work) = Sev., D e mundi
creatione orat. 6 (PG 56, 4 8 7 ) . On the text see RINALDI, L'Antico, 106 w h o notes
Porphyry's literalistic reading of the text.
Porphyry on Jewish Tradition and the Septuagint 111

Celsus attacked the story in G e n e s i s from a different angle:


... [They] constructed the most unpersuasive and unrefined accounts — some person
formed by the hands of God and breathed into (Gen 2:7), a woman from his rib (Gen
2:21-22), commandments from God (Gen 2:16-17), a serpent w h o acted against these
(Gen 3:1-5), and the serpent who prevailed over God's ordinances. A myth like they tell
to old women, depicting God in a most unholy way, who at once from the start is weak
109
and unable to persuade the one person whom he himself f o r m e d .

C e l s u s found the story, crude, m y t h o l o g i c a l , and d e m e a n i n g to G o d . Julian,


o n the other h a n d , attacked it probably m a k i n g s o m e u s e o f P o r p h y r y ' s
material. H e asked,
Is it not excessively strange that God should deny to the human beings w h o m he had
fashioned the power to distinguish between good and evil? What could be more foolish
than a being unable to distinguish good from bad? For it is evident that he would not
avoid the latter, I mean things evil, nor would he strive after the former, I mean things
good. And, in short, God refused to let man taste of wisdom, than which there could be
1 1 0
nothing of more value for h i m .

Julian's attack o n the account is quite extensive, and that m a y b e an indication


that Porphyry's attack w a s a l s o rather lengthy. H e u s e s an argument from
c o n s e q u e n c e : a b e i n g w h o cannot distinguish b e t w e e n g o o d and evil w i l l not
111
b e able to a v o i d d o i n g e v i l t h i n g s . U n l i k e C e l s u s , Porphyry and Julian d o
not s o l e l y m a k e u s e o f the rhetoric o f vituperation, but they s e e l o g i c a l
problems in the E d e n narrative.
C e l s u s d o e s not h i m s e l f express approval for the serpent, but he k n o w s o f
its e x i s t e n c e a m o n g s o m e Christian readers o f G e n e s i s (§ 1.2.8). Admiration
for the serpent in the story o f paradise w a s current a m o n g Christian
112
G n o s t i c s . T h e N a g H a m m a d i texts, for e x a m p l e , o c c a s i o n a l l y e x a l t the
113
s