By Jeffrey W. Hargis
Opposed to the Christians examines the anti-Christian polemic works of Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian the Apostate. the 1st e-book to research the phenomenon of early anti-Christian literature extensive, it chooses the critics' objection to Christian exclusivism as its place to begin. The evolution of the polemic, from a rhetoric of radical contrast to 1 of "rhetorical assimilation," unearths a cosmopolitan try and disclose contradictions and inconsistencies inside Christianity whereas even as reflecting the method of fusion among Christianity and the tradition of overdue antiquity.
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Extra resources for Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (Patristic Studies 1)
In the first place, the literature itself demands such an examination; the appearance of Jews and Judaism is not an inconsequential element in the anti-Christian writings. lB The relationship of Christianity to Judaism was not only of great theological concern to Christian interpreters of the Hebrew Bible, it was a primary focus of pagan observers of Christianity. Celsus and the "Revolt Against the Community" 31 Second, Christianity and Judaism represented the two exclusive universalisms of the Roman Empire.
The inferiority of both Jewish and Christian origins remains a prominent theme throughout the True Doctrine, particularly in the context of Celsus' attack on the personalities of Moses and Jesus. While the polemicist on more than one occasion refers to Moses as a "sorcerer," he also applies the same epithet to Jesus. At one point he uses the term with reference to the Christians themselves. Moses and Jesus thus belonged to the same class of undesirables, while Celsus and the "Revolt Against the Community" 35 their followers share their despised status.
The critic presented an apparently insoluble dilemma: either the daemons were non-existent, in which case the feasts were harmless, or they belonged to the supreme God, in which case they were worthy of worship. Either way, Christian worship of the gods could not offend a God incapable of jealousy. What is missing from Celsus' logic, of course, is the third option argued elsewhere by Origen: that the daemons did indeed exist, but that they were in fact evil and not worthy of worship at all. " Celsus' argument regarding the gods was, of course, based on the criticism that Christians were abstaining from public festivals dedicated to the gods.