By Jeffrey W. Hargis
Opposed to the Christians examines the anti-Christian polemic works of Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian the Apostate. the 1st ebook to investigate the phenomenon of early anti-Christian literature intensive, it chooses the critics' objection to Christian exclusivism as its start line. The evolution of the polemic, from a rhetoric of radical contrast to at least one of "rhetorical assimilation," unearths a cosmopolitan try and divulge contradictions and inconsistencies inside of Christianity whereas while reflecting the method of fusion among Christianity and the tradition of overdue antiquity.
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Extra info for Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (Patristic Studies 1)
Rejection of the gods was, by definition, a rejection of society. But there was more to Celsus' admoniton than a desire for Christians to become more fully integrated into society; there were theological stakes as well. This is what [Celsus] says: God is surely common to all men. He is both good and in need of nothing, and without envy. What, then, prevents people particularly devoted to [him] from partaking of the public feasts? This is what he says: If these idols are nothing, why is it terrible to take part in the high festival?
Whether or not Celsus' characterization of these "dialogues" has any basis in events he actually witnessed, his description gives us at least his own impression of Jewish-Christian argument. 21 At this juncture Celsus is merely engaging in name-calling. What is important to note at the outset, however, is his equal rhetorical treatment of Jews and Christians, a trend that continues throughout the True Doctrine. This treatment retains particular importance as we compare Celsus' polemic with that of his successors.
From at least the middle of the first century CE, Christians characterized the "Gentiles" as being ruled by unrestrained sensuality: So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (Patristic Studies 1) by Jeffrey W. Hargis