Justin Martyr Discourse to the Greeks
[Translated by the Rev. M. Dods, M.A.]|
Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and
first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional
introductionary material and notes provided for the American
edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.
Chapter I. Justin justifies his departure from Greek customs.
Do not suppose, ye Greeks, that my separation from your customs is
unreasonable and unthinking; for I found in them nothing that is holy or
acceptable to God. For the very compositions of your poets are monuments of
madness and intemperance. For any one who becomes the scholar of your most
eminent instructor, is more beset by difficulties than all men besides. For
first they say that Agamemnon, abetting the extravagant lust of his brother,
and his madness and unrestrained desire, readily gave even his daughter to
be sacrificed, and troubled all Greece that he might rescue Helen, who had
been ravished by the leprous  shepherd. But when in the course of the
war they took captives, Agamemnon was himself taken captive by Chryseis, and
for Briseis sake kindled a feud with the son of Thetis. And Pelides
himself, who crossed the river,  overthrew Troy, and subdued Hector,
this your hero became the slave of Polyxena, and was conquered by a dead
Amazon; and putting off the god-fabricated armour, and donning the hymeneal
robe, he became a sacrifice of love in the temple of Apollo. And the Ithacan
Ulysses made a virtue of a vice.  And indeed his sailing past the
Sirens  gave evidence that he was destitute of worthy prudence,
because he could not depend on his prudence for stopping his ears. Ajax, son
of Telamon, who bore the shield of sevenfold ox-hide, went mad when he was
defeated in the contest with Ulysses for the armour. Such things I have no
desire to be instructed in. Of such virtue I am not covetous, that I should
believe the myths of Homer. For the whole rhapsody, the beginning and end
both of the Iliad and the Odyssey is a woman.
 Potter would here read liparou, "elegant" [ironically for
effeminate]; but the above reading is defended by Sylburg, on the ground
that shepherds were so greatly despised, that this is not too hard an
epithet to apply to Paris.
 Of the many attempts to amend this clause, there seems to be none
 Or, won the reputation of the virtue of wisdom by the vice of deceit.
 That is, the manner in which he did it, stopping his companions ears
with wax, and having himself bound to the mast of his ship.
Chapter I. The Greek theogony exposed.
But since, next to Homer, Hesiod wrote his Works and Days, who will believe
his drivelling theogony? For they say that Chronos, the son of Ouranos,
 in the beginning slew his father, and possessed himself of his rule;
and that, being seized with a panic lest he should himself suffer in the
same way, he preferred devouring his children; but that, by the craft of the
Curetes, Jupiter was conveyed away and kept in secret, and afterwards bound
his father with chains, and divided the empire; Jupiter receiving, as the
story goes, the air, and Neptune the deep, and Pluto the portion of Hades.
But Pluto ravished Proserpine; and Ceres sought her child wandering through
the deserts. And this myth was celebrated in the Eleusinian fire. 
Again, Neptune ravished Melanippe when she was drawing water, besides
abusing a host of Nereids not a few, whose names, were we to recount them,
would cost us a multitude of words. And as for Jupiter, he was a various
adulterer, with Antiope as a satyr, with Danaë as gold, and with Europa as a
bull; with Leda, moreover, he assumed wings. For the love of Semele proved
both his unchastity and the jealousy of Semele. And they say that he carried
off the Phrygian Ganymede to be his cup-bearer. These, then, are the
exploits of the sons of Saturn. And your illustrious son of Latona [Apollo],
who professed soothsaying, convicted himself of lying. He pursued Daphne,
but did not gain possession of her; and to Hyacinthus,  who loved him,
he did not foretell his death. And I say nothing of the masculine character
of Minerva, nor of the feminine nature of Bacchus, nor of the fornicating
disposition of Venus. Read to Jupiter, ye Greeks, the law against
parricides, and the penalty of adultery, and the ignominy of pæderasty.
Teach Minerva and Diana the works of women, and Bacchus the works of men.
What seemliness is there in a woman's girding herself with armour, or in a
man's decorating himself with cymbals, and garlands, and female attire, and
accompanied by a herd of bacchanalian women?
 Or, Saturn son of Heaven.
 In the mysteries of Eleusis, the return of Proserpine from the lower
world was celebrated.
 Apollo accidentally killed Hyacinthus by striking him on the head
with a quoit.
Chapter II. Follies of the Greek mythology.
For Hercules, celebrated by his three nights,  sung by the poets for
his successful labours, the son of Jupiter, who slew the lion and destroyed
the many-headed hydra; who put to death the fierce and mighty boar, and was
able to kill the fleet man-eating birds, and brought up from Hades the
three-headed dog; who effectually cleansed the huge Augean building from its
dung, and killed the bulls and the stag whose nostrils breathed fire, and
plucked the golden fruit from the tree, and slew the poisonous serpent (and
for some reason, which it is not lawful to utter, killed Achelous, and the
guest-slaying Busiris), and crossed the mountains that he might get water
which gave forth an articulate speech, as the story goes: he who was able to
do so many and such like and so great deeds as these, how childishly he was
delighted to be stunned by the cymbals of the satyrs, and to be conquered by
the love of woman, and to be struck on the hips by the laughing Lyda! And at
last, not being able to put off the tunic of Nessus, himself kindling his
own funeral pile, so he died. Let Vulcan lay aside his envy, and not be
jealous if he is hated because he is old and club-footed, and Mars loved,
because young and beautiful. Since, therefore, ye Greeks, your gods are
convicted of intemperance, and your heroes are effeminate, as the histories
on which your dramas are founded have declared, such as the curse of Atreus,
the bed of Thyestes  and the taint in the house of Pelops, and Danaus
murdering through hatred and making Ægyptus childless in the intoxication of
his rage, and the Thyestean banquet spread by the Furies.  And Procne
is to this day flitting about, lamenting; and her sister of Athens shrills
with her tongue cut out. For what need is there of speaking of the goad
 of Œdipus, and the murder of Laius, and the marrying his mother, and
the mutual slaughter of those who were at once his brothers and his sons?
 Triesperon, so called, as some think, [from his origin: "ex concubitu
 Thyestes seduced the wife of his brother Atreus, whence the tragic
career of the family.
 There is no apodosis in the Greek.
 Not, as the editors dispute, either the tongue of the buckle with
which he put out his eyes, nor the awl with which his heels were bored
through, but the goad with which he killed his father.
Chapter IV. Shameless practices of the Greeks.
And your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there are excessive
banquetings, and subtle flutes which provoke to lustful movements, and
useless and luxurious anointings, and crowning with garlands. With such a
mass of evils do you banish shame; and ye fill your minds with them, and are
carried away by intemperance, and indulge as a common practice in wicked and
insane fornication. And this further I would say to you, why are you, being
a Greek, indignant at your son when he imitates Jupiter, and rises against
you and defrauds you of your own wife? Why do you count him your enemy, and
yet worship one that is like him? And why do you blame your wife for living
in unchastity, and yet honour Venus with shrines? If indeed these things had
been related by others, they would have seemed to be mere slanderous
accusations, and not truth. But now your own poets sing these things, and
your histories noisily publish them.
Chapter V. Closing appeal.
Henceforth, ye Greeks, come and partake of incomparable wisdom, and be
instructed by the Divine Word, and acquaint yourselves with the King
immortal; and do not recognise those men as heroes who slaughter whole
nations. For our own Ruler,  the Divine Word, who even now constantly
aids us, does not desire strength of body and beauty of feature, nor yet the
high spirit of earth's nobility, but a pure soul, fortified by holiness, and
the watchwords of our King, holy actions, for through the Word power passes
into the soul. O trumpet of peace to the soul that is at war! O weapon that
puttest to flight terrible passions! O instruction that quenches the innate
fire of the soul! The Word exercises an influence which does not make poets:
it does not equip philosophers nor skilled orators, but by its instruction
it makes mortals immortal, mortals gods; and from the earth transports them
to the realms above Olympus. Come, be taught; become as I am, for I, too,
was as ye are.  These have conquered me the divinity of the
instruction, and the power of the Word: for as a skilled serpent-charmer
lures the terrible reptile from his den and causes it to flee, so the Word
drives the fearful passions of our sensual nature from the very recesses of
the soul; first driving forth lust, through which every ill is
begotten hatreds, strife, envy, emulations, anger, and such like. Lust being
once banished, the soul becomes calm and serene. And being set free from the
ills in which it was sunk up to the neck, it returns to Him who made it. For
it is fit that it be restored to that state whence it departed, whence every
soul was or is. 
 Autos gar hēmōn.
 [He seems to quote Gal. iv. 12.]
 [N. B. It should be stated that modern critics consider this work as
not improbably by another author.]
Justin's Hortatory Address to the Greeks
[Translated by the Rev. M. Dods, M.A.]
Chapter. Reasons for addressing the Greeks.
As I begin this hortatory address to you, ye men of Greece, I pray God that
I may know what I ought to say to you, and that you, shaking off your
habitual  love of disputing, and being delivered from the error of
your fathers, may now choose what is profitable; not fancying that you
commit any offence against your forefathers, though the things which you
formerly considered by no means salutary should now seem useful to you. For
accurate investigation of matters, putting truth to the question with a more
searching scrutiny, often reveals that things which have passed for
excellent are of quite another sort. Since, then, we propose to discourse of
the true religion (than which, I think, there is nothing which is counted
more valuable by those who desire to pass through life without danger, on
account of the judgment which is to be after the termination of this life,
and which is announced not only by our forefathers according to God, to wit
the prophets and lawgivers, but also by those among yourselves who have been
esteemed wise, not poets alone, but also philosophers, who professed among
you that they had attained the true and divine knowledge), I think it well
first of all to examine the teachers of religion, both our own and yours,
who they were, and how great, and in what times they lived; in order that
those who have formerly received from their fathers the false religion, may
now, when they perceive this, be extricated from that inveterate error; and
that we may clearly and manifestly show that we ourselves follow the
religion of our forefathers according to God.
 Literally, "former."
Chapter I The poets are unfit to be religious teachers.
Whom, then, ye men of Greece, do ye call your teachers of religion? The
poets? It will do your cause no good to say so to men who know the poets;
for they know how very ridiculous a theogony they have composed, as we can
learn from Homer, your most distinguished and prince of poets. For he says,
first, that the gods were in the beginning generated from water; for he has
written thus: 
"Both ocean, the origin of the gods, and their mother Tethys"
And then we must also remind you of what he further says of him whom ye
consider the first of the gods, and whom he often calls "the father of gods
and men;" for he said: 
"Zeus, who is the dispenser of war to men."
Indeed, he says that he was not only the dispenser of war to the army, but
also the cause of perjury to the Trojans, by means of his daughter; 
and Homer introduces him in love, and bitterly complaining, and bewailing
himself, and plotted against by the other gods, and at one time exclaiming
concerning his own son: 
"Alas! he falls, my most beloved of men!
Sarpedon, vanquished by Patroclus, falls.
So will the fates."
And at another time concerning Hector: 
"Ah! I behold a warrior dear to me
Around the walls of Ilium driven, and grieve
And what he says of the conspiracy of the other gods against Zeus, they know
who read these words:  "When the other Olympians Juno, and Neptune,
and Minerva wished to bind him." And unless the blessed gods had feared him
whom gods call Briareus, Zeus would have been bound by them. And what Homer
says of his intemperate loves, we must remind you in the very words he used.
For he said that Zeus spake thus to Juno: 
"For never goddess pour d, nor woman yet,
So full a tide of love into my breast;
I never loved Ixion's consort thus,
Nor sweet Acrisian Danaë, from whom
Sprang Perseus, noblest of the race of man;
Nor Phœnix daughter fair, of whom were born
Minos, unmatch d but by the powers above,
And Rhadamanthus; nor yet Semele,
Nor yet Alcmene, who in Thebes produced
The valiant Hercules; and though my son
By Semele were Bacchus, joy of man;
Nor Ceres golden-hair d, nor high-enthron'd
Latona in the skies; no nor thyself
As now I love thee, and my soul perceive
O'erwhelm d with sweetness of intense desire."
It is fit that we now mention what one can learn from the work of Homer of
the other gods, and what they suffered at the hands of men. For he says that
Mars and Venus were wounded by Diomed, and of many others of the gods he
relates the sufferings. For thus we can gather from the case of Dione
consoling her daughter; for she said to her: 
"Have patience, dearest child; though much enforc d
Restrain thine anger: we, in heav n who dwell,
Have much to bear from mortals; and ourselves
Too oft upon each other suff rings lay:
Mars had his suff rings; by Alöeus sons,
Otus and Ephialtes, strongly bound,
He thirteen months in brazen fetters lay:
Juno, too, suffer d, when Amphitryon's son
Thro her right breast a three-barb d arrow sent:
Dire, and unheard of, were the pangs she bore,
Great Pluto's self the stinging arrow felt,
When that same son of Ægis-bearing Jove
Assail d him in the very gates of hell,
And wrought him keenest anguish; pierced with pain,
To high Olympus, to the courts of Jove,
Groaning, he came; the bitter shaft remain'd
Deep in his shoulder fix d, and griev d his soul."
But if it is right to remind you of the battle of the gods, opposed to one
another, your own poet himself will recount it, saying: 
"Such was the shock when gods in battle met;
For there to royal Neptune stood oppos'd
Phœbus Apollo with his arrows keen;
The blue-eyed Pallas to the god of war;
To Juno, Dian, heav nly archeress,
Sister of Phœbus, golden-shafted queen.
Stout Hermes, helpful god, Latona fac'd."
These and such like things did Homer teach you; and not Homer only, but also
Hesiod. So that if you believe your most distinguished poets, who have given
the genealogies of your gods, you must of necessity either suppose that the
gods are such beings as these, or believe that there are no gods at all.
 Iliad, xiv. 302.
 Iliad, xix. 224.
 That is, Venus, who, after Paris had sworn that the war should be
decided by single combat between himself and Menelaus, carried him off, and
induced him, though defeated, to refuse performance of the articles agreed
 Iliad, xvi. 433. Sarpedon was a son of Zeus.
 Iliad, xxii. 168.
 Iliad, i. 399, etc.
 Iliad, xiv. 315. (The passage is here given in full from Cowper s
translation. In Justin's quotation one or two lines are omitted.)
 Iliad, v. 382 (from Lord Derby's translation).
 Iliad, xx. 66 (from Lord Derby's translation).
Chapter II. Opinions of the school of Thales.
And if you decline citing the poets, because you say it is allowable for
them to frame myths, and to relate in a mythical way many things about the
gods which are far from true, do you suppose you have some others for your
religious teachers, or how do you say that they themselves  have
learned this religion of yours? For it is impossible that any should know
matters so great and divine, who have not themselves learned them first from
the initiated.  You will no doubt say, "The sages and philosophers."
For to them, as to a fortified wall, you are wont to flee, when any one
quotes the opinions of your poets about the gods. Therefore, since it is fit
that we commence with the ancients and the earliest, beginning thence I will
produce the opinion of each, much more ridiculous as it is than the theology
of the poets. For Thales of Miletus, who took the lead in the study of
natural philosophy, declared that water was the first principle of all
things; for from water he says that all things are, and that into water all
are resolved. And after him Anaximander, who came from the same Miletus,
said that the infinite was the first principle of all things; for that from
this indeed all things are produced, and into this do all decay. Thirdly,
Anaximenes and he too was from Miletus says that air is the first principle
of all things; for he says that from this all things are produced, and into
this all are resolved. Heraclitus and Hippasus, from Metapontus, say that
fire is the first principle of all things; for from fire all things proceed,
and in fire do all things terminate. Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ said that the
homogeneous parts are the first principles of all things. Archelaus, the son
of Apollodorus, an Athenian, says that the infinite air and its density and
rarity are the first principle of all things. All these, forming a
succession from Thales, followed the philosophy called by themselves
 i.e., these teachers.
 Literally, "those who knew."
Chapter IV. Opinions of Pythagoras and Epicurus.
Then, in regular succession from another starting-point, Pythagoras the
Samian, son of Mnesarchus, calls numbers, with their proportions and
harmonies, and the elements composed of both, the first principles; and he
includes also unity and the indefinite binary.  Epicurus, an Athenian,
the son of Neocles, says that the first principles of the things that exist
are bodies perceptible by reason, admitting no vacuity,  unbegotten,
indestructible, which can neither be broken, nor admit of any formation of
their parts, nor alteration, and are therefore perceptible by reason.
Empedocles of Agrigentum, son of Meton, maintained that there were four
elements fire, air, water, earth; and two elementary powers love and hate,
 of which the former is a power of union, the latter of separation.
You see, then, the confusion of those who are considered by you to have been
wise men, whom you assert to be your teachers of religion: some of them
declaring that water is the first principle of all things; others, air
others, fire; and others, some other of these fore-mentioned elements; and
all of them employing persuasive arguments for the establishment of their
own errors, and attempting to prove their own peculiar dogma to be the most
valuable. These things were said by them. How then, ye men of Greece, can it
be safe for those who desire to be saved, to fancy that they can learn the
true religion from these philosophers, who were neither able so to convince
themselves as to prevent sectarian wrangling with one another, and not to
appear definitely opposed to one another's opinions?
 monada kai tēn aoriston duada. One, or unity, was considered by
Pythagoras as the essence of number, and also as God. Two, or the indefinite
binary, was the equivalent of evil. So Plutarch, De placit. philosoph., c.
7; from which treatise the above opinions of the various sects are quoted,
 ametocha kenou: the void being that in which these bodies move, while
they themselves are of a different nature from it.
 Or, accord and discord, attraction and repulsion.
Chapter V. Opinions of Plato and Aristotle.
But possibly those who are unwilling to give up the ancient and inveterate
error, maintain that they have received the doctrine of their religion not
from those who have now been mentioned, but from those who are esteemed
among them as the most renowned and finished philosophers, Plato and
Aristotle. For these, they say, have learned the perfect and true religion.
But I would be glad to ask, first of all, from those who say so, from whom
they say that these men have learned this knowledge; for it is impossible
that men who have not learned these so great and divine matters from some
who knew them, should either themselves know them, or be able correctly to
teach others; and, in the second place, I think we ought to examine the
opinions even of these sages. For we shall see whether each of these does
not manifestly contradict the other. But if we find that even they do not
agree with each other, I think it is easy to see clearly that they too are
ignorant. For Plato, with the air of one that has descended from above, and
has accurately ascertained and seen all that is in heaven, says that the
most high God exists in a fiery substance.  But Aristotle, in a book
addressed to Alexander of Macedon, giving a compendious explanation of his
own philosophy, clearly and manifestly overthrows the opinion of Plato,
saying that God does not exist in a fiery substance: but inventing, as a
fifth substance, some kind of ætherial and unchangeable body, says that God
exists in it. Thus, at least, he wrote: "Not, as some of those who have
erred regarding the Deity say, that God exists in a fiery substance." Then,
as if he were not satisfied with this blasphemy against Plato, he further,
for the sake of proving what he says about the ætherial body, cites as a
witness him whom Plato had banished from his republic as a liar, and as
being an imitator of the images of truth at three removes,  for so
Plato calls Homer; for he wrote: "Thus at least did Homer speak,  "And
Zeus obtained the wide heaven in the air and the clouds, " wishing to make
his own opinion appear more worthy of credit by the testimony of Homer; not
being aware that if he used Homer as a witness to prove that he spoke truth,
many of his tenets would be proved untrue. For Thales of Miletus, who was
the founder of philosophy among them, taking occasion from him,  will
contradict his first opinions about first principles. For Aristotle himself,
having said that God and matter are the first principles of all things,
Thales, the eldest of all their sages, says that water is the first
principle of the things that exist; for he says that all things are from
water, and that all things are resolved into water. And he conjectures this,
first, from the fact that the seed of all living creatures, which is their
first principle, is moist; and secondly, because all plants grow and bear
fruit in moisture, but when deprived of moisture, wither. Then, as if not
satisfied with his conjectures, he cites Homer as a most trustworthy
testimony, who speaks thus:
"Ocean, who is the origin of all." 
May not Thales, then, very fairly say to him, "What is the reason,
Aristotle, why you give heed to Homer, as if he spoke truth, when you wish
to demolish the opinions of Plato; but when you promulgate an opinion
contrary to ours, you think Homer untruthful?"
 Or, "is of a fiery nature."
 See the Republic, x. 2. By the Platonic doctrine, the ideas of things
in the mind of God were the realities; the things themselves, as seen by us,
were the images of these realities; and poetry, therefore, describing the
images of realities, was only at the third remove from nature. As Plato puts
it briefly in this same passage, "the painter, the bed-maker, God these
three are the masters of three species of beds."
 Iliad, xv. 192.
 i.e., from Homer; using Homer's words as suggestive and confirmatory
of his doctrine.
 Iliad, xiv. 246.
Chapter VI. Further disagreements between Plato and Aristotle.
And that these very wonderful sages of yours do not even agree in other
respects, can be easily learned from this. For while Plato says that there
are three first principles of all things, God, and matter, and form, God,
the maker of all; and matter, which is the subject of the first production
of all that is produced, and affords to God opportunity for His workmanship;
and form, which is the type of each of the things produced, Aristotle makes
no mention at all of form as a first principle, but says that there are two,
God and matter. And again, while Plato says that the highest God and the
ideas exist in the first place of the highest heavens, and in fixed sphere,
Aristotle says that, next to the most high God, there are, not ideas, but
certain gods, who can be perceived by the mind. Thus, then, do they differ
concerning things heavenly. So that one can see that they not only are
unable to understand our earthly matters, but also, being at variance among
themselves regarding these things, they will appear unworthy of credit when
they treat of things heavenly. And that even their doctrine regarding the
human soul as it now is does not harmonize, is manifest from what has been
said by each of them concerning it. For Plato says that it is of three
parts, having the faculty of reason, of affection, and of appetite. 
But Aristotle says that the soul is not so comprehensive as to include also
corruptible parts, but only reason. And Plato loudly maintains that "the
whole soul is immortal." But Aristotle, naming it "the actuality," 
would have it to be mortal, not immortal. And the former says it is always
in motion; but Aristotle says that it is immoveable, since it must itself
precede all motion.
 to logikon to thumikon, to epithumētikon, corresponding to what we
roughly speak of as reason, the heart, and the appetites.
 entelecheia, the completion or actuality to which each thing, by
virtue of its peculiar nature (or potentiality, dunamis), can arrive.
Chapter VII. Inconsistencies of Plato's doctrine.
But in these things they are convicted of thinking in contradiction to each
other. And if any one will accurately criticise their writings, they have
chosen to abide in harmony not even with their own opinions. Plato, at any
rate, at one time says that there are three first principles of the
universe God, and matter, and form; but at another time four, for he adds
the universal soul. And again, when he has already said that matter is
eternal,  he afterwards says that it is produced; and when he has
first given to form its peculiar rank as a first principle, and has asserted
for its self-subsistence, he afterwards says that this same thing is among
the things perceived by the understanding. Moreover, having first declared
that everything that is made is mortal  he afterwards states that some
of the things that are made are indestructible and immortal. What, then, is
the cause why those who have been esteemed wise among you disagree not only
with one another but also with themselves? Manifestly, their unwillingness
to learn from those who know, and their desire to attain accurate knowledge
of things heavenly by their own human excess of wisdom though they were able
to understand not even earthly matters. Certainly some of your philosophers
say that the human soul is in us; others, that it is around us. For not even
in this did they choose to agree with one another, but, distributing, as it
were, ignorance in various ways among themselves, they thought fit to
wrangle and dispute with one another even about the soul. For some of them
say that the soul is fire, and some that it is the air; and others, the
mind; and others, motion; and others, an exhalation; and certain others say
that it is a power flowing from the stars; and others, number capable of
motion; and others, a generating water. And a wholly confused and
inharmonious opinion has prevailed among them, which only in this one
respect appears praiseworthy to those who can form a right judgment, that
they have been anxious to convict one another of error and falsehood.
 Literally, "unbegotten."
 Or, "liable to destruction."
Chapter VIII. Antiquity, inspiration, and harmony of Christian teachers.
Since therefore it is impossible to learn anything true concerning religion
from your teachers, who by their mutual disagreement have furnished you with
sufficient proof of their own ignorance, I consider it reasonable to recur
to our progenitors, who both in point of time have by a great way the
precedence of your teachers, and who have taught us nothing from their own
private fancy, nor differed with one another, nor attempted to overturn one
another's positions, but without wrangling and contention received from God
the knowledge which also they taught to us. For neither by nature nor by
human conception is it possible for men to know things so great and divine,
but by the gift which then descended from above upon the holy men, who had
no need of rhetorical art,  nor of uttering anything in a contentious
or quarrelsome manner, but to present themselves pure  to the energy
of the Divine Spirit, in order that the divine plectrum itself, descending
from heaven, and using righteous men as an instrument like a harp or lyre,
might reveal to us the knowledge of things divine and heavenly. Wherefore,
as if with one mouth and one tongue, they have in succession, and in harmony
with one another, taught us both concerning God, and the creation of the
world, and the formation of man, and concerning the immortality of the human
soul, and the judgment which is to be after this life, and concerning all
things which it is needful for us to know, and thus in divers times and
places have afforded us the divine instruction. 
 Literally, "the art of words."
 Literally, "clean," free from other influences.
 [The diversities of Christian theology are to be regretted; but
Justin here shows the harmony and order of truths, such as are everywhere
received by Christians, to be an inestimable advantage.]
Chapter IX. The antiquity of Moses proved by Greek writers.
I will begin, then, with our first prophet and lawgiver, Moses; first
explaining the times in which he lived, on authorities which among you are
worthy of all credit. For I do not propose to prove these things only from
our own divine histories, which as yet you are unwilling to credit on
account of the inveterate error of your forefathers, but also from your own
histories, and such, too, as have no reference to our worship, that you may
know that, of all your teachers, whether sages, poets, historians,
philosophers, or lawgivers, by far the oldest, as the Greek histories show
us, was Moses, who was our first religious teacher.  For in the times
of Ogyges and Inachus, whom some of your poets suppose to have been
earth-born,  Moses is mentioned as the leader and ruler of the Jewish
nation. For in this way he is mentioned both by Polemon in the first book of
his Hellenics, and by Apion son of Posidonius in his book against the Jews,
and in the fourth book of his history, where he says that during the reign
of Inachus over Argos the Jews revolted from Amasis king of the Egyptians,
and that Moses led them. And Ptolemæus the Mendesian, in relating the
history of Egypt, concurs in all this. And those who write the Athenian
history, Hellanicus and Philochorus (the author of The Attic History),
Castor and Thallus and Alexander Polyhistor, and also the very well informed
writers on Jewish affairs, Philo and Josephus, have mentioned Moses as a
very ancient and time-honoured prince of the Jews. Josephus, certainly,
desiring to signify even by the title of his work the antiquity and age of
the history, wrote thus at the commencement of the history: "The Jewish
antiquities  of Flavius Josephus," signifying the oldness of the
history by the word "antiquities." And your most renowned historian
Diodorus, who employed thirty whole years in epitomizing the libraries, and
who, as he himself wrote, travelled over both Asia and Europe for the sake
of great accuracy, and thus became an eye-witness of very many things, wrote
forty entire books of his own history. And he in the first book, having said
that he had learned from the Egyptian priests that Moses was an ancient
lawgiver, and even the first, wrote of him in these very words: "For
subsequent to the ancient manner of living in Egypt which gods and heroes
are fabled to have regulated, they say that Moses  first persuaded the
people to use written laws, and to live by them; and he is recorded to have
been a man both great of soul and of great faculty in social matters." Then,
having proceeded a little further, and wishing to mention the ancient
lawgivers, he mentions Moses first. For he spoke in these words: "Among the
Jews they say that Moses ascribed his laws  to that God who is called
Jehovah, whether because they judged it a marvellous and quite divine
conception which promised to benefit a multitude of men, or because they
were of opinion that the people would be the more obedient when they
contemplated the majesty and power of those who were said to have invented
the laws. And they say that Sasunchis was the second Egyptian legislator, a
man of excellent understanding. And the third, they say, was Sesonchosis the
king, who not only performed the most brilliant military exploits of any in
Egypt, but also consolidated that warlike race by legislation. And the
fourth lawgiver, they say, was Bocchoris the king, a wise and surpassingly
skilful man. And after him it is said that Amasis the king acceded to the
government, whom they relate to have regulated all that pertains to the
rulers of provinces, and to the general administration of the government of
Egypt. And they say that Darius, the father of Xerxes, was the sixth who
legislated for the Egyptians."
 The incongruity in this sentence is Justin s.
 [Autochthones]. That is, sprung from the soil; and hence the oldest
inhabitants, the aborigines.
 Literally, archæology.
 Unfortunately, Justin here mistook Menes for Moses. [But he may have
so read the name in his copy. See Grabe's note on Diodorus, and the
quotation following in another note.]
 This sentence must be so completed from the context in Diodorus. See
the note of Maranus.
Chapter X Training and inspiration of Moses. 
These things, ye men of Greece, have been recorded in writing concerning the
antiquity of Moses by those who were not of our religion; and they said that
they learned all these things from the Egyptian priests, among whom Moses
was not only born, but also was thought worthy of partaking of all the
education of the Egyptians, on account of his being adopted by the king s
daughter as her son; and for the same reason was thought worthy of great
attention, as the wisest of the historians relate, who have chosen to record
his life and actions, and the rank of his descent, I speak of Philo and
Josephus. For these, in their narration of the history of the Jews, say that
Moses was sprung from the race of the Chaldæans, and that he was born in
Egypt when his forefathers had migrated on account of famine from Phœnicia
to that country; and him God chose to honour on account of his exceeding
virtue, and judged him worthy to become the leader and lawgiver of his own
race, when He thought it right that the people of the Hebrews should return
out of Egypt into their own land. To him first did God communicate that
divine and prophetic gift which in those days descended upon the holy men,
and him also did He first furnish that he might be our teacher in religion,
and then after him the rest of the prophets, who both obtained the same gift
as he, and taught us the same doctrines concerning the same subjects. These
we assert to have been our teachers, who taught us nothing from their own
human conception, but from the gift vouchsafed to them by God from above.
 [Consult the ponderous learning of Warburton's Divine Legation,
Chapter XI. Heathen oracles testify of Moses.
But as you do not see the necessity of giving up the ancient error of your
forefathers in obedience to these teachers [of ours], what teachers of your
own do you maintain to have lived worthy of credit in the matter of
religion? For, as I have frequently said, it is impossible that those who
have not themselves learned these so great and divine things from such
persons as are acquainted with them, should either themselves know them, or
be able rightly to teach others. Since, therefore, it has been sufficiently
proved that the opinions of your philosophers are obviously full of all
ignorance and deceit, having now perhaps wholly abandoned the philosophers
as formerly you abandoned the poets, you will turn to the deceit of the
oracles; for in this style I have heard some speaking. Therefore I think it
fit to tell you at this step in our discourse what I formerly heard among
you concerning their utterances. For when one inquired at your oracle it is
your own story what religious men had at any time happened to live, you say
that the oracle answered thus: "Only the Chaldæans have obtained wisdom, and
the Hebrews, who worship God Himself, the self-begotten King."
Since, therefore, you think that the truth can be learned from your oracles,
when you read the histories and what has been written regarding the life of
Moses by those who do not belong to our religion, and when you know that
Moses and the rest of the prophets were descended from the race of the
Chaldæans and Hebrews, do not think that anything incredible has taken place
if a man sprung from a godly line, and who lived worthily of the godliness
of his fathers, was chosen by God to be honoured with this great gift and to
be set forth as the first of all the prophets.
Chapter XII. Antiquity of Moses proved.
And I think it necessary also to consider the times in which your
philosophers lived, that you may see that the time which produced them for
you is very recent, and also short. For thus you will be able easily to
recognise also the antiquity of Moses. But lest, by a complete survey of the
periods, and by the use of a greater number of proofs, I should seem to be
prolix, I thing it may be sufficiently demonstrated from the following. For
Socrates was the teacher of Plato, and Plato of Aristotle. Now these men
flourished in the time of Philip and Alexander of Macedon, in which time
also the Athenian orators flourished, as the Philippics of Demosthenes
plainly show us. And those who have narrated the deeds of Alexander
sufficiently prove that during his reign Aristotle associated with him. From
all manner of proofs, then, it is easy to see that the history of Moses is
by far more ancient than all profane  histories. And, besides, it is
fit that you recognise this fact also, that nothing has been accurately
recorded by Greeks before the era of the Olympiads, and that there is no
ancient work which makes known any action of the Greeks or Barbarians. But
before that period existed only the history of the prophet Moses, which he
wrote in the Hebrew character by the divine inspiration. For the Greek
character was not yet in use, as the teachers of language themselves prove,
telling us that Cadmus first brought the letters from Phœnicia, and
communicated them to the Greeks. And your first of philosophers, Plato,
testifies that they were a recent discovery. For in the Timæus  he
wrote that Solon, the wisest of the wise men, on his return from Egypt, said
to Critias that he had heard this from a very aged Egyptian priest, who said
to him, "O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are ever children, and aged Greek there
is none." Then again he said, "You are all youths in soul, for you hold no
ancient opinion derived through remote tradition, nor any system of
instruction hoary with time; but all these things escape your knowledge,
because for many generations the posterity of these ancient ages died mute,
not having the use of letters." It is fit, therefore, that you understand
that it is the fact that every history has been written in these
recently-discovered Greek letters; and if any one would make mention of old
poets, or legislators, or historians, or philosophers, or orators, he will
find that they wrote their own works in the Greek character.
 Literally, "without," not belonging to the true faith.
 C. 3.
Chapter XIII. History of the Septuagint.
But if any one says that the writings of Moses and of the rest of the
prophets were also written in the Greek character, let him read profane
histories, and know that Ptolemy, king of Egypt, when he had built the
library in Alexandria, and by gathering books from every quarter had filled
it, then learnt that very ancient histories written in Hebrew happened to be
carefully preserved; and wishing to know their contents, he sent for seventy
wise men from Jerusalem, who were acquainted with both the Greek and Hebrew
language, and appointed them to translate the books; and that in freedom
from all disturbance they might the more speedily complete the translation,
he ordered that there should be constructed, not in the city itself, but
seven stadia off (where the Pharos was built), as many little cots as there
were translators, so that each by himself might complete his own
translation; and enjoined upon those officers who were appointed to this
duty, to afford them all attendance, but to prevent communication with one
another, in order that the accuracy of the translation might be discernible
even by their agreement. And when he ascertained that the seventy men had
not only given the same meaning, but had employed the same words, and had
failed in agreement with one another not even to the extent of one word; but
had written the same things, and concerning the same things, he was struck
with amazement, and believed that the translation had been written by divine
power, and perceived that the men were worthy of all honour, as beloved of
God; and with many gifts ordered them to return to their own country. And
having, as was natural, marvelled at the books, and concluded them to be
divine, he consecrated them in that library. These things, ye men of Greece,
are no fable, nor do we narrate fictions; but we ourselves having been in
Alexandria, saw the remains of the little cots at the Pharos still
preserved, and having heard these things from the inhabitants, who had
received them as part of their country's tradition,  we now tell to
you what you can also learn from others, and specially from those wise and
esteemed men who have written of these things, Philo and Josephus, and many
others. But if any of those who are wont to be forward in contradiction
should say that these books do not belong to us, but to the Jews, and should
assert that we in vain profess to have learnt our religion froth them, let
him know, as he may from those very things which are written in these books,
that not to them, but to us, does the doctrine of them refer. That the books
relating to our religion are to this day preserved among the Jews, has been
a work of Divine Providence on our behalf; for lest, by producing them out
of the Church, we should give occasion to those who wish to slander us to
charge us with fraud, we demand that they be produced from the synagogue of
the Jews, that from the very books still preserved among them it might
clearly and evidently appear, that the laws which were written by holy men
for instruction pertain to us.
 [Doubtless Justin relates the tradition as he received it. Consult
Dr. Selwyn's full account of the fables concerning the LXX., in Smith s
Dict. of the Bible, iii. p. 1203 ff.]
Chapter XIV. A warning appeal to the Greeks.
It is therefore necessary, ye Greeks, that you contemplate the things that
are to be, and consider the judgment which is predicted by all, not only by
the godly, but also by those who are irreligious, that ye do not without
investigation commit yourselves to the error of your fathers, nor suppose
that if they themselves have been in error, and have transmitted it to you,
that this which they have taught you is true; but looking to the danger of
so terrible a mistake, inquire and investigate carefully into those things
which are, as you say, spoken of even by your own teachers. For even
unwillingly they were on your account forced to say many things by the
Divine regard for mankind, especially those of them who were in Egypt, and
profited by the godliness of Moses and his ancestry. For I think that some
of you, when you read even carelessly the history of Diodorus, and of those
others who wrote of these things, cannot fail to see that both Orpheus, and
Homer, and Solon, who wrote the laws of the Athenians, and Pythagoras, and
Plato, and some others, when they had been in Egypt, and had taken advantage
of the history of Moses, afterwards published doctrines concerning the gods
quite contrary to those which formerly they had erroneously promulgated.
Chapter XV. Testimony of Orpheus to monotheism.
At all events, we must remind you what Orpheus, who was, as one might say,
your first teacher of polytheism, latterly addressed to his son Musæus, and
to the other legitimate auditors, concerning the one and only God. And he
"I speak to those who lawfully may hear:
All others, ye profane, now close the doors,
And, O Musæus! hearken thou to me,
Who offspring art of the light-bringing moon:
The words I utter now are true indeed;
And if thou former thoughts of mine hast seen,
Let them not rob thee of the blessed life,
But rather turn the depths of thine own heart
Unto the place where light and knowledge dwell.
Take thou the word divine to guide thy steps,
And walking well in the straight certain path,
Look to the one and universal King
One, self-begotten, and the only One,
Of whom all things and we ourselves are sprung.
All things are open to His piercing gaze,
While He Himself is still invisible.
Present in all His works, though still unseen,
He gives to mortals evil out of good,
Sending both chilling wars and tearful griefs;
And other than the great King there is none.
The clouds for ever settle round His throne,
And mortal eyeballs in mere mortal eyes
Are weak, to see Jove reigning over all.
He sits established in the brazen heavens
Upon His golden throne; under His feet
He treads the earth, and stretches His right hand
To all the ends of ocean, and around
Tremble the mountain ranges and the streams,
The depths, too, of the blue and hoary sea."
And again, in some other place he says:
"There is one Zeus alone, one sun, one hell,
One Bacchus; and in all things but one God;
Nor of all these as diverse let me speak."
And when he swears he says:
"Now I adjure thee by the highest heaven,
The work of the great God, the only wise;
And I adjure thee by the Father's voice.
Which first He uttered when He stablished
The whole world by His counsel."
What does he mean by "I adjure thee by the Father's voice, which first He
uttered?" It is the Word of God which he here names "the voice," by whom
heaven and earth and the whole creation were made, as the divine prophecies
of the holy men teach us; and these he himself also paid some attention to
in Egypt, and understood that all creation was made by the Word of God; and
therefore, after he says, "I adjure thee by the Father's voice, which first
He uttered," he adds this besides, "when by His counsel He established the
whole world." Here he calls the Word "voice," for the sake of the poetical
metre. And that this is so, is manifest from the fact, that a little further
on, where the metre permits him, he names it "Word." For he said:
"Take thou the Word divine to guide thy steps."
Chapter XVI. Testimony of the Sibyl.
We must also mention what the ancient and exceedingly remote Sibyl, whom
Plato and Aristophanes, and others besides, mention as a prophetess, taught
you in her oracular verses concerning one only God. And she speaks thus:
"There is one only unbegotten God,
Omnipotent, invisible, most high,
All-seeing, but Himself seen by no flesh."
Then elsewhere thus:
"But we have strayed from the Immortal's ways,
And worship with a dull and senseless mind
Idols, the workmanship of our own hands,
And images and figures of dead men."
And again somewhere else:
"Blessed shall be those men upon the earth
Who shall love the great God before all else,
Blessing Him when they eat and when they drink;
Trusting it, this their piety alone.
Who shall abjure all shrines which they may see,
All altars and vain figures of dumb stones,
Worthless and stained with blood of animals,
And sacrifice of the four-fooled tribes,
Beholding the great glory of One God."
These are the Sibyl's words.
Chapter XVII. Testimony of Homer.
And the poet Homer, using the license of poetry, and rivalling the original
opinion of Orpheus regarding the plurality of the gods, mentions, indeed,
several gods in a mythical style, lest he should seem to sing in a different
strain from the poem of Orpheus, which he so distinctly proposed to rival,
that even in the first line of his poem he indicated the relation he held to
him. For as Orpheus in the beginning of his poem had said, "O goddess, sing
the wrath of Demeter, who brings the goodly fruit," Homer began thus, "O
goddess, sing the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus," preferring, as it seems
to me, even to violate the poetical metre in his first line, than that he
should seem not to have remembered before all else the names of the gods.
But shortly after he also clearly and explicitly presents his own opinion
regarding one God only, somewhere  saying to Achilles by the mouth of
Phœnix, "Not though God Himself were to promise that He would peel off my
old age, and give me the rigour of my youth," where he indicates by the
pronoun the real and true God. And somewhere  he makes Ulysses address
the host of the Greeks thus: "The rule of many is not a good thing; let
there be one ruler." And that the rule of many is not a good thing, but on
the contrary an evil, he proposed to evince by fact, recounting the wars
which took place on account of the multitude of rulers, and the fights and
factions, and their mutual counterplots. For monarchy is free from
contention. So far the poet Homer.
 Iliad, ix. 445.
 Iliad, ii. 204.
Chapter XVIII. Testimony of Sophocles.
And if it is needful that we add testimonies concerning one God, even from
the dramatists, hear even Sophocles speaking thus:
"There is one God, in truth there is but one,
Who made the heavens and the broad earth beneath,
The glancing waves of ocean and the winds
But many of us mortals err in heart,
And set up for a solace in our woes
Images of the gods in stone and wood,
Or figures carved in brass or ivory,
And, furnishing for these our handiworks,
Both sacrifice and rite magnificent,
We think that thus we do a pious work."
Thus, then, Sophocles.
Chapter XIX. Testimony of Pythagoras.
And Pythagoras, son of Mnesarchus, who expounded the doctrines of his own
philosophy, mystically by means of symbols, as those who have written his
life show, himself seems to have entertained thoughts about the unity of God
not unworthy of his foreign residence in Egypt. For when he says that unity
is the first principle of all things, and that it is the cause of all good,
he teaches by an allegory that God is one, and alone.  And that this
is so, is evident from his saying that unity and one differ widely from one
another. For he says that unity belongs to the class of things perceived by
the mind, but that one belongs to numbers. And if you desire to see a
clearer proof of the opinion of Pythagoras concerning one God, hear his own
opinion, for he spoke as follows: "God is one; and He Himself does not, as
some suppose, exist outside the world, but in it, He being wholly present in
the whole circle, and beholding all generations; being the regulating
ingredient of all the ages, and the administrator of His own powers and
works, the first principle of all things, the light of heaven, and Father of
all, the intelligence and animating soul of the universe, the movement of
all orbits." Thus, then, Pythagoras.
 Has no fellow.
Chapter XX. Testimony of Plato.
But Plato, though he accepted, as is likely, the doctrine of Moses and the
other prophets regarding one only God, which he learned while in Egypt, yet
fearing, on account of what had befallen Socrates, lest he also should raise
up some Anytus or Meletus against himself, who should accuse him before the
Athenians, and say, "Plato is doing harm, and making himself mischievously
busy, not acknowledging the gods recognised by the state;" in fear of the
hemlock-juice, contrives an elaborate and ambiguous discourse concerning the
gods, furnishing by his treatise gods to those who wish them, and none for
those who are differently disposed, as may readily be seen from his own
statements. For when he has laid down that everything that is made is
mortal, he afterwards says that the gods were made. If, then, he would have
God and matter to be the origin of all things, manifestly it is inevitably
necessary to say that the gods were made of matter; but if of matter, out of
which he said that evil also had its origin, he leaves right-thinking
persons to consider what kind of beings the gods should be thought who are
produced out of matter. For, for this very reason did he say that matter was
eternal,  that he might not seem to say that God is the creator of
evil. And regarding the gods who were made by God, there is no doubt he said
this: "Gods of gods, of whom I am the creator." And he manifestly held the
correct opinion concerning the really existing God. For having heard in
Egypt that God had said to Moses, when He was about to send him to the
Hebrews, "I am that I am,"  he understood that God had not mentioned
to him His own proper name.
 Or, "uncreated."
 ho ōn, "He who is; the Being."
Chapter XXI. The namelessness of God.
For God cannot be called by any proper name, for names are given to mark out
and distinguish their subject-matters, because these are many and diverse;
but neither did any one exist before God who could give Him a name, nor did
He Himself think it right to name Himself, seeing that He is one and unique,
as He Himself also by His own prophets testifies, when He says, "I God am
the first," and after this, "And beside me there is no other God."  On
this account, then, as I before said, God did not, when He sent Moses to the
Hebrews, mention any name, but by a participle He mystically teaches them
that He is the one and only God. "For," says He; "I am the Being;"
manifestly contrasting Himself, "the Being," with those who are not, 
that those who had hitherto been deceived might see that they were attaching
themselves, not to beings, but to those who had no being. Since, therefore,
God knew that the first men remembered the old delusion of their
forefathers, whereby the misanthropic demon contrived to deceive them when
he said to them, "If ye obey me in transgressing the commandment of God, ye
shall be as gods," calling those gods which had no being, in order that men,
supposing that there were other gods in existence, might believe that they
themselves could become gods. On this account He said to Moses, "I am the
Being," that by the participle "being" He might teach the difference between
God who is and those who are not.  Men, therefore, having been duped
by the deceiving demon, and having dared to disobey God, were cast out of
Paradise, remembering the name of gods, but no longer being taught by God
that there are no other gods. For it was not just that they who did not keep
the first commandment, which it was easy to keep, should any longer be
taught, but should rather be driven to just punishment. Being therefore
banished from Paradise, and thinking that they were expelled on account of
their disobedience only, not knowing that it was also because they had
believed in the existence of gods which did not exist, they gave the name of
gods even to the men who were afterwards born of themselves. This first
false fancy, therefore, concerning gods, had its origin with the father of
lies. God, therefore, knowing that the false opinion about the plurality of
gods was burdening the soul of man like some disease, and wishing to remove
and eradicate it, appeared first to Moses, and said to him, "I am He who
is." For it was necessary, I think, that he who was to be the ruler and
leader of the Hebrew people should first of all know the living God.
Wherefore, having appeared to him first, as it was possible for God to
appear to a man, He said to him, "I am He who is;" then, being about to send
him to the Hebrews, He further orders him to say, "He who is hath sent me to
 Isa. xliv. 6.
 Literally, "with the not-beings."
 Literally, "between the God being and not-beings."
Chapter XXII. Studied ambiguity Plato.
Plato accordingly having learned this in Egypt, and being greatly taken with
what was said about one God, did indeed consider it unsafe to mention the
name of Moses, on account of his teaching the doctrine of one only God, for
he dreaded the Areopagus; but what is very well expressed by him in his
elaborate treatise, the Timæus, he has written in exact correspondence with
what Moses said regarding God, though he has done so, not as if he had
learned it from him, but as if he were expressing his own opinion. For he
said, "In my opinion, then, we must first define what that is which exists
eternally, and has no generation,  and what that is which is always
being generated, but never really is." Does not this, ye men of Greece, seem
to those who are able to understand the matter to be one and the same thing,
saving only the difference of the article? For Moses said, "He who is," and
Plato, "That which is." But either of the expressions seems to apply to the
ever-existent God. For He is the only one who eternally exists, and has no
generation. What, then, that other thing is which is contrasted with the
ever-existent, and of which he said, "And what that is which is always being
generated, but never really is," we must attentively consider. For we shall
find him clearly and evidently saying that He who is unbegotten is eternal,
but that those that are begotten and made are generated and perish 
as he said of the same class, "gods of gods, of whom I am maker" for he
speaks in the following words: "In my opinion, then, we must first define
what that is which is always existent and has no birth, and what that is
which is always being generated but never really is. The former, indeed,
which is apprehended by reflection combined with reason, always exists in
the same way;  while the latter, on the other hand, is conjectured by
opinion formed by the perception of the senses unaided by reason, since it
never really is, but is coming into being and perishing." These expressions
declare to those who can rightly understand them the death and destruction
of the gods that have been brought into being. And I think it necessary to
attend to this also, that Plato never names him the creator, but the
fashioner  of the gods, although, in the opinion of Plato, there is
considerable difference between these two. For the creator creates the
creature by his own capability and power, being in need of nothing else; but
the fashioner frames his production when he has received from matter the
capability for his work.
 That is, "is not produced or created; has no birth."
 Or, "are born and die."
 kata tauta "according to the same things," i.e., in eternal
 Or, "demiurge or maker."
Chapter XXIII. Plato's self-contradiction.
But, perhaps, some who are unwilling to abandon the doctrines of polytheism,
will say that to these fashioned gods the maker said, "Since ye have been
produced, ye are not immortal, nor at all, imperishable; yet shall ye not
perish nor succumb to the fatality of death, because you have obtained my
will,  which is a still greater and mightier bond." Here Plato,
through fear of the adherents of polytheism, introduces his "maker" uttering
words which contradict himself. For having formerly stated that he said that
everything which is produced is perishable, he now introduces him saying the
very opposite; and he does not see that it is thus absolutely impossible for
him to escape the charge of falsehood. For he either at first uttered what
is false when he said that everything which is produced is perishable, or
now, when he propounds the very opposite to what he had formerly said. For
if, according to his former definition, it is absolutely necessary that
every created thing be perishable, how can he consistently make that
possible which is absolutely impossible? So that Plato seems to grant an
empty and impossible prerogative to his "maker," when he propounds that
those who were once perishable because made from matter should again, by his
intervention, become imperishable and enduring. For it is quite natural that
the power of matter, which, according to Plato's opinion, is uncreated, and
contemporary and coæval with the maker, should resist his will. For he who
has not created has no power, in respect of that which is uncreated, so that
it is not possible that it (matter), being free, can be controlled by any
external necessity. Wherefore Plato himself, in consideration of this, has
written thus: "It is necessary to affirm that God cannot suffer violence."
 That is, "my will to the contrary." See Plato, Tim., p. 41 [cap 13].
Chapter XXIV. Agreement of Plato and Homer.
How, then, does Plato banish Homer from his republic, since, in the embassy
to Achilles, he represents Phœnix as saying to Achilles, "Even the gods
themselves are not inflexible,"  though Homer said this not of the
king and Platonic maker of the gods, but of some of the multitude whom the
Greeks esteem as gods, as one can gather from Plato's saying, "gods of
gods?" For Homer, by that golden chain,  refers all power and might to
the one highest God. And the rest of the gods, he said, were so far distant
from his divinity, that he thought fit to name them even along with men. At
least he introduces Ulysses saying of Hector to Achilles, "He is raging
terribly, trusting in Zeus, and values neither men nor gods."  In this
passage Homer seems to me without doubt to have learnt in Egypt, like Plato,
concerning the one God, and plainly and openly to declare this, that he who
trusts in the really existent God makes no account of those that do not
exist. For thus the poet, in another passage, and employing another but
equivalent word, to wit, a pronoun, made use of the same participle employed
by Plato to designate the really existent God, concerning whom Plato said,
"What that is which always exists, and has no birth." For not without a
double sense does this expression of Phœnix seem to have been used: "Not
even if God Himself were to promise me, that, having burnished off my old
age, He should set me forth in the flower of youth." For the pronoun
"Himself" signifies the really existing God. For thus, too, the oracle which
was given to you concerning the Chaldæans and Hebrews signifies. For when
some one inquired what men had ever lived godly, you say the answer was:
"Only the Chaldæans and the Hebrews found wisdom,
Worshipping God Himself, the unbegotten King."
 Iliad, ix. 497.
 That is, by the challenge of the chain introduced Iliad, viii. 18.
 Iliad, ix. 238.
Chapter XXV. Plato's knowledge of God's eternity.
How, then, does Plato blame Homer for saying that the gods are not
inflexible, although, as is obvious from the expressions used, Homer said
this for a useful purpose? For it is the property of those who expect to
obtain mercy by prayer and sacrifices, to cease from and repent of their
sins. For those who think that the Deity is inflexible, are by no means
moved to abandon their sins, since they suppose that they will derive no
benefit from repentance. How, then, does Plato the philosopher condemn the
poet Homer for saying, "Even the gods themselves are not inflexible," and
yet himself represent the maker of the gods as so easily turned, that he
sometimes declares the gods to be mortal, and at other times declares the
same to be immortal? And not only concerning them, but also concerning
matter, from which, as he says, it is necessary that the created gods have
been produced, he sometimes says that it is uncreated, and at other times
that it is created; and yet he does not see that he himself, when he says
that the maker of the gods is so easily turned, is convicted of having
fallen into the very errors for which he blames Homer, though Homer said the
very opposite concerning the maker of the gods. For he said that he spoke
thus of himself:
"For ne er my promise shall deceive, or fail,
Or be recall d, if with a nod confirm d." 
But Plato, as it seems, unwillingly entered not these strange dissertations
concerning the gods, for he feared those who were attached to polytheism.
And whatever he thinks fit to tell of all that he had learned from Moses and
the prophets concerning one God, he preferred delivering in a mystical
style, so that those who desired to be worshippers of God might have an
inkling of his own opinion. For being charmed with that saying of God to
Moses, "I am the really existing," and accepting with a great deal of
thought the brief participial expression, he understood that God desired to
signify to Moses His eternity, and therefore said, "I am the really
existing;" for this word "existing" expresses not one time only, but the
three the past, the present, and the future. For when Plato says, "and which
never really is," he uses the verb "is" of time indefinite. For the word
"never" is not spoken, as some suppose, of the past, but of the future time.
And this has been accurately understood even by profane writers. And
therefore, when Plato wished, as it were, to interpret to the uninitiated
what had been mystically expressed by the participle concerning the eternity
of God, he employed the following language: "God indeed, as the old
tradition runs, includes the beginning, and end, and middle of all
things." In this sentence he plainly and obviously names the law of Moses
"the old tradition," fearing, through dread of the hemlock-cup, to mention
the name of Moses; for he understood that the teaching of the man was
hateful to the Greeks; and he clearly enough indicates Moses by the
antiquity of the tradition. And we have sufficiently proved from Diodorus
and the rest of the historians, in the foregoing chapters, that the law of
Moses is not only old, but even the first. For Diodorus says that he was the
first of all lawgivers; the letters which belong to the Greeks, and which
they employed in the writing of their histories, having not yet been
 Iliad, i. 526.
Chapter XXVI. Plato indebted to the prophets.
And let no one wonder that Plato should believe Moses regarding the eternity
of God. For you will find him mystically referring the true knowledge of
realities to the prophets, next in order after the really existent God. For,
discoursing in the Timæus about certain first principles, he wrote thus:
"This we lay down as the first principle of fire and the other bodies,
proceeding according to probability and necessity. But the first principles
of these again God above knows, and whosoever among men is beloved of
Him."  And what men does he think beloved of God, but Moses and the
rest of the prophets? For their prophecies he read, and, having learned from
them the doctrine of the judgment, he thus proclaims it in the first book of
the Republic: "When a man begins to think he is soon to die, fear invades
him, and concern about things which had never before entered his head. And
those stories about what goes on in Hades, which tell us that the man who
has here been unjust must there be punished, though formerly ridiculed, now
torment his soul with apprehensions that they may be true. And he, either
through the feebleness of age, or even because he is now nearer to the
things of the other world, views them more attentively. He becomes,
therefore, full of apprehension and dread, and begins to call himself to
account and to consider whether he has done any one an injury. And that man
who finds in his life many iniquities, and who continually starts from his
sleep as children do, lives in terror, and with a forlorn prospect. But to
him who is conscious of no wrong-doing, sweet hope is the constant companion
and good nurse of old age, as Pindar says.  For this, Socrates, he has
elegantly expressed, that "whoever leads a life of holiness and justice, him
sweet hope, the nurse of age, accompanies, cheering his heart, for she
powerfully sways the changeful mind of mortals. "  This Plato wrote
in the first book of the Republic.
 Plato, Tim., p. 53 D, [cap. 20].
 Pind., Fr., 233, a fragment preserved in this place.
 Plato, Rep., p. 330 D.
Chapter XXVII. Plato's knowledge of the judgment.
And in the tenth book he plainly and manifestly wrote what he had learned
from the prophets about the judgment, not as if he had learned it from them,
but, on account of his fear of the Greeks, as if he had heard it from a man
who has been slain in battle for this story he thought fit to invent and
who, when he was about to be buried on the twelfth day, and was lying on the
funeral pile, came to life again, and described the other world. The
following are his very words:  "For he said that he was present when
one was asked by another person where the great Ardiæus was. This Ardiæus
had been prince in a certain city of Pamphylia, and had killed his aged
father and his elder brother, and done many other unhallowed deeds, as was
reported. He said, then that the person who was asked said: He neither comes
nor ever will come hither. For we saw, among other terrible sights, this
also. When we were close to the mouth [of the pit], and were about to return
to the upper air, and had suffered everything else, we suddenly beheld both
him and others likewise, most of whom were tyrants. But there were also some
private sinners who had committed great crimes. And these, when they thought
they were to ascend, the mouth would not permit, but bellowed when any of
those who were so incurably wicked attempted to ascend, unless they had paid
the full penalty. Then fierce men, fiery to look at, stood close by, and
hearing the din,  took some and led them away; but Ardiæus and the
rest, having bound hand and foot, and striking their heads down, and
flaying, they dragged to the road outside, tearing them with thorns, and
signifying to those who were present the cause of their suffering these
things, and that they were leading them away to cast them into Tartarus.
Hence, he said, that amidst all their various fears, this one was the
greatest, lest the mouth should bellow when they ascended, since if it were
silent each one would most gladly ascend; and that the punishments and
torments were such as these, and that, on the other hand, the rewards were
the reverse of these." Here Plato seems to me to have learnt from the
prophets not only the doctrine of the judgment, but also of the
resurrection, which the Greeks refuse to believe. For his saying that the
soul is judged along with the body, proves nothing more clearly than that he
believed the doctrine of the resurrection. Since how could Ardiæus and the
rest have undergone such punishment in Hades, had they left on earth the
body, with its head, hands, feet, and skin? For certainly they will never
say that the soul has a head and hands, and feet and skin. But Plato, having
fallen in with the testimonies of the prophets in Egypt, and having accepted
what they teach concerning the resurrection of the body, teaches that the
soul is judged in company with the body.
 Plato, Rep., p. 615, [lib. x. p. 325. Ed. Bipont, 1785.]
 The bellowing of the mouth of the pit.
Chapter XXVIII. Homer's obligations to the sacred writers.
And not only Plato, but Homer also, having received similar enlightenment in
Egypt, said that Tityus was in like manner punished. For Ulysses speaks thus
to Alcinous when he is recounting his divination by the shades of the dead:
"There Tityus, large and long, in fetters bound,
O erspread nine acres of infernal ground;
Two ravenous vultures, furious for their food,
Scream o er the fiend, and riot in his blood,
Incessant gore the liver in his breast,
Th immortal liver grows, and gives th immortal feast."
For it is plain that it is not the soul, but the body, which has a liver.
And in the same manner he has described both Sisyphus and Tantalus as
enduring punishment with the body. And that Homer had been in Egypt, and
introduced into his own poem much of what he there learnt, Diodorus, the
most esteemed of historians, plainly enough teaches us. For he said that
when he was in Egypt he had learnt that Helen, having received from Theon s
wife, Polydamna, a drug, "lulling all sorrow and melancholy, and causing
forgetfulness of all ills,"  brought it to Sparta. And Homer said that
by making use of that drug Helen put an end to the lamentation of Menelaus,
caused by the presence of Telemachus. And he also called Venus "golden,"
from what he had seen in Egypt. For he had seen the temple which in Egypt is
called "the temple of golden Venus," and the plain which is named "the plain
of golden Venus." And why do I now make mention of this? To show that the
poet transferred to his own poem much of what is contained in the divine
writings of the prophets. And first he transferred what Moses had related as
the beginning of the creation of the world. For Moses wrote thus: "In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth,"  then the sun, and
the moon, and the stars. For having learned this in Egypt, and having been
much taken with what Moses had written in the Genesis of the world, he
fabled that Vulcan had made in the shield of Achilles a kind of
representation of the creation of the world. For he wrote thus: 
"There he described the earth, the heaven, the sea,
The sun that rests not, and the moon full-orb'd;
There also, all the stars which round about,
As with a radiant frontlet, bind the skies."
And he contrived also that the garden of Alcinous should preserve the
likeness of Paradise, and through this likeness he represented it as
ever-blooming and full of all fruits. For thus he wrote: 
"Tall thriving trees confess d the fruitful mould;
The reddening apple ripens here to gold.
Here the blue fig with luscious juice o'erflows,
With deeper red the full pomegranate glows;
The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear,
And verdant olives flourish round the year.
The balmy spirit of the western gale
Eternal breathes on fruits, untaught to fail;
Each dropping pear a following pear supplies,
On apples, figs on figs arise.
The same mild season gives the blooms to blow,
The buds to harden, and the fruits to grow.
Here order d vines in equal ranks appear,
With all th united labours of the year.
Some to unload the fertile branches run,
Some dry the blackening clusters in the sun,
Others to tread the liquid harvest join.
The groaning presses foam with floods of wine.
Here are the vines in early flower descry'd
Here grapes discoloured on the sunny side,
And there in autumn's richest purple dy d."
Do not these words present a manifest and clear imitation of what the first
prophet Moses said about Paradise? And if any one wish to know something of
the building of the tower by which the men of that day fancied they would
obtain access to heaven, he will find a sufficiently exact allegorical
imitation of this in what the poet has ascribed to Otus and Ephialtes. For
of them he wrote thus: 
"Proud of their strength, and more than mortal size,
The gods they challenge, and affect the skies.
Heav d on Olympus tottering Ossa stood;
On Ossa, Pelion nods with all his wood."
And the same holds good regarding the enemy of mankind who was cast out of
heaven, whom the Sacred Scriptures call the Devil,  a name which he
obtained from his first devilry against man; and if any one would
attentively consider the matter, he would find that the poet, though he
certainly never mentions the name of "the devil," yet gives him a name from
his wickedest action. For the poet, calling him Ate,  says that he was
hurled from heaven by their god, just as if he had a distinct remembrance of
the expressions which Isaiah the prophet had uttered regarding him. He wrote
thus in his own poem: 
"And, seizing by her glossy locks
The goddess Ate, in his wrath he swore
That never to the starry skies again,
And the Olympian heights, he would permit
The universal mischief to return.
Then, whirling her around, he cast her down
To earth. She, mingling with all works of men,
Caused many a pang to Jove."
 Odyssey, xi, 576 (Pope's translation, line 709).
 Odyssey, iv. 221; [Milton's Comus, line 675].
 Gen. i. 1.
 Iliad, xviii. 483.
 Odyssey, vii. 114 (Pope's translation, line 146.).
 Odyssey, xi. 312 (Pope's translation, line 385).
 The false accuser; one who does injury by slanderous accusations.
 'Atē, the goddess of mischief, from whom spring all rash, blind deeds
and their results.
 Iliad, xix. 126.
Chapter XXIX. Origin of Plato's doctrine of form.
And Plato, too, when he says that form is the third original principle next
to God and matter, has manifestly received this suggestion from no other
source than from Moses, having learned, indeed, from the words of Moses the
name of form, but not having at the same time been instructed by the
initiated, that without mystic insight it is impossible to have any distinct
knowledge of the writings of Moses. For Moses wrote that God had spoken to
him regarding the tabernacle in the following words: "And thou shalt make
for me according to all that I show thee in the mount, the pattern of the
tabernacle."  And again: "And thou shalt erect the tabernacle
according to the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shalt thou
make it."  And again, a little afterwards: "Thus then thou shalt make
it according to the pattern which was showed to thee in the mount." 
Plato, then, reading these passages, and not receiving what was written with
the suitable insight, thought that form had some kind of separate existence
before that which the senses perceive, and he often calls it the pattern of
the things which are made, since the writing of Moses spoke thus of the
tabernacle: "According to the form showed to thee in the mount, so shalt
thou make it."
 Ex. xxv.
 Ex. xxv. 9.
 Ex. xxv. 40.
Chapter XXX. Homer's knowledge of man's origin.
And he was obviously deceived in the same way regarding the earth and heaven
and man; for he supposes that there are "ideas" of these. For as Moses wrote
thus, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and then
subjoins this sentence, "And the earth was invisible and unfashioned," he
thought that it was the pre-existent earth which was spoken of in the words,
"The earth was," because Moses said, "And the earth was invisible and
unfashioned;" and he thought that the earth, concerning which he says, "God
created the heaven and the earth," was that earth which we perceive by the
senses, and which God made according to the pre-existent form. And so also,
of the heaven which was created, he thought that the heaven which was
created and which he also called the firmament was that creation which the
senses perceive; and that the heaven which the intellect perceives is that
other of which the prophet said, "The heaven of heavens is the Lord s, but
the earth hath He given to the children of men."  And so also
concerning man: Moses first mentions the name of man, and then after many
other creations he makes mention of the formation of man, saying, "And God
made man, taking dust from the earth."  He thought, accordingly, that
the man first so named existed before the man who was made, and that he who
was formed of the earth was afterwards made according to the pre-existent
form. And that man was formed of earth, Homer, too, having discovered from
the ancient and divine history which says, "Dust thou art, and unto dust
shalt thou return,"  calls the lifeless body of Hector dumb clay. For
in condemnation of Achilles dragging the corpse of Hector after death, he
says somewhere: 
"On the dumb clay he cast indignity,
Blinded with rage."
And again, somewhere else,  he introduces Menelaus, thus addressing
those who were not accepting Hector's challenge to single combat with
"To earth and water may you all return,"
resolving them in his violent rage into their original and pristine
formation from earth. These things Homer and Plato, having learned in Egypt
from the ancient histories, wrote in their own words.
 Ps. cxv. 16.
 Gen. ii. 7.
 Gen. iii. 19.
 Iliad, xxii.
 Iliad, vii. 99.
Chapter XXXI. Further proof of Plato's acquaintance with Scripture.
For from what other source, if not from his reading the writings of the
prophets, could Plato have derived the information he gives us, that Jupiter
drives a winged chariot in heaven? For he knew this from the following
expressions of the prophet about the cherubim: "And the glory of the Lord
went out from the house and rested on the cherubim; and the cherubim lift up
their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the Lord God of
Israel was over them above."  And borrowing this idea, the
magniloquent Plato shouts aloud with vast assurance, "The great Jove,
indeed, driving his winged chariot in heaven." For from what other source,
if not from Moses and the prophets, did he learn this and so write? And
whence did he receive the suggestion of his saying that God exists in a
fiery substance? Was it not from the third book of the history of the Kings,
where it is written, "The Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an
earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake
a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small
voice?"  But these things pious men must understand in a higher sense
with profound and meditative insight. But Plato, not attending to the words
with the suitable insight, said that God exists in a fiery substance.
 Ezek. xi. 22.
 1 Kings xix. 11, 12.
Chapter XXXII. Plato's doctrine of the heavenly gift.
And if any one will attentively consider the gift that descends from God on
the holy men, which gift the sacred prophets call the Holy Ghost, he shall
find that this was announced under another name by Plato in the dialogue
with Meno. For, fearing to name the gift of God "the Holy Ghost," lest he
should seem, by following the teaching of the prophets, to be an enemy to
the Greeks, he acknowledges, indeed, that it comes down from God, yet does
not think fit to name it the Holy Ghost, but virtue. For so in the dialogue
with Meno, concerning reminiscence, after he had put many questions
regarding virtue, whether it could be taught or whether it could not be
taught, but must be gained by practice, or whether it could be attained
neither by practice nor by learning, but was a natural gift in men, or
whether it comes in some other way, he makes this declaration in these very
words: "But if now through this whole dialogue we have conducted our inquiry
and discussion aright, virtue must be neither a natural gift, nor what one
can receive by teaching, but comes to those to whom it does come by divine
destiny." These things, I think, Plato having learned from the prophets
regarding the Holy Ghost, he has manifestly transferred to what he calls
virtue. For as the sacred prophets say that one and the same spirit is
divided into seven spirits, so he also, naming it one and the same virtue,
says this is divided into four virtues; wishing by all means to avoid
mention of the Holy Spirit, but clearly declaring in a kind of allegory what
the prophets said of the Holy Spirit. For to this effect he spoke in the
dialogue with Meno towards the close: "From this reasoning, Meno, it appears
that virtue comes to those to whom it does come by a divine destiny. But we
shall know clearly about this, in what kind of way virtue comes to men,
when, as a first step, we shall have set ourselves to investigate, as an
independent inquiry, what virtue itself is." You see how he calls only by
the name of virtue, the gift that descends from above; and yet he counts it
worthy of inquiry, whether it is right that this [gift] be called virtue or
some other thing, fearing to name it openly the Holy Spirit, lest he should
seem to be following the teaching of the prophets.
Chapter XXXIII. Plato's idea of the beginning of time drawn from Moses.
And from what source did Plato draw the information that time was created
along with the heavens? For he wrote thus: "Time, accordingly, was created
along with the heavens; in order that, coming into being together, they
might also be together dissolved, if ever their dissolution should take
place." Had he not learned this from the divine history of Moses? For he
knew that the creation of time had received its original constitution from
days and months and years. Since, then, the first day which was created
along with the heavens constituted the beginning of all time (for thus Moses
wrote, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and then
immediately subjoins, "And one day was made," as if he would designate the
whole of time by one part of it), Plato names the day "time," lest, if he
mentioned the "day," he should seem to lay himself open to the accusation of
the Athenians, that he was completely adopting the expressions of Moses. And
from what source did he derive what he has written regarding the dissolution
of the heavens? Had he not learned this, too, from the sacred prophets, and
did he not think that this was their doctrine?
Chapter XXXIV. Whence men attributed to God human form.
And if any person investigates the subject of images, and inquires on what
ground those who first fashioned your gods conceived that they had the forms
of men, he will find that this also was derived from the divine history. For
seeing that Moses history, speaking in the person of God, says, "Let Us make
man in our image and likeness," these persons, under the impression that
this meant that men were like God in form, began thus to fashion their gods,
supposing they would make a likeness from a likeness. But why, ye men of
Greece, am I now induced to recount these things? That ye may know that it
is not possible to learn the true religion from those who were unable, even
on those subjects by which they won the admiration of the heathen,  to
write anything original, but merely propounded by some allegorical device in
their own writings what they had learned from Moses and the other prophets.
 Literally, "those without."
Chapter XXXV. Appeal to the Greeks.
The time, then, ye men of Greece, is now come, that ye, having been
persuaded by the secular histories that Moses and the rest of the prophets
were far more ancient than any of those who have been esteemed sages among
you, abandon the ancient delusion of your forefathers, and read the divine
histories of the prophets, and ascertain from them the true religion; for
they do not present to you artful discourses, nor speak speciously and
plausibly for this is the property of those who wish to rob you of the
truth but use with simplicity the words and expressions which offer
themselves, and declare to you whatever the Holy Ghost, who descended upon
them, chose to teach through them to those who are desirous to learn the
true religion. Having then laid aside all false shame, and the inveterate
error of mankind, with all its bombastic parade and empty noise, though by
means of it you fancy you are possessed of all advantages, do you give
yourselves to the things that profit you. For neither will you commit any
offence against your fathers, if you now show a desire to betake yourselves
to that which is quite opposed to their error, since it is likely enough
that they themselves are now lamenting in Hades, and repenting with a too
late repentance; and if it were possible for them to show you thence what
had befallen them after the termination of this life, ye would know from
what fearful ills they desired to deliver you. But now, since it is not
possible in this present life that ye either learn from them, or from those
who here profess to teach that philosophy which is falsely so called, it
follows as the one thing that remains for you to do, that, renouncing the
error of your fathers, ye read the prophecies of the sacred writers, 
not requiring from them unexceptionable diction (for the matters of our
religion lie in works,  not in words), and learn from them what will
give you life everlasting. For those who bootlessly disgrace the name of
philosophy are convicted of knowing nothing at all, as they are themselves
forced, though unwillingly, to confess, since not only do they disagree with
each other, but also expressed their own opinions sometimes in one way,
sometimes in another.
 Literally, "sacred men."
 [A noteworthy apology for early Christian writers.]
Chapter XXXVI. True knowledge not held by the philosophers.
And if "the discovery of the truth" be given among them as one definition of
philosophy, how are they who are not in possession of the true knowledge
worthy of the name of philosophy? For if Socrates, the wisest of your wise
men, to whom even your oracle, as you yourselves say, bears witness, saying,
"Of all men Socrates is the wisest" if he confesses that he knows nothing,
how did those who came after him profess to know even things heavenly? For
Socrates said that he was on this account called wise, because, while other
men pretended to know what they were ignorant of, he himself did not shrink
from confessing that he knew nothing. For he said, "I seem to myself to be
wisest by this little particular, that what I do not know, I do not suppose
I know." Let no one fancy that Socrates ironically feigned ignorance,
because he often used to do so in his dialogues. For the last expression of
his apology which he uttered as he was being led away to the prison, proves
that in seriousness and truth he was confessing his ignorance: "But now it
is time to go away, I indeed to die, but you to live. And which of us goes
to the better state, is hidden to all but God." Socrates, indeed, having
uttered this last sentence in the Areopagus, departed to the prison,
ascribing to God alone the knowledge of those things which are hidden from
us; but those who came after him, though they are unable to comprehend even
earthly things, profess to understand things heavenly as if they had seen
them. Aristotle at least as if he had seen things heavenly with greater
accuracy than Plato declared that God did not exist, as Plato said, in the
fiery substance (for this was Plato's doctrine) but in the fifth element,
air. And while he demanded that concerning these matters he should be
believed on account of the excellence of his language, he yet departed this
life because he was overwhelmed with the infamy and disgrace of being unable
to discover even the nature of the Euripus in Chalcis.  Let not any
one, therefore, of sound judgment prefer the elegant diction of these men to
his own salvation, but let him, according to that old story, stop his ears
with wax, and flee the sweet hurt which these sirens would inflict upon him.
For the above-mentioned men, presenting their elegant language as a kind of
bait, have sought to seduce many from the right religion, in imitation of
him who dared to teach the first men polytheism. Be not persuaded by these
persons, I entreat you, but read the prophecies of the sacred writers.
 And if any slothfulness or old hereditary superstition prevents you
from reading the prophecies of the holy men through which you can be
instructed regarding the one only God, which is the first article of the
true religion, yet believe him who, though at first he taught you
polytheism, yet afterwards preferred to sing a useful and necessary
recantation I mean Orpheus, who said what I quoted a little before; and
believe the others who wrote the same things concerning one God. For it was
the work of Divine Providence on your behalf, that they, though unwillingly,
bore testimony that what the prophets said regarding one God was true, in
order that, the doctrine of a plurality of gods being rejected by all,
occasion might be afforded you of knowing the truth.
 This is now supposed to be fable.
 Literally, "sacred men."
Chapter XXXVII. Of the Sibyl. 
And you may in part easily learn the right religion from the ancient Sibyl,
who by some kind of potent inspiration teaches you, through her oracular
predictions, truths which seem to be much akin to the teaching of the
prophets. She, they say, was of Babylonian extraction, being the daughter of
Berosus, who wrote the Chaldæan History; and when she had crossed over (how,
I know not) into the region of Campania, she there uttered her oracular
sayings in a city called Cumæ, six miles from Baiæ, where the hot springs of
Campania are found. And being in that city, we saw also a certain place, in
which we were shown a very large basilica  cut out of one stone; a
vast affair, and worthy of all admiration. And they who had heard it from
their fathers as part of their country's tradition, told us that it was here
she used to publish her oracles. And in the middle of the basilica they
showed us three receptacles cut out of one stone, in which, when filled with
water, they said that she washed, and having put on her robe again, retires
into the inmost chamber of the basilica, which is still a part of the one
stone; and sitting in the middle of the chamber on a high rostrum and
throne, thus proclaims her oracles. And both by many other writers has the
Sibyl been mentioned as a prophetess, and also by Plato in his Phædrus. And
Plato seems to me to have counted prophets divinely inspired when he read
her prophecies. For he saw that what she had long ago predicted was
accomplished; and on this account he expresses in the Dialogue with Meno his
wonder at and admiration of prophets in the following terms: "Those whom we
now call prophetic persons we should rightly name divine. And not least
would we say that they are divine, and are raised to the prophetic ecstasy
by the inspiration and possession of God, when they correctly speak of many
and important matters, and yet know nothing of what they are saying,"
plainly and manifestly referring to the prophecies of the Sibyl. For,
unlike the poets who, after their poems are penned, have power to correct
and polish, specially in the way of increasing the accuracy of their verse,
she was filled indeed with prophecy at the time of the inspiration, but as
soon as the inspiration ceased, there ceased also the remembrance of all she
had said. And this indeed was the cause why some only, and not all, the
metres of the verses of the Sibyl were preserved. For we ourselves, when in
that city, ascertained from our cicerone, who showed us the places in which
she used to prophesy, that there was a certain coffer made of brass in which
they said that her remains were preserved. And besides all else which they
told us as they had heard it from their fathers, they said also that they
who then took down her prophecies, being illiterate persons, often went
quite astray from the accuracy of the metres; and this, they said, was the
cause of the want of metre in some of the verses, the prophetess having no
remembrance of what she had said, after the possession and inspiration
ceased, and the reporters having, through their lack of education, failed to
record the metres with accuracy. And on this account, it is manifest that
Plato had an eye to the prophecies of the Sibyl when he said this about
prophets, for he said, "When they correctly speak of many and important
matters, and yet know nothing of what they are saying.
 [In Grabe's edition consult notes of Lang and Kortholt, ii. p. 45.]
 [Travellers must recognise the agreement of Justin's story with the
traditional cave still shown in this region.]
Chapter XXXVIII. Concluding appeal.
But since, ye men of Greece, the matters of the true religion lie not in the
metrical numbers of poetry, nor yet in that culture which is highly esteemed
among you, do ye henceforward pay less devotion to accuracy of metres and of
language; and giving heed without contentiousness to the words of the Sibyl,
recognise how great are the benefits which she will confer upon you by
predicting, as she does in a clear and patent manner, the advent of our
Saviour Jesus Christ;  who, being the Word of God, inseparable from
Him in power, having assumed man, who had been made in the image and
likeness of God, restored to us the knowledge of the religion of our ancient
forefathers, which the men who lived after them abandoned through the
bewitching counsel of the envious devil, and turned to the worship of those
who were no gods. And if you still hesitate and are hindered from belief
regarding the formation of man, believe those whom you have hitherto thought
it right to give heed to, and know that your own oracle, when asked by some
one to utter a hymn of praise to the Almighty God, in the middle of the hymn
spoke thus, "Who formed the first of men, and called him Adam." And this
hymn is preserved by many whom we know, for the conviction of those who are
unwilling to believe the truth which all bear witness to. If therefore, ye
men of Greece, ye do not esteem the false fancy concerning those that are no
gods at a higher rate than your own salvation, believe, as I said, the most
ancient and time-honoured Sibyl, whose books are preserved in all the world,
and who by some kind of potent inspiration both teaches us in her oracular
utterances concerning those that are called gods, that have no existence;
and also clearly and manifestly prophesies concerning the predicted advent
of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and concerning all those things which were to
be done by Him. For the knowledge of these things will constitute your
necessary preparatory training for the study of the prophecies of the sacred
writers. And if any one supposes that he has learned the doctrine concerning
God from the most ancient of those whom you name philosophers, let him
listen to Ammon and Hermes:  to Ammon, who in his discourse concerning
God calls Him wholly hidden; and to Hermes, who says plainly and distinctly,
"that it is difficult to comprehend God, and that it is impossible even for
the man who can comprehend Him to declare Him to others." From every point
of view, therefore, it must be seen that in no other way than only from the
prophets who teach us by divine inspiration, is it at all possible to learn
anything concerning God and the true religion. 
 [The fascinating use made of this by Virgil must not be
overlooked: "Ultima Cumæi venit jam carminis ætas," etc. Ecl., iv. (Pollio)
 [Hermes Trismegistus. Milton (Penseroso, line 88,) translates this
 [N.B. This work is not supposed to be Justin's by modern critics.]
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