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Download e-book for iPad: Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian by Jeffrey W. Hargis

By Jeffrey W. Hargis

ISBN-10: 0820441562

ISBN-13: 9780820441566

Opposed to the Christians examines the anti-Christian polemic works of Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian the Apostate. the 1st booklet to investigate the phenomenon of early anti-Christian literature extensive, it chooses the critics' objection to Christian exclusivism as its start line. The evolution of the polemic, from a rhetoric of radical contrast to 1 of "rhetorical assimilation," unearths a worldly try to divulge contradictions and inconsistencies inside Christianity whereas while reflecting the method of fusion among Christianity and the tradition of overdue antiquity.

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In the immediate context this debate touched upon two theological subpoints, namely God's universality and impassibility. The first point, that "God is surely common to all men," was a direct attack upon Christian exclusivism, implying that the supreme deity could not be the possession of a single group, or even of a single nation. God was "common to all," that is, accessible to people of all nations, whether pagan, Jew or Christian. In 26 Against the Christians addition, Celsus' statement regarding the daemons that "these too belong to God" implied· that all religious activity honored the supreme deity, whether intended directly for that deity or indirectly through the lesser gods.

Not only was Jesus similar to gods such as Asclepius, he was actually inferior; Asclepius' appearances after his death were clearer, longer-lasting, and witnessed by more people than those of the phantasmal Jesus. Celsus' argument attacked the uniqueness of Jesus by asserting that, even if he really did perform miracles and rise from the dead, he had plenty of other divine company. Although both Celsus and Justin compared Jesus to divine gods and heroes, Celsus' strategy served a different purpose from that of the apologist: to undermine Christian exclusivism by denying the uniqueness of his opponents' mythology.

Specifically, the ceremonial requirements of Jewish law and particularly the biblical requirement for blood sacrifices were examples of what was best in Judaism that the Christians left behind. However, a pagan critic's acceptance of a particular Jewish belief or practice was not neces- 34 Against the Christians sary for this tactic to be effective. Regardless of whether or not anything specific in Judaism was worthy of praise, Christians were culpable for abandoning their religious heritage. The very act of disregarding a traditional belief, no matter how strange or objectionable it might have seemed to the pagan polemicist, was itself an act of sacrilege.

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Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (Patristic Studies 1) by Jeffrey W. Hargis


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