Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XXV.—Boastings and Quarrels of the Philosophers.

What great and wonderful things have your philosophers effected? They leave uncovered one of their shoulders; they let their hair grow long; they cultivate their beards; their nails are like the claws of wild beasts. Though they say that they want nothing, yet, like Proteus, 489 they need a currier for their wallet, and a weaver for their mantle, and a wood-cutter for their staff, and the rich, 490 and a cook also for their gluttony. O man competing with the dog, 491 you know not God, and so have turned to the imitation of an irrational animal. You cry out in public with an assumption of authority, and take upon you to avenge your own self; and if you receive nothing, you indulge in abuse, and philosophy is with you the art of getting money. You follow the doctrines of Plato, and a disciple of Epicurus lifts up his voice to oppose you. Again, you wish to be a disciple of Aristotle, and a follower of Democritus rails at you. Pythagoras says that he was Euphorbus, and he is the heir of the p. 76 doctrine of Pherecydes; but Aristotle impugns the immortality of the soul. You who receive from your predecessors doctrines which clash with one another, you the inharmonious, are fighting against the harmonious. One of you asserts that God is body, but I assert that He is without body; that the world is indestructible, but I say that it is to be destroyed; that a conflagration will take place at various times, but I say that it will come to pass once for all; that Minos and Rhadamanthus are judges, but I say that God Himself is Judge; that the soul alone is endowed with immortality, but I say that the flesh also is endowed with it. 492 What injury do we inflict upon you, O Greeks? Why do you hate those who follow the word of God, as if they were the vilest of mankind? It is not we who eat human flesh 493 —they among you who assert such a thing have been suborned as false witnesses; it is among you that Pelops is made a supper for the gods, although beloved by Poseidon, and Kronos devours his children, and Zeus swallows Metis.



The Cynic Peregrinus is meant.


They need the rich to invite them to banquets.


The Cynic.


[The vigor of this passage, and the impact of its truths upon heathen idols, are noble specimens of our author’s power.]


[They ate and drank bread and wine hallowed to be the κοινωνία of the flesh and blood of Christ (1 Cor. x. 16); but they knew nothing of the modern doctrine of the Latin churches, which is precisely what Tatian denies.]

Next: Chapter XXVI. Ridicule of the Studies of the Greeks.