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Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) -- Book 3



Preface p 82 b
I. The physical theology of the Greeks p 83 c
II. The same subject p 86 d
III. The allegorical theology of the Egyptians p 88 a
IV. Further consideration of the physical system of the Egyptians, and that they transferred the whole reference of their allegorical theory solely to the visible celestial bodies, and to water and fire and the other elements of the cosmos p 92 b
V. That this system also was wholly condemnable p 95 a
VI. That we had good reason for withdrawing from their more physical theory of the gods, and preferring the only true theology p 96 b
VII. The systems of causation which the more recent philosophers interwove with the legends concerning the gods p 97 d
VIII. The erection of carved images in old times p 99 b
IX. Further consideration of the allegorical theology of the Greeks and Egyptians p 100a
X. Confutation and overthrow of their forced explanation p 103d
XI. Strong confutation of the Greek doctrines on this point p 108 b
XII. Of the image at Elephantine p 116 b
XIII. Of the ox that is sacrificed to the sun in Heliopolis p 117 c
XIV. That their gods, by ratifying the legendary narratives concerning gods by their own oracles, are convicted of contradicting the philosophers p 123 a
XV. That they also by their oracles confirm the theories of the philosophers by allegories opposed to the legends about themselves p 125 b
XVI. That it is a natural impossibility for the parts of the cosmos or the divine powers to be dragged down by magical incantations and so to give oracular predictions to the inquirers p 126 b
XVII. That all such effects are due to daemonic action p 127 a


SUCH were the opinions entertained by the best philosophers and by the ancient and most eminent men of the Roman Empire in regard to the theology of the Greeks----opinions which give no admission to physical theories in the legends concerning the gods, nor to their gorgeous and sophistical impostures. Since, however, we have once entered upon their refutation, let us go on and consider their interpretations and theories, to see what, after all, they bring with them that is venerable and worthy of the gods; and let us say nothing of ourselves, but on all points make use of their own words, so that we may again learn their venerable secrets from themselves.

Now much labour has been spent upon these subjects by numberless other professors of philosophy, who have made different subtle explanations of the same, and strongly insist that the opinion which occurred to each was the exact truth. But for my part I am content to bring forward my proofs from the most illustrious authors who are well known to all philosophers, and have carried off no small reputation for philosophy among the Greeks.

Of whom take first and read the words of Plutarch of Chaeroneia on the questions before us, wherein with solemn phrase he perverts the fables into what he asserts to be mysterious theologies. And in unveiling these he says that Dionysus is drunkenness, and no longer the mortal man who has been exhibited by the history in the preceding book; and that Hera means the joint wedded life of husband and wife. Then, as if he had forgotten his rendering, he forthwith tacks on a different story, and no longer uses the name Hera as before, but calls the earth by her name, and gives the name Leto to oblivion and night. And again he says that Hera is the same as Leto. Then in addition to this he introduces Zeus as representing allegorically the power of the air.

But why need I thus anticipate, when we may hear the man himself, in the essay which he wrote On the Daedala at Plataea, expounding as follows what was hidden from the multitude in the secret physiological doctrines concerning the gods.1


[PLUTARCH] 'THE physiology of the ancients both among Greeks and Barbarians was a physical doctrine concealed in legends, for the most part a secret and mysterious theology conveyed in enigmas and allegories, containing statements that were clearer to the multitude than the silent omissions, and its silent omissions more liable to suspicion than the open statements. This is evident in the Orphic poems, and in the Egyptian and Phrygian stories: 'out the mind of the ancients is most clearly exhibited in the orgiastic rites connected with the initiations, and in what is symbolically acted in the religious services.

'For instance, not to digress far from our present subjects, they do not suppose nor admit any intercourse between Hera and Dionysus; and they guard against combining their worship; and their priestesses at Athens, they say, do not speak to each other when they meet, nor is ivy ever brought into the precincts of Hera, not because of their fabulous and nonsensical jealousies, but because the goddess presides over marriage and bridal processions, and drunkenness is unbecoming to bridegrooms, and most unbefitting to a marriage feast, as Plato says:2 for the drinking of strong wine causes disorder both in body and soul, whereby what is sown and conceived being shapeless and misplaced does not take root well. Again, those who sacrifice to Hera do not consecrate the gall, but bury it beside the altar, meaning that the wedded life of wife and husband ought to be free from anger and wrath, and undisturbed by rage and bitterness.

'This symbolical style is more common in the tales and legends. As for instance, they relate that Hera, being brought up in Euboea. was stolen away while yet a virgin by Zeus, and was carried across and hidden in this region, where Cithaeron afforded them a shady recess, nature's own bridal-chamber. And when Macris----she was Hera's nurse----came to seek her, and wished to make a search, Cithaeron would not let her pry about, or approach the spot, on pretence that Zeus was there resting and passing the time in company with Leto. And as Macris went away, Hera thus escaped discovery on that occasion, and afterwards calling to mind her debt of gratitude to Leto she adopted her as partner in a common altar and common temple, so that sacrifices are first offered to Leto Μυχία, that is, 'of the inner shrine'; but some call her Νυχία, 'goddess of night.' In each of the names, however, there is the signification of secrecy and escape. Some say that Hera had secret intercourse there with Zeus, and, being undiscovered, was thus herself denominated Leto of the night: but when her marriage became openly known, and their intercourse first here in the neighbourhood of Citliaeron and of Plataea had been revealed, she was called Hera Τελεία and Γαμήλιος, goddess of the perfect life, and of marriage.

'Those who understand the fable in a more physical and becoming sense connect Hera with Leto in the following way. Hera, as has been said, is the Earth, and Leto is night, being a sort of oblivion on the part of those who turn to sleep. And night is nothing else but the shadow of the Earth. For when the Sun has reached the West and been hidden by the shadow, this spreads itself out and darkens the air: and this is the cause of the failure of the full moon in an eclipse, when the shadow of the earth touches the moon in her orbit and obscures her light. Moreover, that Leto is none other than Hera, you may learn from what follows. Artemis we of course call the daughter of Latona, but we also name the same goddess Eileithyia: Hera therefore and Leto are two names of one goddess.

'Again of Leto is born Apollo, and of Hera Ares, and they both have the same power: and Ares is so called as helping (ἀρήγων) in the mischances of violence and battle, and Apollo as delivering and releasing (ἀπαλλάττων καὶ ἀπολύων) a man from his bodily diseases. For which reason also of the most fiery and blazing luminaries one, the sun, is named Apollo, and the other of a fiery red is surnamed Ares. And it is not unsuitable that the same goddess (Hera) is called the goddess of marriage, and considered to be the mother of Eileithyia and of the sun. For the end of marriage is birth; and birth is the passing out of darkness into the sun and light. And it is a fine saying of the poet:

'But soon her child, by Eileithyia's aid, 
Was brought to light, and saw the sun's bright rays.'   3 

Rightly did the poet crowd the composition by the preposition, thereby indicating the hardness of the labour, and made the end of the birth consist in seeing the sun. The same goddess therefore made also the marriage union, in order that she might prepare the way for birth.

'But perhaps we ought also to mention the more silly legend. For it is said that when Hera was at variance with Zeus, and was no longer willing to consort with him, but hid herself, he was wandering about in perplexity and fell in with Alalcomenes the earth-born, and was taught by him that, to deceive Hera, he must pretend to wed another wife. So Alalcomenes helped him, and they secretly cut down a tall and beautiful oak, and shaped it and dressed it in bridal array, and called it Daedale: then the hymeneal was duly chanted, and the nymphs of Triton brought lustral water, and Boeotia supplied flutes and festal processions. But when these performances went on, Hera could bear it no longer, but came down from Cithaeron, followed by the women of Plataea, and from anger and jealousy came running up to Zeus, and when the counterfeit became manifest, she was reconciled to him and with joy and laughter herself led the bridal procession, and gave additional honour to the statue, and called the festival Daedala, and nevertheless from jealousy burnt the thing, lifeless though it was.

'Such then is the legend: and the explanation of it is as follows. The variance and quarrel of Hera and Zeus is nothing else than the distemper and confusion of the elements, when they no longer bear a due proportion to each other in the cosmos, but disproportion and roughness arise, and they have a desperate fight and dissolve their connexion, and work the ruin of the universe.

If then Zeus, that is, the force of heat and fire, gives occasion to the variance, a drought overtakes the earth: but if it is on the part of Hera, that is, the element of rain and wind, that any outbreak or excess takes place, there comes a great flood, and deluges and overflows everything. And as something of this kind occurred about those times, and Boeotia especially had been deeply flooded, as soon as ever the plain emerged and the flood abated, the order which followed from the tranquillity of the atmosphere was called the agreement and reconciliation of the deities. The first of the plants that sprang up out of the earth was the oak; and men welcomed this, because it gave a permanent supply of food and safety. For not only for the pious, as Hesiod says, but for all who survive the destruction,

'The top bears acorns, and the middle bees.'   4


THIS is what Plutarch says; and we learn from the statements which he sets before us, that even the wonderful and secret physiology of the Greek theology conveyed nothing divine, nor anything great and worthy of deity, and deserving of attention.

For you have heard Hera called at one time Gamelios, and a symbol of the joint life of husband and wife, and at another time the earth called Hera, and at another the element of water; and Dionysus translated into drunkenness, and Latona into night, and the sun into Apollo, and Zeus himself into the force of heat and fire.

So then the original indecency of the legends, and the physiological explanation, which is thought to be more respectable, led not up to any heavenly, intellectual, and divine powers, nor yet to rational and incorporeal essences, but the explanation itself led down again to drunkenness, and marriage feasts, and human passions, and reduced the parts of the cosmos to fire, and earth, and sun, and the other elements of matter, without introducing any other deity.

And Plato too knew this. In the Cratylus, at least, he expressly acknowledges that the first inhabitants of Greece knew nothing more than the visible parts of the cosmos, and supposed the luminaries in the heaven and the other phenomena to be the only gods.

So he speaks as follows word for word:

'It appears to me that the first inhabitants of Greece acknowledged no other gods than those whom many of the barbarians acknowledge now, namely, sun, and moon, and earth, and stars, and heaven.' 5 

But such being the doctrines of the Greeks, let us look also at those which are far more ancient than these, I mean the Egyptian. They say that Isis and Osiris are the sun and the moon, and that they called the breath that pervades all things Zeus, and fire Hephaestus, and the earth Demeter; also the water was called among the Egyptians Oceanus, and their own river Nilus, and to him they ascribed the generations of the gods: the air, it is said, they call Athena.

And these five gods, I mean Air, and Water, and Fire, and Earth, and Breath, travel over the whole world, transforming themselves at various times into various shapes and semblances of men and animals of all kinds; and there have been among the Egyptians themselves mortal men called by the same names with these, Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus too and Hera, and Hephaestus and Hestia. On these subjects also Manetho writes at large, and Diodorus concisely in his book before mentioned, giving the narrative just as follows word for word: 6 


[DIODORUS] 'THESE Gods,' he says (the Sun and the Moon, which are according to the Egyptians Osiris and Isis), 'govern the whole cosmos, supplying nourishment and growth to all things in three distinct seasons, which by an invisible motion complete their circuit, spring, summer, and winter; and these being each of a very opposite nature to the others complete the year in excellent harmony. These deities, they say, contribute most to the quickening of all things with life, Osiris making the chief contribution of fire and wind, and Isis of water and earth, and both alike of air; and by these all things are generated and nourished. And for this reason, they say, the whole body of universal nature is made up completely out of the sun and moon, and as to the live parts of these before mentioned, breath, fire, earth, water, and finally air----just as in a man we count up head, and hands, and feet, and the other members----in the same manner the body of the cosmos is all composed of the parts before mentioned.

'Each of these, they say, was regarded as a god, and a special name given to each according to his proper character, by those of the inhabitants of Egypt who first made use of articulate speech. So they called the wind Zeus, the word being so interpreted, and as he was the author of the soul in living beings they supposed him to be, as it were, a father of all.7

'And with this, they say, the most illustrious poet of the Greeks agrees, when he speaks of this god, as

'Father of men and gods.'  8

'Fire by interpretation they called Hephaestus, considering him to be a great god, and to contribute much to the production and perfect growth of all things. The earth they supposed to be a sort of vessel containing all natural productions, and called it Mother: and the Greeks in like manner call it Demeter, the word having been a little changed through lapse of time.

'For of old she was called Γῆ μήτηρ (Earth Mother), as Orpheus bears witness, saying----

'Earth Mother of all, Demeter, giver of wealth.'   9

'The water, it is said, was called by the ancients Oceané, which being interpreted is 'Mother of food,' but among some of the Greeks it was supposed to be the Ocean, concerning which the poet says,

'Oceanus sire, and Tethys mother of gods.'   10

'For the Egyptians consider their river Nile to be the Ocean, and that the gods had their origin near it, because in Egypt alone of the whole world there are many cities founded by the elder gods, such as those of Zeus, Helios, Hermes, Apollo, Pan, Eileithyia, and many others.

'The air, it is said, they called Athena, the word being so interpreted, and they regarded her as the daughter of Zeus, and supposed her to be a virgin, because the air is naturally incorruptible, and occupies the highest place of the whole cosmos: on which account the fable went that she sprang from the head of Zeus. She was called also Tritogeneia from changing her nature thrice in the year, in spring, summer, and winter. She is also called Glaucopis, not as some of the Greeks supposed because she had light-blue eyes, for this is silly, but because the air has a bluish appearance.

'They say that the five gods before mentioned travel over the whole world, and appear to men in the forms of sacred animals, sometimes also transforming themselves into the likenesses of men or other things: and that this is not fabulous, but possible, since these are in truth the progenitors of all things. The poet too, they say, having landed in Egypt, and had tales of this kind imparted to him by the priests, in a certain passage of his poem stated the above-mentioned circumstance as actually occurring:

'They, curious oft of mortal actions, deign 
In forms like these to round the earth and main, 
Just and unjust recording in their mind, 
And with sure eyes inspecting all mankind.'  11 

'Thus much then the Egyptians say concerning the gods who are in heaven, and have had an eternal generation.

'But others, they say, were born of these on earth, who having been originally mortal have obtained immortality on account of their wisdom and general beneficence to mankind, and some of them have been kings in Egypt. Of these some have the same names, when interpreted, as the gods of heaven, but others have received a name of their own; as Helios, and Kronos, and Rhea, and Zeus also, whom some call Ammon; and in addition to these Hera, Hephaestus, and Hestia, and Hermes last: and Helios was the first king of the Egyptians, having the same name as the luminary in the heaven.' 12 

Such, then are the statements of the historian whom I have mentioned.

Moreover Plutarch, in his book On the story of Isis, writes as follows, word for word:  13

[PLUTARCH] 'Let us begin again, and consider first the simplest of those who are thought to speak in the more philosophical way. Now, just as the Greeks make Kronos an allegorical name for time (Chronos), and Hera for the air, and the birth of Hephaestus for the transformation of air into fire, so these say that in like manner among the Egyptians Osiris is the Nile, wedded to Isis the earth, and Typhon is the sea, into which the Nile falls and disappears.'

After these and similar statements, he refers the legends concerning the said deities back again to daemons, and then again gives first one allegorical rendering and afterwards another.

Now we might reasonably ask, to which set of gods, will they say, do the forms belong which are engraven on their statues. Are they those of daemons? Or those of fire, and air, and earth, and water? Or likenesses of men and women, and shapes of brute animals and wild beasts?

For it has been admitted even by themselves that certain mortal men have had the same names with the Sun and the universal elements, and that these men have been called gods. Of which then would it be reasonable to say that the sculptures on the lifeless statues are forms and images? Of the universal elements? Or, as their appearance plainly shows, of mortals now lying among the dead?

Why, even if they would not say so themselves, surely true reason shouts and cries aloud, all but in actual speech, and testifies that they of whom we speak have been mortal men. And Plutarch with superabundant pains describes the particular character of their bodily shapes, in his work On Isis and the Gods of Egypt. speaking as follows:  14 

'The Egyptians narrate that in body Hermes was short-armed, and Typhon red in complexion, and Horus fair, and Osiris dark-skinned, as having been by nature men.'

Thus speaks Plutarch. So then their whole manufacture of gods consists of dead men; and their physical explanations are fictitious. For what need was there to model figures of men and women, when without them they could worship the sun and moon and the other elements of the cosmos?

To which of these two classes did they assign names of this kind, and with whom did they begin? I mean, for example, Hephaestus and Athena, and Zeus, and Poseidon, and Hera.

Were these in the first place names of the universal elements, which they have since ascribed to mortals, making them of the same name as the heavenly bodies? Or on the contrary, have they transferred the names in use among men to the natural substances?

But why should they address the natural elements of the universe by names of mortal men? And the mysteries belonging to each god, and the hymns, and songs, and the secrets of the initiatory rites,----do these introduce the symbols of the universal elements, or of the mortal men of old who had the same names with the gods?

Then as to wanderings, and drunken fits, and amours, and seduction of women, and plots against men, and countless things, which are in truth shameful and unseemly practices of mortal men, how could any one refer these to the universal elements, acts which bear upon their very face mortality and human passion?

So that from all these proofs this wonderful and noble physiology is convicted of having no connexion with truth, and containing nothing really divine, but possessing only a forced and counterfeit solemnity of external utterance. Hear, however, what Porphyry records concerning these same gods in his Epistle to Anebo the Egyptian.   15


[PORPHYRY] 'FOR as to Chaeremon and the rest, they do not believe in anything else prior to the visible worlds, since they account as a ruling power the gods of the Egyptians, and no others except the so-called planets, and those stars which fill up the zodiac, and as many as rise near them: also the divisions into the "decani," and the horoscopes, and the so-called "mighty Rulers," the names of which are contained in the almanacks, and their powers to heal diseases, and their risings and settings, and indications of future events.

'For he saw that those who assert the Sun to be the Creator twist the story of Osiris and Isis, and all the priestly legends, either into allusions to the stars and their appearances and disappearances and their solar distances at rising, or to the waxings and wanings of the moon, or to the course of the sun, or to the hemisphere of night, or of day, or to their river; and generally that they interpreted all things of physical phenomena, and nothing of incorporeal and living beings. And most of them made even our own free will depend upon the motion of the stars, binding all things down by indissoluble bonds, I know not how, to a necessity which they call fate, and making all things depend closely on these gods, whom, as the sole deliverers from the bonds of fate, they worship with temples, and statues, and the like.'

Let then this quotation from the before-mentioned Epistle suffice, clearly declaring, as it does, that even the secret theology of the Egyptians made no other gods than the stars in the heaven, both those which are called fixed, and the so-called planets, and introduced no incorporeal mind as creator of the universe, nor any creative reason, nor yet a god or gods, nor any intelligent and invisible powers, but only the visible Sun. "Wherefore also they referred the cause of the universe to the heavenly bodies alone, making all depend on fate, and the movement and course of the stars, as in fact this opinion has prevailed among them until now.

If therefore all is interpreted by the Egyptians of the visible elements of the world alone, and nothing of incorporeal and living beings, and if the elements and all visible bodies are by their own account inanimate and irrational, and in their nature fleeting and perishable,----see into what difficulties their theology has fallen again, in deifying inanimate substance and dead and irrational bodies, especially since they referred nothing to incorporeal and intelligent beings, nor to a mind and reason creating the universe.

But since it was acknowledged in the passages before quoted that their theological doctrines had been brought over to the Greeks from the Egyptians, it is time that the Greeks also should take their place with them, and give the same physiological explanations as the Egyptians, and be convicted of deifying nothing more than inanimate matter. For such were the august deities of the Egyptians according to the description of the writer before mentioned, who again, in the work which he entitled On Abstinence from Animal Food, gives such details as the following concerning the same people:  16 

'Starting from this discipline and intimacy with the deity, they judged that the divine pervaded not man only, nor did soul tabernacle upon earth in man alone, but all animals were pervaded by almost the same kind of soul. Wherefore they admitted every animal into their manufacture of gods, and mixed up beasts and men just alike, and also the bodies of birds and men.

'For with them there is a figure represented like a man up to the neck, but having the face of a bird or a lion or some other animal: and, on the other hand again, the head of a man and members of some other animals, set partly below, and partly above. And hereby they indicate that according to the mind of the gods these animals also are associated one with another, and that it is not without a divine purpose that the wild beasts are bred up with us and tamed.

'Hence also the lion is worshipped as a god, and a division of Egypt which they call a Nome has from the lion the name Leonto-polites, and another, from the cow, Busirites, and another, from the dog, Cynopolites. For the power which is over all they worshipped through the associated animals which each of the gods had given them.

'Water and fire, the most beautiful of the elements, they reverence as being chief causes of our preservation, and exhibit them also in their temples; as, I believe, even now at the opening of the sanctuary of Serapis the worship is performed by means of fire and water, the precentor pouring out the water and exhibiting the fire, whenever he stands upon the threshold and wakes the god in the native language of the Egyptians.

'They reverence, therefore, these elements that bear a part in the sacrifices, and above these they reverence most highly the things which are more fully associated with the sacrifices: and such are all living beings, for in the village Anabis they even worship a man, and sacrifice is there offered to him, and the victims are consumed by fire upon the altars: and yet presently he would eat the proper things prepared for him as a man. As, therefore, we ought to abstain from eating man's flesh, so we should abstain from the flesh of other animals.

'But further out of their abundant wisdom and their familiarity with the divine, they perceived that certain animals were more dear than men to certain of their gods, a hawk, for instance, to the Sun, as having its whole nature made up of blood and breath, and feding pity even for man, and shrieking over an exposed corpse, and scraping up earth over it.'

A little further on he says:

'An ignorant person might detest a beetle, being without judgement in things divine: but the Egyptians reverenced it, as a living image of the sun. For every beetle is male, and deposits his spawn in a marsh, and having made it into a ball carries it back with his hind feet, as the sun does the heaven, and waits a lunar period of days.

'In like manner they make some philosophic explanation concerning the ram, and another concerning the crocodile, and the vulture and the ibis, and generally as to each of the animals; so that out of their wisdom and their superior knowledge of things divine, they attained even to the worship of animals.'


SUCH are the statements set forth concerning the noble physiology of the wise Egyptians by the above-mentioned author, who has made their secrets clear to us, namely that they worship water and fire, and that the essential nature of rational and irrational animals, not in body only but also in soul, is judged among them to be one and the same, so that he thinks they have called the beasts gods with good reason.

Yet must it not be most unreasonable to admit the irrational and bestial nature to deification, on the ground, as they say, of participation in the same kind of soul with men? For they ought, if so, to have regarded them also as men, and given them a share of human glory and honour.

This, however, they did not; but the beasts which were created by nature itself irrational, and have received this appellation, and not even been thought worthy of the title of men, they chose to accept, on no mere equality with men; but taking the highest title of God the universal King and Creator of all things, they have degraded it to the nature of beasts, and bestowed the title of gods upon things which have not been deemed worthy by God Himself even of the title of man.

In addition to this, you have heard the mystic theosophy, which led the wonderful sages of Egypt to worship wolves and dogs and lions: you have learnt also the miracle of the beetle, and the virtue of the hawk. Laugh not then in future at their gods, but pity the thrice wretched human race for their great folly and blindness.

Moreover, consider all things carefully, and see what blessings God's Christ came to bestow on us, since through His teaching in the Gospel he has redeemed even the souls of Egyptians from such a disease of lasting and long continued blindness, so that now most of the people of Egypt have been freed from this insanity.


SUCH then were the notions received among the Egyptians, which are recorded as more ancient than all the doctrines of the Greeks. Therefore, you have in addition to the mythical theology that of a more physical character common to Greeks and Egyptians, who devised of old the superstition of polytheism; and you have learnt that among them nothing at all was known of the truly divine, incorporeal, and intelligent natures.

However, let it be granted and allowed to these stargazers that they speak truth and are right in their physical explanation of the allegories; and let their sun become now Apollo, and now again Horus, and the same sun again Osiris, and numberless other things, as many as they would wish; and the moon in like manner either Isis or Artemis, or as many names as any one would choose to enumerate.

For grant that these are not names indicative of mortal men, but of the real celestial luminaries: we should then have to worship the sun and the moon and the stars and the other parts of the cosmos as gods.

In this way, therefore, the noble philosophy of the Greeks appears as it were 'ex machina,' on the one hand highly exalting the promise of the word, but on the other lowering the thought of the wise down to the sensible and visible workmanship of God, and deifying, through the celestial luminaries, nothing else than fire, and the nature of heat, and the parts of the cosmos, to which we may add the liquid and the solid elements and the composition of bodies.

Must not then the gospel of Jesus our Saviour, the Christ of God, be great and admirable, as teaching all mankind to worship with befitting thoughts the God and Lord of sun and moon, and Maker of the whole cosmos, who is Himself high above and beyond the universe, and to celebrate in hymns not the elements of bodies, but Him who is the sustainer of life itself, and dispenser of all good things? For that gospel teaches us not to stand in awe of the visible parts of the cosmos and all that can be apprehended by fleshly sense, as they must be of perishable nature; but to marvel only at the mind which in all these exists unseen, and which creates both the whole and each several part; and to regard as God one sole Divine Power pervading and ordering all things, being in its nature incorporeal and intelligent, or rather impossible to describe and to conceive, which shows itself through all things whereby it works, and incorporeally pervades and traverses them all without intermixture, and throughout all things, not only in heaven but also upon earth, both the universal elements and the several parts, exhibits the perpetual mighty working of the Godhead, and presides over all in a manner which our sight and sense cannot perceive, and governs the whole cosmos by laws of ineffable wisdom.

After we have given so many proofs in confutation of their inconsistent theology, both the more mythical so-called, and that which is forsooth of a higher and more physical kind which the ancient Greeks and Egyptians were shown to magnify, it is time to survey also the refinements of the younger generations who make a profession of philosophy in our own time: for these have endeavoured to combine the doctrines concerning a creative mind of the universe, and those concerning incorporeal ideas and intelligent and rational powers,----doctrines invented long ages afterwards by Plato, and thought out with accurate reasonings,----with the theology of the ancients, exaggerating with yet greater conceit their promise concerning the legends. Listen then to their physiology also, and observe with what boastfulness it has been published by Porphyry.  17 



'"I speak to those who lawfully may hear: 
Depart all ye profane, and close the doors."

'THE thoughts of a wise theology, wherein men indicated God and God's powers by images akin to sense, and sketched invisible things in visible forms, I will show to those who have learned to read from the statues as from books the things there written concerning the gods. Nor is it any wonder that the utterly unlearned regard the statues as wood and stone, just as also those who do not understand the written letters look upon the monuments as mere stones, and on the tablets as bits of wood, and on books as woven papyrus.'

After such proud boasting by way of prelude, hear how he goes on next to write, word for word:

'As the deity is of the nature of light, and dwells in an atmosphere of ethereal fire, and is invisible to sense that is busy about mortal life, He through translucent matter, as crystal or Parian marble or even ivory, led men on to the conception of his light, and through material gold to the discernment of the fire, and to his undefiled purity, because gold cannot be defiled.

'On the other hand, black marble was used by many to show his invisibility; and they moulded their gods in human form because the deity is rational, and made these beautiful, because in those is pure and perfect beauty; and in varieties of shape and age, of sitting and standing, and drapery; and some of them male, and some female, virgins, and youths, or married, to represent their diversity.

'Hence they assigned everything white to the gods of heaven, and the sphere and all things spherical to the cosmos and to the sun and moon in particular, but sometimes also to fortune and to hope: and the circle and things circular to eternity, and to the motion of the heaven, and to the zones and cycles therein; and the segments of circles to the phases of the moon; pyramids and obelisks to the element of fire, and therefore to the gods of Olympus; so again the cone to the sun, and cylinder to the earth, and figures representing parts of the human body to sowing and generation.'

These are the statements of this wonderful philosopher: and what could be more unseemly than talking, as they do, in solemn phrase about shameful things? Or what more violently unreasonable than to assert that lifeless materials, gold, and marble, and such like, bear representations of the light of the gods, and manifestations of their heavenly and ethereal nature? That these are modern sophistries, and never entered, even in a drearn, into the imagination of the ancients, you may learn, on being informed that statues made of gold, and other material esteemed more precious, were even rejected among the men of former times. Plutarch, at all events, speaks somewhere thus, word for word:   18


[PLUTARCH] 'THE making of wooden statues seems to be a primitive and ancient custom, inasmuch as the first image sent to Delos by Erysichthon for Apollo at the time of the religious embassies was of wood; also the image of Athena Polias was of wood, which was set up by the aborigines, and which the Athenians carefully preserve to the present day. The Samians also had a wooden figure of Hera, as Callimachus says:

"No polish'd work of Smilis thou, but plank 
Untouch'd by chisel, as by ancient rule 
They made their gods: so Danaus of plain wood 
Athena's seated form in Lindus set."     19

'And it is said that Peiras, who first founded the temple of Hera in Argolis, and appointed his own daughter Callithyia priestess, cut down a tall pear-tree from the wood about Tiryns, and formed a statue of Hera. For stone being rough and hard to work, and lifeless, they were not willing to have it carved into a likeness of a deity: and gold and silver they thought to be sickly colours and stains breaking out like bruises from a barren and corrupt soil which had been stricken by fire: but sometimes in sport they made use of ivory also, as a variation in luxury.'

So says Plutarch; and long before him Plato knew well that there is nothing venerable nor suited to the divine nature in gold and ivory, and things manufactured out of lifeless material: for hear what sort of directions he gives in the Laws:  20 

'The land, therefore, and the household hearth are for all men temples of all the gods; wherefore let no man consecrate temples a second time to the gods. In other cities gold and silver, whether in private houses or in temples, are an invidious possession; and ivory taken from a dead body is not a pure offering; iron also and bronze are implements of war.'

Now I think these passages contain a clear refutation of the physical explanation which was put forward: but let us go on and examine the remainder of it. Hear then how he talks:  21 


[PORPHYRY] 'Now look at the wisdom of the Greeks, and examine it as follows. The authors of the Orphic hymns supposed Zeus to be the mind of the world, and that he created all things therein, containing the world in himself. Therefore in their theological systems they have handed down their opinions concerning him thus:  22 

"Zeus was the first, Zeus last, the lightning's lord, 
Zeus head, Zeus centre, all things are from Zeus. 
Zeus born a male, Zeus virgin undefiled; 
Zeus the firm base of earth and starry heaven; 
Zeus sovereign, Zeus alone first cause of all: 
One power divine, great ruler of the world, 
One kingly form, encircling all things here, 
Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day; 
Wisdom, first parent, and delightful Love: 
For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie. 
His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven 
Reveals, and round him float in shining waves 
The golden tresses of the twinkling stars. 
On either side bulls' horns of gold are seen, 
Sunrise and sunset, footpaths of the gods. 
His eyes the Sun, the Moon's responsive light; 
His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth, 
Hears and considers all; nor any speech, 
Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes 
The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son: 
Such his immortal head, and such his thought. 
His radiant body, boundless, undisturbed 
In strength of mighty limbs was formed thus: 
The god's broad-spreading shoulders, breast, and back 
Air's wide expanse displays; on either side 
Grow wings, wherewith throughout all space he flies. 
Earth the all-mother, with her lofty hills, 
His sacred belly forms; the swelling flood 
Of hoarse resounding Ocean girds his waist. 
His feet the deeply rooted ground upholds, 
And dismal Tartarus, and earth's utmost bounds. 
All things he hides, then from his heart again 
In godlike action brings to gladsome light."

'Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, and god of gods; but Zeus, that is, inasmuch as he is the mind from which he brings forth all things, and by his thoughts creates them. When the theologians had explained the nature of god in this manner, to make an image such as their description indicated was neither possible, nor, if any one thought of it, could he show the look of life, and intelligence, and forethought by the figure of a sphere.

'But they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because mind was that according to which he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion; and he is seated, as indicating the steadfastness of his power: and his upper parts are bare, because he is manifested in the intellectual and the heavenly parts of the world; but his feet are clothed, because he is invisible in the things that lie hidden below. And he holds his sceptre in his left hand, because most close to that side of the body dwells the heart, the most commanding and intelligent organ: for the creative mind is the sovereign of the world. And in his right hand he holds forth either an eagle, because he is master of the gods who traverse the air, as the eagle is master of the birds that fly aloft----or a victory, because he is himself victorious over all things.'

These things Porphyry tells you: and after they have been delivered in the manner already stated, it will be well to examine quietly and at leisure what after all the verses declare Zeus to be. I for my part think they make him to be none else than the visible world consisting of many various parts, both of those in heaven and in the ether, and of the stars which appear therein,----these being set first as in the head of a great body,----and also of the parts that lie in the air, and earth, and sea, and the like.

Certainly the earth and mountains and hills are parts of the world, and the sea is rolled round in the midst of them like a girdle, and fire also and water, and night and day must be parts of the same nature of the world. These things I suppose to indicate directly the visible world, unless I am somewhat mistaken, and to show us the universe made up of various parts. He says at all events:

'For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie.'

And what 'these all' are, he clearly states:

'Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day. 
His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven 
Reveals, and round him float in shining waves 
The golden tresses of the twinkling stars.'

In the verses that follow these, he adds the statement that the mind of Zeus is the ether and nothing else, in agreement with the Stoics, who assert that the element of fire and heat is the ruling principle of the world, and that god is a body, and the Creator himself nothing else than the force of fire. For in this same sense I think it is said in the verses:

'His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth, 
Hears and considers all.'

Wherein without any concealment he supposed the world to be a great animal, and calling it Zeus, he represented the ether as his mind, and the remaining parts of the world as his body.

Such is found to be the Zeus depicted by the verses.

And the interpreter of the poem begins by saying, in accordance with the same, 'Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, god of gods;' thus clearly explaining that the Zeus of his theology is shown by the poem to be no other than the visible and sensible world.

Now the doctrine was that of the Egyptians, from whom Orpheus took his theology, and thought that the world was the god composed of many gods who were parts of himself (for they were shown in what goes before to have also deified the parts of the world); and the statements which have been quoted from the verses declared nothing more than this.

But Porphyry after his first interpretation adds another of his own, asserting that the God who is the Maker of the world is this creative mind which has been deified by the poet.

But how could the poet, whether he were the Thracian Orpheus or any one else, deify just this mind, of which he never knew any thing at all, if indeed his theological doctrines came to him from the Egyptians or from the primitive Greeks? For these were proved to have understood nothing ideal or comprised in invisible and incorporeal essence, if Plato's assurance may suffice us, when in the Cratylus he admits 'that the first race of men in Greece believed only in these same gods which many of the barbarians believe in now, sun, and moon, and earth, and stars, and heaven.'  23 

We had also just now Chaeremon as a witness that the Egyptians believed in nothing previous to the visible world, 'nor in any other gods except the planets' and other stars, and interpreted all things in reference to the visible parts of the world, 'and nothing to incorporeal and living beings.'


THESE then being the principles from which the poet started, whence, or how, or from whom did he receive the conception in his verses of the God who is above and beyond the world, and is the Maker of sun, and moon and stars, and of the heaven itself and the whole world?

And whence did he get his knowledge of things incorporeal?

Nay, of these things he knows nothing; for neither does the creative mind of the universe consist of many parts, nor can, the heaven be its head, nor fire and water and earth its body, nor yet sun and moon its eyes. And how can 'the wide expanse of air, and earth, and lofty hills' be the shoulders, and breast, and back, and belly, of the Divine Creator of the universe? Or how can the ether ever be thought of as the mind of the Maker of the universe, or of the creative mind?

There is no need, then, to argue further that these are sophistic devices of the interpreter of the poem. For my part, indeed, I say that the man who asserts that the parts of the world are parts of God is guilty of the utmost impiety, and still more he who declared that God is the same as the world, and besides these the man who thinks that the creator of the universe is the mind of the world.

For piety declares that He is the Maker and Preserver of the world, being distinct from that which He has made: but to say that He is the mind of the world, just like the soul of some animal, made altogether one therewith, and clothed with the universe, must pass the bounds of reverence.

Yet certainly our sacred oracles teach us that He is present with the whole, and governs the world by His providence, and they speak of God in a worthy and becoming manner when they say: 'Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.'24 And again: 'He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath.'25 And again: 'For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;'26 not, however, as in a part of the world, nor as in its soul and mind.

But if there is occasion to use a simile, the sacred word somewhere exclaims in a manner more worthy of God and akin to truth: 'The heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet.'

For if it was necessary to personify God at all in human language, mark the difference in the theology. For He who called the heaven His throne set apart God the universal Monarch above the throne and far higher than the universe, and yet did not sever the earth from His providence; for He teaches that the providential powers of His Godhead condescend even to things here below, and therefore He says: 'The earth is the footstool of My feet.'

But neither the footstool, nor yet the throne, is the body of Him that is seated there, nor could ever be called parts of Him. And he who said that the heaven and the things therein are the head of god, and the ether his mind, and the other parts of the world his limbs and body, is convicted of knowing neither creator nor god.

For he could not create himself, nor, since the ether was his mind, could he still himself be called mind. What sort of god too would he be. whose members were the earth and the mountains on the earth, mere senseless heaps of corporeal atoms? How too can it be reasonable to proclaim as god the kinsman and brother of fire, and air, and water, products of senseless and perishing matter?

If, again, the mind of Zeus was nothing else except the aforesaid ether, and if ether is the highest and most fiery kind of air, and has received this name, as they say, from ἄθεσθαι, which means 'to be on fire,' and if both the air and the ether are material substances, see to what your mind of Zeus has come down.

And who in his right senses would still address as god him who had a mind devoid of mind and of reason, since such is the nature of every material body? Wherefore we in our thoughts of God must receive the entire contrary to the doctrines which have been mentioned; that He is not the heaven, nor ether, nor sun, nor moon, nor the whole choir of the stars, nor the whole world itself together: but these are works of His hands, still small and petty in comparison with His incorporeal and intelligent powers: because all body is perishable and irrational, and such is the nature of things visible. But the things beyond in the invisible world being rational and immortal, and co-eternal with the blessed life of God the King of all, must be far better than all the things that are seen.

Rightly therefore do the sacred oracles teach us concerning the visible parts of the world as follows: 'I will behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained.'27 And again: 'Thou Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands.'28 And again: 'Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created all these.'29

Let this, then, suffice for answer to the first interpretation of the poem; and let us go on to examine what follows. Since it was not possible, he says, 'to make such an image as their description indicated, therefore they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because it was according to mind that he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion.'30

But how, if it was not possible to make an image such as the description indicated, and if, as we have seen, it indicated the parts of the sensible and visible world, heaven and the things in heaven, the air also, and earth, and all that is therein----if then, I say, it was not possible to compose an image of the visible parts of the world, how, inasmuch as god was mind, could any one make an image of him?

And what likeness can a human body have to the mind of God? For my part I think there is nothing in it answering even to the mind of man, since the one is incorporeal, uncompounded, and without parts, while the other, being the work of common mechanics, is the imitation of the nature of a mortal body, and represents a deaf and dumb image of living flesh in lifeless and dead matter.

Rather does the rational and immortal soul and the impassible mind in man's nature seem to me to be rightly spoken of as preserving an image and likeness of God, inasmuch as it is immaterial and incorporeal, and intelligent and rational in its essence, and is capable of virtue and wisdom.31

If then any one were able to fabricate an image and form of the soul in a statue, such a man might also make some representation of the higher natures; but if the mind of man is without form and cannot be seen or figured, neither discernible by sight, nor in its essence comprehensible by speech and hearing, who would be so mad as to declare that the statue made in the likeness of man bears the form and image of the Most High, God?

Rather is God's nature imagined apart from all perishable matter, being contemplated by purified souls in lucid thought and in silence: whereas, in the representation of the visible Zeus, the figure must be an image of a man of mortal nature, yet not an imitation of the whole man, but of one and that the worse part of him, because it conveys not a trace of life and soul.

How then can the God who is over all, and the mind which is the creator of the universe, be that same Zeus who is seen in the bronze or in the dead ivory? And how could the mind that was the creator of the universe be forsooth that very Zeus, the father of Hercules by Alcmena, and of the other men fabled to be sons of Zeus, who, having ended their mortal life in the way common to all men, have left indelible monuments of their proper nature to those who came after them?

Accordingly, the first theologians among the Phoenicians, as we showed in the first Book, related that Zeus the son of Kronos, mortal son of mortal father, was a Phoenician by race: while the Egyptians, claiming the man as their own, confessed again that he was mortal, and agreed in this point at least with the Phoenicians.

But further the Cretans, showing the grave of Zeus in their midst, would be third witnesses of the same fact. The Atlantians also, and all who have been previously mentioned as claiming Zeus for their own according to their native history, all alike declared him mortal, and recorded his deeds as those of a mortal man, but not deeds of a respectable or philosophic kind, being full of all indecency and wantonness.

To those who have professed to give a more respectable turn to the legends Zeus was at one time a hot and fiery force, and at another the wind: but now, somehow or other they have made him appear as the creative mind of the universe.

We must inquire, therefore, whom would they name as his father, and his father's father? For according to all the theologians Zeus is acknowledged to be the son of Kronos, and the verses of Orpheus before quoted made mention of 'the mighty son of Kronos': and Kronos was son of Uranus. Let us, therefore, grant to them that Zeus is the god over all, and the mind which created all. Who then was his father? Kronos. And who his grandfather? Uranus.

But if Zeus as creator of all was before all, then those who were made by him ought to be counted as second and after him. For if either Kronos be time, as being by nature the offspring of heaven, that is of Uranus, or if time came into existence together with heaven, or if Uranus himself was the father of Kronos, and time subsequent to this latter, at all events the god who was the cause of the universe and creator of heaven and of time, was before them. And if so, Zeus could not be the third from Uranus.

How then, among all Egyptians, and Phoenicians, and Greeks, and philosophers, is the mind that created the universe reckoned third in descent from Uranus? So the fiction of our philosopher is plainly detected, and will be still more fully detected from what he goes on to say, as follows.32


[PORPHYRY] 'THEY have made Hera the wife of Zeus, because they called the ethereal and aerial power Hera. For the ether is a very subtle air.'

The poem quoted above declared that the ether is the mind of Zeus: but now our author's statement defines what the ether is, by saying that it is a very subtle air: but the air is body, and the ether a much more primitive kind of body.

The mind, then, of Zeus is proved to be body, although the very subtlest kind of body. But how can body and mind be conceived the same, since in their natures they are diametrically opposed?

Then somehow he has forgotten the express statement of the poems----

'His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth, 
Hears and considers all; nor any speech, 
Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes 
The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son'----   33

for hereby the ether is plainly declared to be the mind of Zeus.

But Porphyry says, on the contrary, that Hera is the ethereal and aerial power. Then he adds a distinction and says:34

[PORPHYRY] 'And the power of the whole air is Hera, called by a name derived from the air: but the symbol of the sublunar air which is affected by light and darkness is Leto; for she is oblivion caused by the insensibility in sleep, and because souls begotten below the moon are accompanied by forgetfulness of the Divine; and on this account she is also the mother of Apollo and Artemis, who are the sources of light for the night.'

Now here he says that the sublunar air is the mother of sun and moon, because the air is Leto. But how could the air become the mother of the sources of illumination, being itself acted on rather than acting? For sun and moon, produce different changes in the air at different times.

But again, he next proceeds to say:

'The ruling principle of the power of earth is called Hestia, of whom a statue representing her as a virgin is usually set up on the hearth; but inasmuch as the power is productive, they symbolize her by the form of a woman with prominent breasts. The name Rhea they gave to the power of rocky and mountainous land, and Demeter to that of level and productive land. Demeter in other respects is the same as Rhea, but differs in the fact that she gives birth to Koré by Zeus, that is, she produces the shoot (κόρος) from the seeds of plants. And on this account her statue is crowned with ears of corn, and poppies are set round her as a symbol of productiveness.'

Now here again mark in what manner he has degraded Rhea, who is said to be the mother of the gods and of Zeus himself, down to the level of rocks and earth, and makes utter confusion by saying that she is the same with Demeter, except that she differs 'in the fact that Demeter (he says) gives birth to Koré by Zeus, just as the level ground produces the shoot (κόρος) from the seeds of plants. 'Behold, here again you have Zeus transformed into the seeds of plants!

To this he next adds a further statement:

'But since there was in the seeds cast into the earth a certain power, which the sun in passing round to the lower hemisphere drags down at the time of the winter solstice, Koré is the seminal power, and Pluto the sun passing under the earth, and traversing the unseen world at the time of the winter solstice; and he is said to carry off Koré, who, while hidden beneath the earth, is lamented by her mother Demeter.

'The power which produces hard-shelled fruits, and the fruits of plants in general, is named Dionysus. But observe the images of these also. For Koré bears symbols of the production of the plants which grow above the earth in the crops: and Dionysus has horns in common with Koré, and is of female form, indicating the union of male and female forces in the generation of the hard-shelled fruits.

'But Pluto, the ravisher of Koré, has a helmet as a symbol of the unseen pole, and his shortened sceptre as an emblem of his kingdom of the nether world; and his dog (κύων) indicates the generation (κύησιν) of the fruits in its threefold division----the sowing of the seed, its reception by the earth, its growing up. For he is called a dog (κύων), not because souls are his food (κῆρας βοράν, Cerberus), but because of the earth's fertility (κυεῖν), for which Pluto provides when he carries off Koré.

'Attis, too, and Adonis are related to the analogy of fruits. Attis is the symbol of the blossoms which appear early in the spring, and fall off before the complete fertilization; whence they further attributed castration to him, from the fruits not having attained to seminal perfection: but Adonis was the symbol of the cutting of the perfect fruits.

'Silenus was the symbol of the wind's motion, which contributes no few benefits to the world. And the flowery and brilliant wreath upon his head is symbolic of the revolution of the heaven, and the hair with which his lower limbs are surrounded is an indication of the density of the air near the earth.

'Since there was also a power partaking of the prophetic faculty, the power is called Themis, because of its telling what is appointed (τεθειμένα) and fixed for each person.

'In all these ways, then, the power of the earth finds an interpretation and is worshipped: as a virgin and Hestia, she holds the centre; as a mother she nourishes; as Rhea she makes rocks and dwells on mountains; as Demeter, she produces herbage; and as Themis, she utters oracles: while the seminal law which descends into her bosom is figured as Priapus, the influence of which on dry crops is called Koré, and on soft fruits and shell-fruits is called Dionysus. For Koré was carried off by Pluto, that is, the sun going down beneath the earth at seed-time; but Dionysus begins to sprout according to the conditions of the power which, while young, is hidden beneath the earth, yet produces fine fruits, and is an ally of the power in the blossom symbolized by Attis, and of the cutting of the ripened corn symbolized by Adonis.

'Also the power of the wind which pervades all things is formed into a figure of Silenus, and the perversion to frenzy into a figure of a Bacchante, as also the impulse which excites to lust is represented by the Satyrs. These, then, are the symbols by which the power of the earth is revealed.'

So far, then, we have these statements (of Porphyry), which I have been compelled to set before you briefly, in order that we may not be ignorant of the fine doctrines of the philosophers. Thus, therefore, according to the accounts rendered by them, Koré is the power of the seed-crops, and Dionysus of the tree-fruits, and of the spring-flowers Attis is the symbol, and Adonis of the ripe fruits.

Why then ought we to deify these things which have been made by the God of the universe for sustenance of the bodies of the animals upon the earth? Or why is the worship of the power of the earth becoming to us, who have received from God, the sovereign ruler of the world, a soul whose nature is heavenly, rational, and immortal, capable of contemplation by the purged eyes of thought?

On hearing that Silenus is the motion of the wind, and the force which penetrates through all things, and that at one time he represents by his head the revolution of the heavens, and at another the density of the air by the shaggy hair of his beard, how can one patiently endure to see him thought worthy of no august worship, who ought to have been deified before all, while Adonis and Dionysus, the corn-crops forsooth and tree-fruits, are turned into gods?

And who could patiently bear to hear Satyrs and Bacchantes spoken of with reverence, which are the foul and licentious passions of mankind, inasmuch as the former, the Satyrs, represented the impulses which excite to carnal pleasure, and the Bacchantes the inducements which concur to frenzy in those who take part herein?

But what need to refute each part separately, when we ought merely to run over them so that none of their secrets may escape us, and to cut short the physical explanation of what follows, which the author before named has set forth, proceeding in the following manner:35

'The whole power productive of water they called Oceanus, and named its symbolic figure Tethys. But of the whole, the drinking-water produced is called Achelous; and the sea-water Poseidon; while again that which makes the sea, inasmuch as it is productive, is Amphitrite. Of the sweet waters the particular powers are called Nymphs, and those of the sea-waters Nereids.

'Again, the power of fire they called Hephaestus, and have made his image in the form of a man, but put on it a blue cap as a symbol of the revolution of the heavens, because the archetypal and purest form of lire is there. But the fire brought down from heaven to earth is less intense, and wants the strengthening and support which is found in matter: wherefore he is lame, as needing matter to support him.

'Also they supposed a power of this kind to belong to the sun and called it Apollo, from the pulsation (πάλσις) of his beams. There are also nine Muses singing to his lyre, which are the sublunar sphere, and seven spheres of the planets, and one of the fixed stars. And they crowned him with laurel, partly because the plant is full of fire, and therefore hated by daemons; and partly because it crackles in burning, to represent the god's prophetic art.

'But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called him Heracles (Ἑρακλῆς), from his clashing against the air (κλᾶσθαι πρὸς τὸν ἀέρα) in passing from east to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours, as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven; and they arrayed him with a club and a lion's skin, the one as an indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his strength in "Leo" the sign of the zodiac.

'Of the sun's healing power Asclepius is the symbol, and to him they have given the staff as a sign of the support and rest of the sick, and the serpent is wound round it, as significant of his preservation of body and soul: for the animal is most full of spirit, and shuffles off the weakness of the body. It seems also to have a great faculty for healing: for it found the remedy for giving clear sight, and is said in a legend to know a certain plant which restores life.

'But the fiery power of his revolving and circling motion, whereby he ripens the crops, is called Dionysus, not in the same sense as the power which produces the juicy fruits, but either from the sun's rotation (δινεῖν), or from his completing (διανύειν) his orbit in the heaven. And whereas he revolves round the cosmical seasons (Spas), and is the maker of "times and tides," the sun is on this account called Horus.

'Of his power over agriculture, whereon depend the gifts of wealth (Plutus), the symbol is Pluto. He has, however, equally the power of destroying, on which account they make Sarapis share the temple of Pluto: and the purple tunic they make the symbol of the light that has sunk beneath the earth, and the sceptre broken at the top that of his power below, and the posture of the hand the symbol of his departure into the unseen world.

'Cerberus is represented with three heads, because the positions of the sun above the earth are three----rising, midday, and setting.

'The moon, conceived according to her brightness, they called Artemis, as it were ἀερότεμις, "cutting the air." And Artemis, though herself a virgin, presides over childbirth, because the power of the new moon is helpful to parturition.

'What Apollo is to the sun, that Athena is to the moon: for the moon is a symbol of wisdom, and so a kind of Athena.

'But, again, the moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases and of her power dependent on the phases. Wherefore her power appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon the figure in the white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted: the basket, which she bears when she has mounted high, is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops, which she makes to grow up according to the increase of her light: and again the symbol of the full moon is the goddess of the brazen sandals.

'Or even from the branch of olive one might infer her fiery nature, and from the poppy her productiveness, and the multitude of the souls who find an abode in her as in a city, for the poppy is an emblem of a city. She bears a bow, like Artemis, because of the sharpness of the pangs of labour.

'And, again, the Fates are referred, to her powers, Clotho to the generative, and Lachesis to the nutritive, and Atropos to the inexorable will of the deity.

'Also, the power productive of corn-crops, which is Demeter, they associate with her, as producing power in her. The moon is also a supporter of Koré. They set Dionysus also beside her, both on account of their growth of horns, and because of the region of clouds lying beneath the lower world.

'The power of Kronos they perceived to be sluggish and slow and cold, and therefore attributed to him the power of time (χρόνου): and they figure him standing, and grey-headed, to indicate that time is growing old.

'The Curetes, attending on Chronos, are symbols of the seasons, because time (Chronos) journeys on through seasons.

'Of the Hours, some are the Olympian, belonging to the sun, which also open the gates in the air: and others are earthly, belonging to Demeter, and hold a basket, one symbolic of the flowers of spring, and the other of the wheat-ears of summer.

'The power of Ares they perceived to be fiery, and represented it as causing war and bloodshed, and capable both of harm and benefit.

'The star of Aphrodite they observed as tending to fecundity, being the cause of desire and offspring, and represented it as a woman because of generation, and as beautiful, because it is also the evening star----

"Hesper, the fairest star that shines in heaven."   36

'And Eros they set by her because of desire. She veils her breasts and other parts, because their power is the source of generation and nourishment. She conies from the sea, a watery element, and warm, and in constant movement, and foaming because of its commotion, whereby they intimate the seminal power.

'Hermes is the representative of reason and speech, which both accomplish and interpret all things. The phallic Hermes represents vigour, but also indicates the generative law that pervades all things.

'Further, reason is composite: in the sun it is called Hermes; in the moon Hecate; and that which is in the All Hermopan, for the generative and creative reason extends over all things. Hermanubis also is composite, and as it were half Greek, being found among the Egyptians also. Since speech is also connected with the power of love, Eros represents this power: wherefore Eros is represented as the son of Hermes, but as an infant, because of his sudden impulses of desire.

'They made Pan the symbol of the universe, and gave him his horns as symbols of sun and moon, and the fawn skin as emblem of the stars in heaven, or of the variety of the universe.'

Such are his interpretations of the Greek mythology: that of the Egyptians again he says has symbols such as follow:  37

'The Demiurge, whom the Egyptians call Cneph, is of human form, but with a skin of dark blue, holding a girdle and a sceptre, and crowned with a royal wing on his head, because reason is hard to discover, and wrapt up in secret, and not conspicuous, and because it is life-giving, and because it is a king, and because it has an intelligent motion: wherefore the characteristic wing is put upon his head.

'This god, they say, puts forth from his mouth an egg, from which is born a god who is called by themselves Phtha, but by the Greeks Hephaestus; and the egg they interpret as the world. To this god the sheep is consecrated, because the ancients used to drink milk.

'The representation of the world itself they figured thus: the statue is like a man having feet joined together, and clothed from head to foot with a robe of many colours, and has on the head a golden sphere, the first to represent its immobility, the second the many-coloured nature of the stars, and the third because the world is spherical.

'The sun they indicate sometimes by a man embarked on a ship, the ship set on a crocodile. And the ship indicates the sun's motion in a liquid element: the crocodile potable water in which the sun travels. The figure of the sun thus signified that his revolution takes place through air that is liquid and sweet.

'The power of the earth, both the celestial and terrestrial earth, they called Isis, because of the equality (ἰσότητα), which is the source of justice: but they call the moon the celestial earth, and the vegetative earth, on which we live, they call the terrestrial.

'Demeter has the same meaning among the Greeks as Isis among the Egyptians: and, again, Koré and Dionysus among the Greeks the same as Isis and Osiris among the Egyptians. Isis is that which nourishes and raises up the fruits of the earth; and Osiris among the Egyptians is that which supplies the fructifying power, which they propitiate with lamentations as it disappears into the earth in the sowing, and as it is consumed by us for food.

'Osiris is also taken for the river-power of the Nile: when, however, they signify the terrestrial earth, Osiris is taken as the fructifying power; but when the celestial, Osiris is the Nile, which they suppose to come down from heaven: this also they bewail, in order to propitiate the power when failing and becoming exhausted. And the Isis who, in the legends, is wedded to Osiris is the land of Egypt, and therefore she is made equal to him, and conceives, and produces the fruits; and on this account Osiris has been described by tradition as the husband of Isis, and her brother, and her son.'


[PORPHYRY] 'AT the city Elephantine there is an image worshipped, which in other respects is fashioned in the likeness of a man and sitting; it is of a blue colour, and has a man's head, and a diadem bearing the horns of a goat, above which is a quoit-shaped circle. He sits with a vessel of clay beside him, on which he is moulding the figure of a man. And from having the face of a ram and the horns of a goat he indicates the conjunction of sun and moon in the sign of the Ram, while the colour of blue indicates that the moon in that conjunction brings rain.

'The second appearance of the moon is held sacred in the city of Apollo: and its symbol is a man with a hawk-like face, subduing with a hunting-spear Typhon in the likeness of a hippopotamus. The image is white in colour, the whiteness representing the illumination of the moon, and the hawk-like face the fact that it derives light and breath from the sun. For the hawk they consecrate to the sun, and make it their symbol of light and breath, because of its swift motion, and its soaring up on high, where the light is. And the hippopotamus represents the Western sky, because of its swallowing up into itself the stars which traverse it.

'In this city Horus is worshipped as a god. But the city of Eileithyia worships the third appearance of the moon: and her statue is fashioned into a flying vulture, whose plumage consists of precious stones. And its likeness to a vulture signifies that the moon is what produces the winds: for they think that the vulture conceives from the wind, and declares that they are all hen birds.

'In the mysteries at Eleusis the hierophant is dressed up to represent the demiurge, and the torch-bearer the sun, the priest at the altar the moon, and the sacred herald Hermes.

'Moreover a man is admitted by the Egyptians among their objects of worship. For there is a village in Egypt called Anabis, in which a man is worshipped, and sacrifice offered to him, and the victims burned upon his altars: and after a little while he would eat the things that had been prepared for him as for a man.

'They did not, however, believe the animals to be gods, but regarded them as likenesses and symbols of gods; and this is shown by the fact that in many places oxen dedicated to the gods are sacrificed at their monthly festivals and in their religious services. For they consecrated oxen to the sun and moon.


[PORPHYRY] 'THE ox called Mnevis which is dedicated to the sun in Heliopolis, is the largest of oxen, very black, chiefly because much sunshine blackens men's bodies. And its tail and all its body are covered with hair that bristles backwards unlike other cattle, just as the sun makes its course in the opposite direction to the heaven. Its testicles are very large, since desire is produced by heat, and the sun is said to fertilize nature.

'To the moon they dedicated a bull which they call Apis, which also is more black than others, and bears symbols of sun and moon, because the light of the moon is from the sun. The blackness of his body is an emblem of the sun, and so is the beetle-like mark under his tongue; and the symbol of the moon is the semicircle, and the gibbous figure.'

Let it suffice that I have made these short extracts from the writing of the before-named author, so that we may not be ignorant of any secrets of the theology which is at once both Grecian and Egyptian, and from which we confess ourselves to be apostates and deserters, having rejected these doctrines with sound judgement and reasoning.

For I am not going to be frightened by the arrogant voice which said,

'I speak to those who lawfully may hear: 
Depart, all ye profane, and close the doors."    38

Not we at all events are profane, but those who declared that such foul and unseemly legends about beetles and brute beasts were the thoughts of a wise theology---- they who, according to the admirable Apostle, 'professing themselves to be wise, became fools,' 39 seeing that they 'changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.'

But since they used to refer all the secret and more mysterious doctrine on these subjects in a metaphorical sense to incorporeal powers, so as to appear no longer to apply their deification to the visible parts of the world, but to certain invisible and incorporeal powers, let us examine whether we ought not even so to admire. the divine power as one, and not to regard it as many.

For it does not follow, because many shapes and parts and limbs have been created in one body, that we ought to believe them to have as many souls, nor to suppose that there are as many makers and creators of the body; but that as one soul moves the whole body, so one creative power framed the whole living being.

Thus then in the case of the whole world also, since it is one, and consists of one kind of corporeal matter, but is divided into many parts, and reveals one natural sympathy of the universe, and a composition and mixture of its elements, with changes and transformations of one into another, while it exhibits the entire whole as one order and one harmony, we ought not to suppose many creative powers, but to deify only one, namely that which is in very truth 'the power of God, and the wisdom of God.'40

But our wise philosopher does not observe that he is transforming the Egyptian mythologies back into immaterial powers; for you have heard in what has gone before, how he confessed that Chaeremon and several others 'believed in nothing else as prior to the visible worlds, and placed the Egyptians first,' because they interpreted all things of physical laws and nothing of incorporeal and living beings.'

If therefore, according to their own confession, it was characteristic of the Egyptians to refer nothing 'to incorporeal and living beings,' but to transfer all their mythological stories concerning the gods to the physical parts of the world, why then do they begin anew with their subtleties, and ascribe to the Egyptians doctrines which in no way belong to them, by asserting that they make their theology refer back to incorporeal powers? Such is the general charge to be brought.

And in regard also to the particulars, I think that no long refutation is needed to disprove their forced rendering.

For to pass over the nonsense of the Egyptians and all their prating foolery, and to come on to the physical theories of the wise Greeks, what man of sound mind would not at once condemn those who attempt to give such perverse interpretations?

For grant that Zeus no longer means the fiery and ethereal substance, as however was supposed by the ancients according to Plutarch, but that he is the supreme 'mind' itself, 'the creator of the universe,' who giveth to all things life----how then shall his father be Kronos, whom they assert to be time, and his mother Rhea, whom our interpreter declared to be the power of rocks and mountains? For I cannot understand how, after calling Hera the air and the ether, he says that she is at the same time sister and wife of the mind that made the world and gave life to all things.

But again let Leto be called a kind of oblivion (ληθώ) because of the insensibility, as they say, in sleep, and because oblivion accompanies the souls that are born into this sublunary world. How then could oblivion become the mother of sun and moon, Apollo and Artemis the children of Leto having been transformed into sun and moon?

And why are we to worship Rhea or Demeter as a goddess, if the one was said to be symbolic of rocky and mountainous land, and the other of the plain? As they allegorize Koré into satiety (κόρος), for what reason do they think they ought to honour her with that venerable title?

And why do they think we ought to worship as gods the seminal power, and the production of tree-fruits, or of the blossoms that appear in spring, and perish before they have perfected their fruit, or the symbols of the cutting of the ripe crops, surnaming them Dionysus and Attis and Adonis, instead of honouring above all these the human race for whose use and sustenance these things were provided by the Divine Creator of the universe?

But passing from these points, you will by the like method confute all the rest of their grand physical theory, and with good reason rebuke the shamelessness of those, say, who declared that the sun was Apollo himself, and again Heracles, and at another time Dionysus, and again in like manner Asclepius.

For how could the same person be both father and son, Asclepius and Apollo at once? And how could he be changed again into Heracles, since Heracles has been acknowledged by them to be the son of a mortal woman Alcmena? And how could the sun go mad and slay his own sons, seeing that this also has been ascribed to Heracles?

But in the performance of his twelve labours Heracles is said to be the symbol of the distribution in the heaven of the zodiacal circle in which they say the sun revolves. Who then is now to be the Eurystheus, that enjoins the performance of the labours on the sun, as he did upon Heracles? And how can the fifty daughters of Thestius be referred to the sun, and the multitude of other female captives with whom the story says that Heracles consorted, and of whom were born to him mortal sons who continued the succession of their generations for a very long time? And who could the Centaur be, with whose blood Deianeira smeared the tunic, and so would have involved the sun, as in fact she did Heracles, in the misery that has been described?

But now suppose they make the sun no longer Heracles, but Dionysus: and any one may with good reason say, 'What have these things to do with Dionysus?' For who was his mother, whether called Semele or Persephone? And how could Dionysus be both the sun and the power that sprouts forth in the moist fruits and nuts? And what can the multitude of women who went with him on his expedition mean? And who is the Ariadne of the sun, as there was, we know, the Ariadne of Dionysus. And why, when Dionysus is transformed into the sun, should he be the provider rather of wine, and not of corn and vegetables and all the fruits of the earth? And again, if they make the sun Asclepius, how is he stricken with the thunderbolt of Zeus on account of his sordid love of gain, according to Pindar the lyric poet of Boeotia, who speaks as follows:

'Him too by splendid bribe the gold 
Seen glittering on his palm seduc'd.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    
Then swiftly from Kronion's hand 
The flashing lightning, fraught with death, 
With fiery bolt transfixing both, 
Quench'd in each form the living breath.'

Who again were the Asclepiadae, children of the sun, who after being themselves preserved to a long life, founded a race of mortals like all other men?

However, while they try to escape, as it were by some sudden transformation, from the unseemly and fabulous narratives concerning the gods, their system will run back again to sun, and moon, and the other parts of the world.

If at least they made Hephaestus fire and the force of heat, Poseidon the watery element, Hera the air, and the mountainous and rocky earth Rhea, the plain and fruitful earth Demeter, Koré the seminal power, and Dionysus the power which produces hard fruits, the sun Apollo, together with those who have been enumerated above, and the moon at one time Artemis, at another Athena, and again Hecate, and Eileithyia----are they not again convicted of deifying 'the creature rather than the Creator.' and the handiwork of the world but not the worker, with great risk and danger, and with mischief that must fall on their own head?

But if they shall assert that they deify not the visible bodies of sun and moon and stars, nor yet the sensible parts of the world, but the powers, invisible in them, of the very God who is over all----for they say that God being One fills all things with various powers, and pervades all, and rules over all, but as existing in all and pervading all in an incorporeal and invisible manner. and that they rightly worship Him through the things which we have mentioned----why in the world therefore do they not reject the foul and unseemly fables concerning the gods as being unlawful and impious, and put out of sight the very books concerning them, as containing blasphemous and licentious teaching, and celebrate the One and Only and Invisible God openly and purely and without any foul envelopment?

For this was what those who had known the truth ought to do, and not to degrade and debase the venerable name of God into foul and lustful fables of things unspeakable; nor yet to shut themselves up in cells and dark recesses and buildings made by man, as if they would find God inside; nor to think that they are worshipping the Divine powers in statues made of lifeless matter, nor to suppose that by vapours of gore and filth steaming from the earth, and by the blood of slain animals they are doing things pleasing to God.

Surely it became these men of wisdom and of lofty speech, as being set free from all these bonds of error, to impart of their physical speculations ungrudgingly to all men, and to proclaim as it were in naked truth to all, that they should adore not the things that are seen, but only the unseen Creator of things visible, and worship His invisible and incorporeal powers in ways invisible and incorporeal, not by kindling fire nor yet by offerings of ranis and bulls, nay, nor yet by imagining that they honour the Deity by garlands and statues and the building of temples, but by worshipping Him with purified thoughts and right and true doctrines, in dispassionate calmness of soul, and in growing as far as possible like unto Him.

But no one ever yet, barbarian or Greek, began to show all men this truth except only our Saviour; who, having proclaimed to all nations an escape from their ancient error, procured abundantly for them all a way of return and of devotion to the one true and only God of the universe. Yet the men perversely wise who boasted of the highest philosophy of life, whereby as the inspired Apostle says,41 though they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. They professed indeed to be wise, but became fools, . . . and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.42


So after their long and manifold philosophical speculation, and after their solemn systems of meteorology and physiology, they fell down from their high place, as it were from the loftiest mountain-top, and were dragged down with the common herd, and swept away with the polytheistic delusion of the ancients, pretending that they glorified the like deities with the multitude by offering sacrifice and falling down before images, and increasing, and still further strengthening, the vulgar opinion of the legendary stories concerning the gods.

Must it not then be evident to all men that they are only talking solemn nonsense in their physical theories, and, as far as words go, putting a fair face on foul things by their perversion of the truth, but in actual deeds establishing the fabulous delusion, and the vulgar superstition? And so far there is no wonder, since they even record that their gods themselves assent to the fabulous stories concerning them.

Hear at least how Apollo himself teaches men a hymn, which he put forth concerning himself, acknowledging that he was born of Leto in the island of Delos, and Asclepius again in Tricca, as also Hermes acknowledging that he was the child of Maia: for these things also are written by Porphyry in a book which he entitled Of the Philosophy derived from Oracles, wherein he made mention of the oracles which run as follows:43

'Thou, joy of mortals, forth didst spring 
From thy pure mother's sacred pangs.'

To this he subjoins----

'But when the pangs of holy birth 
Through all her frame fair Leto seized, 
And in her womb twin children stirr'd, 
Still stood the earth, the air stood still, 
The isle grew fix'd, the wave was hush'd; 
Forth into life Lycoreus sprang, 
God of the bow, the prophet-king 
On the divining tripod thron'd.'

Asclepius again thus speaks of himself:

'From sacred Tricca, lo! I come, the god 
Of mortal mother erst to Phoebus born, 
Of wisdom and the healing art a king, 
Asclepius nam'd. But say, what would'st thou ask?'

And Hermes says:

'Lo! whom thou callest, Zeus' and Maia's son, 
Hermes, descending from the starry throne, 
Hither I come.'

They also subjoin a description of the appearance of their own form, as Pan in the oracles gives the following description concerning himself:44

'To Pan, a god of kindred race, 
A mortal born my vows I pay; 
Whose horned brows and cloven feet 
And goat-like legs his lust betray.'

These are the things which the author before named has set forth among the secrets Of the Philosophy drawn from the Oracles, Pan therefore was no longer the symbol of the universe, but must be some such daemon as is described, who also gave forth the oracle: for of course it was not the universe, and the whole world, that gave the oracle which we have before us. The men therefore who fashioned the likeness of this daemon, and not that of the universe, imitated the figure before described.

How also could Hermes be thought of as the reason which both makes and interprets all things, when he confesses that he had for his mother Maia the daughter of Atlas, thus sanctioning the fable that is told concerning him, and not any physical explanation?

So again, how could Asclepius be changed into the sun, when he lays claim to Tricca as his native place, and confesses that he was born of a mortal mother? Or how, if he were himself the sun, could be represented again as a child of the sun? Since in their physical theory they made his father Phoebus to be no other than the sun.

And is it not the most ridiculous thing of all, to say that he was born of the sun and a mortal woman? For how is it reasonable that his father, the sun, whom they declare to be Apollo, should himself also have been born in the island Delos of a mortal mother again, namely Leto.

Here observe, I pray you, how many gods born of women were deified by the Greeks, to be brought forward if ever they attempt to mock at our Saviour's birth: observe also that the remarks quoted are not the words of poets, but of the gods themselves.


WHEN poets therefore, as they say, invent legends concerning the gods, while philosophers give physical explanations, we ought, I suppose, rightly to despise the former, and admire the latter as philosophers, and to accept the persuasive arguments of this better class rather than the triflings of the poets. But when on the other hand gods and philosophers enter into competition, and the former, as likely to know best, state exactly the facts concerning themselves in their oracles, while the latter twist their guesses about things which they do not know into discordant and undemonstrable subtleties, which does reason persuade us to believe? Or rather is this not even worth asking?

If therefore the gods are to speak true in certifying the human passions attributed to them, they who set these aside must be false; but if the physical explanations of the philosophers are true, the testimonies of the gods must be false.

But even Apollo himself, it may be said, somewhere in an oracle, when asked about himself who he was, replied:

'Osiris, Horus, Sun, Apollo, Zeus-born king, 
Ruler of times and seasons, winds and showers. 
Guiding the reins of dawn and starry night, 
King of the shining orbs, eternal Fire.'

So then the same witnesses agree both with the poets' legends and with the philosophers' guesses, allying themselves with both sides in the battle. For if they ascribe to themselves mortal mothers, and acknowledge their native places upon earth, how can they be such as the physicists describe them?

Grant that Apollo is the sun----for their argument will again be caught running backwards and forwards and round to the same place----how then could Delos, the island which is now still seen at sea, be the native place of the sun, and Leto his mother? For this is what his own oracles just now certified as being true. And how could the sun become the father of Asclepius, a mortal man by nature, having begotten him of a mortal woman? But let us put this subject aside.


THE falsehood of the oracle is to be refuted in another way. For surely the sun did not come down to them from heaven, and then, after fully inspiring the recipient, utter the Phoebean oracle; since it is neither possible nor right that so great a luminary should be subjected to man's compulsion: nay, not even if they should speak of the divine and intelligent power in the sun, because a human soul could never be capable of receiving even this.

In the case of the moon also there would be the same argument. For if they mean to assert that she is Hecate, how then can it be right that she should be dragged down by constraint of men, and prophesy through the recipient, and be taken to help in base and amatory services, herself being ruler of the evil daemons----how right, I say, that Hecate should do these things? This the writer himself acknowledges, as we shall fully prove in due time.

How again could Pluto and Sarapis be changed by physical theory into the sun, when the same author declares that Sarapis is the same with Pluto, and is the ruler of the evil daemons? Moreover, in recording oracles of Sarapis how could he say they were those of the sun?

But in fact from all these considerations it only remains to confess that the physical explanations which have been described have no truth, but are sophisms and subtleties of sophistic men.


THE ministrants indeed of the oracles we must in plain truth declare to be evil daemons, playing both parts to deceive mankind, and at one time agreeing with the more fabulous suppositions concerning themselves, to deceive the common people, and at another time confirming the statements of the philosophers' jugglery in order to instigate them also and puff them up: so that in every way it is proved that they speak no truth at all.

After having said so much it is now time for us to pass on, and advance to the third kind of Greek theology, which they say is political and legal. For this has been thought most suitable to astonish the multitude, both because of the celebrated oracles, and the healings and cures of bodily sufferings, and the punishments inflicted upon some. And while they assert that they have had experience of these things, they have thoroughly persuaded themselves that they are doing rightly in their own devotion to the gods, and that we are guilty of the greatest impiety in not honouring the powers that are so manifest and so beneficent with the services that are due to them. To meet then these objections also, let us make another new beginning of our argument.

[Footnotes have been numbered and placed at the end]

1. 83 c 1 Plutarch, De Daedalis Plataeensibus, a fragment preserved by Eusebius

2. 83 d 9 Plato, Laws, vi. 775 B

3. 85 b 7 Hom. Il. xvi. 187

4. 86 d 10 Hesiod, Opp. 233

5. 87 c 5 Plato, Cratylus, 397 C

6. 88 b 1 Diodorus Siculus, i. 11

7. 88 d 6 ibid. 12

8. 88 d 14 Hom. Il. 544

9. 89 b 1 Orph. Fr. 165

10. 89 b 5 Hom. Il. xiv. 201 

11. 90 a 4 Hom. Od. xvii. 485 (Pope)

12.  90 b 1 Diod. Sic. i. 13

13. 90 c 8 Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris, 363 D 98

14. 91 b 1 Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris, 359 E

15. 92 a 4 Porphyry, Epistle to Anebo, a fragment preserved by Eusebius: see Iamblichus, De Mysteriis, Parthey

16. 93 c 13 Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food, iv. 9

17. 97 d 4 Porphyry, Concerning Images, Orphic Fragm. vi. I; cf. p. 664 d

18. 99 b 1 Plutarch, De Daedalis Plataeensibus, a fragment preserved by Eusebius only

19. 99 b 8 Callimachus, Fragment 105, preserved by Eusebius only

20. 99 d 5 Plato, Laws, xii. 955 E

21. 100 a 1 Porphyry, Concerning Images, Stobaeus, Ed. i. 2, 23

22. 100 b 3 Orphic Fragm. 123 (Abel), vi (Hermann), Aristotle, De Mundo, c. vii.

23. 103 c 2 Plato, Cratylus, 397 C, quoted on p. 87 c 6

24. 104 c 8 Jer. xxiii. 24 104 d 5 Isa. Ixvi. 1 (Sept.)

25. 104 c 9 Deut. iv. 39

26. 104 c 10 Acts xvii. 28

27. 105 d 6 Ps. viii. 4 (Sept.) 

28. 105 d 8 Ps. ci. 26 (Sept.) 

29.  105 d 10 Isa. xl. 26

30.  106 a 1 cf. 101 c 5

31. 106 c 1 Gen. i. 26

32. 108 b 1 Porphyry, Concerning Images

33. 108 c 5 Orphic Fragm. 123,19; see p. 100 d 6

34. d 3 Porphyry, l. c.

35. 111 d 10 Porphyry, Concerning Images

36. 114 c 1 Hom. Il. xxii. 318

37. 115 a 7 Porphyry, Concerning Images

38. 118 a 9 Orphic Fragm. vi. 1

39. 118 b 1 Rom. i. 22

40. 118 d 8 1 Cor. i. 24

41. 122 d 7 Rom. i. 21, 22

42. 122 d 9 verse 25

43. 123 d 1 Porphyry, De Philos. ex Oraculis, fragments preserved by Eusebius

44. 124 b 2 This fragment is quoted again p. 201 c 136

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