On the True Doctrine : Discourse Against the Christians
The works of many early critics of the Christian church were burned by ruling emperors or otherwise destroyed in the second and third centuries, but the writings of the Greek pagan philosopher, Celsus, have survived indirectly through his eloquent opponent Origen of Alexandria. In his apologetical treatise, Contra Celsum, Origen argues against the ideas set forth by Celsus and quotes from Celsus' The True Doctrine at length. Through this treatise, Celsus has come to represent the detached pagan voice of the ages. In this translation, Professor Hoffmann has, for the first time, painstakingly reconstructed the main order of the philosopher's argument. Celsus' discourse shows him to be an eclectic philosopher-a dabbler in various schools of thought, including Platonism and Stoicism, and a student of the history and religious customs of many nations. Hoffman supplements this definitive translation with an informative introduction, summarizing Celsus' premises and placing the identity of Celsus in its historical context.
- Paperback | 160 pages
- 138 x 206 x 12mm | 199.58g
- 19 Feb 1987
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
- UK ed.
Back cover copy
Although the works of many early critics of the Church were burned by Christian emperors or were otherwise destroyed in the second and third centuries, the major work of the Greek philosopher, Celsus, is an exception. His polemical attack on the beliefs and practices of Christianity, On the True Doctrine, written around 178 A.D., is one of the earliest surviving documents of its kind. Preserved almost in its entirety within Contra Celsum, a counter-polemic written by Origen of Alexandria, On the True Doctrine provides an accurate portrait of the attitudes of most detached pagan observers of the time: interested in the latest religious trends, but suspicious of the religious enthusiasm and the newer proselytizing sects of the empire.
This is a useful addition to any Patristic collection and at such a reasonable price easily accessible to scholars of limited means. Abba Seraphim, The Glastonbury Bulletin, No. 92, March 1996