By Jeffrey W. Hargis
Opposed to the Christians examines the anti-Christian polemic works of Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian the Apostate. the 1st publication to investigate the phenomenon of early anti-Christian literature intensive, it chooses the critics' objection to Christian exclusivism as its start line. The evolution of the polemic, from a rhetoric of radical contrast to 1 of "rhetorical assimilation," finds a cosmopolitan try to divulge contradictions and inconsistencies inside of Christianity whereas whilst reflecting the method of fusion among Christianity and the tradition of overdue antiquity.
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Additional resources for Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (Patristic Studies 1)
This difference in the treatment of Judaism provides an important indication of the shift in the rhetorical treatment of Christianity between the turn of the third century and the time of the last pagan emperor in 362-363. A substantial portion of Celsus' anti-Christian polemic is antiJewish; his strategy of associating his opponents with a generally despised religious and ethnic minority constitutes an important element of the overall attack. Thus nearly his entire treatment of Judaism in the True Doctrine uses the tactic of "guilt by association," the first of the two strategies described above.
This is what he says: If these idols are nothing, why is it terrible to take part in the high festival? And if they are daemons of some sort, obviously these too belong to God, and we ought to believe them and sacrifice to them according to the laws, and pray to them that they may be kindly disposed. 16 The theological thrtist of Celsus' argument allows us a glimpse into the genesis of a debate between pagans and Christians concerning the nature of God. In the immediate context this debate touched upon two theological subpoints, namely God's universality and impassibility.
9 The rhetorical context of Celsus' statement regarding "those who now reign over us" supports such a general meaning, and because of the importance of this passage in discussions of Celsus' date it deserves to be quoted in full. This is especially true since references to the context have been notably absent in the literature. lO In the first place, if Celsus' first reference to a plurality of rulers is to be taken literally, it follows that he likewise meant for the subsequent "rulers" in the argument to reign together literally as well.
Against the Christians. The Rise of Early Anti-Christian Polemic (Patristic Studies 1) by Jeffrey W. Hargis