The Identity of Celsus and His "Jew"

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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 28, 2015 8:28 pm

Of course they offered two different arguments - they were two different people. Celsus is using an original source, maybe even Philo (hence Origen not giving us the 'Jew's' name).
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Peter Kirby » Thu May 28, 2015 8:31 pm

Secret Alias wrote:Of course they offered two different arguments - they were two different people. Celsus is using an original source, maybe even Philo (hence Origen not giving us the 'Jew's' name).
What of the points at which Origen says that Celsus represents the "Jew" poorly, as saying things that an actual Jew would not?

(Some of them were quite convincing indications that a pagan was 'mouthing' the "Jew," who is represented as in dialogue with Jesus.)
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 28, 2015 8:32 pm

Patristic scholars inevitably 'forget' that there is a filter between us and the source material. In this case the fact that Origen says Celsus made up his source doesn't mean he made up his source. Origen knew Jews in Caesarea and assumes that Jews in the previous century were just like his friends. Many do that. Stupid. The source was likely a Hellenistic Jew who embraced Greek culture. Origen didn't know Jews like that.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 28, 2015 8:34 pm

My difficulty is figuring out the way Celsus 'introduced' his Jew. How was the source material incorporated into the main work.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Peter Kirby » Thu May 28, 2015 8:34 pm

Secret Alias wrote:Origen knew Jews in Caesarea and assumes that Jews in the previous century were just like his friends. Many do that. Stupid.
My irony-o-meter just busted. You owe me another one. ...
The source was likely a Hellenistic Jew who embraced Greek culture. Origen didn't know Jews like that.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 12:08 am

Then in 1.34 he brings his first objection to Celsus's Jew 'really being a Jew' and not a creation of Celsus's imagination:
Now it seems to me appropriate to the character of a Jew to have quoted the prophecy of Isaiah, which says that Immanuel was to be born of a virgin. This, however, Celsus, who professes to know everything, has not done, either from ignorance or from an unwillingness (if he had read it and voluntarily passed it by in silence) to furnish an argument which might defeat his purpose. And the prediction runs thus: And the Lord spoke again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask you a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord . And he said, Hear now, O house of David; is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us. And that it was from intentional malice that Celsus did not quote this prophecy, is clear to me from this, that although he makes numerous quotations from the Gospel according to Matthew, as of the star that appeared at the birth of Christ, and other miraculous occurrences, he has made no mention at all of this. Now, if a Jew should split words, and say that the words are not, Lo, a virgin, but, Lo, a young woman, we reply that the word Olmah— which the Septuagint have rendered by a virgin, and others by a young woman— occurs, as they say, in Deuteronomy, as applied to a virgin, in the following connection: If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then you shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and you shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour's wife. And again: But if a man find a betrothed damsel in a field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: but unto the damsel you shall do nothing; there is in her no sin worthy of death.
But this is stupid. The Jews audience is presumably pagan. He is not necessarily writing to Jews. As such getting into a scriptural debate (viz. Philo) would lose his audience.

Indeed with this very audience in mind Origen makes clear that the Jew makes reference to the idea that many pagan gods and heroes were born of virgins:
And since Celsus has introduced the Jew disputing with Jesus, and tearing in pieces, as he imagines, the fiction of His birth from a virgin, comparing the Greek fables about Danaë;, and Melanippe, and Auge, and Antiope, our answer is, that such language becomes a buffoon, and not one who is writing in a serious tone.
Interestingly Origen won't quote this section.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 12:32 am

Next Celsus assumes that the Jew (or Celsus) is making use of Matthew but this isn't necessarily the case. He goes to admit that he only assumed that Jesus lived in Egypt as an adult:
But, moreover, taking the history, contained in the Gospel according to Matthew, of our Lord's descent into Egypt, he refuses to believe the miraculous circumstances attending it, viz., either that the angel gave the divine intimation, or that our Lord's quitting Judea and residing in Egypt was an event of any significance; but he invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the miraculous works done by Jesus, by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. And yet he desires to throw discredit on them, as being done by help of magic and not by divine power; for he asserts that he (Jesus), having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god. Now I do not understand how a magician should exert himself to teach a doctrine which persuades us always to act as if God were to judge every man for his deeds.
The Jew clearly has a sophisticated literary ability but that doesn't prove he is one and the same with Celsus:
I do not think it necessary to grapple with an argument advanced not in a serious but in a scoffing spirit, such as the following: If the mother of Jesus was beautiful, then the god whose nature is not to love a corruptible body, had intercourse with her because she was beautiful; or, It was improbable that the god would entertain a passion for her, because she was neither rich nor of royal rank, seeing no one, even of her neighbours, knew her. And it is in the same scoffing spirit that he adds: When hated by her husband, and turned out of doors, she was not saved by divine power, nor was her story believed. Such things, he says, have no connection with the kingdom of heaven. In what respect does such language differ from that of those who pour abuse on others on the public streets, and whose words are unworthy of any serious attention?
Interestingly again Origen goes on to admit that the Jew seems to have had an unusual gospel - maybe not canonical Matthew:
After these assertions, he takes from the Gospel of Matthew, and perhaps also from the other Gospels, the account of the dove alighting upon our Saviour at His baptism by John, and desires to throw discredit upon the statement, alleging that the narrative is a fiction. Having completely disposed, as he imagined, of the story of our Lord's birth from a virgin, he does not proceed to deal in an orderly manner with the accounts that follow it; since passion and hatred observe no order, but angry and vindictive men slander those whom they hate, as the feeling comes upon them, being prevented by their passion from arranging their accusations on a careful and orderly plan. For if he had observed a proper arrangement, he would have taken up the Gospel, and, with the view of assailing it, would. have objected to the first narrative, then passed on to the second, and so on to the others. But now, after the birth from a virgin, this Celsus, who professes to be acquainted with all our history, attacks the account of the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at the baptism. He then, after that, tries to throw discredit upon the prediction that our Lord was to come into the world. In the next place, he runs away to what immediately follows the narrative of the birth of Jesus— the account of the star, and of the wise men who came from the east to worship the child. And you yourself may find, if you take the trouble, many confused statements made by Celsus throughout his whole book; so that even in this account he may, by those who know how to observe and require an orderly method of arrangement, be convicted of great rashness and boasting, in having inscribed upon his work the title of A True Discourse,— a thing which is never done by a learned philosopher.
The idea that the passages weren't in the same order as Matthew or any other canonical gospel is not an argument against the Jew or Celsus!

Yet most interesting of all, the Jew knows about the dove appearing as John the Baptist was baptizing him but assumes that John suffered a similar death to Jesus - all of which Origen finds odd for a Jew to admit. First:
But, that we may not have the appearance of intentionally passing by his charges through inability to refute them, we have resolved to answer each one of them separately according to our ability, attending not to the connection and sequence of the nature of the things themselves, but to the arrangement of the subjects as they occur in this book. Let us therefore notice what he has to say by way of impugning the bodily appearance of the Holy Spirit to our Saviour in the form of a dove. And it is a Jew who addresses the following language to Him whom we acknowledge to be our Lord Jesus: When you were bathing, says the Jew, beside John, you say that what had the appearance of a bird from the air alighted upon you. And then this same Jew of his, continuing his interrogations, asks, What credible witness beheld this appearance? Or who heard a voice from heaven declaring you to be the Son of God? What proof is there of it, save your own assertion, and the statement of another of those individuals who have been punished along with you?
Then Origen attempts to raise questions about a Jew raising the objections - because they should acknowledge the Holy Spirit - an extremely weak objection:
We shall therefore say, in the first place, that if he who disbelieves the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove had been described as an Epicurean, or a follower of Democritus, or a Peripatetic, the statement would have been in keeping with the character of such an objector. But now even this Celsus, wisest of all men, did not perceive that it is to a Jew, who believes more incredible things contained in the writings of the prophets than the narrative of the appearance of the dove, that he attributes such an objection! For one might say to the Jew, when expressing his disbelief of the appearance, and thinking to assail it as a fiction, How are you able to prove, sir, that the Lord spoke to Adam, or to Eve, or to Cain, or to Noah, or to Abraham, or to Isaac, or to Jacob, those words which He is recorded to have spoken to these men? And, to compare history with history, I would say to the Jew, Even your own Ezekiel writes, saying, 'The heavens were opened, and I saw a vision of God.' After relating which, he adds, 'This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord; and He said to me,' etc. Now, if what is related of Jesus be false, since we cannot, as you suppose, clearly prove it to be true, it being seen or heard by Himself alone, and, as you appear to have observed, also by one of those who were punished, why should we not rather say that Ezekiel also was dealing in the marvellous when he said, The heavens were opened, etc.? Nay, even Isaiah asserts, I saw the Lord of hosts sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and the seraphim stood round about it: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings. How can we tell whether he really saw them or not? Now, O Jew, you have believed these visions to be true, and to have been not only shown to the prophet by a diviner Spirit, but also to have been both spoken and recorded by the same.
Origen is clearly here stretching the boundaries of credibility. A Jew might well object to a dove appearing as the Holy Spirit and the heavens opening up etc. And again:
And he who is adorned with the spiritual gift, called the word of wisdom, will explain also the reason of the heavens opening, and the dove appearing, and why the Holy Spirit appeared to Jesus in the form of no other living thing than that of a dove. But our present subject does not require us to explain this, our purpose being to show that Celsus displayed no sound judgment in representing a Jew as disbelieving, on such grounds, a fact which has greater probability in its favour than many events in which he firmly reposes confidence.
But then Origen immediately goes on to say that he debated with Jews in the exact or similar to the manner described. Desperate arguments. And again:
And although Celsus, or the Jew whom he has introduced, may treat with mockery what I am going to say, I shall say it nevertheless—that many have been converted to Christianity as if against their will, some sort of spirit having suddenly transformed their minds from a hatred of the doctrine to a readiness to die in its defence, and having appeared to them either in a waking vision or a dream of the night. Many such instances have we known, which, if we were to commit to writing, although they were seen and witnessed by ourselves, we should afford great occasion for ridicule to unbelievers, who would imagine that we, like those whom they suppose to have invented such things, had ourselves also done the same. But God is witness of our conscientious desire, not by false statements, but by testimonies of different kinds, to establish the divinity of the doctrine of Jesus. And as it is a Jew who is perplexed about the account of the Holy Spirit having descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, we would say to him, Sir, who is it that says in Isaiah, 'And now the Lord has sent me and His Spirit.' In which sentence, as the meaning is doubtful— viz., whether the Father and the Holy Spirit sent Jesus, or the Father sent both Christ and the Holy Spirit— the latter is correct. For, because the Saviour was sent, afterwards the Holy Spirit was sent also, that the prediction of the prophet might be fulfilled; and as it was necessary that the fulfilment of the prophecy should be known to posterity, the disciples of Jesus for that reason committed the result to writing.
I see no reason to doubt the Jew as being a separate person from Celsus based on any of this.

But then Origen does bring up something worth considering - something which immediately follows his citation of 'debates' he's had with Jews. Jews know nothing about the John the Baptist:
I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless— being, although against his will, not far from the truth— that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),— the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure.
And then again:
And as it is a Jew who, in the work of Celsus, uses the language to Jesus regarding the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, This is your own testimony, unsupported save by one of those who were sharers of your punishment, whom you adduce, it is necessary for us to show him that such a statement is not appropriately placed in the mouth of a Jew. For the Jews do not connect John with Jesus, nor the punishment of John with that of Christ. And by this instance, this man who boasts of universal knowledge is convicted of not knowing what words he ought to ascribe to a Jew engaged in a disputation with Jesus.
Origen attempts to turn this around into an argument that the Jew identified 'John the Baptist' as the one meant to have 'shared the sufferings of Jesus' but I don't think is the case. If we go back to the original statement it is clear that there are two different ideas being represented here:
Let us therefore notice what he has to say by way of impugning the bodily appearance of the Holy Spirit to our Saviour in the form of a dove. And it is a Jew who addresses the following language to Him whom we acknowledge to be our Lord Jesus: When you were bathing, says the Jew, beside John, you say that what had the appearance of a bird from the air alighted upon you. And then this same Jew of his, continuing his interrogations, asks, What credible witness beheld this appearance? Or who heard a voice from heaven declaring you to be the Son of God? What proof is there of it, save your own assertion, and the statement of another of those individuals who have been punished along with you?
In other words, the Jew says to Jesus - while you were bathing beside John you say (i.e. Jesus) something which had the appearance of a bird landed on you - a second person acknowledges it who belongs to 'those individuals who have been punished along with you' i.e. a gospel writer not necessarily (and unlikely) John the baptist. Indeed the individual is never explicitly identified as 'John the Baptist' only John FWIW.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 5:31 am

I think we should stop there and go back to your original question. Rather than ask 'Did Celsus and His 'Jew' Offer Different Arguments?' we can in fact ask another question now - Are There Two Layers to Origen's Attack Against Celsus?

What I mean is that the argument against the Jew is often quite schizophrenic. There are sections where Origen seems to accept the Jew as a Jew making arguments that are preserved in Celsus treatise and then other sections where Origen - to various degrees of effectiveness - treats the Jew as an incarnation of Celsus's imagination.

Since we are told that Origen (or a later editor) reworked the original treatise (at the beginning of Against Celsus) this considerable weakens the argument that Celsus invented the Jew. In other words, if at first Origen treated the Jew as a Jew writing in the early second century and then only later changed his mind about his authenticity that makes the argument for his invention considerably weaker.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 6:05 am

Another critical question I think (that has rarely been asked) is what is the exact meaning of the highlighted words:

ἔστι δ' ὁ Ἰουδαῖος αὐτῷ ἔτι ταῦτα λέγων (It is the Jew who says the following), πρὸς ὃν ὁμολογοῦμεν εἶναι κύριον ἡμῶν τὸν Ἰησοῦν (whom we acknowledge to be our Lord Jesus)· Λουομένῳ (while you were taking a bath), φησί, σοὶ παρὰ τῷ Ἰωάννῃ φάσμα ὄρνιθος ἐξ ἀέρος λέγεις ἐπιπτῆναι (beside John, you say that what had the appearance of a bird from the air alighted upon you). Εἶτα πυνθανόμενος ὁ παρ' αὐτῷ Ἰουδαῖός φησι· Τίς τοῦτο εἶδεν ἀξιόχρεως μάρτυς τὸ φάσμα, ἢ τίς ἤκουσεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ φωνῆς εἰσποιού σης σε υἱὸν τῷ θεῷ; Πλὴν ὅτι σὺ φῂς καί τινα ἕνα ἐπάγῃ τῶν μετὰ σοῦ κεκολασμένων.

It is interesting the agreement with Justin's citation of his variant gospel:

And then Jesus came upon the Jordan river, where John was baptizing, and when Jesus went down upon the water even a fire was lit in the Jordan, and his apostles wrote that when he rose up out of the water the holy spirit flew as a dove upon him, since he is our Christ.

Και τοτε ελθοντος του Ιησου επι τον Ιορδανην ποταμον, ενθα ο Ιωαννης εβαπτιζε, κατελθοντος του Ιησου επι το υδωρ και πυρ ανηφθη εν τω Ιορδανη, και αναδυντος αυτου απο του υδατος ως περιστεραν το αγιον πνευμα επιπτηναι επ αυτον εγραψαν οι αποστολοι αυτου τουτου του Χριστου ημων.

We know that the fire appearing in the water is a trait of pre-canonical gospels - indeed the gospel of the Hebrews. It seems probable that the Jew is citing from this 'Hebrew' gospel supporting the claim that this is indeed a Jew citing from an early gospel. In each case 'fluttered down on him' = ἐπιπτῆναι. This is a very unusual and unique 'poetical' form for ἐπιπτέσθαι. The chances that two men would use this to describe the same event and not be citing a text is very unlikely. The odds are extremely high then that the Jew of Celsus is citing from the Gospel of the Hebrews or at least the same text as Justin.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 6:19 am

I am beginning to wonder if 'the Jew of Celsus' might be Trypho. Bucur has an interesting discussion here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=VdmiR ... in&f=false

Origen's choice of language "whom we acknowledge to be our Lord" seems to fit within Bucur's reconstruction of the general parameters of the debate between Trypho and Justin. Bucur points to the following passage in the Dialogue:
the Scripture asserts by Isaiah, There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse; and a flower shall grow up from the root of Jesse; and the Spirit of God shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety: and the spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill Him:' (now you admitted to me," continued he, "that this referred to Christ, and you maintain Him to be pre-existent God, and having become incarnate by God's will, to be born man by the Virgin:) how He can be demonstrated to have been pre-existent, who is filled with the powers of the Holy Ghost, which the Scripture by Isaiah enumerates, as if He were in lack of them?"
As Bucur notes:
Here Trypho understands Isa 11:1–3 as a text dealing with the reception of the seven “powers of the Holy Spirit,” which therefore would exclude Justin's idea of a preexistent “Lord,” distinct from the Father and endowed with the “powers.” Justin responds by interpreting the Isaiah passage as a reference to the Jordan event: the seven powers of the Spirit rested on Jesus Christ when the Spirit “fluttered down on” him (ἐπιπτῆναι, Dial. 88.3) at the Jordan baptism. Justin insists that Jesus' baptism was a theophany, which did not create Christ's identity but revealed it to the world.
I think the emphasis of Origen "Jesus whom we acknowledge to be our Lord" along with the specific terminology ἐπιπτῆναι is enough to affirm that Origen is citing from Trypho's argument against Justin or some preservation of the work behind which the Dialogue developed. As such not only is this a real 'Jew' but a Jew who lived in the early to middle second century.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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