The Identity of Celsus and His "Jew"

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

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 12:54 pm

The authenticity of Celsus's Jew is as controverted as that of Justin's Trypho. It has been argued that he, like Trypho, is entirely fictional, a view routinely encouraged by Origen to discredit his opponent (Cels. 1: 28,34,49,55,57,67; 2:1,34,53, etc). Yet neither Origen's assurances nor the content of the Jew's arguments support this conclusion. As with Trypho, the important issue is not whether he was a real person, a single individual whose opinions Celsus repeats verbatim, but whether the arguments attributed to him accurately reflect the sort of things a Jew might have said about Christianity in the second half of the second century. In general they do and I would would take the arguments of the two figures to be mutually supportive." [Stephen Wilson Related Strangers p. 268]
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 2:46 pm

it is striking to note that Justin Martyr, who appears to quote Gospel material and is possibly the first Christian author to show knowledge of the fourfold Gospel, never makes Trypho engage in argument about these sources, although never makes Trypho engage in argument about these sources, although we should note that at Dial. 18.1 Justin states that Trypho has read the doctrines taught by Jesus. Such a statement, which one which one presumes possesses some verisimilitude (Justin knows of Jews who did such things), should make us wary of exploiting silence too much. Absence of straightforward argument about the content of the Gospels might be best explained by noting that the central concern of the Dialogue is Jewish and Christian contention over the Old Testament, for those were the texts that both parties acknowledged (cf. Dial 120.5) [Paget Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians in Antiquity p. 275]
Celsus's Jew is also a Jewish writer who is familiar with the gospel.
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 29, 2015 2:55 pm

The single accusation that Jesus was a sorcerer is found in several passages. In his First Apology 30 Justin refers to the claim by his opponents that the miracles of Jesus were done by the use of magical arts. Writing at about the same time as Justin, Celsus repeatedly makes the same accusation, usually when he is citing the polemic of a Jew. [Graham Stanton Jesus of Nazareth p. 168]
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Re: Did Celsus and His "Jew" Offer Different Arguments?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat May 30, 2015 1:24 am

Peter Kirby wrote: Origen also frequently alleges that Celsus is an atheist and an Epicurean, who thus has no real belief in Æsculapius; which would suggest, if true, that the analogy drawn by Celsus between Æsculapius and Jesus draws attention to some doubt on the part of Celsus regarding the latter god's "existence."
Most scholars believe that Origen is confusing two separate people here. Celsus the Anti-Christian writer (probably some sort of Platonist) and Celsus the late 2nd century Epicurean the dedicatee of Lucian's Alexander

Andrew Criddle

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

Post by StephenGoranson » Sat May 30, 2015 4:23 am

If it is of interest, I wrote about the identity of Celsus and the Jewish character and Asclepius in a publication now online, searchable: "Celsus of Pergamum: Locating a Critic of Early Christianity," Ch. 30 in The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the "Other" in Antiquity: Studies in Honor of Eric M. Meyers (AASOR 60/61, 2007).

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

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat May 30, 2015 4:50 am

StephenGoranson wrote:If it is of interest, I wrote about the identity of Celsus and the Jewish character and Asclepius in a publication now online, searchable: "Celsus of Pergamum: Locating a Critic of Early Christianity," Ch. 30 in The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the "Other" in Antiquity: Studies in Honor of Eric M. Meyers (AASOR 60/61, 2007).
Hi Stephen

IIUC you identify the Celsus who Origen tried to refute with the friend of Lucian by arguing that Lucian need not have seriously meant that his friend Celsus was a committed Epicurean.

Andrew Criddle

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

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat May 30, 2015 5:52 am

StephenGoranson wrote:If it is of interest, I wrote about the identity of Celsus and the Jewish character and Asclepius in a publication now online, searchable: "Celsus of Pergamum: Locating a Critic of Early Christianity," Ch. 30 in The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the "Other" in Antiquity: Studies in Honor of Eric M. Meyers (AASOR 60/61, 2007).
That was a fun read. Thanks, Stephen.

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The Identity of Celsus and His "Jew"

Post by DCHindley » Sat May 30, 2015 6:26 am

StephenGoranson wrote:If it is of interest, I wrote about the identity of Celsus and the Jewish character and Asclepius in a publication now online, searchable: "Celsus of Pergamum: Locating a Critic of Early Christianity," Ch. 30 in The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the "Other" in Antiquity: Studies in Honor of Eric M. Meyers (AASOR 60/61, 2007).
Stephen,

That is a very interesting essay, thanks!

For the lurker, the paper is available for download at:
http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/Celsus_of_Pergamum.pdf

DCH

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

Post by Peter Kirby » Sat May 30, 2015 12:19 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
Peter Kirby wrote: Origen also frequently alleges that Celsus is an atheist and an Epicurean, who thus has no real belief in Æsculapius; which would suggest, if true, that the analogy drawn by Celsus between Æsculapius and Jesus draws attention to some doubt on the part of Celsus regarding the latter god's "existence."
Most scholars believe that Origen is confusing two separate people here. Celsus the Anti-Christian writer (probably some sort of Platonist) and Celsus the late 2nd century Epicurean the dedicatee of Lucian's Alexander

Andrew Criddle
StephenGoranson wrote:If it is of interest, I wrote about the identity of Celsus and the Jewish character and Asclepius in a publication now online, searchable: "Celsus of Pergamum: Locating a Critic of Early Christianity," Ch. 30 in The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the "Other" in Antiquity: Studies in Honor of Eric M. Meyers (AASOR 60/61, 2007).
Good to know ....
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: The Identity of Celsus and His "Jew"

Post by StephenGoranson » Sun May 31, 2015 4:53 am

Hi Andrew and all. Lucian's Celsus (perhaps partly distinct from a 'literary construct" suggested by Clay pp. 3440-1?) may not have been a committed Epicurean. At the (later?) time of writing of Alethes Logos, Celsus may not (any longer?) have been a committed Epicurean (as Origen guessed) or may have made a rhetorical choice to write as a Platonist. Such arguments are embedded in a larger geographical argument which (in any case) locates Origen's Celsus (who shared some interests with Lucian's Celsus) in Pergamum, where there may be use for Occam's razor. Btw, fwiw, in Scholia in Lucianum, ed. Hugo Rabe, Leipzig, 1906, 180. 14-19 Lucian's (single-named) Celsus and Origen's (single-named) Celsus are identified as the same.

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