Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9362
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:32 am

"Celsus seems to have deemed it advisable, in the interests of his polemic, in dealing with the life and teaching of Christ, to avail himself of the written documents rather than oral traditions" https://books.google.com/books?id=WhtYA ... 22&f=false

"The editor of the recently discovered Syriac translation of the ' Apology ' of Aristides suggests that Celsus may have read that work ; 1 the editor of the Greek text in the same volume thinks it more probable that he used rather the ' Preaching of Peter,' and is almost certain that he used the one or the other."
“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

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9362
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:27 pm

I think the author is quite thoughtful https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstr ... sAllowed=y But one argument he hasn't picked up on is the fact that Eusebius went back and 'corrected' and 'strengthened' Origen's approach to the True Word. In other words, that it was Eusebius writing on Origen's behalf making the case the Jew wasn't a Jew but Celsus's mouthpiece. More on that later.
“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

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9362
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:36 pm

This is kind of cool. In 2012 Bovon and Duffy published 'A New Greek Fragment of Ariston of Pella's Dialogue of Jason and Papiscus. It was 'discovered' in a previously unknown homily of Sophronius bishop of Jerusalem.
In the course of his rather scholarly presentation the patriarch informs his Jerusalem congregation that surprising as it might sound the birth of Christ actually took place on a Sunday. At this point Sophronius seeing the need to support such a novel statement proceeds to adduce a proof from a very old and venerable source none other than the apostle Luke himself. The document cited is known now (as it was to Sophronius) as the Dialogue of Jason and Papiscus.4
“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

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9362
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:43 pm

Translation:

And later on: “The most illuminating Luke then. reveals this splendid and welcome knowledge to us not by putting down the information in his divine Gospel nor by writing it into the Acts of the Apostles but by recording it in a different work of his, on that he composed in dialogue form and to which he gave the title the Dialogue of Jason and Papiscus. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23327689?r ... b_contents
“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

John2
Posts: 2159
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by John2 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:28 pm

I haven't been online much the last few days so I'm getting caught up on this thread. Much to chew on in your latest posts, Stephan. I had previously known of Celsus over twenty years ago, mainly from Hoffmann's translation and Wilken's Christians as the Romans Saw Them, so it's interesting to take another look at him.

I'm still processing what you've said above, but I thought I'd make a note for my sake from one of the books you linked to regarding what Christian writings Celsus may have known (in addition to NT writings).
Celsus had undoubtedly an extensive knowledge of the Christian literature of the first two centuries; but, with few exceptions, the indications are too indefinite to enable us to decode with reasonable probabilities what particular writings lay before him. He expressly names only the 'Dispute between Jason and Papiscus,' the 'Heavenly Dialogue,' and the mystic "diagram" of the Ophites. With characteristic acumen he has noted the Christian interpolations in the Sibylline Books. From his knowledge of such works it may be conjectured that he had studied the Christian writings which dealt with the question of prophecy, and was well versed in the Gnostic literature, especially in the literature of the schools of Valentinus and Marcion. Is it possible to go further, and fix on any extant works of the early Apologists to which he had access? Tzschirner does not discuss the question, but declares it to be undeniable that he had not only read some of the sacred books of the Christians, but also the writings of the leading Apologists. Keim, while acknowledging that the theology against which the attack of Celsus is directed is very similar to that of Justin and his followers, maintains that there is no certain trace of his knowledge of his works. According to Pelagaud, the 'True Word' was intended to be a refutation of the 'Dialogue with Trypho' and of the two "Apologies" of Justin.

https://books.google.com/books?id=WhtYA ... an&f=false
Now the die is shaken, now the die must fall, there ain't a winner in the game, he don't go home with all.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9362
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:49 pm

I think Hoffmann is hesitant because the evidence doesn't allow us to conclude with any degree of certainty. But it is interesting to see that his work on Marcion allowed him to come to the exact opposite conclusion - i.e. that we can know a great deal about 'Marcion' even though the evidence is far less reliable. I think we can go a lot further than Hoffmann. In order to get the kind of details that Celsus provides us about Christians there really are only three possibilities (a) Celsus made up everything or most things (b) he spent a lot of time and money traveling across the Empire to research the movement or (c) he read books. Books take us on impossible journeys. Once you get past (a) - and remember Origen is always hinting that (a) is the reality - (c) is the only possibility.
“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

John2
Posts: 2159
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by John2 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:25 pm

I had a chance to take a fresh look at Hoffmann's translation of Celsus, and though I don't have it with me at the moment and it's not viewable on Google books, I think he makes a good case for Celsus being the Celsus that Lucian dedicates his book Alexander the False Prophet. The main point is that Origen himself says that he got the impression that Celsus was an Epicurean from his other books, not the True Word, in 1.8. Hoffmann suggests (and I don't recall the exact language he uses) that Celsus may have evolved his thinking by the time he wrote the True Word, which could be why it doesn't reflect Epicureanism. Or Origen may have been throwing the term around just to disparage Celsus, as Tertullian (and Jerome, though I can't find his Comm. Is. [7] online) does to Marcion in Ad. Mar. 5.19, for example:
At least let Marcion admit that the principal term of his faith is from the school of Epicurus ...

http://www.tertullian.org/articles/evan ... k5_eng.htm
And though I couldn't see where in Against Celsus it is, I noticed in Hoffmann's translation that Celsus says he was well acquainted with people from the Levant, which is where Lucian and his Celsus were from, and both Celsuses lived at the same time and were opposed to magicians. So while it appears to be a minority opinion, I find Hoffmann's view plausible. How many literary Celsuses who were opposed to magicians and lived in the Levant in the late second century CE could there have been? And that Lucian wrote against Christians makes his Celsus seem all the more like Origen's.

Just thought I'd mention it.
Now the die is shaken, now the die must fall, there ain't a winner in the game, he don't go home with all.

John2
Posts: 2159
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by John2 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:22 pm

Mitchell lays out the argument (and counter-arguments) that Lucian's Celsus was Origen's Celsus well here.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Of2vC ... et&f=false
Now the die is shaken, now the die must fall, there ain't a winner in the game, he don't go home with all.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5424
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Celsus Used Against Marcion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:58 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:22 pm
Mitchell lays out the argument (and counter-arguments) that Lucian's Celsus was Origen's Celsus well here.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Of2vC ... et&f=false
That was a very satisfying chapter. Thanks for the link.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

Post Reply