The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by GakuseiDon »

Giuseppe wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 9:04 pm
GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:46 pmThe pagan Caecilius accuses Christians of being secretive about their rites
But the actions of the cult are not the object of the accusation. Celsus accuses "often" the Christian doctrine of being secret. Which virtually put in doubt the his own certainty about the official version (earthly crucifixion in primis).
Celsus, as reported by Origen, literally accuses the actions of the cult for secrecy. From what I quoted by Origen earlier:

The first point which Celsus brings forward, in his desire to throw discredit upon Christianity, is, that the Christians entered into secret associations with each other contrary to law...

After this, Celsus proceeding to speak of the Christians teaching and practising their favourite doctrines in secret, and saying that they do this to,some purpose, seeing they escape the penalty of death which is imminent...

Moreover, since he frequently calls the Christian doctrine a secret system (of belief), we must confute him on this point also, since almost the entire world is better acquainted with what Christians preach than with the favourite opinions of philosophers... And yet the mystery of the resurrection, not being understood, is made a subject of ridicule among unbelievers. In these circumstances, to speak of the Christian doctrine as a secret system, is altogether absurd. But that there should be certain doctrines, not made known to the multitude, which are (revealed) after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone...


I honestly don't know how you get to "Celsus is very close to put implicitly in doubt the historicity of Jesus is when he raises the accusation that 'the doctrine is secret".
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Giuseppe
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by Giuseppe »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 9:17 pm Celsus, as reported by Origen, literally accuses the actions of the cult for secrecy.
In the previous passages. But I am talking about 1:7:

since he frequently calls the Christian doctrine a secret system (of belief),

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 9:17 pm I honestly don't know how you get to "Celsus is very close to put implicitly in doubt the historicity of Jesus is when he raises the accusation that 'the doctrine is secret".
the implication is clear. By the accusation of secrecy addressed to the doctrine, Celsus is denying that what he knows about the doctrine (i.e. what is the public propaganda, including the crucifixion) is the real belief held by Christians.

The example of the Deep State is too much clear as analogy.
  • People accusing the Deep State automatically don't believe the official propaganda by the authority.
  • Celsus accusing the secrecy of the doctrine automatically doesn't believe the official propaganda by the Christians.
It is an Argument to be skeptical about the earthly crucifixion being the real Christian belief.
andrewcriddle
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by andrewcriddle »

The claim that Christians taught in secret something which contradicted the public doctrine need not (and probably does not) imply that in secret the historicity of Jesus was denied. Celsus might be implying that in secret Christians taught a position on moral behavior very different from their public stance or that in private they taught that the resurrection should be understood symbolically and not literally or any other possible contradiction between their public stance and their real views.

I am NOT saying that Celsus' claim was true merely trying to explain the sort of thing Celsus is probably claiming.

Andrew Criddle
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by Secret Alias »

In shadows cast by ancient law,
Celsus speaks, his words raw:
"Of gatherings, some dance in light,
While others cloak themselves in night.
Among the veiled, Christians find their way,
In secrecy, they kneel to pray."

"Forbidden rites, in whispers shared,
A bond of silence, heavily bared.
In secret meetings, truths are told,
Defying death, so bold, so cold.
As Socrates once dared to dream,
For wisdom's sake, against the stream."

"Their love-feasts, in danger's clasp,
Tighten bonds within their grasp.
More sacred than the oath's embrace,
A hidden mark of faith and grace.
In shadows deep, away from day's eye,
Their spirit, in secrecy, lies."

"No altars raised to the sky,
No statues stand, no temples high.
A pact made under night's cloak,
Their silent badge, a word unspoke.
In names uncharted, power they seek,
Not in Greek or Latin speak."

"Invocations, strange and arcane,
A secret society's refrain.
Barbarous calls to what lies beyond,
In a bond that's eternally fond.
Thus, Celsus argues, with pointed critique,
Christian mysteries, ever unique."

In verses penned, an ancient critique unfurls,
Of Christians weaving worlds within worlds.
A pagan's view, from history's night,
Shedding on early faith, a different light.
Celsus's words, through time's vast sea,
Echo the complexity of belief and secrecy.

In ancient scrolls, Celsus decried,
With keen eye and critic’s pride,
Christian rites, in secrecy draped,
Echoes of Mithras, in mysteries shaped.
“Super-celestial” claims, so boldly made,
Beyond the Jewish heaven's shade.

In Persian tales, a ladder stands,
Gates of metal, by celestial hands.
From leaden Saturn to the Sun’s gold gleam,
A soul’s ascent, like a dream within a dream.
Musical spheres, in harmony bound,
In seven heavens, a cosmic sound.

Christians and Persians, side by side,
Celsus dared to compare, to decide.
Leviathan’s soul, through circles ten,
Behemoth below, in the demon's den.
A diagram vast, with Gehenna’s line,
Secret rites, in symbols divine.

Father seals, and sons are named,
Anointed in rites, in secret famed.
Seven angels guard the soul’s last breath,
Archons await, in life and death.
“Accursed” gods, a blasphemous claim,
Mosaic laws, unjustly blamed.

Demons seven, in shapes untold,
Lions, bulls, in mysteries old.
Through gates of wickedness, they teach,
A “fence” of spirits, within reach.
Prayers and symbols, through realms they weave,
In Ialdabaoth’s name, they believe.

Stars align with powers divine,
Through Sabaoth and Astaphaeus, signs align.
Aloaeus, Horaeus, gates transcend,
Prayers and oaths, to heavens send.
From fiery ramparts to tree of life,
Rites entwined with cosmic strife.

Shapes return, in bestial guise,
A diagram of Paradise.
Flaming swords and circles of flame,
Knowledge guarded, in sacred name.
Death and life, in endless dance,
Resurrection’s hope, in glance.

Foolish wisdom, Celsus scorned,
In whispered tales, belief adorned.
Sacred leather, blessed stone,
If Jesus’s trade had been known.
A carpenter’s craft, a cross’s weight,
Inventive faith, to narrate.

Between circles high, inscriptions told,
Father and Son, in bonds of old.
Love and Life, in circles drawn,
Wisdom’s foresight, in dawn’s yawn.
Magic and sorcery, names invoke,
In ancient rites, mysteries evoke.

Celsus laughed at such claims,
In cultures varied, gods by different names.
Purification, hymns, spells against fear,
Demons’ images, in realms near.
A critic’s gaze, on Christians cast,
In ancient wisdom, questions asked.
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Giuseppe
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by Giuseppe »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:08 am The claim that Christians taught in secret something which contradicted the public doctrine need not (and probably does not) imply that in secret the historicity of Jesus was denied. Celsus might be implying that in secret Christians taught a position on moral behavior very different from their public stance or that in private they taught that the resurrection should be understood symbolically and not literally or any other possible contradiction between their public stance and their real views.
(apart the fact that 'moral behavior' is not 'doctrine')

If your description of Celsus is true (for sake of discussion), then how do you deal with the strange insistence by Origen in the answer:

Moreover, since he frequently calls the Christian doctrine a secret system (of belief), we must confute him on this point also, since almost the entire world is better acquainted with what Christians preach than with the favourite opinions of philosophers. For who is ignorant of the statement that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that He was crucified, and that His resurrection is an article of faith among many, and that a general judgment is announced to come, in which the wicked are to be punished according to their deserts, and the righteous to be duly rewarded?

If Origen insisted on these particular items of the public doctrine, on how precisely they were known in all the world, then the probable reason is that Origen felt that precisely these items (including, inter alia, the crucifixion, and not only the resurrection) were put logically in discussion by the accusation of secrecy addressed by Celsus against the official doctrine itself.

In other terms, the implication is that not only the resurrection, but also the crucifixion was interpreted allegorically.
andrewcriddle
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by andrewcriddle »

Giuseppe wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:11 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:08 am The claim that Christians taught in secret something which contradicted the public doctrine need not (and probably does not) imply that in secret the historicity of Jesus was denied. Celsus might be implying that in secret Christians taught a position on moral behavior very different from their public stance or that in private they taught that the resurrection should be understood symbolically and not literally or any other possible contradiction between their public stance and their real views.
(apart the fact that 'moral behavior' is not 'doctrine')

If your description of Celsus is true (for sake of discussion), then how do you deal with the strange insistence by Origen in the answer:

Moreover, since he frequently calls the Christian doctrine a secret system (of belief), we must confute him on this point also, since almost the entire world is better acquainted with what Christians preach than with the favourite opinions of philosophers. For who is ignorant of the statement that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that He was crucified, and that His resurrection is an article of faith among many, and that a general judgment is announced to come, in which the wicked are to be punished according to their deserts, and the righteous to be duly rewarded?

If Origen insisted on these particular items of the public doctrine, on how precisely they were known in all the world, then the probable reason is that Origen felt that precisely these items (including, inter alia, the crucifixion, and not only the resurrection) were put logically in discussion by the accusation of secrecy addressed by Celsus against the official doctrine itself.

In other terms, the implication is that not only the resurrection, but also the crucifixion was interpreted allegorically.
I see no reason to believe that Celsus accused the Christians of secretly denying the historicity of Jesus nor does Origen's summary of the well known articles of Christian faith imply that he understood Celsus in that way.

Andrew Criddle
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Giuseppe
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Re: The claim "The doctrine is secret" is an accusation only if the public doctrine is DENIED

Post by Giuseppe »

The point is that you are arguing from the assumption that (1) Origen's reply is correct, i.e. that the entire world knows the Christian doctrine, and (2) that Celsus is simply describing, and not accusing, the fact.

But once the possibility is conceded by you that Celsus was alluding to an esoteric doctrine about the interpretation of the public doctrine,

...and in the light of the fact that Celsus is using the presence of a such esoteric doctrine as an accusation, not as a mere neutral description...

...then the implication is that Celsus was attacking along the following lines: don't trust the Christians, because not even their public doctrine is their real doctrine.

The doubt is thrown on the historicity of Jesus: was it part also of the secret doctrine? Celsus doesn't answer, but as a good polemist, he merely raises the accusation, he is sowing the doubt. The implication is left in the mind of the readers, and surely Origen feared that not-said implication.
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