Celsus, "On the True Doctrine,"
Celsus was a Greek Philosopher in the late 2nd century AD, who wrote a lengthy attack on early
Fragments are preserved only in Origen’s work
“The assertion made both by some of the Christians and by the Jews, the former saying that
some God or son of God has come down to the earth as judge of mankind, the latter saying that
he will come, is most shameful, and no lengthy argument is required to refute it.
.. What is the
purpose of such a descent on the part of God? . . . Was it in order to learn what was going on
among men? . . . Does he not know everything? . . . If, then, he does know, why does he not
correct men, and why can he not do this by divine power? . . . Was he then unable to correct men
merely by divine power, without sending some one specially endowed for the purpose?” (Origen,
After this he [Celsus] represents the Jew as having a conversation with Jesus himself and
refuting him on many charges, as he thinks:
first, because "he fabricated the story of his birth
from a virgin; and he reproaches him because he came from a Jewish village and from a poor
country woman who earned her living by spinning".
He says that "she was driven out by her
husband, who was a carpenter by trade, as she was convicted of adultery".
Then he says that
after she had been driven out by her husband and while she was wandering about in a disgraceful
way she secretly gave birth to Jesus".
1.28) The mother of Jesus" is
described as having been "turned out by the carpenter who was betrothed to her, as she had been
convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Panthera" (Origen,
"Come now, let us [Romans] believe your [Christian] view that he actually said this.
many others produce wonders like this to convince simple hearers whom they exploit by deceit?
They say that Zamolxis, the slave of Pythagoras, also did this among the Scythians, and