Persian wisdom: Celsus and Origen on Magians and on Moses and Jesus as howlers of chants (second-third centuries CE)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Persian wisdom: Celsus and Origen on Magians and on Moses and Jesus as howlers of chants (second-third centuries CE),' Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, last modified April 15, 2024,

Ancient authors: Celsus (mid-second century CE) and Origen of Alexandria (mid-third century CE), Against Celsus, numerous passages mentioned below (link).

Comments: As I discuss in another post (link), which would be better read before this one, ethnographic matters and the question of what foreign peoples were a source of wisdom (i.e. “barbarian wisdom) was a central feature of Celsus’ work and Origen’s response to it. This post gathers together Celsus’ and Origen’s comments on Persian Magians and Magian techniques in relation to Judeans and Jesus adherents, as well as the related practice of “howling chants” (goēteia).

Celsus is among those who placed Babylonian Chaldeans and Persian Magians at the top of his list of the most wise foreign experts, who had preserved and transmitted elements of the ancient, true discourse to other peoples. (Italics are used below to indicate passages most likely from Celsus’ own book). But Celsus expressly excludes Judeans from the competition. There is some ambivalence on Origen’s part, but in certain ways Origen also seems to acknowledge Persian Magian wisdom (in part because of the visit of Magians to the infant Jesus in Matthew’s narrative), but mainly objects to the exclusion of Judeans from the wise.

However, one of Celsus’ ongoing strategies in undermining Judeans and Jesus adherents was to suggest that their practices and ideologies were derivative and deceptive distortions of the practices and ideologies of other peoples, including Egyptians, but also Persians and Persian Magians in this particular case. Like Pliny the Elder (link), Celsus (and / or Origen) believes that Persian Magian knowledge and techniques disseminated from Persia to other regions, including Egypt and then Judea.  However, those disseminated versions tended towards distortion and excess. One of Celsus’ arguments in these passages is that both Moses and Jesus were trained in Magian ways in their Egyptian form and both of them, along with their followers, similarly gave the appearance of power over lower spirits (or demons) and the ability to achieve amazing feats by means of Magian techniques (mageia) and knowledge about howling chants (goēteia). The latter is a Greek term for methods of calling on lower spirits to achieve certain aims, and in this case also seems to function as a synonym for distorted forms of Magian knowledge. So both Moses and Jesus are “howlers of chants” (goētai), traditionally, anachronistically, and problematically translated as “magicians”.

Origen’s responses to various points by Celsus are too complicated to outline here, but there are times when he seems to affirm Jesus adherents’ use of special names to achieve certain ends that are comparable to Magian knowledge, as in the use of divine names (1.24). But Origen’s main point overall is that the powers manifested by Moses, Jesus, and their followers do not derive from Egyptians or, indirectly, Persian Magians, but from the Judean god. So he aims to refute the idea that Jesus adherents’ practices and ideologies are derivative and he wants to reaffirm the primary place of Judeans as the wisest of “barbarians.”


[Notion that Jesus and his followers employ secret incantations and use names of lower spirits, i.e. Magian techniques]

(1.6) After this, under the influence of some unknown motive, Celsus asserts that it is by means of the names of certain lower spirits (daimones) and by using invocations (katakalein), that the Christians appear to possess power. Here he is hinting, I suppose, at the practices of those who expel lower spirits by singing incantations (katepadein). And here he manifestly appears to malign the gospel. For it is not by invocation (katakalein) that Christians seem to prevail, but by the name of Jesus, accompanied by the announcement of the narratives which relate to him. For the repetition of these narratives has frequently been the means to drive out lower spirits from men, especially when those who repeated them did so in a sound and genuinely believing spirit. The name of Jesus does actually possess such power over lower spirits, and there have been instances when it was effective when it was pronounced even by bad men, which Jesus himself taught [would be the case], when he said: “Many will say to me in that day: ‘In your name we have cast out devils, and done many wonderful works’” [Matthew 7:22]. Whether Celsus omitted this from an intention to harm or from ignorance, I do not know.

Next Celsus proceeds to bring a charge against the Saviour himself, alleging that it was by means of howling chants (goēteia) that he was able to accomplish the wonders which he performed. Celsus also alleges that, foreseeing that others would attain the same knowledge and do the same things and boast about doing them by help of the power of God, Jesus excludes such people from his kingdom. And his accusation is, that if they are rightly excluded, while he himself is guilty of the same practices, he is a low person. However, if he is not low because he does such things, neither are those who do the same as he does. But even if it is impossible to show by what power Jesus did these things, it is clear that Christians employ no incantations (epōdoi), but the simple name of Jesus and certain other words in which they repose faith, according to the holy writings.

(1.7) Moreover, since he frequently calls the Christian doctrine a secret system, we must refute him on this point also, since almost the entire world is better acquainted with what Christians preach than with the favourite opinions of the pursuers of wisdom (philosophoi). 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? 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 teaching as a secret system is completely absurd.

However, that there should be certain teachings, not made known to the multitude, which are taught after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of systems of other pursuers of wisdom, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric. Some of the hearers of Pythagoras were content with his ipse dixit; while others were taught in secret those teachings which were not considered fit to be communicated to profane and insufficiently prepared ears. Moreover, all the mysteries that are celebrated everywhere throughout Greece and barbarian countries, although held in secret, are not discredited. So Celsus pointlessly tries to attack the secret teachings of Christianity, seeing he does not correctly understand its nature.


[Moses’ supposed use of charms to trick people]

(1.23) After this, Celsus next asserts that those goatherds and shepherds who followed Moses as their leader were led away by clumsy tricks (apatai) and so supposed that there was one God. Let him show how, after this irrational departure of the goatherds and shepherds from the worship of many gods (as he thinks), he himself is able to establish the multiplicity of deities that are found among the Greeks, or among those other peoples that are labelled “barbarian.” Let him prove, therefore, the existence of Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses by Zeus or of Themis, the parent of the Hours. Or let him prove that the always naked Graces can have a real, substantial existence. But he will not be able to show, from any actions of theirs, that these fictitious representations of the Greeks, which have the appearance of being invested with bodies, are actually gods. Why should the fables of the Greeks regarding the gods be true any more than those of the Egyptians, for instance, who in their language know nothing of a Mnemosyne, mother of the nine Muses; nor of a Themis, parent of the Hours; nor of a Euphrosyne, one of the Graces; nor of any other of these names? How much more clear and how much more superior to all these fantasies is it to be convinced by the visible order of the world that we should worship the maker of the world as the one author of one effect. An author being wholly in harmony with itself cannot on that account have been the work of many makers. We should not believe that the whole heaven is held together by the movements of many souls, for one is enough, which bears the whole of the non-wandering sphere from east to west, and embraces within it all things which the world requires and which are not self-existing. For all are parts of the world, but God is not part of the whole. God cannot be imperfect, as a part is imperfect. Perhaps a deeper investigation will show that as God is not a part, so neither is he properly the whole, since the whole is composed of parts. Reason will not allow us to believe that the God who is over all is composed of parts, each one of which cannot do what all the other parts can.

[Comparing Hebrew, Persian, and Egyptian language on the power of names, all relating to Magian skill]

(1.24) After this he continues: These goatherds and shepherds concluded that there was but one God, named either the Highest (Hypsistos), or Adonai, or the Heavenly, or Sabaoth, or called by some other of those names which they delight to give this world, and they knew nothing beyond that. And in a subsequent part of his work Celsus says that it makes no difference whether the God who is over all things is called by the name of Zeus, which is current among the Greeks, or by such and such a name which is in use among the Indians or Egyptians. My answer is that this involves a deep and mysterious subject: namely, regarding the nature of names, a question whether names were bestowed by arrangement, as Aristotle thinks, or by nature, as the Stoics hold. The first words being imitations of things that agreed with the names that were formed and being in conformity with which they introduce certain principles of etymology. Or whether, as Epicurus teaches (differing in this from the Stoics), names were given by nature, with the first men having uttered certain words varying with the circumstances in which they found themselves.

If, then, we will be able to establish with regard to the above point the nature of powerful names, some of which are used by the wise among the Egyptians, or used by the Magians among the Persians and by the Indian philosophers called Brahmans, or used by the Samanaians, and others in different countries. If we could establish that what is called “Magian skill (mageia)” is not an altogether uncertain thing (as the followers of Epicurus and Aristotle suppose), but that Magian skill is a consistent system (as those skilled in it prove), having words which are known to exceedingly few, then we say that the names Sabaoth, Adonai, and other names treated with so much reverence among the Hebrews are not applicable to any ordinary created things. Rather, these names belong to a secret discourse about the god (theologia) which refers to the creator of all things. These names, accordingly, when pronounced with that attendant train of circumstances which is appropriate to their nature, are possessed of great power. Other names, again, current in the Egyptian language are efficacious against certain lower spirits (daimones) who can only do certain things. Still other names in the Persian language have corresponding power over other lower spirits, and so on for every specific people and for different purposes. So it will be discovered that each of the various lower spirits (daimones) upon the earth who are assigned different localities bears a name appropriate to the several dialects of place and people. Therefore, the one who is nobler with more than a little comprehension of these things will be careful to apply the correct names to things, so that he does not resemble those who mistakenly apply the name of God to lifeless matter or who drag down the title of the Good from the First Cause or from virtue and excellence and who apply it to blind Ploutos and to a healthy and well-proportioned mixture of flesh and blood and bones, or to what is considered to be noble birth.

(1.25) Perhaps there is a danger as great as that which degrades the name of “God,” or of “the Good,” to improper objects, in changing the name of God according to a secret system, and applying those which belong to inferior beings to greater, and vice versa. And I do not dwell on this, that when the name of Zeus is uttered, there is heard at the same time that of the son of Kronos and Rhea, and the husband of Hera, and brother of Poseidon, and father of Athene, and Artemis, who was guilty of incest with his own daughter Persephone; or that Apollo immediately suggests the son of Leto and Zeus, and the brother of Artemis, and half-brother of Hermes; and so with all the other names invented by these wise men of Celsus, who are the parents of these opinions, and the ancient theologians of the Greeks. For what are the grounds for deciding that he should on the one hand be properly called Zeus, and yet on the other should not have Kronos for his father and Rhea for his mother? And the same argument applies to all the others that are called gods. But this charge does not at all apply to those who, for some mysterious reason, refer the word Sabaoth, or Adonai, or any of the other names to the God.

When someone is able to pursue wisdom about the mystery of names, he will find much to say respecting the titles of the angels of God – among whom one is called Michael, another Gabriel, and still another Raphael – in accordance with the duties which they discharge in the world, in keeping with the will of the God of all things. And a similar wisdom about names applies also to our Jesus. His name has already been seen, in an unmistakeable manner, to have expelled thousands of lower spirits (daimones) from souls and bodies, so great was the power which it exerted upon those from whom the lower spirits were driven out.

While still on the subject of names, we have to mention that those who are skilled in the use of incantations (epōdoi) relate that the utterance of the same incantation in its proper language can accomplish what the incantation professes to do. However, when translated into any other language, it is observed to become ineffective and powerless. So it is not the things signified, but the qualities and peculiarities of words which possess a certain power for this or that purpose.

On these grounds, we defend the behaviour of the Christians when they struggle even to the point of death to avoid calling God by the name of Zeus, or to give God a name from any other language. For they either use the common name – God – indefinitely, or with some such addition as that of the “maker of all things,” “the creator of heaven and earth. This is the one who sent down to humankind those good men, to whose names that of God are added, by which certain mighty works are done among humankind.

Much more could be said on the subject of names against those who think that we should be indifferent regarding our use of them. And if the remark of Plato in the Philebos surprises us, when he says, “My fear, O Protagoras, about the names of the gods is no small one,” seeing that Philebos in his discussion with Socrates had called pleasure a “god,” how shall we not rather approve the piety of the Christians, who apply none of the names used in the mythologies to the creator of the world? And now enough on this subject for the present.

[Notion that Moses and Jesus were trained in Magian powers]

(1.26) But let us see the manner in which this Celsus, who professes to know everything, brings a false accusation against the Judeans, when he alleges that they worship angels and are addicted to the howling of chants (goēteia), in which Moses was their instructor. Now, let Celsus reveal in what part of the writings of Moses he found the lawgiver laying down the worship of angels, since Celsus professes to know all about Christians and Judeans. Let him show also how the howling of chants can exist among those who have accepted the Mosaic law while reading the injunction, “Neither seek after singers of incantations (epaoidoi) to be defiled by them” [Leviticus 19:31 LXX]. . . [omitted section].

(1.28) Since Celsus imitates a rhetorician training a student by introducing a Judean [i.e. a hypothetical Judean, according to Origen], who enters into a personal discussion with Jesus and speaks in a very childish manner that is completely unworthy of the grey hairs of a pursuer of wisdom (philosophos), let me try to the best of my ability to examine his statements, and show that he does not maintain, throughout the discussion, the consistency due to the character of a Judean. For Celsus represents the Judean disputing with Jesus, and confuting him, as he thinks, on many points. In the first place, the Judean accuses Jesus of having invented his birth from a virgin, and castigates Jesus with being born in a certain Judean village of a poor woman of the country. She gained her subsistence by spinning and was sent away by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery. After being driven away by her husband and wandering around for some time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child. Jesus hired himself out as a servant in Egypt because of his poverty and acquired some powers (dymameis), on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves. After this he returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God.” Now, as I cannot allow anything said by unbelievers to remain unexamined, but must investigate everything from the beginning, I give it as my opinion that all these things worthily harmonize with the predictions that Jesus is the son of God. . . [omitted sections].

(1.38) But, moreover, taking the history of our Lord’s descent into Egypt, which is contained in the gospel according to Matthew [2:13-23], Celsus refuses to believe the paradoxical circumstances attending it, namely, either that the angel gave the divine intimation, or that our Lord’s leaving Judea and residing in Egypt was an event of any significance. Instead, Celsus invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the paradoxical powers (dynameis) displayed by Jesus, by means of which he induced the multitude to follow him as the Christ. And yet he wants to discredit them as thought they were done by help of Magian technique (mageia) and not by divine power. For Celsus asserts “that Jesus, having been brought up as an illegitimate child and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain powers, returned from there to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god.”

Now I do not understand how a Magian (magos) would put effort into teaching something which persuades us always to act as if God were to judge every man for his actions and would have trained his disciples, whom he was to employ as the ministers of his teaching, in the same belief. For did the disciples make an impression upon their hearers, after they had been taught to display powers, or was it without the aid of these? The assertion, therefore, that they did not display powers at all, but that, after yielding their belief to arguments which were not at all convincing, like the wisdom of Greek dialectics, they gave themselves up to the task of teaching the new teaching to those persons among whom they happened to take up their abode, is altogether absurd. For in what did they place their confidence when they taught the teaching and disseminated the new opinions? But if they actually did display powers, then how can it be believed that Magians exposed themselves to such hazards to introduce a teaching which forbids practicing Magian technique (mageia)? . . . [omitted sections].

(1.45) I remember on one occasion, at a debate held with certain Judeans who were reputed learned men, having employed the following argument in the presence of many judges: “Tell me, men,” I said, “since there are two individuals who have visited humankind, regarding whom are related marvellous works surpassing human power (Moses, namely, your own legislator, who wrote about himself, and Jesus our teacher, who has left no writings regarding himself, but to whom testimony is borne by the disciples in the gospels), what are the grounds for deciding that Moses is to be believed as speaking the truth, although the Egyptians slander him as a howler of chants (goēs) and as appearing to have displayed his mighty powers through knowledge of charms (mangeneia), while Jesus is not to be believed because you are his accusers?

And yet there are peoples (ethnē) that bear witness in favour of both: the Judeans to Moses; and the Christians, who do not deny the prophetic mission of Moses, but proving from that very source the truth of the statement regarding Jesus, accept as true the miraculous circumstances related of Jesus by his disciples. Now, if you ask us for the reasons of our trust in Jesus, give yours first for believing in Moses, who lived before Jesus, and then we will give you ours for accepting the latter. But if you draw back, and shirk a demonstration, then we, following your own example, decline for the present to offer any demonstration likewise. Nevertheless, admit that you have no proof to offer for Moses, and then listen to our defense of Jesus derived from the law and the prophets. And now observe what is almost incredible! It is shown from the declarations concerning Jesus, contained in the law and the prophets, that both Moses and the prophets were truly prophets of God.”

(1.46) For the law and the prophets are full of wonders similar to those recorded of Jesus at his baptism, namely regarding the dove and the voice from heaven. And I think the wonders done by Jesus are a proof of the Holy Spirit’s having then appeared in the form of a dove. Yet Celsus, from a desire to cast discredit upon them, alleges that Jesus performed only what he had learned among the Egyptians. And I will refer not only to Jesus’ miracles, but, as is proper, to those also of the apostles of Jesus. For they could not without the help of miracles and wonders have prevailed on those who heard their new ideas and new teachings to abandon their ancestral customs and to accept their instructions at the danger to themselves even to the point of death. And there are still preserved among Christians traces of that Holy Spirit which appeared in the form of a dove. They expel lower spirits, perform many cures, and foresee certain events, according to the will of the Word (Logos). . . [omitted sections].


[Simon the Magian]

(1.57) There was also the Samaritan, Simon the Magian (magus), who wanted to draw away some people by Magian technique (mageia). And on that occasion he was successful. However, these days it is impossible to find, I suppose, thirty of his followers in the entire world, and probably I have even overstated the number. There are exceedingly few in Palestine, while in the rest of the world, through which he desired to spread the glory of his name, you find it nowhere mentioned. And where it is found, it is found quoted from the Acts of the Apostles [8:4-25 – link]. So it is to the Christians that he owes this mention of himself, the unmistakeable result having proved that Simon was in no way divine.

[Magians / Chaldeans in the birth narrative in Matthew]

(1.58) After this, instead of speaking about the Magians mentioned in the gospel [of Matthew 1:18-25], Celsus’ hypothetical Judean talks about Chaldeans, saying that, according to the account about Jesus, they were moved to come to him at his birth and to worship him while still an infant as a God and they made this known to Herod the tetrarch. Furthermore, Herod sent and killed all the infants that had been born about the same time, thinking that in this way he would ensure his death among the others. And that Herod was led to do this through fear that, if Jesus lived to a sufficient age, he would obtain the throne.

In this case take note of the mistake of someone who cannot even distinguish between Magians and Chaldeans, nor understand that what they profess is different, and so he has falsified the gospel writing. Moreover, I do not know why Celsus has passed over the cause which led the Magians to come in silence and why he has not stated in line with what is written that it was a “star” seen by them “in the east.” Let us see now what answer we have to make to these statements. The star that was seen in the east we consider to have been a new star, unlike any of the other well-known planetary bodies either those in the higher spheres above or those among the lower spheres. But this new star was like those celestial bodies which appear at times, such as comets or meteors which are shaped like beams of wood or beards or wine jars, or any of those other names by which the Greeks are accustomed to describe their varying appearances.

(1.59) We establish our position in the following manner: It has been observed that, on the occurrence of great events and changes in terrestrial things, such stars tend to appear, indicating either the removal of dynasties or the breaking out of wars, or the occurence of circumstances that may cause commotions upon the earth. But we have read in the Treatise on Comets by Chairemon the Stoic, that on some occasions when good things were to happen, comets made their appearance, and he gives an account of such instances. If, then, at the beginning of new dynasties or on the occasion of other important events there arises a so-called comet or any similar celestial body, why should it be considered unusual that a star should arise at the birth of him who was to introduce a new doctrine to humanity, and to make known his teaching not only to Judeans but also to Greeks and to many of the barbarous peoples as well? Now I would say that with respect to comets there is no prophecy in circulation to the effect that such and such a comet was to arise in connection with a particular kingdom or a particular time. But with respect to the appearance of a star at the birth of Jesus there is a prophecy of Balaam recorded by Moses to this effect: “There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up out of Israel” [Numbers 24:17].

(1.60) Now, if it is considered necessary to examine the narrative about the Magians and the appearance of the star at the birth of Jesus, the following is what we have to say, partly in answer to the Greeks, and partly to the Judeans: To the Greeks, then, I have to say this: Magians are familiar with lower spirits (daimones) and call on them by a chant (epōdēs) for their own purposes, and they get results as long as nothing more divine and powerful than such lower spirits or invocations appear or is recited. But if some greater divine manifestation takes place, then the powers of the lower spirits are overthrown, being unable to resist the divine light. At the birth of Jesus “a multitude of the heavenly host,” as Luke records and I believe, “praised God, saying, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good-will towards men.” It is therefore probable that the lower spirits on that account became weak and lost their strength. The falsity of the howled chants (goēteia) associated with the lower spirits was manifested, and their energy was broken. This overthrow was brought about not only by the angels having visited the terrestrial regions on account of the birth of Jesus, but also by the power of Jesus himself and his innate divinity.

Accordingly, the Magians, who wanted to produce the customary results which they used to perform by means of certain incantations (epōdai) and charms (manganeia), looked for the cause of their failure, conjecturing that the cause was a great one. Observing a divine sign in the sky, they wanted to learn its significance. I am therefore of the following opinion: since the Magians possessed the prophecies of Balaam which Moses also records and as Balaam was renowned for such predictions, the Magians found among these predictions the prophecy about the star and the words, “I will show him to him, but not now; I consider him happy, although he will not be near” (Numbers 24:17).

So the Magians conjectured that the man whose appearance had been foretold along with that of the star had actually come into the world. Having predetermined that he was superior in power to all lower spirits (daimones), and to all common appearances and powers, they wanted to worship him. So they came to Judea persuaded that some king had been born, but did not understand what kingdom he would reign over. They brought gifts to him which they offered to him that was, so to speak, both God and mortal man, namely gold as to a king; myrrh as to one who was mortal, and incense as to a God. And they brought these offerings after they had learned the place of his birth. But since he was a god – the saviour of humankind raised far above all those angels which minister to men – an angel rewarded the piety of the Magians for their worship of him, by making known to them that they were not to go back to Herod, but to return to their own homes by another way. . . [omitted sections].

[Jesus’ powers compared to those achieved by Magian techniques]

(1.68) Since Celsus suspected that the great works performed by Jesus (of which we have named a few out of many) would be brought forward into view, after this Celsus pretends to grant that those statements may be true which are made regarding Jesus’ cures, or his resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves (from which many fragments remained over) or those other stories which Celsus thinks the disciples have recorded as having an amazing nature. Celsus adds: “Well, let us assume that these were actually done by you.” Yet he immediately compares them to the works of howlers of chants (goētai), who profess to do more amazing things. He also compares them to feats performed by those who have been taught by Egyptians, namely those who in the middle of the market-place, in return for a few obols, who will impart the venerated knowledge; who will expel lower spirits (daimones) from men, dispel diseases, invoke the souls of heroes, and exhibit expensive banquets, tables, dishes, and dainties having no real existence; and, who will put in motion, as if alive, what are not really living animals, but which have only the appearance of life.

Celsus asks, “Since, then, these persons can perform such feats, should we necessarily conclude that they are ‘sons of God,’ or must we admit that these are the proceedings of wicked men under the influence of an evil spirit?” You see that by these expressions he allows, as it were, the existence of Magian technique (mageia). I do not know, however, if he is the same person who wrote several books against it. But, as it helped his purpose, he compares the things related about Jesus to the results produced by Magian technique. There would indeed be a resemblance between them, if Jesus, like the tricksters, had performed his works only for show. However, there is not a single howler of chants (goēs) who, by means of his proceedings, invites his spectators to reform their manners, or trains those to the fear of God who are amazed at what they see, or who tries to persuade them to live as men who are to be justified by God. And howlers of chants do none of these things, because they have neither the power nor the will, nor any desire to devote themselves about the reformation of men, inasmuch as their own lives are full of the worst and most notorious failures.

However, how would it be that the one [i.e. Jesus] who, by the miracles which he did, induced those who witnessed the excellent results to undertake the reformation of their characters, manifest himself not only to his genuine disciples, but also to others, as a pattern of most virtuous life, in order that his disciples might devote themselves to the work of instructing men in the will of God, and that the others, after being more fully instructed by His word and character than by His miracles, as to how they were to direct their lives, might in all their conduct have a constant reference to the good pleasure of the universal God? And if that is what the life of Jesus was like, how could anyone with reason compare Jesus with the sect of howlers of chants, and not, on the contrary, believe, according to the promise, that he was God, who appeared in human form to do good to our generation?


[Continuing comparison of Jesus to a howler of chants, but in connection with the idea of raising the dead]

(2.48) Celsus, moreover, unable to resist the miracles which Jesus is recorded to have performed, has already on several occasions spoken of them slanderously as worked by the howling of chants (goēteia). We also on several occasions have, to the best of our ability, replied to his statements. And now Celsus represents us as saying that “we considered Jesus to be the son of God because he healed the lame and the blind.” And he adds: “Moreover, as you assert, he raised the dead.”

That Jesus healed the lame and the blind, and that therefore we hold him to be the Christ and the son of God is clear to us from what is contained in the prophecies: “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will hear; then the lame man will leap like a deer” [Isaiah 35:5-6]. And that Jesus also raised the dead, and that it is no fiction of those who composed the gospels, is shown by the following: if it had been a fiction, many individuals would have been represented as having risen from the dead, and these, too, such as had been many years in their graves. But since it is not fiction, it is easy to count those to whom this happened, namely the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue (of whom I know not why Jesus said, “She is not dead, but sleeps,” stating regarding her something which does not apply to all who die); the only son of the widow, on whom Jesus took compassion and raised him up, making the bearers of the corpse to stand still; and, the third instance is that of Lazarus, who had been four days in the grave. . . [omitted remainder of section].

(2.49) Jesus, accordingly, in turning away the minds of his disciples, not merely from giving heed to howlers of chants in general, and those who profess in any other manner to work miracles – for His disciples did not need to be so warned – but from those who gave the impression that they themselves were the Christ of God, . . .[omitted sentences]

But Celsus, comparing the miracles of Jesus to the techniques of howlers of chants, expressly says the following: “O light and truth! Jesus distinctly declares, with his own voice, as you yourselves have recorded, that there will come to you even others, employing miracles of a similar kind, who are wicked men and howlers of chants. He calls the one who makes use of such devices “Satan.” So that Jesus himself does not deny that these works, at least, are not at all divine, but are the acts of wicked men. Being forced by the truth, Jesus at the same time not only laid open the actions of others, but convicted himself of the same acts. Is it not, then, a miserable inference, to conclude from the same works that the one is God and the other howlers of chants? Why should the others, because of these actions, be considered wicked rather than this man [i.e. Jesus], seeing they have him as their witness against himself? For he has himself acknowledged that these are not the works of a divine nature, but the inventions of certain deceivers, and of completely wicked men” [cf. Matthew 24:23-27 and 7:22-23].

Observe, now, whether Celsus is not clearly convicted of slandering the gospel by such statements, since what Jesus says regarding those who are to work signs and wonders is different from what this Judean of Celsus alleges it to be. For if Jesus had simply told his disciples to be on their guard against those who professed to work miracles, without declaring what they would give themselves out to be, then perhaps there would have been some ground for his suspicion. But since those against whom Jesus would have us to be on our guard give themselves out as the Christ — which is not a claim put forth by howlers of chants — and since Jesus says that even some who lead wicked lives will perform miracles in the name of Jesus, and expel lower spirits out of men, engaging in the techniques of the howlers of chants, or any suspicion of doing so, is completely banished in the case of these individuals and the divinity of Christ is established, as well as the divine mission of his disciples. Seeing that it is possible that one who makes use of Jesus’ name, and who is effected by some power, in some way unknown, in order to pretend he is the Christ, should seem to perform miracles like those of Jesus, while others through His name should do works resembling those of His genuine disciples. . . [omitted citation of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians].

(2.50) . . .Let any one now say whether any of the statements in the gospel or in the writings of the apostle could give occasion for the suspicion that there is any prediction about the technique of howling chants in them. Any one, moreover, who likes may find the prophecy in Daniel respecting antichrist. But Celsus falsifies the words of Jesus, since Jesus did not say that others would come working similar miracles to himself, but who are wicked men and howlers of chants, although Celsus asserts that Jesus uttered such words.

[Techniques of the howlers of chants originate with evil lower spirits]

For just as the power of the Egyptian singers of incantations (epaoidoi) [i.e. Exodus 7-9 – link] was not similar to the divinely-bestowed favour of Moses, but the issue clearly proved that the acts of the former were the effect of charms (mangeneia), while those of Moses were done by divine power. So the actions of the antichrists and of those who pretend that they can work miracles as though they are disciples of Christ, are said to be lying signs and wonders, prevailing with all deceivableness of unrighteousness among them that perish. Whereas the works of Christ and his disciples had for their fruit, not deceit, but the salvation of human souls. And who would rationally maintain that an improved moral life, which daily lessened the number of a man’s offenses, could proceed from a system of deceit?

(2.51) Actually, Celsus, revealed a slight knowledge of sacred writings when he made Jesus say, that it is “a certain Satan who wickedly devises such things” [i.e. techniques of the howlers of chants] although he begs the question when he asserts that “Jesus did not deny that these works have in them nothing of divinity, but proceed from wicked men,” because Celsus here makes things which differ in kind out to be the same. Now, as a wolf is not of the same species as a dog, although it may appear to have some resemblance in the figure of its body and in its voice, nor a common wood-pigeon the same as a dove, so there is no resemblance between what is done by the power of God and what is the effect of the technique of howling chants.

And we might further say, in answer to the accusations of Celsus, “Are we to regard as miracles things which are done through the howling of chants by wicked lower spirits, but dismiss as not being miracles things performed by a nature that is holy and divine? And does human life endure the worse, but never receive the better? Now it appears to me that we must lay it down as a general principle that as, wherever anything that is evil would make itself to be of the same nature with the good, there must by all means be something that is good opposed to the evil; so also, in opposition to those things which are brought about by the howling of chants, there must also of necessity be some things in human life which are the result of divine power. And it follows from the same, that we must either annihilate both and assert that neither exists, or, assuming the one, and particularly the evil, admit also the reality of the good. Now, if one were to lay it down that works are done by means of the howling of chants, but would not grant that there are also works which are the product of divine power, he would seem to me to resemble a person who should admit the existence of sophisms and plausible arguments, which have the appearance of establishing the truth, although really undermining it, while denying that truth had anywhere a home among men, or a dialectic which differed from sophistry.

However, if we once admit that it is consistent with the existence of Magian technique (mageia) and the technique of howling chants (goēteia) (which derive their power from evil lower spirits, who are spell-bound by elaborate incantations, and become subject to howlers of chants) that some works must be found among men which proceed from a power that is divine, why shall we not test those who profess to perform them by their lives and morals, and the consequences of their miracles, namely, whether they tend to the injure people or reform their conduct? What minister of evil lower spirits, for example, can do such things? And by means of what incantations and charms? And who, on the other hand, is it that, having his soul and his spirit, and I imagine also his body, in a pure and holy state, receives a divine spirit, and performs such works in order to benefit men, and to lead them to believe in the true God? But if we must once investigate (without being carried away by the miracles themselves) who it is that performs them by help of a good power and who by help of an evil power, so that we may neither slander all without discrimination, nor yet admire and accept all as divine, will it not be manifest, from what occurred in the times of Moses and Jesus, when entire peoples were established in consequence of their miracles, that these men achieved by means of divine power what they are recorded to have performed? For wickedness and howling of chants would not have led a whole people to rise not only above idols and images erected by humans, but also above all created things, and to ascend to the uncreated origin of the God of the universe.

(2.52) Now since it is a Judean who makes these assertions in the treatise of Celsus, we would say to him: why do you believe the works which are recorded in your writings as having been performed by God through the instrumentality of Moses to be really divine, my friend, and try to refute those who slanderously assert that those were done by the howling of chants, like those of the Egyptian wise men (sophoi) [i.e. in Exodos 7-9]; while, in imitation of your Egyptian opponents, you charge those which were done by Jesus, and which, you admit, were actually performed, with not being divine? For if the final result, and the founding of an entire people by the miracles of Moses, manifestly demonstrate that it was God who made these things happen in the time of Moses, the Hebrew lawgiver, why wouldn’t this also be the case with Jesus, who accomplished far greater works than those of Moses? . . . [omitted remainder of section].

(2.53) Actually, all of the arguments which this Judean of Celsus [i.e. a hypothetical Judean, according to Origen] advances against those who believe in Jesus, may, by parity of reasoning, be urged as ground of accusation against Moses: so that there is no difference in asserting that the howling of chants practised by Jesus and that by Moses were similar to each other. Both of them, so far as the language of this Judean of Celsus is concerned, are liable to the same charge. . . [omitted expansion of this idea in remainder of this section].


[Howlers of chants among Egyptians in connection with the cult of Antinous]

(3.36) Now, since Celsus next introduces the case of the favourite of Hadrian (I refer to the accounts regarding the youth Antinous, and the honours paid him by the inhabitants of Antinoopolis in Egypt), and imagines that the honour paid to Antinous is not much different from what we render to Jesus, let us show in what a spirit of hostility this statement is made. For what is there in common between a life lived among the favourites of Hadrian, by one who did not abstain even from unnatural lusts, and that of the venerable Jesus, against whom even those who brought countless other charges and who told so many falsehoods were not able to allege that Jesus manifested, even in the slightest degree, any tendency to what was licentious? Not at all.

Furthermore, if one were to investigate in a spirit of truth and impartiality the stories relating to Antinous, he would find that it was due to charms (mangeneia) and rituals of the Egyptians that there was even the appearance of his performing anything in the city which bears his name, and that too only after his death. This is an effect which is said to have been produced in other temples by the Egyptians, and those who are skilled in what they practise. For they set up in certain places lower spirits (daimones) claiming prophetic or healing power, and which frequently torture those who seem to have committed any mistake about ordinary kinds of food, or about touching the dead body of a man, so that they may have the appearance of alarming the uneducated multitude. Of this nature is the being that is considered to be a god in Antinoopolis in Egypt, whose “virtues” are the lying inventions of some who live by the gain derived from them. While others, deceived by the lower spirit placed there, and others again convicted by a weak conscience, actually think that they are paying a divine penalty inflicted by Antinous.

The mysteries which they perform there are also of a similar nature, as well as the apparent predictions which they utter. Far different from such are those of Jesus. For it was no gathering of howlers of chants (goētai), paying court to a king or ruler at his bidding, who seemed to have made him a god. Rather, the architect of the universe himself, in keeping with the marvellously persuasive power of his words, commended him as worthy of honour, not only to those men who were well disposed, but to lower spirits and other unseen powers which even now show that they either fear the name of Jesus as that of a being of superior power, or reverentially accept him as their legal ruler. For if the commendation had not been given Jesus by God, the lower spirits would not have withdrawn from those whom they had assailed, in obedience to the mere mention of his name.


[Moses’ knowledge superior to the knowledge of singers of incantations, wise men and poisoners among Egyptians, as in Exodus 7-9]

(3.46) [omitted several sentences] . . . In the Acts of the Apostles, Stephen bears witness to the great learning of Moses, which he had obtained wholly from ancient writings not accessible to the multitude. For he says: “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” And therefore, with respect to his miracles, it was suspected that he achieved them perhaps, not in virtue of his professing to come from God, but by means of his Egyptian knowledge, in which he was well versed. For the king, entertaining such a suspicion, summoned the Egyptian singers of incantations (epaoidoi), wise men (sophistai), and potion-makers (pharmakeis), who were found to be ineffective against the wisdom of Moses, which proved superior to all the wisdom of the Egyptians.


[Notion of Judeans as descendents of Egyptian howlers of chants]

(4.33) Immediately after this [saying that Judeans were lowly fugitives among Egyptians], Celsus, attacking the contents of the first book of Moses which is entitled Genesis, asserts that the Judeans accordingly tried to derive their origin from the first offspring of howlers of chants (goētai) and deceivers, appealing to the testimony of dark and ambiguous words whose meaning was veiled in obscurity and which they misinterpreted to the uneducated and ignorant, and that, too, when such a point had never been called in question during the long preceding period. Now Celsus appears to me in these words to have expressed very obscurely the meaning which he intended to convey.

Actually, it is probable that his obscurity on this subject is intentional, since he saw the strength of the argument which establishes the descent of the Judeans from their ancestors [i.e. not from Egyptians]. While again, on the other hand, he wished not to appear ignorant that the question regarding the Judeans and their descent was one that could not be lightly dismissed. It is certain, however, that the Judeans trace their genealogy back to the three fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And the names of these individuals possess such efficacy, when united with the name of God, that not only do those belonging to that people employ the words “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob” in their prayers to God and in singing chants associated with lower spirits, but so do almost all the peoples who occupy themselves with incantations (epōdoi) and Magian techniques (mageioi). For there is found in Magian books (magikoi) in many countries such an invocation of God, and assumption of the divine name, as implies a familiar use of it by these peoples in their dealings with lower spirits. These facts, then – adduced by Judeans and Christians to prove the sacred character of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the ancestors of the Jewish descent group (genos) – appear to me not to have been completely unknown to Celsus yet not distinctly presented by him, because he was unable to answer the argument which might be founded on them [namely that other peoples find Judean methods related to lower spirits effective].


[Continuing association of Judean practice with the howling of chants]

(5.9) And as Celsus still continues to be a little confused and does not take care to see what was relevant to the matter, he expressed his opinion that the Judeans were induced by the incantations (epōdai) employed in charms and howling of chants (in consequence of which certain phantoms appear, in obedience to the incantations employed by those who sing incantations) to bow down to the angels in heaven, not observing that this was contrary to their law, which said to them who practised such observances: “Do not seek out oracular-ventriloquists (engastrimythoi) or those who sing incantations (epaoidoi) to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” [Leviticus 19:31 LXX]. Therefore, Celsus should either not attributed this practice to the Judeans, seeing he has observed that they keep their law, and that Celsus has called Judeans “those who live according to their law“; or, if he did attribute it to them, he should have shown that the Judeans did this in violation of their own code. But again, just as those who transgress their law, offering worship to those who are said to appear to them who are involved in darkness and blinded by the howling of chants and those who dream dreams, owing to obscure phantoms presenting themselves; so also do those transgress the law who offer sacrifice to sun, moon, and stars. And there is thus great inconsistency in the same individual saying that the Judeans are careful to keep their law by not bowing down to sun, moon, and stars, while they are not so careful to keep it in the matter of heaven and the angels.


[Ophites’ Magian techniques and use of divine names]

(6.32) It must be noticed, too, that those who have drawn up this array of fictions [i.e. the Ophites, a group of Jesus adherents cited by Celsus], have, from neither understanding Magian knowledge (mageia), nor discriminating the meaning of holy writings, thrown everything into confusion. Seeing that they have borrowed from Magian knowledge the names of Ialdabaoth, Astaphaios, and Horaios, and from the Hebrew writings the one who is termed in Hebrew Iao or Jah, Sabaoth, Adonaios, and Eloaios. Now the names taken from the writings are names of one and the same God. These names, not being understood by the enemies of God, as even themselves acknowledge, led to their imagining that Iao was a different God, Sabaoth another, and Adonaios, whom the writings term Adonai, a third besides, and that Eloaios, whom the prophets name in Hebrew Eloi, was also different . . . [omitted several sections on the Ophites scheme].


[Continuation of the accusation that Christians engage in howling of chants and Magian techniques]

(6.39) In the next place, speaking about those who employ Magian technique (mageia) and howling of chants (goēteia), and who invoke the barbarian names of lower spirits, Celsus remarks that such persons act like those who, in reference to the same things, trick uneducated people who do not know that the names of lower spirits among the Greeks are different from what they are among the Scythians. He then quotes a passage from Herodotos [Histories 4.59], stating that “Apollo is called Gongosyros by the Scythians; Poseidon is called Thagimasada; Aphrodite is called Argimpasan; and, Hestia is called Tabiti.

Now, anyone with the capacity can inquire whether Celsus and Herodotos are both wrong about these things. For the Scythians do not understand the same thing as the Greeks with respect to beings that are considered gods. For how is it credible that Apollo should be called Gongosyros by the Scythians? I do not suppose that Gongosyros, when transferred into the Greek language, yields the same etymology as Apollo; or that Apollo, in the dialect of the Scythians, has the signification of Gongosyros. Nor has any such assertion been made up until now regarding the other names. For different circumstances and etymologies led the Greeks to use the names they used for those they considered gods. There was a different set of circumstances that led the Scythians to do that, and the same applies to the Persians, Indians, Ethiopians, or Libyans, or to those who like to name things and do not hold to the right and pure idea of the creator of all things.

Enough, however, has been said by us in the preceding pages, where we wished to lower demonstrate that Sabaoth and Zeus were not the same deity, and where we also made some remarks, derived from the holy writings, regarding the different dialects. We willingly, then, pass by these points, on which Celsus would make us repeat ourselves.

In the next place, again, Celsus mixes up matters which belong to Magian technique (mageia) and howling of chants (goēteia), and likely refers to no one, for such a person who practises Magian technique under pretence of a worship of this character does not exist. Still, perhaps having in view some people who do employ such practices in the presence of the simple, so that they may have the appearance of acting by divine power, Celsus adds: “What need is there to enumerate all those who have taught purifications, expiatory hymns, spells for averting evil, the making of images, resemblances of lower spirits, or the various sorts of antidotes against poison to be found in clothes, in numbers, in stones, in plants, roots, or, generally, in all kinds of things?” In respect to these matters, reason does not require us to offer any defense, since we are not liable in the slightest degree to suspicions of such a nature.

(6.40) After these things, Celsus appears to me to act like those who, in their intense hatred of the Christians, maintain (in the presence of those who are utterly ignorant of the teaching of Christians) that they have actually ascertained that Christians devour the flesh of human babies and participate without restraint in sexual intercourse with their women. Now, these statements have been condemned as falsehoods invented against the Christians, and this admission made by the multitude and those altogether aliens to our faith. So, likewise, the following statements of Celsus are found to be invented incriminations against the Christians, where Celsus says that “he has seen in the hands of certain elders (presbyteroi) belonging to our faith barbarian books containing the names and marvellous doings of lower spirits.” Furthermore, he asserts that “these elders of our faith professed to do no good, but everything that was aimed at injuring human beings.” Actually, I wish that everything that Celsus says against the Christians would be refuted by the populace, who have ascertained by experience that such things are untrue, seeing that most of them have lived as neighbours with the Christians and have not even heard of the existence of any such alleged practices!

(6.41) In the next place, as if he had forgotten that it was his object to write against the Christians, he says that, “after getting to know one Dionysios, an Egyptian scholar, Dionysios told him, with respect to Magian techniques, that it was only over the uneducated and men of corrupt morals that they had any power, while on pursuers of wisdom (philosophoi) they were unable to produce any effect, because they were careful to observe a healthy way of life.” If, now, it had been our purpose to focus on Magian technique, we could have added a few remarks in addition to what we have already said on this topic. But since it is only the more important matters which we have to notice in answer to Celsus, we will simply say that any one who chooses to inquire whether pursuers of wisdom were ever led captive by Magian technique or not, can read what has been written by Moiragenes regarding the memoirs of the Magian and pursuer of wisdom Apollonios of Tyana. In these memoirs, this individual, who is not a Christian yet still a pursuer of wisdom, asserts that some significant pursuers of wisdom were won over by the Magian power possessed by Apollonios and resorted to him as a howler of chants (goēs). Among these, I think, he especially mentioned Euphrates and a certain Epicurean. Now we, on the other hand, affirm and have learned by experience that those who worship the God of all things in conformity with the Christianity which comes by Jesus and who live according to his gospel, using the prescribed prayers night and day, continuously and appropriately, are not carried away either by Magian technique or lower spirits. For truly “the angel of the Lord encamps around about them that fear him, and delivers them” from all evil [Psalm 33:8]. And the angels of the little ones in the assembly (or: church), who are appointed to watch over them, are said always to view the face of their Father who is in heaven, whatever the meanings of “face” and “view” are.


[Chaldeans, Magians, Egyptians, and Indians, but not Judeans, as wise barbarians whose ways disseminated elsewhere, according to Celsus]

(6.80) After this, it seemed appropriate for Celsus to designate the people of the Chaldeans as most divinely-inspired from the very earliest times, from whom the deceptive practice of calculating horoscopes has spread abroad among men. Not only that, but he also ranks the Magians in the same category, from whom Magian technique derived its name and has been transmitted to other peoples, to the corruption and destruction of those who employ it.

In the preceding part of this work, we mentioned that, even in Celsus’ opinion, the Egyptians also were guilty of error, because they had indeed solemn enclosures around what they considered their temples, while within them there was nothing except apes, crocodiles, goats, asps, or some other animal. However, on the present occasion it pleases him to speak of the people (ethnos) of the Egyptians too as most divinely inspired, and that, too, from the earliest times. Perhaps he does this because the Egyptians made war on the Judeans from an early date. The Persians, moreover, who marry their own mothers and have intercourse with their own daughters, are, in the opinion of Celsus, an inspired people. Not only that, but even the Indians are so, some of whom, in the preceding material, he mentioned as eaters of human flesh.

To the Judeans, however, especially those of ancient times, who employ none of these practices, he did not merely refuse the name of inspired, but declared that they would immediately perish. And this prediction he uttered respecting them, as being doubtless endued with prophetic power. He did not observe that the whole history of the Judeans and their ancient and venerable communal organization were administered by God, and that it is by their fall that salvation has come to the peoples (ethnē), and that “their fall is the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the peoples,” until the fullness of the peoples comes, so that afterwards the whole of Israel, whom Celsus does not know, may be saved [Paul in Romans 11:11-12, 25-26].


[Healing techniques and evocation of the lower spirits among Egyptian Magians]

(8.59) Probably those who embrace the views of Celsus will laugh at us when we say, “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow among things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue” is brought to “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” [Paul in Philippians 2:10-11]. But although they may ridicule such a statement, they still will receive much more convincing arguments in support of it than Celsus brings on behalf of Chnoumen, Chnachoumen, Knat, Sikat, and the rest of the Egyptian list whom he mentions as being called upon and as healing the diseases of different parts of the human body.

Observe how, while seeking to turn us away from our faith in the God of all through Jesus Christ, he exhorts us for the welfare of our bodies to faith in thirty-six barbarian lower spirits (daimones), whom the Egyptian Magians (magoi) alone call upon in some unknown way, and promise us in return great benefits. According to Celsus, then, it would be better for us now to give ourselves over to charms (mangeneia) and the howling of chants (goēteia) than to Christianize (christianizein), and to put our faith in an innumerable multitude of lower spirits than in the almighty, living, self-revealing God, who has manifested himself by him who by his great power has spread the true principles of holiness among all people throughout the world. Yes, and I may add without exaggeration, that God has given this knowledge to all beings everywhere possessed of reason, and needing deliverance from the plague and corruption of sin.

(8.60) Celsus, however, suspecting that the tendency of such teaching as he here gives is to lead to Magian knowledge, and dreading that harm may arise from these statements, adds: “However, any one must be careful in case, by familiarizing his mind with these matters, should become too much engrossed with them, and careful in case, through an excessive regard for the body, he should have his mind turned away from higher things and allow them to pass into oblivion. For perhaps we should not despise the opinion of those sages who say that most of the lower spirits near the earth are focussed on fleshly indulgence, blood, odours, sweet sounds, and other such sensual things. Therefore they are unable to do more than heal the body, or foretell the fortunes of men and cities, and do other such things as relate to this mortal life.” If there is, then, such a dangerous tendency in this direction, as even the enemy of the truth of God confesses, how much better is it to avoid all danger of giving ourselves too much up to the power of such lower spirits, and of becoming turned aside from higher things, and suffering them to pass into oblivion through an excessive attention to the body. By entrusting ourselves to the supreme God through Jesus Christ, who has given us such instruction, and asking him for all help and asking for the guardianship of holy and good angels to defend us from the lower spirits near the earth intent on lust, blood, sacrificial odours, strange sounds, and other sensual things! For even, by the confession of Celsus, they can do nothing more than cure the body. But, indeed, I would say that it is not clear that these lower spirits, however much they are reverenced, can even cure the body. But in seeking recovery from disease, a man must either follow the more ordinary and simple method, and have recourse to medical skill. Or if a person goes beyond the common methods adopted by men, he must rise to the higher and better way of seeking the blessing of the one who is God over everything, through piety and prayers.


Source of translation: F. Crombie, The Writings of Origen, Ante-Nicene Christian Library (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1869-1872), public domain, thoroughly adapted by Harland.

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