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borrowed from Moses and the Prophets, they had so disguised and disfigured it, that they had almost spoiled it, I speak his sense, though not his very words.
Next to Justin, follows his scholar Tatian, who expresses the same thought more distinctly, and is the best comment upon him. He observes u, that it were much more advisable for the Pagans to take Moses himself for their guide, than to follow the Greek philosophers so much younger, and who had drawn their best things from him, and not in the best manner, not like skilful men: for that many of their sophists, led by vain curiosity, had come to Moses and other Jewish sages for instruction, but had laboured to adulterate it when they had done; either to make a show of saying something of their own, or else to cover up what they did not well understand, under a mist of words, sophisticating the truth with devised fables. To proceed. .
Theophilus Bishop of Antioch, about the year of our Lord 180, takes notice that the Pagan poets and philosophers coming after the sacred Prophets had stolen the doctrine of eternal punishments from them, in order to give the more strength and weight to their own writings" In another place, he intimates, that they had derived the notion of the unity of God and of a future judgment from the same fountain y. The like he says afterwards in respect of the doctrine of the general conflagration, that the Heathen poets stole the notion from the Law and the Prophets 1.
* Του χάριν μνημονεύσαι τούτων μυθολογίαις την αλήθειαν παραβρεσνυνί προήχθην, ώ άνδρες Ελληνες, ίνα βεύωσι. Tatian. ad Grec. cap. Ixi. γνώτε την αληθή θεοσέβειαν ου δυνατόν 135. edit. Oxon. παρά τούτων μανθάνειν των μηδε εν οις Χ Ων τιμωριών προειρημένων υπό υπό τών έξωθεν έθαυμάσθησαν, ίδιόν τι προφητών μεταγενέστεροι γενόμενοι οι γράψαι δυνηθέντων, αλλά διά τινος ποιηται και φιλόσοφοι έκλεψαν εκ των εκείνης αλληγορίας υπό Μωσέως και αγίων γραφών, εις τα δόγματα αυτών των λοιπών προφητών εν τοις εαυτών αξιόπιστα γενηθήναι. Τheoph. ad Antol. συγγράμμασιν απηγγελκότων. Just. lib. i. c. 19. p. 62. edit. Hamb. Paren. cap. ΧΧΧν. p. 118.
Υ Πλήν ενίοτέ τινες τη ψυχή εκνή" Και χρή το πρεσβεύοντι κατά την ψαντες εξ αυτών, είπον ακόλουθα τους ηλικίαν πιστεύειν, ήπερ τους από της προφήταις, όπως είς μαρτύριον αυτοίς πηγής αρυσαμένοις "Ελλησιν, ου κατ' τε και πάσιν ανθρώπους περί τε θεού επίγνωσιν, τα εκείνου δόγματα, πολλοί μοναρχίας και κρίσεως, και των λοιπών γάρ οι κατ' αυτούς σοφισταί κεχρημένοι ών έφασαν. Τheoph. lib. ii. c. ΙΙ. περιεργία, τα όσα περί των κατά Μω- p. Ι4. Conf. 262. σέα, και των ομοίως αυτό φιλοσοφούν- 2 Και περί εκπυρώσεως κόσμου, θέτων έγνωσαν, και και παραχαράττειν λoντες, και μη θέλοντες, ακόλουθα εξείεπειράσθησαν. πρώτον μεν, ίνα τι λέ- πον τοίς προφήταις, καίπερ μεταγενέγειν ίδιον νομίζωνται δεύτερον δε, όπως στεροι γενόμενοι, και κλέψαντες ταύτα τα όσα μη συνίεσαν, διά τινός επιπλά- εκ νόμου και των προφητών. Τheoph. στου ρητολογίας παρακαλύπτοντες, ταϊς lib. i. c. 55. p. 26ο.
But of all the ancient Fathers and Apologists, there is none more copious upon this argument than Clemens of Alexandria. It is very frequent with him to call the Pagan philosophers and poets, thievés or plagiaries, for their stealing so plentifully from the Jewish Church, to adorn their own writings; at the same time not acknowledging the obligation a. He presses the charge home upon particular men by name, or bodies of men : upon Pythagorasb chiefly and Plato , as the two principal men : but upon Numad also, and Thalese, and Socrates, and Cleanthes , and Antisthenes h; upon Xenophon', and Aristotlek, and the whole sect of the Stoics! He makes the like charge upon the heathen poets in general m; and particularly upon Orpheus", Linus', Musæus P, Homer 9, Hesiod', and Pindars. His proofs of the facts are not all of the same kind, nor of the same weight. What he urges from external confessions or testimonies of Pagans themselves, as from Megasthenes !, Clearchus 4, Numenius *, and Plato himself), must be owned to be solid and convincing, so far as it reaches. As to the artificial arguments or presumptions drawn from the similitude of thoughts or expressions, taking in the superior antiquity of Moses, and the certainty of the fact that many both poets and philosophers had been in Egypt, where they might have learned something at first or second hand from the Jews: these and the like considerations have their weight and credibility, but may sometimes easily be extended too far.
The particular doctrines, notions, or principles, which Clemens supposes to have been thus borrowed by the Pagans from the Jews, or from sacred Writ, are such as I shall just briefly mention : first, the main substance or best part of their ethics or morality ? ; next, their most considerable lawsa, either in Minos's, or Lycurgus's, or Zaleucus's, or Solon'sb; mercy towards brute beastsc; then the Unity of Godd; the Trinity alsoe, and the sacredness of the seventh dayf ; the omnipresence or overruling power of the Deity> ; the doctrine also of the resurrection h, and of future judgmenti, and of the everlasting punishments in hellk, with the blessedness of heaven?: add to these the notion of good and evil angelsm, and of the creation of the world", and of the general conflagration. Some obscure knowledge of all these doctrines, Clemens supposes to have been conveyed by Scripture, or hearsay, or tradition, from the Hebrews to the Gentile world ; but that the Pagans had much depraved or disguised the doctrines so received.
a Clem. Alex. p. 369, 377, 378, b Ib. p. 60, 355, 358, 477,662, 663.
c Ibid. p. 60, 176, 223, 224, 355, 429, 650, 663, 699, 700, 733, 737. ed. Oxon.
358, 419, 662, 701, &c. 710. d Ibid. p. 358, 359.
e Ibid. p. 704.
í Ibid. p. 701. h Ibid. p. 6o.
i Ibid. & Ibid. p. 60, 715.
p. k Ibid. p. 358, 705.
1 Ibid. p. 699, 708.
m Ibid. n Ibid. p. 659, 692.
o Ibid. p. 659.
p Ibid. p. 659. q Ibid. p. 659, 707, 709.
r Ibid. p. 659, 708.
s Ibid. p. 295 t Ibid. p. 360.
u Ibid. p. 358.
x Ibid. p. 411. y Ibid. p. 355, 358, 697.
z Ibid. p. 469.
a Ibid. p. 422
d Ibid. p. 714, &c. b See p.422. compare p. 356. c Ibid. p. 477. e Ibid. p. 711.
Tertullian, of the same century, prosecutes the same argument in few, but in strong words. He tells the Pagans, that they borrowed their laws, such as were of most value, from the older laws of Moses P. In another place he asks, which of their poets and which of their sophists had not drank at the fountain of the Prophets 9 ? And he further says, that from thence it was that the philosophers had quenched their learned thirst: but he intimates withal, that they had corrupted and mangled what they had so taken, and had endeavoured to wrest and warp it to their own hypotheses", not sufficiently considering that a Divine writing is privileged from ill usage, and ought not to be so profaned.
Minutius Felix expresses the same thought, observing, that the philosophers had taken several things from sacred Writ, but had adulterated what they took, and delivered it but by halvess.
Origen discovers the same sentiments, in more places than one of his treatise against Celsus. He refers to Hermippus,
Clem. Alex. p. 713.
'Si quid in sanctis offenderunt 8 Ibid. p. 723, 724.
digestis, exinde regestum pro instituto h Ibid. p. 711.
Ibid. p. 722. curiositatis ad propria verterunt, nek Ibid. p. 700, 701.
que satis credentes divina esse quo i Ibid. p. 722.
m Ibid. p. 701. minus interpolarent, neque, &c. Ibid. n Ibid. p. 701. o Ibid. p. 711, 712:
& Animadvertis philosophos eadem Dum tamen sciatis ipsas quoque disputare quæ nos dicimus : leges vestras, quæ videntur ad inno- quod nos simus eorum vestigia subcentiam pergere, de divina lege ut secuti
, sed quod illi de divinis præantiquiore, formam mutuatas : dixi- dicationibus prophetarum, umbram mus jam de Mosis ætate. Tertull. interpolatæ veritatis imitati sunt. Sic Apol. c. xlv. p. 372. edit. Haverc. etiam conditionem renascendi sapien
9 Quis poetarum,quis sophistarum, tium clariores, Pythagoras, et præciqui non de prophetarum fonte potave- puus Plato, corrupta et dimidiata fide rit? Inde igitur et philosophi sitim in- tradiderunt, &c. Minuc. F. c. xxxiii. genii surrigaverunt. Tertull. Apol. c. p. 189, 190. edit. Cant. xlvii.p. 396. Conf. ad Nation. 1. i.c.2.
which Josephus had before done, as a voucher, that Pythagoras had borrowed his philosophy in part from the Jews. In another place he intimates that Plato probably might have learned some things from the Jews in Egypt, which he afterwards disguised for fear of giving offence to the Greeksu. He elsewhere speaks more positively of Plato's borrowing some of his expressions or notions, either directly from Scripture, or at second hand from his converse with the Hebrews. And he takes notice also of Numenius (a Pythagorean of the second century) his speaking respectfully of the Jews, and of his borrowing several things from Moses and the Prophetsz.
Our next author is Lactantius, who, though he agrees with the other Fathers and Apologists in the main thing, that the Pagans did borrow from the Hebrews several of their best notions, yet he seems to differ from them in some considerable circumstances. For his opinion appears to be, that they did not receive those doctrines at first hand, by reading the Scriptures themselves, neither yet at the second hand, by conversing with the Hebrews, but by a more remote and obscure channel of conveyance, by uncertain hearsay, or blind and very corrupt traditiona; so that the Pagan philosophers did not themselves deprave what they had so taken, but they received it depraved, and could not make it better than they found it. This appears to be Lactantius's real sense of the matter. Accordingly he denies that ever Pythagoras or Plato resorted directly to the Jews, or (as his argument seems to imply) that they conversed at all with them.
t Λέγεται δε και "Έρμιππον εν τω Quia mysterium divini sacramenti spátą nepi vouobet@ iotoprkévai, nesciebant, et ad eos mentio resurΠυθαγόραν την εαυτού φιλοσοφίαν από rectionis future obscurorum ore per'Ioudaiwv eis "EXInvas åyayeiv. Ori- venerat, eam vero temere ac leviter gen. contr. Cels. 1. i. p. 13.
auditam, in modum commentitiæ fau Origen. cont. Cels. 1. iv. p. 190. bulæ prodiderunt. Et tamen iidem
x Origen. cont. Cels. 1. vi. p. 288. testati sunt, non auctorem se certum conf. lib. vii. p. 351, 352.
sequi ; ut Maro qui ait: Sit mihi y Origen. ibid. 1. i. p. 13.
fas audita loqui. Quamvis igitur z Origen. ibid. p. 198.
veritatis arcana, in parte, corruperint, a Nullas enim literas veritatis atti- tamen ipsa res eo verior invenitur, gerant; sed quæ prophetarum vati- quod cum prophetis in parte consencinio tradita in sacrario Dei contine- tiunt; quod nobis ad probationem bantur, ea de fabulis et obscura opini- rei satis est. Id. 1. vii. c. 22. P. 397; one collecta, et depravata (ut veritas a b Unde equidem soleo mirari, quod vulgo solet variis sermonibus dissipata cum Pythagoras, et postea Plato, corrumpi, nullo non addente aliquid amore indagandæ veritatis accensi ad id quod audierant) carminibus suis ad Ægyptios, et Magos, et Persas comprehenderunt. Lactant. Instit. usque penetrassent,-ad Judæos ta1. ii. c. 10. p. 95. edit. Cant.
men non accesserint, penes quos tunc
Some have gladly laid hold on this passage of Lactantius, disliking the hypothesis of the other Fathers, and looking upon this single opinion of Lactantius, as weighty in itself, and sufficient to counterbalance all the reste. Others, on the contrary, think that Lactantius has betrayed great ignoranced in what he has said, and that his single opinion is of small weight against many more valuable writers. Some have endeavoured to excuse him in this affair, and to reconcile him with the other Fathers, by saying, that he might mean only that Pythagoras and Plato did not go into Judæa, however they might have conversed with Jews in Egypt or elsewhere. But Lactantius probably meant, that they never conversed with the Jews at all; and his argument seems to require that he should mean so. In short then, we must either give up Lactantius, as to those particular facts relating to Pythagoras and Plato, or else set aside a number of other more considerable authorities. But as to his main notion, that the Pagans, many of them, borrowed their best principles from revelation remotely, and by obscure tradition, rather than by reading of sacred Writ, or conversing directly with Jews; there appears to be both sense and truth in it; of which I shall say more when I come to pass a judgment upon the general argument.
I may next mention the learned Eusebius, who, in his celebrated treatise of Evangelical Preparation, takes in almost every thing that others had said before him, relating to our present topic. His tenth book in particular is very diffuse and copious, in shewing that Plato and other philosophers had borrowed much the greatest and best part of their theology and ethics from the holy Scriptures. His eleventh book is taken up in specifying the particulars wherein Plato's doctrine agrees with sacred
solos (religio] erat, et quo facilius ire Splendide ergo halucinatur Lactanpotuissent. Sed aversos esse arbitror tius, cum mirari se ait, &c. ConcepDivina providentia, quia nondum fas tis enim verbis tradit Porphyrius, in erat alienigenis hominibus religionem vita Pythagoræ, Ægyptios, Arabes, Dei veri, justitiamque cognoscere. Chaldæos et Ebræos ipsum adiisse, &c. Lactant. lib. iv. cap. 2. p. 176.
Huet. Dem. Evang. Prop. iv. p. 45. c See Marsham Can. Chron. sect. Splendide enim, quum id scriberet, xix. p. 152. Franeq. edit. Clerici erravisse Lactantium, non modo ea Epist. Crit. vii. p. 228. Hodii Text. quæ produximus testimonia arguunt, Bibl. lib. iv. p. 571.
sed et res ipsa loquitur, &c. Witsii d Nec enim satis didicerat Lactan- Ægyptiaca, lib. iii. cap. 13. p. 276. tius sive Pythagoræ, sive Platonis res, e See Baltus, Défense des SS. Peres cum eos minime Judæos accessisse accusés de Platonisme, l. iv. p. 612, scripsit. Id quod ex sequentibus Nourrii Apparat. ad Bibl. Max. vol. fiet manifestum. Selden. de Jur. N. i. p. 386, 387. et Gent. lib. i. cap. 2. p. 14.