Monday, November 12, 2012

More Evidence the Philosophumena is Directly Related to Celsus's Heretical Source Book

We already noted in our last post that both Celsus and the Philosophumena reference the concept of 'cauterizing the ears' with respect to heresy.  Now we can added another key concept referenced by Origen - that of Christians being 'enigmas.'  We read in Against Celsus 5:64 again:

And it is owing to this cause that Celsus has said that "certain among the Christians are called 'cauterized in the ears" (ἀκοῆς καυστήριά) and also that some are termed "enigmas" (αἰνίγματα) --a term which we have never met.

While Origen says the terminology is never used, the Philosophumena testifies otherwise.  We read in the very introduction with respect to the Christian heresies:

We have likewise, on a former occasion, expounded the doctrines of these briefly, not illustrating them with any degree of minuteness, but refuting thorn in coarse digest; not having considered it requisite to bring to light their secret doctrines, in order that, when we have called them enigmas (αἰνιγμάτων), they, becoming ashamed, lest also, by our divulging their mysteries, we should convict them of atheism, might be induced to desist in some degree from their unreasonable opinion and their profane attempt. But since I perceive that they have not been abashed by our forbearance, and have made no account of how God is long-suffering, though blasphemed by them, in order that either from shame they may repent, or should they persevere, be justly condemned, I am forced to proceed in my intention of exposing those secret mysteries of theirs, which, to the initiated, with a vast amount of plausibility they deliver who are not accustomed first to disclose (to any one), till, by keeping such in suspense during a period (of necessary preparation), and by rendering him blasphemous towards the true God they have acquired complete ascendancy over him, and perceive him eagerly panting after the promised disclosure. And then, when they have tested him to be enslaved by sin, they initiate him, putting him in possession of the perfection of wicked things. Previously, however, they bind him with an oath neither to divulge (the mysteries), nor to hold communication with any person whatsoever, unless he first undergo similar subjection, though, when the doctrine has been simply delivered (to any one), there was no longer any need of an oath. For he who was content to submit to the necessary purgation, and so receive the perfect mysteries of these men, by the very act itself, as well as in reference to his own conscience, will feel himself sufficiently under an obligation not to divulge to others; for if he once disclose wickedness of this description to any man, he would neither be reckoned among men, nor be deemed worthy to behold the light, since not even irrational animals would attempt such an enormity, as we shall explain when we come to treat of such topics.[1.1]

It is important to note that the existing English translation has furnished missing words to give the sentence another meaning - "<καὶ> ἐν οἷς λέγει [καὶ] δι' αἰνιγμάτων [καὶ τοιούτων λόγων]" = "not having considered it requisite to bring to light their secret doctrines, in order that, when we have explained their tenets by enigmas."

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