Friday, October 3, 2014

Ignored Reference to Peregrinus By Lucian of Samosata Helps Explains Why Heretical Christians Identified Jesus as ὁ χρηστὸς

I see great affinities with Colossians chapter 1.  More on that later.  First the reference.  I had hitherto only been aware of the Passing of Peregrinus, a portrait I have previously argued is a pagan attestation of the life (and martyrdom) of Polycarp:

APOLLO: Is the report true, father, that someone threw himself bodily into the fire, in the very face of the Olympic festivities, quite an elderly man, not a bad hand at such hocus-pocus ? Selene told me, saying that she herself had seen him burning.

ZEUS Yes, quite true, Apollo. If only it had never happened !

APOLLO Was the old man so good ? Was he not worthy of a death by fire (Οὕτω χρηστὸς ὁ γέρων ἦν καὶ ἀνάξιος ἐν πυρὶ ἀπολωλέναι)?

ZEUS Yes, that he was, very likely. But my point is that I remember having had to put up with a great deal of annoyance at the time on account of a horrid stench such as you might expect to arise from roasting human bodies. In fact, if I had not at once gone straight to Araby, I should have come to a sad end, Socrates to death through a charge brought by Anytus, and that you are fleeing from them for that reason?

PHILOSOPHY Nothing of the sort, father. On the contrary, they — the multitude — spoke well of me and held me in honour, respecting, admiring, and all but worshipping me, even if they did not much understand what I said. But the others — how shall I style them? — those who say they are my familiars and friends and creep under the cloak of my name, they are the people who have done me the direst possible injuries.

ZEUS Have the philosophers made a plot against you ?

PHILOSOPHY By no means, father. Why, they themselves have been wronged in common with me !

ZEUS At whose hands, then, have you been wronged, if you have no fault to find either with the common sort or with the philosophers ?

PHILOSOPHY There are some, Zeus, who occupy a middle ground between the multitude and the philosophers. In deportment, glance, and gait they are like us, and similarly dressed ; as a matter of fact, they want to be enlisted under my command and they enroll them- selves under my name, saying that they are my pupils, disciples, and devotees. (Lucian, The Runaways)

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