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“Lucian - The Passing of Peregrinus: 11-14”
About the philosopher who "duped" 2nd century Christians
Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the Loeb (A.M. Harmon) 1936 edition of Lucian (vol. 5, pages 12-17) which is believed to be in the public domain.
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Lucian: Selected Dialogues (Oxford World's Classics)
Chattering Courtesans and Other Sardonic Sketches
11. “It was then that he learned the wondrous lore of the Christians, by associating with their priests and scribes in Palestine. And—how else could it be?—in a trice he made them all look like children, for he was prophet, cult-leader, head of the synagogue, and everything, all by himself. He interpreted and explained some of their books and even composed many, and they revered him as a god, made use of him as a lawgiver, and set him down as a protector, next after that other, to be sure, whom they still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world.
13. “Indeed, people came even from the cities in
Asia, sent by the Christians at their common expense, to succour and defend
and encourage the hero. They show incredible speed whenever any such public
action is taken; for in no time they lavish their all. So it was then in the
case of Peregrinus; much money came to him from them by reason of his
imprisonment, and he procured not a little revenue from it. The poor
wretches have convinced themselves, first and foremost, that they are going
to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence of which they despise
death and even willingly give themselves into custody; most of them.
Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers
of one another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the
Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living
under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately and
consider them common property, receiving such doctrines traditionally
without any definite evidence. So if any charlatan and trickster, able to
profit by occasions, comes among them, he quickly acquires sudden wealth by
imposing upon simple folk.
14. “However, Peregrinus was freed by the then
governor of Syria, a man who was fond of philosophy. Aware of his
recklessness and that he would gladly die in order that he might leave
behind him a reputation for it, he freed him, not considering him worthy
even of the usual chastisement.
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De Morte Peregrini
Harmon Loeb Lucian
Περι Της Περεγρινου Τελυτης
ΠΕΡΙ ΤΗΣ ΠΕΡΕΓΡΙΝΟΥ ΤΕΛΕΥΤΗΣ
Περί της Περεγρίνου τελευτής
Peregrinus in Prison
Peregrinus and Christians - Christianity
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
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