On the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians by Celsus

On the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians

EditorCelsusTranslated byR. Joseph Hoffman

Paperback | April 30, 1999

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The works of many early critics of the Christian church were burned by ruling emperors or otherwise destroyed in the second and third centuries, but the writings of the Greek pagan philosopher, Celsus, have survived indirectly through his eloquent opponent Origen of Alexandria. In hisapologetical treatise, Contra Celsum, Origen argues against the ideas set forth by Celsus and quotes from Celsus' The True Doctrine at length. Through this treatise, Celsus has come to represent the detached pagan voice of the ages. In this translation, Professor Hoffmann has, for the first time,painstakingly reconstructed the main order of the philosopher's argument. Celsus' discourse shows him to be an eclectic philosopher--a dabbler in various schools of thought, including Platonism and Stoicism, and a student of the history and religious customs of many nations. Hoffman supplementsthis definitive translation with an informative introduction, summarizing Celsus' premises and placing the identity of Celsus in its historical context.

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R. Joseph Hoffman is at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
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Title:On the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the ChristiansFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 5.39 × 8.19 × 0.51 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195041518

ISBN - 13:9780195041514

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From Our Editors

Although the works of many early critics of the Church were burned by Christian emperors or were otherwise destroyed in the second and third centuries, the major work of the Greek philosopher, Celsus, is an exception. His polemical attack on the beliefs and practices of Christianity, On the True Doctrine, written around 178 A.D., is one of the earliest surviving documents of its kind. Preserved almost in its entirety within Contra Celsum, a counter-polemic written by Origen of Alexandria, On the True Doctrine provides an accurate portrait of the attitudes of most detached pagan observers of the time: interested in the latest religious trends, but suspicious of the religious enthusiasm and the newer proselytizing sects of the empire.

Editorial Reviews

"Fills the gap of a long-needed and -desired English translation.... Establish[es] a solid base for the understanding of Celsus' polemic....Even the most experienced will find ample food for thought in this work."--Favonius