Against the Galileans 20


37 Would not any man be justified in detesting the more intelligent among you, or pitying the more foolish, who, by following you, have sunk to such depths of ruin that they have abandoned the ever-living gods and have gone over to the corpse of the Jew. . . . For I say nothing about the Mysteries of the Mother of the Gods, and I admire Marius. . . . For the spirit that comes to men from the gods is present but seldom and in few, and it is not easy for every man to share in it or at every time. Thus it is that the prophetic spirit has ceased among the Hebrews also, nor is it maintained among the Egyptians, either, down to the present. And we see that the indigenous oracles of Greece have also fallen silent and yielded to the course of time. Then lo, our gracious lord and father Zeus took thought of this, and that we might not be wholly deprived of communion with the gods has granted us through the sacred arts 60 a means of enquiry by which we may obtain the aid that suffices for our needs.

38 I had almost forgotten the greatest of the gifts of Helios and Zeus. But naturally I kept it for the last. And indeed it is not peculiar to us Romans only, but we share it, I think, with the Hellenes our kinsmen. I mean to say that Zeus engendered Asclepius from himself among the intelligible gods,61 and through the life of generative Helios he revealed him to the earth. Asclepius, having made his visitation to earth from the sky, appeared at Epidaurus singly, in the shape of a man; but afterwards he multiplied himself, and by his visitations stretched out over the whole earth his saving right hand. He came to Pergamon, to Ionia, to Tarentum afterwards; and later he came to Rome. And he travelled to Cos and thence to Aegae. Next he is present everywhere on land and sea. He visits no one of us separately, and yet he raises up souls that are sinful and bodies that are sick.

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