Against the Galileans 25


46 Asclepius heals our bodies, and the Muses with the aid of Asclepius and Apollo and Hermes, the god of eloquence, train our souls; Ares fights for us in war and Enyo also; Hephaistus apportions and administers the crafts, and Athene the Motherless Maiden with the aid of Zeus presides over them all. Consider therefore whether we are not superior to you in every single one of these things, I mean in the arts and in wisdom and intelligence; and this is true, whether you consider the useful arts or the imitative arts whose end is beauty, such as the statuary`s art, painting, or household management, and the art of healing derived from Asclepius whose oracles are found everywhere on earth, and the god grants to us a share in them perpetually. At any rate, when I have been sick, Asclepius has often cured me by prescribing remedies; and of this Zeus is witness. Therefore, if we who have not given ourselves over to the spirit of apostasy, fare better than you in soul and body and external affairs, why do you abandon these teachings of ours and go over to those others?

47 And why is it that you do not abide even by the traditions of the Hebrews or accept the law which God has given to them? Nay, you have forsaken their teaching even more than ours, abandoning the religion of your forefathers and giving yourselves over to the predictions of the prophets? For if any man should wish to examine into the truth concerning you, he will find that your impiety is compounded of the rashness of the Jews and the indifference and vulgarity of the Gentiles. For from both sides you have drawn what is by no means their best but their inferior teaching, and so have made for yourselves a border of wickedness. For the Hebrews have precise laws concerning religious worship, and countless sacred things and observances which demand the priestly life and profession. But though their lawgiver forbade them to serve all the gods save only that one, whose portion is Jacob, and Israel an allotment of his inheritance; though he did not say this only, but methinks added also Thou shalt not revile the gods [ Exodus 22. 28]; yet the shamelessness and audacity of later generations, desiring to root out all reverence from the mass of the people, has thought that blasphemy accompanies the neglect of worship. This, in fact, is the only thing that you have drawn from this source; for in all other respects you and the Jews have nothing in common. Nay, it is from the new-fangled teaching of the Hebrews that you have seized upon this blasphemy of the gods who are honoured among us; but the reverence for every higher nature, characteristic of our religious worship, combined with the love of the traditions of our forefathers, you have cast off, and have acquired only the habit of eating all things, even as the green herb[ Genesis 9. 3]. But to tell the truth, you have taken pride in outdoing our vulgarity, (this, I think, is a thing that happens to all nations, and very naturally) and you thought that you must adapt your ways to the lives of the baser sort, shopkeepers,85 tax-gatherers, dancers and libertines.

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