The Apology of St. Aristides of Athens (translation by M. R. James). On Early Christian Writings. Aristides also, a believer earnestly devoted to our religion, left, like Quadratus, an apology for the faith, addressed to Adrian. His work, too, has been preserved. Here follows the defense which Aristides the philosopher made before Hadrian the King on behalf of reverence for God. All-powerful Cæsar Titus Hadrianus.
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Propterea hisce omnibus miraculis variis omnibusque beneficiis Ipse omnia creavit. Von Himpel rightly affirms the Armenian text to have been made from the Greek: Here we have the first attempt at a systematic comparison of ancient religions.
The Greeks, then, O king, have brought forward what is wicked, ridiculous and foolish concerning their gods and themselves; in that they called such like persons gods, who are no gods: He has no name, for everything which has a name is kindred to things created.
Apology of Aristides – Wikipedia
Justin certainly did so, and almost airstides surely Tatian; and if these aristies not Aristides? And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. The Greeks, then, because they are more subtle than the Barbarians, have gone further astray than the Barbarians; inasmuch as they have introduced many fictitious gods, and have set up some of them as males and some as females ; and in that some of their gods were found who were adulterers, and did murderand were deluded, and enviousand wrathful and passionate, and parricides, and thieves, and robbers.
And at length he was struck with lightning by Dios on account of Tyndareos of Lacedaemon, and so he died. And further, they say of his brother Typhon that he is a god, who killed his brother and was killed by his brother’s son and by his bride, being unable to help himself.
And if it be otherwise, he is found to be useless. And they err in seeking to liken them to God whom man has not at any time seen nor can see unto what He is like. Is a god, who arranges carousals by night, and teaches drunkennessand carries off women who do not belong to him.
The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher
And at times she dwells with their gods, but at other times she is a neighbour to men. Now of course we do not mean to suggest that Aristides invented the argument from Providence or that Celsus was the first to heap easy scorn upon it.
If then Aphrodite is a goddess and was unable to help her lover at his death, how will she find it arstides to help others? And after him they introduce another god, Asclepius; and they say that he is a physician and prepares medicines and bandages in order that he may satisfy his need of sustenance.
Our contribution to the subject consists of a Syriac translation of the whole, or substantially the whole, of the missing Apology.
In which sentence he has pretty well covered the argument from Providence as stated by Aristides. But, before going further, it will be best to describe a little more closely the volume from which our text is taken. The third day He rose again: Then the gods themselves were myths, and nothing more.
This Jesus, then, was born of the race of the Hebrews; and he had twelve disciples in order that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished. But there is one difficulty to aristices faced, and that is the fact that we were in confusion over Quadratus before we reached any conclusion about Aristides.
Feast of Orthodoxy Intercession of the Theotokos The four fasting periods: He requires not sacrifice and libation, nor even one of things visible; He requires not anything from any, but all living creatures stand in need of him. Let us begin, then, with the Barbarians, and go on to the rest of the nations one after another, that we may see which of them hold the truth as to God and which of them hold error.
In Himself He is nameless, for whatever is named is fashioned out of something else 30 and created. And if, forsooth, they are weak in the case of their own deliverance, whence have they power to help in the case of deliverance of their worshippers? If therefore Isis be a goddess, and was not able to help Osiris her brother and lord, how is it possible that she should help others?
Is then this god in want? And they say that he was killed by a wound from a wild boar, without being able to help himself. And of Osiris also they say that he is a serviceable god.
Counter to Him and opposed there is no one: The language and thought of the writer are, however, so simple and straightforward that the limits of error are much narrower than they would be in a document where the structure was more highly complicated; the unintelligible sentences which accumulate in a translation so much more rapidly than in the copying of an original document, are almost entirely absent.
And on their side, they offer prayer that these may repent of their error; and when it happens that one of them has repented, he is ashamed before the Christians of the works which were done by him; and he makes confession to God, saying, I did these things in ignorance.
As the Egyptians, then, were more stupid than the rest of the nations, these and such like gods did not suffice for them. Our Syriac Apology certainly contains no trace of an allusion to Dionysius the Areopagite; on the other hand it fairly enough teaches the Divinity of Christ. For as you yourself allow, O King, man is constituted of the four elements and of a soul and a spirit and hence he is called a microcosmand without any one of these parts he could not consist.
Adversary he has none, for there exists not any stronger than he. In order to test this point, we will give a rendering of the fragment into Greek, for which again I am indebted to the kindness of Mr Conybeare.
The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher
And hence, as they say in fable, there was engendered Aphrodite, who is called Astarte. So then there are, as I said above, four classes of men: The passage has also been translated into German by von Himpel 23and this translation will be found in Harnack’s Aristided Apologeten, pp. The work begins with a semiphilosophical description of God and then shows that the gods of various nations fall short.
This would seem to resolve the perplexity of Spartianus as to the origin of the name. And hence it is impossible that the winds should be called gods, but rather a thing made by God. The Apology of Aristides: