Pseudo-Clementine Literature (Cont.)The Clementine Homilies. Part 8

The Clementine Homilies. (Cont.)

Homily XIV. (Cont.)

Chap. V. – Practical Refutation of Genesis.

“While we were thus talking, a great multitude gathered round us. And then I looked to the multitude, and said: ‘I and my tribe have had handed clown to us from our ancestors the worship of God, and we have a commandment to give no heed to Genesis, I mean to the science of astrology;12 and therefore I gave no attention to it. For this reason I have no skill in astrology, but I shall state that in which I have skill. Since I am unable to refute Genesis by an appeal to the science which relates to Genesis, I wish to prove in another way that the affairs of this world are managed by a providence, and that each one will receive reward or punishment according to his actions. Whether he shall do so now or hereafter, is a matter of no consequence to me; all I affirm is, that each one without doubt will reap the fruit of his deeds. The proof that there is no Genesis is this. If any one of you present has been deprived of eyes, or has his hand maimed, or his foot lame, or some other part of the body wrong, and if it is utterly incurable, and entirely beyond the range of the medical profession, – a case, indeed, which not even the astrologers profess to cure, for no such cure has taken place within the lapse of a vast period, – yet I praying to God will cure it,13 although14 it could never have been set right by Genesis.15 Since this is so, do not they sin who blaspheme the God that fashioned all things?’ And the old man answered: ‘Is it then blasphemy to say that all things are subject to Genesis?’ And I replied: ‘Most certainly it is. For if all the sins of men, and all their acts of impiety and licentiousness, owe their origin to the stars, and if the stars have been appointed by God to do this work, so as to be the efficient causes of all evils, then the sins of all are traced up to Him who placed Genesis16 in the stars.’


Chap. VI. – The Old Man Opposes His Personal Experience to the Argument of Peter.

“And the old man answered:17 ‘You have spoken truly,18 and yet, notwithstanding all your incomparable demonstration, I am prevented from yielding assent by my own personal knowledge. For I was an astrologer, and dwelt first at Rome; and then forming a friendship with one who was of the family of Cæsar, I ascertained accurately the genesis of himself and his wife. And tracing their history, I find all the deeds actually accomplished in exact accordance with their genesis, and therefore I cannot yield to your argument. For the arrangement19 of her genesis was that which makes women commit adultery, fall in love with their own slaves, and perish abroad in the water. And this actually took place; for she fell in love with her own slave, and not being able to bear the reproach, she fled with him, hurried to a foreign land, shared his bed, and perished in the sea.’ 


Chap. VII. – The Old Man Tells His Story.

“And I answered: ‘How then do you know that she who fled and took up her residence in a foreign land married the slave, and marrying him died?’ And the old man said: ‘I am quite sure that this is true, not indeed that she married him, for I did not know even that she fell in love with him; but after her departure, a brother of her husband’s told me the whole story of her passion, and how he acted as an honourable man, and did not, as being his brother, wish to pollute his couch, and how she the wretched woman (for she is not blameable, inasmuch as she was compelled to do and suffer all this in consequence of Genesis) longed for him, and yet stood in awe of him and his reproaches, and how she devised a dream, whether true or false I cannot tell; for he stated that she said,” Some one in a vision stood by me, and ordered me to leave the city of the Romans immediately with my children.” But her husband being anxious that she should be saved with his sons, sent them immediately to Athens for their education, accompanied by their mother and slaves, while he kept the third and youngest son with himself, for he who gave the warning in the dream permitted this son to remain with his father. And when a long time had elapsed, during which20 he received no letters from her, he himself sent frequently to Athens, and at length took me, as the truest of all his friends, and went in search of her. And much did I exert myself along with him in the course of our travels with all eagerness; for I remembered that, in the old times of his prosperity, he had given me a share of all he had, and loved me above all his friends. At length we set sail from Rome itself, and so we arrived in these parts of Syria, and we landed at Seleucia, and not many days after we had landed he died of a broken heart. But I came here, and have procured my livelihood from that day till this by the work of my hands.’


Chap. VIII. – The Old Man Gives Information in Regard to Faustus the Father of Clement.

“When the old man had thus spoken, I knew from what he said that the old man who he stated had died, was no other than your father. I did not wish, however, to communicate your circumstances to him until I should confer with you. But I ascertained where his lodging was, and I pointed out mine to him; and to make sure that my conjecture was right, I put this one question to him: ‘What was the name of the old man?’ And he said, ‘Faustus.’ ‘And what were the names of his twin sons?’ And he answered, ‘Faustinus and Faustinianus.’ ‘What was the name of the third son?’ He said, Clement.’ ‘What was their mother’s name?’ He said, ‘Mattidia.’ Accordingly, from compassion, I shed tears along with him, and, dismissing the multitudes, I came to you, in order that I might take counsel with you after we had partaken of food21 together. But I did not wish to disclose the matter to you before we had partaken of food, lest perchance you should be overcome by sorrow, and continue sad on the day of baptism, when even angels rejoice.” At these statements of Peter we all fell a weeping along with our mother. But he beholding us in tears, said: “Now let each one of you, through fear of God, bear bravely what has been said: for certainly it was not to-day that your father died, but long ago, as you conjecturing said.”


Chap. IX. – Faustus Himself Appears.

When Peter said this, our mother could no longer endure it, but cried out, “Alas! my husband! loving us, you died by your own decision,22 while we are still alive, see the light, and have just partaken of food.” This one scream had not yet ceased, when, lo! the old man came in, and at the same time wishing to inquire into the cause of the cry, he looked on the woman and said,” What does this mean? Whom do I see?” And going up to her, and looking at her, and being looked at more carefully, be embraced her. But they were like to die through the sudden joy, and wishing to speak to each other, they could not get the power in consequence of their unsatisfied joy, for they were seized with speechlessness. But not long after, our mother said to him: “I now have you, Faustus, in every way the dearest being to me. How then are you alive, when we heard a short time ago that you were dead? But these are our sons, Faustinus, Faustinianus, and Clement.” And when she said this, we all three fell on him, and kissed him, and in rather an indistinct way we recalled his form to our memory.23


Chap. X. – Faustus Explains His Narrative to Peter.

Peter seeing this, said: “Are you Faustus, the husband of this woman, and the father of her children?” And he said: “I am.” And Peter said: “How, then, did you relate to me your own history as if it were another’s; telling me of your toils, and sorrow, and burial?” And our father answered: “Being of the family of Cæsar, and not wishing to be discovered, I devised the narrative in another’s name, in order that it might not be perceived who I was. For I knew that, if I were recognised, the governors in the place would learn this, and recall me to gratify Cæsar, and would bestow upon me that former prosperity to which I had formerly bidden adieu with all the resolution I could summon. For I could not give myself up to a luxurious life when I had pronounced the strongest condemnation on myself, because I believed that I had been the cause of death to those who were loved by me.”24


Chap. XI. – Discussion On Genesis.

And Peter said: “You did this according to your resolution. But in regard to Genesis, were you merely playing a part when you affirmed it, or were you in earnest in asserting that it existed?” Our father said: “I will not speak falsely to you. I was in earnest when I maintained that Genesis existed. For I am not uninitiated in the science; on the contrary, I associated with one who is the best of the astrologers, an Egyptian of the name of Annubion, who became my friend in the commencement of my travels, and disclosed to me the death of my wife and children.”25 And Peter said: “Are you not now convinced by facts, that the doctrine of Genesis has no firm foundation?” And my father answered: “I must lay before you all the ideas that occur to my mind, that listening to them I may understand your refutation of them.26 I know, indeed, that astrologers both make many mistakes, and frequently speak the truth. I suspect, therefore, that they speak the truth so far as they are accurately acquainted with the science, and that their mistakes are the [result of ignorance; so that I conjecture that the science has a firm foundation, but that the astrologers themselves speak what is false solely on account of ignorance, because they cannot know all things with absolute27 accuracy.” And Peter answered: “Consider28 whether their speaking of the truth is not accidental, and whether they do not make their declarations without knowing the matters accurately. For it must by all means happen that, when many prophecies are uttered, some of them should come true.” And the old man said: “How, then, is it possible to be fully convinced of this, whether the science of Genesis has a sure foundation or not?”


Chap. XII. – Clement Undertakes the Discussion.

When both were silent, I said: “Since I know accurately the science, but our lord mad our father are not in this condition, I should like if Annubion himself were here, to have a discussion with him in the presence of my father. For thus would the matter be able to become public, when one practically acquainted with the subject has held the discussion with one equally informed.”29 And our father answered: “Where, then, is it possible to fall in with Annubion?” And Peter said: “In Antioch, for I learn that Simon Magus is there, whose inseparable companion Annubion is. When, then, we go there, if we come upon them, the discussion can take place.” And so, when we had discussed many subjects, and rejoiced at the recognition and given thanks to God, evening came down upon us, and we turned to sleep.





12 [On the error of astrology compare the full discussion in Recognitions, book ix. 12, book x. 7-12. – R.]

13 We have adopted the reading given in the two Epitomes.

14 Lit “when.

15 [This method of proof, by appeal to the supernatural power of the Apostle, is peculiar to the Homilies. In the Recognitions, book ix. 30, an argument is made by Clement, who appeals to the power of the true Prophet. – R.]

16 That is, the power of origination.

17 [With chaps. 6-9 there is a general correspondence in Recognitions, book ix. 32-37. The arrangement is quite different. The old man’s representation, that the story he tells is that of a friend, is peculiar to the Homilies. – R.]

18 One ms. adds “greatly,” and an Epitome “great things.”

19 That is, the position of the stars at her birth.

20 We have inserted ὡς from the Epitomes.

21 Lit., “of salt.”

22 Lit., “you died by a judgment;” but it is thought that κρίσει is corrupt.

23 [In the Recognitions the old man is not recognised until long discussions have been held; see book book ix. 35, 37. Hints of the relationship are, however, given in advance. – R.]

24 Lit., “Having judged the greatest things in regard to those who were loved by me, as having died.” The text is doubtful; for the first Epitome has something quite different.

25 [Comp. Homily IV. 6. Annubion and Appion are not introduced in the Recognitions until book x. 52. – R.]

26 Here mss. and Epitomes differ in their readings. The text adopted seems a combination of two ideas; “that you may listen and refute them, and that I may thus learn the truth.”

27 We have adopted the reading of Codex O, πάντως. The other ms. reads, “that all cannot know all things accurately.”

28 The mss. read ἄπεχε, “hold back,” The reading of the text is in an Epitome.

29 Lit., “when artist has had discussion with fellow-artist.”


Homily XV.

Chap. I. – Peter Wishes to Convert Faustus.

At break of day our father, with our mother and his three sons, entered the place where Peter was, and accosting him, sat down. Then we also did the same at his request; and Peter looking at our father, said:1 “I am anxious that you should become of the same mind as your wife and children, in order that here you may live along with them, and in the other world,2 after the separation of the soul from the body, you will continue to be with them free from sorrow. For does it not grieve you exceedingly that you should not associate with each other?” And my father said: “Most assuredly.” And Peter said: “If, then, separation from each other here gives you pain, and if without doubt the penalty awaits you that after death you should not be with each other, how much greater will your grief be that you, a wise man, should be separated from your own family on account of your opinions? They too, must3 feel the more distressed from the consciousness that eternal punishment awaits you because you entertain different opinions from theirs, and deny the established truth.”4


Chap. II. – Reason for Listening to Peter’s Arguments.

Our father said: “But it is not the case, my very dear friend, that souls are punished in Hades, for the soul is dissolved into air as soon as it leaves the body.” And Peter said: “Until we convince you in regard to this point, answer me, does it not appear to you that you are not grieved as having no faith in a future punishment, but they who have full faith in it must be vexed in regard to you?” And our father said: “You speak sense.” And Peter said: “Why, then, will you not free them from the greatest grief they can have in regard to you by agreeing to their religion, not, I mean, through dread, but through kindly feeling, listening and judging about what is said by me, whether it be so or not? and if the truth is as we state it, then here you will enjoy life with those who are dearest to you, and in the other world you will have rest with them; but if, in examining the arguments, you show that what is stated by us is a fictitious story,5 you will thus be doing good service, for you will have your friends on your side, and you will put an end to their leaning upon false hopes, and you will free them from false fears.”


Chap. III. – Obstacles to Faith.

And our father said: “There is evidently much reason in what you say.” And Peter said: “What is it, then, that prevents you from coming to our faith? Tell me, that we may begin our discussion with it. For many are the hindrances. The faithful are hindered by occupation with merchandise, or public business, or the cultivation of the soil, or cares, and such like; the unbelievers, of whom you also are one, are hindered by ideas such as that the gods, which do not exist, really exist, or that all things are subject to Genesis, or chance,6 or that souls are mortal, or that our doctrines are false because there is no providence.


Chap. IV. – Providence Seen in the Events of the Life of Faustus and His Family.

“But I maintain, from what has happened to you,7 that all things are managed by the providence of God, and that your separation from your family for so many years was providential;8 for since, if they had been with you, they perhaps would not have listened to the doctrines of the true religion, it was arranged that your children should travel with their mother, should be shipwrecked, should be supposed to have perished, and should be sold;9 moreover, that they should be educated in the learning of the Greeks, especially in the atheistic doctrines, in order that, as being acquainted with them, they might be the better able to refute them; and in addition to this, that they should become attached to the true religion, and be enabled to be united with me, so as to help me in my preaching; furthermore, that their brother Clement should meet in the same place, and that thus his mother should be recognised, and through her cure10 should be fully convinced of the right worship of God;11 that after no long interval the twins should recognise and be recognised, and the other day should fall in with you, and that you should receive back your own. I do not think, then, that such a speedy filling in of circumstances, coining as it were from all quarters, so as to accomplish one design, could have happened without the direction of Providence.”


Chap. V. – Difference Between the True Religion and Philosophy.

And our father began to say: “Do not suppose, my dearest Peter, that I am not thinking of the doctrines preached by you. I was thinking of them. But during the past night, when Clement urged me earnestly to give in my adhesion to the truth preached by you, I at last answered, ‘Why should I? for what new commandment can any one give more than what the ancients urged us to obey?’ And he, with a gentle smile, said,’ There is a great difference, father, between the doctrines of the true religion and those of philosophy;12 for the true religion receives its proof from prophecy, while philosophy, furnishing us with beautiful sentences, seems to present its proofs from conjecture.’ On saying this, he took an instance, and set before us the doctrine of philanthropy,13 which you had explained to him,14 which rather appeared to me to be very unjust, and I shall tell you how. He alleged that it was right to present to him who strikes you on the one cheek the other15 also, and to give to him who takes away your cloak your tunic also, and to go two miles with him who compels you to go one, and such like.”16


Chap. VI. – The Love of Man.

And Peter answered: “You have deemed unjust what is most just. If you are inclined, will you listen to me?” And my father said: “With all my heart.” And Peter said: “What is your opinion? Suppose that there were two kings, enemies to each other, and having their countries cut off from each other; and suppose that some one of the subjects of one of them were to be caught in the country of the other, and to incur the penalty of death on this account: now if he were let off from the punishment by receiving a blow instead of death, is it not plain that he who let him off is a lover of man?” And our father said: “Most certainly.” And Peter said: “Now suppose that this same person were to steal from some one something belonging to him or to another; and if when caught he were to pay double, instead of suffering the punishment that was due, to him, namely, paying four times the amount, and being also put to death, as having been caught in the territories of the enemy; is it not your opinion that he who accepts double, and lets him off from the penalty of death, is a lover of man?” And our father said: “He certainly seems so.” And Peter said: “Why then? Is it not the duty of him who is in the kingdom of another, and that, too, a hostile and wicked monarch, to be pleasing to all17 for the sake of life, and when force is applied to him, to yield still more, to accost those who do not accost him, to reconcile enemies, not to quarrel with those who are angry, to give his own property freely to all who ask, and such like?” And our father said: “He should with reason endure all things rather, if he prefers life to them.”


Chap. VII. – The Explanation of a Parable; the Present and the Future Life.

And Peter18 said: “Are not those, then, who you said received injustice, themselves transgressors, inasmuch as they are in the kingdom of the other, and is it not by overreaching that they have obtained all they possess? while those who are thought to act unjustly are conferring a favour on each subject of the hostile kingdom, so far as they permit him to have property. For these possessions belong to those who have chosen the present19 And they are so far kind as to permit he others to live. This, then, is the parable; now listen to the actual truth. The prophet of the truth who appeared on earth taught us that the Maker and God of all gave two kingdoms to two,20 good and evil; granting to the evil the sovereignty over the present world along with law, so that he, it, should have the right to punish those who act unjustly; but to the good tie gave the eternal21 to come. But He made each man free with the power to give himself up to whatsoever he prefers, either to the present evil or the future good. Those men who choose the present have power to be rich, to revel in luxury, to indulge in pleasures, and to do whatever they can. For they will possess none of the future goods. But those who have determined to accept the blessings of the future reign have no right to regard as their own the things that are here, since they belong to a foreign king, with the exception only of water and bread, and those things procured with sweat to maintain life (for it is not lawful for them to commit suicide),22 and also one garment, for they are not permitted to go naked on account of the all-seeing23 Heaven.


Chap. VIII. – The Present and the Future.

“If, then, you wish to have an accurate account of the matter, listen. Those of whom you said a little before that they receive injustice, rather act unjustly themselves; for they who have chosen the future blessings, live along with the bad in the present world, having many enjoyments the same as the bad, – such as life itself, light, bread, water, clothing, and others of a like nature. But they who are thought by you to act unjustly, shall not live with the good men in24 the coming age.” And our father replied to this: “Now when you have convinced me that those who act unjustly suffer injustice themselves, while those who suffer injustice have by far the advantage, the whole affair seems to me still more the most unjust of transactions; for those who seem to act unjustly grant many things to those who have chosen the future blessings, but those who seem to receive injustice do themselves commit injustice, because they do not give in the other world, to those who have given them blessings here, the same advantages which these gave to them.” And Peter said: “This is not unjust at all, because each one has the power to choose the present or the future goods, whether they be small or great. He who chooses by his own individual judgment and wish, receives no injustice, – I mean, not even should his choice rest on what is small, since the great lay within his choice, as in fact did also the small.” And our father said: “You are right; for it has been said by one of the wise men of the Greeks, ‘The blame rests with those who chose – God is blameless.’25


Chap. IX. – Possessions Are Transgressions.

“Will you be so good as to explain this matter also? I remember Clement saying to me, that we suffer injuries and afflictions for the forgiveness of our sins.” Peter said: “This is quite correct. For we, who have chosen the future things, in so far as we possess more goods than these, whether they be clothing, or food or drink, or any other thing, possess sins, because we ought not to have anything, as I explained to you a little ago. To all of us possessions are sins.26 The deprivation of these, in whatever way it may take place, is the removal of sins.” And our father said: “That seems reasonable, as you explained that these were the two boundary lines of the two kings, and27 that it was in the power of each to choose whatever he wished of what was under their authority. But why are the afflictions sent, or28 do we suffer them justly?” And Peter said: “Most justly; for since the boundary line of the saved is, as I said, that no one should possess anything, but since many have many possessions, or in other words sins, for this reason the exceeding love of God sends afflictions on those who do not act in purity of heart, that on account of their having some measure of the love of God, they might, by temporary inflictions, be saved from eternal punishments.”


Chap. X. – Poverty Not Necessarily Righteous.

And our father said: “How then is this? Do we not see many impious men poor? Then do these belong to the saved on this account?” And Peter said: “Not at all; for that poverty is not acceptable which longs for what it ought not. So that some are rich as far as their choice goes, though poor in actual wealth, and they are punished because they desire to have more. But one is not unquestionably righteous because he happens to be poor. For he can be a beggar as far as actual wealth is concerned, but he may desire and even do what above everything he ought not to do. Thus he may worship idols, or be a blasphemer or fornicator, or he may live indiscriminately, or perjure himself, or lie, or live the life of an unbeliever. But our teacher pronounced the faithful poor blessed;29 and he did so, not because they had given anything, for they had nothing, but because they were not to be condemned, as having done no sin, simply because they gave no alms, because they had nothing to give.” And our father said: “In good truth all seems to go right as far as the subject of discussion is concerned; wherefore I have resolved to listen to the whole of your argument in regular order.”


Chap. XI. – Exposition of the True Religion Promised.

And Peter said: “Since, then, you are eager henceforth to learn what relates to our religion, I ought to explain it in order, beginning with God Himself, and showing that we ought to call Him alone God, and that we neither ought to speak of the others as gods nor deem them such, and that he who acts contrary to this will be punished eternally, as having shown the greatest impiety to Him who is the Lord of all.” And saying this, he laid his hands on those who were vexed by afflictions, and were diseased, and possessed by demons; and, praying, he healed them, and dismissed the multitudes. And then entering in this way, he partook of his usual food, and went to sleep. 





1 [Recognitions, book x. 1, after the father becomes known, the Apostle is represented as proposing delay in the attempt to convert him. – R.]

2 Lit., “there.”

3 We have inserted a δεῖ, probably omitted on account of the previous δέ.

4 The words are peculiar. Lit., “eternal punishment awaits you thinking other things through denial of the fixed dogma” (ῥητοῦ δόγματος). The Latin translator gives: “ob veri dogmatis negationem.”

5 μῦθόν τινα ψευδῆ.

6 Properly, self-action.

7 [The recapitulation of Peter in Recognitions, book ix. 26, is in explanation to the sons, and not for a doctrinal purpose. – R.]

8 We have adopted a reading suggested by the second Epitome.

9 The word ἀπρασίαι is corrupt. We have adopted the emendation πρᾶσις. The word is not given in the ms. O, nor in the Epitomes.

10 ὑπὸ θεραπείας, which Cotelerius translates recuperata sanitate.

11 Lit., “convinced of the Godhead.” “Godhead” is omitted in the Epitomes.

12 [Compare the fuller statement in Recognitions, book viii. 61; also Recognitions, book x. 48-51. – R.]

13 Or “love of man” in all its phases – kindliness, gentleness, humanity, etc.

14 Homily XII. 25 ff.

15 Mat_5:39-41; Luk_6:29. The writer of the Homilies changes the word χιτῶνα, “tunic,” of the New Testament into μαφόριον, which Suicer describes “a covering for the head, neck, and shoulders, used by women.” Wieseler is in doubt whether the writer of the Homilies uses μαφόριον as equivalent to χιτῶνα, or whether he intentionally changed the word, for the person who lost both cloak and tunic would be naked altogether; and this, the writer may have imagined, Christ would not have commanded.

16 [The larger part of the discussion in chaps. 5-11 is peculiar to the Homilies. There is little matter in it found in the longer arguments of Recognitions. – R.]

17 Lit., “to flatter.”

18 The following words would be more appropriately put in the mouth of the father, as is done in fact by the Epitomes. Peter’s address would commence, “And the parable is.” The Epitomes differ much from each other and the text, and there seems to be confusion in the text.

19 This sentence would be more appropriate in the explanation of the parable.

20 The Greek leaves it uncertain whether it is two persons or two things, – whether it is a good being and an evil being, or good and evil. Afterwards, a good being and an evil are distinctly introduced.

21 The word ἀίδος, properly and strictly “eternal,” is used.

22 Lit., “to die willingly.”

23 We have adopted an obvious emendation, πάντα for παντός.

24 We have translated Schwegler’s emendation. He inserted ὲν.

25 Plato, Rep., x. 617 E.

26 One ms. inserts before the sentence: “For if in all of us possessions are wont to occasion sins in those who have them,”

27 We have adopted Wieseler’s emendation of τὰ into καί.

28 We have changed εἰ into ἤ.

29 Mat_5:3. The Epitomes run thus; “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, said.” And then they quote the words of our Gospel.


Homily XVI.

Chap. I. – Simon Wishes to Discuss with Peter the Unity of God.

At break of day Peter went out, and reaching the place where he was wont to discourse, he saw a great multitude assembled. At the very tithe when he was going to discourse, one of his deacons entered, and said: “Simon has come from Antioch,1 starting as soon as it was evening, having learned that you promised to speak on the unity2 of God; and he is ready, along with Athnedorus the Epicurean, to come to hear your speech, in order that he may publicly oppose all the arguments ever adduced by you for the unity of God.” Just as the deacon said this, lo! Simon himself entered, accompanied by Athenodorus and some other friends. And before Peter spoke at all, he took the first word, and said: – 


Chap. II. – The Same Subject Continued.

“I heard that you promised yesterday to Faustus to prove this day giving out your arguments in regular order, and beginning with Him who is Lord of the universe, that we ought to say that He alone is God, and that we ought neither to say nor to think that there are other gods, because he that acts contrary to this will be punished eternally. But, above all, I am truly amazed at your madness in hoping to convert a wise man, and one far advanced in years, to your state of mind. But you will not succeed in your designs; and all the more that I am present, and can thoroughly refute your false arguments. For perhaps, if I had not been present, the wise old man might have been led astray, because he has no critical acquaintance3 with the books publicly believed in amongst the Jews.4 At present I shall omit much, in order that I may the more speedily refute that which yon have promised to prove. Wherefore begin to speak what you promised to say before us, who know the Scriptures. But if, fearing our refutation, you are unwilling to fulfil your promise In our presence, this of itself will be sufficient proof that you are wrong, because you did venture to speak in the presence of those who know the Scriptures. And now, why should I wait till you tell me, when I have a most satisfactory witness of your promise in the old man who is present?” And, saying this, he looked to my father, and said: “Tell me, most excellent of all men, is not this the man who promised to prove to you to-day that God is one, and that we ought not to say or think that there is any other god, and that he who acts contrary to this will be punished eternally, as committing the most heinous sin? Do you, then, refuse to reply to me?”


Chap. III. – The Mode of the Discussion.

And our father said: “Well might you have demanded testimony from me, Simon, if Peter had first denied that he had made the promise. But now I shall feel no shame in saying what I am bound to say. I think that you wish to enter on the discussion inflamed with anger. Now this is a state of mind in which it is improper for you to speak and for us to listen to you; for we are no longer being helped on to the truth, but we are watching the progress of a contest. And now, having learned from Hellenic culture how those who seek the truth ought to act, I shall remind you. Let each of you give an exposition of his own opinion,5 and let the right of speech pass from the one to the other.6 For if Peter alone should wish to expound his thought, but you should be silent as to yours, it is possible that some argument adduced by you might crush both your and his opinion; and both of you, though defeated by this argument, would not appear defeated, but only the one who expounded his opinion; while he who did not expound his, though equally defeated, would not appear defeated, but would even be thought to have conquered.” And Simon answered: “I will do as you say; but I am afraid lest you do not turn out a truth-loving judge, as you have been already prejudiced by his arguments.”


Chap. IV. – The Prejudices of Faustus Rather on the Side of Simon Than on That of Peter.

Our father answered: “Do not compel me to agree with you without any exercise of my judgment in order that I may seem to be a truth-loving judge; but if you wish me to tell you the truth, my prepossessions are rather the side of your opinions.” And Simon said “How is this the case, when you do not know what my opinions are?” And our father said: “It is easy to know this, and I will tell you how. You promised that you would convict Peter of error in maintaining the unity of God; but if one undertakes to convict of error him who maintains the unity of God, it is perfectly plain that he, as being in the right,7 does not hold the same opinion. For if he holds the same opinion as the man who is thoroughly in error, then he himself is in error; but if he gives his proofs holding opposite opinions, then he is in the right. Not well8 then do you assert that he who maintains the unity of God is wrong, unless you believe that there are many gods. Now I maintain that there are many gods. Holding, therefore, the same opinion as you before the discussion, I am prepossessed rather in your favour. For this reason you ought to have no anxiety in regard to me, but Peter ought, for I still hold opinions contrary to his. And so after your discussion I hope that, as a truth-loving judge, who has stripped himself of his prepossessions, I shall agree to that doctrine which gains the victor.” When my father said this, a murmur of applause burst insensibly from the multitudes because my father had thus spoken.


Chap. V. – Peter Commences the Discussion.

Peter then said: “I am ready to do as the umpire of our discussion has said; and straight-way without any delay I shall set forth my opinion in regard to God. I then assert that there is one God who made the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them. And it is not right to say or to think that there is any other.” And Simon said: “But I maintain that the Scriptures believed in amongst the Jews say that there are many gods, and that God is not angry at this, because He has Himself spoken of many gods in His Scriptures.


Chap. VI. – Simon Appeals to the Old Testament to Prove That There Are Many Gods.

“For instance, in the very first words of the law, He evidently speaks of them as being like even unto Himself. For thus it is written, that, when the first man received a commandment from God to eat of every tree that was in the garden,9 but not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent having persuaded them by means of the woman, through the promise that they would become gods, made them look up;10 and then, when they had thus looked up, God said, (Gen_3:22) ‘Behold, Adam is become as one of us.’ When, then, the serpent said, (Gen_3:5) Ye shall be as gods,’ he plainly speaks in the belief that gods exist; all the more as God also added His testimony, saying, ‘Behold, Adam is become as one of us.’ The serpent, then, who said that there are many gods, did not speak falsely. Again, the scripture, (Exo_22:28) ‘Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the rulers of thy people,’ points out many gods whom it does not wish even-to be cursed. But it is also somewhere else written, (Deu_4:34) ‘Did another god dare to enter and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, as did I the Lord God?’ When He says, ‘Did another God dare?’ He speaks on the supposition that other gods exist. And elsewhere: (Jer_10:11) ‘Let the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth perish;’ as if those who had made them were not to perish. And in another place, when it says, (Deu_13:6) ‘Take heed to thyself lest thou go and serve other gods whom thy fathers knew not,’ it speaks as if other gods existed whom they were not to follow. And again: (Jos_23:7 (Jos_23:7, LXX.)) ‘The names of other gods shall not ascend upon thy lips.’ Here it mentions many gods whose names it does not wish to be uttered. And again it is written, (Deu_10:17) ‘Thy God is the Lord, He is God of gods.’ And again: (Psa_25:10, Psa_86:8) ‘Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the Gods?’ And again: (Psa_50:1) ‘God is Lord of gods.’ And again: (Psa_82:1) ‘God stood in the assembly of gods: He judgeth among the gods.’ Wherefore I wonder how, when there are so many passages in writing which testify that there are many gods, you have asserted that we ought neither to say nor to think that there are many.11 Finally, if you have anything to say against what has been spoken so distinctly, say it in the presence of all.”


Chap. VII. – Peter Appeals to the Old Testament to Prove the Unity of God.

And Peter said: “I shall reply briefly to what you have said. The law, which frequently speaks of gods, itself says to the Jewish multitude, (Deu_10:14) ‘Behold, the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, with all that therein is;’ implying that, even if there are gods, they are under Him, that is, under the God of the Jews. And again: (Deu_4:39) ‘The Lord thy God, He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, and there is none other except Him.’ And somewhere else the Scripture says to the Jewish multitude, (Deu_10:17) ‘The Lord your God is God of gods;’ so that, even if there are gods, they are under the God of the Jews. And somewhere else the Scripture says in regard to Him? (Deu_10:17) God, the great and true, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward, He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow.’ The Scripture, in calling the God of the Jews great and true, and executing judgment, marked out the others as small, and not true. But also somewhere else the Scripture says, (Isa_49:18, Isa_45:21, Isa_44:6) ‘As I live, saith the Lord, there is no other God but me. I am the first, I am after this; except me there is no God.’ And again: (Deu_6:13) ‘Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’ And again: (Deu_6:4) ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord.’ And many passages besides seal with an oath that God is one, and except Him there is no God. Whence I wonder how, when so many passages testify that there is one God, you say that there are many.”


Chap. VIII. – Simon and Peter Continue the Discussion.

And Simon said: ‘My original stipulation with you was that I should prove from the Scriptures that you were wrong in maintaining that we ought not to speak of many gods. Accordingly I adduced many written passages to show that the divine Scriptures themselves speak of many gods.” And Peter said: “Those very Scriptures which speak of many gods, also exhorted us, saying, ‘The names of other gods shall not ascend upon thy lips.’ (Jos_23:7, (Jos_23:7 LXX) Thus, Simon, I did not speak contrary to what was written.” And Simon said: “Do you, Peter, listen to what I have to say. You seem to me to sin in speaking against them,12 when the Scripture says,13 ‘Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the rulers of thy people.’” And Peter said: “I am not sinning, Simon, in pointing out their destruction according to the Scriptures; for thus it is written: (Jer_10:11) ‘Let the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth perish.’ And He said thus, not as though some had made the heavens and were not to perish, as you interpreted the passage. For it is plainly declared that He who made them is one in the very first part of Scripture: (Gen_1:1) ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And it did not say, ‘the gods.’ And somewhere else it says, (Psa_19:1) ‘And the firmament showeth His handiwork.’ And in another place it is written, (Psa_102:26,Psa_102:27) ‘The heavens themselves shall perish, but Thou shalt remain for ever.’”


Chap. IX. – Simon Tries to Show That the Scriptures Contradict Themselves.

And Simon said: “I adduced clear passages from the Scriptures to prove that there are many gods; and you, in reply, brought forward as many or more from the same Scriptures, showing that God is one, and He the God of the Jews. And when I said that we ought not to revile gods, you proceeded to show that He who created is one, because those who did not create will perish. And in reply to my assertion that we ought to maintain that there are gods, because the Scriptures also say so, you showed that we ought not to utter their names, because the same Scripture tells us not to utter the names of other gods. Since, then, these very Scriptures say at one time that there are many gods, and at another that there is only one; and sometimes that they ought not to be reviled, and at other times that they ought; what conclusion ought we to come to in consequence of this, but that the Scriptures themselves lead us astray?”


Chap. X. – Peter’s Explanation of the Apparent Contradictions of Scripture.

And Peter said: “They do not lead astray, but convict and bring to light the evil disposition against God which lurks like a serpent in each one. For the Scriptures lie before each one like many divers types. Each one, then, has his own disposition like wax, and examining the Scriptures and finding everything in them, he moulds his idea of God according to his wish, laying upon them, as I said, his own disposition, which is like wax.14 Since, then, each one finds in the Scriptures whatever opinion he wishes to have in regard to God, for this reason he, Simon, moulds from them the forms15 of many gods, while we moulded the form of Him who truly exists, coming to the knowledge of the true type from our own shape.16 For assuredly the soul within us is clothed with His image for immortality. If I abandon the parent of this soul, it also will abandon me to just judgment, making known the injustice by the very act of daring;17 and as coming from one who is just, it will justly abandon me; and so, as far as the soul is concerned, I shall, after punishment, be destroyed, having abandoned the help that comes from it. But if there is another god, first let him put on another form, another shape, in order that by the new shape of the body I may recognise the new god. But if he should change the shape, does he thereby change the substance of the soul? But if he should change it also, then I am no longer myself, having become another both in shape and in substance. Let him, therefore, create others, if there is another. But there is not. For if there had been, he would have created. But since he has not created, then let him, as nonexistent, leave him who is really existent.18 For he is nobody,19 except only in the opinion of Simon. I do not accept of any other god but Him alone who created me.”


Chap. XI. – Gen_1:26 Appealed to by Simon.

And Simon said: “Since I see that you frequently speak of the God who created you, learn from me how you are impious even to him. For there are evidently two who created, as the Scripture says: (Gen_1:26) ‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ Now ‘let us make,’ implies two or more; certainly not one only.”


Chap. XII. – Peter’s Explanation of the Passage.

And Peter answered: “One is He who said to His Wisdom, ‘Let us make a man.’ But His Wisdom20 was that with which He Himself always rejoiced (Pro_8:30) as with His own spirit. It is united as soul to God, but it is extended by Him, as hand, fashioning the universe. On this account, also, one man was made, and from him went forth also the female. And being a unity generically, it is yet a duality, for by expansion and contraction the unity is thought to be a duality. So that I act rightly in offering up all the honour to one God as to parents.” And Simon said: “What then? Even if the Scriptures say that there are other gods, will you not accept the opinion?”


Chap. XIII. – The Contradictions of the Scriptures Intended to Try Those Who Read Them.

And Peter answered:21 “If the Scriptures or prophets speak of gods, they do so to try those who hear. For thus it is written: (Deu_13:1 ff.) ‘If there arise among you a prophet, giving signs and wonders, and that sign and wonder shall then come to pass, and he say to thee, Let us go after and worship other gods which thy fathers have not known, ye22 shall not hearken to the words of that prophet; let thy hands be among the first to stone him. For he hath tried to turn thee from the Lord thy God. But if thou say in thy heart, How did he do that sign or wonder? thou shalt surely know that he who tried thee, tried thee to see if thou dost fear the Lord thy God.’ The words ‘he who tried thee, tried thee,’ have reference to the earliest times;23 but it appears to be otherwise after the removal to Babylon. For God, who knows all things, would not, as can be proved by many arguments, try in order that He Himself might know, for He fore-knows all things. But, if you like, let us discuss this point, and I shall show that God foreknows. But it has been proved that the opinion is false that He does not know, and that this was written to try us. Thus we, Simon, can be led astray24 neither by the Scriptures nor by any one else; nor are we deceived into the admission of many gods, nor do we agree to any statement that is made against God.


Chap. XIV. – Other Beings Called Gods.

“For we ourselves also know that angels are called gods by the Scriptures, – as, for instance, He who spake at the bush, and wrestled with Jacob, – and the name is likewise applied to Him who is born Emmanuel, and who is called the mighty God. (Isa_9:6) Yea, even Moses became a god to Pharaoh, though in reality he was a man. The same is the case also with the idols of the Gentiles. But we have but one God, one who made creation and arranged the universe, whose Son is the Christ. Obeying Christ,25 we learn to know what is false from the Scriptures. Moreover, being furnished by our ancestors with the truths of the Scriptures, we know that there is only one who has made the heavens and the earth, the God of the Jews, and of all who choose to worship Him. Our fathers, with pious thought, setting down a fixed belief in Him as the true God, handed down this belief to us, that we may know that if any thing is said against God, it is a falsehood. I shall add this remark over and above what I need say: If the case be not as I have said, then may I, and all who love the truth, incur danger in regard to the praise of the God who made us.”


Chap. XV. – Christ Not God, but the Son of God.

When Simon heard this, he said: “Since you say that we ought not to believe even the prophet that gives signs and wonders if he say that there is another god, and that you know that he even incurs the penalty of death, therefore your, teacher also was with reason cut off for having given signs and wonders.” And Peter answered: “Our Lord neither asserted that there were gods except the Creator of all, nor did He proclaim Himself to be God, but He with reason pronounced blessed him who called Him the Son of that God who has arranged the universe.” And Simon answered: “Does it not seem to you, then, that he who comes from God is God?”26 And Peter said: “Tell us how this is possible; for we cannot affirm this, because we did not hear it from Him.


Chap. XVI. – The Unbegotten and the Begotten Necessarily Different from Each Other.

“In addition to this, it is the peculiarity of the Father not to have been begotten, but of the Son to have been begotten; but what is begotten cannot be compared with that which is unbegotten or self-begotten.” And Simon said: “Is it not the same on account of its origin?”27 And Peter said: “He who is not the same in all respects as some one, cannot have all the same appellations applied to him as that person.” And Simon said: “This is to assert, not to prove.” And Peter said: “Why, do you not see that if28 the one happens to be self-begotten or unbegotten, they cannot be called the same; nor can it be asserted of him who has been begotten that he is of the same substance as he is who has begotten him?29 Learn this also: The booties of men have immortal souls, which have been clothed with the breath of God; and having come forth from God, they are of the same substance, but they are not gods. But if they are gods, then in this way the souls of all men, both those who have died, and those who are alive, and those who shall come into being, are gods. But if in a spirit of controversy you maintain that these also are gods, what great matter is it, then, for Christ to be called God? for He has only what all have.


Chap. XVII. – The Nature of God.

“We call Him God whose peculiar attributes cannot belong to the nature of any other; for, as He is called the Unbounded because He is boundless on every side, it must of necessity be the case that it is no other one’s peculiar attribute to be called unbounded, as another cannot in like manner be boundless. But if any one says that it is possible, he is wrong; for two things boundless on every side cannot co-exist, for the one is bounded by the other. Thus it is in the nature30 of things that the unbegotten is one. But if he possesses a figure, even in this case the figure is one and incomparable.31 Wherefore He is called the Most High, because, being higher than all, He has the universe subject to Him.”


Chap. XVIII. – The Name of God.

And Simon said: Is this word ‘God’ His ineffable name, which all use, because you maintain so strongly in regard to a name that it cannot be given to another?” And Peter said: ‘I know that this is not His ineffable name, but one which is given by agreement among men; but if you give it to another, you will also assign to this other that which is not used; and that, too, deliberately.32 The name which is used is the forerunner of that which is not used. In this way insolence is attributed even to that which has not yet been spoken, just as honour paid to that which is known is handed on to that which has not yet been known.”


Chap. XIX. – The Shape of God in Man.

And Simon said: “I should like to know, Peter, if you really believe that the shape of man has been moulded after the shape of God.”33 And Peter said: “I am really quite certain, Simon, that this is the case.” And Simon said: “How can death dissolve the body, impressed as it has thus been with the greatest seal?” And Peter said: “It is the shape of the just God. When, then, the body begins to act unjustly, the form which is in it takes to flight, and thus the body is dissolved, by the shape disappearing, in order that an unjust body may not have the shape of the just God. The dissolution, however, does not take place in regard to the seal, but in regard to the sealed body. But that which is sealed is not dissolved without Him who sealed it. And thus it is not permitted to die without judgment.” And Simon said: What necessity was there to give the shape of such a being to man, who was raised from the earth?” And Peter said: “This was done because of the love of God, who made man. For while, as far as substance is concerned, all things are superior to the flesh of man, – I mean the ether, the sun, the moon, the stars, the air, the water, the fire – in a word, all the other things which have been made for the service of man, – yet, though superior in substance, they willingly endure to serve the inferior in substance, because of the shape of the superior. For as they who honour the clay image of a king have paid honour to the king himself, whose shape the clay happens to have, so the whole creation with joy serves man, who is made from earth, looking to the honour thus paid to God.


Chap. XX. – The Character of God.

“Behold, then, the character of that God to whom you, Simon, wish to persuade us to be ungrateful, and the earth continues to bear you, perhaps wishing to see who will venture to entertain similar opinions to yours. For you were the first to dart what no other dared: you were the first to utter what we first heard. We first and alone have seen the boundless long-suffering of God in bearing with such great impiety as yours, and that God no other than the Creator of the world, against whom you have dared to act impiously. And yet openings of the earth took not place, and fire was not sent down from heaven and went not forth to burn up men, and rain was not poured out,34 and a multitude of beasts was not sent from the thickets, and upon us ourselves the destructive wrath of God did not begin to show itself, on account of one who sinned the sin, as it were, of spiritual adultery, which is worse than the carnal. For it is not God the Creator of heaven and earth that in former times punished sins, since now, when He is blasphemed in the highest degree, He would inflict the severest punishment.35 But, on the contrary, He is long-suffering, calls to repentance, having the arrows which end in the destruction of the impious laid up in His treasures, which He will discharge like living animals when He shall sit down to give judgment to those that are His.36 Wherefore let us fear the just God, whose shape the body of man bears for honour.”


Chap. XXI. – Simon Promises to Appeal to the Teaching of Christ. Peter Dismisses the Multitudes.

When Peter said this, Simon answered: “Since I see you skilfully hinting that what is written in the books37 against the framer38 of the world does not happen to be true, to-morrow I shall show, from the discourses of your teacher, that he asserted that the framer of the world was not the highest God.” And when Simon said this, he went out. But Peter said to the assembled multitudes: “If Simon can do no other injury to us in regard to God, he at least prevents you from listening to the words that can purify the soul.” On Peter saying this, much whispering arose amongst the crowds, saying, “What necessity is there for permitting him to come in here, and utter his blasphemies against God?” And Peter heard, and said, “Would that the doctrines against God which are intended to try men39 went no further than Simon! For there will be, as the Lord said, false apostles, false prophets, (Comp. Mat_24:24) heresies, desires for supremacy, who, as I conjecture, finding their beginning in Simon, who blasphemes God, will work together in the assertion of the same opinions against God as those of Simon.” And saying this with tears, he summoned the multitudes to him by his hand; and when they came, he laid his hands upon them and prayed, and then dismissed them, telling them to come at an earlier hour next day. Saying this, and groaning, he entered and went to sleep, without taking food. 





1 [Homilies XVI.-XIX., giving the details of a second discussion with Simon at Laodicea, are peculiar to this narrative. Much of the matter finds pa parallel in the longer account of the previous discussion at Cæsarea in Recognitions, book ii. iii. (comp. Homily III.), but all the circumstances are different. Uhlhorn formerly regarded this portion of the Homilies as the nucleus of the entire literature. He has modified his view. An analysis of the discussion cannot be attempted; but in the footnote to Recognitions, book ii. 19, a general comparison is given of the three accounts of discussions with Simon Magus. – R.] ]

2 The word properly signifies the “sole government or monarchy of God.” It means that God alone is ruler.

3 ἰδιώτης.

4 τῶν παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις δημοσίᾳ πεπιστευμένων βίβλιων. The literal translation, given in the text, means that the Jews as a community believed in these bunks as speaking the truth. Cotelerius translates; “the books which were publicly entrusted to the Jews.” One ms. reads, πεπιστωμένων, which might mean, “deemed trustworthy among the Jews.”

5 δόγμα.

6 One ms. and an Epitome have; “And you must address your arguments to another who acts as judge.”

7 The words translated “error,” ψεῦσμα, and “to be in the right,” ἀληθεύειν, are, properly rendered, “falsehood,” and “to speak the truth.”

8 The mss. read; “not otherwise.” The reading of the text is found in an Epitome.

9 παραδείσῳ, “paradise.” Gen_2:16, Gen_2:17.

10 ἀναβλέψαι. It signifies either to look up, or to recover one’s sight. Possibly the second meaning is the one intended here, corresponding to the words of our version; “Then your eyes shall be opened.”

11 [Comp. Recognitions, book ii. 39 – R.]

12 Namely, the gods

13 Exo_22:28. The mss. omit θεούς, though they insert it in the passage as quoted a little before this. One ms. reads “the ruler” with our version.

14 [This statement of the subjective method of interpretation is in curious harmony with the prevalent theory of this work respecting the mixture of error and truth in the Scriptures. – R.]

15 ἰδέας.

16 μορφῆς.

17 Probably τολμήματι should be changed into ὁρμήματι, or some such word: making known that an act of injustice has been committed by taking its departure.

18 This might possibly be translated, “let him leave him who exists to him who exists;” i.e., let him leave the real God to man, who really exists.

19 Wieseler proposes, “foe he exists to no one.”

20 This is the only passage in the Homilies relating to the σοφία. The text is in some parts corrupt. It is critically discussed by Uhlhorn, some of whose emendations are adopted by Dressel and translated here.

21 [On the theory of the Scriptures which is here set forth, compare book ii. 38, etc., book iii. 42, etc. – R.]

22 The change from the singular to the plural is in the Greek.

23 Lit., “But it had been said that he who tried, tried.” The idea seems to be, Before the removal to Babylon true prophets tested the people by urging them to worship these gods; but after that event false prophets arose who really wished to seduce the Jews from the worship of the true God.

24 Lit., “nor can we be made to stumble from the Scriptures nor by any one else or anything else.”

25 Lit., “whom obeying;” the “whom” might refer to God.

26 [Here we encounter marked evidence of Ebionism. Compare with these chapters the letter of Rufinus prefixed to the Recognitions. – R.]

27 The word γένεσις, “arising, coming into being,” is here used, not γέννησις, “begetting.” The idea fully expressed is: “Is out that which is begotten identical in essence with that which begets it?”

28 We have inserted εἰ. The passage is amended in various ways; this seems to be the simplest.

29 [The very ancient variant in Joh_1:18, “God only begotten,” indicates the distinction between the Unbegotten God and the Son. Even the Arians use the phrase, “Only-begotten God.” – R.]

30 Lit., “thus it is nature.”

31 We have adopted an emendation here. The text has; “Even thus the incomparable is one.”

32 Wieseler proposes to join this clause with the following: “And in point of choice the name which.”

33 Lit., “of that one, of Him” [The chapter is peculiar to the Homilies; comp. xvii. 7, 8. – R.]

34 One ms. reads, “was not restrained.”

35 We have inserted ἄν, and suppose the sentence to be ironical. The meaning might be the same without ἄν. The text of Dressel is as follows: “For is not He who then punished the sins God, Creator of heaven and earth; since even now, being blasphemed in the highest degree, He punished it in the highest degree?”

36 Cotelerius translates; “to His enemies.”

37 i.e., the Scriptures.

38 A distinction has to be made between the Creator, or maker out of nothing, and the framer, or fashioner, or Demiurge, who puts the matter into shape.

39 Lit., “the word against God for the trial of men.”