Celsus's comparison of Jesus to a sorcerer And at once he equates [the miracles of Jesus] with the acts of sorcerers [goetes], since they undertake to perform somewhat miraculous feats, and with the achievements of the disciples of the Egyptians, those who sell their sacred learning for a few obols in the middle of the market, expel demons from people, blow diseases away and call up the souls of dead heroes.
Hierocles (62) WAS not the ONLY PAGAN to see Jesus as a sorcerer. The middle Platonist Celsus had written his attack on Jesus ca. 176 A.D., the Alethes logos, or True Doctrine, a title that doubtless inspired that of Hierocles' piece. Celsus in turn had subsequently received this corresponding attack from the learned eunuch Origen, which became the most important work of Christian apologetic. Indeed Eusebius explicitly sees himself as following in Origen's footsteps (Against Hierocles 1). As with Hierocles, our access to Celsus's work is now primarily through its representation in the Christian attack on it. The summary of the points of comparison made by Celsus serves to demonstrate the superficial plausibility of the case to the pagan mind. Note that the stereotype of the sorcerer implied by these remarks—beggarliness, use of sacred texts, exorcisms, purifications, and ghost-manipulations—corresponds closely to the Platonic amalgam (14-7).
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