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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : Chapter XXXIX. In the next place, speaking of those who employ the arts of magic and sorceryà

Origen Against Celsus by Origen

Chapter XXXIX. In the next place, speaking of those who employ the arts of magic and sorceryà

In the next place, speaking of those who employ the arts of magic and sorcery, and who invoke the barbarous names of demons, he remarks that such persons act like those who, in reference to the same things, perform marvels before those who are ignorant that the names of demons among the Greeks are different from what they are among the Scythians. He then quotes a passage from Herodotus, stating that |Apollo is called Gongosyrus by the Scythians; Poseidon, Thagimasada; Aphrodite, Argimpasan; Hestia, Tabiti.| Now, he who has the capacity can inquire whether in these matters Celsus and Herodotus are not both wrong; for the Scythians do not understand the same thing as the Greeks, in what relates to those beings which are deemed to be gods. For how is it credible that Apollo should be called Gongosyrus by the Scythians? I do not suppose that Gongosyrus, when transferred into the Greek language, yields the same etymology as Apollo; or that Apollo, in the dialect of the Scythians, has the signification of Gongosyrus. Nor has any such assertion hitherto been made regarding the other names, for the Greeks took occasion from different circumstances and etymologies to give to those who are by them deemed gods the names which they bear; and the Scythians, again, from another set of circumstances; and the same also was the case with the Persians, or Indians, or Ethiopians, or Libyans, or with those who delight to bestow names (from fancy), and who do not abide by the just and pure idea of the Creator of all things. Enough, however, has been said by us in the preceding pages, where we wished to demonstrate that Sabaoth and Zeus were not the same deity, and where also we made some remarks, derived from the holy Scriptures, regarding the different dialects. We willingly, then, pass by these points, on which Celsus would make us repeat ourselves. In the next place, again, mixing up together matters which belong to magic and sorcery, and referring them perhaps to no one, -- because of the non-existence of any who practise magic under pretence of a worship of this character, -- and yet, perhaps, having in view some who do employ such practices in the presence of the simple (that they may have the appearance of acting by divine power), he adds: |What need to number up all those who have taught methods of purification, or expiatory hymns, or spells for averting evil, or (the making of) images, or resemblances of demons, or the various sorts of antidotes against poison (to be found) in clothes, or in numbers, or stones, or plants, or roots, or generally in all kinds of things?| In respect to these matters, reason does not require us to offer any defence, since we are not liable in the slightest degree to suspicions of such a nature.
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