with completely opposite results. Whereas Justin claimed that the most important Greek philosophical doctrines were derived from what Moses and the prophets taught, Celsus argued that Christian beliefs and practices were nothing other than 'misunderstandings', 'counterfeits' and 'corruptions' of Greek philosophy. For example, Justin had contended that the Stoic theory of periodic cataclysms and conflagrations was a misunderstanding of what Moses had written about Noah and the flood and the fire of God's eschatological judgement.24 To this Celsus responded that it was Moses who misunderstood the Greeks: the account of Noah's flood was a 'counterfeit' of the myth of Deucalion, and the idea of the fire of God's judgement was a 'misunderstanding of the doctrines of the Greeks and barbarians'.25 In the manner of Justin, then, Celsus constructed a list of 'parallels' between the Bible and Greek philosophy and myth in order to demonstrate that Christianity was a 'counterfeit truth', and that the apparent similarities were at best a consequence of misunderstanding, and at worst outright corruption.26
Beyond individual points of intersection, it is the architecture of Celsus' argument that allows us to gain a sense of the potential cogency of Justin's project of presenting Christianity as the most ancient, and therefore only true, 'philosophy'. It is clear that Celsus will have none of it, but it is important to recognise that he does not reject the 'proof from antiquity' as ipso facto absurd. On the contrary, he accepts the argument as legitimate, indeed cogent, but he cleverly turns it back upon Christianity. This means that, however much they may have been at odds on specific points, they both shared a similar understanding of the history of philosophy. For Celsus, as indeed for Justin, it was evident that nothing could be both new and true. 'I have nothing new to say,' Celsus declared, 'but only ancient doctrines' (C. Cels. 4.14; cf. 2.4). Justinhad asserted much the same thing in his apologia for Christianity. Celsus objected to Christianity not because it had borrowed from these 'ancient doctrines' but because it had 'misunderstood' them (parakouein, C. Cels. 3.16; 7.58), 'corrupted' them (paraphtheirein, C. Cels. 4.21; 7.58) and 'counterfeited' them (paracharattein, C. Cels. 4.41-42).27 Moreover, according to Celsus, Christianity originated as a rebellion against Judaism, which itself was the creation of a revolutionary figure, Moses.28 In contrast to Numenius' positive estimate of Moses as one
24 1 Apol. 60.8-9; 2 Apol. 7.23, identifying Noah with Deucalion.
26 Andresen has detected such an impressive number ofcontacts between Justin and Celsus that it seems almost certain that the latter was in fact responding to the former.
27 On this, see Andresen, Logos undNomos, 146-9.
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