Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Apologetic/The Shows, or De Spectaculis/Chapter XIII

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Chapter XIII.

We have, I think, faithfully carried out our plan of showing in how many different ways the sin of idolatry clings to the shows, in respect of their origins, their titles, their equipments, their places of celebration, their arts; and we may hold it as a thing beyond all doubt, that for us who have twice[1] renounced all idols, they are utterly unsuitable. “Not that an idol is anything,”[2] as the apostle says, but that the homage they render is to demons, who are the real occupants of these consecrated images, whether of dead men or (as they think) of gods. On this account, therefore, because they have a common source—for their dead and their deities are one—we abstain from both idolatries.  Nor do we dislike the temples less than the monuments: we have nothing to do with either altar, we adore neither image; we do not offer sacrifices to the gods, and we make no funeral oblations to the departed; nay, we do not partake of what is offered either in the one case or the other, for we cannot partake of God’s feast and the feast of devils.[3] If, then, we keep throat and belly free from such defilements, how much more do we withhold our nobler parts, our ears and eyes, from the idolatrous and funereal enjoyments, which are not passed through the body, but are digested in the very spirit and soul, whose purity, much more than that of our bodily organs, God has a right to claim from us.


  1. [Bunsen, Hippol. Vol. III. pp. 20–22.]
  2. 1 Cor. viii. 4.
  3. 1 Cor. x. 21.