Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IV/Origen/Origen Against Celsus/Book VI/Chapter XXIV

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Chapter XXIV.

After the instance borrowed from the Mithraic mysteries, Celsus declares that he who would investigate the Christian mysteries, along with the aforesaid Persian, will, on comparing the two together, and on unveiling the rites of the Christians, see in this way the difference between them.  Now, wherever he was able to give the names of the various sects, he was nothing loth to quote those with which he thought himself acquainted; but when he ought most of all to have done this, if they were really known to him, and to have informed us which was the sect that makes use of the diagram he has drawn, he has not done so.  It seems to me, however, that it is from some statements of a very insignificant sect called Ophites,[1] which he has misunderstood, that, in my opinion, he has partly borrowed what he says about the diagram.[2]  Now, as we have always been animated by a love of learning,[3] we have fallen in with this diagram, and we have found in it the representations of men who, as Paul says, “creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts; ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”[4]  The diagram was, however, so destitute of all credibility, that neither these easily deceived women, nor the most rustic class of men, nor those who were ready to be led away by any plausible pretender whatever, ever gave their assent to the diagram.  Nor, indeed, have we ever met any individual, although we have visited many parts of the earth, and have sought out all those who anywhere made profession of knowledge, that placed any faith in this diagram.


  1. [Vol. i. p. 354, this series.]
  2. “Utinam exstaret!  Multum enim lucis procul dubio antiquissimorum Patrum libris, priscæ ecclesiæ temporibus, et quibusdam sacræ Scripturæ locis, accederet.”—Spencer.
  3. κατὰ τὸ φιλομαθὲς ἡμῶν.
  4. Cf. 2 Tim. iii. 6, 7.