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

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Chapter XXXVIII.

Our noble (friend), moreover, not satisfied with the objections which he has drawn from the diagram, desires, in order to strengthen his accusations against us, who have nothing in common with it, to introduce certain other charges, which he adduces from the same (heretics), but yet as if they were from a different source.  His words are:  “And that is not the least of their marvels, for there are between the upper circles—those that are above the heavens—certain inscriptions of which they give the interpretation, and among others two words especially, ‘a greater and a less,’ which they refer to Father and Son.”[1]  Now, in the diagram referred to, we found the greater and the lesser circle, upon the diameter of which was inscribed “Father and Son;” and between the greater circle (in which the lesser was contained) and another[2] composed of two circles,—the outer one of which was yellow, and the inner blue,—a barrier inscribed in the shape of a hatchet.  And above it, a short circle, close to the greater of the two former, having the inscription “Love;” and lower down, one touching the same circle, with the word “Life.”  And on the second circle, which was intertwined with and included two other circles, another figure, like a rhomboid, (entitled) “The foresight of wisdom.”  And within their point of common section was “The nature of wisdom.”  And above their point of common section was a circle, on which was inscribed “Knowledge;” and lower down another, on which was the inscription, “Understanding.”  We have introduced these matters into our reply to Celsus, to show to our readers that we know better than he, and not by mere report, those things, even although we also disapprove of them.  Moreover, if those who pride themselves upon such matters profess also a kind of magic and sorcery,—which, in their opinion, is the summit of wisdom,—we, on the other hand, make no affirmation about it, seeing we never have discovered anything of the kind.  Let Celsus, however, who has been already often convicted of false witness and irrational accusations, see whether he is not guilty of falsehood in these also, or whether he has not extracted and introduced into his treatise, statements taken from the writings of those who are foreigners and strangers to our Christian faith.


  1. ἄλλα τε, καὶ δύο ἄττα, μεῖζον τε καὶ μικρότερον υἱοῦ καὶ πατρός.
  2. For ἄλλους, the textual reading, Gelenius, with the approval of Boherellus, proposes καὶ ἄλλου συγκειμένου, which has been followed in the translation.