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Porphyry's Against the Christians : the literary remains

Author: Porphyry; R Joseph Hoffmann
Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Throughout its first three centuries, the growing Christian religion was subjected not only to official persecution but to the attacks of pagan intellectuals, who looked upon the new sect as a band of fanatics bent on worldwide domination even as they professed to despise the things of this world. Prominent among these pagan critics was Porphyry of Tyre (ca. 232-ca. 305 C.E.), scholar, philosopher, and student of
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Genre/Form: Controversial literature
Early works
Sources
Controversial literature Early works to 1800
Named Person: Porphyre (0234-0305?).; Porphyre (0234-0305?)
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Porphyry; R Joseph Hoffmann
ISBN: 0879758899 9780879758899
OCLC Number: 29909484
Language Note: Translated from the Greek.
Description: 181 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction. Persecution as Context --
A Note on the Text and the Controversy --
List of Abbreviations --
AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS: THE EXTRACTS OF MACARIUS MAGNES --
Miscellaneous Objections --
Critique of the Gospels and Their Authors --
The Ruler and End of the World --
The Life and Work of Jesus --
The Sayings of Jesus --
The Attack on Peter the Apostle --
The Attack on Paul the Apostle --
The Attack on Christian Apocalyptic Hopes --
The Kingdom of Heaven and the Obscurity of Christian Teaching --
The Christian Doctrine of God --
Critique of the Resurrection of the Flesh --
Epilogue. From Babylon to Rome: The Contexts of Jewish-Christian-Pagan Interaction through Porphyry.
Other Titles: Against the Christians.
Against the Christians.
Responsibility: edited and translated with an introduction and epilogue by R. Joseph Hoffmann.

Abstract:

Throughout its first three centuries, the growing Christian religion was subjected not only to official persecution but to the attacks of pagan intellectuals, who looked upon the new sect as a band of fanatics bent on worldwide domination even as they professed to despise the things of this world. Prominent among these pagan critics was Porphyry of Tyre (ca. 232-ca. 305 C.E.), scholar, philosopher, and student of religions. His book Against the Christians (Kata Christianon), condemned to be burned by the imperial Church in 448, survives only in fragments preserved by the cleric and teacher Macarius Magnes. This new translation of the remains of Against the Christians, by renowned biblical scholar R. Joseph Hoffmann, reveals a work of deft historical and literary criticism. Porphyry's trenchant comments extend to key figures, beliefs, and doctrines of Christianity as he roundly attacks the divinity of Jesus, the integrity of the apostles, the Christian concept of God, and the Resurrection. Porphyry dismisses the gospels as the work of charlatans and Jesus himself as a criminal and failure. In short, the gospels, as a collective account of the life and deeds of Jesus, are hardly worth the reverence with which an increasing number of Christian converts of Porphyry's own day have begun treating them.

Critical notes by the translator provide a running commentary to the text. A lively introduction and comprehensive epilogue describe the "buildup" to the pagan critique of Christianity, and help put Porphyry's work in historical perspective. Accessible to the general reader as well as a valuable scholarly tool, this new translation of Against the Christians proves a worthy addition to both classical and patristic studies.

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