Sunday, August 06, 2017


Bats, Ants, Frogs, and Worms

Origen, Against Celsus 4.23 (tr. Henry Chadwick):
After this he continues as usual by laughing at the race of Jews and Christians, comparing them all to a cluster of bats or ants coming out of a nest, or frogs holding council round a marsh or worms assembling in some filthy corner, disagreeing with one another about which of them are the worse sinners.

μετὰ ταῦτα συνήθως ἑαυτῷ γελῶν τὸ Ἰουδαίων καὶ Χριστιανῶν γένος πάντας παραβέβληκε νυκτερίδων ὁρμαθῷ ἢ μύρμηξιν ἐκ καλιᾶς προελθοῦσιν ἢ βατράχοις περὶ τέλμα συνεδρεύουσιν ἢ σκώληξιν ἐν βορβόρου γωνίᾳ ἐκκλησιάζουσι καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους διαφερομένοις, τίνες αὐτῶν εἶεν ἁμαρτωλότεροι.
With ἐκκλησιάζουσι, could Celsus be alluding to ἐκκλησία (ecclesia), a word used of the synagogue of the Jews and the church of the Christians? Similarly συνεδρεύουσιν seems to recall συνέδριον (the Jewish Sanhedrin). It would be too far-fetched, however, to conjecture προσελθοῦσιν for προελθοῦσιν and to connect it with προσήλυτος (proselyte, a word derived from προσέρχομαι). As for the sinning contest, Paul declared himself winner (1 Timothy 1.15: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief).

Related post: A Puddle of Mere Slime.

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