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Celsus (175AD)

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1/19/2015 5:45:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is the last hostile, non-Christian account we will examine (although there are many other later accounts in history). Celsus was quite antagonistic to the claims of the Gospels, but in his criticism he unknowingly affirmed and reinforced the Biblical authors and their content. His writing is extensive and he alludes to 80 different Biblical quotes, confirming their early appearance in history. In addition, he admits the miracles of Jesus were generally believed in the early 2nd century:

"Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panth"ra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god."

Celsus admits Jesus was reportedly born of a virgin, but then argues this could supernatural account could not be possible and offers the idea Jesus was the illegitimate son of a man named Panthera (an idea borrowed from Jews who opposed Jesus at the time). But in writing this account, Celsus does confirm several important claims: Jesus had an earthly father who was a carpenter, possessed unusual magical powers and claimed to be God.