Robert Conner, Christianity’s Critics: The Romans Meet Jesus, Part 6

Robert Conner studied Greek, Hebrew, some Aramaic and even Coptic back in the mid-70's at Western Kentucky University. He's written nine books, including Jesus the Sorcerer, The Secret Gospel of Mark and Magic in Christianity, as well as a number of articles and essays. If you want a primer on what the earliest critics of Christianity had to say about this new cult then I'm publishing an essay he wrote in several parts, with approval. This is Part 6. To get up to speed follow this tag.

Christianity’s Critics:
The Romans Meet Jesus

Extended and Revised, 04/2016

Robert Conner

“Pick up your cot and walk”—Christianity is basically magic.

The gospel of Mark, widely regarded as the earliest of the gospels, records this remarkable account of a miraculous healing:

   And when he came back to Capernaum after some days, it was reported, “He’s at home,” and so many gathered that it was no longer possible to get to the door and he spoke the word to them. And four men come to him bearing a paralytic, but unable to approach him because of the crowd, they made a hole in the roof where he was and after digging through [the roof], they lower the cot where the paralytic lay. And Jesus, seeing their faith, says to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
   But there were some of the scribes sitting there and they are questioning in their hearts, “Why is this man speaking this way? He’s blaspheming! Who is able to forgive sins except God alone?” And at once perceiving in his spirit that they are reasoning this way in themselves, Jesus says to them, “What things are you pondering in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Stand, pick up your cot and walk? But in order that you may know that the son of man[1] has the authority to forgive sins on the earth,” he says to the paralytic, “I tell you, Stand, take your cot (aron ton krabatton) and go home.” And he stood up and immediately (euquj) took his cot and walked out in front of everyone so that they are all astonished and praising God saying, “We never saw anything like this!”[2]

The story is repeated by Matthew,[3] who characteristically omits the more dramatic details such as breaking a hole in the roof, and by Luke.[4] John recounts a similar “Stand up, take your cot and walk” healing at the pool of Bethzatha.[5]

“Pick up your cot and walk”followed by immediate compliance—appears to have become a trademark of Christian miracle. Peter commands Aeneas, a paralytic who has lain for eight years “on a cot” (epi krabattou), “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Arise and make your bed!” and “immediately he stood up” (euqewj anesth).[6] Other, very similar, accounts are found: a man, lame from birth, who must be carried to the gate of the Temple, is healed by Peter’s command to stand up and walk.[7] A similar miracle performed by Paul is also reported.[8] It is unlikely that any Roman conversant with the Christian movement could remain unaware of such popular stories.

Lucian soon turned the trope to comic effect in his story of the snake blaster in The Lover of Lies. A certain unlucky Midas, a vinedresser, is bitten by a viper and carried in extremis from the field “on a stretcher” (epi skimpodoj). At the suggestion of a bystander, a “Babylonian”—a widely used synonym for “magician”—is hastily summoned and “he raised (anesthse) Midas with some spell (epwdh tini)…Midas himself, picking up the stretcher (aramenoj ton skimpodoa)” on which he had been carried, immediately heads back to work on the farm for “of such power was the spell (h epwdh).”[9] In a thorough analysis of Lucian’s Lover of Lies, Ogden proposed “that Lucian may be consciously playing with Christian imagery…which graphically expresses the speed and completeness of the recovery” and noted “that no pre-Christian examples of the [pick-up-your-cot-and-walk] motif are known.”[10] In his attempted rebuttal of Celsus, Origen said of Christian doctrines, “they are just like spells (wsperei epwdaj) that have been filled with power (dunamewj peplhrwmenouj).”[11] We will get to the significance of the word dunamij (dunamis), power, in a bit. Lucian appears to have been quite familiar with Christian preaching and may have read at least one of the gospels. It is easy to suppose that he would find the “pick up your cot and walk” tales an irresistible target for parody.

That Lucian used Christian miracle stories as fodder for satire is further suggested by his references to walking on water and raising rotting corpses.[12] However, Lucian likely had Jesus specifically in mind when he composed his story of the “Syrian” exorcist.

Everyone knows of the Syrian from Palestine, the master of his art, and how he receives many struck down by the moon (katapiptontaj proj thn selhnhn),[13] frothing at the mouth (afrou pimplamenouj to stoma)[14] and eyes rolling, and he sets them aright and sends them away sound of mind…standing beside them as they lie there, he asks from whence [the demons] have come into the body. The madman himself is silent, but the demon answers in Greek or a barbarian [tongue][15] from whence and how he entered the man. By adjuring, or if the spirit does not obey, threatening,[16] he drives the demon out.[17]

The “Syrian from Palestine” is clearly a Jewish exorcist[18] and given the several close parallels in vocabulary and imagery between Lucian’s story and the stories in the gospels, it is no great leap of the imagination to suppose Lucian had Jesus specifically in mind, a possibility conceded by Morton Smith: “It is possible that this parody was inspired by some gospel story like Mk 5.1-19 …”[19] Jesus had such fame as an exorcist that other exorcists used his name both during his lifetime[20] and after his death.[21] Gager comments on the appearance of Jesus, “who was known independently in Jewish tradition as a sorcerer, that is, as one who exercised power over spirits,”[22] in ancient spells.

Christians of Origen’s era bragged about the power (dunamij, dunamis) of Jesus’ name: “Of course the name of Jesus is of such great power (dunatai) against the demons that sometimes even unworthy men accomplish [exorcisms] by pronouncing his name just as Jesus taught when he said, ‘Many will say to me in that day, we cast out demons in your name and performed works of power (dunameij epoihsamen)…”[23] Chadwick noted that “narratives from the gospels are found used as spells in the magical papyri.”[24]

Celsus clearly regarded Jesus as a magician: “After being brought up in obscurity he hired himself out in Egypt and having become proficient in certain magical arts (dunamewn tinwn), he made his way back and on account of those powers proclaimed himself a god.”[25] Celsus concluded that Jesus was merely “some worthless sorcerer, hated by God” (qeomisouj hn tinoj kai mocqhrou gohtoj), and Origen acknowledged Celsus’ claim that he “has seen among certain [Christian] elders who were of our opinion books containing barbarous names of demons (biblia barbara daimonwn) and magical formulas (terateiaj).”[26] “Those who accused Jesus of being a magician (they were not few among the pagans) argued that he, after all, had spent part of his youth in the homeland of magic, after the escape from Palestine...”[27]

“Celsus is the first critic to call Jesus a magician and charge the Christians with practicing magic. It may be that this view was already adumbrated in Suetonius, who spoke of Christianity as a ‘new and criminal (maleficus) superstition.’ The term maleficus can mean “magical,” and used as a noun it designated a magician. If so, Suetonius foreshadows what later became a common charge.”[28] Flint notes, “magic was linked with mystery and secrecy ...and secrecy with almost certain treason. Magic, accordingly, came increasingly to be represented by the word maleficum.”[29] The Theodosian Code, a compilation of laws published in 439, declared all forms of divination illegal.

Morton Smith on magic in the New Testament: “Unfortunately for would-be apologists, not only the minor traits of the Gospel stories, but also the essential content of most of them come from the world of magic.” Smith then lists the parallels between the stories of the gospels and the spells of ancient magical texts: (1) “the power to make anyone he wanted follow him,” (2-3) “exorcism,” including “exorcism at a distance, remote control of spirits, and the power to order them about,” (4) miraculous cures, (5) stilling storms, (6) raising the dead, (7) “giving his disciples power over demons,” (8) “miraculous provision of food,” (9) “walking on water,” (10) “miraculous escapes (his body could not be seized),” (11) “making himself invisible,” (12) “possession of the keys of the kingdom,” (13) “foreknowledge,” including “foreknowledge of his own fate...of the disasters coming on cities,” (14) “knowledge of others’ thoughts,” (15) “metamorphosis,” (16) “revealing supernatural beings to his disciples,” (17) “prescribing reforms of temple practices,” (18) “introducing a new rite,” (19) “claiming to be united with his disciples, so that he is in them and they in him,” (20) “claiming to be a god or son of a god,” and then concludes, “This list by no means exhausts the material. There are many other traits in the Gospels’ picture of Jesus—particularly, but by no means exclusively, in the Johannine picture—which are common in magical material...the stories of the Gospels are mostly stories about things a magician would do. They are not mostly stories about things the Messiah would do. (Who ever heard of the Messiah’s being an exorcist—let alone being eaten?)”[30] On the other hand, the healing god Asclepius, like Jesus, “cures blindness, dumbness, paralysis, lameness...[but] we rarely hear of him casting out devils, since for the most part these did not trouble the classical imagination.”[31]

The findings of many other modern scholars[32] support Celsus’ claim: “the powers and authority Jesus claimed derived not from the main bodies of power of his time—the Temple, the priesthood, even the Torah and its study—but from the charismatic fringe. Leaders who emerged from this fringe claimed authority through direct contact with supernatural powers rather than through exalted birth or knowledge of scriptures.”[33] The spread of Christianity “came to depend largely on widely disseminated reports of miracles that were performed either by Jesus himself or in Jesus’ name.”[34] “The title magician is not used here [of Jesus] as a pejorative word but describes one who can make divine power present directly through personal miracle rather than indirectly through communal ritual...if, in the end, the title magician offends, simply substitute thaumaturge, miracle worker, charismatic, holy one, or whatever pleases, but know that we speak of exactly the same activity in any case...”[35]

One of the greatest figures of antiquity, a man of incalculable influence on the thought and history of the western world, himself claimed to be possessed by, and identified with, the spirit of an executed criminal, and to do whatever he did by the power of this indwelling spirit. By its power he could even hand over his opponents to Satan. This man and his claims are known from his own correspondence—he is Saint Paul, who asserted, “I live no longer I, but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2.20) and “I dare speak of nothing save those things which Christ has done through me, by word and deed, by the power of signs and miracles, by the power of (his) spirit, to make the gentiles obedient” (Rom. 15.19). He wrote the Corinthians about a member of their church that, “Being absent in body, but present in spirit, I have already judged (the offender)...uniting you and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, to give this fellow over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh” (1 Cor. 5.3ff).[36]

Irenaeus and other early writers accused their Christian opponents of magical practice: “The mystic priests of [the Simonians] live licentious lives and practice magic, each one in whatever way he can. They make use of exorcisms and incantations, love potions too and philters, and the so-called familiars and dream-senders. They diligently practice whatever other magic arts there may be…[the Carpocratians], too, practice magic and make use of incantations, philtres, spells, familiars, dream-senders, and the rest of the evil magic.”[37] In a discussion that documents the similarities between Christian rite and magical practice, Benko concluded, “that too often Christian authors talked like magicians; they boasted of their ability to summon powers from another world...After the patristic period we find the church increasingly absorbed and sanctified pagan magical practices; the veneration of relics and the use of incense, charms, and bells were integrated into the life of the church.”[38]

Perhaps no single text better captures the fuzzy boundary between Christian sacrament and magic than Ignatius’ well-known reference to the bread of the Eucharist as “the medicine (farmakon) of immortality, the antidote (antidotoj) that [we] not die, but live forever in Jesus Christ.”[39] The term farmakon (pharmakon) is a loaded word; it could mean either remedy or poison, but retained a strong connotation of malevolent sorcery; the related term farmakeuj (pharmakeus) means poisoner or sorcerer, and farmakeia (pharmakeia), the obvious source of our word pharmacy, refers to the compounding of potions, including abortifacients, and the casting of spells. The magical papyri include a spell that begins, “I am Thoth, the Discoverer and Patron of spells and writing (farmakwn kai grammatwn).[40]

The poems and novels of Roman authors contained lurid stories of witcheswitchcraft gone horribly wrong is the subject of the Metamorphosis, our only complete novel from the era—and Lucan’s Erictho is possibly the greatest figure of horror in all of ancient literature. Erictho frequents battlegrounds and scenes of execution, grubbing for body parts to use in malicious magic, she “mangled bodies as they hung, scraped clean the crosses...she has stolen the iron [nails] driven into hands...and from a dying boy cuts off a lock of hair.”[41] In The Lover of Lies, Lucian refers to the magical powers crucifixion nails possessed: “the Arab gave me the ring made of iron from crosses and taught me the spell of many names (thn epwdhn edidaxen thn poluwnumon).”[42] It is noteworthy that magicians used the name of the crucified Jesus to conjure with both before[43] and after his death.[44]

How then were Romans to construe Christians’ nighttime celebration of the Eucharist when they ate the flesh and drank the blood of Jesus? That the Church had come identify Jesus as (a) God is clear. The gospel of John[45] uses qeoj (theos), god, of the pre-incarnation Christ and Titus, likely written in the early 2nd century, speaks of “the glory of our great God and Savior (tou megalou qeou kai swthroj), Jesus Christ.”[46]

Ignatius, who died in the early 2nd century, clearly considered Jesus to have been God physically, although his metaphysics is murky—“There is one physician, fleshly and spiritual, begotten and unbegotten, God in man (en anqrwpw qeoj)...[son] of Mary and [son] of God.”[47] For Ignatius, Jesus’ divinity was corporeal—“For our God (qeoj hmwn), Jesus Christ, conceived by Mary ...”[48]—and Christians “are revitalized by the blood of God (en aimati qeou).”[49] Besides asserting that God had blood, Ignatius believed that Jesus “also truly raised himself” (kai alhqwj anesthsen eauton)[50] from the dead. True Christians therefore confessed, “that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior (thn eucaristian sarka einai tou swthroj hmwn) Jesus Christ”[51]—such language offered Roman critics an easy charge: Christians confessed to eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a crucified man who they imagined was God. Christians—“just as if you were nailed to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ,”[52]—were admonished “to keep one Eucharist, one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup with respect to the unity with his blood, one altar ...”[53] “Were it not for magical thinking it would be difficult to make sense of the representations which people ascribe to their participation even in the rituals of doctrinarian modes of religion such as, for example, the Eucharist of the Roman Catholic mass or the Lord’s Supper as celebrated in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Denmark.”[54]

Small wonder that they were accused of cannibalism,[55] a charge that highlighted the perception of Christians as intensely antisocial. McGown, in an extensive discussion, concludes “that while the correspondence of eucharistic imagery with flesh and blood cannot be ruled out as a factor in the accusation [of cannibalism], it is difficult to demonstrate,” but concedes that “despite the secondary importance of the flesh and blood symbolism, the ritual practice of early Christians may indeed have been of primary importance in fitting them for the allegations.”[56] In any case, it is clear that the hoi polloi considered both the cross and Eucharist magical; the Host was buried with the dead, “taken as a test of innocence or guilt,” and used as an amulet or protective talisman.[57]

Christianity’s emphasis on death soon turned into something akin to necrophilia; “the Christian cult of saints rapidly came to involve the digging up, the moving, the dismemberment—quite apart from much avid touching and kissing—of the bones of the dead...[Lucilla] had owned the bone of a martyr, and had been in the habit of kissing it before she took the Eucharist.”[58] The earliest record of Christians raiding the sites of executions to collect relics comes from the Martyrdom of Polycarp (mid-2nd century): “So [after his body had been burned] we collected his bones, more valuable than the most precious stones, more excellent than gold, and put them aside for ourselves in a suitable place.”[59] The collection of relics from the ashes of Polycarp mirrors a similar salvage operation directed toward the remains of Peregrinus whose disciples hurried “to see the actual spot and lay hold of some remains [left] by the fire (ti leiyanon katalambanein tou pupoj).”[60] The only other figures in the ancient world known to have collected body parts are necromancers and witches.

Julian alluded to the practice of building churches over the tombs of the martyrs: “pulling down the temples, they rebuilt tombs (mnhmata) [on sites] old and new.”[61] Aggrieved worshippers of the traditional gods sometimes gave tit for tat, retaliating in kind against Christian ritual contamination of sacred sites—“Did those citizens of Emesa long for Christ who set fire to the tombs (toij tafoij) of the Galilaeans?”[62]—the people of Emesa burned the churches and converted the only one they spared into a temple of Dionysus. Eunapius echoed Julian’s complaint: “[Antoninus] had foretold to all that the temples would become tombs” (ta iera tafouj genhsesqai).[63] Regarding the despoliation of the “Great Church” in Alexandria, a former temple, Haas remarks, “The memory of the [Great Church’s] former status as one of the city’s preeminent pagan sanctuaries was fresh in the minds of Alexandrian pagans, and it evidently rankled to see this sacred precinct employed in the worship of a condemned Galilean criminal. It was a natural target of their indignation.”[64]
Julian obviously regarded the churches as nothing more than charnel houses polluted by the remains of martyrs. “The full weight of [Julian’s] religious abhorrence comes to bear on the relation between the living and the corpses of the dead.”[65] “To that ancient corpse [of Jesus] you bring in addition the dead newly sacrificed. Who would not be disgusted? You have filled the whole world with graves and tombs and yet nowhere is it found [written] that you must loiter among the tombs and pay them respects.”[66] After citing Jesus’ words to the Pharisees—“You are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness,”[67]Julian, who knew his scriptures, made the connection between graves and sorcery: “Why do you frequent the tombs? Do you want to hear the reason? It is not I, but the prophet Isaiah who says, ‘They sleep among the tombs and in caves [to receive] oracles in dreams (koimwntai di enupnia).’[68] You see then how ancient among the Jews was this work of magical art (thj magganeiaj), to sleep among tombs for the sake of dream visions ...[the apostles] performed their magical arts more skillfully than you and publicly displayed (apodeixai dhmosia)...these disgusting works of magic (thj magganeiaj tauthj)...You, though, practice what God from the very beginning abhorred...”[69] Julian’s allusion to the apostles as powerful magicians whose arts were “publicly displayed” (apodeixai dhmosia) is nearly a quotation of the boastful claim of Paul: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration (en apodeixei) of the Spirit’s power.”[70]

Julian also reports that in his day the tombs of Peter and Paul were worshipped[71] and commented on the violent reaction of the faithful of Antioch to his removal of “the leftovers of the dead”[72] Babylas, “an eminent Antiochene martyr”[73] buried at Apollo’s oracle in Daphne—an act that polluted the site and caused the priests to abandon it—at the order of Julian’s Christian brother, Gallus. Even the ‘throne of Peter’ is built on a graveyard: “The Basilica of St. Peter was built to venerate the tomb of Peter; the original purpose of the building therefore was to commemorate a grave. Originally Vatican hill was a necropolis, and, although much of the necropolis was demolished when Constantine built his basilica there, a city of the dead remains beneath the current structure of St. Peter’s.”[74]
An important temple to Cybele, known to the Romans as Magna Mater or Great Mother, which stood on the Palatine also “was knocked down to make way for Saint Peter’s Cathedral which now stands on the temple’s site.”[75] Cybele, whose priests, the galli, were self-castrated mendicants, was supplanted by Jesus, whose priests were celibate mendicants. One could argue —based on Jesus’ observation that “some made eunuchs of themselves (oitinej eunoucisan eautouj) for the kingdom of heaven”[76]—that the gelded priests of Cybele had been far better Christians than the Christians. Think of them what one will, the devotion of the Great Mother’s priests was hardly in question: “At once taking up [the sword], he cuts himself (tamnei ewuton) and runs through the city, bearing in his hand what he has cut off (cersi ferei ta etamen).”[77] 
Eunapius likewise complained about the Christian violation of boundaries:

[The Christians] also settled these monks in Canobus, chaining humanity to the service of worthless slaves instead of the real gods. They gathered up the bones and skulls of those apprehended for numerous crimes, men the courts had condemned, and proclaimed them to be gods, wallowed around their tombs, and declared that being defiled by graves made them stronger. The dead were called “martyrs,” and some kind of “ministers,” and “ambassadors” of the gods, these degraded slaves, eaten alive by whips, their ghosts carrying the wounds of torture.[78]

“The later Christian collection of the remains of martyrs’ bodies was suspiciously like magicians’ collection of the remains of bodies of executed criminals (the martyrs were legally criminals) whose spirits they wished to control. We have many ancient stories of thefts of dead bodies for magical purposes; the practice was evidently common and may explain the disappearance of Jesus’ body and the empty tomb. Be that as it may, the Christians’ frequent gathering around tombs and in catacombs must have seemed to most pagans an indication of necromancy.”[79]

When the emperors Valentinian and Valens initiated a series of reforms that included measures “against people suspected of practicing divination and magic...a notorious sequence of treason trials that led to the execution of nine Roman senators and the exile of three others in 369” resulted. More trials and executions followed in 372. “Both targeted Christians and pagans who had engaged in practices that had long been illegal.”[80]

[1]  Assuming Mark’s original source was Aramaic, the expression “son of man” bar
                enosh (vna rb) in Mark 2:10 possibly functioned as no more than a common
                circumlocution meaning, “I have the power to forgive sins.” “Son of man” (o uioj
                tou anqrwpou) became an apocalyptic christological title due to the Christian
                interpretation of the Greek version of Daniel 7:13-14. It is debatable whether
                Jesus would have understood “son of man” as anything more than a simple refer-
                ence to an individual.
[2]  Mark 2:1-12.
          To the extent possible my translation preserves the tenses and phrasing of the
 Greek text.
[3] Matthew 9:2-7.
[4] Luke 5:17-26.
[5] John 5:2-11.
[6] Acts 9:32-34.
    The similarities in vocabulary might suggest to a skeptic that the account is the re-
working of the familiar gospel story.
[7] Acts 3:2,6.
[8] Acts 14:8-10.
[9] Lucian, The Lover of Lies, 11.
[10] Ogden, In Search of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 67.
[11] Origen, Contra Celsum III, 68.
[12] Lucian, The Lover of Lies, 13.
    Compare Matthew 14:22-23, John 11:39.
[13] Compare Matthew 4:24: “possessed by demons and moonstruck (daimonizomenouj
kai selnhiazomenouj)…” and Matthew 17:15: “…have mercy on my son because he’s moonstruck (selhniazetai) and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire (piptei eij to pur) and often into the water…”
[14] Compare Mark 9:18: “the spirit…throws him down and he foams (afrizei) [at
the mouth] and grinds his teeth…”
[15] Compare Mark 5:9: “Our name is Legion…”
[16] Compare Mark 5:7: “I beg you, do not torture me…”
[17] Lucian, The Lover of Lies, 16.
[18] Ogden, In Search of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 133.
[19] Smith, Jesus the Magician, 57.
[20] Mark 9:38-40.
[21] Acts 9:13.
[22] Gager, Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World, 230.
[23] Origen, Contra Celsum I, 6.
[24] Chadwick, Origen: Contra Celsum, 10 (footnote 1).
[25] Origen, Contra Celsum I, 38; VI, 40.
Chadwick’s translation, which I have followed with minor revisions, is probably correct to render terateiaj as “magical formulas.” The word group basically re-fers to prodigies of nature, and could be read as simply, “fairy tales.”
[26] Ibid, I, 71.
[27] Graf, Envisioning Magic: A Princeton Seminar and Symposium, 94-95.
[28] Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 98.
[29] Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe, 17.
[30] Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark, 224-227.
For the sake of space and simplicity I have omitted the scores of parallels Smith produces in his text.
[31] Garland, The Cambridge Companion to Miracles, 81.
[32] Such as Hull, Hellenistic Magic and the Synoptic Tradition (1974), Smith, Jesus the
Magician (1978), Arnold, Ephesians: Power and Magic (1989), Klauck, Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity (1996), Janowitz, Magic in the Roman World: Pa-gans, Jews, and Christians (2001), Strelan, Strange Acts: Studies in the Cultural World of the Acts of the Apostles (2004), Aune, Apocalypticism, Prophecy, and Magic in Early Christianity (2006), Thomas, Magical Motifs in the Book of Revelation (2010), Conner, Magic in the New Testament (2010), Jacobus, et al., Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World (2013), Conner, Magic in Chris-tianity (2014), to name but a few of the book length works.
[33] Ilan, The Beginnings of Christianity, 172.
[34] Garland, The Cambridge Companion to Miracles, 89.
[35] Crossan, The Historical Jesus, 138.
[36] Smith, Jesus the Magician, 35.
[37] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, I, 23.4; I, 25.3.
[38] Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, 131-132.
[39] Ignatius, Ephesians 20.
[40] Preisendanz, Papyri Graecae Magicae: Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri, I, 190 (V,
[41] Lucan, Bellum Civile VI, 544, 546, 563.
     Lucan’s poem is based on the battle of Pharsalus between Julius Caesar and
Pompey in 48 B.C.E.
[42] Lucian, The Lover of Lies, 17.
[43] Mark 9:38.
[44] Acts 19:13-14.
[45] John 1:1.
[46] Titus 2:13.
[47] Ignatius, Ephesians 7:2.
[48] Ignatius, Ephesians 18:2.
[49] Ignatius, Ephesians 1:1.
[50] Ignatius, Smyrnaeans 2:1.
[51] Ignatius, Smyrnaeans 6:2.
[52] Ignatius, Smyrnaeans 1:1.
[53] Ignatius, Philadelphians 4:1.
[54] Petersen, Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World, 198.
[55] Origen, Contra Celsum VI, 27.
[56] McGowan, Journal of Early Christian Studies 2/3 (1994), 422, 438.
[57] Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe, 178, 214, 283, 285.
[58] Brown, The Cult of the Saints, 4, 34.
[59] Ehrman, Apostolic Fathers, II, (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, XVIII, 2).
[60] Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus, 39.
[61] Julian, Orations, VII, 229C.
[62] Wright, The Works of the Emperor Julian, II, 475 (Misopogon, 357C).
[63]  Wright, Lives of the Philosophers, 425.
[64] Haas, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 32/3 (1991), 286.
[65] Brown, The Cult of the Saints, 7.
[66] Julian, Against the Galileans, 335B-335C (my translation).
[67] Matthew 23:27, NASB.
[68] In reference to incubation, the practice of sleeping in temples to receive dreams
from the gods. The text of Isaiah clearly refers to this practice: “Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places...” (Isaiah 65:4, NASB).
[69] Julian, Against the Galileans, 339E-343C (my translation).
[70] 1 Corinthians 2:4, NIV.
[71] Ibid, 327B.
[72] Julian, Misopogon, 361C.
[73] Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 99.
[74] Seely, Studia Antiqua 4/1 (2005): 69-70.
[75] Murdoch, The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate, 116.
[76] Matthew 19:12.
[77] Lucian, De Dea Syria, 52.
[78] Wright, Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists, 473 (my translation).
[79] Smith, Studies in the Cult of Yahweh, II, 211.
[80] Watts, The Final Pagan Generation, 136.