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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter LXX.—So also the mysteries...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter LXX.—So also the mysteries of Mithras are distorted from the prophecies of Daniel and Isaiah.

“And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not perceive here that the utterance of Daniel, that a stone without p. 234 hands was cut out of a great mountain, has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah’s 2210 words? 2211 For they 2212 contrived that the words of righteousness be quoted also by them. 2213 But I must repeat to you the words of Isaiah referred to, in order that from them you may know that these things are so. They are these: ‘Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; those that are near shall know my might. The sinners in Zion are removed; trembling shall seize the impious. Who shall announce to you the everlasting place? The man who walks in righteousness, speaks in the right way, hates sin and unrighteousness, and keeps his hands pure from bribes, stops the ears from hearing the unjust judgment of blood closes the eyes from seeing unrighteousness: he shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. Bread shall be given to him, and his water [shall be] sure. Ye shall see the King with glory, and your eyes shall look far off. Your soul shall pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Where is the scribe? where are the counsellors? where is he that numbers those who are nourished,—the small and great people? with whom they did not take counsel, nor knew the depth of the voices, so that they heard not. The people who are become depreciated, and there is no understanding in him who hears.’ 2214 Now it is evident, that in this prophecy [allusion is made] to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, 2215 in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, 2216 in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks. And this prophecy proves that we shall behold this very King with glory; and the very terms of the prophecy declare loudly, that the people foreknown to believe in Him were foreknown to pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Moreover, these Scriptures are equally explicit in saying, that those who are reputed to know the writings of the Scriptures, and who hear the prophecies, have no understanding. And when I hear, Trypho,” said I, “that Perseus was begotten of a virgin, I understand that the deceiving serpent counterfeited also this.



The text here has ταῦτα ποιῆσαι ὁμοίως. Maranus suggests ᾽Ησαίου for ποιῆσαι; and so we have translated.


Justin says that the priests of Mithras imitated all the words of Isaiah about to be quoted; and to prove it, is content with a single example, namely, the precepts of righteousness, which they were wont to relate to him, as in these words of Isaiah: “He who walks in righteousness,” etc. Justin omitted many other passages, as easy and obvious. For since Mithras is the same as fire, it manifestly answers to the fire of which Isaiah speaks. And since Justin reminded them who are initiated, that they are said to be initiated by Mithras himself, it was not necessary to remind them that the words of Isaiah are imitated in this: “You shall see the King with glory.” Bread and water are referred to by Isaiah: so also in these mysteries of Mithras, Justin testifies that bread and a cup of water are placed before them (Apol. i.).—Maranus.


i.e., the devils.


i.e., the priests of Mithras.


Isa. xxxiii. 13-19.


Literally, “to do,” ποιεῖν. [The horrible charge of banqueting on blood, etc., constantly repeated against Christians, was probably based on the Eucharist. See Kaye’s Illustrations from Tatian, Athenagorus, and Theoph. Antioch., cap. ix. p. 153.]


Literally, “to do,” ποιεῖν. [The horrible charge of banqueting on blood, etc., constantly repeated against Christians, was probably based on the Eucharist. See Kaye’s Illustrations from Tatian, Athenagorus, and Theoph. Antioch., cap. ix. p. 153.]

Next: Chapter LXXI.—The Jews reject the...

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