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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter XX.—Testimony of Plato.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XX.—Testimony of Plato.

But Plato, though he accepted, as is likely, the doctrine of Moses and the other prophets regarding one only God, which he learned while in Egypt, yet fearing, on account of what had befallen Socrates, lest he also should raise up some Anytus or Meletus against himself, who should accuse him before the Athenians, and say, “Plato is doing harm, and making himself mischievously busy, not acknowledging the gods recognised by the state;” in fear of the hemlock-juice, contrives an elaborate and ambiguous discourse concerning the gods, furnishing by his treatise gods to those who wish them, and none for those who are differently disposed, as may readily be seen from his own statements. For when he has laid down that everything that is made is mortal, he afterwards says that the gods were made. If, then, he would have God and matter to be the origin of all things, manifestly it is inevitably necessary to say that the gods were made of matter; but if of matter, out of which he said that evil also had its origin, he leaves right-thinking persons to consider what kind of beings the gods should be thought who are produced out of matter. For, for this very reason did he say that matter was eternal, 2546 that he might not seem to say that God is the creator of evil. And regarding the gods who were made by God, there is no doubt he said this: “Gods of gods, of whom I am the creator.” And he manifestly held the correct opinion concerning the really existing God. For having heard in Egypt that God had said to Moses, when He was about to send him to the Hebrews, “I am that I am,” 2547 he understood that God had not mentioned to him His own proper name.



Or, “uncreated.”


ὁ ὢν, “He who is; the Being.”

Next: Chapter XXI.—The namelessness of...

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