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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
THEOPHILUS: Chapter X.—Absurdities of Idolatry.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter X.—Absurdities of Idolatry.

Why should I further recount the multitude of animals worshipped by the Egyptians, both reptiles, and cattle, and wild beasts, and birds, and river-fishes; and even wash-pots 538 and disgraceful noises? 539 But if you cite the Greeks and the other nations, they worship stones and wood, and other kinds of material substances,—the images, as we have just been saying, of dead men. For Phidias is found in Pisa making for the Eleians the Olympian Jupiter, and at Athens the Minerva of the Acropolis. And I will inquire of you, my friend, how many Jupiters exist. For there is, firstly, Jupiter surnamed Olympian, then Jupiter Latiaris, and Jupiter Cassius, and Jupiter Tonans, and Jupiter Propator, and Jupiter Pannychius, and Jupiter Poliuchus, and Jupiter Capitolinus; and that Jupiter, the son of Saturn, who is king of the Cretans, has a tomb in Crete, but the rest, possibly, were not thought worthy of tombs. And if you speak of the mother of those who are called gods, far be it from me to utter with my lips her deeds, or the deeds of those by whom she is worshipped (for it is unlawful for us so much as to name such things), and what vast taxes and revenues she and her sons furnish to the king. For these are not gods, but idols, as we have already said, the works of men’s hands and unclean demons. And such may all those become who make them and put their trust in them!



[Foot-baths. A reference to Amasis, and his story in Heredotus, ii. 172. See Rawlinson’s Version and Notes, vol. ii. p. 221, ed. Appletons, 1859. See also Athanagoras, infra, Embassy, cap. xxvi.]


[The fable of Echo and her shameful gossip may serve for an example.]

Next: Chapter XI.—The King to Be Honoured, God to Be Worshipped.

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