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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
THEOPHILUS: Chapter XVI.—Uncertain Conjectures of the Philosophers.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVI.—Uncertain Conjectures of the Philosophers.

But I wish now to give you a more accurate demonstration, God helping me, of the historical periods, that you may see that our doctrine is not modern nor fabulous, but more ancient and true than all poets and authors who have written in uncertainty. For some, maintaining that the world was uncreated, went into infinity; 671 and others, asserting that it was created, said that already 153,075 years had passed. This is stated by Apollonius the Egyptian. And Plato, who is esteemed to have been the wisest of the Greeks, into what nonsense did he run? For in his book entitled The Republic672 we find him expressly saying: “For if things had in all time remained in their present arrangement, when ever could any new thing be discovered? For ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed without record, and one thousand or twice as many years have gone by since some things were discovered by Dædalus, and some by Orpheus, and some by Palamedes.” And when he says that these things happened, he implies that ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed from the flood to Dædalus. And after he has said a great deal about the cities of the world, and the settlements, and the nations, he owns that he has said these things conjecturally. For he says, “If then, my friend, some god should promise us, that if we attempted to make a survey of legislation, the things now said,” 673 etc., which shows that he was speaking by guess; and if by guess, then what he says is not true.


Footnotes

116:671

i.e., tracing back its history through an infinate duration.

116:672

The following quotation is not from the Republic, but from the third book of the Laws, p. 676.

116:673

Plato goes on to say, that if he had this pledge of divine assistance, he would go further in his speculation; and therefore Theophilus argues that what he said without this assistance he felt to be unsafe.


Next: Chapter XVII.—Accurate Information of the Christians.

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