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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
ATHENAGORAS: A Plea for the Christians

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 129

A Plea 698 For the Christians

By Athenagoras the Athenian: Philosopher and Christian

To the Emperors Marcus Aurelius Anoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, conquerors of Armenia and Sarmatia, and more than all, philosophers.


Chapter I.—Injustice Shown Towards the Christians.
Chapter II.—Claim to Be Treated as Others are When Accused.
Chapter III.—Charges Brought Against the Christians.
Chapter IV.—The Christians are Not Atheists, But Acknowledge One Only God.
Chapter V.—Testimony of the Poets to the Unity of God.
Chapter VI.—Opinions of the Philosophers as to the One God.
Chapter VII.—Superiority of the Christian Doctrine Respecting God.
Chapter VIII.—Absurdities of Polytheism.
Chapter IX.—The Testimony of the Prophets.
Chapter X.—The Christians Worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Chapter XI.—The Moral Teaching of the Christians Repels the Charge Brought Against Them.
Chapter XII.—Consequent Absurdity of the Charge of Atheism.
Chapter XIII.—Why the Christians Do Not Offer Sacrifices.
Chapter XIV.—Inconsistency of Those Who Accuse the Christians.
Chapter XV.—The Christians Distinguish God from Matter.
Chapter XVI.—The Christians Do Not Worship the Universe.
Chapter XVII.—The Names of the Gods and Their Images are But of Recent Date.
Chapter XVIII.—The Gods Themselves Have Been Created, as the Poets Confess.
Chapter XIX.—The Philosophers Agree with the Poets Respecting the Gods.
Chapter XX.—Absurd Representations of the Gods.
Chapter XXI.—Impure Loves Ascribed to the Gods.
Chapter XXII.—Pretended Symbolical Explanations.
Chapter XXIII.—Opinions of Thales and Plato.
Chapter XXIV.—Concerning the Angels and Giants.
Chapter XXV.—The Poets and Philosophers Have Denied a Divine Providence.
Chapter XXVI.—The Demons Allure Men to the Worship of Images.
Chapter XXVII.—Artifices of the Demons.
Chapter XXVIII.—The Heathen Gods Were Simply Men.
Chapter XXIX.—Proof of the Same from the Poets.
Chapter XXX.—Reasons Why Divinity Has Been Ascribed to Men.
Chapter XXXI.—Confutation of the Other Charges Brought Against the Christians.
Chapter XXXII.—Elevated Morality of the Christians.
Chapter XXXIII.—Chastity of the Christians with Respect to Marriage.
Chapter XXXIV.—The Vast Difference in Morals Between the Christians and Their Accusers.
Chapter XXXV.—The Christians Condemn and Detest All Cruelty.
Chapter XXXVI.—Bearing of the Doctrine of the Resurrection on the Practices of the Christians.
Chapter XXXVII.—Entreaty to Be Fairly Judged.



Literally, “embassy.” [By this name best known to scholars.]

Next: Chapter I.—Injustice Shown Towards the Christians.

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