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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter XXX.—Homer’s knowledge of man’s origin.

And he was obviously deceived in the same way regarding the earth and heaven and man; for he supposes that there are “ideas” of these. For as Moses wrote thus, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and then subjoins this sentence, “And the earth was invisible and unfashioned,” he thought that it was the pre-existent earth which was spoken of in the words, “The earth was,” because Moses said, “And the earth was invisible and unfashioned;” and he thought that the earth, concerning which he says, “God created the heaven and the earth,” was that earth which we perceive by the senses, and which God made according to the pre-existent form. And so also, of the heaven which was created, he thought that the heaven which was created—and which he also called the firmament—was that creation which the senses perceive; and that the heaven which the intellect perceives is that other of which the prophet said, “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, but the earth hath He given to the children of men.”25772577    Ps. cxv. 16. And so also concerning man: Moses first mentions the name of man, and then after many other creations he makes mention of the formation of man, saying, “And God made man, taking dust from the earth.”25782578    Gen. ii. 7. He thought, accordingly, that the man first so named existed before the man who was made, and that he who was formed of the earth was afterwards made according to the pre-existent form. And that man was formed of earth, Homer, too, having discovered from the ancient and divine history which says, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,”25792579    Gen. iii. 19. calls the lifeless body of Hector dumb clay. For in condemnation of Achilles dragging the corpse of Hector after death, he says somewhere:25802580    Iliad, xxii.

“On the dumb clay he cast indignity,

Blinded with rage.”

And again, somewhere else,25812581    Iliad, vii. 99. he introduces Menelaus, thus addressing those who were not accepting Hector’s challenge to single combat with becoming alacrity,—

“To earth and water may you all return,”—

resolving them in his violent rage into their original and pristine formation from earth. These things Homer and Plato, having learned in Egypt from the ancient histories, wrote in their own words.


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