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ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second
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Chapter LXXIV.

He accuses the Christian teacher, moreover of “seeking after the unintelligent.”  In answer we ask, Whom do you mean by the “unintelligent?”  For, to speak accurately, every wicked man is “unintelligent.”  If then by “unintelligent” you mean the wicked, do you, in drawing men to philosophy, seek to gain the wicked or the virtuous?36603660    ἀστείους.  But it is impossible to gain the virtuous, because they have already given themselves to philosophy.  The wicked, then, (you try to gain;) but if they are wicked, are they “unintelligent?”  And many such you seek to win over to philosophy, and you therefore seek the “unintelligent.”  But if I seek after those who are thus termed “unintelligent,” I act like a benevolent physician, who should seek after the sick in order to help and cure them.  If, however, by “unintelligent” you mean persons who are not clever,36613661    τοὺς μὴ ἐντρεχεῖς. but the inferior class of men intellectually,36623662    The reading in the text is τερατωδεστέρους, of which Ruæus remarks, “Hic nullum habet locum.”  Καταδεεστέρους has been conjectured instead, and has been adopted in the translation. I shall answer that I endeavour to improve such also to the best of my ability, although I would not desire to build up the Christian community out of such materials.  For I seek in preference those who are more clever and acute, because they are able to comprehend the meaning of the hard sayings, and of those passages in the law, and prophecies, and Gospels, which are expressed with obscurity, and which you have despised as not containing anything worthy of notice, because you have not ascertained the meaning which they contain, nor tried to enter into the aim of the writers.


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