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ANF06. Fathers of the Third Century: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius the Great, Julius Africanus, Anatolius, and Minor Writers, Methodius, Arn
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17. But you err, says my opponent, and are mistaken, for we do not consider either copper, or gold and silver, or those other materials of which statues are made, to be in themselves gods and sacred deities; but in them we worship and venerate those whom their47084708    Lit., “the sacred dedication.” dedication as sacred introduces and causes to dwell in statues made by workmen. The reasoning is not vicious nor despicable by which any one—the dull, and also the most intelligent—can believe that the gods, forsaking their proper seats—that is, heaven—do not shrink back and avoid entering earthly habitations; nay, more, that impelled by the rite of dedication, they are joined to images! Do your gods, then, dwell in gypsum and in figures of earthenware? Nay, rather, are the gods the minds, spirits, and souls of figures of earthenware and of gypsum? and, that the meanest things may be able to become of greater importance, do they suffer themselves to be shut up and concealed and confined in47094709    Lit., “concealed in the restraint of.” an obscure abode? Here, then, in the first place, we wish and ask to be told this by you: do they do this against their will—that is, do they enter the images as dwellings, dragged to them by the rite of dedication—or are they ready and willing? and do you not summon them by any considerations of necessity? Do they do this unwillingly?47104710    The ms. reads inrogati (the next letter being erased, having probably been s redundant) si inviti, corrected in the margin of Ursinus and Oehler, as above, -tis in. and how can it be possible that they should be compelled to submit to any necessity without their dignity being impaired? With ready assent?47114711    Lit., “with the assent of voluntary compliance.” “Do you say,” or some such expression, must be understood, as Arnobius is asking his opponent to choose on which horn of the dilemma he wishes to be impaled. And what do the gods seek for in figures of earthenware that they should prefer these prisons47124712    Lit., “bindings.” to their starry seats,—that, having been all but fastened to them, they should ennoble47134713    So Gelenius, Canterus, Elm., Oberth., and Orelli, reading nobilitent. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed, and contradictory accounts are given as to the reading of the ms. Immediately after this sentence, LB., followed by Orelli, inserts a clause from the next chapter. Cf. the following note. earthenware and the other substances of which images are made?


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