A Plea For the Christians

 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.

Chapter XIV.—Inconsistency of Those Who Accuse the Christians.

Then, as to the other complaint, that we do not pray to and believe in the same gods as the cities, it is an exceedingly silly one. Why, the very men who charge us with atheism for not admitting the same gods as they acknowledge, are not agreed among themselves concerning the gods. The Athenians have set up as gods Celeus and Metanira: the Lacedæmonians Menelaus; and they offer sacrifices and hold festivals to him, while the men of Ilium cannot endure the very sound of his name, and pay their adoration to Hector. The Ceans worship Aristæus, considering him to be the same as Zeus and Apollo; the Thasians Theagenes, a man who committed murder at the Olympic games; the Samians Lysander, notwithstanding all the slaughters and all the crimes perpetrated by him; Alcman and Hesiod Medea, and the Cilicians Niobe; the Sicilians Philip the son of Butacides; the Amathusians Onesilus; the Carthaginians Hamilcar. Time would fail me to enumerate the whole. When, therefore, they differ among themselves concerning their gods, why do they bring the charge against us of not agreeing with them? Then look at the practices prevailing among the Egyptians: are they not perfectly ridiculous? For in the temples at their solemn festivals they beat their breasts as for the dead, and sacrifice to the same beings as gods; and no wonder, when they look upon the brutes as gods, and shave themselves when they die, and bury them in temples, and make public lamentation. If, then, we are guilty of impiety because we do not practice a piety corresponding with theirs, then all cities and all nations are guilty of impiety, for they do not all acknowledge the same gods.

Ὁ δὲ περὶ τοῦ μὴ προσιέναι καὶ τοὺς αὐτοὺς ταῖς πόλεσιν θεοὺς ἄγειν πάνυ αὐτοῖς εὐήθης λόγος· ἀλλ' οὐδὲ οἱ ἡμῖν ἐπικα λοῦντες ἀθεότητα, ἐπεὶ μὴ τοὺς αὐτοὺς οἷς ἴσασι νομίζομεν, σφίσιν αὐτοῖς συμφωνοῦσιν περὶ θεῶν [μάτην], ἀλλ' Ἀθηναῖοι μὲν Κελεὸν καὶ Μετάνειραν ἵδρυνται θεούς, Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ Μενέλεων καὶ θύουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ ἑορτάζουσιν, Ἰλιεῖς δὲ οὐδὲ τὸ ὄνομα ἀκούοντες Ἕκτορα φέρουσιν, Κεῖοι Ἀρισταῖον, τὸν αὐτὸν καὶ ∆ία καὶ Ἀπόλλω νομίζοντες, Θάσιοι Θεαγένην, ὑφ' οὗ καὶ φόνος Ὀλυμ πίασιν ἐγένετο, Σάμιοι Λύσανδρον ἐπὶ τοσαύταις σφαγαῖς καὶ τοσούτοις κακοῖς, Ἀλκμὰν καὶ Ἡσίοδος Μήδειαν ἢ Νιόβην Κίλικες, Σικελοὶ Φίλιππον τὸν Βουτακίδου, Ὀνησίλαον Ἀμαθούσιοι, Ἀμίλκαν Καρχηδόνιοι· ἐπιλείψει με ἡ ἡμέρα τὸ πλῆθος καταλέγοντα. ὅταν οὖν αὐτοὶ αὑτοῖς διαφωνῶσιν περὶ τῶν κατ' αὐτοὺς θεῶν, τί ἡμῖν μὴ συμφερομένοις ἐπικαλοῦσιν; τὸ δὲ κατ' Aἰγυπτίους μὴ καὶ γελοῖον ᾖ· τύπτονται γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς τὰ στήθη κατὰ τὰς πανηγύρεις ὡς ἐπὶ τετελευτηκόσιν καὶ θύουσιν ὡς θεοῖς. καὶ οὐδὲν θαυμαστόν· οἵ γε καὶ τὰ θηρία θεοὺς ἄγουσιν καὶ ξυρῶνται ἐπεὶ ἀποθνῄσκουσιν, καὶ θάπτουσιν ἐν ἱεροῖς καὶ δημοτελεῖς κοπετοὺς ἐγείρουσιν. ἂν τοίνυν ἡμεῖς, ὅτι μὴ κοινῶς ἐκείνοις θεοσεβοῦμεν, ἀσεβῶμεν, πᾶσαι μὲν πόλεις, πάντα δὲ ἔθνη ἀσεβοῦσιν· οὐ γὰρ τοὺς αὐτοὺς πάντες ἄγουσι θεούς.