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 XIX.—The Philosophers Agree with the Poets Respecting the Gods.

Such was the beginning of the existence both of their gods and of the universe. Now what are we to make of this? For each of those things to which divinity is ascribed is conceived of as having existed from the first. For, if they have come into being, having previously had no existence, as those say who treat of the gods, they do not exist. For, a thing is either uncreated and eternal, or created and perishable. Nor do I think one thing and the philosophers another. “What is that which always is, and has no origin; or what is that which has been originated, yet never is?”63    Plat., Tim., p. 27, D. Discoursing of the intelligible and the sensible, Plato teaches that that which always is, the intelligible, is unoriginated, but that which is not, the sensible, is originated, beginning to be and ceasing to exist. In like manner, the Stoics also say that all things will be burnt up and will again exist, the world receiving another beginning. But if, although there is, according to them, a twofold cause, one active and governing, namely providence, the other passive and changeable, namely matter, it is nevertheless impossible for the world, even though under the care of Providence, to remain in the same state, because it is created—how can the constitution of these gods remain, who are not self-existent,64    Literally, “by nature.” but have been originated? And in what are the gods superior to matter, since they derive their constitution from water? But not even water, according to them, is the beginning of all things. From simple and homogeneous elements what could be constituted? Moreover, matter requires an artificer, and the artificer requires matter. For how could figures be made without matter or an artificer? Neither, again, is it reasonable that matter should be older than God; for the efficient cause must of necessity exist before the things that are made.

Aὕτη ἀρχὴ γενέσεως περὶ τοὺς κατ' αὐτοὺς θεούς τε καὶ τῷ παντί. ἐκεῖνο τοίνυν ἕκαστον γὰρ τῶν τεθεολογημένων ὡς τὴν ἀρχήν ονειναι . εἰ γὰρ γεγόνασιν οὐκ ὄντες, ὡς οἱ περὶ αὐτῶν θεολογοῦντες λέγουσιν, οὐκ εἰσίν· ἢ γὰρ ἀγένητόν τι, καὶ ἔστιν ἀίδιον, ἢ γενητόν, καὶ φθαρτόν ἐστιν. καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μὲν οὕτως, ἑτέρως δὲ οἱ φιλόσοφοι. “τί τὸ ὂν ἀεὶ γένεσίν τε οὐκ ἔχον, ἢ τί τὸ γενόμενον μέν, ὂν δὲ οὐδέποτε;” περὶ νοητοῦ καὶ αἰσθητοῦ δια λεγόμενος ὁ Πλάτων τὸ μὲν ἀεὶ ὄν, τὸ νοητόν, ἀγένητον εἶναι διδάσκει, τὸ δὲ οὐκ ὄν, τὸ αἰσθητόν, γενητόν, ἀρχόμενον εἶναι καὶ παυόμενον. τούτῳ τῷ λόγῳ καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Στοᾶς ἐκπυρω θήσεσθαι τὰ πάντα καὶ πάλιν ἔσεσθαί φασιν, ἑτέραν ἀρχὴν τοῦ κόσμου λαβόντος. εἰ δέ, καίτοι δισσοῦ αἰτίου κατ' αὐτοὺς ὄντος, τοῦ μὲν δραστηρίου καὶ καταρχομένου, καθὸ ἡ πρόνοια, τοῦ δὲ πάσχοντος καὶ τρεπομένου, καθὸ ἡ ὕλη, ἀδύνατον [δέ] ἐστιν καὶ προνοούμενον ἐπὶ ταὐτοῦ μεῖναι τὸν κόσμον γενόμενον, πῶς ἡ τούτων μένει σύστασις, οὐ φύσει ὄντων ἀλλὰ γενομένων; τί δὲ τῆς ὕλης κρείττους οἱ θεοὶ τὴν σύστασιν ἐξ ὕδατος ἔχοντες; ἀλλ' οὔτε κατ' αὐτοὺς ὕδωρ τοῖς πᾶσιν ἀρχή (ἐκ γὰρ ἁπλῶν καὶ μονοειδῶν στοιχείων τί ἂν συστῆναι δύναιτο; δεῖ δὲ καὶ τῇ ὕλῃ τεχνίτου καὶ ὕλης τῷ τεχνίτῃ· ἢ πῶς ἂν γένοιτο τὰ ἐκτυπώματα χωρὶς τῆς ὕλης ἢ τοῦ τεχνίτου;)· οὔτε πρεσβυτέραν λόγον ἔχει εἶναι τὴν ὕλην τοῦ θεοῦ· τὸ γὰρ ποιητικὸν αἴτιον προκατάρχειν τῶν γιγνομένων ἀνάγκη.