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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Before pagan philosophers such as Celsus became interested in Christianity, few pagan authors apparently read any of the Septuagint, if the existent evidence is reliable. Lucian of Samosata was aware of Christian traditions and texts, but probably had not read any of the New Testament. His accusation that Christianity was not based on careful proof reappeared frequently in the critics who followed him such as Galen and Celsus. Porphyry, considered by the Christians to be their most dangerous critic, wrote a denunciation of their faith that still reverberates in biblical studies. Hierocles admired Apollonius of Tyana but not Jesus. Julian, called the Apostate, had read much of the LXX and NT and attacked Christian texts using literary and philosophical methods. Macarius’ anonymous pagan philosopher read the NT closely, but his criticisms were not profound.

Keywords: pagan critique, Lucian, Celsus, Galen, Hierocles, Porphyry, Julian, Macarius’ philosopher

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