Lucian on Jesus and his followers  

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"References to Christians have been found in various of [Lucian's] writings, especially his "Peregrinus." In the "Alexander" (ch. 25-38) we have a miracle-monger, preying on the stupidity of the Christians in Cappadocia. Allusions to the Christians are found by some in the "Philopseudes" c. 16, wherein Baur [4] sees a reference to Jesus and the practice of exorcisms, and in the "True Story" 2, 4, 11, 12." --A Study of the Classic Pagan References to Nascent Christianity

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Lucian of Samosata (Born 115 AD) was a well-known Greek satirist and traveling lecturer. More than eighty works bear his name. He mocks the followers of Jesus for their ignorance and credulity, although he does credit Christians with a certain level of morality. He is considered important to Christians for giving insight into the Historical Jesus.

Lucian describes the Christians in a passage from The Death of Peregrine. Jesus is not named, but he is called "crucified sophist".

The Crucified Sophist

We have three quotes about Jesus and his followers. The first quote tells of the lore of the Christians, who worship a man crucified in Palestine because he introduced a new cult to the world.

He was second only to that one whom they still worship today, the man in Palestine who was crucified because he brought this new form of initiation into the world.

The second quote:

Having convinced themselves that they are immortal and will live forever, the poor wretches despise death and most willingly give themselves to it. Moreover, that first lawgiver of theirs persuaded them that they are all brothers the moment they transgress and deny the Greek gods and begin worshiping that crucified sophist and living by his laws.

Jesus is not mentioned by name in these citations, but there is little doubt that it is Jesus to whom Lucian is referring here. No one else was ever worshiped by the Christians.

The third quote:

They scorn all possessions without distinction and treat them as community property. They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time.

References




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