Julian, Against the Galilaeans

LCL 157: 312-313

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The Emperor Julian


Julian, like Epictetus, always calls the Christians Galilaeans1 because he wishes to emphasise that this was a local creed, “the creed of fishermen,” and perhaps to remind his readers that “out of Galilee ariseth no prophet”;2 with the same intention he calls Christ “the Nazarene.”3 His chief aim in the treatise was to show that there is no evidence in the Old Testament for the idea of Christianity, so that the Christians have no right to regard their teaching as a development of Judaism. His attitude throughout is that of a philosopher who rejects the claims of one small sect to have set up a universal religion. He speaks with respect of the God of the Hebrews, admires the Jewish discipline, their sacrifices and their prohibition of certain foods, plays off the Jews against the Christians, and reproaches the latter for having abandoned the Mosaic law; but he contrasts the jealous, exclusive “particular” (μερικός) Hebraic God with the universal Hellenic gods who do not confine their attentions to a small and unimportant portion of the world. Throughout Julian’s works

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.emperor_julian-against_galilaeans.1923