Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

In the first book of my Apology I have dealt with the accusations of dogmatic error which he endeavours unjustly to fix upon others, and have, by producing his own testimony, turned them back against him. In the second book, I shall be able, now that I have settled and put aside the matters which have to do with controversies of faith, more confidently to reply to him on the other heads of his accusation. For there is another and a very grave accusation, which has, like the former, to be cut down by the scythe of truth. It is this. He says 2924 that certain persons have joined themselves to Origen in a secret society of perjury, and that the forms of initiation are to be found in the Sixth book of his Miscellanies: 2925 and that p. 461 this mystery has been detected by no one but himself through all this space of time. I should only excite his ridicule were I to declare, even with an oath, that I was an entire stranger to such a secret society of perjury. The road by which I propose to reach the declaration of the truth is more direct: it is by proving, which I can do quite easily, that I have never possessed those books nor borrowed them from others to read. Not only cannot I defend myself from an accusation the meaning of which I do not know, but I do not see how a matter can be made the subject of a charge against me as to which I do not even know what it is, or whether it exists at all. I only know that my accuser declares that either Origen wrote or his disciples hold, that, when the Scripture says “He that speaketh truth with his neighbour” the words apply to a neighbour only in the sense of one of the initiated, a member of this secret society: and again that the Apostle’s words “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect” and the words of Christ “Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine,” imply that truth is not to be communicated to all.



Letter lxxxiv. 3 (end).


Stromateis, meaning collections of short essays on important subjects, disconnected, and thrown out like things scattered or strewn on the ground.

Next: Jerome's commentaries on Ephesians follow Origen's interpretation of the texts about a secret federation to whom higher truths are to be told.