Alexander of Wolf City Against the Christian heretics

Black-WolfI found this interesting passage Roger Pearse posted, thanks to Edward Butler. With a couple minor changes (like substituting virtue signalling for ethical exhortation) Alexander could be speaking about Neopagans and Polytheists.

P.W. van der Horst & J. Mansfeld, An Alexandrian Platonist against Dualism: Alexander of Lycopolis’ Treatise ‘Critique of the Doctrines of Manichaeus’, Leiden, 1974.

The philosophy of the Christians is a simple philosophy. It is chiefly devoted to ethical instruction, while in so far as relatively precise statements of the Christians about God are concerned it remains ambiguous. The endeavours in this direction amount to the assumption that the productive cause is the most honourable, the most important and the cause of all beings, an idea to which, in all fairness, no one will take exception. In ethics too they avoid the more difficult problems such as what is ethical and what is intellectual virtue and the whole subject of dispositions and affections. Hence they merely devote themselves to ethical exhortation, without laying down the principles according to which each individual virtue should be acquired, but indiscriminately heaping up precepts of a rather ponderous nature. Ordinary people listen to these precepts and, as you can see with your own eyes, make great progress in virtue, and a stamp of piety is imprinted on their characters, stimulating the moral disposition which grows from this sort of habituation and leading them by degrees towards the desire of the good.

Since this simple philosophy has been split up into numerous factions by its later adherents, the number of issues has increased just as in sophistry, with the result that some of these men became even  more skilful and, so to speak, more prone to creating issues than others. Indeed some of them, in the long run, became leaders of sects. Consequently, ethical instruction declined and grew dim, since none of those who wanted to be leaders of sects was able to attain theoretical precision  and since the common people became more inclined to internal strife. For there was no norm or laws on the basis of which issues could be decided.

Edward also tweeted We Should Probably Talk About That Time Susan and Lucy Attended a Bacchanal in Narnia.


2 thoughts on “Alexander of Wolf City Against the Christian heretics

  1. “Ordinary people listen to these precepts and, as you can see with your own eyes, make great progress in virtue […]”

    Gotta love the sarcasm.


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