Robert Berchman's new translation of Porphyry's *Agianst the Christians* is
a deeply troubled book for many reasons I will not boor this list with. But
he does make the fragments available in a convenient translation.
Probably most biblical scholars are familiar with the fragments of book XII
of Porphyry's work in which he argues in detail from Josephus and other
historical sources that the book of Daniel was composed during the Maccabean
revolt because it gives an accurate account up to a certain point and then
diverges off into fantasy, but here is a lesser known statement of Porphyry
that might be of interest (the fragment comes from Macarius Magnes' *
Apocriticus* and there is a huge scholarly literature debating whether he
knew Porphyry directly, through an excerptor, through Julian, or some other
intermediary, and he definitely lumps Hierocles and Porphyry into the same
basket along with perhaps others, but this fragment, based as it is on
detailed chronographical study, almost certainly comes from Porphyry):
And what is said appears to me to be replete with stupidity: "If you would
believe Moses you would also believe me for he has written concerning me"
(Jn 5;46). He said it but nothing Moses wrote has been preserved for all his
writings have been burnt with the temple. And all those written under his
name afterwards were composed inaccurately one thousand one hundred and
eighty years after moses death by Ezra and his followers. And even if one
were to allow that the work is by Moses, it is impossible to show that
Christ was said to be a God, or a divine Logos, or a demiurge. After all,
who had even spoken of Christ as crucified? [sc. in the Pentateuch].
fr. 68 Harnack, trans. Berchman, p. 198.
Bradley A. Skene
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