Past Postings

Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.

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[ch. 3]
...And some say that plagues, and hail-storms, and tempests, and the like, are wont to take place, not alone in consequence of material disturbance, but also through anger of demons and bad angels. For instance, they say that the Magi at Cleone, watching the phenomena of the skies, when the clouds are about to discharge hail, avert the threatening of wrath by incantations and sacrifices. And if at any time there is the want of an animal, they are satisfied with bleeding their own finger for a sacrifice. The prophetess Diotima, by the Athenians offering sacrifice previous to the pestilence, effected a delay of the plague for ten years. The sacrifices, too, of Epimenides of Crete, put off the Persian war for an equal period. And it is considered to be all the same whether we call these spirits gods or angels. And those skilled in the matter of consecrating statues, in many of the temples have erected tombs of the dead, calling the souls of these Daemons, and teaching them to be worshipped by men; as having, in consequence of the purity of their life, by the divine foreknowledge, received the power of wandering about the space around the earth in order to minister to men. For they knew that some souls were by nature kept in the body. But of these, as the work proceeds, in the treatise on the angels, we shall discourse...
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 4.

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[ch. 2]
...From Pythagoras Plato derived the immortality of the soul; and he from the Egyptians. And many of the Platonists composed books, in which they show that the Stoics, as we said in the beginning, and Aristotle, took the most and principal of their dogmas from Plato. Epicurus also pilfered his leading dogmas from Democritus. Let these things then be so. For life would fail me, were I to undertake to go over the subject in detail, to expose the selfish plagiarism of the Greeks, and how they claim the discovery of the best of their doctrines, which they have received from us...
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 4.

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[ch. 14]
...Now the Stoics say that God, like the soul, is essentially body and spirit. You will find all this explicitly in their writings. Do not consider at present their allegories as the gnostic truth presents them; whether they show one thing and mean another, like the dexterous athletes. Well, they say that God pervades all being; while we call Him solely Maker, and Maker by the Word. They were misled by what is said in the book of Wisdom: “He pervades and passes through all by reason of His purity;” [Wisdom 7:24] since they did not understand that this was said of Wisdom, which was the first of the creation of God.

So be it, they say. But the philosophers, the Stoics, and Plato, and Pythagoras, nay more, Aristotle the Peripatetic, suppose the existence of matter among the first principles; and not one first principle. Let them then know that what is called matter by them, is said by them to be without quality, and without form, and more daringly said by Plato to be non-existence. And does he not say very mystically, knowing that the true and real first cause is one, in these very words: “Now, then, let our opinion be so. As to the first principle or principles of the universe, or what opinion we ought to entertain about all these points, we are not now to speak, for no other cause than on account of its being difficult to explain our sentiments in accordance with the present form of discourse.” But undoubtedly that prophetic expression, “Now the earth was invisible and formless,” supplied them with the ground of material essence...

...And how? Is it not similar to Scripture when it says, “Let us remove the righteous man from us, because he is troublesome to us?” [Wisdom 2:12] when Plato, all but predicting the economy of salvation, says in the second book of the Republic as follows: “Thus he who is constituted just shall be scourged, shall be stretched on the rack, shall be bound, have his eyes put out; and at last, having suffered all evils, shall be crucified.”

And the Socratic Antisthenes, paraphrasing that prophetic utterance, “To whom have you likened me? Says the Lord,” says that “God is like no one; wherefore no one can come to the knowledge of Him from an image.”...

...We are not, then, to think of God according to the opinion of the multitude...
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 5.

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