Against the Galileans – Fragment 17

On these things, the god is said malicious. Indeed, after he saw the man taking his part of the intelligence, in order that, he says, he wouldn’t taste the wood of life, he sent him out of the garden while precisely saying: [“Behold, Adam has become like one of us through knowing the beautiful [1] and the bad. And now, never he stretch his hand out nor take from the wood of life, nor eat, nor live for eternity.” And the lord god brought him out from the garden of delights.] [2] This is why, if each of these elements is not a tale containing some secret speculation, as I believed [3], the words are full of numerous slanders on the god. Indeed, disregarding the fact that the female one [4] who was born to be an aid would be the cause of fall, forbidding the knowledge of what is beautiful [1] and what is bad – the only thing that seems to keep human life – and in addition, being jealous that the one who takes part in life, from mortal, become immortal, is the deed [5] of an envious and an excessive malicious.


[1] καλὸν is rendered by “the good” in classical translations, but originally means “the beautiful”

[2] is a quote from Genesis 3:22,23

[3] understand: “as I once believed”

[4] ͱη γινομένη: feminine the in “the (one) born”

[5] literally “is (the thing) of an envious and of an excessive malicious

Notice on text and translation.


Επὶ τούτοις ͱο θεός λέγεται βάσκανος. Επειδὴ γὰρ εῖδε μετασχόντα τῆς φρονήσεως τὸν άνθρωπον, ίνα μή, φησί, γεύσηται τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς, εξέβαλεν αυτὸν τοῦ παραδείσου διαρρήδην ειπών · [“Ιδού, Αδὰμ γέγονεν ͱως ͱεῖς εξ ͱημῶν τοῦ γιγνώσκειν καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν. Καὶ νῦν μήποτε εκτείνῃ τὴν χεῖρα καὶ λάβῃ απὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ φάγῃ καὶ ζήσεται εις τὸν αιῶνα.” Καὶ εξαπέστειλεν αυτὸν κύριος ͱο θεός εκ τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς.] [1] Τούτων τοίνυν ͱέκαστον ει μὴ μῦθος είη έχων απόρρητον θεωρίαν, ͱόπερ εγὼ νενόμικα, πολλῆς γέμουσιν ͱοι λόγοι περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ βλασφημίας. Τὸ γὰρ αγνοῆσαι μὲν ͱως ͱη γινομένη βοηθὸς αιτία τοῦ πτώματος έσται καὶ τὸ απαγορεῦσαι καλοῦ καὶ πονηροῦ γνῶσιν, ͱὸ μόνον έοικε συνέχειν τὸν βίον τὸν ανθρώπινον, καὶ προσέτι τὸ ζηλοτυπῆσαι μὴ τῆς ζωῆς μεταλαβὼν αθάνατος εκ θνητοῦ γένηται, φθονεροῦ καὶ βασκάνου λίαν εστίν.


Julian’s Against the Galileans, Fragment 17, translation by J-S Desnanot

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