Julian, To the Cynic Heracleios, Oration 7 (215d-216b)
“I should now say a little bit about the divisions or tools of philosophy. For it is no big deal whether someone applies logic with practical or natural philosophy, for it is similarly necessary in both cases. But these three divisions can each be split into three others. Natural philosophy has theology, mathematics and as a third the examination of things that develop and perish and those that are unseen and which concerns what their essence is and existence entails for each one.
Practical philosophy, because it concerns a single man, has ethics, economics—when it pertains to a household—and politics—when it concerns the state. Logic in turn is demonstrative through truths, but rather violent when dealing with opinions or polemical when concerned with beliefs that merely appear to be true.
These are the subdisciplines of philosophy unless something has escaped me. Indeed, it would not be shocking were some mere soldier incapable of precisely describing or managing these kinds of definitions, since they come not from book learning but from observation and some experience. You can be my witnesses for this to, if you consider how many days there were because the lecture we recently heard and today and in addition the number of matters which have taken my attention. But, the thing I was saying, if I missed anything, and I really don’t think I did, if someone else can finish it, he won’t be my enemy but my friend.”
“See that they don’t blame you any longer but honor you and have affection for you because they take part in these things. While the cost is of little account to you, the gift in their time of need will always be remembered. Furthermore, you would not be able to live in cities if the poor did not live there with you and make your happiness possible in countless ways. You would have no one to amaze with your wealth if you were rich alone, in private, and without anyone knowing.
So, let the masses gaze upon and wonder at your silver, your fine tables, and then, when you are toasting them, have them weigh their cups while they drink, consider the weight of the gold applied with skill, and contemplate the truth of the story it tells. In addition to hearing them call you noble and philanthropic, you will fall outside their envy. For who begrudges someone who shares and gives a little portion? And who wouldn’t pray for him to live as long as possible, benefiting from his goods? Right now, your blessings go unwitnessed, your wealth is an object of envy, and your life is not pleasant.”
“I can reproach you for writing to me like that and complain not about getting letters too infrequently but that they aren’t long enough. So that a great war will not be set ablaze from a minor spark and cause us attack one another with words rather than enjoying letters, let it be given that you revere the Spartan model of speech and that I would rebuke you incorrectly. Enjoy this victory since I was happily defeated.
It is my duty to remind you of the books you promised me and yours to confess you did not give them. As I was fleeing from the plague in the great city, I was reading a speech to you, a work of praise on Strategios’ daughter. We were both amazed in looking on an ancient book written in a beautiful hand. And we remarked that once handwriting was beautiful, but it is not now.”
The following comes from a section where Socrates Scholasticus is discrediting Greek polytheism by reporting on the corruptibility of the oracles
Socrates Scholasticus, 3.23.155-170
“The oracle claims that it is Attis, the one who killed himself because of sex madness, and Adonis, and Dionysus. When Alexander the King of the Macedonians was crossing to Asia, the Amphictiones were trying to please him and the Pythian oracle reported these things:
Zeus, highest of the gods, and Athena Tritogeneia
Honor them, and the lord hidden in a thundrous body,
The one whom Zeus sowed on his noble knees
A helper of Good-law to mortals, Alexander the King!
The divine authority at Pythia prophesied these things. And in this, it used to even flatter powerful people by making gods. For perhaps it it did this for flattery. For why would the oracle say, as it did when apotheosizing the boxer Kleomedes, these things about him:
22. “And, look, Joseph was prepared to leave to Judea and there was trouble in Bethlehem. For the Magi had come from the East in Persia, saying, “Where is the child born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the East and we have come to bow before him. When Herod heard this, he was upset and he sent attendants to the Magi and he also summoned the high priests and asked them, “Where has this “Christ” been born?” and they answered, “In Bethlehem of Judea—for it was written thus.” And he let them go. Then he questioned the Magi, saying to them, “What sign did you see for a king who was born?” And the magi said to him, we say the greatest start blazing among the these stars and making them seem dull. We knew from this that a king had been born for Israel. For this reason we came to bow before him.” And Herod responded, “Go and seek out the child carefully. And when he is found, send me news of it so that I can go and bow to him too.
And so the Magi left and, look, the star which they saw in the east led them on until they came to that place where the cave protected the child’s head. And when they saw him with his mother Mary, they bowed and took from their strongboxes the gifts they brought: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because they had been warned by a sacred angel not to enter Judea near Herod, they took another route to return to their country.
22 But once Herod figured out that he had been evaded by the Magi, he was enraged and he sent assassins whom he ordered to kill all infants under two years. Once Mary heard that the infants were being killed, she took her child in fear and left to Egypt with Joseph, just as was predicated to them. But when Elisabeth took John and went into the hills and looked around for a place to hide him, there was no safe sanctuary. Then, she said as she cried, “Mountain, mountain—take a mother with her child. For she was not able to leave. And then suddenly, the mountain split into two and welcomed her. The mountain itself was alight for them and there was an angel of the lord looking over them.”
19. And then I saw a woman walking from the hills and she said to me, “Man, where are you going? And I said to her, “I am looking for a midwife.” And she answered, “From Israel?” and I said to her, “Yes, mistress.” And She said to me, “Who is the woman who is giving birth in the cave?” and I said, “She is my betrothed.” And she responded, “She is not your wife?” and I said to her, “She is Mary and I drew her as my lot to be a wife, but she was raised in the Holiest of Holies. And she is not my wife, but she has become pregnant from the holy spirit. And she said, “Tell me the truth,” and I told her, “Come and see.” And she left with him.”
They stood were the cave was and there was a cloud shading over it. The midwife said, “My soul is ennobled this day because I recognize a new sight and a miracle—since a savior is born for Israel.” Then, immediately, the cloud withdrew from the cave and a great light appeared in it which our eyes could not bear. Soon, that light too receded until the infant appeared and took the breast of its mother Mary.
Then the midwife shouted out, “Today is a great day because I have seen a new wonder.” And then the midwife left the cave and met Salôme and said to her, “Salôme, Salôme, I have a new wonder to explain to you. A virgin gave birth, a thing which human nature does not allow.” And Salôme said, “As the Lord God lives, if I do not see this—if I do not put my hand into her—I will not believe that a virgin gave birth.”
And Salôme entered the cave and said, “Maria, prepare yourself, for no small test of you is at hand.” Then she examined her. And Salôme yelled out and cried, saying, “Oh, my lawlessness and lack of faith, that I tested the living God. And look, my hand is burning and falling away. Then Salôme bent her knees and said toward her Lord, “the God of our fathers, remember me, that I am the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jakob—do not make an example of me before the sons of Israel, but return my poverty to me. And, look, an angel of the Lord appeared saying to Salôme, “Salôme, Salôme, the Lord God heard your prayer. Come near the child and lift him up and he will be your safety.”
Then Salôme went to the child and lifted him up and said, “Truly, a great king has been born to Israel.” Then she was suddenly healed and she left the cave filled with justice. And, look, a voice sounded out and said, “Salôme, Salôme, do not spread the news of the miracles you have witness around until the child enters Jerusalem.”
17. “Then there was a summons from Herod the King [or Augustus] to record how many people there were in Bethlehem of Judea. And Joseph was compelled to return from Nazareth to Bethlehem. So Joseph said, “I will record my sons, but what should I do about the girl? How will I record her? As my wife? I am ashamed to do that. But as my daughter? The sons of Israel know that she is not my daughter. This day of the Lord will accomplish as it wishes.
And he prepared a donkey and put the girl on it and his son led it as [Samuel and] he followed after. Once they came about three miles from the city, Joseph turned and say her looking despondent and said to himself, “Perhaps what is in her is causing her pain.” And then Joseph turned back again and say her laughing and said, “Mary, what is this that I see your face now in laughter and then suddenly in pain?” And she said, “Joseph, I see two people with my eyes, one weeping and mourning and one rejoicing and feeling glory.”
Then they arrived near the middle of the journey, and Mary said to him: “take me down from the donkey, for that which is within me is pressing me to come out.” And he took her down and said to her, “Where will I take you and hide your impropriety, since this place is empty?”
18. Then he found nearby a cave and took her into it and stationed his sons near her as he left to seek a Hebrew midwife in the area near Bethlehem. “Now I, Joseph, was walking and I was not walking. I looked up into the curve of heaven and I saw it stop still. And I looked into the sky and I saw it still, all the birds of the sky had deserted it. And I looked toward the earth and I saw a dish lying there and workmen were placing it there. Their hands were in the vessel. Those who were chewing were not showing and those who were lifting food were not lifting it and those who were pressing something to their mouth were not pressing it. But everyone had their faces looking upward. I saw flocks which were being driven, but the sheep stood still. And The shepherd raised his hand to strike them, but his hand did not come down again. And I looked at the flowing of the river and I saw kids there and even though they had their mouths right next to the water, they did not drink. And then, all of a sudden, everything returned to its normal course.
“Then the Scribe Annas came to him and said to him, “Why didn’t you appear at our assembly?” And Joseph said to him, “Because I was completely worn out from my travel and I had rested only a day.” Then Annas turned and saw the pregnant virgin. Then he left the house quickly and told the top-priest, “Joseph, whom you will witness, has broken the law severely.” And the Priest said, “What is this?” and Annas responded, “The virgin whom he took from the temple of the Lord, he has defiled her. And the priest said to him in response, “Joseph, Joseph did this?” And Annas said, “Send your attendants and you will discover a pregnant virgin.
So the attendants left and they found her, just as he said, and they led her with Joseph to judgment. The priest said, “Mary, why did you do this and lay low your soul and forget the Lord, your God, when you were raised up in the Holiest of Holies and took food from an angel’s hand—you even heard their hymn and you danced among them? Why did you do this?” She wept bitterly, saying, “As the Lord God lives, I am clean before him and I have known no man.”
So then the priest said, “Joseph, why did you do this?” And Joseph responded, “As the Lord, my God lives, I am innocent concerning her.” Then the priest said, “Do not bear false witness, but speak the truth. You hid your marriage and you did not declare it openly to the sons of Israel, and you did not bow your head under the powerful hand so that your seed would be blessed.” Then Joseph was silent.
Then the priest spoke, “Give the virgin whom you took from the temple of the Lord back. And, as he cried, Joseph stood still. Then the Priest said, “I will make you drink the Lord’s water of testing and it will make your sins clear in your eyes.” Then the priest had Joseph drink the water and sent him to the hills. And he came back, whole. He also made the virgin drink and sent her into the hills. She came back too. The whole people wondered at this, that there was no sin revealed among them. And the priest said, “If the Lord God does not make their sin manifest, then I do not judge them and he has freed them.” Then Joseph took Mary and returned to his own home, feeling joy and glorying the god of Israel.”