A long time ago, a Pagan critic wrote an antidote to fundamentalist Christianity. The book was called On The True Doctrine (’alethès logos). The author’s name was Celsus. Celsus was a Pagan Roman intellectual and Platonist, and he wrote his book in the second century of the Common Era. His book must have been effective, because as they tend to do when they find something disagreeable to their version of the truth, the Christians burned it.
Little is known of the man. The proto-Orthodox Christian scholar Origen, when crafting his rebuttal of Celsus’ charges against Christianity, was able to learn little about him. Origen produced his counter-polemic Contra Celsum in 248, or some 50-70 years after Celsus wrote.
Because his book was enthusiastically burned out of existence, what we know of Celsus’ original work we know solely through excerpts preserved in Origen’s book. Celsus is commonly thought to have lived in the Antonine Age, that period Gibbon was so enamored of, and published his book during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic philosopher whose period of sole rule lasted from 175-180 CE, though Jeffrey Hargis, against the commonly accepted date of 178, argues for the Severan, rather than Antonine Era, 200 ± 10 years. (Read More)