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Lucian of Samosata

At a Glance
Satire
Genre:
(4/5) ****
Reliability of Dating:
(3/5) ***
Length of Text:
Greek
Original Language:
Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 165-175 A.D.

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Information on Lucian of Samosata

Lucian satirized the Christians in his Passing of Peregrinus, a story of a philosopher sage who at one point becomes a leader of the Christians to take advantage of their gullibility. Here is a quote:

"These deluded creatures, you see, have persuaded themselves that they are immortal and will live forever, which explains the contempt of death and willing self-sacrifice so common among them. It was impressed on them too by their lawgiver that from the moment they are converted, deny the gods of Greece, worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws, they are all brothers. They take his instructions completely on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods and hold them in common ownership. So any adroit, unscrupulous fellow, who knows the world, has only to get among these simple souls and his fortune is quickly made; he plays with them."

It is unclear how much of Lucian's tale of Peregrinus is historical, but we do have another witness to the historical Peregrinus from Aulus Gellius. Aulus Gellius said he visited Peregrinus Proteus several times at his hut outside of Athens and heard from him "many things that were in truth helpful and noble" (book 12, chapter 11, quote given by Roger Pearse here).

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Kirby, Peter. "Lucian of Samosata." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/lucian.html>.