Celsus (Late 2nd Century)

Theology on the Web helps over 2.5 million people every year to find high quality theological resources that will help to equip them to serve God and to know Him better (2 Timothy 2:15). Like other websites that provide free services, it is dependent on donations to enable it to grow and develop and only 0.004% of visitors currently do so. If you would like to support this site, please use one of the options to the right of this message.


CELSUS, a Greek philosopher who in the second century (about 178) wrote a book against the Christians, to which Origen replied with his Contra Celsum. Nothing is known either of the book or of the author, except what can be gathered from Origen's reply.

"CELSUS," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn., Vol. 1. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. p.426.

Primary Sources

On-line Resource Celsus' view of Christians and Christianity.
Book or monograph Henry Chadwick, Origen: Contra Celsum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Pbk. ISBN: 0521295769.
Book or monograph Celsus: On The True DoctrineR. Joseph Hoffman, translator. Celsus: On The True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Pbk. ISBN: 0195041518. pp.160.

Secondary Sources

Book or monograph C. Andresen, Logos and Nomos. Berlin: de Groyter, 1955.
Article in Journal or Book Silke-Petra Bergijan, "Celsus the Epicurean? The Interpretation of an Argument in Origen, Contra Celsum," Harvard Theological Review 94.2 (2001): 181-206.
Article in Journal or Book Gary T. Burke, "Walter Bauer and Celsus: The shape of Late Second Century Christianity," The Second Century, 4 (1984): 1-7.
Article in Journal or Book Gary T. Burke, "Celsus and the Old Testament," Vetus Testamentum 36.2 (April 1986): 241-245.
Article in Journal or Book Henry Chadwick, "Origen, Celsus and the Resurrection of the Body," Harvard Theological Review 41 (1948): 83-102.
Article in Journal or Book Bernard Doherty, "Competing for the Crown: Tertullian, Montanism and 'Voluntary Martyrdom' Revisited," Phronema 36.2 (2021): 1-32.
Article in Journal or Book Coleman M. Ford, "'Able to Convince Only the Foolish': Anti-Christian Polemic as Social Scrutiny in Celsus’s on the True Doctrine," Churchman 133.1 (Spring 2019): 21-33.
On-line Resource John Alfred Faulkner, “The First Intellectual Attack on Christianity,” Review & Expositor 15.2 (April 1918): 134-141. View in PDF format pdf [This material is in the Public Domain]
Article in Journal or Book W.H.C. Frend, "Christianity in the Second Century: Orthodoxy and Diversity," The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 48.2 (April 1997): 302-313.
Article in Journal or Book David Neal Greenwood, "The Alethes Logos of Celsus and the Historicity of Christ," Anglican Theological Review 96.4 (Fall 2014): 705-713.
Article in Journal or Book Howard M. Jackson,"The Setting and Sectarian Provenance of the Fragment of the ‘Celestial Dialogue’ Preserved by Origen from Celsus’s Alethes Logos," Harvard Theological Review 85.3 (July 1992): 273-305.
Article in Journal or Book Adam C. Koontz, "Scripture as Philosophy in Origen's Contra Celsum," Concordia Theological Quarterly 83.3-4 (July 2019): 237-49.
Article in Journal or Book Antti Laato, "Celsus, Toledot Yeshu and Early Traces of Apology for the Virgin Birth of Jesus," Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 27 (2016): 61-80.
Article in Journal or Book Silke-Petra Bergjan, "Celsus the Epicurean?: The Interpretation of an Argument in Origen, Contra Celsum," Harvard Theological Review 94. 2 (April 2001): 179-204.
Book or monograph Questen: Patrology, Vol. 2Johannes Quasten, Patrology. Vol. 2. Utrecht / Westminster: Spectrum / Christian Classics, 1953. Pbk. ISBN: 0870610856.
Article in Journal or Book Jason M. Scarborough, "Origen and Celsus: Exegesis and Apologetics," Union Seminary Quarterly Review 62.1-2 (2009): 46-56.
On-line Resource Celsus the Platonist (William Turner)
Article in Journal or Book Gerard Watson, "Celsus and the Philosophical Opposition to Christianity," Irish Theological Quarterly 58.3 (1992): 165-179.
Sign-up to Perlego and access book instantly Wilken: The Christians as the Romans Saw ThemRobert L. Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 2nd edn. New Haven & London: Yale: University Press, 2011. . ISBN: 9780300160956. pp.94-125. [Sign-up to Perlego and access book instantly]
On-line Resource Edward J. Young, "Biblical Criticism in the Second Century" (Pd.D. diss., The Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, 1943).View in PDF format pdf [Reproduced by permission of the current copyright holder]
On-line Resource Edward J. Young, "Celsus and the Old Testament," Westminster Theological Journal 6.2 (May 1944): 166-197. View in PDF format pdf [Reproduced by kind permission of the copyright holder]

Related Subjects

Alexander of Alexandria | Ambrose | Aristides | Arnobius | Athanasius | Athenagoras | Augustine | Basil | Boethius | John Cassian | Celsus | Clement of Alexandria | Clement of Rome | Constantine | Cyprian | Cyril of Alexandria | Cyril of Jerusalem | Dionysius the Areopagite | Ephraem the Syrian | Epiphanius | Eusebius of Caesarea | Gregory of Nazianzus | Gregory of Nyssa | Gregory Thaumaturgus | Hermas | Hilary of Poitiers | Hippolytus | Ignatius of Antioch | Irenaeus of Lyons | Julius Africanus | Jerome | John Chrysostom | Josephus | Justin Martyr | Justinian I | Lactantius | Leo the Great | Marcellus | Macarius | Martin of Tours | Melito | Methodius | Minucius Felix | Novatian | Origen | Pachomius | Papias | Philo | Polycarp | Synesius of Cyrene | Tatian | Tertullian | Theodore of Mopsuestia | Theodoret | Theophilus | Tyconius | Ulfilas | Victorinus | Marius Victorinus

Become a Patron!Buy Me a Coffee! Support this siteSponsored Ad: Biblemesh ActivEreader