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Against the Galilaeans: Roman Paganism’s Champion Argues against Christianity
By Julian the Apostate. New and Complete edition translated by Wilmer Cave Wright and Thomas Taylor
“The book that contains the reflections of the Emperor Julian should be circulated in millions. What wonderful intelligence, what discernment, all the wisdom of antiquity! It’s extraordinary.” — Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk, entry for 25th October 1941.
A new edition containing the most complete and accurate translation and reconstruction yet published of the book Contra Galilaeos (where Galilaeos referred to the followers of Jesus of Galilee).
First written in 363 AD by Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus, this work formed part of his attempt to halt the spread of Christianity throughout the Empire. As a result, he was given the title “Apostate” (from the Greek apostasia, the formal renunciation of a religion) by Christian historians.
Using logic and satire, Julian pointed out the many inherent contradictions within the teachings of Christianity, the Hebrew origins of the religion and its precepts, and its inversion of classical Hellenic and Roman thought patterns.
Against the Galilaeans is without question the most censored book in history. Christian Church Father and Patriach of Alexandria, Cyril, called it the most dangerous book ever written. As a result, Cyril attempted a refutation of Julian’s work titled Contra Iulianum (“Against Julian”), even though he lived nearly 100 years later.
Finally, all copies of Julian’s book were ordered destroyed by official edict of the Christian emperor Justinian in 592 AD. After this time, the existence of Against the Galileans was only known from scattered references in other books.
It was only in 1809—some 1,200 years later—that English classical scholar Thomas Taylor finally translated Cyril’s book “Against Julian” into English, and from there, made a reconstruction of Julian’s book from the quotes contained in Cyril’s work.
Taylor gave his reconstruction the title “The Arguments of the Emperor Julian against the Christians, translated from the Greek fragments preserved from the Greek fragments preserved by Cyril Bishop of Alexandria, to which are added, Extracts from the other works of Julian relative to the Christians.” This entire reconstruction is contained in this new edition.
In 1923, American classical scholar Wilmer Cave Wright completed another full translation of Julian’s works and included an exact translation and new reconstruction of “Against the Galilaeans,” which she published under that title. Wright used a number of sources and provided additional material which was not included in Taylor’s version. Wright’s version became the most widely circulated, and in its German translation, even drew the attention of Adolf Hitler.
This new combined edition is the most complete reconstruction of Julian’s book ever published and contains two sets of appendices contained in both versions.
“It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that the fabrication of the Galilaeans is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. For they have not accepted a single admirable or important doctrine of those that are held either by us Hellenes or by the Hebrews who derived them from Moses; but from both religions they have gathered what has been engrafted like powers of evil, as it were, on these nations—atheism from the Jewish levity, and a sordid and slovenly way of living from our indolence and vulgarity; and they desire that this should be called the noblest worship of the gods.”
Introduction to the New Combined Edition
Introduction to the 1923 Edition by Wilmer Cave Wright
Part I: Section I
Against the Galileans: The remains of the three books, excerpted from Cyril of Alexandria, Contra Julianum. Translated and compiled by Willmer Cave Wright (1923)
Part I: Section II
Part II: Section I
The Arguments of the Emperor Julian against the Christians, translated from the Greek fragments preserved from the Greek fragments preserved by Cyril Bishop of Alexandria, translated and compiled by Thomas Taylor (1809)
Part II: Section II
Extracts from the other Works of Julian relative to the Christians translated and compiled by Thomas Taylor (1809)
About the author: Julian (331–363), also known as Julian the Apostate, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363. Julian became Caesar over the western provinces in 355, and in 360, was proclaimed Augustus by his soldiers at Lutetia (Paris) and was named as such by Emperor Constantius as successor. As the last non-Christian Emperor, he sought to restore the Empire’s ancient Roman values and traditions, and part of this was the revival of traditional Roman religious practices. His rejection of Christianity caused him to be remembered as “Julian the Apostate” by the church. He died after being mortally wounded during a military campaign against the Sassanid Empire in what is today Iraq.
About the translators: Emily Wilmer Cave Wright (née, France) (1868–1951) was a British-American classical philologist and Professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. Her academic achievements included studies at Girton College, Cambridge, a Fellow in Greek, Bryn Mawr College, a Fellow in Latin and Greek at the University of Chicago.
Thomas Taylor (1758 –1835) was a British classicist who was the first to translate into English the complete works of Aristotle and of Plato, while working as Assistant Secretary to the Society for the Encouragement of Art (the precursor to the Royal Society of Arts) in London.
130 pages. Paperback.
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