SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XXXIII. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, Strom. vii.16.98.2-4.


Misuse of Scripture by Heretics


Κἂν τολμήσωσι προφητικαῖς χρήσασθαι γραφαῖς καὶ οἱ τὰς αἱρέσεις μετιόντες πρῶτον μὲν οὐ πάσαις, ἔπειτα οὐ τελείαις οὐδὲ ὡς τὸ σῶμα καὶ τὸ ὕφος τῆς προφητείας ὑπαγορεύει, ἀλλ' ἐκλεγόμενοι τὰ ἀμφιβόλως εἰρημένα εἰς τὰς ἰδίας μετάγουσι δόξας, ὀλίγας σποράδην ἀπανθιζόμενοι φωνάς, οὐ τὸ σημαινόμενον ἀπ' αὐτῶν σκοποῦντες, ἀλλ' αὐτῇ ψιλῇ ἀπο χρώμενοι τῇ λέξει. σχεδὸν γὰρ ἐν πᾶσιν οἷς προσφέρονται ῥητοῖς εὕροις ἂν αὐτοὺς ὡς τοῖς ὀνόμασι μόνοις προσανέχουσι τὰ σημαινόμενα ὑπαλλάττοντες, οὔθ' ὡς λέγονται γινώσκοντες οὔθ' ὡς ἔχειν πεφύκασι χρώμενοι, αἷς καὶ δὴ κομίζουσιν ἐκλογαῖς.

And if those also who follow heresies venture to avail themselves of the prophetic Scriptures; in the first place they will not make use of all the Scriptures, and then they will not quote them entire, nor as the body and texture of the prophecy prescribe. But, selecting ambiguous expressions, they wrest them to their own opinions, gathering a few expressions here and there; not looking to the sense, but making use of the mere diction. For in almost all the quotations they make, you will find that they attend to the words alone, while they alter the meanings; neither knowing how they are spoken, nor using the quotations they do bring according to their natural meaning.


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