... copying this in here from the other thread ...
MrMacSon wrote:Hadrian wrote in 134CE [to Servianus(?)]
There is this letter that Hadrian purportedly wrote in 134CE to Servianus
- "The Christians among them [the Egyptians] are worshippers of Serapis, and those calling themselves bishops of Christ scruple not to act as the votaries of that God. The truth is, there is no one, whether Ruler of a synagogue, or Samaritan, or Presbyter of the Christians, or mathematician, or astrologer, or magician, that does not do homage to Serapis. The Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is by some compelled to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ."
It is disputed, but is alleged to have been reproduced by the Sicilian writer of the 3rd C Vopiscus (in Vita Saturnini 8
), who claimed to have, in turn, taken it from a writer named Phlegon.
That is interesting. It comes from the Historia Augusta
There's some kind of edit war about this quote in particular:
A letter of Hadrian written from Egypt to his brother-in-law Servianus is quoted at length (and was accepted as genuine by many authorities well into the 20th century). Servianus is saluted as consul, and Hadrian mentions his (adopted) son Lucius Aelius Caesar: but Hadrian was in Egypt in 130, Servianus's consulship fell in 134, and Hadrian adopted Aelius in 136. The letter is said to have been published by Hadrian's freedman Phlegon (whose existence is mentioned nowhere except in the HA, in another suspect passage). A passage in the letter dealing with the frivolousness of Egyptian religious beliefs refers to the Patriarch, head of the Jewish community in the Empire. This office only came into being after Hadrian put down the Jewish revolt of 132, and the passage is probably meant in mockery of the powerful late 4th-century Patriarch, Gamaliel. Christian theologian Joseph Barber Lightfoot argued for the authenticity of the letter since it doesn't state it was written in Egypt (132) and that an alternative date for the adoption of Aelius was on or before 134.
 R. Syme, Emperors and Biography, pp. 21–24.
 "The Christian Ministry",Joseph Barber Lightfoot, p70, org pub 1868
And about the quotes in general:
A peculiarity of the work is its inclusion of a large number of purportedly authentic documents such as extracts from Senate proceedings and letters written by imperial personages. Records like these are quite distinct from the rhetorical speeches often inserted by ancient historians – it was accepted practice for the writer to invent these himself – and on the few occasions when historians (such as Sallust in his work on Catiline or Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars) include such documents, they have generally been regarded as genuine; but almost all those found in the Historia Augusta have been rejected as fabrications, partly on stylistic grounds, partly because they refer to military titles or points of administrative organisation which are otherwise unrecorded until long after the purported date, or for other suspicious content. The History moreover cites dozens of otherwise unrecorded historians, biographers, letter-writers, knowledgeable friends of the writers, and so on, most of whom must be regarded as figments of the author's fertile and fraudulent imagination.
Which of course deserve their own pinch of salt, since it's wikipedia...
The text itself (with the context) can be found here:
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... t_al*.html
From Hadrian Augustus to Servianus22 the consul, greeting. The land of Egypt, the praises of which you have been recounting to me, my dear Servianus, I have found to be wholly light-minded, unstable, and blown about by every breath of rumour. 2 There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. 3 There is no chief of the Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no Christian presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, or an anointer. 4 Even the Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, p401by others to worship Christ. 5 They are a folk most seditious, most deceitful, most given to injury; but their city is prosperous, rich, and fruitful, and in it no one is idle. 6 Some are blowers of glass, others makers of paper, all are at least weavers of linen23 or seem to belong to one craft or another; the lame have their occupations, the eunuchs have theirs, the blind have theirs, and not even those whose hands are crippled are idle. 7 Their only god is money, and this the Christians, the Jews, and, in fact, all nations adore. And would that this city had a better character, for indeed it is worthy by reason of its richness and by reason of its size to hold the chief place in the whole of Egypt. 8 I granted it every favour, I restored to it all its ancient rights and bestowed on it new ones besides, so that the people gave thanks to me while I was present among them. Then, no sooner had I departed thence than they said many things against my son Verus,24 and what they said about Antinous25 I believe you have learned. 9 I can only wish for them that they may live on their own chickens, which they breed in a fashion I am ashamed to describe.26 10 I am sending you over some cups, changing colour27 and variegated, presented to me by the priest of a temple and now dedicated particularly to you and my sister. I should like you to use them at banquets on feast-days. Take good care, however, that our dear Africanus28 does not use them too freely."
Which should be more useful than dealing in extracts. For reasons that are not clear, the quote you provide varies (perhaps trivially - but still) from the quote in this translation.
Just off the cuff, the reference to "even the Patriarch himself" may be difficult to reconcile with genuine authorship by Hadrian (not because it is an anachronism - it likely refers to the Jewish nasi
of the Sanhedrin - but because of how breezy the whole passage is with familiarity of Jewish and Christian traditions), which explains for Huller
why it "never gets its due."
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown