Theophilus makes an interesting move, because he seeks to pry his reader (Autolycus) his prejudice; notice the move here:
Nor indeed was there any necessity for my refuting these, except that I see you still in dubiety about the word of the truth. For though yourself prudent, you endure fools gladly. Otherwise you would not have been moved by senseless men to yield yourself to empty words, and to give credit to the prevalent rumor wherewith godless lips falsely accuse us, who are worshippers of God, and are called Christians,
This comes immediately after Theophilus has made the point that Hebrew prophets wrote of what they knew — as opposed to the poets who have no reason for their belief. He then turns to the accusations against the Christians. These accusations seem to come from both Christian use of the concept of “family” and the Lord’s Supper wildly distorted through rumor of a group not well understood:
alleging that the wives of us all are held in common and made promiscuous use of; and that we even commit incest with our own sisters, and, what is most impious and barbarous of all, that we eat human flesh.
Finally, it is the apparent newness of Christianity that seems to be a trouble:
But further, they say that our doctrine has but recently come to light, and that we have nothing to allege in proof of what we receive as truth, nor of our teaching, but that our doctrine is foolishness. I wonder, then, chiefly that you, who in other matters are studious, and a scrutinizer of all things, give but a careless hearing to us. For, if it were possible for you, you would not grudge to spend the night in the libraries
Then in the next several chapters, Theophilus recounts instances of Heathen poets and philosophers espousing the very things of which the Christians had been (falsely) accused (such as cannibalism and holding wives in common). Following that, he again recounts the contradictory opinions of the poets on matters the gods:
And one can see how inconsistent with each other are the things which others, and indeed almost the majority, have said about God and providence. For some have absolutely cancelled God and providence; and others, again, have affirmed God, and have avowed that all things are governed by providence. The intelligent hearer and reader must therefore give minute attention to their expressions; as also Simylus said: “It is the custom of the poets to name by a common designation the surpassingly wicked and the excellent; we therefore must discriminate.” As also Philemon says: “A senseless man who sits and merely hears is a troublesome feature; for he does not blame himself, so foolish is he.” We must then give attention, and consider what is said, critically inquiring into what has been uttered by the philosophers and the poets.
And also the depravity of the gods:
They who elaborated such a philosophy regarding either the non-existence of God, or promiscuous intercourse and beastly concubinage, are themselves condemned by their own teachings. Moreover, we find from the writings they composed that the eating of human flesh was received among them; and they record that those whom they honour as gods were the first to do these things.
Theophilus of Antioch, “Theophilus to Autolycus,” in Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Marcus Dods, vol. 2, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 113.