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Philosophumena, Volume I
The Refutation of All Heresies
Author: Hippolytus
Translator: George Francis Legge
Release Date: May 31, 2021 [eBook #65478]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Wouter Franssen and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)

General Editors: W. J. SPARROW-SIMPSON, D.D.,
(Minden eretnekség Cáfolata)

ABOUT 220 A.D.

Printed in Great Britain by
Richard Clay & Sons, Limited,
paris garden, stamford st., s.e. 1,
and bungay, suffolk.


BOOK II ? 65
2. PERATÆ 146



1. The Text, its Discovery, Publication and Editions

The story of the discovery of the book here translated so resembles a romance as to appear like a flower in the dry and dusty field of patristic lore. A short treatise called Philosophumena, or “Philosophizings,” had long been known, four early copies of it being in existence in the Papal and other libraries of Rome, Florence and Turin. The superscriptions of these texts and a note in the margin of one of them caused the treatise to be attributed to Origen, and its Edito princeps is that published in 1701 at Leipzig by Fabricius with notes by the learned Gronovius. As will be seen later, it is by itself of no great importance to modern scholars, as it throws no new light on the history or nature of Greek philosophy, while it is mainly compiled from some of those epitomes of philosophic opinion current in the early centuries of our era, of which the works of Diogenes Laertius and Aetius are the best known. In the year 1840, however, Mynoïdes Mynas, a learned Greek, was sent by Abel Villemain, then Minister of Public Instruction in the Government of Louis Philippe, on a voyage of discovery to the monasteries of Mt. Athos, whence he returned with, among other things, the MS. of the last seven books contained in these volumes. This proved on investigation to be Books IV to X inclusive of the original work of which the text published by Fabricius was Book I, and therefore left only Books II and III to be accounted for. The pagination of the MS. shows that the two missing books never formed part of it; but the author’s[2] remarks at the end of Books I and IX, and the beginning of Books V and X[1] lead one to conclude that if they ever existed they must have dealt with the Mysteries and secret rites of the Egyptians, or rather of the Alexandrian Greeks,[2] with the theologies and cosmogonies of the Persians and Chaldæans, and with the magical practices and incantations of the Babylonians. Deeply interesting as these would have been from the archæological and anthropological standpoint, we perhaps need not deplore their loss overmuch. The few references made to them in the remainder of the work go to show that here too the author had no very profound acquaintance with, or first-hand knowledge of, his subject, and that the scanty information that he had succeeded in collecting regarding it was only thrown in by him as an additional support for his main thesis. This last, which is steadily kept in view throughout the book, is that the peculiar tenets and practices of the Gnostics and other heretics of his time were not derived from any misinterpretation of the Scriptures, but were a sort of amalgam of those current among the heathen with the opinions held by the philosophers[3] as to the origin of all things.

The same reproach of scanty information cannot be brought against the books discovered by Mynas. Book IV, four pages at the beginning of which have perished, deals with the arts of divination as practised by the arithmomancers, astrologers, magicians and other charlatans who infested Rome in the first three centuries of our era; and the author’s account, which the corruption of the text makes rather difficult to follow, yet gives us a new and unexpected insight into the impostures and juggleries by which they managed to bewilder their dupes. Books V to IX deal in detail with the opinions of the heretics themselves, and differ from the accounts of earlier heresiologists by quoting at some length from the once extensive Gnostic[3] literature, of which well-nigh the whole has been lost to us.[4] Thus, our author gives us excerpts from a work called the Great Announcement, attributed by him to Simon Magus, from another called Proastii used by the sect of the Peratæ, from the Paraphrase of Seth in favour with the Sethiani, from the Baruch of one Justinus, a heresiarch hitherto unknown to us, and from a work by an anonymous writer belonging to the Naassenes or Ophites, which is mainly a Gnostic explanation of the hymns used in the worship of Cybele.[5] Besides these, there are long extracts from Basilidian and Valentinian works which may be by the founders of those sects, and which certainly give us a more extended insight into their doctrines than we before possessed; while Book X contains what purports to be a summary of the whole work.

This, however, does not exhaust the new information put at our disposal by Mynas’ discovery. In the course of an account of the heresy of Noetus, who refused to admit any difference between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity, our author suddenly develops a violent attack on one Callistus, a high officer of the Church, whom he describes as a runaway slave who had made away with his master’s money, had stolen that deposited with him by widows and others belonging to the Church, and had been condemned to the mines by the Prefect of the City, to be released only by the grace of Commodus’ concubine, Marcia.[6] He further accuses Callistus of leaning towards the heresy of Noetus, and of encouraging laxity of manners in the Church by permitting the marriage and re-marriage of bishops and priests, and concubinage among the unmarried women. The heaviness of this charge lies in the fact that this Callistus can hardly be any other than the Saint and Martyr of that name, who succeeded Zephyrinus[4] in the Chair of St. Peter about the year 218, and whose name is familiar to all visitors to modern Rome from the cemetery which still bears it, and over which the work before us says he had been set by his predecessor.[7] The explanation of these charges will be discussed when we consider the authorship of the book, but for the present it may be noticed that they throw an entirely unexpected light upon the inner history of the Primitive Church.

These facts, however, were not immediately patent. The MS., written as appears from the colophon by one Michael in an extremely crabbed hand of the fourteenth century, is full of erasures and interlineations, and has several serious lacunæ.[8] Hence it would probably have remained unnoticed in the Bibliothèque Royale of Paris to which it was consigned, had it not there met the eye of Bénigne Emmanuel Miller, a French scholar and archæologist who had devoted his life to the study and decipherment of ancient Greek MSS. By his care and the generosity of the University Press, the MS. was transcribed and published in 1851 at Oxford, but without either Introduction or explanatory notes, although the suggested emendations in the text were all carefully noted at the foot of every page.[9] These omissions were repaired by the German scholars F. G. Schneidewin and Ludwig Duncker, who in 1856-1859 published at Göttingen an amended text with full critical and explanatory notes, and a Latin version.[10] The completion of this publication was delayed by the death of Schneidewin, which occurred before he had time to go further than Book VII, and was followed by the appearance at Paris in 1860 of a similar text and translation by the Abbé Cruice, then Rector of a college at Rome, who had given, as he tells us in his Prolegomena, many years to the study of the work.[11] As his edition embodies all the best features of that of Duncker and Schneidewin, together with the fruits of much good and[5] careful work of his own, and a Latin version incomparably superior in clearness and terseness to the German editors’, it is the one mainly used in the following pages. An English translation by the Rev. J. H. Macmahon, the translator for Bohn’s series of a great part of the works of Aristotle, also appeared in 1868 in Messrs. Clark’s Ante-Nicene Library. Little fault can be found with it on the score of verbal accuracy; but fifty years ago the relics of Gnosticism had not received the attention that has since been bestowed upon them, and the translator, perhaps in consequence, did little to help the general reader to an understanding of the author’s meaning.

2. The Authorship of the Work

Even before Mynas’ discovery, doubts had been cast on the attribution of the Philosophumena to Origen. The fact that the author in his Proæmium speaks of himself as a successor of the Apostles, a sharer in the grace of high priesthood, and a guardian of the Church,[12] had already led several learned writers in the eighteenth century to point out that Origen, who was never even a bishop, could not possibly be the author, and Epiphanius, Didymus of Alexandria, and Aetius were among the names to which it was assigned. Immediately upon the publication of Miller’s text, this controversy was revived, and naturally became coloured by the religious and political opinions of its protagonists. Jacobi in a German theological journal was the first to declare that it must have been written by Hippolytus, a contemporary of Callistus,[13] and this proved to be like the letting out of waters. The dogma of Papal Infallibility was already in the air, and the opportunity was at once seized by the Baron von Bunsen, then Prussian Ambassador at the Court of St. James’, to do what he could to defeat its promulgation. In his Hippolytus and his Age (1852), he asserted his belief in Jacobi’s theory, and drew from the abuse of Callistus in Book IX of the newly discovered text, the conclusion that even in the third century the Primacy of the Bishops of Rome was effectively denied.[6] The celebrated Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln, followed with a scholarly study in which, while rejecting von Bunsen’s conclusion, he admitted his main premises; and Dr. Döllinger, who was later to prove the chief opponent of Papal claims, appeared a little later with a work on the same side. Against these were to be found none who ventured to defend the supposed authorship of Origen, but many who did not believe that the work was rightly attributed to Hippolytus. Among the Germans, Fessler and Baur pronounced for Caius, a presbyter to whom Photius in the ninth century gave the curious title of “Bishop of Gentiles,” as author; of the Italians, de Rossi assigned it to Tertullian and Armellini to Novatian; of the French, the Abbé Jallabert in a doctoral thesis voted for Tertullian; while Cruice, who was afterwards to translate the work, thought its author must be either Caius or Tertullian.[14] Fortunately there is now no reason to re-open the controversy, which one may conclude has come to an end by the death of Lipsius, the last serious opponent of the Hippolytan authorship. Mgr. Duchesne, who may in such a matter be supposed to speak with the voice of the majority of the learned of his own communion, in his Histoire Ancienne de l’Église[15] accepts the view that Hippolytus was the author of the Philosophumena, and thinks that he became reconciled to the Church under the persecution of Maximin.[16] We may, therefore, take it that Hippolytus’ authorship is now admitted on all sides.

A few words must be said as to what is known of this Hippolytus. A Saint and Martyr of that name appears in the Roman Calendar, and a seated statue of him was discovered in Rome in the sixteenth century inscribed on the back of the chair with a list of works, one of which[7] is claimed in our text as written by its author.[17] He is first mentioned by Eusebius, who describes him as the “Bishop of another Church” than that of Bostra, of which he has been speaking;[18] then by Theodoret, who calls him the “holy Hippolytus, bishop and martyr”;[19] and finally by Prudentius, who says that he became a Novatianist, but on his way to martyrdom returned to the bosom of the Church and entreated his followers to do the same.[20] We have many writings, mostly fragmentary, attributed to him, including among others one on the Paschal cycle which is referred to on the statue just mentioned, a tract against Noetus used later by Epiphanius, and others on Antichrist, Daniel, and the Apocalypse, all of which show a markedly chiliastic tendency. In the MSS. in which some of these occur, he is spoken of as “Bishop of Rome,” and this seems to have been his usual title among Greek writers, although he is in other places called “Archbishop,” and by other titles. From these and other facts, Döllinger comes to the conclusion that he was really an anti-pope or schismatic bishop who set himself up against the authority of Callistus, and this, too, is accepted by Mgr. Duchesne, who agrees with Döllinger that the schism created by him lasted through the primacies of Callistus’ successors, Urbanus and Pontianus, and only ceased when this last was exiled together with Hippolytus to the mines of Sardinia.[21] Though the evidence on which this is based is not very strong, it is a very reasonable account of the whole matter; and it becomes more probable if we choose to believe—for which, however, there is no distinct evidence—that Hippolytus was the head of the Greek-speaking community of Christians at Rome, while his enemy Callistus presided over the more numerous Latins. In that case, the schism would be more likely to be forgotten in time of persecution, and would have less chance of survival than the more serious ones of a later age; while it would satisfactorily account for the conduct of the Imperial[8] authorities in sending the heads of both communities into penal servitude at the same time. By doing so, Maximin or his pagan advisers doubtless considered they were dealing the yet adolescent Church a double blow.

3. The Credibility of Hippolytus

Assuming, then, that our author was Hippolytus, schismatic Bishop of Rome from about 218 to 235, we must next see what faith is to be attached to his statements. This question was first raised by the late Dr. George Salmon, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, who was throughout his life a zealous student of Gnosticism and of the history of the Church during the early centuries. While working through our text he was so struck by the repetition in the account of four different sects of the simile about the magnet drawing iron to itself and the amber the straws, as to excogitate a theory that Hippolytus must have been imposed upon by a forger who had sold him a number of documents purporting to be the secret books of the heretics, but in reality written by the forger himself.[22] This theory was afterwards adopted by the late Heinrich Stähelin, who published a treatise in which he attempted to show in the laborious German way, by a comparison of nearly all the different passages in it which present any similarity of diction, that the whole document was suspect.[23] The different passages on which he relies will be dealt with in the notes as they occur, and it may be sufficient to mention here the opinion of M. Eugène de Faye, the latest writer on the point, that the theory of Salmon and Stähelin goes a long way beyond the facts.[24] As M. de Faye points out, the different documents quoted in the work differ so greatly from one another both in style and contents, that to have invented or concocted them would have required a forger of almost superhuman skill and learning. To which it may be added that the mere repetition of the phrases that Stähelin has collated with such diligence would be the very[9] thing that the least skilful forger would most studiously avoid, and that it could hardly fail to put the most credulous purchaser on his guard. It is also the case that some at least of the phrases of whose repetition Salmon and Stähelin complain can be shown to have come, not from the Gnostic author quoted, but from Hippolytus himself, and that others are to be found in the Gnostic works which have come down to us in Coptic dress.[25] These Coptic documents, as the present writer has shown elsewhere,[26] are so intimately linked together that all must be taken to have issued from the same school. They could not have been known to Hippolytus or he would certainly have quoted them in the work before us; nor to the supposed forger, or he would have made greater use of them. We must, therefore, suppose that, in the passages which they and our text have in common, both they and it are drawing from a common source which can hardly be anything else than the genuine writings of earlier heretics. We must, therefore, agree with M. de Faye that the Salmon-Stähelin theory of forgery must be rejected.

If, however, we turn from this to such statements of Hippolytus as we can check from other sources, we find many reasons for doubting not indeed the good faith of him or his informants, but the accuracy of one or other of them. Thus, in his account of the tenets of the philosophers, he repeatedly alters or misunderstands his authorities, as when he says that Thales supposed water to be the end as it had been the beginning of the Universe,[27] or that “Zaratas,” as he calls Zoroaster, said that light was the father and darkness the mother of beings,[28] which statements are directly at variance with what we know otherwise of the opinions of these teachers. So, too, in Book I, he makes Empedocles say that all things consist of fire, and will be resolved into fire, while in Book VII, he says that Empedocles declared the elements of the cosmos to be six in[10] number, whereof fire, one of the two instruments which alter and arrange it, is only one.[29] Again, in Book IX, he says that he has already expounded the opinions of Heraclitus, and then sets to work to describe as his a perfectly different set of tenets from that which he has assigned to him in Book I; while in Book X he ascribes to Heraclitus yet another opinion.[30] Or we may take as an example the system of arithmomancy or divination by the “Pythagorean number” whereby, he says, its professors claim to predict the winner of a contest by juggling with the numerical values of the letters in the competitors’ names, and then gives instances, some of which do and others do not work out according to the rule he lays down. So, too, in his unacknowledged quotations from Sextus Empiricus, he so garbles his text as to make it unintelligible to us were we not able to restore it from Sextus’ own words. So, again, in his account of the sleight-of-hand and other stage tricks, whereby he says, no doubt with truth, the magicians used to deceive those who consulted them, his account is so carelessly written or copied that it is only by means of much reading between the lines that it can be understood, and even then it recounts many more marvels than it explains.[31] Some of this inaccuracy may possibly be due to mistakes in copying and re-copying by scribes who did not understand what they were writing; but when all is said there is left a sum of blunders which can only be attributed to great carelessness on the part of the author. Yet, as if to show that he could take pains if he liked, the quotations from Scripture are on the whole correctly transcribed and show very few variations from the received versions. Consequently when such variations do occur (they are noted later whenever met with), we must suppose them to be not the work of Hippolytus, but of the heretics from whom he quotes, who must, therefore, have taken liberties with the New Testament similar to those of Marcion.[11] Where, also, he copies Irenæus with or without acknowledgment, his copy is extremely faithful, and agrees with the Latin version of the model more closely than the Greek of Epiphanius. It would seem, therefore, that our author’s statements, although in no sense unworthy of belief, yet require in many cases strict examination before they can be unhesitatingly accepted.[32]

4. The Composition of the Work

In these circumstances, and in view of the manifest discrepancies between statements in the earlier part of the text and what purports to be their repetition in the later, the question has naturally arisen as to whether the document before us was written for publication in its present form. It is never referred to or quoted by name by any later author, and although the argument from silence has generally proved a broken reed in such cases, there are here some circumstances which seem to give it unusual strength. It was certainly no reluctance to call in evidence the work of a schismatic or heretical writer which led to the work being ignored, for Epiphanius, a century and a half later, classes Hippolytus with Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria as one from whose writings he has obtained information,[33] and Theodoret, while making use still later of certain passages which coincide with great closeness with some in Book X of our text,[34] admits, as has been said, Hippolytus’ claim to both episcopacy and martyrdom. But the passages in Theodoret which seem to show borrowing from Hippolytus, although possibly, are not necessarily from the work before us. The author of this tells us in Book I that he has “aforetime”[35] expounded the tenets of the heretics “within measure,” and without revealing all their mysteries, and it might, therefore, be from some such earlier work that both Epiphanius and Theodoret have borrowed. Some writers, including Salmon,[36] have thought that this earlier work of our author is to be found in the anonymous tractate Adversus Omnes Hæreses usually appended to Tertullian’s[12] works.[37] Yet this tractate, which is extremely short, contains nothing that can be twisted into the words common to our text and to Theodoret, and we might, therefore, assert with confidence that it was from our text that Theodoret copied them but for the fact that he nowhere indicates their origin. This might be only another case of the unacknowledged borrowing much in fashion in his time, were it not that Theodoret has already spoken of Hippolytus in the eulogistic terms quoted above, and would therefore, one would think, have been glad to give as his informant such respectable authority. As he did not do so, we may perhaps accept the conclusion drawn by Cruice with much skill in a study published shortly after the appearance of Miller’s text,[38] and say with him that Theodoret did not know that the passages in question were to be found in any work of Hippolytus. In this case, as the statements in Book IX forbid us to suppose that our text was published anonymously or pseudonymously, the natural inference is that both Hippolytus and Theodoret drew from a common source.

What this source was likely to have been there can be little doubt. Our author speaks more than once of “the blessed elder Irenæus,” who has, he says, refuted the heretic Marcus with much vigour, and he implies that the energy and power displayed by Irenæus in such matters have shortened his own work with regard to the Valentinian school generally.[39] Photius, also, writing as has been said in the ninth century, mentions a work of Hippolytus against heresies admittedly owing much to Irenæus’ instruction. The passage runs thus:—

“A booklet of Hippolytus has been read. Now Hippolytus was a disciple of Irenæus. But it (i. e. the booklet) was the compilation against 32 heresies making (the) Dositheans the beginning (of them) and comprising (those) up to Noetus and the Noetians. And he says that these heresies were subjected to[13] refutations by Irenæus in conversation[40] (or in lectures). Of which refutations making also a synopsis, he says he compiled this book. The phrasing however is clear, reverent and unaffected, although he does not observe the Attic style. But he says some other things lacking in accuracy, and that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not by the Apostle Paul.”

These words have been held by Salmon and others to describe the tractate Adversus Omnes Hæreses. Yet this tractate contains not thirty-two heresies, but twenty-seven, and begins with Simon Magus to end with the Praxeas against whom Tertullian wrote. It also notices another heretic named Blastus, who, like Praxeas, is mentioned neither by Irenæus nor by our author, nor does it say anything about Noetus or the Apostle Paul. It does indeed mention at the outset “Dositheus the Samaritan,” but only to say that the author proposes to keep silence concerning both him and the Jews, and “to turn to those who have wished to make heresy from the Gospel,” the very first of whom, he says, is Simon Magus.[41] As for refutations, the tractate contains nothing resembling one, which has forced the supporters of the theory to assume that they were omitted for brevity’s sake. Nor does it in the least agree with our text in its description of the tenets and practices of heresies which the two documents treat of in common, such as Simon, Basilides, the Sethiani and others, and the differences are too great to be accounted for by supposing that the author of the later text was merely incorporating in it newer information.[42]

On the other hand, Photius’ description agrees fairly well with our text, which contains thirty-one heresies all told, or thirty-two if we include, as the author asks us to do, that imputed by him to Callistus. Of these, that of Noetus is the[14] twenty-eighth, and is followed by those of the Elchesaites, Essenes, Pharisees and Sadducees only. These four last are all much earlier in date than any mentioned in the rest of the work, and three of them appeared to the author of the tractate last quoted as not heresies at all, while the fourth is not described by him, and there is no reason immediately apparent why in any case they should be put after and not before the post-Christian ones. The early part of the summary of Jewish beliefs in Book X is torn away, and may have contained a notice of Dositheus, whose name occurs in Eusebius and other writers,[43] as a predecessor of Simon Magus and one who did not believe in the inspiration of the Jewish Prophets. The natural place in chronological order for these Jewish and Samaritan sects would, therefore, be at the head rather than at the tail of the list, and if we may venture to put them there and to restore to the catalogue the name of Dositheus, we should have our thirty-two heresies, beginning with Dositheus and ending with Noetus. We will return later to the reason why Photius should call our text a Biblidarion or “booklet.”

Are there now any reasons for thinking that our text is founded on such a synopsis of lectures as Photius says Hippolytus made? A fairly cogent one is the inconvenient and awkward division of the books, which often seem as if they had been arranged to occupy equal periods of time in delivery. Another is the unnecessary and tedious introductions and recapitulations with which the descriptions of particular philosophies, charlatanic practices, and heresies begin and end, and which seem as if they were only put in for the sake of arresting or holding the attention of an audience addressed verbally. Thus, in the account of Simon Magus’ heresy, our author begins with a long-winded story of a Libyan who taught parrots to proclaim his own divinity, the only bearing of which upon the story of Simon is that Hippolytus asserts, like Justin Martyr, that Simon wished his followers to take him for the Supreme Being.[44] So, too, he begins the succeeding book with the age-worn tale of Ulysses and the Sirens[45] by way of introduction to the tenets of Basilides, with which it has no connection[15] whatever. This was evidently intended to attract the attention of an audience so as to induce them to give more heed to the somewhat intricate details which follow. In other cases, he puts at the beginning or end of a book a more or less detailed summary of those which preceded it, lest, as he states in one instance, his hearers should have forgotten what he has before said.[46] These are the usual artifices of a lecturer, but a more salient example is perhaps those ends of chapters giving indications of what is to follow immediately, which can hardly be anything else than announcements in advance of the subject of the next lecture. Thus, at the end of Book I, he promises to explain the mystic rites[47]—a promise which is for us unfulfilled in the absence of Books II and III; at the end of Book IV, he tells us that he will deal with the disciples of Simon and Valentinus[48]; at that of Book VII, that he will do the same with the Docetæ[49]; and at that of Book VIII that he will “pass on” to the heresy of Noetus.[50] In none of these cases does he more than mention the first of the heresies to be treated of in the succeeding book, which the reader could find out for himself by turning over the page, or rather by casting his eye a little further down the roll.

Again, there are repetitions in our text excusable in a lecturer who does not, if he is wise, expect his hearers to have at their fingers’ ends all that he has said in former lectures, and who may even find that he can best root things in their memory by saying them over and over again; but quite unpardonable in a writer who can refer his readers more profitably to his former statements. Yet, we find our author in Book I giving us the supposed teaching of Pythagoras as to the monad being a male member, the dyad a female and so on up to the decad, which is supposed to be perfect.[51] This is gone through all over again in Book IV with reference to the art of arithmetic[52] and again in Book VI where it is made a sort of shoeing-horn to the Valentinian heresy[53]. The same may be[16] said of the “Categories” or accidents of substance which Hippolytus in one place attributes to Pythagoras, but which are identical with those set out by Aristotle in the Organon. He gives them rightly to Aristotle in Book I, but makes them the invention of the Pythagoreans in Book VI only to return them to Aristotle in Book VII.[54] Here again is a mistake such as a lecturer might make by a slip of the tongue, but not a writer with any pretensions to care or seriousness.

Beyond this, there is some little direct evidence of a lecture origin for our text. In his comments on the system of Justinus, which he connects with the Ophites, our author says: “Though I have met with many heresies, O beloved, I have met with none viler in evil than this.” The word “beloved” is here in the plural, and would be the phrase used by a Greek-speaking person in a lecture to a class or group of disciples or catechumens.[55] I do not think there is any instance of its use in a book. In another place he says that his “discourse” has proved useful, not only for refuting heretics, but for combating the prevalent belief in astrology;[56] and although the word might be employed by other authors with regard to writings, yet it is not likely to have been used in that sense by Hippolytus, who everywhere possible refers to his former “books.” There is, therefore, a good deal of reason for supposing that some part of this work first saw the light as spoken and not as written words.

What this part is may be difficult to define with great exactness; but there are abundant signs that the work as we have it was not written all at one time. In Book I, the author expresses his intention of assigning every heresy to the speculations of some particular philosopher or philosophic school.[57] So far from doing so, however, he only compares Valentinus with Pythagoras and Plato, Basilides with Aristotle, Cerdo and Marcion with Empedocles, Hermogenes with Socrates, and Noetus with Heraclitus, leaving all the Ophite teachers, Satornilus,[17] Carpocrates, Cerinthus and other founders of schools without a single philosopher attached to them. At the end of Book IV, moreover, he draws attention more than once to certain supposed resemblances in the views linked with the name of Pythagoras, to those underlying the nomenclature of the Simonian and Valentinian heresies, and concludes with the words that he must proceed to the doctrines of these last.[58] Before he does so, however, Book V is interposed and is entirely taken up with the Ophites, or worshippers of the Serpent, to whom he does not attempt to assign a philosophic origin. In Book VI he carries out his promise in Book IV by going at length into the doctrines of Simon, Valentinus and the followers of this last, and in Book VII he takes us in like manner through those of Basilides, Menander, Marcion and his successors, Carpocrates, Cerinthus and many others of the less-known heresiarchs. Book VIII deals in the same way with a sect that he calls the Docetæ, Monoimus the Arabian, Tatian, Hermogenes and some others. In the case of the Ophite teachers, Simon, and Basilides, he gives us, as has been said, extracts from documents which are entirely new to us, and were certainly not used by Irenæus, while he adds to the list of heresies described by his predecessor, the sects of the Docetæ, Monoimus and the Quartodecimans. In all the other heresies so far, he follows Irenæus’ account almost word for word, and with such closeness as enables us to restore in great part the missing Greek text of that Father. With Book IX, however, there comes a change. Mindful of the intention expressed in Book I, he here begins with a summary of the teaching of Heraclitus the Obscure, which no one has yet professed to understand, and then sets to work to deduce from it the heresy of Noetus. This gives him the opportunity for the virulent attack on his rival Callistus, to whom he ascribes a modification of Noetus’ heresy, and he next, as has been said, plunges into a description of the sect of the Elchesaites, then only lately come to Rome, and quotes from Josephus without acknowledgment and with some garbling the account by this last of the division of the Jews into the three sects of Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. Noetus’ heresy was what was known as Patripassian, from its[18] involving the admission that the Father suffered upon the Cross, and although he manages to see Gnostic elements in that of the Elchesaites, there can be little doubt that these last-named “heretics,” whose main tenet was the prescription of frequent baptism for all sins and diseases, were connected with the pre-Christian sect of Hemerobaptists, Mogtasilah or “Washers” who are at once pre-Christian, and still to be found near the Tigris between Baghdad and Basra. Why he should have added to these the doctrines of the Jews is uncertain, as the obvious place for this would have been, as has been said, at the beginning of the volume:[59] but a possible explanation is that he was here resuming a course of instruction by lectures that he had before abandoned, and was therefore in some sort obliged to spin it out to a certain length.

Book X seems at first sight likely to solve many of the questions which every reader who has got so far is compelled to ask. It begins, in accordance with the habit just noted, with the statement that the author has now worked through “the Labyrinth of Heresies” and that the teachings of truth are to be found neither in the philosophies of the Greeks, the secret mysteries of the Egyptians, the formulas of the Chaldæans or astrologers, nor the ravings of Babylonian magic.[60] This links it with fair closeness to the reference in Book IV to the ideas of the Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians and Chaldæans, only the first-named nation being here omitted from the text. It then goes on to say that “having brought together the opinions[61] of all the wise men among the Greeks in four books and those of the heresiarchs in five,” he will make a summary of them. It will be noted that this is in complete contradiction to the supposition that the missing Books II and III contained the doctrines of the Babylonians, as he now says that they comprised those of the Greeks only. The summary which[19] follows might have been expected to make this confusion clear, but unfortunately it does nothing of the kind. It does indeed give so good an abstract of what has been said in Books V to IX inclusive regarding the chief heresiarchs, that in one or two places it enables us to correct doubtful phrases and to fill in gaps left in earlier books. There is omitted from the summary, however, all mention of the heresies of Marcus, Satornilus, Menander, Carpocrates, the Nicolaitans, Docetæ, Quartodecimans, Encratites and the Jewish sects, and the list of omissions will probably be thought too long to be accounted for on the ground of mere carelessness. But when the summarizer deals with the earlier books, the discrepancy between the summary and the documents summarized is much more startling. Among the philosophers, he omits to summarize the opinions of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Ecphantus, Hippo, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Academics, Brachmans, or Druids, while he does mention those of Hippasus, Ocellus Lucanus, Heraclides of Pontus and Asclepiades, who were not named in any of the texts of Book I which have come down to us. As for the tenets and practices of the Persians, Egyptians and others, supposed on the strength of the statement at the beginning of Book V to have been narrated in Books II and III, nothing further is here said concerning them, and, by the little table of contents with which Book X like the others is prefaced, it will appear that nothing was intended to be said. For this last omission it might be possible to assign plausible reasons if it stood alone; but when it is coupled with the variations between summary and original as regards Book I, the only inference that meets all the facts is that the summarizer did not have the first four books under his eyes.

This has led some critics to conclude that the summary is by another hand. There is nothing in the literary manners of the age to compel us to reject this supposition, and similar cases have been quoted. The evidence of style is, however, against it, and it is unlikely that if the summarizer were any other person than Hippolytus, he would have taken up Hippolytus’ personal quarrel against Callistus. Yet in the text of Book X before us the charge of heresy against Callistus is repeated, although perhaps with less[20] asperity than in Book IX, the accusations against his morals being omitted. Nor is it easy to dissociate from Hippolytus the really eloquent appeal to men of all nations to escape the terrors of Tartarus and gain an immortality of bliss by becoming converted to the Doctrine of Truth with which the Book ends, after an excursion into Hebrew Chronology, a subject which always had great fascination for Hippolytus. Although the matter is not beyond doubt, it would appear, therefore, that the summary, like the rest of the book, is by Hippolytus’ own hand.

In these circumstances there is but one theory that in the opinion of the present writer will reconcile all the conflicting facts. This is that the foundation of our text is the synopsis that Hippolytus made, as Photius tells us, after receiving instruction from Irenæus; that those notes were, as Hippolytus himself says, “set forth” by him possibly in the form of lectures, equally possibly in writing, but in any case a long time before our text was compiled; and that when his rivalry with Callistus became acute, he thought of republishing these discourses and bringing them up to date by adding to them the Noetian and other non-Gnostic heresies which were then making headway among the Christian community, together with the facts about the divinatory and magical tricks which had come to his knowledge during his long stay in Rome. We may next conjecture that, after the greater part of his book was written, chance threw in his way the documents belonging to the Naassene and other Ophite sects, which went back to the earliest days of Christianity and were probably in Hippolytus’ time on the verge of extinction.[62] He had before determined to omit these sects as of slight importance,[63] but now perceiving the interest of the new documents, he hastily incorporated them in his book immediately after his account of the magicians, so that they might appear as what he with some truth said they were, to wit, the fount and source of all later Gnosticism. To do this, he had to displace the account of the Jewish and Samaritan sects with which all the heresiologists of the time thought it necessary to begin their histories. He[21] probably felt the less reluctance in doing so, because the usual mention of these sects as “heresies” in some sort contradicted his pet theory, which was that the Gnostic tenets were not a mere perversion of Christian teaching, but were derived from philosophic theories of the creation of things, and from the mystic rites.

Next let us suppose that at the close of his life, when he was perhaps hiding from Maximin’s inquisitors, or even when he was at the Sardinian mines, he thought of preserving his work for posterity by re-writing it—such copies as he had left behind him in Rome having been doubtless seized by the Imperial authorities.[64] Not having the material that he had before used then at his disposal, he had to make the best summary that he could from memory, and in the course of this found that the contents of the Books I, II, and III—the material for which he had drawn in the first instance from Irenæus—had more or less escaped him. He was probably able to recall some part of Book I by the help of heathen works like those of Diogenes Laertius, Aetius, or perhaps that Alcinous whose summary of Plato’s doctrines seem to have been formerly used by him.[65] The Ophite and other Gnostic heresies he remembers sufficiently to make his summary of their doctrines more easy, although he omits from the list heresiarchs like Marcus, Satornilus and Menander, about whom he had never had any exclusive information, and he now puts Justinus after instead of before Basilides. Finally, he remembered the Jewish sects which he had once intended to include, and being perhaps able to command, even in the mines, the work of a Romanized but unconverted Jew like Josephus, took from it such facts as seemed useful for his purpose as an introduction to the chronological speculation which had once formed his favourite study. With this summary as his guide he continued, it may be, to warn the companions in adversity to whom he tells us he had “become an adviser,” against the perils of heresy, and to appeal to his unconverted listeners with what his former translator calls not unfitly “a noble specimen of patristic eloquence.” That he died in the mines is most probable, not only from his advanced age[22] at the time of exile and the consequent unlikelihood that he would be able to withstand the pestilential climate, but also from the record of his body having been “deposited” in the Catacombs on the same day with that of his fellow-Pope and martyr Pontianus.[66] Yet the persecution of Maximin, though sharp, was short, and on the death of the tyrant after a reign of barely three years, there is no reason why the transcript of Book X should not have reached Rome, where there is some reason to think it was known from its opening words as “the Labyrinth.” Later it was probably appended to Books IV to IX of Hippolytus’ better known work, and the whole copied for the use of those officials who had to enquire into heresy. To them, Books II and III would be useless, and they probably thought it inexpedient to perpetuate any greater knowledge than was necessary for their better suppression, of the unclean mysteries of either pagan or Gnostic. As for Book I, besides being harmless, it had possibly by that time become too firmly connected with the name of Origen for its attribution to this other sufferer in the Maximinian persecution to be disturbed in later times.

It only remains to see how this theory fits in with the remarks of Photius given above. It is fairly evident that Photius is speaking from recollection only, and that the words do not suggest that he had Hippolytus’ actual work before him when writing, while he throughout speaks of it in the past tense as one might speak of a document which has long since perished, although some memory of its contents have been preserved. If this were so, we might be prepared to take Photius’ description as not necessarily accurate in every detail; yet, as we have it, it is almost a perfect description of our text. The 32 heresies, as we have shown above, appear in our text as in Photius’ document. Our text contains not only the large excerpts from Irenæus which we might expect from Photius’ account of its inception, but also the “refutations” which do not appear in the Adversus Omnes Hæreses. It extends “up to,” as Photius says, Noetus and the Noetians, and although it does not contain any mention of Dositheus or the Dositheans, this may have been given in the part which has[23] been cut out of Book X.[67] If that were the case, or if Photius has made any mistake in the matter, as one might easily do when we consider that all the early heresiologies begin with Jewish and Samaritan sects, the only real discrepancy between our text and Photius’ description of Hippolytus’ work is in the matter of length. But it is by no means certain that Photius ever saw the whole work put together, and it is plain that he had never seen or had forgotten the first four books dealing with the philosophers, the mysteries and the charlatans. Without these, and without the summary, Books V to IX do not work out to more than 70,000 words in all, and this might well seem a mere “booklet” to a man then engaged in the compilation of his huge Bibliotheca. Whether, then, Hippolytus did or did not reduce to writing the exposition of heresies which he made in his youth, it seems probable that all certain trace of this exposition is lost. It is certainly not to be recognized in pseudo-Tertullian’s Adversus Omnes Hæreses, and the work of Hippolytus recorded by Photius was probably a copy of our text in a more or less complete form.

5. The Style of the Work

Photius’ remark that Hippolytus did not keep to the Attic style is an understatement of the case with regard to our text. Jacobi, its first critic, was so struck by the number of “Latinisms” that he found in it as to conjecture that it is nothing but a Greek translation of a Latin original.[68] This is so unlikely as to be well-nigh impossible if Hippolytus were indeed the author; and no motive for such translation can be imagined unless it were made at a fairly late period. In that case, we should expect to find it full of words and expressions used only in Byzantine times when the Greek language had become debased by Slav and Oriental admixtures. This, however, is not the case with our text, and only one distinctly Byzantine phrase has[24] rewarded a careful search.[69] On the other hand neologisms are not rare, especially in Book X,[70] and everything goes to show the truth of Cruice’s remark that the author was evidently not a trained writer. This is by no means inconsistent with the theory that the whole work is by Hippolytus, and is the more probable if we conclude that it was originally spoken instead of written.

This is confirmed when we look into the construction of the author’s sentences. They are drawn out by a succession of relative clauses to an extent very rare among even late Greek writers, more than one sentence covering 20 or 30 lines of the printed page without a full stop, while the usual rules as to the place and order of the words are often neglected. Another peculiarity of style is the constant piling up of several similes or tropes where only one would suffice, which is very distinctly marked in the passages whenever the author is speaking for long in his own person and without quoting the words of another. In all these we seem to be listening to the words of a fluent but rather laborious orator. Thus in Book I he compares the joy that he expects to find in his work to that of an athlete gaining the crown, of a merchant selling his goods after a long voyage, of a husbandsman with his hardly won crops, and of a despised prophet seeing his predictions fulfilled.[71] So in Book V, after mentioning a book by Orpheus called Bacchica otherwise unknown, he goes on to speak of “the mystic rite of Celeus and Triptolemus and Demeter and Core and Dionysus in Eleusis,”[72] when any practised writer would have said the Eleusinian mysteries simply. A similar piling up of imagery is found in Book VIII, where he speaks of the seed of the fig-tree as “a refuge for the terror-stricken, a shelter for the naked, a veil for modesty, and the sought-for produce to which the Lord came in search of fruit three times and found none.”[73] But it is naturally in the phrases of the pastoral address with which Book X ends that the most salient examples occur. Thus,[25] the unconverted are told that by being instructed in the knowledge of the true God, they will escape the imminent menace of the judgment fire, and the unillumined vision of gloomy Tartarus, and the burning of the everlasting shore of the Gehenna of fire, and the eye of the Tartaruchian angels in eternal punishment, and the worm that ever coils as if for food round the body whence it was bred,[74]—or, as he might have said in one word, the horrors of hell.

Less distinctive than this, although equally noticeable, is the play of words which is here frequently employed. This is not unknown among other ecclesiastical writers of the time, and seems to have struck Charles Kingsley when, fresh from a perusal of St. Augustine, he describes him as “by a sheer mistranslation” twisting one of the Psalms to mean what it never meant in the writer’s mind, and what it never could mean, and then punning on the Latin version.[75] Hippolytus when writing in his own person makes but moderate use of this figure. Sometimes he does so legitimately enough, as when he speaks of the Gnostics initiating a convert into their systems and delivering to him “the perfection of wickedness”—the word used for perfection having the mystic or technical meaning of initiation as well as the more ordinary one of completion[76]; or when he says that the measurements of stellar distances by Ptolemy have led to the construction of measureless “heresies.”[77] At others he consciously puns on the double meaning of a word, as when he says that those who venture upon orgies are not far from the wrath (ὀργή) of God.[78] Sometimes, again, he is led away by a merely accidental similarity of sounds as when he tries to connect the name of the Docetæ, which he knows is taken from δοκεῖν, “to seem,” with “the beam (δοκός) in the eye” of the Sermon on the Mount.[79] He makes a second and more obvious pun on the same word later when he says that the Docetæ do more than seem to be mad; but he is most shameless when he derives “prophet” from προφαίνειν instead of πρόφημι[80]—a perversion which one can hardly imagine entering into the head of any one with the most modest acquaintance with Greek grammar.


But these puns, bad as they are, are venial compared with some of the authors from whom he quotes. None can equal in this respect the efforts of the Naassene author, whose plays upon words and audacious derivations might put to the blush those in the Cratylus. Adamas and Adam, Corybas and κορυφή (the head), Geryon and Γηρυόνην (“flowing from earth”), Mesopotamia and “a river from the middle,” Papas and παῦε, παῦε (“Cease! cease!”), Αἰπόλος (“goat herd”) and ἀεὶ πολῶν (“ever turning”), naas (“serpent”) and ναός (“temple”), Euphrates and εὐφραίνει (“he rejoices”) are but a few of the terrible puns he perpetrates.[81] The Peratic author is more sober in this respect, and yet he, or perhaps Hippolytus for him, derives the name of the sect from περᾶν (“to pass beyond”),[82] although Theodoret with more plausibility would take it from the nationality of its teacher Euphrates the Peratic or Mede; and the chapter on the Sethians does not contain a single pun. Yet that on Justinus makes up for this by deriving the name of the god Priapus from πριοποιέω, a word made up for the occasion.[83] “The great Gnostics of Hadrian’s time,” viz.:—Basilides, Marcion and Valentinus, seem to have had souls above such puerilities; but the Docetic author resumes the habit with a specially daring parallel between Βάτος (“a bush”) and βάτος (Hera’s robe or “mist”)[84] and Monoimus the Arab follows suit with a sort of jingle between the Decalogue and the δεκάπληγος or ten plagues of Egypt, which would hardly have occurred to any one without the Semitic taste for assonance.[85] Of the less-quoted writers there is no occasion to speak, because there are either no extracts from their works given in our text or they are too short for us to judge from them whether they, too, were given to punning.

Apart from such comparatively small matters, however, the difference in style between the several Gnostic writers here quoted is well marked. Nothing can be more singular at first sight than the way in which the Naassene author expresses himself. It seems to the reader on the first perusal of his lucubrations as if the writer had made up his mind to follow no train of thought beyond the limits of a single sentence. Beginning with the idea of the First Man,[27] which we find running like a thread through so many Eastern creeds, from that of the Cabalists among the Jews to the Manichæans who perhaps took it directly from its primitive source in Babylon,[86] he immediately turns from this to declare the tripartite division of the universe and everything it contains, including the souls and natures of men, and to inculcate the strictest asceticism. Yet all this is written round, so to speak, a hymn to Attis which he declares relates to the Mysteries of the Mother with several allusions to the most secret rites of the Eleusinian Demeter and, as it would appear, of those of the Greek Isis. The Peratic author, on the other hand, also teaches a tripartite division of things and souls, but draws his proofs not from the same mystic sources as the Naassene but from what Hippolytus declares to be the system of the astrologers. This system, which is not even hinted at in any avowedly astrological work, is that the stars are the cause of all that happens here below, and that we can only escape from their sway into one of the two worlds lying above ours by the help of Christ, here called the Perfect Serpent, existing as an intermediary between the Father of All and Matter. Yet this doctrine, which we can also read without much forcing of the text into the rhapsody of the Naassene, is stated with all the precision and sobriety of a scientific proposition, and is as entirely free from the fervour and breathlessness of the last-named writer as it is from his perpetual allusions to the Greek and especially to the Alexandrian and Anatolian mythology.[87] Both these again are perfectly different in style from the “Sethian” author from whom Hippolytus gives us long extracts, and who seems to have trusted mainly to an imagery which is entirely opposed to all Western conventions of modesty.[88] Yet all three aver the strongest belief in the Divinity and Divine Mission of Jesus, whom they identify with the Good Serpent, which was according to many modern authors the chief material object of adoration in every heathen temple in[28] Asia Minor.[89] They are, therefore, rightly numbered by Hippolytus among the Ophite heresies, and seem to be founded upon traditions current throughout Western Asia which even now are not perhaps quite extinct. Yet each of the three authors quoted in our text writes in a perfectly different style from his two fellow heresiarchs, and this alone is sufficient to remove all doubt as to the genuineness of the document.

These three Ophite chapters are taken first because in our text they begin the heresiology strictly so called.[90] As has been said, the present writer believes them to be an interpolation made at the last moment by the author, and by no means the most valuable, though they are perhaps the most curious part of the book. They resemble much, however, in thought the quotations in our text attributed to Simon Magus, and although the ideas apparent in them differ in material points, yet there seems to be between the two sets of documents a kind of family likeness in the occasional use of bombastic language and unclean imagery. But when we turn from these to the extracts from the works attributed to Valentinus and Basilides which Hippolytus gives us, a change is immediately apparent. Here we have dignity of language corresponding to dignity of thought, and in the case of Valentinus especially the diction is quite equal to the passages from the discourses of that most eloquent heretic quoted by Clement of Alexandria. We feel on reading them that we have indeed travelled from the Orontes to the Tiber, and the difference in style should by itself convince the most sceptical critic at once of the good faith of our careless author and of the authenticity of the sources from which he has collected his information.

6. The Value of the Work

What interest has a work such as this of Hippolytus for us at the present day? In the first place it preserves for us many precious relics of a literature which before its discovery seemed lost for ever. The pagan hymn to Attis[29] and the Gnostic one on the Divine Mission of Jesus, both appearing in Book V, are finds of the highest value for the study of the religious beliefs of the early centuries of our Era, and with these go many fragments of hardly less importance, including the Pindaric ode in the same book. Not less useful or less unexpected are the revelations in the same book of the true meaning of the syncretistic worship of Attis and Cybele, and the disclosure here made of the supreme mystery of the Eleusinian rites, which we now know for the first time culminated in the representation of a divine marriage and of the subsequent birth of an infant god, coupled with the symbolical display of an “ear of corn reaped in silence.” For the study of classical antiquity as well as for the science of religions such facts are of the highest value.

But all this will for most of us yield in interest to the picture which our text gives us of the struggles of Christianity against its external and internal foes during the first three centuries. So far from this period having been one of quiet growth and development for the infant Church, we see her in Hippolytus’ pages exposed not only to fierce if sporadic persecution from pagan emperors, but also to the steady and persistent rivalry of scores of competing schools led by some of the greatest minds of the age, and all combining some of the main tenets of Christianity with the relics of heathenism. We now know, too, that she was not always able to present an unbroken front to these violent or insidious assailants. In the highest seats of the Church, as we now learn for the first time, there were divisions on matters of faith which anticipated in some measure those which nearly rent her in twain after the promulgation of the Creed of Nicæa. Such a schism as that between the churches of Hippolytus and Callistus must have given many an opportunity to those foes who were in some sort of her own household; while round the contest, like the irregular auxiliaries of a regular army, swarmed a crowd of wonder-workers, diviners, and other exploiters of the public credulity, of whose doings we have before gained some insight from writers like Lucian and Apuleius, but whose methods and practices are for the first time fully described by Hippolytus.

The conversion of the whole Empire under Constantine[30] broke once for all the power of these enemies of the Church. Schisms were still to occur, but grievous as they were, they happily proved impotent to destroy the essential unity of Christendom. The heathen faiths and the Gnostic sects derived from them were soon to wither like plants that had no root, and both they and the charlatans whose doings our author details were relentlessly hunted down by the State which had once given them shelter: while if the means used for this purpose were not such as the purer Christian ethics would now approve, we must remember that these means would probably have proved ineffective had not Christian teaching already destroyed the hold of these older beliefs on the seething populations of the Empire. That the adolescent Church should thus have been enabled to triumph over all her enemies may seem to many a better proof of her divine guidance than the miraculous powers once attributed to her. We may not all of us be able to believe that a rainstorm put out the fire on which Thekla was to be burned alive, or that the crocodiles in the tank in the arena into which she was cast were struck by lightning and floated to the surface dead.[91] Still less can we credit that the portraits of St. Theodore and other military saints left their place in the palace of the Queen of Persia and walked about in human form.[92] Such stories are for the most of us either pious fables composed for edification or half-forgotten records of natural events seen through the mist of exaggeration and misrepresentation common in the Oriental mind. But that the Church which began like a grain of mustard seed should in so short a time come to overshadow the whole civilized world may well seem when we consider the difficulties in her way a greater miracle than any of those recorded in the Apocryphal Gospels and Acts; and the full extent of these difficulties we should not have known save for Mynas’ discovery of our text.


[1] pp. 63, 117, 119; Vol. II, 148, 150 infra.

[2] Hippolytus, like all Greek writers of his age, must have been entirely ignorant of the Egyptian religion of Pharaonic times, which was then extinct. The only “Egyptian” Mysteries of which he could have known anything were those of the Alexandrian Triad, Osiris, Isis, and Horus, for which see the translator’s Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, Cambridge, 1915, I, c. 2.

[3] The pre-Christian origins of Gnosticism and its relations with Christianity are fully dealt with in the work quoted in the last note.

[4] Save for a few sentences quoted in patristic writings, the only extant Gnostic works are the Coptic collection in the British Museum and the Bodleian at Oxford, known as the Pistis Sophia and the Bruce Papyrus respectively. There are said to be some other fragments of Coptic MSS. of Gnostic origin in Berlin which have not yet been published.

[5] An account by the present writer of this worship in Roman times is given in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for October 1917, pp. 695 ff.

[6] II, pp. 125 ff. infra.

[7] II, p. 124 infra.

[8] The facsimile of a page of the MS. is given in Bishop Wordsworth’s Hippolytus and the Church of Rome, London, 1880.

[9] B. E. Miller, Origenis Philosophumena sive Omnium Hæresium Refutatio, Oxford, 1851.

[10] L. Duncker and F. G. Schneidewin, Philosophumena, etc. Göttingen, 1856-1859.

[11] P. M. Cruice, Philosophumena, etc. Paris, 1860.

[12] p. 34 infra.

[13] Deutsche Zeitschrift für Christliche Wissenschaft und Christliches Leben, 1852.

[14] References to nearly all the contributions to this controversy are correctly given in the Prolegomena to Cruice’s edition, pp. x ff. An English translation of Dr. Döllinger’s Hippolytus und Kallistus was published by Plummer, Edinburgh, 1876, and brings the controversy up to date. Cf. also the Bibliography in Salmon’s article “Hippolytus Romanus” in Smith and Wace’s Dictionary of Christian Biography (hereafter quoted as D.C.B.).

[15] See the English translation: Early History of the Christian Church, London, 1909, I, pp. 227 ff.

[16] This is confirmed by Dom. Chapman in the Catholic Encyclopedia, s. vv. “Hippolytus,” “Callistus.”

[17] The statue and its inscription are also reproduced by Bishop Wordsworth in the work above quoted.

[18] Hist. Eccles., VI, c. 20.

[19] Haer. Fab., III, 1.

[20] Peristeph II. For the chronological difficulty that this involves see Salmon, D.C.B., s.v. “Hippolytus Romanus.”

[21] Duchesne, op. cit., p. 233.

[22] “The Cross-references in the Philosophumena,” Hermathena, Dublin, No. XI, 1885, pp. 389 ff.

[23] “Die Gnostischen Quellen Hippolyts” in Gebhardt and Harnack’s Texte und Untersuchungen, VI, (1890).

[24] Introduction à l’Étude du Gnosticisme, Paris, 1903, p. 68; Gnostiques et Gnosticisme, Paris, 1913, p. 167.

[25] The theory that all existing things come from an “indivisible point” which our text gives as that of Simon Magus and of Basilides reappears in the Bruce Papyrus. Basilides’ remark about only 1 in 1000 and 2 in 10,000 being fit for the higher mysteries is repeated verbatim in the Pistis Sophia, p. 354, Copt. Cf. Forerunners, II, 172, 292, n. 1.

[26] Scottish Review, Vol. XXII, No. 43 (July 1893).

[27] p. 35 infra.

[28] p. 39 infra.

[29] p. 41; II, p. 83 infra.

[30] II, pp. 119, 151 infra.

[31] For the arithmomancy see p. 83 ff. infra; the borrowings from Sextus begin on p. 70, the tricks of the magicians on p. 92. For other mistakes, see the quotation about the Furies in II, p. 23, which he ascribes to Pythagoras, but which is certainly from Heraclitus (as Plutarch tells us), and the Categories of Aristotle which a few pages earlier are also assigned to Pythagoras. His treatment of Josephus will be dealt with in its place.

[32] This is especially the case with the story of Callistus, as to which see II, pp. 124 ff. infra.

[33] Haer. xxxi., p. 205, Oehler.

[34] Haeret. fab. I, 17-24.

[35] πάλαι.

[36] In D.C.B., art. cit. supra.

[37] See Oehler’s edition of Tertullian’s works, II, 751 ff. The parallel passages are set out in convenient form in Bishop Wordsworth’s book before quoted.

[38] Études sur de nouveaux documents historiques empruntés à l’ouvrage récemment découvert des Philosophumena, Paris, 1853.

[39] II, pp. 43, 47 infra.

[40] ὁμιλοῦντος Εἰρηναίου. For the whole quotation, see Photius, Bibliotheca, 121 (Bekker’s ed.).

[41] Tertullian (Oehler’s ed.), II, 751. St. Jerome in quoting this passage says the heretics have mangled the Gospel.

[42] Thus the tractate makes Simon Magus call his Helena Sophia, and says that Basilides named his Supreme God Abraxas. It knows nothing of the God-who-is-not and the three Sonhoods of our text: and it gives an entirely different account of the Sethians, whom it calls Sethitæ, and says that they identified Christ with Seth. In this heresy, too, it introduces Sophia, and makes her the author of the Flood.

[43] Euseb., Hist. Eccles. IV, c. 22. He is quoting Hegesippus. See also Origen contra Celsum, VI, c. 11.

[44] II, p. 3 infra.

[45] II, pp. 61 ff. infra.

[46] pp. 103, 119; II, pp. 1, 57, 148, 149 infra.

[47] p. 66 infra.

[48] p. 117 infra.

[49] II, p. 97 infra.

[50] II, p. 116 infra.

[51] p. 37 infra.

[52] p. 115 infra.

[53] II, p. 20. In II, p. 49, it is mentioned in connection with the heresy of Marcus, and on p. 104 the same theory is attributed to the “Egyptians.”

[54] p. 66; II, pp. 21, 64 infra.

[55] ἀγαπητοί, p. 113 and p. 180 infra. It also occurs on p. 125 of Vol. II in the same connection.

[56] λόγος, pp. 107 and 120 infra. He uses the word in the same sense on p. 113.

[57] p. 35 infra.

[58] p. 117 infra.

[59] Pseudo-Hieronymus, Isidorus Hispalensis, and Honorius Augustodunensis, like Epiphanius, begin their catalogues of heresies with the Jewish and Samaritan sects. Philastrius leads off with the Ophites and Sethians whom he declares to be pre-Christian, and then goes on to Dositheus, and the Jewish “heresies” before coming to Simon Magus. Pseudo-Augustine and Prædestinatus begin with Simon Magus and include no pre-Christian sects. See Oehler, Corpus Hæreseologicus, Berlin, 1866, t. i.

[60] II, p. 150 infra.

[61] δόγματα, p. cit.

[62] So Origen, Cont. Cels., VI, 24, speaks of “the very insignificant sect called Ophites.”

[63] II, p. 116 infra, where he says that he did not think them worth refuting.

[64] For the search made both by pagan and Christian inquisitors for their opponents’ books, see Forerunners, II, 12.

[65] See n. on p. 51 infra.

[66] Cf. Salmon in D.C.B., s.v. “Hippolytus Romanus.”

[67] Hippolytus’ denial of the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews probably appeared in some work other than our text. Or it may have been cut out by the scribe as offensive to orthodoxy.

[68] A flagrant case is to be found in p. 81 Cr. where Π (P) has, according to Schneidewin, been written for R, a mistake that could only be made by one used to Roman letters. Cf. Serpens and serviens, p. 487 Cr.

[69] ἀφότε for ἀφ᾽οὗ, p. 453 Cr.

[70] e. g. φυσιογονική (p. 9 Cr.), κοπιαταὶ (p. 86), ἰχθυοκόλλα (p. 103), ἀρχανθρώπος (p. 153), ἀπρονοήτος (p. 176), κλεψιλόγος (p. 370), πρωτογενέτειρα (p. 489), κατιδιοποιούμενος (p. 500), ἀδίστακτος (p. 511), ταρταρούχος (p. 523).

[71] p. 35 infra.

[72] p. 166 infra.

[73] II, p. 99 infra.

[74] II, pp. 177 ff.

[75] See Augustine’s sermon in Hypatia.

[76] p. 33 infra.

[77] p. 83 infra.

[78] II, p. 2 infra.

[79] II, p. 99 infra.

[80] II, p. 175 infra.

[81] See pp. 122, 133, 134, 135, 137, 142, 143 infra.

[82] p. 154 infra.

[83] p. 178 infra.

[84] II, p. 102.

[85] II, p. 109.

[86] See Forerunners, I, lxi ff.

[87] This applies to the chief Peratic author quoted. The long catalogue connecting personages in the Greek mythology with particular stars is, as is said later, by another hand, and is introduced by a bombastic utterance like that attributed to Simon Magus.

[88] Hippolytus attributes it to the Orphics; but see de Faye for another explanation.

[89] Forerunners, II, 49.

[90] Justinus is left out of the account because he does not seem to have been an Ophite at all. The Serpent in his system is entirely evil, and therefore not an object of worship, and his sect is probably much later than the other three in the same book.

[91] Acts of Paul and Thekla, passim.

[92] E. A. T. Wallis Budge, Miscellaneous Coptic Texts in Dialect of Upper Egypt, London, 1915, pp. 579 ff.



p. 1,
Cruice.These are the contents[2] of the First Part[3] of the Refutation of all Heresies;

What were the tenets of the natural philosophers and who these were; and what those of the ethicists and who these were; and what those of the dialecticians and who the dialecticians were.


Now the natural philosophers mentioned are Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, Parmenides, Leucippus, Democritus, Xenophanes, Ecphantus, and p. 2. Hippo. The ethicists are Socrates, pupil of Archelaus the physicist and Plato, pupil of Socrates. These mingled together the three kinds of philosophy. The dialecticians are Aristotle, pupil of Plato and the founder of dialectics, and the Stoics Chrysippus and Zeno.

Epicurus, however, maintained an opinion almost exactly contrary to all these. So did Pyrrho the Academic[4] who asserts the incomprehensibility of all things. There are also the Brachmans[5] among the Indians, the Druids among the Celts, and Hesiod.


Egyetlen görög által híressé tett mesét sem szabad elhanyagolni. Hiszen még a következetlenséget nélkülöző véleményeiket is elhiszik az eretnekek különc (túlzó) őrültsége révén, akik saját kimondhatatlan titkaik csendjébe rejtőzve sokak szerint Istent imádják. Whose opinions also we aforetime set forth within measure, not displaying them in detail but refuting them in the rough,[6] as we did not hold it fit to bring their unspeakable deeds to light. This we did that, as we set forth their tenets by hints only, they, becoming ashamed lest by telling outright their secrets we should prove them to be godless, might abate somewhat from their unreasoned purpose and unlawful enterprise.[7] But since I see that they have not been put to shame by our clemency, and have not considered God’s long-suffering under their blasphemies, I am[33] forced, in order that they may either be shamed into repentance, or remaining as they are may be rightly judged, to proceed to show their ineffable mysteries which they impart to those candidates for initiation who are thoroughly trustworthy. Yet they do not previously avow them, unless they have enslaved such a one by keeping him long in suspense and preparing him by blasphemy against the true God,[8] and they see him longing for the jugglery of the disclosure. And then, when they have proved him to be bound fast by iniquity,[9] they initiate him and impart to him the perfection of evil things,[10] first binding him by oath neither to tell nor to impart them to any one unless he too has been enslaved in the same way. Yet from him to whom they have been only communicated, no oath is longer necessary. For whoso has submitted to learn and to receive their final mysteries will by the act itself and by his own conscience be bound not to utter them to others. For were he to declare to any man such an offence, he would neither be reckoned longer among men, nor thought worthy any more to behold the light. Which things also are such an offence that even the dumb animals do not attempt them, as we shall say in its place.[11] But since the argument compels us to enter into the case very deeply, we do not think fit to hold our peace, but setting forth in detail the opinions of all, we shall keep silence on none. And it seems good to us to spare no labour even if thereby the tale be lengthened. For we shall leave behind us no small help to the life of men against further error, when all see clearly the hidden and unspeakable orgies of which the heretics are the stewards and which they impart only to the initiated. But none other will refute these things than the Holy Spirit handed down in the Church which the Apostles having first received did distribute to those who rightly believed. Whose successors we chance to be and partakers of the same grace of high priesthood[12] and of p. 5. teaching and accounted guardians of the Church. Wherefore we close not our eyes nor abstain from straight speech; but neither do we tire in working with our whole soul and body worthily to return worthy service to the beneficent God. Nor do we make full return save that we slacken not in that which is entrusted to us; but we fill full the measures of our opportunity and without envy communicate to all whatsoever the Holy Spirit shall provide. Thus we not only bring into the open by refutation the affairs of the enemy;[13] but also whatever the truth has received by the Father’s grace and ministered to men. These things we preach[14] as one who is not ashamed, both interpreting them by discourse and making them to bear witness by writings.

In order then, as we have said by anticipation, that we may show these men to be godless alike in purpose, character and deed, and from what source their schemes have come—and because they have in their attempts taken nothing from the Holy Scriptures, nor is it from guarding the succession of any saint that they have been hurried into p. 6. these things, but their theories[15] take their origin from the wisdom of the Greeks, from philosophizing opinions,[16] from would-be mysteries and from wandering astrologers—it seems then proper that we first set forth the tenets of the philosophers of the Greeks and point out to our readers[17] which of them are the oldest and most reverent towards the Divinity.[18] Then, that we should match[19] each heresy with a particular opinion so as to show how the protagonist of the heresy, meeting with these schemes, gained advantage by seizing their principles and being driven on from them to worse things constructed his own system.[20] Now the undertaking is full of toil and requires much research. But we shall not be found wanting. For at the last it will give us much joy, as with the athlete who has won the crown with much labour, or the merchant who has gained profit after great tossing of the sea, or the husbandman who gets the benefit of his crops from the sweat of his brow, or the prophet who after reproaches and insults sees his predictions come to pass.[21] We will therefore begin by declaring which of the Greeks first made demonstration of natural philosophy. For of them especially have the protagonists of the heretics become the plagiarists, as we shall afterwards show by setting them side by side. And when we have restored to each of these pioneers his own, we shall put the heresiarchs beside them naked and unseemly.[22]

1. Thálész

Azt mondják, hogy a hét bölcs egyike, a milétoszti Thalész volt az első, aki kézbe vette a természetfilozófiát.[23] Azt mondta, hogy a világegyetem kezdete és vége víz volt; [24] mert a megszilárdulásából és újrafeloldódásából minden dolog felépült, és minden ez által született. És ebből származnak a földrengések és a csillagok forgása és a szelek mozgása.[25] És hogy minden dolog a nemzedék első okának természete szerint alakult és folyik; de hogy az istenség az, aminek nincs sem kezdete, sem vége. [26] Thalész, miután a csillagok rendszerének és azok kutatásának szentelte magát, a görögök számára lett az első, aki felelős volt a tanulás ezen ágáért. És míg az eget nézte, és azt mondta, hogy gondosan felfogja a fenti dolgokat, beleesett egy kútba; mire egy Thratta[27] nevű szolgálólány nevetett rajta és így szólt: „Miközben az égi dolgokat akarja látni, nem látja, mi van a lába előtt.” És körülbelül Crœsus idejében élt.

2. Püthagorász.

És nem messze ettől az időtől virágzott egy másik filozófia, amelyet Pitagorasz alapított, aki egyesek szerint szamoszi volt. Itáliainak is hívják, mert Püthagorasz, Szamosz zsarnokától, Polükratész elől menekülve, Itália egyik városában telepedett le, és ott töltötte életét. Akinek utódai az iskolában nem sokban különböztek tőle ítéletben. És miután fizikával foglalkozott, összekapcsolta vele a csillagászatot, a geometriát és a zenét. [28] És így kimutatta, hogy egység az isten, [29] és különösképpen a szám természetének tanulmányozása után azt mondta, hogy a kozmosz dallamot alkot, és harmóniából áll össze és először a hét csillag (bolygó) [30] mozgását redukálta ritmusra és dallamra. Az univerzum elrendezésén tűnődve azonban [31]  azt várta a tanítványaitól, hogy hallgassanak az első dolgokról, amelyeket megtanultak, mintha az univerzum misztériumai lennének, amelyek a kozmoszba jönnek. Később, amikor úgy tűnt, hogy kellőképpen részt vettek a beszédek oktatásában, és maguk is tudnak filozofálni a csillagokról és a Természetről, megtisztultnak ítélte őket, és felszólította őket, hogy beszéljenek. A tanítványokat két osztályra osztotta, és ezeket Ezoterikusoknak és Exoterikusoknak nevezte. Az elsőként megnevezettekre a teljesebb tanítást, a többiekre a korlátozottabbat bízta. Alkalmazta magát[32] a mágihoz[33] is, ahogy mondani szokták, és maga találta ki a Természet eredetének filozófiáját,[34] amely bizonyos számokon és mértékeken alapul, mondván, hogy az aritmetikai filozófia eredete ezt a módszert szintetizálja. Az első szám egy elvvé vált, amely az EGY, határtalan, felfoghatatlan, és magában foglalja mindazokat a számokat, amelyek szorzással a végtelenbe juthatnak.[35] Az első egység azonban a számok eredétnek hipotézise alapján volt, amely egy férfi monád (egység), amely apaként nemzi az összes többi számot. A második helyen a diád (kettősség) áll, egy női szám, és ugyanez van megnevezve még a matematikusok által. A harnadik helyen van a triád (hármasság), egy férfi szám, és ezt a matematikusok páratlannak határozzák meg. Ezek után jön a tetrád (négyesség), egy női szám, és ezt is párosnak hívják, mert nőnemű. Ezért az összes szám a négy nemből (faj, nemzettség) származik [36] (nos, a határtalan nemzettség a "szám"), amelyből felépül szerintük a tökéletes szám, a dekád (tíz). Mert az 1-es, 2-es, 3-as, 4-esből 10 lesz, ha minden szám esetében a megfelelő nevét lényegében megtartják.[37] Erről a dekádról  Püthagorász azt mondta, hogy egy szent Tetraktüsz, az örökkévaló Természet forrása, amely magában gyökerezik, és ahogy ugyanabból a számból minden szám kezdetét veszi. Mert a 11 és a 12, valamint a többi 10-ből osztja el létének kezdetét. Ugyanannak a dekádnak, a tökéletes számnak a négy felosztását számnak, monadnak,[38] négyzetnek[39] és kockának nevezzük. Aminek kapcsolatai és keveredései a növekedés megszüntetését eredményezik és betöltik természetesen a gyümölcsöző számot. Mert amikor a négyzetet megszorozzuk önmagával,[40] a négyzet négyzetévé válik; when into the cube, the square cubed; when the cube is multiplied by the cube, it becomes a cube cubed. So that all the numbers from which comes the birth of things which are, are seven; to wit: number, monad, square, cube, square of square, cube of square and cube of cube.

Azt is kijelentette, hogy a lélek halhatatlan, és egyik testből a másikba költözik. [41] Ezért azt mondta, hogy ő maga volt a trójai idők előtt, Aethalides,[42] és hogy a trójai korszakban ő volt Euphorbus, majd Hermotimus a Samian, utána a delosi Pürró és ötödször Püthagorász. De az eritreai Diodorus és Arisztoxenus, a zeneíró azt állítja,[43] hogy Püthagorász elment meglátogatni Zaratast[44] a káldeust; és Zaratas elmagyarázta neki, hogy kezdettől fogva két oka van a létező dolgoknak: az apa és anya: és hogy az apa világosság és az anya a sötétség és a világosság felosztása: forró, száraz, könnyű (súly szerint) és gyors; de a sötétségé hideg, nedves, nehéz és lassú. Ezekből épült fel az egész kozmosz: egy nőből és egy férfiból; és hogy a kozmosz[45] természete a zenei harmónia szerint, ezért a nap ritmikusan teszi meg napi útját. És azokról a dolgokról, amelyek a földből és a kozmoszból jönnek létre, azt mondják, Zaratas így beszélt: két démon van[46] egy égi és egy földi. Of these the earthly one sent on high a thing born from the earth which is water; but that the heavenly fire partook of the air, hot and cold. Wherefore, he says, none of these things destroys or pollutes the soul, for the same are the substance of all. And it is said that Pythagoras ordered that beans should not be eaten, because Zaratas said that at the beginning and formation of all things when the earth was still being constructed and put together, the bean was produced. And he says that a proof of this is, that if one chews a bean to pulp and puts it in the sun for some time (for this plays a direct part in the matter), it will give out the smell of human seed. And he says that another proof is even clearer. If when the bean is in flower, we take the bean p. 13. and its blossom, put it into a jar, anoint this, bury it in earth, and in a few days dig it up, we shall see it at first having the form of a woman’s pudenda and afterwards on close examination a child’s head growing with it.

Püthagorász az itáliai Krotonában vesztette életét, miután tanítványaival együtt elégették. És az volt a szokása, hogy ha valaki tanítványként jött hozzá, el kellett adnia vagyonát, és a pénzt Püthagorasznál pecsételve letétbe kellett helyeznie, és hol három, hol öt évig hallgatnia kellett, amíg tanult. But on being again set free, he mixed with the others and remained a disciple and took his meals along with them. But if he did not, he took back what belonged to him and was cast out. Now the Esoterics were called Pythagoreans and the others Pythagorists. Tanítványai közül pedig, akik megmenekültek az elégéstől, Lysis és Archippus és Zamolxis, Pythagoras házi rabszolgája volt, aki állítólag megtanította a kelták druidáit a pitagorasz filozófia művelésére. És azt mondják, hogy Püthagorász az egyiptomiaktól tanulta a számokat és a mértékeket, és meg volt döbbenve a papok hihető, hatásos és nehezen feltárható bölcsességétől, a csend megparancsolásában is őket utánozta, cellákba (lodge) szállásolva tanítványait, magányos életre készítve őket. [47]

3. About Empedocles.

But Empedocles, born after these men, also said many things about the nature of demons, and how they being very many go about managing things upon the earth. He said that the beginning of the universe was Strife and Friendship and that the intellectual fire of the monad is God, and that all things were constructed from fire and will be resolved into fire.[48] In which opinion the Stoics also nearly agree, since they expect an ecpyrosis. But most of all he accepted the change into different bodies, saying:

“For truly a boy I became, and a maiden,
And bush, and bird of prey, and fish,
A wanderer from the salt sea.”[49]

He declared that all souls transmigrated into all living things.[50] For Pythagoras the teacher of these men said he himself had been Euphorbus who fought at Ilion, and claimed to recognize the shield.[51] This of Empedocles.

4. About Heraclitus.

But Heraclitus of Ephesus, a physicist, bewailed all things, accusing the ignorance of all life and of all men, and pitying the life of mortals. For he claimed that he knew all things and other men nothing.[52] And he also made statements nearly in accord with Empedocles, as he said that Discord and Friendship were the beginning of all things, and that the intellectual fire was God and that all things were borne in upon one another and did not stand still. And like Empedocles he said that every place of ours was filled with evil things, and that these come as far as the moon extending from the place surrounding the earth, but go no further, since the whole place above the moon is very pure.[53] Thus, too, it seemed to Heraclitus.

p. 16.And after these came other physicists whose opinions we do not think it needful to declare as they are in no way incongruous with those aforesaid. But since the school was by no means small, and many physicists afterwards sprang from these, all discoursing in different fashion on the nature of the universe, it seems also fit to us, now that we have set forth the philosophy derived from Pythagoras, to return in order of succession to the opinions of those who adhered to Thales, and after recounting the same to come to the ethical and logical philosophies, whereof Socrates founded the ethical and Aristotle the dialectic.

5. About Anaximander.

Now Anaximander was a hearer of Thales. He was Anaximander of Miletus, son of Praxiades.[54] He said that the beginning of the things that are was a certain nature of the Boundless from which came into being the heavens and the ordered worlds[55] within them. And that this principle is eternal and grows not old and encompasses all the ordered worlds. And he says time is limited by birth, p. 17. substance,[56] and death. He said that the Boundless is a principle and element of the things that are and was the first to call it by the name of principle. But that there is an eternal movement towards Him wherein it happens that the heavens are born. And that the earth is a heavenly body[57] supported by nothing, but remaining in its place by reason of its equal distance from everything. And that its form is a watery cylinder[58] like a stone pillar; and that we tread on one of its surfaces, but that there is another opposite to it. And that the stars are a circle of fire distinct from the fire in the cosmos, but surrounded by air. And that certain fiery exhalations exist in those places where the stars appear, and by the obstruction of these exhalations come the eclipses. And that the moon appears sometimes waxing and sometimes waning through the obstruction or closing of her paths. And that the circle of the sun is 27 times greater than that of the moon and that the sun is in the highest place in the heavens and the circles of the fixed p. 18. stars in the lowest. And that the animals came into being in moisture evaporated by the sun. And that mankind was at the beginning very like another animal, to wit, a fish. And that winds come from the separation and condensation of the subtler atoms of the air[59] and rain from the earth giving back under the sun’s heat what it gets from the clouds,[60][43] and lightnings from the severance of the clouds by the winds falling upon them. He was born in the 3rd year of the 42nd Olympiad.[61]

6. About Anaximenes.

Anaximenes, who was also a Milesian, the son of Eurystratus, said that the beginning was a boundless air from which what was, is, and shall be and gods and divine things came into being, while the rest came from their descendants. But that the condition of the air is such that when it is all over alike[62] it is invisible to the eye, but it is made perceptible by cold and heat, by damp and by motion. And that it is ever-moving, for whatever is changeable[63] changes not unless it be moved. For it appears different when condensed and rarefied. For when it diffuses into greater rarity fire is produced; but when again halfway p. 19. condensed into air, a cloud is formed from the air’s compression; and when still further condensed, water, and when condensed to the full, earth; and when to the very highest degree, stones. And that consequently the great rulers of formation are contraries, to wit, heat and cold. And that the earth is a flat surface borne up on the air in the same way as the sun and moon and the other stars.[64] For all fiery things are carried through the air laterally.[65] And that the stars are produced from the earth by reason of the mist which rises from it and which when rarefied becomes fire, and from this ascending fire[66] the stars are constructed. And that there are earth-like natures in the stars’ place carried about with them. But he says that the[44] stars do not move under the earth, as others assume, but round the earth[67] as a cap is turned on one’s head, and that the sun is hidden, not because it is under the earth, but because it is hidden by the earth’s higher parts, and by reason of its greater distance from us. And because of their great distance, the stars give out no heat. And that p. 20. winds are produced when the air after condensation escapes rarefied; but that when it collects and is thus condensed[68] to the full, it becomes clouds and thus changes into water. Also that hail is produced when the water brought down from the clouds is frozen; and snow when the same clouds are wetter when freezing. And lightning come when the clouds are forced apart by the strength of the winds; for when thus driven apart, there is a brilliant and fiery flash. Also that a rainbow is produced by the solar rays falling upon solidified air, and an earthquake from the earth’s increasing in size by heating and cooling. This then Anaximenes. He flourished about the 1st year of the 58th Olympiad.[69]

7. Anaxagoraszról.

Őutána volt a Klazomenai Anaxagorasz, Hegesibulusz fia. Azt mondta, hogy a világegyetem kezdete az elme és az anyag, az elme a teremtő és az anyag, ami létrejött.[70] For that when all things were together, mind came and arranged them. He says, however, that the material principles are boundless, even the smallest of them. And that all things partake of movement, being moved by mind, and that like things come together. And that the things in heaven were set in order by their circular motion.[71] That therefore what was dense and moist and dark and cold and everything heavy came together in the middle,[45] and from the compacting of this the earth was established;[72] but that the opposites, to wit, the hot, the brilliant and the light were drawn off to the distant æther. Also that the earth is fat in shape and remains suspended[73] through its great size, and from there being no void and because the air which is strongest bears (up) the upheld earth. And that the sea exists from the moisture on the earth and the waters in it evaporating and then condensing in a hollow place;[74] and that the sea is supposed to have come into being by this and from the rivers flowing into it. And the rivers, too, are established by the rains and the waters within the earth; for the earth is hollow and holds water in its cavities. But that the Nile increases in summer when the snows from the northern parts are carried down into it. And that the sun and moon and all the stars are burning stones and are p. 22. carried about by the rotation of the æther. And that below the stars are the sun and moon and certain bodies not seen by us whirled round together. And that the heat of the stars is not felt by us because of their great distance from the earth; but yet their heat is not like that of the sun from their occupying a colder region. Also that the moon is below the sun and nearer to us; and that the size of the sun is greater than that of the Peloponnesus. And that the moon has no light of her own, but only one from the sun. And that the revolution of the stars takes place under the earth. Also that the moon is eclipsed when the earth stands in her way, and sometimes the stars which are below the moon,[75] and the sun when the moon stands in his way during new moons. And that both the sun and moon make turnings (solstices) when driven back by the air; but that the moon turns often through not being able to master the cold. He was the first to determine the facts about eclipses and renewals of light.[76] And he said that the moon was like the[46] earth and had within it plains and ravines. And that the Milky Way was the reflection of the light of the stars which are not lighted up by the sun. And that the shooting stars p. 23. are as it were sparks which glance off from the movement of the pole. And that winds are produced by the rarefaction of the air by the sun and by their drying up as they get towards the pole and are borne away from it. And that thunderstorms are produced by heat falling upon the clouds. And that earthquakes come from the upper air falling upon that under the earth; for when this last is moved, the earth upheld by it is shaken. And that animals at the beginning were produced from water, but thereafter from one another, and that males are born when the seed secreted from the right parts of the body adheres to the right parts of the womb and females when the opposite occurs. He flourished in the 1st year of the 88th Olympiad, about which time they say Plato was born.[77] They say also that Anaxagoras came to have a knowledge of the future.

8. About Archelaus.

Archelaus was of Athenian race and the son of Apollodorus. He like Anaxagoras asserted the mixed nature of matter and agreed with him as to the beginning of things. But he said that a certain mixture[78] was directly inherent in mind, and that the source of movement is the separation from one another of heat and cold and that the p. 24. heat is moved and the cold remains undisturbed. Also that water when heated flows to the middle of the universe wherein heated air and earth are produced, of which one is borne aloft while the other remains below. And that the earth remains fixed and exists because of this and abides in the middle of the universe, of which, so to speak, it forms no part and which is delivered from the conflagration.[79] The first result of which burning is the nature of the stars, the[47] greatest whereof is the sun and the second the moon while of the others some are greater and some smaller. And he says that the heaven is arched over us[80] and has made the air transparent and the earth dry. For that at first it was a pool; since it was lofty at the horizon, but hollow in the middle. And he brings forward as a proof of this hollowness, that the sun does not rise and set at the same time for all parts as must happen if the earth were level. And as to animals, he says that the earth first became heated in the lower part when the hot and cold mingled and man[81] and the other animals appeared. And all things were unlike p. 25. one another and had the same diet, being nourished on mud. And this endured for a little, but at last generation from one another arose, and man became distinct from the other animals and set up chiefs, laws, arts, cities and the rest. And he says that mind is inborn in all animals alike. For that every body is supplied with[82] mind, some more slowly and some quicker than the others.

Natural philosophy lasted then from Thales up to Archelaus. Of this last Socrates was a hearer. But there are also many others putting forward different tenets concerning the Divine and the nature of the universe, whose opinions if we wished to set them all out would take a great mass of books. But it would be best, after having recalled by name those of them who are, so to speak, the chorus-leaders of all who philosophized in later times and who have furnished starting-points for systems, to hasten on to what follows.[83]

9. Parmenidészről

Mert valóban Parmenidész azt is feltételezte, hogy az univerzum örök, nem keletkezett és gömb alakú.[84] Nem kerülte el azt az elterjedt véleményt sem, hogy a tüzet és a földet a világegyetem alapelvévé, a földet anyagként, de a tüzet okként és teremtővé tette. [Azt mondta, hogy a rendezett világ el fog pusztulni, de azt, hogy milyen módon, azt nem mondta meg.] [85] De azt mondta, hogy az univerzum örökkévaló, nem keletkezett, gömb alakú és mindenütt egyforma, nem visel semmiféle benyomást, megingathatatlan és határozott korlátokkal rendelkezik.

10. About Leucippus.

But Leucippus, a companion of Zeno, did not keep to the same opinion (as Parmenides), but says that all things are boundless and ever-moving and that birth and change are unceasing. And he says that fulness and the void are elements. And he says also that the ordered worlds came into being thus: when many bodies were crowded together and flowed from the ambient[86] into a great void, on coming into contact with one another, those of like fashion and similar form coalesced, and from their intertwining yet others were generated and increased and diminished by a certain necessity. But what that necessity may be he did not define.

11. Démokritoszról.

De Démokritosz Leukipposz ismerőse volt. Ez volt Abderai Démokritosz, Damaszipposz fia,[87] aki találkozott sok gimnoszofistával az indiaiak között és papokkal és asztrológusokkal [88] Egyiptomban és mágusokkal Babilonban. De úgy beszél az elemekről, mint Leukipposz, szó szerint, a teljességről és az ürességről, mondván, hogy a teljes az, ami van, de az üresség az, ami nincs, és ezt azért mondta, mert a dolgok állandóan mozognak az ürességben. Azt is mondta, hogy a rendezett világok végtelenek és különböző méretűek,  és hogy némelyikben nincs sem nap, sem hold, de van, ahol mindkettő nagyobb, mint nálunk, és még másokban több van számban. És hogy a rendezett világok közötti intervallumok egyenlőtlenek, hol több, hol kevesebb, és hogy egyesek növekednek, mások virágoznak, mások elpusztulnak, és ott keletkeznek, és ott elsötétülnek.[89] De hogy vannak, amelyek egymásnak ütközve elpusztulnak. És hogy néhány rendezett világ csupasz állatoktól, növényektől és minden víztől. És hogy a mi kozmoszunkban a Föld keletkezett először a csillagok közül, és hogy a hold a legalacsonyabb a csillagok közül, majd jön a nap, majd az állócsillagok:  de a bolygók nincsenek egy magasságban. És mindenen nevetett, mintha az emberek között minden megérdemelné a nevetést.

12. About Xenophanes.

But Xenophanes of Colophon was the son of Orthomenes.[90] He survived until the time of Cyrus. He first declared the incomprehensibility of all things,[91] saying thus:

Although anyone should speak most definitely
He nevertheless does not know, and it is a guess[92] which occurs about all things.

But he says that nothing is generated, or perishes or is moved, and that the universe which is one is beyond change. But he says that God is eternal, and one and alike on every side, and finite and spherical in form, and conscious[93] in all His parts. And that the sun is born every day from the gathering together of small particles of fire and that the earth is boundless and surrounded neither by air nor by heaven. And that there are boundless (innumerable) suns and moons and that all things are from the earth. He said that the sea is salt because of the many compounds which[50] together flow into it. But Metrodorus said it was thanks to its trickling through the earth that the sea becomes salt. And Xenophanes opines that there was once a mixture of earth with the sea, and that in time it was freed from moisture, asserting in proof of this that shells are found in the centre of the land and on mountains, and that in the stone-quarries of Syracuse were found the impress of a fish and of seals, and in Paros the cast of an anchor below the surface of the rock[94] and in Malta layers of all sea-things. And he says that these came when all things were of old time buried in mud, and that the impress of them dried in the mud; but p. 30. that all men were destroyed when the earth being cast into the sea became mud, and that it again began to bring forth and that this catastrophe happened to all the ordered worlds.[95]

13. About Ecphantus.

A certain Ecphantus, a Syracusan, said that a true knowledge of the things that are could not be got. But he defines, as he thinks, that the first bodies are indivisible and that there are three differences[96] between them, to wit, size, shape and power. And the number of them is limited and not boundless; but that these bodies are moved neither by weight nor by impact, but by a divine power which he calls p. 31. Nous and Psyche. Now the pattern of this is the cosmos, wherefore it has become spherical in form by Divine power. And that the earth in the midst of the cosmos is moved round its own centre from west to east.[97]

14. About Hippo.

But Hippo of Rhegium[98] said that the principles were cold, like water, and heat, like fire. And that the fire came from the water, and, overcoming the power of its parent, constructed the cosmos. But he said that the soul was sometimes brain and sometimes water; for the seed also[51] seems to us to be from moisture and from it he says the soul is born.

These things, then, we seem to have sufficiently set forth. Wherefore, as we have now separately run through the opinions of the physicists, it seems fitting that we return to Socrates and Plato, who most especially preferred (the study of) ethics.

15. About Socrates.

Now Socrates became a hearer of Archelaus the physicist, and giving great honour to the maxim “Know thyself” and having established a large school, held Plato to be the most competent of all his disciples. He left no writings p. 32. behind him; but Plato being impressed with all his wisdom[99] established the teaching combining physics, ethics and dialectics. But what Plato laid down is this:—

16. Platónról.

Platón a világegyetem alapelveit Istennek, anyagnak és (mintának) teszi. Azt mondja, hogy Isten és Gondviselése teremtője és rendezője ennek az univerzumnak.[100] Ez az anyag az, ami mindennek a hátterében áll, ezt az anyagot befogadónak és dajkának nevezi.[101] Amelyből, miután rendbe lett állítva, jött a négy elem, amelyből a kozmosz épül, a tűz, a levegő, a föld és a víz,[102] innen jött létre az összes többi úgynevezett összetett (összevegyült) dolog, azaz az állatok és a növények. De a minta az Isten gondolata, amelyet Platón ideáknak (eszmék) is nevez, és amelyre, mint a lélekben lévő kép alapján,[103]  Isten alkotott[104] mindeneket. Azt mondta, hogy Isten test és forma nélküli, és csak bölcsek érthetik meg; de ez az anyag potenciálisan test, de még nem aktív. Mert maga a lény forma és minőség nélkül formákat és tulajdonságokat kap, hogy testté váljon.[105] Ez az anyag tehát princípium, és ugyanaz Istennel egyidős, és a kozmosz meg születetlen. Mert – mondja – önmagából építette fel magát.[106] És minden tekintetben olyan, mint születetlen, és elpusztíthatatlan dolog. But in so far as body[107] is assumed to be composed of many qualities and ideas, it is so far begotten and perishable. But some Platonists mixed together the two opinions making up some such parable as this: to wit, that, as a wagon can remain undestroyed for ever if repaired part by part, as even though the parts perish every time, the wagon remains complete; so, the cosmos, although it perish part by part, is yet reconstructed and compensated for the parts taken away, and remains eternal.

Some again say that Plato declared God to be one, unbegotten and imperishable, as he says in the Laws:—“God, therefore, as the old story goes, holds the beginning and end and middle of all things that are.”[108] Thus he shows Him to be one through His containing all things. But others say that Plato thought that there are many gods without limitation[109] when he said, “God of gods, of whom I am the fashioner and father.”[110] And yet others that he thinks them subject to limitation when he says: “Great Zeus, indeed, driving his winged chariot in heaven;”[111] and when he gives the pedigree[112] of the children of Uranos and Gê. Others again that he maintained the gods to be originated and that because they were originated they ought to perish utterly, but that by the will of God they remain imperishable as he says in the passage before quoted, “God of gods, of whom I am the fashioner and father, and who are formed by my will indissoluble.” So that if He wished them to be dissolved, dissolved they would easily be. But he accepts the nature of demons, and says some are good, and some bad.

And some say that he declared the soul to be unoriginated and imperishable[113] when he says: “All soul is immortal for that which is ever moving is immortal,” and when he shows that it is self-moving and the beginning of movement. But others say that he makes it originated but imperishable[114] through God’s will; and yet others composite and originated and perishable. For he also supposes that p. 35. there is a mixing-bowl for it,[115] and that it has a splendid body, but that everything originated must of necessity perish. But those who say that the soul is immortal are partly corroborated by those words wherein he says that there are judgments after death, and courts of justice in the house of Hades, and that the good meet with a good reward and that the wicked are subjected to punishments.[116] Some therefore say that he also admits a change of bodies and the transfer of different pre-determined souls into other bodies according to the merit of each; and that after certain definite peregrinations they are again sent into this ordered world to give themselves another trial of their own choice. Others, however, say not, but that they obtain a place according to each one’s deserts. And they call to witness that he says some souls are with Zeus, but that others of good men are going round with other gods, and that others abide in everlasting punishments, (that is), so many as in this life have wrought evil and unjust deeds.[117] And they say that he declared some conditions to be p. 36. without intermediates, some with intermediates and some to be intermediates. Waking and sleep are without intermediates and so are all states like these. But there are those with intermediates like good and bad; and intermediates like grey which is between black and white or some other colour.[118] And they say that he declares the things concerning the soul to be alone supremely good, but those of the body or external to it to be no longer supremely good, but only said to be so. And that these last are very often named intermediates also; for they can be used both well and ill. He says therefore that the virtues are extremes as to honour, but means as to substance.[119] For there is nothing more honourable than virtue; but that which goes beyond or falls short of these virtues ends in vice. For instance, he says that these are the four virtues, to wit, Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude, and that there follow on each of these two vices of excess and deficiency respectively. Thus on Prudence follow thoughtlessness by deficiency and cunning by excess; on Temperance, intemperance by deficiency and sluggishness by excess; on Justice, over-modesty by deficiency and greediness by excess; and on Fortitude, p. 37. cowardice by deficiency and foolhardiness by excess.[120] And these virtues when inborn in a man operate for his perfection and give him happiness. But he says that happiness is likeness to God as far as possible. And that any one is like God when he becomes holy and just with intention. For this he supposes to be the aim of the highest wisdom and virtue.[121] But he says that the virtues follow one another in turn and are of one kind, and never oppose one another; but that the vices are many-shaped and sometimes follow and sometimes oppose one another.[122]

He says, again, that there is destiny, not indeed that all things are according to destiny, but that we have some choice, as he says in these words: “The blame is on the chooser: God is blameless,” and again, “This is a law of Adrasteia.” And if he thus affirms the part of destiny, he knew also that something was in our choice.[123] But he says that transgressions are involuntary. For to the most beautiful thing in us, which is the soul, none would admit something evil, that is, injustice; but that by ignorance and mistaking the good, thinking to do something fine, they p. 38. arrive at the evil.[124] And his explanation on this is most clear in the Republic, where he says: “And again do you dare to say that vice is disgraceful and hateful to God? How then does any one choose such an evil? He does it, you would say, who is overcome by the pleasures (of sense). Therefore this also is an involuntary action, if to overcome be a voluntary one. So that from all reasoning, reason proves injustice to be involuntary.” But some one objects to him about this: “Why then are men punished if they transgress involuntarily?” He answers: “So that they may be the more speedily freed from vice by undergoing correction.”[125] For that to undergo correction is not bad but good, if thereby comes purification from vices, and that the rest of mankind hearing of it will not transgress, but will be on their guard against such error.[126] He says, however, that the nature of evil comes not by God nor has it any special nature of its own; but it comes into being by contrariety and by following upon the good, either as excess or deficiency as we have before said about the virtues.[127] Now Plato, as p. 39. we have said above, bringing together the three divisions of general philosophy, thus philosophized.

17. Arisztotelészről.

Aristotle, who was a hearer of this last, turned philosophy into a science and reasoned more strictly, affirming that the elements of all things are substance and accident.[128] He said that there is one substance underlying all things, but[56] nine accidents, which are Quantity, Quality, Relation, the Where, the When, Possession, Position, Action and Passion. And that therefore Substance was such as God, man and every one of the things which can fall under the like definition: but that as regards the accidents, Quality is seen in expressions like white or black; Quantity in “2 cubits or 3 cubits long or broad”; Relation in “father” or “son”; the Where in such as “Athens” or “Megara”; the When in such as “in the Xth Olympiad”; for Possession in such as “to have acquired wealth”; Action in such as “to write and generally to do anything”; and Passion in such as “to be struck.” He also assumes that some things have means and that others have not, as we have said also about Plato. p. 40. And he is in accord with Plato about most things save in the opinion about the soul. For Plato thinks it immortal; but Aristotle that it remains behind after this life and that it is lost in the fifth Body which is assumed to exist along with the other four, to wit, fire, earth, water and air, but is more subtle than they and like a spirit.[129] Again whereas Plato said that the only good things were those which concerned the soul and that these sufficed for happiness, Aristotle brings in a triad of benefits and says that the sage is not perfect unless there are at his command the good things of the body and those external to it. Which things are Beauty, Strength, Keenness of Sense and Completeness; while the externals are Wealth, High Birth, Glory, Power, Peace, and Friendship; but that the inner things about the soul are, as Plato thought: Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Fortitude.[130] Also Aristotle says that evil things exist, and come by contrariety to the good, and are below the place about the moon, but not above it.

Again, he says that the soul of the whole ordered world is eternal, but that the soul of man vanishes as we have said p. 41. above. Now, he philosophized while delivering discourses in the Lyceum; but Zeno in the Painted Porch. And Zeno’s followers got their name from the place, i. e. they were called Stoics from the Stoa; but those of Aristotle from their mode of study. For their enquiries were conducted[57] while walking about in the Lyceum, wherefore they were called Peripatetics. This then Aristotle.[131]

18. A sztoikusokról.

The Stoics themselves also added to philosophy by the increased use of syllogisms,[132] and included it nearly all in definitions, Chrysippus and Zeno being here agreed in opinion. Who also supposed that God was the beginning of all things, and was the purest body, and that His providence extends through all things.[133] They say positively, however, that existence is everywhere according to destiny using some such simile as this: viz. that, as a dog tied to a cart, if he wishes to follow it, is both drawn along by it and follows of his own accord, doing at the same time p. 42. what he wills and what he must by a compulsion like that of destiny.[134] But if he does not wish to follow he is wholly compelled. And they say that it is the same indeed with men. For even if they do not wish to follow, they will be wholly compelled to come to what has been foredoomed. And they say that the soul remains after death, and that[58] it is a body[135] and is born from the cooling of the air of the ambient, whence it is called Psyche.[136] But they admit that there is a change of bodies for Souls which have been marked out for it.[137] And they expect that there will be a conflagration and purification of this cosmos, some saying that it will be total but others partial, and that it will be purified part by part. And they call this approximate destruction and the birth of another cosmos therefrom, catharsis.[138] And they suppose that all things are bodies, and that one body passes through another; but that there is a resurrection[139] and that all things are filled full and that there is no void. Thus also the Stoics.

19. Epikurosztról.

p. 43.But Epicurus held an opinion almost the opposite of all others. He supposed that the beginnings of the universals were atoms and a void; that the void was as it were the place of the things that will be; but that the atoms were matter, from which all things are. And that from the concourse of the atoms both God and all the elements came into being and that in them were all animals and other things, so that nothing is produced or constructed unless it be from the atoms. And he said that the atoms were the most subtle of things, and that in them there could be no point, nor mark nor any division whatever; wherefore he called them atoms.[140] And although he admits God to be eternal and imperishable, he says that he cares for no one and that in short there is no providence nor destiny, but all things come into being automatically. For[59] God is seated in the metacosmic spaces, as he calls them. For he held that there was a certain dwelling-place of God outside the cosmos called the metacosmia, and that He p. 44 took His pleasure and rested in supreme delight; and that He neither had anything to do Himself nor provided for others. In consequence of which Epicurus made a theory about wise men, saying that the end of all wisdom is pleasure. But different people take the name of pleasure differently. For some understood by it the desires, but others the pleasure that comes by virtue. But he held that the souls of men were destroyed with their bodies as they are born with them. For that these souls are blood, which having come forth or being changed, the whole man is destroyed. Whence it follows that there are no judgments nor courts of justice in the House of Hades, so that whatever any one may do in this life and escapes notice, he is in no way called to account for it.[141] Thus then Epicurus.

20. About (the) Academics.

But another sect of philosophers was called Academic, p. 45. from their holding their discussions in the Academy, whose founder was Pyrrho, after whom they were called Pyrrhonian philosophers. He first introduced the dogma of the incomprehensibility of all things, so that he might argue on either side of the question, but assert nothing dogmatically. For he said that there is nothing grasped by the mind or perceived by the senses which is true, but that it only appears to men to be so. And that all substance is flowing and changing and never remains in the same state. Now some of the Academics say that we ought not to make dogmatic assertions about the principle of anything, but simply argue about it and let it be; while others favoured more the “no preference”[142] adage, saying that fire was not fire rather than anything else. For they did not assert what it is, but only what sort of a thing it is.[143]


21. About (the) Brachmans among the Indians.

The Indians have also a sect of philosophizers in the Brachmans[144] who propose to themselves an independent life and abstain from all things which have had life and from p. 46. meats prepared by fire. They are content with fruits[145] but do not gather even these, but live on those fallen on the earth and drink the water of the river Tagabena.[146] But they spend their lives naked, saying that the body has been made by God as a garment to the soul. They say that God is light; not such light as one sees, nor like the sun and fire, but that it is to them the Divine Word, not that which is articulated, but that which comes from knowledge, whereby the hidden mysteries of nature are seen by the wise. But this light which they say is (the) Word, the God, they declare that they themselves as Brachmans alone know, because they alone put away vain thinking which is the last tunic of the soul. They scorn death; but are ever naming God in their own tongue, as we have said above, and send up hymns to Him. But neither are there women among them, nor do they beget children.[147] Those, however, who have desired a life like theirs, after they p. 47. have crossed over to the opposite bank of the river,[148] remain there always and never return; but they also are called Brachmans. Yet they do not pass their life in the same way; for there are women in the country, from whom those dwelling there are begotten and beget. But they say that this Word, which they style God, is corporeal, girt with the[61] body outside Himself, as if one should wear a garment of sheepskins; but that the body which is worn, when taken off, appears visible to the eye.[149] But the Brachmans declare that there is war in the body worn by them [and they consider their body full of warring elements] against which body as if arrayed against foes, they fight as we have before made plain. And they say that all men are captives to their own congenital enemies, to wit, the belly and genitals, greediness, wrath, joy, grief, desire and the like. But that he alone goes to God who has triumphed[150] over these. Wherefore the Brachmans make Dandamis, to whom Alexander of Macedon paid a visit, divine[151] as one who had won the war in the body. But they accuse Calanus of having impiously fallen away from their philosophy. But the Brachmans putting away the body, like p. 48. fish who have leaped from the water into pure air, behold the Sun.[152]

22. About the Druids among the Celts.

The Druids among the Celts enquired with the greatest minuteness into the Pythagorean philosophy, Zamolxis, Pythagoras’ slave, a Thracian by race, being for them the author of this discipline. He after Pythagoras’ death travelled into their country and became as far as they were concerned the founder of this philosophy.[153] The[62] Celts glorify the Druids as prophets and as knowing the future because they foretell to them some things by the ciphers and numbers of the Pythagoric art. On the principles of which same art we shall not be silent, since some men have ventured to introduce heresies constructed from them. Druids, however, also make use of magic arts.

p. 49.

23. About Hesiod.[154]

But Hesiod the poet says that he, too, heard thus from the Muses about Nature. The Muses, however, are the daughters of Zeus. For Zeus having from excess of desire companied with Mnemosyne for nine days and nights consecutively, she conceived these nine in her single womb, receiving one every night. Now Hesiod invokes the nine Muses from Pieria, that is from Olympus, and prays them to teach him:[155]

“How first the gods and earth became;
The rivers and th’ immeasureable sea
High-raging in its foam: the glittering stars;
The wide-impending heaven; ...
Say how their treasures,[156] how their honours each
Allotted shared: how first they held abode
On many-caved Olympus:—this declare
p. 50.Ye Muses! dwellers of the heavenly mount
From the beginning; say who first arose?
“First Chaos was, next ample-bosomed Earth,
The seat eternal and immoveable
Of deathless gods, who still the Olympian height
Snow-topt inhabit. Third in hollow depth
Of the vast ground, expanded wide above
The gloomy Tartarus, Love then arose
Most beauteous of immortals: he at once
Of every god and every mortal man
Unnerves the limbs; dissolves the wiser breast
By reason steel’d, and quells the very soul.
“From Chaos, Erebus and sable Night...
Whom she with dark embrace of Erebus
Commingling bore.
“Her first-born Earth produced
Of like immensity,[158] the starry Heaven:
That he might sheltering compass her around
On every side, and be for evermore
To the blest gods a mansion unremoved.
“Next the high hills arose, the pleasant haunts
Of goddess-nymphs, who dwell among the glens
Of mountains. With no aid of tender love
p. 51.Gave she to birth the sterile Sea, high-swol’n
In raging foam; and Heaven-embraced, anon
She teemed with Ocean, rolling in deep whirls
His vast abyss of waters
“Crœus then,
Cœus, Hyperion and Iäpetus,
Themis and Thea rose; Mnemosyne
And Rhea; Phœbe diademed with gold,
And love-inspiring Tethys; and of these,
Youngest in birth, the wily Kronos came,
The sternest of her sons; and he abhorred
The sire that gave him life
“Then brought she forth
The Cyclops haughty of spirit.”

And he enumerates all the other Giants descended from Kronos. But last he tells how Zeus was born from Rhea.

All these men, then, declared, as we have set forth, their opinions about the nature and birth of the universe. But they all, departing from the Divine for lower things, busied themselves about the substance of the things that are. So that when struck with the grandeurs of creation and thinking that these were the Divine, each of them preferred before the rest a different part of what was created. But they discovered not the God and fashioner of them.

The opinions therefore of those among the Greeks who p. 52. have undertaken to philosophize, I think I have sufficiently set forth. Starting from which opinions the heretics have made the attempts we shall shortly narrate. It seems fitting, however, that we, first making public the mystic rites,[159] should also declare whatever things certain men[64] have superfluously fancied about stars or magnitudes; for truly those who have taken their starting-points from these notions are deemed by the many to speak prodigies. Thereafter, we shall make plain consecutively the vain opinions[160] invented by them.[161]



[1] As has been said in the Introduction (p. 1 supra) four early codices of the First Book exist, the texts being known from the libraries where they are to be found as the Medicean, the Turin, the Ottobonian and the Barberine respectively. That published by Miller was a copy of the Medicean codex already put into print by Fabricius, but was carefully worked over by Roeper, Scott and others who like Gronovius, Wolf and Delarue, collated it with the other three codices. The different readings are, I think, all noted by Cruice in his edition of 1860, but are not of great importance, and I have only noticed them here when they make any serious change in the meaning of the passage. Hermann Diels has again revised the text in his Doxographi Græci, Berlin, 1879, with a result that Salmon (D.C.B. s. v. “Hippolytus Romanus”) declares to be “thoroughly satisfactory,” and the reading of this part of our text may now, perhaps, be regarded as settled. Only the opening and concluding paragraphs are of much value for our present purpose, the account of philosophic opinions which lies between being, as has been already said, a compilation of compilations, and not distinguished by any special insight into the ideas of the authors summarized, with the works of most of whom Hippolytus had probably but slight acquaintance. An exception should perhaps be made in the case of Aristotle, as it is probable that Hippolytus, like other students of his time, was trained in Aristotle’s dialectic and analytic system for the purpose of disputation. But this will be better discussed in connection with Book VII.

[2] τάδε ἔνεστιν ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ τοῦ κατὰ πασῶν αἰρέσεων ἐλέγχου. This formula is repeated at the head of Books V-X with the alteration of the number only.

[3] The word missing after πρώτῃ was probably μερίδι, the only likely word which would agree with the feminine adjective. It would be appropriate enough if the theory of the division of the work into spoken lectures be correct. The French and German editors alike translate in libro primo.

[4] There seems no reason for numbering Pyrrho of Elis among the members of the Academy, Old or New. Diogenes Laertius, from whose account of his doctrines Hippolytus seems to have derived the dogma of incomprehensibility which he here attributes to Pyrrho, makes him the founder of the Sceptics. He was a contemporary of Alexander the Great, and probably died before Arcesilaus founded the New Academy in 280 B.C.

[5] Mr. Macmahon here reads “Brahmins.” Their habits appear more like those of Yogis or Sanyasis.

[6] ἁδρομερῶς: in contradistinction to κατὰ λεπτὸν just above.

[7] ἀλογίστου γνώμης καὶ ἀθεμίτου ἐπιχειρήσεως. The Turin MS. transposes the adjectives.

[8] πρὸς το͂ν ὄντως Θεὸν. The phrase is used frequently hereafter, particularly in Book X.

[9] Cf. the “bond of iniquity” in St. Peter’s speech to Simon Magus, Acts viii. 23.

[10] τὸ τέλειον τῶν κακῶν. τέλειον being a mystic word for final or complete initiation.

[11] ἃ καὶ τὰ ἄλογα κ. τ. λ. Schneidewin and Cruice both read εἰ καὶ, Roeper εἰ simply, others εἰ ὅτι. The first seems the best reading; but none of the suggestions is quite satisfactory. The promise to say what it was that even the dumb animals would not have done is unfulfilled. It cannot have involved any theological question, but probably refers to the obscene sacrament of the Pistis Sophia, the Bruce Papyrus and Huysmans’ Là-Bas. Yet Hippolytus does not again refer to it, and of all the heretics in our text, the Simonians are the only ones accused of celebrating it, even by Epiphanius.

[12] Ἀρχιερατεία. A neologism. This is the passage relied upon to show that our author was a bishop.

[13] ἀλλότρια = foreign. Cruice has aliena. But it is here evidently contrasted with the “things of the truth” in the next sentence.

[14] κηρύσσομεν.

[15] τὰ δοξαζόμενα, lit., “matters of opinion.”

[16] ἐκ δογμάτων φιλοσοφουμένων. The context shows that here, and probably elsewhere in the book, the phrase is used contemptuously.

[17] τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσιν. As in Polybius, the word can be translated in this sense throughout. Yet as meaning “those who fall in with this” it is as applicable to spoken as to written words.

[18] τὸ θεῖον. Both here and in Book X our author shows a preference for this phrase instead of the more usual ὁ Θεός.

[19] συμβάλλω.

[20] δόγμα.

[21] τὰ λαληθέντα ἀποβαίνοντα. Note the piling up of similes natural in a spoken peroration.

[22] γυμνοὺς καὶ ἀσχήμονας, nudos et turpes, Cr. Stripped of originality seems to be the threat intended.

[23] φιλοσοφίαν φυσικήν. What we should now call Physics.

[24] τὸ πᾶν is the phrase here and elsewhere used for the universe or “whole” of Nature, and includes Chaos or unformed Matter. The κόσμος or ordered world is only part of the universe. Diog. Laert., I, vit. Thales, c. 6, says merely that Thales thought water to be the ἀρχή or beginning of all things. As this is confirmed by all other Greek writers who have quoted him, we may take the further statement here attributed to him as the mistake of Hippolytus or of the compiler he is copying.

[25] ἀέρων in text. Roeper suggests ἄστρων, “stars.”

[26] So Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, V, c. 14, and Diog. Laert., I. vit. cit., c. 9.

[27] Diog. Laert., I, vit. cit., c. 8, makes his derider an old woman. Θρᾶττα is not a proper name, but means a Thracian woman, as Hippolytus should have known.

[28] Roeper adds καὶ ἀριθμετικήν, apparently in view of the speculations about the monad.

[29] Aristotle in his Metaphysica, Bk. I, c. 5, attributes the first use of this dogma to Xenophanes.

[30] By these are meant the planets, including therein the Sun and Moon. Cf. Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Astrologos, p. 343 (Cod.) passim.

[31] τὰ ὅλα = entities which must needs differ from one another in kind. The phrase is thus used by Plato, Aristotle and all the neo-Platonic writers.

[32] ἐφήψατο, attigit, Cr. Frequent in Pindar.

[33] So Timon in the Silli, as quoted by Diog. Laert., VIII, vit. Pyth., c. 20.

[34] φυσιογονικὴν. The Barberine MS. has φυσιογνωμονικὴν, evidently inserted by some scribe who connected it with the absurd system of metoposcopy described in Book IV.

[35] κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος, multitudine, Cr.

[36] For definitions and examples of this term see Aristot., Metaphys., IV. c. 28.

[37] I cannot trace Hippolytus’ authority for attributing these neo-Pythagorean puerilities to Pythagoras himself. Diog. Laert., Aristotle and the rest represent him as saying only that the monad was the beginning of everything, and that from this and the undefined dyad numbers proceed. The general reader may be recommended to Mr. Alfred Williams Benn’s statement in The Philosophy of Greece (Lond., 1898), pp. 78 ff. that “the Greeks did not think of numbers as pure abstractions, but in the most literal sense as figures, that is to say, limited portions of space.”

[38] Macmahon thinks “number” and “monad” should here be transposed, as Pythagoras considered according to him the monad as “the highest generalization of number and a conception in abstraction.” Yet the monad was not the highest abstraction of current (Greek) philosophy. See Edwin Hatch, Influence of Greek Ideas upon the Christian Church (Hibbert Lectures), Lond., 1890, p. 255.

[39] δύναμις is here used like our own mathematical expression “power.” Why Hippolytus should associate it especially with the power of 2 does not appear. By Greek mathematicians it seems rather to be applied to the square root.

[40] κυβισθῇ, involvit, Cr. It cannot here mean “cubed.” Another mistake occurs in the same sentence, where it is said that the square multiplied by the cube is a cube. The sentence is fortunately repeated with the needful correction in Book IV, p. 116 infra. Macmahon gives the proper notation as (a2)2 = a4, (a2)3 = a6, (a3)3 = a9.

[41] μετενσωμάτωσις. The phrase which is here correctly used throughout, but which has somehow slipped into English as metempsychosis.

[42] So Diog. Laert., VIII, vit. Pyth., c. 4.

[43] Diodorus of Eretria is not otherwise known, Aristoxenus is mentioned by Cicero, Quæst. Tusculan., I, 18, as a writer on music.

[44] That is, of course, Zoroaster. The account here given of his doctrines does not agree with what we know of them from other sources. The minimum date for his activity (700 B.C.) makes it impossible for him to have been a contemporary of Pythagoras. See the translator’s Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, I, p. 126; II, p. 232.

[45] Reading with Roeper τὴν κόσμου φύσιν καὶ. Cruice has τὸν κόσμον φύσιν κατὰ, “that the cosmos is a nature according to,” etc.

[46] δαίμονες, spirits or dæmons in the Greek sense, not necessarily evil. But Aetius, de Placit. Philosoph. ap. Diels Doxogr. 306, makes Pythagoras use the word as equivalent to τὸ κακόν. Cf. pp. 52, 92 infra.

[47] Hippolytus like nearly every other writer of his time here confuses the Egyptians with the Alexandrian Greeks. It was these last and not the subjects of the Pharaohs who were given to mathematics and geometry, of which sciences they laid the foundations on which we have since built. Certain devotees of the Alexandrian god Serapis also shut themselves up in cells of the Serapeum, which they could hardly have done in any temple in Pharaonic times. See Forerunners, I, 79. Hippolytus gives a much more elaborate and detailed account of Pythagorean teaching in Book VI, II, pp. 20 ff. infra.

[48] Diog. Laert., VIII, vit. Heraclit., c. 6, attributes this opinion to Heraclitus.

[49] This verse appears in Diog. Laert., VIII, vit. Empedocles, c. 6.

[50] So Diog. Laert., ubi. cit.

[51] This sentence seems to have got out of place. It should probably follow that on Lysis and Archippus, etc., on the last page. The story of the shield is told by Diog. Laert., VIII, vit. Pyth., c. 4, and by Ovid, Metamorph., XV, 162 ff. For more about Empedocles see Book VII, II, pp. 82 ff. infra.

[52] Diog. Laert., VIII, vit. Heraclit., from whom Hippolytus is probably quoting, says that in his boyhood, Heraclitus used to say, he knew nothing, in his manhood everything. Has Hippolytus garbled this?

[53] There is nothing of this in what Hippolytus, Diogenes Laertius or any other author extant gives as Empedocles’ opinions. τὰ κακά seems to be equivalent to δαίμονες, as suggested in n. on p. 39 supra. Hippolytus returns to Heraclitus’ opinions in Book IX, II, pp. 119 ff. infra.

[54] So Diog. Laert., II, vit. Anaximander, c. 1, verbatim.

[55] κόσμοι. He therefore believed in a plurality of worlds.

[56] οὐσία. It may here mean essence or being. A good discussion of the changes in the meaning of the word and its successors, ὑπόστασις and πρόσωπον, is to be found in Hatch, op. cit., pp. 275-278.

[57] μετέωρον, a phenomenon in the heavens, but also something hung up or suspended.

[58] στρογγύλον, used by Theophrastus for logs of timber.

[59] Lit., “from the separation of the finest atoms of the air and from their movement when crowded together.”

[60] So Roeper. Cruice agrees.

[61] A. W. Benn, op. cit., p. 51, gives a readable account of Anaximander’s speculations in physics. Diels, op. cit., pp. 132, 133 shows in an excellently clear conspectus of parallel passages the different authors from whom Hippolytus took the statements in our text regarding the Ionians. The majority are to be found in Simplicius’ commentaries on Aristotle, Simplicius’ source being, according to Diels, the fragments of Theophrastus’ book on physics. Next in order come Plutarch’s Stromata and Aetius’ De Placitis Philosophorum, many passages being common to both.

[62] ὁμαλώτατος, aequabilis, Cr., “homogeneous.”

[63] Lit., “whatever changes.”

[64] Planets. See n. on p. 36 supra.

[65] διὰ πλάτος. Cruice translates ob latitudinem, Macmahon “through expanse of space.”

[66] μετεωριζόμενου. See n. on p. 42 supra.

[67] So Diog. Laert., II, vit. Anaxim., c. 1. This is the feature of Anaximenes’ teaching which seems to have most impressed the Greeks.

[68] παχυθέντα.

[69] Diog. Laert., ubi cit., puts Anaximander in the 58th Olympiad (548 B.C.) and Anaximenes in the 63rd. This is more probable than the dates in our text. For Anaximenes’ sources, mostly Aetius and Theophrastus, see Diels’ conspectus mentioned in n. on p. 43 supra.

[70] τὴν δὲ ὕλην γινομένην, fieri materiam, Cr.

[71] τῆς ἐγκυκλίου κινήσεως. Macmahon says “orbicular,” but it means if anything centripetal and centrifugal, as appears in next sentence.

[72] ὑποστῆναι. Hippolytus seems most frequently to use the word in this sense.

[73] μετέωρον. See n. on p. 42 supra.

[74] τά τε ἐν αὐτῇ ὕδατα ἐξατμισθέντα ... ὑποστάντα οὕτως γεγονέναι. I propose to fill the lacuna with καὶ πυκνωθέντα ἐν κοίλῳ. For a description of this cavity see the Phædo of Plato, c. 138. I do not understand Roeper’s suggested emendation as given by Cruice.

[75] There must be some mistake here. He has just said that the sun and moon are below the stars.

[76] φωτισμοί, illuminationes, Cr. So Macmahon. It clearly means here “shinings forth again,” or “lightings up.”

[77] Diog. Laert. quotes from Apollodorus’ Chronica that Anaxagoras died in the 1st year of the 78th Olympiad, or ten years before Plato’s birth. For Hippolytus’ sources for his teaching, mainly Diog. Laert., Aetius and Theophrastus, see Diels, ubi cit.

[78] μῖγμα, not μῖξις. But of what could the creative mind be compounded before anything else had come into being?

[79] ἐκ τῆς πυρῶσεως. Does he mean the heated air, and why should the earth form no part of the universe? Something is probably omitted here.

[80] Ἐπικλιθῆναι, de super incumbere, Cr., “inclined at an angle,” Macmahon. Evidently Archelaus imagined a concave heaven fitting over the earth like a dish cover or an upturned boat or coracle. This was the Babylonian theory. Cf. Maspero, Hist. ancnne de l’Orient classique, Paris, 1895, I, p. 543, and illustration. Many of the Ionian ideas about physics doubtless come from the same source.

[81] Reading, as Cruice suggests, καὶ ἀνθρώπους for καὶ ἀνόμοια. So Diog. Laert., II, vit. Archel., c. 17.

[82] χρήσασθαι, uti, Cr., “employed,” Macmahon.

[83] A fair specimen of Hippolytus’ verbose and inflated style.

[84] No other philosopher has yet been quoted as saying that the earth was spherical.

[85] This sentence is said to have been interpolated.

[86] ἐκ τοῦ περιέχοντος, “from the surrounding (æther).” An expression much used by writers on astrology and generally translated “ambient.”

[87] Diog. Laert., IX, vit. Dem., c. 1, says either Damasippus or Hegesistratus or Athenocritus.

[88] It is doubtful whether astrology was known in Egypt before the Alexandrian age. Diog. Laert., vit. cit., quotes from Antisthenes that Democritus studied mathematics there, and astrology was looked on by the Romans as a branch of mathematics. Cf. Sextus Empiricus, ubi cit., supra.

[89] καὶ τῇ μὲν γένεσθαι, τῇ δὲ ἐκλείπειν.

[90] So Apollodorus. Diog. Laert., IX, vit. Xenophan., c. 1, says of Dexius.

[91] Diog. Laert., ubi cit., says Sotion of Alexandria is the authority for this, but that he was mistaken. Hippolytus says later in Book I (p. 59 infra) that Pyrrho was the first to assert the incomprehensibility of everything. If, as Sotion asserted, Xenophanes was a contemporary of Anaximander, he must have died two centuries before Pyrrho was born.

[92] δόκος δ’ ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται, sed in omnibus opinio est, Cr. Yet δόκος is surely a “guess.”

[93] αἰσθητικός.

[94] ἐν τῷ βάθει τοῦ λίθου, “deep down in the stone.” Perhaps the earliest mention of fossils.

[95] Is this a survival of the Babylonian legends of the Flood?

[96] παραλλαγγάς, differentias, Cr. Perhaps “alternations.”

[97] The whole of this section on Ecphantus is corrupt. He is not alluded to again in the book.

[98] Hippo is mentioned by Iamblichus in his life of Pythagoras.

[99] ἀπομαξάμενος, “been sealed with,” or “copied.” Cf. Diog. Laert., II, vit. Socrates, c. 12.

[100] προνοούμενον αὐτοῦ. The τόδε τὸ πᾶν of the line above shows that Plato did not mean that the forethought extended to other worlds than this.

[101] This expression, like many others in this epitome of Plato’s doctrines, is found in the Εἰς τὰ τοῦ Πλάτωνος Εἰσαγωγή of Alcinous, who flourished in Roman times. The best edition still seems to be Bishop Fell’s, Oxford, 1667. Alcinous’ work was, as will appear, the main source from which Hippolytus drew his account of Plato’s doctrines.

[102] Alcinous, op. cit., c. 12.

[103] Ibid., cc. 9, 12.

[104] ἐδημιούργει. Not created ex nihilo, but made out of existing material as an architect makes a house.

[105] Alcinous, op. cit., cc. 8, 10.

[106] ἐξ αὐτοῦ συνεστάναι αὐτόν. So Cruice. Macmahon reads with Roeper αὐτῆς for αὐτοῦ, “the world was made out of it” (i. e. matter).

[107] The body of the cosmos is evidently meant. Cf. Alcinous, c. 12.

[108] de Legg., IV, 7.

[109] ἀορίστως.

[110] Timæus, c. 16.

[111] Phædrus, c. 166.

[112] γενεαλογῇ.

[113] Alcinous, c. 25.

[114] Phædrus, cc. 51, 52.

[115] For this see the Timæus, c. 17.

[116] This sentence is corrupt throughout, and there are at least three readings which can be given to it. I have taken that which makes the smallest alteration in Cruice’s text.

[117] Phædo, c. 43.

[118] I do not think this can be found in any writings of Plato that have come down to us. Hippolytus probably took it from Aristotle, to whom he also attributes it; but I cannot find it in this writer either. A passage in Arist., Nicomachean Ethics, Book II, c. 6, is the nearest to it.

[119] So Alcinous, c. 29. The other statements in this sentence seem to be Aristotle’s rather than Plato’s. Cf. Diog. Laert., V, vit. Arist., c. 13, where he describes the good things of the soul, the body and of external things respectively.

[120] Alcinous, cc. 28, 29.

[121] Ibid., c. 27.

[122] Ibid., c. 29.

[123] Ibid., c. 26. The passage about the choice [of virtue] is in the Republic, X, 617 C. Hippolytus had evidently not read the original, which says that according as a man does or does not choose virtue, so he will have more or less of it.

[124] Alcinous, c. 30.

[125] This passage is not in the Republic, but in the Clitopho, as to Plato’s authorship of which there are doubts. Cruice quotes the Greek text from Roeper in a note on p. 38 of his text.

[126] Alcinous, c. 30.

[127] Ibid., c. 29.

[128] “Substance” (οὐσία) and “accident” (συμβεβηκός) are defined by Aristotle in the Metaphysica, Bk. IV, cc. 8, 9 respectively. The definitions in no way bear the interpretation that Hippolytus here puts on them. In the Categories, which, whether by Aristotle or not, are not referred to by him in any of his extant works, it is said (c. 4) that “of things in complex enunciated, each signifies either Substance or Quantity, or Quality or Relation, or Where or When, or Position, or Possession, or Action, or Passion.” It is from this that Hippolytus probably took the statement in our text. The illustrations are in part found in Metaphysica, c. 4.

[129] The famous “Quintessence.” So Aetius, De Plac. Phil., Bk. I, c. 1, § 38. But see Diog. Laert. in next note.

[130] This is practically verbatim from Diog. Laert., V, vit. Arist., c. 13.

[131] Hippolytus gives as is usual with him a more detailed account of Aristotle’s doctrines on these points later. (See Book VII, II, pp. 62 ff. infra.) He there admits that he cannot say exactly what was Aristotle’s doctrine about the soul. He also refers to books of Aristotle on Providence and the like which, teste Cruice, no longer exist. Cf. Macmahon’s note on same page (p. 272 of Clark’s edition).

[132] ἐπὶ τὸ συλλογιστικώτερον τὴν φιλοσοφίαν ηὔξησαν. Syllogisticæ artis expolitione philosophiam locupletarunt.

[133] Prof. Arnold in his lucid book on Roman Stoicism (Cambridge, 1911, p. 219, n. 4) quotes this as a genuine Stoic doctrine. But Diog. Laert., VII, vit. Zeno, c. 68, represents Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Archedemus and Posidonius as agreeing that principles and elements differ from one another in being respectively indestructible and destroyed, and because elements are bodies while principles have none. For the Stoic idea of God, see op. cit., c. 70. So Cicero, De Natura Deorum, Bk. I, cc. 8, 18, makes Zeno say that the cosmos is God, but in the Academics, II, 41 that Aether is the Supreme God, with which doctrine, he says, nearly all Stoics agree. Perhaps Hippolytus is here quoting Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, VI, 71, who says that the Stoics dare to make the God of all things “a corporeal spirit.” For the Stoic doctrine of Providence, see Diog. Laert., vit. Zeno, c. 70.

[134] ποιῶν καὶ τὸ αὐτεξούσιον μετὰ τῆς ἀνάγκης οἷον τῆς εἱμαρμένης. Τὸ αὐτεξούσιον is the recognized expression for free will. Note the difference between ἀνάγκη, “compulsion,” and εἱμαρμένη, “destiny.” For the Stoic doctrine of Fate, see Diog. Laert., vit. cit., c. 74.

[135] Diog. Laert., ubi cit., c. 84.

[136] From ψῦξις, “cooling”—a bad pun.

[137] It is extremely doubtful whether the metempsychosis ever formed part of Stoic doctrine.

[138] Zeno and Cleanthes both accepted the ecpyrosis. See Diog. Laert., ubi cit., c. 70. The same author says that Panætius said that the cosmos was imperishable.

[139] σῶμα διὰ σώματος μὲν χωρεῖν, corpusque per corpus migrare, Cr. Macmahon inserts a “not” in the sentence, but without authority. The Stoic resurrection assumed that in the new world created out of the ashes of the old, individuals would take the same place as in this last. See Arnold, op. cit., p. 193 for authorities.

[140] ἀτόμοι, “that cannot be cut.” The rest of this sentence is taken from Diog. Laert., X, vit. Epicur., c. 24, and is quoted there from Epicurus’ treatise on Nature.

[141] With the exception of the Deity’s seat in the intercosmic spaces and the idea that the souls of men consist of blood, all the above opinions of Epicurus are to be found in Diog. Laert., X, vit. Epic.

[142] οὐ μᾶλλον, “not rather.”

[143] See n. on p. 49 supra. The doctrines here given are those of the Sceptics, and are to be found in Diog. Laert., IX, vit. Pyrrho, c. 79 ff. and in Sextus Empiricus, Hyp. Pyrrho, I, 209 ff. Diog. Laert. quotes from Ascanius of Abdera that Pyrrho introduced the dogma of incomprehensibility, and Hippolytus seems to have copied this without noticing that he has said the same thing about Xenophanes.

[144] Diog. Laert., I, Prooem., c. 1, mentions both Gymnosophists and Druids, but if he ever gave any account of their teaching it must be in the part of the book which is lost. Clem. Alex., Stromateis, I, c. 15, describes the two classes of Gymnosophists as Sarmanæ and Brachmans. The Sarmanæ or Samanæi (Shamans?) seem the nearer of the two to the Brachmans of our text.

[145] ἀκροδρύοι, hard-shelled fruit such as acorns or chestnuts.

[146] Roeper suggests the Ganges.

[147] Megasthenes, for whom see Strabo V, 712, differs from Hippolytus in making the abstinence of the Gymnosophists endure for thirty-seven years only.

[148] Nothing has yet been said about any bank.

[149] The whole of this sentence is corrupt. Macmahon following Roeper would read: “This discourse whom they name God they affirm to be incorporeal, but enveloped in a body outside himself, just as if one carried a covering of sheepskin to have it seen; but having stripped off the body in which he is enveloped, he no longer appears visibly to the naked eye.”

[150] ἐγείρας τρόπαιον, lit., “raised a trophy.”

[151] θεολογοῦσι. Eusebius, Præp. Ev., uses the word in this sense. For the Dandamis and Calanus stories, see Arrian, Anabasis, Bk. VII, cc. 2, 3.

[152] This is quite unintelligible as it stands. It probably means that the Brachmans worship the light of which the Sun is the garment, and that they think they are united with it when temporarily freed from the body. Is he confusing them on the one hand with the Yogis, whose burial trick is referred to later in connection with Simon Magus, and on the other with some Zoroastrian or fire-worshipping sect of Central Asia?

[153] ὃς ... ἐκεῖ χωρήσας αἴτιος τούτοις ταύτης τῆς φιλοσοφίας ἐγένετο. Does the ἐκεῖ mean Galatia, whose inhabitants were Celts by origin? Hippolytus has probably copied the sentence without understanding it.

[154] Hesiod is treated by Aristotle, Metaphysica, Bk. II, c. 15, as one who philosophizes, which perhaps accounts for the introduction of his name here.

[155] διδαχθῆναι, ut se edocerent, Cr. So Macmahon. The context, however, plainly requires that it is Hesiod and not the Muse who is to be taught. The rendering of poetry into prose is seldom satisfactory, so I have ventured to give here the version of Elton, which is as close to the original as it is poetic in form.

[156] ὡς στέφανον δάσσαντο.

[157] Αἰθήρ τε καὶ Ἡμέρη. One would prefer to keep the word “Aether,” which is hardly “sunshine.”

[158] ἶσον ἑαυτῇ.

[159] τὰ μυστικὰ. The expression generally used for Mysteries such as those of Eleusis. Either he employs it here to include the tricks of the magicians described in Book IV, or he did not mean to describe these last when the sentence was written, but to go instead straight from the astrologers to the heresies. The last alternative seems the more probable.

[160] ἀδρανῆ, infirmas, Cr.

[161] The main question which arises on this First Book of our text is, What were the sources from which Hippolytus drew the opinions he here summarizes? Diels, who has taken much pains over the matter, thinks that his chief source was the epitome that Sotion of Alexandria made from Heraclides. As we have seen, however, Diogenes Laertius is responsible for a fair number of Hippolytus’ statements, especially concerning the opinions of those to whom he gives little space. Certain phrases seem taken directly from Theophrastus or from whatever author it was that Simplicius used in his commentaries on Aristotle, and the likeness between Alcinous’ summary of Plato’s doctrines and those of our author is too close to be accidental. It therefore seems most probable that Hippolytus did not confine himself to any one source, but borrowed from several. This would, after all, be the natural course for a lecturer as distinguished from a writer to adopt, and goes some way therefore towards confirming the theory as to the origin of the book stated in the Introduction.



(These are entirely missing, no trace of them having been found attached to any of the four codices of Book I or to the present text of Books IV to X. We know that such books must have once existed, as at the end of Book IV (p. 117 infra) the author tells us that all the famous opinions of earthly philosophy have been included by him in the preceding four books, of which as has been said only Books I and IV have come down to us.

Our only ground for conjecture as to the contents of Books II and III is to be found in Hippolytus’ statement at the end of Book I, that he will first make public the mystic rites[1] and then the fancies of certain philosophers as to stars and magnitudes. As the promise in the last words of the sentence seems to be fulfilled in Book IV, where he gives not only the method of the astrologers of his time, but also the calculations of the Greek astronomers as to the relative distances of the heavenly bodies, it may be presumed that this was preceded and not followed by a description of the Mysteries more elaborate and fuller than the casual allusions to them which appear in Book V. So, too, in Chap. 5 of the same Book IV, which he himself describes in the heading as a “Recapitulation” of what has gone before, he refers to certain dogmas of the Persians and the Babylonians as to the nature of God, which have certainly not been mentioned in any other part of the book which has come down to us. So, again, at the beginning of Book X, which purports to be a summary of the whole work, he tells us that having now gone through the “labyrinth of heresies,” it will be shown that the Truth is not derived from “the wisdom (philosophy) of the Greeks, the secret mysteries of the Egyptians,[2] the fallacies of the[66] astrologers, or the demon-inspired ravings of the Babylonians.” The Greek philosophy and astrological fallacies are dealt with at sufficient length in Books I and IV respectively, but nothing of importance is said in these or elsewhere in the work as to the mysteries of the “Egyptians,” by whom he probably means the worshippers of the Alexandrian divinities, and nothing at all as to Babylonian demonolatry or magic. It is quite true that he follows this up immediately by the statement that he has included the tenets of all the wise men among the Greeks in four books, and the doctrines of the heretics in five; but it has been explained in the Introduction (pp. 18 ff. supra) that there are reasons why the summarizer’s recollection of the earlier books may not be verbally accurate, nor does he say that the description of the philosophic and heretical teachings exhausted the contents of the first four books. On the whole, therefore, Cruice appears to be justified in his conclusion that the missing books contained an account of the “Egyptian” Mysteries and of “the sacred sciences of the Babylonians.”)[3]


[1] τὰ μυστικά.

[2] Αἰγυπτίων δόγματα ... ὡς ἄρρητα διδαχθείς.

[3] M. Adhémar d’Alès in his work La Théologie de St. Hippolyte, Paris, 1906, argues that the existing text of Book IV contains large fragments of the missing Books II and III. His argument is chiefly founded on the supposed excessive length of Book IV, although as a fact Book V is in Cruice’s pagination some 20 pages longer than this and Book VI, 10. Apart from this, it seems very doubtful if any author would describe the arithmomantic and arithmetical nonsense in Book IV as either μυστικά or δόγματα ἄρρητα, and it is certain that he cannot be alluding, when he speaks of the Βαβυλωνίων ἀλογίστῳ μανίᾳ δι’ ἐν(εργί)ας δαιμόνων καταπλαγείς, to the jugglery in the same book, which he there attributes not to the agency of demons but to the tricks of charlatans.



(The first pages of this book have been torn away from the MS., and we are therefore deprived of the small Table of Contents which the author has prefixed to the other seven. From the headings of the various chapters it may be reproduced in substance thus:—

1. The “Chaldæans” or Astrologers, and the celestial measurements of the Greek astronomers.

2. The Mathematicians or those who profess to divine by the numerical equivalents of the letters in proper names.

3. The Metoposcopists or those who connect the form of the body and the disposition of the mind with the Zodiacal sign rising at birth.

4. The Magicians and the tricks by which they read sealed letters, perform divinations, produce apparitions of gods and demons, and work other wonders.

5. Recapitulation of the ideas of Greek and Barbarian on the nature of God, and the views of the “Egyptians” or neo-Pythagoreans as to the mysteries of number.

6. The star-diviners or those who find religious meaning in the grouping of the constellations as described by Aratus.

7. The Pythagorean doctrine of number and its relation to the heresies of Simon Magus and Valentinus.)

p. 53.

[1. About Astrologers.[1]]

... (And they (i. e. the Chaldæans) declare there are[68] “terms”[2] of the stars in each zodiacal sign extending from one given part)[3] to [another given part in which some particular star has most power. About which there is no mere chance difference] among them [as appears from their[69] tables]. But they say that the stars are guarded[4] [when they are midway between two other stars] in zodiacal succession. For instance, if [a certain star should occupy the first part] of a zodiacal sign and another [the last parts, and a third those of the middle, the one in the middle is said to be guarded] by those occupying the parts at the extremities. [And they say that the stars behold one another and are in accord with one another] when they appear triangularly or quadrangularly. Now those form a triangular p. 54. figure[5] and behold one another which have an interval of three zodiacal signs between them and a square those which have one of two signs....

([6]Such then seems to be the character of the Chaldæan method. And in that which has been handed down it remains easy to understand and follow the contradictions noted. And some indeed try to teach a rougher way as if earthly things have no sympathy[7] at all with the heavenly ones. For thus they say, that the ambient[8] is not united as is the human body, so that according to the condition) of the head the lower parts [suffer with it and the head with the lower] parts, and earthly things should suffer along with those above the moon. But there is a certain difference and want of sympathy between them as they have not one and [the] same unity.

2. Making use of these statements, Euphrates the Peratic and Akembes the Carystian[9] and the rest of the band of these people, miscalling the word of Truth, declare that there is a war of æons and a falling-away of good powers to[70] the bad, calling them Toparchs and Proastii[10] and many other names. All which heresy undertaken by them, I shall set forth and refute when we come to the discussion concerning them. But now, lest any one should deem trustworthy and unfailing the rules laid down[11] by the Chaldæans p. 55. for the astrological art, we shall not shrink from briefly setting forth their refutation and pointing out that their art is vain and rather deceives and destroys the soul which may hope for vain things than helps it. In which matters we do not hold out any expertness in the art, but only that drawn from knowledge of the practical words.[12] Those who, having been trained in this science, become pupils of the Chaldæans and who having changed the names only, have imparted mysteries as if they were strange and wonderful to men, have constructed a heresy out of this. But since they consider the astrologers’ art a mighty one and making use of the witness of the Chaldæans wish to get their own systems believed because of them, we shall now prove that the astrological art as it appears to-day is unfounded, and then that the Peratic heresy is to be put aside as a branch growing from a root which does not hold.[13]

3.[14] Now the beginning and as it were the basis of the affair is the establishment of the horoscope. From this the rest of the cardinal points, and the cadents and succeedents and the trines and the squares[15] and the configuration of the stars in them are known, from all which things the predictions p. 56. are made. Wherefore if the horoscope be taken away, of necessity neither the midheaven nor the descendant nor the anti-meridian is known. But the whole Chaldaic system vanishes if these are not disclosed. [And how the zodiacal sign ascending is to be discovered is taught in divers ways. For in order that this may be apprehended,[71] it is necessary first of all that the birth of the child falling under consideration be carefully taken, and secondly that the signalling of the time[16] be unerring, and thirdly that the rising in the heaven of the ascending sign be observed with the greatest care. For at the birth[17] the rising of the sign ascending in the heaven must be closely watched, since the Chaldæans determining that which ascends, on its rising make that disposition of the stars which they call the Theme,[18] from which they declare their predictions. But neither is it possible to take the birth of those falling under consideration, as I shall show, nor is the time established p. 57. unerringly, nor is the ascending sign ascertained with care. How baseless the system of the Chaldæans is, we will now say. It is necessary before determining the birth of those falling under consideration, to inquire whether they take it from the deposition of the seed and its conception or from the bringing forth. And if we should attempt to take it from the conception, the accurate account of this is hard to grasp, the time being short and naturally so. For we cannot say whether conception takes place simultaneously with the transfer of the seed or not. For this may happen as quick as thought, as the tallow put into heated pots sticks fast at once, or it may take place after some time.[19] For there being a distance from the mouth of the womb to the other extremity, where conceptions are said by doctors to take place, it is natural that nature depositing the seed should take some time to accomplish this distance. Therefore the Chaldæans being ignorant of the exact length of time will never discover exactly the time of conception, the seed being sometimes p. 58. shot straight forward and falling in those places of the womb fitted by nature for conception, and sometimes falling broadcast to be only brought into place by the power of the womb itself. And it cannot be known when the first of these things happens and when the second, nor how much[72] time is spent in one sort of conception and how much in the other. But if we are ignorant of these things, the accurate discovery of the nature of the conception vanishes.[20] Nor if, as some physiologists say, seed being first seethed and altered in the womb then goes forward to its gaping vessels as the seeds of the earth go to the earth; why then, those who do not know the length of time taken by this change will not know either the moment of conception. And again, as women differ from one another in energy and other causes of action in other parts of the body, so do they differ in the energy of the womb, some conceiving quicker and others slower. And this is not unexpected, since if we compare them, they are seen now to be good conceivers and now not at all so. This being so, it is impossible to say with exactness when the seed deposited is secured, so that from this time the Chaldæans may establish the horoscope[21] of the birth.

p. 59.

4. For this reason it is impossible to establish the horoscope from the conception; nor can it be done from the bringing forth. For in the first place, it is very hard to say when the bringing forth is: whether it is when the child begins to incline towards the fresh air or when it projects a little, or when it is brought down altogether to the ground. But in none of these cases is it possible to define the time of birth accurately.[22] For from presence of mind and suitableness of body, and through preference of places and the expertness of the midwife and endless other causes, the time is not always the same when, the membranes being ruptured, the infant inclines forward, or when p. 60. it projects a little, or when it falls to the ground. But it is different with different women. Which, again, the Chaldæans being unable to measure definitely and accurately, they are prevented from determining as they should the hour of the bringing forth.

That the Chaldæans, therefore, while asserting that they know the sign ascending at the time of birth, do not know it, is plain from the facts. And that there is no means either of unerringly observing the time,[23] is easy to be[73] judged. For when they say that the person sitting by the woman in labour at the bringing forth signifies the same to the Chaldæan who is looking upon the stars from a high place by means of the gong,[24] and that this last gazing upon the heaven notes down the sign then rising, we shall show that as the bringing forth happens at no defined time,[25] it is not possible either to signify the same by the gong. For even if it be granted that the actual bringing forth can be ascertained, yet the time cannot be signified accurately. For the sound of the gong, being capable of divisions by perception into much and more time,[26] it happens that it is p. 61. carried (late) to the high place. And the proof of this is what is noticed when trees are felled a long way off.[27] For the sound of the stroke is heard a pretty long time after the fall of the axe, so as to reach the listener later. And from this cause it is impossible for the Chaldæans to obtain accurately the time of the rising sign and that which is in truth on the ascendant.[28] And indeed not only does more time pass after the birth before he who sits beside the woman in labour, strikes the gong, and again after the stroke before it is heard by him upon the high place, but also before he can look about and see in which sign is the moon and in which is each of the other stars. It seems inevitable then that there must be a great change in the disposition of the stars,[29] [from the movement of the Pole being whirled along with indescribable swiftness] before the hour of him who has been born as it is seen in heaven can be observed carefully.[30]

p. 62.

5. Thus the art according to the Chaldæans has been shown to be baseless. But if any one should fancy that by[74] enquiries, the geniture[31] of the enquirer is to be learned, we may know that not in this way either can it be arrived at with certainty. For if such great care in the practice of the art is necessary, and yet as we have shown they do not arrive at accuracy, how can an unskilled person take accurately the time of birth, so that the Chaldæan on learning it may set up the horoscope truthfully?[32] But neither by inspection of the horizon will the star ascending appear the same everywhere, but sometimes the cadent sign will be considered the ascendant and sometimes the succeedent, according as the coming in view of the places is higher or lower. So that in this respect the prediction will not appear accurate, many people being born all over the world at the same hour, while every observer will see the stars differently.

But vain also is the customary taking of the time by water-jars.[33] For the pierced jar will not give the same flow when full as when nearly empty, while according to p. 63. the theory of these people the Pole itself is borne along in one impulse with equal speed. But if they answer to this that they do not take the time accurately but as it chances in common use,[34] they will be refuted merely by the starry influences themselves.[35] For those who have been born at the same time have not lived the same life; but some for example have reigned as kings while others have grown old in chains. None at any rate of the many throughout the inhabited world at the same time as Alexander of Macedon were like unto him, and none to Plato the philosopher. So that if the Chaldæan observes carefully the time in common use, he will not be able to say[36] if he who is born at that time will be fortunate. For many at any rate born[75] at that time, will be unfortunate, so that the likeness between the genitures is vain.

Having therefore refuted in so many different ways the vain speculation of the Chaldæans, we shall not omit this, that their prognostications lead to impossibility. For if he who is born under the point of Sagittarius’ arrow must be slain, as the astrologers[37] say, how was it that so many p. 64. barbarians who fought against the Greeks at Marathon or Salamis were killed at the same time? For there was not at any rate the same horoscope for all. And again, if he who is born under the urn of Aquarius will be shipwrecked, how was it that some of the Greeks returning from Troy were sunk together in the furrows of the Eubœan sea? For it is incredible that all these differing much from one another in age should all have been born under Aquarius’ urn. For it cannot be said often that because of one who was destined to perish by sea, all those in the ship should be destroyed along with him. For why should the destiny of this one prevail over that of all, and yet that not all should be saved because of one who was destined to die on land?

6. But since also they make a theory about the influence of the zodiacal signs to which they say the things brought forth are likened, we shall not omit this. For example, they say that he who is born under Leo will be courageous,[38] and he who is born under Virgo straight-haired, pale-complexioned, p. 65. childless and bashful. But these things and those like them deserve laughter rather than serious consideration.[39] For according to them an Ethiopian can be born under Virgo, and if so they allow he will be white, straight-haired and the rest. But I imagine that the ancients gave the names of the lower animals to the stars rather because of arbitrariness[40] than from natural likeness of shape. For what likeness to a bear have the seven stars which stand separate from one another? Or to the head of a dragon those five of which Aratus says:—


7. That these things are not worthy of so much labour is thus proved to the right-thinkers aforesaid, and to those who give no heed to the inflated talk of the Chaldæans, who with assurance of indemnity make kings to disappear p. 66. and incite private persons to dare great deeds.[41] But if he who has given way to evil fails, he who has been deceived does not become a teacher to all whose minds the Chaldæans wish to lead endlessly astray by their failures. For they constrain the minds of their pupils when they say that the same configuration of the stars cannot occur otherwise than by the return of the Great Year in 7777 years.[42] How then can human observation agree[43] in so many ages upon one geniture? And this not once but many times, since the destruction of the cosmos as some say will interrupt the observation, or its gradual transformation will cause to disappear entirely the continuity of historical tradition.[44]] The Chaldaic art must be refuted by more arguments, although we have been recalling it to memory on account of other matters and not for its own sake. But since we have before said that we will omit none of the opinions current among the Gentiles,[45] by reason of the many-voiced craft of the heresies, let us see what they say also who have p. 67. dared to speculate about magnitudes. Who, recognizing the variety of the work of most of them, when another has been utterly deceived in a different manner and has been yet held in high esteem, have dared to say something yet more grandiose than he, so that they may be yet more glorified by those who have already glorified their petty frauds. These men postulate circles and triangular and square measures doubly and triply.[46] There is much[77] theory about this, but it is not necessary for what lies before us.

8. I reckon it enough therefore to declare the marvels described by them. Wherefore I shall employ their epitomes,[47] as they call them, and then turn to other things. They say this:[48] he who fashioned the universe, gave rule to the revolution of the Same and Like, for that alone he left undivided; but the inner motion he divided 6 times and made 7 unequal circles divided by intervals in ratios of 2 and 3, 3 of each, and bade the circles revolve in directions opposite to one another—3 of them to revolve at equal pace, and 4 with a velocity unlike that of the 3, but in p. 68. due proportion.[49] And he says that rule was given to the orbit of the 7, not only because it embraces the orbit of the Other, i. e., the Wanderers; but because it has so much rule, i. e., so much power, that it carries along with it the Wanderers to the opposite positions, bearing them from West to East and from East to West by its own strength. And he says that the same orbit was allowed to be one and undivided, first because the orbits of all the fixed stars are equal in time and not divided into greater and lesser times.[50] And next because they all have the same appearance,[51] which is that of the outermost orbit, while the Wanderers are divided into more and different kinds of movements and into unequal distances from the Earth. And he says that the Other orbit has been cut in 6 places into 7 circles according to ratio.[52] For as many cuts as[78] there are of each, so many segments are there plus a monad. For example if one cut be made,[53] there are 2 segments; if 2 cuts, 3 segments; and so, if a thing be cut 6 times there p. 69. will be 7 segments. And he says that the intervals between them are arranged alternately in ratios of 2 and 3, 3 of each, which he has proved with regard to the constitution of the soul also, as to the 7 numbers. For 3 among them, viz., 2, 4, 8, are doubles from the monad onwards and 3 of them, viz., 3, 9, 27 [triples][54].... But the diameter of the Earth is 80,008 stadia and its perimeter 250,543.[55] And the distance from the Earth’s surface to the circle of the Moon, Aristarchus of Samos writes as ...[56] stadia but Apollonius as 5,000,000 and Archimedes as 5,544,130. And Archimedes says that from the Moon’s circle to that of the Sun is 50,262,065 stadia; from this to the circle of Aphrodite 20,272,065; and from this to the circle of Hermes 50,817,165; and from the same to the circle of p. 70. the Fiery One[57] 40,541,108; and from this to the circle of Zeus 20,275,065; but from this to the circle of Kronos, 40,372,065; and from this to the Zodiac and the last periphery 20,082,005 stadia.

9. The differences from one another of the circles and the spheres in height are also given by Archimedes. He takes the perimeter of the Zodiac at 447,310,000 stadia, so that a straight line from the centre of the Earth to its extreme surface is the sixth part of the said number, and from the surface of the Earth on which we walk to the Zodiac is exactly one-sixth of the said number less 40,000[79] stadia which is the distance from the centre of the Earth to its surface. And from the circle of Kronos to the Earth, he says, the interval is 2,226,912,711 stadia; and from the p. 71. circle of the Fiery One to the Earth, 132,418,581; and from the Sun to the Earth, 121,604,454; from the Shining One to the Earth, 526,882,259; and from Aphrodite to the Earth, 50,815,160.[58]

10. And about the Moon we have before spoken. The distances and depths[59] of the spheres are thus given by Archimedes, but Hipparchus speaks differently about them, and Apollonius the mathematician differently again. But it is enough for us in following the Platonic theory to think of the intervals between the Wanderers as in ratios of 2 and 3. For thus is kept alive the theory of the harmonious construction of the universe in accordant ratios[60] by the same distances. But the numbers set out by Archimedes and the ratios quoted by the others concerning the distances, if they are not in accordant ratios, that is in those called by p. 72. Plato twofold and threefold, but are found to be outside the chords,[61] would not keep alive the theory of the harmonious construction of the universe. For it is neither probable nor possible that their distances should have no ratio to one another, that is, should be outside the chords and enharmonic scales. Except perhaps the Moon alone, from her waning and the shadows of the Earth, as to which planet alone you may trust Archimedes, that is to say for the distance of the Moon from the Earth. And it will be easy for those who accept this calculation to ascertain the number and the other distances according to the Platonic method by doubling and tripling as Plato demands.[62] If[80] then, according to Archimedes, the Moon is distant from the Earth 5,544,130 stadia, it will be easy by increasing these numbers in ratios of 2 and 3 to find her distance from the rest by taking one fraction of the number of stadia by which the Moon is distant from the Earth.

But since the rest of the numbers stated by Archimedes about the distance of the Wanderers are not in accordant ratios, it is easy to know how they stand in regard to one p. 73. another and in what ratios they have been observed to be. But that the same are not in harmony and accord[63] when they are parts of the cosmos established by harmony is impossible. So then, as the first number (of stadia) by which the Moon is distant from the Earth is 5,544,130, the second number by which the Sun is distant from the Moon being 50,262,065, it is in ratio more than ninefold; and the number of the interval above this being 20,272,065 is in ratio less than one-half. And the number of the interval above this being 50,815,108 is in ratio more than twofold. And the number of the interval above this being 40,541,108 is in ratio more than one and a quarter.[64] And the number of the interval above this being 20,275,065 is in ratio more than half. And the number of the highest interval above this being 40,372,065 is in ratio less than twofold.[65]

11. These same ratios indeed—the more than ninefold, p. 74. less than half, more than twofold, less than one and a quarter, more than half, less than half and less than twofold are outside all harmonies and from them no enharmonic nor accordant system can come to pass. But the whole cosmos and its parts throughout are put together in an enharmonic and accordant manner. But the enharmonic and accordant[81] ratios are kept alive as we have said before by the twofold and threefold intervals. If then we deem Archimedes worthy of faith on the distance given above, i. e., that from the Moon to the Earth, it is easy to find the rest by increasing it in the ratios of 2 and 3. Let the distance from the Earth to the Moon be, according to Archimedes, 5,544,130 stadia. The double of this will be the number of stadia by which the Sun is distant from the Moon, viz., 11,088,260. But from the Earth the Sun is distant 16,632,390 stadia and Aphrodite indeed from the Sun—16,632,390 stadia, but from the Earth 33,264,780. Ares indeed is distant from Aphrodite 22,176,520 stadia but from the Earth 105,338,470. But Zeus is distant from Ares 44,353,040 stadia, but from p. 75 the Earth 149,691,510. Kronos is distant from Zeus 40,691,510 stadia, but from the Earth 293,383,020.[66]


12. Who will not wonder at so much activity of mind produced by so great labour? It seems that this Ptolemy[67] who busies himself with these matters is not without his use to me. This only grieves me that as one but lately born he was not serviceable to the sons of the giants,[68] who, being ignorant of these measurements, thought they were near high heaven and began to make a useless tower. Had he been at hand to explain these measurements to them they would not have ventured on the foolishness. But if any one thinks he can disbelieve this let him take the measurements and be convinced; for one cannot have for the unbelieving a more manifold proof than this. O puffing-up of vainly-toiling soul and unbelieving belief, when Ptolemy is considered wise in everything by those trained in the like wisdom![69]


13. Certain men in part intent on these things as judging p. 76. them mighty and worthy of argument have constructed measureless[70] and boundless heresies. Among whom is one Colarbasus,[71] who undertakes to set forth religion by measures and numbers. And there are others whom we shall likewise point out when we begin to speak of those who give heed to Pythagorean reckoning as if it were powerful and neglect the true philosophy for numbers and elements, thus making vain divinations. Collecting whose words, certain men have led astray the uneducated, pretending to know the future and when they chance to divine one thing aright are not ashamed of their many failures, but make a boast of their one success. Nor shall I pass over their unwise wisdom, but when I have set forth their attempts to establish a religion from these sources, I shall refute them as being disciples of a school inconsistent and full of trickery.

2. Of Mathematicians.[72]

p. 77.

Those then who fancy that they can divine by means of ciphers[73] and numbers, elements[74] and names, make the foundation of their attempted system to be this. They pretend that every number has a root:—in the thousands as many units as there are thousands. For example, the[84] root of 6000 is 6 units, of 7000, 7 units, of 8000, 8 units, and with the rest in the same way. In the hundreds as many hundreds as there are, so the same number of units is the root of them. For example, in 700 there are 7 hundreds: 7 units is their root. In 600 there are 6 hundreds: 6 units is their root. In the same way in the decads: of 80 the root is 8 units, of 40, 4 units, of 10, 1 unit. In the units, the units themselves are the root; for instance, the unit of the 9 is 9, of the 8, 8, of the 7, 7. Thus then must we do with the component parts [of names]. For each element is arranged according to some number. For example, the Nu consists of 50 units; but of 50 units the root is 5, and of the letter p. 78. Nu the root is 5. Let it be granted that from the name we may take certain[75] of its roots. For example, from the name Agamemnon there comes from the Alpha one unit, from the Gamma 3 units, from the other Alpha 1 unit, from the Mu 4 units, from the Epsilon 5 units, from the Mu 4 units, from the Nu 5 units, from the Omega 8 units, from the Nu 5 units, which together in one row will be 1, 3, 1, 4, 5, 4, 5, 8, 5. These added together make 36 units. Again they take the roots of these and they become 3 for the 30, but 6 itself for the 6. Then the 3 and the 6 added together make 9, but the root of 9 is 9. Therefore the name Agamemnon ends in the root 9.

Let the same be done with another name, viz., Hector. The name Hector contains five elements, Epsilon, Kappa, Tau, Omega and Rho.[76] The roots of these are 5, 2, 3, 8, 1; these added together make 19 units. Again, the root of the 10 is 1, of the 9, 9, which added together make 10. The root of the 10 is one unit. Therefore the name of Hector when counted up[77] has made as its root one unit.

p. 79.

But it is easier to work this way. Divide by 9 the roots ascertained from the elements, as we have just found 19 units from the name Hector, and read the remaining root. For example, if I divide the 19 by 9, there remains a unit, for twice 9 is 18, and the remainder is a unit. For if I subtract 18 from the 19, the remainder is a unit. Again, of[85] the name Patroclus[78] these numbers 8, 1, 3, 1, 7, 2, 3, 7, 2 are the roots; added together they make 34 units. The remainder of these units is 7, viz., 3 from the 30 and 4 from the 4. Therefore 7 units are the root of the name Patroclus. Those then who reckon by the rule of 9 take the 9th part of the number collected from the roots and describe the remainder as the sum of the roots; but those who reckon by the rule of 7 take the 7th part. For example, in the name Patroclus the aggregate of the roots is 34 units. This divided into sevens makes 4 sevens, which are 28; the p. 80. remainder is 6 units. He says that by the rule of 7, 6 is the root of the name Patroclus.[79] If, however, it be 43, the 7th part, he says, is 42, for 7 times 6 is 42, and the remainder is 1. Therefore the root from the 43 by the rule of 7 becomes a unit. But we must take notice of what happens if the given number when divided has no remainder,[80] as for example, if from one name, after adding together the roots, I find, e. g., 36 units. But 36 divided by 9 is exactly 4 enneads (for 9 times 4 is 36 and nothing over). Thus, he says the 9 itself is plainly the root. If again we divide the number 45 we find 9 and no remainder (for 9 times 5 is 45 and nothing over), in such cases we say the root is 9. And in the same way with the rule of 7: if, e. g., we divide 28 by 7 we shall have nothing over (for 7 times 4 is 28 and nothing left), [and] they say the root is 7. Yet when he reckons up the names and finds the same letter twice, he counts it only once. For example, the name p. 81. Patroclus has the Alpha twice and the Omicron twice,[81] therefore he counts the Alpha only once and the Omicron only once. According to this, then, the roots will be 8, 3, 1, 7, 2, 3, 2, and added together make 27,[82] and the root of the name by the rule of 9 will be the 9 itself and by that of 7, 6.

In the same way Sarpedon, when counted, makes by the[86] rule of 9, 2 units; but Patroclus makes 9: Patroclus conquers. For when one number is odd and the other even, the odd conquers if it be the greater. But again if there were an 8, which is even, and a 5, which is odd, the 8 conquers, for it is greater. But if there are two numbers, for example, both even or both odd, the lesser conquers. But how does Sarpedon by the rule of 9 make 2 units? The element Omega is omitted; for when there are in a name the elements Omega and Eta, they omit the Omega p. 82. and use one element. For they say that they both have the same power, but are not to be counted twice, as has been said above. Again, Ajax (Αἴας)[83] makes 4 units, and Hector by the rule of 9 only one. But the 4 is even while the unit is odd. And since we have said that in such cases the greater conquers, Ajax is the victor. Take again Alexandros[84] and Menelaus. Alexandros has an individual[85] name [Paris]. The name Paris makes by the rule of 9, 4; Menelaus by the same rule 9, and the 9 conquers the 4. For it has been said that when one is odd and the other even, the greater conquers, but when both are even or both odd, the lesser. Take again Amycus and Polydeuces. Amycus makes by the rule of 9, 2 units, and Polydeuces 7: Polydeuces conquers. Ajax and Odysseus contended together in the funereal games. Ajax makes by the rule of 9, 4 units, and Odysseus by the same rule 8.[86] Is there not (here) then some epithet of Odysseus and not his individual name, for he conquered? According to the numbers Ajax conquers, but tradition says Odysseus. Or take again Achilles and Hector. Achilles by the rule of 9 makes 4; p. 83. Hector 1; Achilles conquers. Take again Achilles and Asteropæus. Achilles makes 4, Asteropæus 3;[87] Achilles[87] conquers. Take again Euphorbus and Menelaus. Menelaus has 9 units, Euphorbus 8; Menelaus conquers.

But some say that by the rule of 7, they use only the vowels, and others that they put the vowels, semi-vowels and consonants by themselves, and interpret each column separately. But yet others do not use the usual numbers, but different ones. Thus, for example, they will not have Pi to have as a root 8 units, but 5 and the element Xi as a root 4 units; and turning about every way, they discover nothing sane. When, however, certain competitors contend a second time,[88] they take away the first element, and when a third, the two first elements of each, and counting up the rest, they interpret them.

p. 84.2. I should think that the design of the arithmeticians has been plainly set forth, who deem that by numbers and names they can judge life. And I notice that, as they have time to spare and have been trained in counting, they have wished by means of the art handed down to them by children to proclaim themselves well-approved diviners, and, measuring the letters topsy-turvy, have strayed into nonsense. For when they fail to hit the mark, they say in propounding the difficulty that the name in question is not a family name but an epithet; as also they plead as a subterfuge in the case of Ajax and Odysseus. Who that founds his tenets on this wonderful philosophy and wishes to be called heresiarch, will not be glorified?

3. Of Divination by Metoposcopy.[89]

1. But since there is another and more profound art among the all-wise investigators of the Greeks, whose disciples the heretics profess themselves because of the use they make of their opinions for their own designs, as we shall show before long, we shall not keep silence about this.[88] This is the divination or rather madness by metoposcopy. p. 85. There are those who refer to the stars the forms of the types and patterns[90] and natures of men, summing them up by their births under certain stars. This is what they say: Those born under Aries will be like this, to wit, long-headed, red-haired, with eyebrows joined together, narrow forehead, sea-green eyes, hanging cheeks, long nose, expanded nostrils, thin lips, pointed chin, and wide mouth. They will partake, he says, of such a disposition as this: forethinking, versatile, cowardly, provident, easy-going, gentle, inquisitive, concealing their desires, equipped for everything, ruling more by judgment than by strength, laughing at the present, skilled writers, faithful, lovers of strife, provoking to controversy, given to desire, lovers of boys, understanding, turning from their own homes, displeased p. 86. with everything, litigious, madmen in their cups, contemptuous, casting away somewhat every year, useful in friendship by their goodness. Most often they die in a foreign land.[91]

2. Those born under Taurus will be of this type: round-headed, coarse-haired, with broad forehead, oblong eyes and great eyebrows if dark; if fair, thin veins, sanguine complexion, large and heavy eyelids, great ears, round mouth, thick nose, widely-open nostrils, thick lips. They are strong in their upper limbs, but are sluggish from the hips downwards from their birth. The same are of a disposition pleasing, understanding, naturally clever, religious, just, rustical, agreeable, laborious[92] after twelve years old, easily irritated, leisurely. Their appetite is small, they are quickly satisfied, wishing for many things, provident, thrifty towards themselves, liberal towards others; as a class they are sorrowful, useless in friendship, useful because of their minds, enduring ills.

p. 87.3. The type of these under Gemini: red-faced, not too[89] tall in stature, even-limbed, eyes black and beady,[93] cheeks drawn downwards, coarse mouth, eyebrows joined together. They rule all that they have, are rich at the last, niggardly, thrifty of their own, profuse in the affairs of Venus, reasonable, musical, cheats. The same are said (by other writers) to be of this disposition: learned, understanding, inquisitive, self-assertive, given to desire, thrifty with their own, liberal, gentle, prudent, crafty, wishing for many things, calculators, litigious, untimely, not lucky. They are beloved by women, are traders, but not very useful in friendship.

p. 88.4. The type of those under Cancer: not great in stature, blue-black hair, reddish complexion, small mouth, round head, narrow forehead, greenish eyes, sufficiently beautiful, limbs slightly irregular. Their disposition: evil, crafty, skilled in plots, insatiable, thrifty, ungraced, servile, unhelpful, forgetful. They neither give back what is another’s nor demand back their own; useful in friendship.

5. The type of those under Leo: round head, reddish hair, large wrinkled forehead, thick ears, stiff-necked, partly bald, fiery complexion, green-gray eyes, large jaws, coarse mouth, heavy upper limbs, great breast, lower parts small. Their disposition is: self-assertive, immoderate, self-pleasers, wrathful, courageous, scornful, arrogant, never deliberating, no talkers, indolent, addicted to custom, given up to the things of Venus, fornicators, shameless, wanting in faith, importunate for favour, audacious, niggardly, rapacious, celebrated, helpful to the community, useless in friendship.

p. 89.6. The type of those under Virgo: with fair countenance, eyes not great but charming, with dark eyebrows close together, vivacious and swimming.[94] But they are slight in body, fair to see, with hair beautifully thick, large forehead, prominent nose. Their disposition is: quick at learning, moderate, thoughtful, playful, erudite, slow of speech, planning many things, importunate for favour, observing all things and naturally good disciples. They master what they learn, are moderate, contemptuous, lovers of boys, addicted to custom, of great soul, scornful, careless of affairs giving heed to teaching, better in others’ affairs than in their own; useful for friendship.


7. The type of those under Libra: with thin bristling hair, reddish and not very long, narrow wrinkled forehead, beautiful eyebrows close together, fair eyes with black pupils, broad but small ears, bent head, wide mouth. Their disposition is: understanding, honouring the gods, talkative to one another, traders, laborious, not keeping p. 90. what they get, cheats, not loving to take pains in business,[95] truthful, free of tongue, doers of good, unlearned, cheats, addicted to custom, careless, unsafe to treat unjustly.[96] They are scornful, derisive, sharp, illustrious, eavesdroppers, and nothing succeeds with them. Useful for friendship.

8. The type of those under Scorpio: with maidenly countenance, well shaped and pale,[97] dark hair, well-formed eyes, forehead not wide and pointed nose, ears small and close (to the head), wrinkled forehead, scanty eyebrows, drawn-in cheeks. Their disposition is: crafty, sedulous, cheats, imparting their own plans to none, double-souled, ill-doers, contemptuous, given to fornication, gentle, quick at learning. Useless for friendship.

9. The type of those under Sagittarius: great in stature, square forehead, medium eyebrows joined together, hair p. 91. abundant, bristling and reddish. Their disposition is: gracious as those who have been well brought up, simple, doers of good, lovers of boys, addicted to custom, laborious, loving and beloved, cheerful in their cups, clean, passionate, careless, wicked, useless for friendship, scornful, great-souled, insolent, somewhat servile,[98] useful to the community.

10. The type of those under Capricorn: with reddish body, bristling, greyish hair,[99] round mouth, eyes like an eagle, eyebrows close together, smooth forehead, inclined to baldness, the lower parts of the body the stronger. Their disposition is: lovers of wisdom, scornful and laughing at the present, passionate, forgiving, beautiful, doers of good, lovers of musical practice, angry in their cups, jocose, addicted to custom, talkers, lovers of boys, cheerful, friendly, beloved, provokers of strife, useful to the community.


11. The type of those under Aquarius: square in stature, small mouth, narrow small, fierce eyes. (Their disposition) is: commanding, ungracious, sharp, seeking the easy path, p. 92. useful for friendship and to the community. Yet they live on chance affairs and lose their means of gain. Their disposition is:[100] reserved, modest, addicted to custom, fornicators, niggards, painstaking in business, turbulent, clean, well-disposed, beautiful, with great eyebrows. Often they are in small circumstances and work at (several) different trades. If they do good to any, no one gives them thanks.

12. The type of those under Pisces: medium stature, with narrow foreheads like fishes, thick hair. They often become grey quickly. Their disposition is: great-souled, simple, passionate, thrifty, talkative. They will be sleepy at an early age, they want to do business by themselves, illustrious, venturesome, envious, litigious, changing their place of abode, beloved, fond of dancing.[101] Useful for friendship.

13. Since we have set forth their wonderful wisdom, and have not concealed their much-laboured art of divination by intelligence,[102] neither shall we be silent on the folly into p. 93. which their mistakes in these matters lead them. For how feeble are they in finding a parallel between the names of the stars and the forms and dispositions of men? For we know that those who at the outset chanced upon the stars, naming them according to their own fancy, called them by names for the purpose of easily and clearly recognizing them. For what likeness is there in these names to the appearance of the Zodiacal signs, or what similar nature of working and activity, so that any one born under Leo should be thought courageous,[103] or he who is born[92] under Virgo moderate, or under Cancer bad, and those under[104]....

4. The Magicians.[105]

(The gap here caused by the mutilation of the MS. was probably filled by a description of the mode of divination by enquiry of a spirit or dæmon which was generally made in writing, as Lucian describes in his account of the imposture of Alexander of Abonoteichos. The MS. proceeds.)

... And he (i. e., the magician) taking some paper, orders the enquirer to write down what it is he wishes to enquire of the dæmons.[106] Then he having folded up the paper and given it to the boy,[107] sends it away to be burned so that the smoke carrying the letters may go hence to the dæmons. But while the boy is doing what he is commanded, he first tears off equal parts of the paper, and on some other parts p. 94. of it, he pretends that the dæmons write in Hebrew letters. Then having offered up the Egyptian magicians’ incense called Cyphi,[108] he scatters these pieces of paper over the offering. But what the enquirer may have chanced to write having been put on the coals is burned. Then, seeming to be inspired by a god, the magician rushes into the inner chamber[109] with a loud and discordant cry unintelligible to all. But he bids all present to enter and cry aloud, invoking Phrēn[110] or some other dæmon. When the[93] spectators have entered and are standing by, he flings the boy on a couch and reads to him many things, sometimes in the Greek tongue, sometimes in the Hebrew, which are the incantations usual among magicians. And having made libation, he begins the sacrifice. And he having put copperas[111] in the libation bowl[112] and when the drug is dissolved sprinkling with it the paper which had forsooth been discharged of writing, he compels the hidden and concealed letters again to come to light, whereby he learns what the enquirer has written.

p. 95.And if one writes with copperas and fumigates it with a powdered gall-nut, the hidden letters will become clear. Also if one writes (with milk) and the paper is burned and the ash sprinkled on the letters written with the milk, they will be manifest.[113] And urine and garum[114] also and juice of the spurge and of the fig will have the same effect.

But when he has thus learned the enquiry, he thinks beforehand in what fashion he need reply. Then he bids the spectators come inside bearing laurel-branches and shaking them[115] and crying aloud invocations to the dæmon Phrēn. For truly it is fitting that he should be invoked by them and worthy that they should demand from dæmons what they do not wish to provide on their own account, seeing that they have lost their brains.[116] But the confusion of the noise and the riot prevents them following what the magician is thought to do in secret. What this is, it is time to say.


Now it is very dark at this point. For he says that it is impossible for mortal nature to behold the things of the gods, for it is enough to talk with them. But having made the boy lie down on his face, with two of those little writing tablets on which are written in Hebrew letters p. 96. forsooth[117] such things as names of dæmons, on each side of him, he says (the god) will convey the rest into the boy’s ears. But this is necessary to him, in order that he may apply to the boy’s ears a certain implement whereby he can signify to him all that he wishes. And first he rings[118] (a gong) so that the boy may be frightened, and secondly he makes a humming noise, and then thirdly he speaks through the implement what he wishes the boy to say, and watches carefully the effect of the act. Thereafter he makes the spectators keep silence, but bids the boy repeat what he has heard from the dæmons. But the implement which is applied to the ears is a natural one, to wit, the wind-pipe of the long-necked cranes or storks or swans. If none of these is at hand, the art has other means at its disposal. p. 97. For certain brass pipes, fitting one into the other and ending in a point are well suited to the purpose through which anything the magician wishes may be spoken into the ears. And these things the boy hearing utters when bidden in a fearful way, as if they were spoken by dæmons. And if one wraps a wet hide round a rod and having dried it and bringing the edges together fastens them closely, and then taking out the rod, makes the hide into the form of a pipe, it has the same effect. And if none of these things is at hand, he takes a book and, drawing out from the inside as much as he requires, pulls it out lengthways and acts in the same way.[119]

But if he knows beforehand that any one present will ask a question, he is better prepared for everything. And if he has learned the question beforehand he writes it out with the drug (aforesaid) and as being prepared is thought more adept for having skilfully written what was about to be[95] asked. But if he does not know, he guesses at it, and exhibits some roundabout phrase of double and various meaning, so that the answer of the oracle being meaningless will do for many things at the beginning, but at the end of the events will be thought a prediction of what has happened. p. 98. Then having filled a bowl with water, he puts at the bottom of it the paper with apparently nothing written on it, but at the same time putting in the copperas. For thus there floats to the surface the paper bearing the answer which he has written. To the boy also there often come fearful fancies; for truly the magician strikes blows in abundance to terrify him. For, again casting incense into the fire, he acts in this fashion. Having covered a lump of the so-called quarried salts[120] with Tyrrhenian wax and cutting in halves the lump of incense, he puts between them a lump of the salt and again sticking them together throws them on the burning coals and so leaves them. But when the incense is burnt, the salts leaping up produce an illusion as if some strange and wonderful thing were happening. But indigo black[121] put in the incense produces a blood-red flame as we have before said.[122] And he makes a liquid like blood by mixing wax with rouge and as I have said, putting the wax in the incense. And he makes the coals to move by putting under them stypteria[123] cut in pieces, and when it melts and swells up like bubbles, the coals are moved.

p. 99.2. And they exhibit eggs different (from natural ones) in this way. Having bored a hole in the apex at each end and having extracted the white, and again plunged the egg in boiling water, put in either red earth from Sinope[124] or writing ink. But stop up the holes with pounded eggshell made into a paste with the juice of a fig.

3. This is the way they make sheep cut off their own[96] heads. Secretly anointing the sheep’s throat with a caustic drug, he fixes near the beast a sword and leaves it there. But the sheep, being anxious to scratch himself, leans (heavily) on the knife, rubs himself along it, kills himself and must needs almost cut off his head. And the drug is bryony and marsh salt and squills in equal parts mixed together. So that he may not be seen to have the drug with him, he carries a horn box made double, the visible part of which holds frankincense and the invisible the drug. And he also puts quicksilver into the ears of the animal that is to die. But this is a death-dealing drug.

4. But if one stops up the ears of goats with salve, they say they will shortly die because prevented from breathing. p. 100. For they say that this is with them the way in which the intaken air is breathed forth. And they say that a ram dies if one should bend him backwards against the sun.[125] But they make a house catch fire by anointing it with the ichor of a certain animal called dactylus;[126] and this is very useful because of sea-water. And there is a sea-foam heated in an earthen jar with sweet substances, which if you apply to it a lighted lamp catches fire and is inflamed, but does not burn at all if poured on the head. But if you sprinkle it with melted gum, it catches fire much better; and it does better still if you also add sulphur to it.

5. Thunder is produced in very many ways. For very many large stones rolled from a height over wooden planks and falling upon sheets of brass make a noise very like thunder. And they coil a slender cord round the thin p. 101. board on which the wool-carders press cloth, and then spin the board by whisking away the string when the whirring of it makes the sound of thunder. These tricks they play thus; but there are others which I shall set forth which those who play them also consider great. Putting a cauldron full of pitch upon burning coals, when it boils they plunge their hands in it and are not burned; and further they tread with naked feet upon coals of fire and are not burned. And also putting a pyramid of stone upon the altar, they make[97] it burn and from its mouth it pours forth much smoke and fire. Then laying a linen cloth upon a pan of water and casting upon it many burning coals, the linen remains unburnt. And having made darkness in the house, the magician claims to make gods or dæmons enter in, and if one somehow asks that Esculapius shall be displayed he makes invocation, saying thus:—

6. But when he has made an end of this mockery a fiery Esculapius appears on the floor. Then having put in the midst a bowl of water,[128] he invokes all the gods and they are at hand. For if the spectator lean over and gaze into the bowl, he will see all the gods and Artemis leading on p. 103. her baying hounds. But we shall not hesitate to tell the story of these things and how they undertake them. For the magician plunges his hands in the cauldron of pitch which appears to be boiling; but he throws into it vinegar and soda[129] and moist pitch and heats the cauldron gently. And the vinegar having mingled with the soda, on getting a little hot, moves the pitch so as to bring bubbles to the surface and gives the appearance of boiling only. But the magician has washed his hands many times in sea-water, thanks to which it does not burn him much if it be really boiling. And if he has after washing them anointed his[98] hands with myrtle-juice and soda and myrrh[130] mixed with vinegar he is not burned (at all). But the feet are not burned if he anoints them with icthyokolla and salamander.[131] And this is the true cause of the pyramid flaming like a torch, although it is of stone. A paste of Cretan earth[132] is moulded into the shape of a pyramid,—but the colour is like a milk-white stone,—in this fashion. He has soaked the piece of earth in much oil, has put it on the coals, and when heated, has again soaked it and heated it a second and third time and many a time afterwards, whereby he so prepares p. 104. it that it will burn even if plunged in water; for it holds much oil within itself. But the altar catches fire when the magician is making libation, because it contains freshly-burned lime instead of ashes and finely-powdered frankincense and much ... and of ... of anointed torches and self-flowing and hollow nutshells having fire within them.[133] But he also sends forth smoke from his mouth after a brief delay by putting fire into a nutshell and wrapping it in tow and blowing it in his mouth.[134] The linen cloth laid on the bowl of water whereon he puts the coals is not burned, because of the sea-water underneath, and its being itself steeped in sea-water and then anointed with white of egg and a solution of alum. And if also one mixes with this the juice of evergreens and vinegar and a long time beforehand anoint it copiously with these, after being dipped in the drug it remains altogether incombustible.[135]


7. Since then we have briefly set forth what can be done with the teachings which they suppose to be secret, we have p. 105. displayed their easy system according to Gnosis.[136] Nor do we wish to keep silence as to this necessary point, that is, how they unseal letters and again restore them with the same seals (apparently intact). Melting pitch, resin, sulphur and also bitumen in equal parts, and moulding it into the form of a seal impression, they keep it by them. But when the opportunity for unsealing a letter[137] arrives, they moisten the tongue with oil, lick the seal, and warming the drug before a slow fire press the seal upon it and leave it there until it is altogether set, when they use it after the manner of a signet. But they say also that wax with pine resin has the same effect and so also 2 parts of mastic with 1 of bitumen. And sulphur alone does fairly well and powdered gypsum diluted with water and gum.[138] This certainly does most beautifully for sealing molten lead. And the effect of p. 106. Tyrrhenian wax and shavings of resin and pitch, bitumen, mastic and powdered marble in equal parts all melted together, is better than that of the other (compounds) of which I have spoken, but that of the gypsum is no worse. Thus then they undertake to break the seals when seeking to learn what is written within them. These contrivances I shrank from setting out in the book,[139] seeing that some ill-doer taking hints from them[140] might attempt (to practise) them. But now the care of many young men capable of salvation has persuaded me to teach and declare them for the sake of protection (against them). For as one person will use them for the teaching of evil, so another by learning them will be protected (against them) and the very magicians, corruptors of life as they are, will be ashamed to practise the art. But learning that the same (tricks) have been taught beforehand, they will perhaps be hindered in their perverse foolishness. In order, however, that the seal may not be broken in this way, let any one seal with swine’s fat and mix hairs with the wax.[141]


8. Nor shall I be silent about their lecanomancy[142] which is an imposture. For having prepared some closed chamber p. 107. and having painted its ceiling with cyanus, they put into it for the purpose certain utensils of cyanus[143] and fix them upright. But in the midst a bowl filled with water is set on the earth, which with the reflection of the cyanus falling upon it shows like the sky. But there is a certain hidden opening in the floor over which is set the bowl, the bottom of which is glass, but is itself made of stone. But there is underneath a secret chamber in which those in the farce[144] assembling present the dressed-up forms of the gods and dæmons which the magician wishes to display. Beholding whom from above the deceived person is confounded by the magicians’ trickery and for the rest believes everything which (the officiator) tells him. And (this last) makes (the figure of) the dæmon burn by drawing on the wall the figure he wishes, and then secretly anointing it with a drug compounded in this way ...[145] with Laconian and Zacynthian bitumen. Then as if inspired by Phœbus, he brings the lamp near the wall, and the drug having caught light is on fire.

But he manages that a fiery Hecate should appear to be flying through the air thus: Having hidden an accomplice in what place he wills, and taking the dupes on one side, he prevails on them by saying that he will show them the p. 108. fiery dæmon riding through the air. To whom he announces that when they see the flame in the air, they must quickly save their eyes by falling down and hiding their faces until he shall call them. And having thus instructed them, on a moonless night, he declaims these verses:—

9. While he speaks thus, fire is seen borne through the air, and the spectators terrified by the strangeness of the sight, cover their eyes and cast themselves in silence on the earth. But the greatness of the art contains this device. p. 109. The accomplice, hidden as I have said, when he hears the incantation drawing to a close, holding a hawk or kite wrapped about with tow, sets fire to it and lets it go. And the bird scared by the flame is carried into the height and makes very speedy flight. Seeing which, the fools hide themselves as if they had beheld something divine. But the winged one whirled about by the fire, is borne whither it may chance and burns down now houses and now farm-buildings. Such is the prescience of the magicians.

10. But they show the moon and stars appearing on the ceiling in this way. Having previously arranged in the centre part of the ceiling a mirror, and having placed a bowl filled with water in a corresponding position in the middle of the earthen floor, but a lamp showing dimly[148] has been placed between them and above the bowl, he thus produces the appearance of the moon from the reflection by means of the mirror. But often the magician hangs aloft[149] near the ceiling a drum on end, the same being kept covered by the accomplice by some cloth so that it may not show before its time; and a lamp having been put behind it, when he makes the agreed signal to the accomplice, the last-named takes away so much of the p. 110. covering as will give a counterfeit of the moon in her form at that time.[150] But he anoints the transparent parts of the drum with cinnabar and gum....[151] And having cut[102] off the neck and bottom of a glass flask, he puts a lamp within and places around it somewhat of the things necessary for the figures shining through, which one of the accomplices has concealed on high. After receiving the signal, this last lets fall the contrivances from the receptacle hung aloft, so that the moon appears to have been sent down from heaven. And the like effect is produced by means of jars in glass-like forms.[152] And it is by means of the jar that the trick is played within doors. For an altar having been set up, the jar containing a lighted lamp stands behind it; but there being many more lamps (about), this nowise appears. When therefore the enchanter invokes the moon, he orders all the lamps to be put out, but one is left dim and then the light from the jar is reflected on to the ceiling and gives the illusion of the moon to the spectators, the p. 111. mouth of the jar being kept covered for the time which seems to be required that the image of the crescent moon may be shown on the ceiling.

11. But the scales of fishes or of the “hippurus”[153] make stars seem to be when they are moistened with water and gum and stuck upon the ceiling here and there.

12. And they create the illusion of an earthquake, so that everything appears to be moving, ichneumon’s dung being burned upon coal with magnetic iron ore[154]....

13. But they display a liver appearing to bear an inscription. On his left hand (the magician) writes what he wishes, adapting it to the enquiry, and the letters are written with nut-galls and strong vinegar. Then taking up the liver, which rests in his left hand, he makes some delay, and it receives the impression and is thought to have been inscribed.

14. And having placed a skull on the earth, they make it speak in this fashion. It is made out of the omentum of p. 112. an ox,[155] moulded with Tyrrhenian wax and gypsum and when it is made and covered with the membrane, it shows[103] the semblance of a skull. The which seems to speak by the use of the implement and in the way we have before explained in the case of the boys. Having prepared the wind-pipe of a crane or some such long-necked bird and putting it secretly into the skull, the accomplice speaks what (the magician) wishes. And when he wants it to vanish, he appears to offer incense and putting round it a quantity of coals the wax receiving the heat of which melts, and thus the skull is thought to have become invisible.[156]

15. These and ten thousand such are the works of the magicians, which, by the suitableness of the verses and of the belief-inspiring acts performed, beguile the fancy of the thoughtless. The heresiarchs struck with the arts of these (magicians) imitate them, handing down some of their doctrines in secrecy and darkness, but paraphrasing others as if they were their own. Thanks to this, as we wish to remind the public, we have been the more anxious to leave behind us no place for those who wish to go astray. But we have been led away not without reason into certain secrets of the magicians which were not p. 113. altogether necessary for the subject,[157] but which were thought useful as a safeguard against the rascally and inconsistent art of the magicians. Since, now, as far as one can guess,[158] we have set forth the opinions of all, having bestowed much care on making it clear that the things which the heresiarchs have introduced into religion as new are vain and spurious, and probably are not even among themselves thought worthy of discussion, it seems proper to us to recall briefly and summarily what has been before said.

5. Recapitulation.

1. Among all the philosophers and theologists[159] who are enquiring into the matter throughout the inhabited world,[104] there is no agreement concerning God, as to what He is or whence (He came).[160] For some say that He is fire, some spirit, some water, others earth. But every one of these elements contains something inferior and some of them are defeated by the others. But this has happened to the world’s sages, which indeed is plain to those who think, p. 114. that in view of the greatness of creation, they are puzzled as to the substance of the things which are, deeming them too great for it to be possible for them to have received birth from another. Nor yet do they represent the universe itself taken collectively[161] to be God. But in speculation about God every one thought of something which he preferred among visible things as the Cause. And thus gazing upon the things produced by God and on those which are least in comparison with His exceeding greatness, but not being capable of extending their mind to the real God, they declared these things to be divine.

The Persians, however, deeming that they were further within the truth (than the rest) said that God was a shining light comprised in air. But the Babylonians said that darkness was God, which appears to be the sequence of the other opinion; for day follows night and night day.[162]

2. But the Egyptians, deeming themselves older than all, have subjected the power of God to ciphers,[163] and calculating the intervals of the fates by Divine inspiration[164] said that God p. 115. was a monad both indivisible and itself begetting itself, and that from this (monad) all things were made. For it, they say, being unbegotten, begets the numbers after it; for example, the monad added to itself begets the dyad, and added in the like way the triad and tetrad up to the decad, which is the beginning and the end of the numbers. So[105] that the monad becomes the first and tenth through the decad being of equal power and being reckoned as a monad, and the same being decupled becomes a hecatontad and again is a monad, and the hecatontad when decupled will make a chiliad, and it again will be a monad. And thus also the chiliads if decupled will complete the myriad and likewise will be a monad. But the numbers akin to the monad by indivisible comparison are ascertained to be 3, 5, 7, 9.[165] There is, however, also a more natural affinity of another number with the monad which is that by the operation of the spiral of 6 circles[166] of the dyad according to the p. 116. even placing and separation of the numbers. But the kindred number is of the 4 and 8. And these receiving added virtue from numbers of the monad, advanced up to the four elements, I mean spirit and fire, water and earth. And having created from these the masculo-feminine cosmos,[167] he prepared and arranged two elements in the upper hemisphere, (to wit) spirit and fire, and he called this the beneficent hemisphere of the monad and the ascending and the masculine. For the monad, being subtle, flies to the most subtle and purest part of the æther. The two other elements being denser, he assigns to the dyad (to wit) earth and water, and he calls this the descending hemisphere and feminine and maleficent. And again the two upper elements when compounded with themselves have in themselves the male and the female for the fruitfulness and increase of the universals. And the fire is masculine, but the spirit feminine: and again the water is masculine and the earth feminine.[168] And thus from the beginning the fire lived with[106] the spirit and the water with the earth. For as the power of the spirit is the fire, so also (the power) of the earth is the water....

p. 117.And the same elements counted and resolved by subtraction of the enneads,[169] properly end some in the male number, others in the female. But again the ennead is subtracted for this cause, because the 360 degrees of the whole circle consist of enneads, and hence the 4 quarters of the cosmos are (each) circumscribed by 90 complete degrees. But the light is associated with the monad and the darkness with the dyad, and naturally life with the light and death with the dyad, and justice with life and injustice with death. Whence everything engendered among the male numbers is benefic, and (everything engendered) among the female numbers is malefic. For example, they reckon that the monad—so that we may begin from this—becomes 361, which ends in a monad, the ennead(s) being subtracted. Reckon in the same way: the dyad becomes 605; subtract the enneads, it ends in a dyad and each is (thus) carried back to its own.[170]

3. With the monad, then, as it is benefic, there are p. 118. associated names which end in the uneven number,[171] and they say that they are ascending and male and benefic when observed; but that those which end in an even number are considered descending and female and malefic. For they say that nature consists of opposites, to wit, good and bad, as right and left, light and darkness, night and day, life and death. And they say this besides: that they have calculated the name of God and that it results in a pentad [or in an ennead],[172] which is uneven and which written down and wrapped about the sick works cures. And thus a certain plant (whose name) ends in this number when tied on in the same way is effective by the like reckoning of the[107] number. But a doctor also cures the sick by a like calculation. But if the calculation be contrary, he does not make cures easily. Those who give heed to these numbers count all numbers like it which have the same meaning, some p. 119. according to the vowels alone, others according to the total of the numbers.[173] Such is the wisdom of the Egyptians, whereby, while glorifying the Divine, they think they understand it.

6. Of the Divination by Astronomy.[174]

We seem then to have set forth these things also sufficiently. But since I consider that not one tenet of this earthy and grovelling wisdom has been passed over, I perceive that our care with regard to the same things has not been useless. For we see that our discourse has been of great use not only for the refutation of heresies, but also against those who magnify these things.[175] Those who happen to notice the manifold care taken by us will both wonder at our zeal and will neither despise our painstaking nor denounce Christians as fools when they see what themselves have foolishly believed. And besides this, the discourse will timely instruct those lovers of learning who give heed to the truth, making them more wise to easily overthrow those who have dared to mislead them—for they will have learned not only the principles of the heresies, but also the so-called opinions of the p. 120. sages. Not being unacquainted with which, they will not be confused by them as are the unlearned, nor misled by some who exercise a certain power, but will keep a watch upon those who go astray.

2. Having therefore sufficiently set forth (our) opinions, it remains for us to proceed to the subject aforesaid, when,[108] after we have proved what we arranged concerning the heresies, and have forced the heresiarchs to restore to everyone his own, we shall exhibit (these heresiarchs) stripped (of all originality) and by denouncing the folly of their dupes we shall persuade them to return again to the precious haven of the truth. But in order that what has been said may appear more clearly to the readers,[176] it seems to us well to state the conclusions of Aratus as to the disposition of the stars in the heaven. For there are some who by likening them to the words of the Scriptures turn them into allegories and seek to divert the minds of those who listen to them by leading them with persuasive words whither they wish, and pointing out to them strange marvels like those of the transfers to the stars[177] alleged by them. They who while gazing upon the outlandish wonder are caught by their admiration for trifles are like the bird called the owl,[178] p. 121. whose example it will be well to narrate in view of what follows. Now this animal presents no very different appearance from that of the eagle whether in size or shape; but it is caught in this way. The bird-catcher, when he sees a flock alighting anywhere, claps his hands, pretends to dance, and thus gradually draws near to the birds; but they, struck by the unwonted sight, become blind to everything else. Others of the party, however, who are ready on the ground coming behind the birds easily capture them while they are staring at the dancer. Wherefore I ask that no one who is struck by the wonders of whose who interpret the heaven shall be taken in like the owl. For the dancing and nonsense of such (interpreters) is trickery and not truth. Now Aratus speaks thus:—

“Many and like are they, going hither and thither,
Daily they wheel in heaven always and ever [that is, all the stars]
Yet none changes his abode[179] ever so little: but with perfect exactness

p. 122.3. He says that the stars in heaven are πολέας, that is, turning,[180] because of their going about ceaselessly from East to West and from West to East in a spherical figure. But he says there is coiled round the Bears themselves, like the stream of some river, a great marvel of a terrible dragon, and this it is, he says, that the Devil in the (Book of) Job says to God: “I have been walking to and fro under heaven and going round about,”[181] that is, turning hither and thither and inspecting what is happening. For they consider that the Dragon is set below the Arctic Pole, from this highest pole gazing upon all things and beholding all things, so that none of those that are done shall escape him. For though all the stars in the heaven can set, this Pole alone never sets, but rising high above the horizon inspects all things and beholds all things, and nothing of what is done, he says, can escape him.

“Where (most)
Settings and risings mingle with one another.”—
(Aratus, Phæn., v. 61.)

p. 123.he says, indeed, that his head is set. For over against the rising and setting of the two hemispheres lies the head of Draco, so that, he says, nothing escapes him immediately either of things in the West or of things in the East, but the Beast knows all things at once. And there over against the very head of Draco is the form of a man made visible by reason of the stars, which Aratus calls “a wearied image,” and like one in toil; but he names it the “Kneeler.”[182] Now Aratus says that he does not know what this toil is and this marvel which turns in heaven. But the heretics, wishing to found their own tenets on the story of the stars, and giving their minds very carefully to these things, say[110] that the Kneeler is Adam, as Moses said, according to the decree of God guarding the head of the Dragon and the Dragon (guarding) his heel.[183] For thus says Aratus:—

“Holding the sole of the right foot of winding Draco.”—
(Phæn., vv. 63-65.)

4. But he says there are placed on either side of him (I mean the Kneeler) Lyra and Corona; but that he bends the knee and stretches forth both hands as if making confession p. 124. of sin.[184] And that the lyre is a musical instrument fashioned by the Logos in extreme infancy. But that Hermes is called among the Greeks Logos. And Aratus says about the fashioning of the lyre:—

“which, while he was yet in his cradle
Hermes bored and said it was to be called lyre.”—
(Phæn., v. 268.)

It is seven-stringed, and indicates by its seven strings the entire harmony and constitution with which the cosmos is suitably provided. For in six days the earth came into being and there was rest on the seventh. If, then, he says,[185] Adam making confession and guarding the head of the Beast according to God’s decree, will imitate the lyre, that is, will follow the word of God, which is to obey the Law, he will attain the Crown lying beside it. But if he takes no heed, he will be carried downwards along with the Beast below him, and will have his lot, he says, with the Beast. But the Kneeler seems to stretch forth his hands on either side and here to grasp the Lyre and there the Crown [and this is to make confession],[186] p. 125. as is to be seen from the very posture. But the[111] Crown is plotted against and at the same time drawn away by another Beast, Draco the Less, who is the offspring of the one which is guarded by the foot of the Kneeler. But (another) man stands firmly grasping with both hands the Serpent, and draws him backwards from the Crown, and does not permit the Beast to forcibly seize it. Him Aratus calls Serpent-holder,[187] because he restrains the rage of the Serpent striving to come at the Crown. But he, he says, who in the shape of man forbids the Beast to come at the Crown is Logos, who has mercy upon him who is plotted against by Draco and his offspring at once.

And these Bears, he says, are two hebdomads, being made up of seven stars each, and are images of the two creations. For the First Creation, he says, is that according to Adam in his labours who is seen as the Kneeler. But the Second Creation is that according to Christ whereby we are born p. 126. again. He is the Serpent-holder fighting the Beast and preventing him from coming at the Crown prepared for man. But Helica[188] is the Great Bear, he says, the symbol of the great creation, whereby Greeks sail, that is by which they are taught, and borne onwards by the waves of life they follow it, such a creation being a certain revolution[189] or schooling or wisdom, leading back again those who follow such (to the point whence they started). For the name Helica seems to be a certain turning and circling back to the same position. But there is also another Lesser Bear, as it were an image of the Second Creation created by God. For few, he says, are they who travel by this narrow way. For they say that Cynosura is narrow, by which, Aratus says, the Sidonians navigate.[190] But Aratus in turn says the Sidonians are Phœnicians on account of the wisdom of the Phœnicians being wonderful. But they say that the Greeks are Phœnicians who removed from the Red Sea to the land [112] p. 127. where they now dwell. For thus it seemed to Herodotus.[191] But this Bear he says is Cynosura, the Second Creation, the small, the narrow way and not Helica. For she leads not backwards, but guides those who follow her forwards to the straight way, being the (tail) of the dog. For the Logos is the Dog (Cyon) who at the same time guards and protects the sheep against the plans of the wolves, and also chases the wild beasts from creation and slays them, and who begets all things. For Cyon, they say, indeed means the begetter.[192] Hence, they say, Aratus, speaking of the rising of Canis, says thus:—

“But when the Dog rises, no longer do the crops play false.”—
(Phæn. v. 332.)

This is what he means: Plants that have been planted in the earth up to the rising of the Dog-star take no root, but yet grow leaves and appear to beholders as if they will bear fruit and are alive, but have no life from the root in them. But when the rising of the Dog-star occurs, the living plants are distinguished by Canis from the dead, for p. 128. he withers entirely those which have not taken root. This Cyon, he says then, being a certain Divine Logos has been established judge of quick and dead, and as Cyon is seen to be the star of the plants, so the Logos, he says, is for the heavenly plants, that is for men. For some such cause as this, then, the Second Creation Cynosura stands in heaven as the image of the rational[193] creature. But between the two creations Draco is extended below, hindering the things of the great creation from coming to the lesser, and watching those things which are fixed in the great creation like the Kneeler lest they see how and in what way every one is fixed in the little creation. But Draco is himself watched as to the head, he says, by Ophiuchus. The same, he says, is fixed as an image in heaven, being a certain philosophy for those who can see.

But if this is not clear, through another image, he says,[113] creation teaches us to philosophize, about which Aratus speaks thus:—

“Nor of Ionian[194] Cepheus are we the miserable race.”—
(Phæn. v. 353.)

p. 129.But near Draco, he says, are Cepheus and Cassiopeia and Andromeda and Perseus, great letters of[195] the creation to those who can see. For he says that Cepheus is Adam, Cassiopeia Eve, Andromeda the soul of both, Perseus the winged offspring of Zeus and Cetus the plotting Beast. Not to any other of these comes Perseus the slayer of the Beast, but to Andromeda alone. From which Beast, he says, the Logos Perseus, taking her to himself, delivers Andromeda who had been given in chains to the Beast. But Perseus is the winged axis which extends to both poles through the middle of the earth and makes the cosmos revolve. But the spirit which is in the Cosmos is Cycnus,[196] the bird which is near the Bears, a musical animal, symbol of the Divine Spirit, because only when it is near the limits of life, its nature is to sing, and, as one escaping with good hope from this evil creation it sends up songs of praise to God. But crabs and bulls and lions and rams and goats and kids p. 130. and all the other animals who are named in heaven on account of the stars are, he says, images and paradigms whence the changeable nature receives the patterns[197] and becomes full of such animals.[198]

Making use of these discourses, they think to deceive as many as give heed to the astrologers, seeking therefrom to set up a religion which appears very different from their assumptions.[199] Wherefore, O beloved,[200] let us shun the trifle-admiring way of the owl. For these things and those[114] like them are dancing and not truth. For the stars do not reveal these things; but men on their own account and for the better distinguishing of certain stars (from the rest) gave them names so that they might be a mark to them. For what likeness have the stars strewn about the heaven to a bear, or a lion, or kids, or a water-carrier, or Cepheus, or Andromeda, or to the Shades named in Hades—for many of these persons and the names of the stars alike came into existence long after the stars themselves—so that the p. 131. heretics being struck with the wonder should thus labour by such discourses to establish their own doctrines?[201]

7. Of the Arithmetical Art.[202]

Seeing, however, that nearly all heresy has discovered by the art of arithmetic measures of hebdomads and certain projections of Æons, each tearing the art to pieces in different ways and only changing the names,—but of these (men) Pythagoras came to be teacher who first transmitted to the Greeks such numbers from Egypt—it seems good not to pass over this, but after briefly pointing it out to proceed to the demonstration of the objects of our enquiries. These men were arithmeticians and geometricians to whom especially it seems Pythagoras first supplied the principles (of their arts). And they took the first beginnings (of things), discovered apparently by reason alone, from the[115] numbers which can always proceed to infinity by multiplication and the figures (produced by it). For the beginning of geometry, as may be seen, is an indivisible point; but from that point the generation of the infinite figures from p. 132. the point[203] is discovered by the art. For the point when extended[204] in length becomes after extension a line having a point as its limit:[205] and a line when extended in breadth produces a superficies and the limits of the superficies are lines: and a superficies extended in depth becomes a (solid) body:[206] and when this solid is in existence, the nature of the great body is thus wholly founded from the smallest point. And this is what Simon says thus: “The little will be great, being as it were a point; but the great will be boundless,”[207] in imitation of that geometrical point. But the beginning of arithmetic, which includes by combination philosophy, is[208] a number which is boundless and incomprehensible, containing within itself all the numbers capable of coming to infinity by multitude. But the beginning of the numbers becomes by hypostasis the first monad, which is a male unit begetting as does a father all the other numbers. Second comes the dyad, a female number, and the same is called even by the arithmeticians. Third comes the triad, a male number; this also has been ordained to be called odd by the arithmeticians. After all these comes the tetrad, p. 133. a female number, and this same is also called even, because it is female. Therefore all the numbers taken from the genus are four—but the boundless genus is number—wherefrom is constructed their perfect number, the decad. For[116] 1, 2, 3, 4 become 10, as has before been shown, if the name which is proper to each of the numbers be substantially kept. This is the sacred Tetractys according to Pythagoras which contains within itself the roots of eternal nature, that is, all the other numbers. For the 11, 12 and the rest take the principle of birth from the 10. Of this decad, the perfect number, the four parts are called: number, monad, square and cube. The conjunctions and minglings of which are for the birth of increase, they completing naturally the fruitful number. For when this square is multiplied into itself, it becomes a square squared; but when a square into a cube, it becomes a square cubed; but when a cube into a cube, it becomes a cube cubed. So that all the numbers are seven, in order that the birth of the existing numbers p. 134. may come from a hebdomad, which is number, monad, square, cube, square of a square, cube of a square, cube of a cube.

Of this hebdomad Simon and Valentinus, having altered the names, recount prodigies, hastening to base upon it their own systems.[209] For Simon calls (it) thus: Mind, Thought, Name, Voice, Reasoning, Desire and He who has Stood, Stands and will Stand: and Valentinus: Mind, Truth, Word, Life, Man, Church and the Father who is counted with them. According to these (ideas) of those trained in the arithmetic philosophy, which they admired as something unknowable by the crowd, and in pursuance of them, they constructed the heresies excogitated by them.

Now there are some also who try to construct hebdomads from the healing art, being struck by the dissection of the brain, saying that the substance, power of paternity, and divinity of the universe can be learned from its constitution. p. 135. For the brain, being the ruling part of the whole body rests calm and unmoved, containing within itself the breath.[210] Now such a story is not incredible, but a long way from their attempted theory. For the brain when dissected has within it what is called the chamber, on each side of which are the membranes which they call wings, gently moved by the[117] breath, and again driving the breath into the cerebellum.[211] And the breath, passing through a certain reed-like vein, travels to the pineal gland.[212] Near this lies the mouth of the cerebellum which receives the breath passing through and gives it up to the so-called spinal marrow.[213] From this the whole body gets a share of pneumatic (force), all the arteries being dependent like branches on this vein, the extremity of which finishes in the genital veins. Whence also the seeds proceeding from the brain through the loins are secreted. But the shape of the cerebellum is like the head of a dragon; concerning which there is much talk among those of the Gnosis falsely so called, as we have shown. But there are other six pairs (of vessels) growing from the brain, which making their way round the head and finishing within it, connect the bodies together. But the p. 136. seventh (goes) from the cerebellum to the lower parts of the rest of the body, as we have said.

And about this there is much talk since Simon and Valentinus have found in it hints which they have taken, although they do not admit it, being first cheats and then heretics. Since then it seems that we have sufficiently set out these things, and that all the apparent dogmas of earthly philosophy have been included in (these) four books,[214] it seems fitting to proceed to their disciples or rather to their plagiarists.

The Fourth Book of Philosophumena[215]


[1] This is the beginning of the Mt. Athos MS., the first pages having disappeared. With regard to the first chapter περὶ ἀστρολόγων, Cruice, following therein Miller, points out that nearly the whole of it has been taken from Book V with the same title of Sextus Empiricus’ work, Πρὸς Μαθηματικούς, and also that the copying is so faulty that to make sense it is necessary to restore the text in many places from that of Sextus. Sextus’ book begins, as did doubtless that of Hippolytus, with a description of the divisions of the zodiac, the cardinal points (Ascendant, Mid-heaven, Descendant, and Anti-Meridian), the cadent and succeedent houses, the use of the clepsydra or water-clock, the planets and their “dignities,” “exaltations” and “falls,” and finally, their “terms,” with a description of which our text begins. It is, perhaps, a pity that Miller did not restore the whole of the missing part from Sextus Empiricus; but the last-named author is not very clear, and the reader who wishes to go further into the matter and to acquire some knowledge of astrological jargon is recommended to consult also James Wilson’s Complete Dictionary of Astrology, reprinted at Boston, U.S.A., in 1885, or, if he prefers a more learned work, M. Bouché-Leclercq’s L’Astrologie Grecque, Paris, 1899. But it may be said here that the astrologers of the early centuries made their predictions from a “theme,” or geniture, which was in effect a map of the heavens at the moment of birth, and showed the ecliptic or sun’s path through the zodiacal signs divided into twelve “houses,” to each of which a certain significance was attached. The foundation of this was the horoscope or sign rising above the horizon at the birth, from which they were able to calculate the other three cardinal points given above, the cadent houses being those four which go just before the cardinal points and the four succeedents those which follow after them. The places of the planets, including in that term the sun and moon, in the ecliptic were then calculated and their symbols placed in the houses indicated. From this figure the judgment or prediction was made, but a great mass of absurd and contradictory tradition existed as to the influence of the planets on the life, fortune, and disposition of the native, which was supposed to depend largely on their places in the theme both in relation to the earth and to each other.

[2] Bouché-Leclercq, op. cit., p. 206, rightly defines these terms as fractions of signs separated by internal boundaries and distributed in each sign among the five planets. Cf. J. Firmicus Maternus, Matheseos, II, 6, and Cicero, De Divinatione, 40. Wilson, op. cit., s.h.v., says they are certain degrees in a sign, supposed to possess the power of altering the nature of a planet to that of the planet in the term of which it is posited. All the authors quoted say that the astrologers could not agree upon the extent or position of the various “terms,” and that in particular the “Chaldæans” and the “Egyptians” were hopelessly at variance upon the point.

[3] In the translation I have distinguished Miller’s additions to the text from Sextus Empiricus’ by enclosing them in square brackets, reserving the round brackets for my own additions from the same source, which I have purposely made as few as possible. So with other alterations.

[4] δορυφορεῖσθαι, lit., “have spear-bearers.” “Stars” in Sextus Empiricus nearly always means planets.

[5] This is the famous “trine” figure or aspect of modern astrologers. Its influence is supposed to be good; that of the square next described, the reverse.

[6] Hippolytus here omits a long disquisition by Sextus on the position of the planets and the Chaldæan system. Where the text resumes the quotation it is in such a way as to alter the sense completely; wherefore I have restored the sentence preceding from Sextus.

[7] συμπάσχει, “suffer with.”

[8] τὸ περίεχον. The term used by astrologers to denote the whole æther surrounding the stars or, in other words, the whole disposition of the heavens. “Ambient” is its equivalent in modern astrology.

[9] This is an anticipation of the Peratic heresy to which a chapter in Book V (pp. 146 ff. infra) is devoted. Ἀκεμβὴς is there spelt Κελβὴς, but Ἀκεμβὴς is restored in Book X and is copied by Theodoret. “Peratic” is thought by Salmon (D.C.B., s.h.v.) to mean “Mede.”

[10] “Toparch” means simply “ruler of a place.” Proastius (προάστιος) generally the dweller in a suburb. Here it probably means the powers in some part of the heavens which is near to a place or constellation without actually forming part of it.

[11] νενομισμένα. Cf. νενομισμένως, “in the established manner,” Callistratus, Ecphr., 897.

[12] τῶς πρακτικῶν λόγων, or, perhaps, “of the systems used.”

[13] ἀσύστατον, lit., “not holding together,” punningly used as epithet for both the art and the heresy.

[14] What follows to the concluding paragraph of Chap. 7 is taken nearly verbatim from Sextus Empiricus.

[15] For these terms see n. on p. 67 supra.

[16] ὡροσκόπιον seems here put for ὡροσκοπεῖον = horologium, or clock.

[17] ἀπότεξις, “the bringing-forth” is the word used by Sextus throughout. As Sextus was a medical man it is probably the technical term corresponding to our “parturition.” Miller reads ἀποτάξις which does not seem appropriate.

[18] διάθεμα. See n. on p. 67 supra.

[19] I have here followed Sextus’ division of the sentence. Cruice translates στέαρ, farina aqua subacta, for which I can see no justification. Macmahon here follows him.

[20] Restoring from Sextus οἴχεται for ἦρται.

[21] ὡροσκόπον, “the ascending sign.” So Sextus.

[22] Restoring from Sextus ἐφ’ ἑκάστου for ἐν ἑκάστῳ; τὸν ἀκριβῆ for τὸ ἀκριβὲς and omitting καταλαβέσθαι.

[23] See n. on p. 74 infra.

[24] Sextus has described earlier (p. 342, Fabricius) the whole process of warning the astrologer of the moment of birth by striking a metal disc, which I have called “gong.”

[25] ἀορίστου τυγχανούσης.

[26] ἐν πλείονι χρόνῳ καὶ ἐν συχνῷ πρὸς αἴσθησιν δυνάμενον μερίζεσθαι, majori et longiori temporis spatio ad aurium sensum dividatur, Cr.; “with proportionate delay,” Macmahon. I do not understand how either his or Cruice’s construction is arrived at.

[27] Sextus has “on the hills.”

[28] ὡροσκοποῦντος might mean “which marks the hour.”

[29] φαίνεται ... ἀλλοιότερον ... διάθεμα.

[30] quam diligenter observari possit in coelo nativitas, Cr., (before) “the nativity can be carefully observed in the sky.”

[31] γένεσις. The word in Greek astrological works has the same meaning as “geniture” or “nativity” in modern astrological jargon. Identical with “theme.”

[32] The whole of this sentence is corrupt, and the scribe was probably taking down something from Sextus which was read to him without his understanding it. I have given what seems to be the sense of the passage.

[33] ὑδρίαι, Sextus (p. 342, Fabr.), has described the clepsydra or water-clock and its defects as a measurer of time.

[34] ἐν πλάτει.

[35] τὰ ἀποτελέσματα. A technical expression for the results or influence on sublunary things of the position of the heavenly bodies. Cf. Bouché-Leclercq, op. cit., p. 328, n. 1.

[36] Sextus adds παγίως, “positively.”

[37] οἱ μαθηματικοί. The only passage in our text where Hippolytus uses the word in this sense. He seems to have taken it from Sextus’ title κατὰ τὸν μαθηματικὸν λόγον.

[38] A play of words upon Λέω and ἀνδρεῖος.

[39] σπουδῆς. Hippolytus inserts an unnecessary οὐ before the word. See Sextus, p. 355.

[40] οἰκειώσεως χάριν, gratia consuetudinis, Cr.

[41] Does this refer to Otho’s encouragement by the astrologer Ptolemy to rebel against Galba? See Tacitus, Hist., I, 22. The sentence does not appear in Sextus.

[42] Sextus says 9977 years.

[43] φθάσει συνδραμεῖν, “arrive at concurrence with.” Sextus answers the question in the negative.

[44] Here the quotations from Sextus end.

[45] παρ’ ἔθνεσι “among the nations.” A curious expression in the mouth of a Greek, although natural to a Jew.

[46] Is this an allusion to trigonometry? The rest of the sentence, as will presently be seen, refers to Plato’s Timæus. Cf. also Timæus the Locrian, c. 5.

[47] Διὸ τοῖς ἐπιτόμοις χρησάμενος. An indication that Hippolytus’ knowledge of Plato was not first-hand.

[48] The passage which follows is from the Timæus, XII, where Plato describes how the World-maker set in motion two concentric circles revolving different ways, the external called the Same and Like, and the internal the Other, or Different.

[49] This seems to be generally accepted as Plato’s meaning. Jowett says the three are the orbits of the Sun, Venus and Mercury, the four those of the Moon, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. The Wanderers are of course the planets.

[50] i. e., swifter and slower.

[51] ἐπιφανεία.

[52] Perhaps the following extract from the pseudo-Timæus the Locrian, now generally accepted as a summary of the second century, may make this clearer. After explaining that the cosmos and its parts are divided into “the Same” and “the Different,” he says: “The first of these leads from without all that are within them, along the general movement from East to West. But the latter, belonging to the Different, lead from within the parts that are carried along from West to East, and are self-moved, and they are whirled round and along, as it may happen, by the movement of the Same which possesses in the Cosmos a superior power. Now the movement of the Different, being divided according to a harmonical proportion, takes the form of 7 circles,” and he then goes on to describe the orbits of the planets.

[53] Lit., “if one section be severed.”

[54] Cf. Plato, Timæus, c. 12.

[55] A palpable mistake. As Cruice points out, if the Earth’s diameter is as said in the text, its perimeter must be 251,768 stadia, which is not far from the 252,000 stadia assigned to it by Eratosthenes.

[56] Lacunæ in both these sentences.

[57] The common Greek name for the planet Ares or Mars (♂).

[58] All these numbers are hopelessly corrupt in the text and the scribe varies the notation repeatedly. I have given the figures as finally settled by Cruice and his predecessors. The Shining One is the planet Hermes or Mercury (☿).

[59] βάθη, “depths”; rather height if we consider the orbits of the planets as concentric and fitting into one another like jugglers’ caps or the skins of an onion.

[60] ἐν λόγοις συμφώνοις. Cruice would read τόνοις for λόγοις on the strength of what Pliny, Hist. Nat., II, 20, says about Pythagoras having taught that the intervals between the planets’ orbits were musical tones. He seems to mean the gamut or chromatic scale as contrasted with the enharmonic.

[61] See last note.

[62] See note on p. 81 infra as to what this doubling and tripling means.

[63] συμφωνίᾳ.

[64] ἐπιτετάρτῳ, superquarta, Cr., 1 + ¼; see Liddell and Scott, quoting Nicomachus Gerasenus Arithmeticus.

[65] It is not easy to see from this confused statement whether it is the system of Plato or Archimedes at which Hippolytus is aiming. The one, however, that it most resembles is that of the neo-Pythagoreans, of which the following table is given in M. Bigourdan’s excellent work on L’Astronomie: Evolution des Idées et des Méthodes, Paris 1911, p. 49:—

Planets Fixed stars
Interval { in tones 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½
in thousands of stadia 126 63 63 189 126 63 63 63
Absolute distances in thousands of stadia 0 126 189 252 441 567 630 693 756

[66] The object of all these figures is apparently to prove that those of Archimedes are wrong and that the Platonic theory—said, one does not know with what truth, to have been inherited from Pythagoras, viz., that the intervals between the orbits of the different bodies of the cosmos are arranged like the notes on a musical scale—is to be preferred. This was perhaps to be expected from a Churchman as favouring the doctrine of creation by design. It is difficult at first sight to see how the figures in the text bear out Hippolytus’ contention, inasmuch as the distances here given of the seven planets (including therein the Sun and Moon) from the Earth proceed in an irregular kind of arithmetical progression ranging from one to fifty-four, the distance from the Earth to the Moon which Hippolytus accepts from Archimedes as correct being taken as unity. Thus, let us call this unit of distance x, and we have the table which follows:—

Table I (of distances)

Distance of Earth (♁) from = 5,544,130 stadia or x
= 16,632,390 3x
= 33,264,780 6x
= 55,441,300 10x
= 105,338,470 19x
= 149,691,510 27x
= 299,383,020 54x

But let us take the figures given in the text for the intervals between the Earth and the seven “planets” arranged in the same order, and again taking the Earth to Moon distance as unity, we have:—

Table II (of intervals)

Interval between and = 5,554,130 stadia or x
= 11,088,260 2x
= 16,632,390 3x
= 22,176,520 4x(22)
= 49,897,170 9x(32)
= 44,353,040 8x(23)
= 149,691,510 27x(33)

This agrees almost entirely with the theory which M. Bigourdan in the work mentioned in the last note has worked out as the Platonic theory of the distances of the different planets from the Earth, “the supposed centre of their movements” (p. 228). Thus:—

Distances 1 2 3 4 8 9 27

which distances are, in his own words, “les termes enchevêtrés de deux progressions géométriques ayant respectivement pour raison 2 et 3, savoir 1, 2, 4, 8—1, 3, 9, 27; on voit que l’unité est, comme chez Pythagore, la distance de la Terre à la Lune.” This conclusion is amply borne out by Hippolytus’ figures, which, as given in Table II above, show a regular progression from 2 and 3 to 22 and 32, then to 23 and 33, which explains what our author means by increasing the Earth to the Moon distance, κατὰ τὰ διπλάσιον καὶ τριπλάσιον. The only discrepancy between this and M. Bigourdan’s table is that he has transposed the distances between ☿—♂ and ♂—♄ respectively; but as I do not know the details of the calculation on which he bases his figures, I am unable to say whether the mistake is his or Hippolytus’.

[67] Are we to conclude from this that these last calculations are those of Claudius Ptolemy, the author of the Almagest? He has certainly not been mentioned before, but his fame was so great that Hippolytus may have been certain that the allusion would be understood by his audience. Ptolemy lived, perhaps, into the last quarter of the second century.

[68] Genesis vi. 4. The subject seems to have had irresistible fascination for Christian converts of Asiatic blood, whether orthodox or heretic. Manes also wrote a book upon the Giants, cf. Kessler, Mani, Berlin, 1899, pp. 191 ff.

[69] Hippolytus seems to have been entirely ignorant that the calculations he derides were anything but mere guesswork. They were not only singularly accurate considering the imperfection of the observations at the disposal of their author, but have also been of the greatest use to science as laying the foundation of all future astronomy.

[70] ἀμέτρους. Another pun on their measurements.

[71] Nothing definite is known of this Colarbasus or his supposed astrological heresy. The accounts given of him by Irenæus and Epiphanius describe him as holding tenets identical with those of Marcus. Hort, following Baur, believes that he never existed, and that his name is simply a Greek corruption of Qol arba, “the Voice of the Four.” See D.C.B., s.h.v.

[72] περὶ μαθηματικῶν. The article is omitted; but he must mean the students and not the study. This is curious, because Mathematicus in the Rome of Hippolytus must have meant astrologer and nothing else, and what follows has nothing to do with astrology. Rather is it what was called in the Renaissance Arithmomancy. Cruice refers us to Athanasius Kircher’s Arithmologia on the subject. Cornelius Agrippa, De vanitate et incertitudine Scientiarum, writes of it as “The Pythagorean lot,” and it is described in Gaspar Peucer’s De præcipuis Divinationum generibus, 1604.

[73] ψῆφοι, lit., pebbles, i. e. counters.

[74] στοιχεῖα: letters as the component parts or elements of words.

[75] Reading with the text τινὰς for Cruice’s τινὰ.

[76] In the text the Kappa and Tau are written at full length, the other numbers in the usual Greek notation, a proof that the scribe was here writing from dictation and not copying MS.

[77] ψηφισθὲν.

[78] The name is spelt Πάτροκλος.

[79] So that the “root” may be either 7 or 6 according as you use the “rule of 9” or of 7. A reductio ad absurdum.

[80] ἐὰν ἀπαρτίσῃ, “is even or complete.”

[81] I omit the Rho, which in the Codex precedes the Alpha. Cruice suggests it is put for Π.

[82] They do not, but make 26. Cruice adds an Alpha between the 8 and the 3: but in any case the rule just enunciated is broken by the reckoning in of two 2’s.

[83] Αἴας. Α = 1, ι = 10 = 1, α = 1 (omitted), ς = 200 = 2. 1 + 1 + 2 = 4.

[84] The Homeric name for Paris.

[85] κύριον ὄνομα as opposed to μεταφορὸν ὄνομα, a name transferred from one to another, or family name.

[86] Not 8 but 4. ο = 70 = 7, δ = 4, υ = 400 = 4, σ = 200 = 2, ε = 5 (with duplicate omitted) = 22, which divided by 9 leaves 4, or by 7, only 1. The next sentence and a similar remark at the last sentence but one of the chapter are probably by a commentator or scribe and have slipped into the text by accident. Oddly enough, nothing is said as to what happens if the “roots” are equal, as they seem to be in this case.

[87] Another mistake. Α = 1, σ = 200 = 2, τ = 300 = 3, ε = 5, ρ = 100 = 1, ο = 70 = 7, π = 80 = 8, ι = 10 = 1 (with duplicates omitted) = 28, which divided by 9 leaves 1, or by 7, 0 = 7.

[88] ὅταν μέντοι δευτερόν τινες ἀγωνίζωνται. Quum vero quidam iterum decertant de numeris, Cr. But the allusion is almost certainly to two charioteers or combatants meeting in successive contests. Half the divination and magic of the early centuries refers to the affairs of the circus, and the text has nothing about de numeris.

[89] Lit., inspection of the forehead (or face), or what Lavater called physiognomy. The word was known to Ben Jonson, who uses it in his Alchymist. “By a rule, Captain. In metoposcopy, which I do work by. A certain star in the forehead which you see not,” etc.

[90] ἰδέας.

[91] I have not thought it worth while to set down the various readings suggested by the different editors and translators for these “forms and qualities.” The whole of this chapter is taken from Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, and was corrupted by every copyist. The common type suggested with eyebrows meeting over the nose is plainly Alexandrian, as we know from the portraits on mummy-cases in Ptolemaic times.

[92] κοπιαταὶ. The dictionaries give “grave-digger,” which makes no sense.

[93] ὀφθαλμοῖς μέλασιν ὡς ἠλειμμένοις, “eyes black as if oiled.” Not a bad description of the eyes of a certain type of Levantine.

[94] The text has κολυμβῶσιν, which must refer to the eyes.

[95] Yet he twice calls them ψεῦσται, or “cheats.”

[96] Miller thinks this last characteristic interpolated.

[97] Reading λευκῷ for ἀλυκῷ, “salt,” which seems impossible.

[98] Reading ὑποδούλιοι for ὑπόδουλοι.

[99] Is any one born with grey hair?

[100] οἱ αὐτοὶ φύσεως. A similar phrase has just occurred under the same sign: a proof of the utter corruption of the text.

[101] ὀρχησταί in codex. Probably a mistake for εἰς κοινωνίαν εὔχρηστοι, “useful to the community.”

[102] δι’ ἐπινοίας; probably a sarcasm.

[103] It is hardly necessary to point out the futility of this astrology, its base being the theory that the earth is the centre of the universe. Nearly all the characteristics given above have, however, less to do with the stars than with those supposed to distinguish the different animals named. This is really sympathetic magic, or what was later called “the signatures of things.”

[104] A lacuna in the text here extending to the opening words of the next chapter.

[105] Richard Ganschinietz, in a study on Hippolytus’ Capitel gegen die Magier appearing in Gebhardt’s and Harnack’s Texte und Untersuchungen, dritte Reihe Bd. 9, Leipzig, 1913, says it is not doubtful that Hippolytus took this chapter from Celsus’ book κατὰ μάγων, which he discovers in Origen’s work against the last-named author. He assumes that Lucian of Samosata in his Ἀλέξανδρος ἢ Ψευδόμαντις borrowed from the same source.

[106] τῶν δαιμόνων, a demonibus, Cr. But the word δαίμων is hardly ever used in classic or N.T. Greek for a devil or evil spirit, generally called δαιμόνιον. Δαίμων here and elsewhere in this chapter plainly means a god of lesser rank or spirit. Cf. Plutarch de Is. et Os., cc. 25-30.

[107] τῷ παιδὶ, the magician’s assistant necessary in all operations requiring confederacy or hypnotism.

[108] For the composition of this see Plutarch, op. cit., c. 81.

[109] ὁ μυχός. Often used for the women’s chamber or gynaeceum.

[110] Clearly the Egyptian sun-god Ra or Rê, the Phi in front being the Coptic definite article. It is a curious instance of the undying nature of any superstition that in the magical ceremonies of the extant Parisian sect of Vintrasists, Ammon-Ra, the Theban form of this god, is invoked apparently with some idea that he is a devil. See Jules Bois’ Le Satanisme et la Magie, Paris, 1895.

[111] χαλκάνθον, sulphate of iron, which, mixed with tincture or decoction of nut-galls, makes writing ink. Our own word copperas is an exact translation.

[112] φιάλη. A broad flat pan used for sacrificial purposes.

[113] There is some muddle here, probably due to Hippolytus not having any practical acquaintance with the tricks described. The smoke of nut-galls would hardly make the writing visible. On the other hand, letters written in milk will turn brown if exposed to the fire without the application of any ash.

[114] A sauce made of brine and small fish.

[115] See the roughly-drawn vignettes usual in magic papyri, e. g. Parthey, Zwei griechische Zauberpapyri, Berlin, 1866, p. 155; Karl Wessely, Griechische Zauberpapyri von Paris und London, Vienna, 1888, p. 118.

[116] τὰς φρένας. One of Hippolytus’ puns.

[117] Hebrew was used in these ceremonies, because they were largely in the hands of the Jews. See Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, II, pp. 33, 34, for references.

[118] ἠχεῖ. Particularly appropriate to the striking of a metal disc.

[119] The book of course was a long roll of parchment, the inner coils of which could be drawn out as described.

[120] ὀρυκτῶν ἁλῶν. Cruice translates fossil salts. Does he mean rock-salt?

[121] τὸ ἰνδικὸν μέλαν. Either indigo dye or pepper. Cayenne pepper put in the flame might have a startling effect on the audience.

[122] Where?

[123] Said to be an astringent earth made from rock-alum, and containing both alum and vitriol. Known to Hippocrates.

[124] Red lead or vermilion? The idea seems to be to frighten the dupe by the supposed prodigy of a hen laying eggs which have red or black inside them instead of white.

[125] Pliny, Nat. Hist., VIII, c. 75, says the sheep is compelled when it feeds to turn away from the sun by reason of the weakness of its head. This is probably the story which Hippolytus or the author has exaggerated. Something is omitted from the text.

[126] Seal or porpoise oil?

[127] Hymns like these are to be found in the two collections of magic papyri quoted in n. on p. 93 supra.

[128] He tells us how this trick is performed on p. 100 infra. Lecanomancy or divination by the bowl was generally performed by means of a hypnotized boy, as described in Lane’s Modern Egyptians. This, however, is a more elaborate process dependent on fraud.

[129] Reading νάτρον for νίτρον. It was common in Egypt, and saltpetre would not have the same effect, which seems to depend on the expulsion of carbonic acid.

[130] μυρσίνη. Cruice suggests μάλφη, a mixture of wax and pitch, which hardly seems indicated. Storax is the ointment recommended by eighteenth-century conjurers. Water is all that is needful.

[131] ἰχθυοκόλλα. Presumably fish-glue. Macmahon suggests isinglass. The salamander, the use of which is to be sought in sympathetic magic, was no doubt calcined and used in powder. σκολοπένδριον, “millipede” and σκολόπενδρον, “hart’s tongue fern” are the alternative readings suggested. Fern-oil is said to be good for burns.

[132] Probably chalk or gypsum.

[133] αὐτορρύτων κηκίδων τε κενῶν. Κήκις here evidently means any sort of nut-shell. But how can it be “self-flowing”? Miller’s suggested φορυτὸν makes no better sense.

[134] The lion-headed figure of the Mithraic worship is shown thus setting light to an altar in Cumont’s Textes et Monuments de Mithra, II, p. 196, fig. 22. A similar figure with an opening at the back of the head to admit the “wind-pipe” described in the text shows how this was effected. See the same author’s Les Mystères de Mithra, Brussels, 1913, p. 235, figs. 26, 27.

[135] The solution of alum would be effective without any other ingredients.

[136] That is, not by guesswork. Another pun.

[137] The letter was of course in the form of a writing-tablet bound about with silk or cord, to which the seal was attached.

[138] This would make something like plaster of Paris.

[139] This book or the former one. Lucian describes the same process in his Alexander, which he dedicates to Celsus; v. n. on p. 92 supra.

[140] ἀφορμὰς λαβών, “taking them as starting-points.”

[141] Cruice suggests that this sentence has either got out of place or is an addition by an annotator. Probably an afterthought of Hippolytus’.

[142] See n. on p. 97 supra.

[143] κύανος. A dark-blue substance which some think steel, others lapis lazuli.

[144] συμπαῖκται, “playfellows.” Here, as elsewhere in the text, accomplices or confederates.

[145] Several words missing here, perhaps by intention. It would be interesting to know if the “drug” was any preparation of phosphorus.

[146] Should be Baubo, a synonym of Hecate in the hymn to that goddess published by Miller, Mélanges de Litt. Grecque, Paris, 1868, pp. 442 ff.

[147] Most of the epithets and names here used are to be found in the hymn quoted in the last note. The goddess is there identified not only with Artemis and Persephone, but with the Sumerian Eris-ki-gal, lady of hell.

[148] A sort of magic lantern? κάτοπτρον, which I have translated mirror, might be a lens. One is said to have been found in Assyria.

[149] πόρρωθεν. Better, perhaps, πόρροτεθεν.

[150] Full moon, or half, or quarter, as the case may be.

[151] Schneidewin seems to be right in suggesting a lacuna here.

[152] ἐν ὑαλώδεσι τύποις. Schneidewin suggests τόποις unreasonably. Many alabaster jars are nearly transparent.

[153] Cf. Aristotle, De Hist. Animal., V, 10, 2. Said to be Coryphæna hippurus.

[154] The hiatus leaves us in doubt how this operated. Perhaps it liberated free ammonia.

[155] Reading ἐπίπλοον βοείου instead of, with Cruice, ἐπίπλεον βώλου, “filled with clay.”

[156] ἀφανὲς, “unapparent.”

[157] ἀπηνέχθημεν. An admission that this chapter was an afterthought.

[158] ὡς εἰκάσαι, ἐστι, ut patet, Cr.

[159] θεολόγοι. It does not mean “theologians” in our sense, but narrator of stories about the gods. Orpheus is always considered a θεολόγος.

[160] ποδαπός. Not, as Cruice translates, quale, which would be better expressed by the ποίον of Aristotle.

[161] τὸ σύμπαν αὐτὸ.

[162] It is fairly certain that Hippolytus in this “Recapitulation” must here be summarizing the missing Books II and III. He has said nothing in any part of the work that has come down to us about the Persian theology, and in Book I he calls Zaratas or Zoroaster a Chaldæan and not a Persian.

[163] ψήφοις ὑπέβαλον καὶ are supplied by Schneidewin in the place of three words rubbed out.

[164] Reading with Schneidewin μοιρῶν for μυρῶν and ἐπιπνοίας for ἐπίνοιας.

[165] By indivisible comparison (σύγκρισις) he seems to imply that these numbers cannot be divided except by 1. Hence Cruice would omit 9 as being divisible by 3. Perhaps he means “like indivisibility.”

[166] Cruice suggests that this was an astronomical instrument and quotes Cl. Ptolemy, Harmon., I, 2, in support.

[167] Why should the cosmos be masculo-feminine? The Valentinians said the same thing about their Sophia, who was, as I have said elsewhere (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Oct. 1917), a personification of the Earth. The idea seems to go back to Sumerian times. Cf. Forerunners, II, 45, n. 1, and Mr. S. Langdon, Tammuz and Ishtar, Oxford, 1914, pp. 7, 43 and 115.

[168] The worshippers of the Greek Isis declared Isis to be the earth and Osiris water. See Forerunners, I, 73, for references. If Hippolytus is here recapitulating Books II and III, it is probable that the lacuna was occupied with some reference to the Alexandrian deities and their connection with the arithmetical speculations of the Neo-Pythagoreans. Could this be substantiated, we should not need to look further for the origin of the Simonian and Valentinian heresies.

[169] ψηφιζόμενα κὰι ἀναλυόμενα, supputata et diversa, Cr. The process seems to be that called earlier (p. 85 supra) the rule of 9.

[170] 361 ÷ 9 = 40 + 1; 605 ÷ 9 = 67 + 2.

[171] ἀπερίζυγον, lit., “unyoked.”

[172] εἰς ἐννάδα here appears in the text apparently as an alternative reading. Cruice suggests “with an ennead deducted.”

[173] Meaning that some reckon the numerical value of all the letters in a name, others that of the vowels only.

[174] What follows has nothing to do with divination, but treats of the celestial map as a symbolical representation of the Christian scheme of salvation. Hippolytus condemns the notion as a “heresy,” but if so, its place ought to be in Book V. It is doubtful from what author or teacher he derived his account of it; but all the quotations from Aratus’ Phænomena which he gives are to be found in Cicero, De Natura Deorum, 41, where they make, as they do not here, a connected story.

[175] One of the passages favouring the conjecture that the book was originally in the form of lectures.

[176] οἱ ἐντυγχάνοντες, legentibus, Cr. It may just as easily mean “those who come across this.”

[177] “Catasterisms” was the technical term for these transfers, of which the Coma Berenices is the best-known example. Cf. Bouché-Leclercq, op. cit., p. 23.

[178] The long-eared owl (strix otus). According to Ælian it had a reputation for stupidity, and was therefore a type of the easy dupe, Athenæus, Deipnosophistæ, IX, 44, 45, tells a similar story to that in the text about the bustard.

[179] Reading μετανάσσεται for μετανίσσεται or μετανείσεται.

[180] στρεπτούς, volventes, Cr. An attempt to pun on πόλος, the Pole.

[181] Job i. 7. The Book of Job according to some writers comes from an Essene school, which may give us some clue to the origin of these ideas. The Enochian literature to which the same tendency is assigned is full of speculations about the heavenly bodies. See Forerunners, I, p. 159, for references.

[182] ὁ ἐν γόνασιν. Aratus calls this constellation ὁ ἐν γόνασι καθήμενος, Cicero Engonasis, Ovid Genunixus, Vitruvius, Manilius and J. Firmicus Maternus, Ingeniculus.

[183] A perversion of the “it shall bruise thy head and thou shall bruise his heel,” of Genesis iii. 15.

[184] From his attitude the Kneeler resembles the figure of Atlas supporting the world, who as Omophorus plays a great part in Manichæan mythology. Cumont derives this from a Babylonian original, for which and his connection with Mithraic cosmogony see his Recherches sur le Manichéisme, Brussels, 1908, I, p. 70, figs. 1 and 2. The constellation is now known as Hercules.

[185] Hippolytus here evidently quotes not from Aratus, but from some unnamed Gnostic or heretic writer, whom Cruice thinks must have been a Jew. Yet he was plainly a Christian, as appears from his remarks about the “Second Creation.” An Ebionite writer might have preserved many Essene superstitions.

[186] Cruice, following Roeper, says these words have slipped in from an earlier page.

[187] ὀφιοῦχος. The “Ophiuchus huge” of Milton or Anguitenens.

[188] Ἑλίκη. So Aratus and Apollonius Rhodius. Said to be so called from its perpetually revolving. Cruice remarks on this sentence that it does not seem to have been written by a Greek, and quotes Epiphanius as to the addiction of the Pharisees to astrology. But see last note but one.

[189] ἑλίκη. A pun quite in Hippolytus’ manner.

[190] πρὸς ἣν ... ναυτίλλονται. Cruice and Macmahon alike translate this “towards which,” but Aratus clearly means “steer by” both here and earlier.

[191] Herodotus I, 1. He does not say, however, that the Greeks were Phœnicians.

[192] Rather the conceiver, from κύω, to conceive. γεννάω is used of the mother by Aristotle, De Gen. Animal., 3, 5, 6.

[193] λογικῆς.

[194] Reading Ιάσαδος for Cruice’s Ἰασίδαο. The text is said to have εἰς ἀΐδαο.

[195] γράμματα, elementa, Cr. But I think the allusion is to the story they contain for those who can read them.

[196] The Swan.

[197] τὰς ἰδέας.

[198] If Hippolytus’ words are here correctly transcribed, the “heretic” quoted seems to have two inconsistent ideas about the stars. One is that the constellations are types or allegories of what takes place in man’s soul; the other, that they are the patterns after which the creatures of this world were made. This last is Mithraic rather than Christian.

[199] τῆς τούτων ὑπολήψεως, ab horum cogitationibus, Cr.

[200] ἀγαπητοί. The word generally used in a sermon.

[201] This also reads like a peroration.

[202] In this chapter Hippolytus for the first time sets himself seriously to prove the thesis which he has before asserted, i. e., that all the Gnostic systems are derived from the teachings of the Greek philosophers. His mode of doing so is to compare the elaborate systems of Aeons or emanations of deity imagined by heresiarchs like Simon Magus and Valentinus to the views attributed by him to Pythagoras which make all nature to spring from one indivisible point. Whether Pythagoras ever held such views may be doubted and we have no means of checking Hippolytus’ always loose statements on this point; but something like them appears in the Theaetetus of Plato where arithmetic and geometry seem to be connected by talk about oblong as well as square numbers and the construction of solids from them. If we imagine with the Greeks (see n. on p. 37 supra) that numbers are not abstract things, but actual portions of space, there is indeed a strong likeness between the ideas of the later Platonists as to the construction of the world by means of numbers and those attributed to the Gnostic teachers as to its emanation from God. Whether these last really held the views thus attributed to them is another matter. Cf. Forerunners, II, pp. 99, 100.

[203] ἀπὸ τοῦ σημείου seems to be repeated needlessly.

[204] ῥυὲν, “flowing out.”

[205] πέρος ἔχουσα σημεῖον. Surely it has two limits—a point at each end.

[206] σῶμα. In the next sentence he uses the proper word στερεόν.

[207] This is, I suppose, quoted from the Ἀποφάσις μεγαλή attributed to Simon, as he speaks afterwards (II, p. 9 infra) of the small becoming great, “as it is written in the Apophasis, if it ... come into being from the indivisible point. But the great will be in the boundless æon,” etc.

[208] What follows from this point down to the end of the paragraph is an almost verbatim transcript of the passage in Book I (pp. 37 ff. supra), where it is given as the teaching of Pythagoras. The only substantial differences are: that hypostasis is written for hypothesis in the second sentence of the passage; the Tetractys is no longer said to be the “source” of eternal nature; and the 11, 12, etc., are now said to take, and not “share” their beginning from the 10.

[209] ὑπόθεσιν ἑαυτοῖς ἐντεῦθεν σχεδιάσαντες, suis dogmatibus fundamentum posuerunt, Cr.

[210] τὸ πνεῦμα. Cruice translates this by spiritum, and is followed by Macmahon. I think, however, he means the breath, it being the idea of the ancients that the arteries were air-vessels.

[211] παρεγκεφαλίς.

[212] κωνάριον.

[213] νωτιαῖον μοελόν.

[214] It is at any rate plain from this that the missing Books II and III at one time existed.

[215] These words appear in the MS. at the foot of this Book.



p. 137.1. These are the contents of the 5th (book) of the Refutation of all Heresies.

2. What the Naassenes say who call themselves Gnostics, and that they profess those opinions which the philosophers of the Greeks and the transmitters of the Mysteries first laid down, starting wherefrom they have constructed heresies.

3. And what things the Peratæ imagine, and that their doctrine is not framed from the Holy Scriptures but from the astrological (art).

4. What is the system according to the Sithians, and that they have patched together their doctrine by plagiarizing from those wise men according to the Greeks, (to wit) Musæus and Linus and Orpheus.

5. What Justinus imagined and that his doctrine is not framed from the Holy Scriptures, but from the marvellous tales of Herodotus the historiographer.

1. Naassenes.[1]

p. 138.6. I consider that the tenets concerning the Divine and the fashioning of the cosmos (held by) all those who are[119] deemed philosophers by Greeks and Barbarians have been very painfully set forth in the four books before this. Whose[120] curious arts I have not neglected, so that I have undertaken for the readers no chance labour, exhorting many to love of learning and certainty of knowledge about the truth. Now therefore there remains to hasten on to the refutation of the heresies, with which intent[2] also we have set forth the things aforesaid. From which philosophers the heresiarchs have taken hints in common[3] and patching like cobblers the mistakes of the ancients on to their own thoughts, have offered them as new to those they can deceive, as we shall prove in (the books) which follow. For the rest, it is time to approach the subjects laid down before, but to begin with those who have dared to sing the praises of the Serpent, who is in fact the cause of the error, through certain systems invented by his action. Therefore p. 139. the priests and chiefs of the doctrine were the first who were called Naassenes, being thus named in the Hebrew tongue: for the Serpent is called Naas.[4] Afterwards they called themselves Gnostics alleging that they alone knew the depths.[5] Separating themselves from which persons, many men have made the heresy, which is really one, a much divided affair, describing the same things according to varying opinions, as this discourse will argue as it proceeds.

These men worship as the beginning of all things, according to their own statement, a Man and a Son of Man. But this Man is masculo-feminine[6] and is called by them Adamas;[7] and hymns to him are many and various. And p. 140. the hymns, to cut it short, are repeated by them somehow like this:—

“From thee a father, and through thee a mother, the two deathless names, parents of Aeons, O thou citizen of heaven, Man of great name!”[8]


But they divide him like Geryon into three parts. For there is of him, they say, the intellectual (part), the psychic and the earthly; and they consider that the knowledge of him is the beginning of the capacity to know God, speaking thus: “The beginning of perfection is the knowledge of man, but the knowledge of God is completed perfection.” But all these things, he says, the intellectual, and the psychic and the earthly, proceeded and came down together into one man, Jesus who was born of Mary;[9] and there spoke together, he says, in the same way, these three men each of them from his own substance to his own. For there are three kinds of universals[10] according to them (to wit) the angelic,[11] the psychic and the earthly; and three churches, the angelic, the psychic and the earthly; but their names are: Chosen, Called, Captive.[12]

p. 141.7. These are the heads of the very many discourses which they say James the brother of the Lord handed down to Mariamne.[13] So then, that the impious may no longer speak falsely either of Mariamne, or of James, or of his Saviour, we will come to the Mysteries, whence comes their fable, both the Barbarian and the Greek, and we shall see how these men collecting together the hidden and ineffable mysteries of the nations[14] and speaking falsely of Christ, lead astray those who have not seen the Gentiles’ secret rites. For since the Man Adamas is their foundation, and they say there has been written of him “Who shall declare his p. 142. generation?”[15] learn ye how, taking from the nations in turn the undiscoverable and distinguished[16] generation of the Man, they apply this to Christ.


“For earth, say the Greeks, was the first to give forth man, thus bearing a goodly gift. For she wished to be the mother not of plants without feeling and wild beasts without sense, but of a gentle and God-loving animal. But hard it is, he says, to discover whether Alalcomeneus of the Boeotians came forth upon the p. 143. Cephisian shore as the first of men, or whether (the first men) were the Idæan Curetes, a divine race, or the Phrygian Corybantes whom the Sun saw first shooting up like trees, or whether Arcadia brought forth Pelasgus earlier than the Moon, or Eleusis Diaulus dweller in the Rarian field, or Lemnos gave birth to Cabirus, fair child of ineffable orgies, or Pallene to Alcyon, eldest of the Giants. But the Libyans say Iarbas the first-born crept forth from the parched field to pluck Zeus’ sweet acorn. So also, he says that the Nile of the Egyptians, making fat the mud which unto this day begets life, gave forth living bodies made flesh with moist heat.”[17]

But the Assyrians say that fish-eating[18] Oannes (the first man) was born among them and the Chaldæans (say the same thing about) Adam; and they assert that he was the man whom the earth brought forth alone, and that he lay breathless, motionless (and) unmoved like unto a statue being the image of him on high who is praised in song as the man Adamas; but that he was produced by many p. 144. powers about whom in turn there is much talk.[19]

In order then that the Great Man[20] on high, from whom,[123] as they say, “every fatherhood[21] named on earth and in the heavens” is framed, might be completely held fast, there was given to him also a soul, so that through the soul he might suffer, and that the enslaved “image of the great and most beautiful and Perfect Man”—for thus they call him—might be punished.[22] Wherefore again they ask what is the soul and of what kind is its nature that coming to the man and moving[23] him it should enslave and punish the image of the Perfect Man. But they ask this, not from the Scriptures, but from the mystic rites. And they say that the soul is very hard to find and to comprehend, since it does not stay in the same shape or form, nor is it always in one and the same state, so that one might describe it by a type or comprehend it in substance.[24] But these various changes of the soul they hold to be set down in the Gospel inscribed to the Egyptians.

They doubt then, as do all other men of the nations, whether the soul is from the pre-existent, or from the self-begotten, p. 145. or from the poured-forth Chaos.[25] And first they betake themselves to the mysteries of the Assyrians[26] to understand the triple division of the Man; for the Assyrians were the first to think the soul tripartite and yet one. For every nature, they say, longs for the soul, but each in a different way. For soul is the cause of all things that are, and all things which are nourished and increase, he says, require soul. For nothing like nurture or increase, he says, can occur unless soul be present. And even the[124] stones, he says, are animated,[27] for they have the power of increase, and no increase can come without nourishment. For by addition increase the things which increase and the addition is the nourishment of that which is nourished.[28] Therefore every nature he says, of things in heaven, and on earth, and below the earth, longs for a soul. But the Assyrians call such a thing[29] Adonis or Endymion or (Attis); and when it is invoked as Adonis Aphrodite loves and longs after the soul of such name. And Aphrodite is generation[30] according to them. But when Persephone or Core loves Adonis[31] there is a certain mortal soul separated from Aphrodite p. 146. (that is from generation).[32] And if Selene should come to desire of Endymion[33] and to love of his beauty, the nature of the sublime ones, he says, also requires soul. But if, he says, the Mother of the Gods castrate Attis,[34] and she holds this loved one, the blessed nature of the hypercosmic and eternal ones on high recalls to her, he says, the masculine power of the soul.[35] For, says he, the Man is masculo-feminine. According to this argument of theirs, then, the so-called[36] intercourse of woman with man is by (the teaching of) their school shown to be an utterly wicked and defiling thing. For Attis is castrated, he says, that is, he has changed over from the earthly parts of the lower creation to the eternal substance on high, where, he says, there is neither male nor female,[37] but a new creature,[38][125] a new Man, who is masculo-feminine. What they mean by “on high” I will show in its appropriate place when I come to it. But they say it bears witness to what they say that Rhea is not simply one (goddess) but, so to speak, the p. 147. whole creature.[39] And this they say is made quite clear by the saying:—“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made by Him, in truth, His eternal power and godhead, so that they are without excuse. Since when they knew Him as God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but foolishness deceived their hearts. For thinking themselves wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likenesses of an image of corruptible man and of birds and of fourfooted and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to passions of dishonour. For even their women changed their natural use to that which is against nature.”[40] And what the natural use is according to them, we shall see later. “Likewise, also the males leaving the natural use of the female burned in their lust one toward another males among males working unseemliness.”[41] But unseemliness is according to them the first and blessed and unformed substance which is the cause of all the forms of p. 148. things which are formed. “And receiving in themselves the recompense of their error which is meet.”[42] For in these words, which Paul has spoken, they say is comprised their whole secret and the ineffable mystery of the blessed pleasure. For the promise of baptism[43] is not anything else according to them than the leading to unfading pleasure him who is baptized according to them in living water and anointed with silent[44] ointment.


And they say that not only do the mysteries of the Assyrians bear witness to their saying, but also those of the Phrygians concerning the blessed nature, hitherto hidden and yet at the same time displayed, of those who were and are and shall be, which, he says, is the kingdom of the heavens sought for within man.[45] Concerning which nature they have explicitly made tradition in the Gospel inscribed according to Thomas,[46] saying thus: “Whoso seeks me shall find me in children from seven years (upwards). For there in the fourteenth year I who am hidden p. 149. am made manifest.” This, however, is the saying not of Christ but of Hippocrates, who says: “At seven years old, a boy is half a father.” Whence they who place the primordial nature of the universals in the primordial seed having heard the Hippocratian (adage) that a boy of seven years old is half a father, say that in fourteen years according to Thomas it will be manifest. This is their ineffable and mystical saying.[47]

They say then that the Egyptians, who are admitted to be the most ancient of all men after the Phrygians and the first at once to impart to all men the initiations and secret rites[48] of the gods, and to have proclaimed forms and activities, have the holy and august and for those who are not initiated unutterable mysteries of Isis. And these are nothing else than the pudendum of Osiris which was snatched away and sought for by her of the seven stoles and black p. 150. garments.[49] But they say Osiris is water. And the seven-stoled nature which has about it and is equipped with seven ethereal stoles—for thus they allegorically call the wandering stars—is like mutable generation[50] and shows[127] that the creation is transformed by the Ineffable and Unportrayable[51] and Incomprehensible and Formless One. And this is what is said in the Scripture: “The just shall fall seven times and rise again.”[52] For these falls, he says, are the turnings about of the stars when moved by him who moves all things. They say, then, about the substance of the seed which is the cause of all things that are, that it belongs to none of these but begets and creates all things that are, speaking thus: “I become what I wish, and I am what I am; wherefore I say that it is the immoveable that moves all things. For it remains what it is, creating all things and nothing comes into being from begotten things.”[53] He says that this alone is good and that it is of this that the Saviour spoke when he said: “Why callest thou me good? There is one good, my Father who is in the heavens, Who makes the sun to rise upon the just and the unjust, and p. 151. rains upon the holy and the sinners.”[54] And who are the holy upon whom He rains and who the sinful we shall see with other things later on. And this is the great secret and the unknowable mystery concealed and revealed by the Egyptians. For Osiris, he says, is in the temple in front of Isis, whose pudendum stands exposed looking upwards from below, and wearing as a crown all its fruits of begotten things.[55] And they say not only does such a thing stand in the most holy temples, but is made known to all like a light not set under a bushel but placed on a candlestick making p. 152. its announcement on the housetops in all the streets and highways and near all dwellings being set before them as some limit and term.[56] For they call this the bringer of luck, not knowing what they say.

And this mystery the Greeks who have taken it over from the Egyptians keep unto this day. For we see, he says, the (images) of Hermes in such a form honoured among[128] them. And they say that they especially honour Cyllenius the Eloquent. For Hermes is the Word who, being the interpreter and fashioner[57] of what has been, is, and will be, stands honoured among them carved into some such form which is the pudendum of a man straining from the things below to those on high. And that this—that is, such a Hermes—is, he says, a leader of souls and a sender forth of them, and a cause of souls, did not escape the poets of the nations who speak thus:—

“Cyllenian Hermes called forth the souls
Of the suitors.”—
(Homer, Odyssey, XXIV, 1.)

p. 153.Not of the suitors of Penelope, he says, O unhappy ones, but of those awakened from sleep and recalled to consciousness

“From such honour and from such enduring bliss.”—
(Empedocles, 355, Stürz.)

that is, from the blessed Man on high or from the arch-man Adamas, as they think, they have been brought down here into the form of clay that they may be made slaves to the fashioner of this creation, Jaldabaoth, a fiery god, a fourth number.[58] For thus they call the demiurge and father of the world of form.

“But he holds in his hands the rod
Fair and golden, wherewith he lulls to sleep the eyes of men,
Whomso he will, while others he awakens from sleep.”—
(Odyssey, XXIV, 3 ff.)

This, he says, is he who has authority over life and death of whom he says it is written: “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron.”[59] But the poet wishing to adorn the incomprehensible p. 154. (part)[60] of the blessed nature of the Word, makes his rod not iron but golden. And he charms to sleep the eyes of the dead, he says, and again awakens those[129] sleepers who are stirred out of sleep and become suitors. Of these, he says, the Scripture spoke: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise and Christ shall shine upon thee.”[61] This is the Christ, he says, who in all begotten things is the Son of Man, impressed (with the image) by the Logos of whom no image can be made.[62] This, he says, is the great and unspeakable mystery of the Eleusinians “Hye Cye”[63] seeing that all things are set under him, and this is the saying: “Their sound went forth into all the earth,”[64] just as

“Hermes waved the rod and they followed gibbering.”—
(Homer, Odyssey, XXIV, 5-7.)

still meaning the souls as the poet shows, saying figuratively:—

“And even as bats flit gibbering in the secret recesses
Of a wondrous cave when one has fallen down out of the rock
From the cluster....”—
(Ibid., XXIV, 9 seq.)

p. 155.Out of the rock, he says, is said of Adamas. This, he says, is Adamas, “the corner-stone which has become the head of the corner.”[65] For in the head is the impressed brain of the substance from which every fatherhood is impressed.[66] “Which Adamas,” he says, “I place at the foundation of Zion.”[67] Allegorically, he says, he means the image of the Man. But that Adamas is placed within the teeth, as Homer says, “the hedge of teeth,”[68] that is, the wall and stockade within which is the inner man, who has fallen from Adamas the arch-man[69] on high who is (the rock) “cut without cutting hands”[70] and brought down into the image[130] of oblivion,[71] the earthly and clayey. And he says that the souls follow him, the Word, gibbering.

Even so the souls gibbered as they fared together,
But he went before,

that is, he led them,

“Gracious Hermes led them adown the dark ways.”—
(Odyssey, XXIV, 9 ff.)

p. 156.that is, he says, into eternal countries remote from all evil. For whence, says he, did they come?

“By Ocean’s flood they came and the Leucadian cliff
And by the Sun’s gates and the land of dreams.”—
(Odyssey, ubi cit.)

This he says is Ocean, “source of gods and source of men”[72] ever ebbing and flowing now forth and now back. But when he says Ocean flows forth there is birth of men, but when back to the wall and stockade and the Leucadian rock there is birth of gods. This he says is that which is written: “I have said ye are all gods and sons of the Highest; if you hasten to flee from Egypt and win across the Red Sea into the desert,” that is from the mixture below to the Jerusalem above who is the Mother of (all) living. “But if ye return again to Egypt,” that is to the mixture below, p. 157. “ye shall die as men.”[73] For deathly, says he, is all birth below, but deathless that which is born above; for it is born of water alone and the spirit, spiritual not fleshly. This, he says, is that which is written: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”[74] This is, according to them, the spiritual birth. This, he says, is the great Jordan which flowing forth prevented the sons of Israel from coming out of the land of Egypt—or rather, from the mixture below; for Egypt is the body according to them—until Joshua[75] turned it and made it flow back towards its source.


8. Following up these and such-like (words) the most wonderful Gnostics having invented a new art of grammar[76] imagine that their own prophet Homer unspeakably[77] foreshowed[78] these things and they mock at those who not being initiated in the Holy Scriptures are led together into such designs. But they say: whoso says all things were framed from one, errs; but whoso says from three speaks the truth and gives an exposition of (the things of) the universe. For one, he says, is the blessed nature of the Blessed Man above, Adamas, and one is the mortal (nature), p. 158. below, and one is the kingless race begotten on high, where, he says, is Mariam the sought-for one, and Jothor the great wise one, and Sephora the seer,[79] and Moses whose generation was not in Egypt—for there were children born to him in Midian—and this, he says, was not forgotten by the poets:—

“In three lots were all things divided and each drew a domain of his own.”—(Iliad, XV, 169.)

For sublime things, he says, must needs be spoken, but they are spoken everywhere, lest “hearing they should not hear and seeing they should see not.”[80] For if, he says, the sublime things were not spoken, the cosmos could not have been framed. These are the three ponderous words: Caulacau, Saulasau, Zeesar.[81] Caulacau the one on high, p. 159. Adamas, Saulasau, the mortal nature below, Zeesar the Jordan which flows back on its source. This is, he says, the masculo-feminine Man who is in all things, whom the ignorant call the triple-bodied Geryon—as if Geryon were “flowing from Earth”[82]—and the Greeks usually “the[132] heavenly horn of Mên”[83] because he has mingled and compounded all things with all. “For all things, he says, were made through him and apart from him not one thing was made. That which was in him is life.”[84] This, he says is the life, the unspeakable family of perfect men which was not known to the former generation. But the “nothing” which came into being apart from him is the world of form; for it came without him by the 3rd and 4th.[85] This, he says, is the cup Condy in which the king drinking, divineth. This, he says, is that which was hidden among the fair grains of Benjamin. And the Greeks also say the same with raving lips:—

“Bring water, bring wine, O boy
Intoxicate me, plunge me into sleep.
The cup tells me
p. 160.What I must become.”[86]
(Anacreon, XXVI, 25, 26.)

It was enough, he says, that only this should be known to men that Anacreon’s cup spoke mutely an unspeakable mystery. For mute, he says, was Anacreon’s cup which says Anacreon, tells him with mute speech what he must become, that is spiritual not fleshly, if he hears the hidden mystery in silence. And this is the water in those fair nuptials which Jesus changed by making wine. This, he says, is the mighty and true beginning of the signs which Jesus did in Cana in Galilee and made known the kingdom of the heavens. This, he says, is the kingdom of the heavens within us, as a treasure as the leaven hidden within three measures of meal.[87]

p. 161.This is, he says, the great and unspeakable mystery of the Samothracians which is allowed to be known to us alone who are perfect. For the Samothracians explicitly hand down in the mysteries celebrated by them that Adam is the Arch-man. And in the temple of the Samothracians stand two statues of naked men having both hands stretched[133] forth to heaven and their pudenda turned upwards like that of Hermes on (Mt.) Cyllene. But the aforesaid statues are the images of the Arch-man and of the re-born spiritual one in all things of one substance[88] with that man. This, he says, is what was spoken by the Saviour: “Unless ye drink my blood and eat my flesh, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but even though, He says, ye drink the cup which I drink when I go forth you will not be able to enter there.”[89] For He knew, he says, from which nature each of His disciples was, and that each of them was compelled to come to his own special nature. For from the twelve tribes, he says, He chose twelve p. 162. disciples,[90] and by them He spake to every tribe. Whence, he says, all could not have heard the preachings of the twelve disciples, nor, had they heard them could they have been received. For the things which are not according to[91] nature are with them natural.

This, he says, the Thracians who dwell about Mt. Hæmus and like them the Phrygians call Corybas,[92] because although he takes the beginning of his descent from the head on high and from the Unportrayable one and passes through all the sources of underlying things, we know not how and in what fashion he comes. This, he says, is the saying: “We have heard his voice, but we have not seen his shape.”[93] For, he says, the voice of him who is set apart and has been impressed with the image[94] is heard, but no one has seen what is the shape which has come down from on high from the Unportrayable One. But it is in the earthly form and no one is aware of it. This, he says, is the God who dwells in the flood according to the Psalter and “who speaks aloud and cries from many waters.”[95] “Many waters,” he says, is the manifold generation of mortal men, wherefrom he shouts and cries p. 163. aloud to the Unportrayable Man: “Deliver my only[134] begotten from the lions!”[96] In answer to this, he says, is the saying: “Thou art my son, O Israel. Fear not. If thou passest through the rivers they shall not overwhelm thee; if through the fire, it shall not burn thee.”[97] By rivers is meant, he says, the moist essence of generation, and by fire the rage and desire for generation. “Thou art mine. Be not afraid.” And again he speaks: “If a mother forget her children and pities them not nor gives them suck, yet will I not forget thee.”[98] Adamas, he says, speaks to his own men: “But although a woman shall forget these things, yet will I not forget you. I have graven you on my hands.”[99] But concerning his ascension, that is, the being born again, that he may be born spiritual, not fleshly, he says, the Scripture speaks: “Lift up the gates, ye rulers, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the p. 164. King of Glory shall enter in.”[100] That is the wonder of wonders. “For who,” he says, “is this King of Glory? A worm and not a man, a reproach of man and an object of contempt for the people. This is the King of Glory, he who is mighty in battle.”[101] But he means the war which is in the body, because the (outward) form is made from warring elements, he says, as it is written: “Remember the war which is in the body.”[102] The same entrance and the same gate, he says, Jacob saw when journeying to Mesopotamia—for Mesopotamia, he says, is the flow of the great Ocean flowing forth from the middle part[103] of the Perfect Man—and he wondered at the heavenly gate, saying: “How terrible is this place! It is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven.”[104] Wherefore, he says, the saying of Jesus: “I am the true gate.”[105] Now He who says this is, he says, the Perfect p. 165. Man who has been impressed above (with the image) of the Unportrayable one. Therefore he says, the perfect[135] man will not be saved unless born again by entering in through this gate.

But this same one, he says, the Phrygians[106] call also Papas, because he set at rest that which had been moved irregularly and discordantly before his coming. For the name of Papa, he says, is (taken from) all things in heaven, on earth, and below the earth, saying: “Make to cease! make to cease![107] the discord of the cosmos and make peace for those that are afar off,”[108] that is, for the material and earthly, and also “for those that are anigh,” that is, for the spiritual and understanding perfect men. But the Phrygians say that the same one is also a “corpse,” having been buried in the body as in a monument or tomb.[109] This, he says, is the saying: “Ye are whited sepulchres filled within with dead men’s bones,”[110] that is, there is not within you the living Man. And again, he says, “the dead shall leap forth from their graves,”[111] that is, the spiritual man, not the fleshly, shall be born again from the bodies of the earthly. This, he says, is the resurrection which comes through the p. 166. gate of the heavens, through which if they do not enter, all remain dead. And the same Phrygians, he says again, say that this same one is by reason of the change a god. For he becomes God when he arises from the dead and enters into heaven through the same gate. This gate, he says, Paul the Apostle knew, having set it ajar in mystery and declaring that he “was caught up by an angel and came unto a second and third heaven into Paradise itself and beheld what he beheld, and heard ineffable words which it is not lawful for man to utter.”[112] These are, he says, the mysteries called ineffable by all “which (we also speak) not in the words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual; but the natural[113] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him”;[114] and these, he[136] says, are the ineffable mysteries of the Spirit which we alone behold. Concerning them, he says, the Saviour spake: “No man shall come unto me unless my heavenly Father draw some one (unto me).”[115] For very hard it is, he says, to receive and take this great and ineffable mystery. And p. 167. again, he says, the Saviour spake: “Not every one who sayeth unto me, Lord! Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he who doeth the will of my Father who is in the heavens.”[116] Of which (will) he says, they must be doers and not hearers only to enter into the kingdom of the heavens. And again, says he, He spake: “The publicans and the harlots go before you into the kingdom of the heavens.”[117] For the publicans, he says, are those who receive the taxes of market-wares, and we are the tax-gatherers “upon whom the ends of the æons have come down.”[118] For the “ends,” he says, are the seeds sown in the cosmos by the Unportrayable One,[119] whereby the whole cosmos is completed;[120] for by them also it began to be. And this, he says, is the saying: “The sower went forth to sow, and some (seed) fell on the wayside and was trodden under foot, and some upon stony (parts) and sprang up; and because it had no root, he says, it withered and died. But some fell, he says, upon the fair and goodly earth and brought forth some a hundredfold, and some sixty and some thirty. p. 168. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”[121] This is, he says, that no one becomes a hearer of these mysteries save only the perfect Gnostics. This, he says, is the fair and goodly earth of which Moses spake: “I will bring you to a fair and goodly land, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”[122] This, he says, is the honey and the milk, tasting which the perfect become kingless and partakers of the fulness.[123] The same, he says, is the Pleroma, whereby all things that are[137] begotten by the unbegotten have come into being and are filled.

But the same one is called by the Phrygians “unfruitful.” For he is unfruitful when he is fleshly and performs the desire of the flesh. This, he says, is the saying: “Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.”[124] For these fruits, he says, are only the rational, the living man who enter by the third gate.[125] They say, indeed: “Ye who eat dead things and make living ones, what will ye make if ye eat living things?”[126] For they say that words[127] and thoughts and men are living things cast down by that Unportrayable One into the form p. 169. below. This, he says, is what he means: “Throw not your holy things to the dogs nor pearls to the swine,”[128] saying that the intercourse of woman with man is the work of dogs and swine.

But this same one, he says, the Phrygians call goatherd, not because, he says, he feeds goats and he-goats, as the psychic man calls them, but because, he says, he is Aipolos, that is, he who is ever revolving[129] and turning about and driving the whole cosmos in its circumvolution. For to revolve is to turn about and to change the position of things, whence, he says, the two centres of the heaven men call Poles. And the poet says:—

“What unerring ancient of the sea turns hither
The Immortal Egyptian Proteus.”—
(Odyssey, IV, 384.)

He[130] is not betrayed (by Eidothea), he says, but turns himself about, as it were, and goes to and fro. He says, too, that cities wherein we dwell are called πόλεις, because p. 170. we turn and go about in them. Thus, he says, the Phrygians call him Aipolos, who turns everything always in every direction and changes it into what it should be. But the Phrygians also call the same one “of many fruits,” because (the Naassene writer) says, “the children of the[138] desolate are more in number than those of her who has a husband”;[131] that is, the deathless things which are born again and ever remain are many, if few are those which are born (once); but all the things of the flesh, he says, are corruptible, even if those which are born are many. Wherefore, he says, Rachel mourned for her children and would not be comforted when mourning over them, for she knew, he says, that they were not.[132] And Jeremiah wails for the Jerusalem below, not the city in Phœnicia,[133] but the mortal generation below. For Jeremiah, he says, also knew the Perfect Man who has been born again of water and the spirit and is not fleshly. The same Jeremiah indeed said: “He is a man, and who shall know him?”[134] Thus, he says, the knowledge of the Perfect Man is very deep and hard to comprehend. For the beginning of perfection, he says, is the knowledge of man; but the knowledge of God is completed perfection.

p. 171.The Phrygians also say, however, that he is a “green ear of corn reaped”; and following the Phrygians, the Athenians when initiating (any one) into the Eleusinian (Mysteries) also show to those who have been made epopts the mighty and wonderful and most perfect mystery for an epopt[135] there—a green ear of corn reaped in silence.[136] And this ear of corn is also for the Athenians the great and perfect spark of light from the Unportrayable One; just as the hierophant himself, not indeed castrated like Attis, but rendered a eunuch by hemlock, and cut off from all fleshly generation, celebrating by night at Eleusis the great and ineffable mysteries beside a huge fire, cries aloud and makes proclamation, saying: “August Brimo has brought forth a holy son, Brimos,” that is, the strong (has given birth) to the strong.[137] For august is, he says, the generation which is spiritual or heavenly or sublime, and strong is that which is thus generated. For the mystery is called Eleusis or Anacterion: “Eleusis,” he says, because we spiritual ones p. 172. came on high rushing from the Adamas below.[138] For[139] eleusesthai, he says is to come, but anactoreion the return on high. This, he says, is what they who have been initiated into the mysteries of the Eleusinians say. But it is a regulation that those who have been initiated into the Lesser Mysteries should moreover be initiated into the Great. For greater destinies obtain greater portions.[139] But the Lesser Mysteries, he says, are those of Persephone below and of the way leading thither, which is wide and broad and bears the dead to Persephone, and the poet says:—

“But under her is a straight and rugged road
Hollow and muddy, but the best to lead
To the delightful grove of much-reverenced Aphrodite.”[140]

These, he says, are the Lesser Mysteries, those of fleshly generation, after being initiated into which men ought to p. 173. cease (from the small) and be initiated into the great and heavenly ones. For those who have obtained greater destinies, he says, receive greater portions. For this, he says, is the gate of heaven and this the house of God where the good God dwells alone,[141] into which will not enter, he says, any unpurified, any psychic or fleshly one; but it is kept for the spiritual only, where those who are must cast aside[142] their garments and all become bridegrooms, having come to maturity through the virgin spirit.[143] For this is the virgin who bears in her womb and conceives and gives birth to a son not psychic or corporeal, but the blessed Aeon of Aeons. Concerning these things, he says, the Saviour expressly spake: “Narrow and straitened is the way that leads to life and few are those who enter into it;[140] but wide and broad is the way leading to destruction and many are they who pass along it.”[144]

9. But the Phrygians further say that the Father of the p. 174. universals is Amygdalus, not a tree, he says, but that pre-existent almond[145] which containing within itself the perfect fruit (and) as if pulsating and stirring in the depth, tore asunder its breasts and gave birth to its own invisible and unnameable and ineffable boy of whom we are speaking.[146] For “Amyxai” is as if to burst and cut asunder,[147] as he says, in the case of inflamed bodies having within them any gathering, the surgeons who cut them open call them “amychas.” Thus, he says, the Phrygians call the almond from whom the invisible one proceeded and was born, and through whom all things came into being and apart from whom nothing came into being.

But the Phrygians say that he who was thence born is a piper, because that which was born is a melodious spirit. For God, he says, is a Spirit, wherefore neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall the true worshippers prostrate themselves, but in spirit.[148] For spiritual, he says, is the prostration of the perfect, not fleshly. But the Spirit, he says, (is) there where both the Father and the Son are named, being p. 175. there born from this (Son and from) the Father.[149] This, he says, is the many-named, myriad-eyed[150] incomprehensible One for whom every nature yearns, but each in a different way. This, he says, is the Word[151] of God, which is, he says, the word of announcement of the great Power. Wherefore it will be sealed and hidden and concealed, lying in the habitation wherein the root of the universals[152] is established, that is[153] (the root) of Aeons, Powers,[141] Thoughts, Gods, Angels, Emissary Spirits, things which are, things which are not, things begotten, things unbegotten, things incomprehensible, things comprehensible, years, months, days, hours (and) of an Indivisible Point,[154] from which what is least begins to increase successively. The Point, he says, being nothing and consisting of nothing (and) being indivisible will become of itself a certain magnitude incomprehensible by thought.[155] It, he says, is the kingdom of the heavens, the grain of mustard seed, the Indivisible Point inherent to the body which none knoweth, he says, save the spiritual alone. This, he says, is the saying: “There are no tongues nor speech where their voice is not p. 176. heard.”[156]

Thus they hastily declare that the things which are said and are done by all men are to be understood in their way, imagining that all things become spiritual. Whence they also say that not even they who exhibit (in the) theatres say or do anything not comprehended in advance.[157] So for example, he says, when the populace have assembled in the theatres[158] some one makes entrance clad in a notable robe bearing a cithara and singing to it. Thus he speaks chanting the Great Mysteries[159] (but) not knowing what he is saying:—

“Whether thou art the offspring of Kronos, or of blessed Zeus,
Or of mighty Rhea, Hail Attis, the sad mutilation of Rhea.[160]
The Assyrians call thee the much-longed-for Adonis,
p. 177.Egypt names thee Osiris, heavenly horn of the Moon.[161]
The Greeks Sophia,[162] the Samothracians, the revered Adamna,
The Thessalians, Corybas, and the Phrygians
Sometimes Papas, now the dead, or a god,
Or the unfruitful one, or goatherd,
Or the green ear of corn reaped,
Or he to whom the flowering almond-tree gave birth
As a pipe-playing man.”[163]

This, he says, is the many-formed Attis to whom they sing praises, saying:—

“I will hymn Attis, son of Rhea, not making quiver with a buzzing sound, nor with the cadence of the Idæan Curetes’ flutes, but I will mingle (with the hymn) the Phœbun music of the lyre. Evohe, Evan, for (thou art) Bacchus, (thou art) Pan, (thou art the) shepherd of white stars.”

For such and such-like words they frequent the so-called Mysteries of the great Mother, thinking especially that by means of what is enacted there, they perceive the whole mystery. For they get no advantage from what is acted there except that they are not castrated. They merely perfect the work of the castrated;[164] for they give most pointed and careful instructions to abstain as if castrated from intercourse with women. But the rest of the work as p. 178. we have said many times, they perform like the castrated.

But they worship none other than the Naas, calling themselves Naassenes. But Naas is the serpent, from whom he says, all temples under heaven are called naos from the Naas; and that to that Naas alone is dedicated every holy place and every initiation and every mystery, and generally that no initiation can be found under heaven in which there is not a naos and the Naas within it, whence it has come to be called a naos. But they say that the serpent is the watery substance, as did Thales of Miletos[165] and that no being, in short, of immortals or mortals, of those with souls or of those without souls, can be made without him. And that all things are set under him, and that he is good and[143] contains all things within him as in the horn of the one-horned bull[166] (so as) to contribute beauty and bloom to all things according to their own nature and kind, as if he had passed through all “as if he went forth from Edem and cut himself into four heads.”[167]

But this Edem, they say, is the brain, as it were bound p. 179. and enlaced in the surrounding coverings as in the heavens; and they consider man as far as the head alone to be Paradise. Therefore “the river that came forth from Eden”—that is from the brain—they think “is separated into four heads and the name of the first river is called Phison; this it is which encompasses all the land of Havilat. There is gold and the gold of that land is good, and there is bdellium and the onyx stone.”[168] This, he says, (is the) eye, bearing witness by its honour (among the other features) and its colours to the saying: “But the name of the second river is Gihon; this it is which encompasses all the land of Ethiopia.” This, he says, is the hearing, being somewhat like a labyrinth. “And the name of the third is Tigris; this it is which goes about over against the Assyrians.” This, he says, is the smell which makes use of the swiftest current of the flood. And it goes about over against the Assyrians because in inspiration the breath drawn in from the outer air is sharper and stronger than the respired breath. For this is the nature of respiration. “The fourth river is Euphrates.” This they say, is the mouth, which is the seat of prayer and the entrance of food, p. 180. which gladdens[169] and nourishes and characterizes[170] the spiritual perfect man. This, he says, is the water above the firmament concerning which, he says, the Saviour spake: “If thou knewest who it is that asks thou would have asked of him, and he would have given thee to drink living rushing water.”[171] To this water, he says, comes every[144] nature to choose its own substances,[172] and from this water goes forth to every nature that which is proper to it, he says, more (certainly) than iron to the magnet, gold to the spine of the sea-falcon and husks to amber.[173] But if anyone, he says, is blind from birth, and has not beheld the true light which lightens every man who cometh into the world,[174] let him recover his sight again through us, and behold how as it were through some Paradise full of all plants and seeds, the water flows among them. Let him see, too, that from one and the same water the olive-tree chooses and draws to itself oil, and the vine wine, and each of the other plants (that which is) according to its kind.

p. 181.But that Man, he says, is without honour in the world, and much honoured [in heaven, being betrayed] by those who know not to those who know him not, and accounted like a drop which falleth from a vessel.[175] But we are, he says, the spiritual who have chosen out of the living water, the Euphrates flowing through the midst of Babylon, that which is ours, entering in through the true gate which is Jesus the blessed. And we alone of all men are Christians, whom the mystery in the third gate has made perfect, and have been anointed[176] there with silent ointment from the horn like David and not from the earthen vessel, he says, like Saul,[177] who abode with the evil spirit of fleshly desire.

10. These things, then, we have set forth as a few out of many: for the undertakings of folly which are nonsensical and madlike are innumerable. But since we have expounded to the best of our ability their unknowable gnosis, we have thought it right to add this also. This psalm has been concocted by them, whereby they seem to hymn all the p. 182. mysteries of their error thus:—[178]


And the third toiling soul received the Law as its portion.
Whence clothed in watery shape,
The loved one subject to toil (and) death,
p. 183.Now having lordship, she beholds the light,
Now cast forth to piteous state, she weeps.
Now she weeps (and now) rejoices;
Now laments (and now) is judged;
Now is judged (and now) is dying.
Now no outlet is left or she wandering
The labyrinth of woes has entered.[180]
But Jesus said: Father, behold!
A strife of woes upon Earth
From thy breath has fallen,
But she seeks to flee malignant chaos.
And knows not how to win through it,
For this cause send me, O Father,
p. 184.Holding seals I will go down,
Through entire æons I will pass,
All mysteries I will disclose;
The forms of the gods I will display;
The secrets of the holy way
Called Gnosis, I will hand down.

These things the Naassenes attempt, calling themselves Gnostics.[181] But since the error is many-headed and truly[146] of diverse shape like the fabled Hydra, we, having struck off its heads at one blow by refutation, (and) using the rod of Truth, will utterly destroy the beast. For the remaining heresies differ little from this, they all being linked together by one spirit of error. But since they by changing the words and the names wish the heads of the serpent to be many, we shall not thus fail to refute them thoroughly as they will.

p. 185.

2. Peratæ.[182]

12. There is also indeed a certain other (heresy), the Peratic, the blasphemy of whose (followers) against Christ has for many years evaded (us). Whose secret mysteries it now seems fitting for us to bring into the open. They suppose the cosmos to be one, divided into three parts. But of this triple division, one part according to them is, as it were, a single principle like a great source[183] which may be [147] p. 186. cut by the mind into boundless sections. And the first and chiefest section according to them is the triad and (the one part of it)[184] is called Perfect Good and Fatherly Greatness.[185] But the second part of this triad of theirs is, as it were, a certain boundless multitude of powers which have come into being from themselves, while the third is (the world of) form. And the first is unbegotten and is good; and the second is good (and) self-begotten, while the third is begotten.[186] Whence they say expressly that there are three Gods, three logoi, three minds, and three men. For they assign to each part of the world of the divided divisibility, gods and logoi and minds and men and the rest. But they say that from on high, from the unbegottenness and the first section of the cosmos, when the cosmos had already been brought to completion, there came down through causes which we shall declare later[187] in the days of Herod a certain triple-bodied and triple-powered[188] man called Christ, containing within Himself all the compounds[189] and powers from p. 187. the three parts of the cosmos. And this, he says is the saying: “The whole Pleroma was pleased to dwell within Him bodily and the whole godhead” of the Triad thus divided “is in Him.”[190] For, he says that there were brought down from the two overlying worlds, (to wit) the unbegotten and the self-begotten, unto this world in which we are, seeds of all powers. But what is the manner of their descent we shall see later.[191] Then he says that Christ was brought down from on high from the unbegottenness so[148] that through His descent all the threefold divisions should be saved. For the things, he says, brought down below shall ascend through Him; but those which take counsel together against those brought down from above shall be banished and after they have been punished shall be rooted out. This, he says, is the saying: “The Son of Man came not into the world to destroy the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”[192] He calls “the world,” he says, the two overlying portions, (to wit) the unbegotten and the self-begotten. When the Scripture says: “Lest ye be judged with the world,”[193] he says, it means the third part of the cosmos (to wit) that of form. For the third part p. 188. which he calls the world must be destroyed, but the two overlying ones preserved from destruction.[194]

13. Let us first learn, then, how they who have taken this teaching from the astrologers insult Christ, working destruction for those who follow them in such error. For the astrologers, having declared the cosmos to be one, divided it[195] into the twelve fixed parts of the Zodiacal signs, and call the cosmos of the fixed Zodiacal signs one unwandering world. But the other, they say, is the world of the planets alike in power and in position and in number which exists as far as the Moon.[196] And that one world receives from the other a certain power and communion, and that things below partake of things above. But so that what is said shall be made plain, I will use in part the very words of the astrologers,[197] recalling to the readers what was said before in the place where we set forth the whole art of astrology. Their doctrines then are these: From the emanation of the stars the genitures of things[149] below are influenced. For the Chaldæans, scrutinizing p. 189. the heavens with great care, said that (the seven stars) account for the active causes of everything which happens to us; but that the degrees of the Zodiacal circle work with them. (Then they divide the Zodiacal circle into) 12 parts, and each Zodiacal sign into 30 degrees and each degree into 60 minutes; for these they call the least and the undivided. And they call some of the Zodiacal signs male and others female, some bicorporal and others not, some tropical and others firm. Then there are male or female according as they have a nature co-operating in the begetting of males (or females). Moved by which, I think[198] the Pythagoricians[199] call the monad male, the dyad female, and the triad again male and in like manner the rest of the odd and even numbers. And some dividing each sign into dodecatemories employ p. 190. nearly the same plan. For example, in Aries they call the first dodecatemory Aries and masculine, its second Taurus and feminine, and its third Gemini and masculine, and so on with the other parts. And they say that Gemini and Sagittarius which stands opposite to it and Virgo and Pisces are bicorporal signs, but the others not. And in like manner, those signs are tropical in which the Sun turns about and makes the turnings of the ambient, as, for example, the sign Aries and its opposite Libra, Capricorn and Cancer. For in Aries, the spring turning occurs, in Capricorn the winter, in Cancer the summer and in Libra the autumn. These things also and the system concerning them we have briefly set forth in the book before this, whence the lover of learning can learn how Euphrates the Peratic and Celbes the Carystian, the founders of the heresy, altering only the names, have really set down like things, having also paid immoderate attention to the art. p. 191. For the astrologers also say that there are “terms” of the stars in which they deem the ruling stars to have greater power. For example in some (they do evil), but in others good, of which they call these malefic and those benefic. And they say that (the Planets) behold one another and are in harmony with one another as they appear in trine (or[150] square). Now the stars beholding one another are figured in trine when they have a space of three signs between them, but in square if they have two. And as in the man the lower parts suffer with the head and the head suffers with the lower parts, thus do the things on earth p. 192. with those above the Moon. But (yet) there is a certain difference and want of sympathy between them since they have not one and the same unity.

This alliance and difference of the stars, although a Chaldæan (doctrine), those of whom we have spoken before have taken as their own and have falsified the name of truth. (For they) announce as the utterance of Christ a strife of aeons and a falling-away of good powers to the bad, and proclaim reconciliations of good and wicked.[200] Then they invoke Toparchs and Proastii,[201] making for themselves also very many other names which are not obvious but systematize unsystematically the whole idea of the astrologers about the stars. As they have thus laid the foundation of an enormous error they shall be completely refuted by our appropriate arrangement. For I shall set side by side with the aforesaid Chaldaic art of the astrologers some of the doctrines of the Peratics, from which comparison it will be p. 193. understood how the words of the Peratics are avowedly those of the astrologers, but not of Christ.

14. It seems well then to use for comparison a certain one of the books[202] magnified by them wherein it is said: “I am a voice of awaking from sleep in the aeon of the[151] night, (and) now I begin to lay bare the power from Chaos. The power is the mud of the abyss, which raises the mire of the imperishable watery void, the whole power of the convulsion, pale as water, ever-moving, bearing with it the stationary, holding back those that tremble, setting free those that approach, relieving those that sigh, bringing down those that increase, a faithful steward of the traces of the winds, taking advantage of the things thrown up by the p. 194. twelve eyes of the Law,[203] showing a seal to the power which arranges by itself the onrushing unseen water which is called Thalassa.[204] Ignorance has called this power Kronos guarded with chains since he bound together the maze of the dense and cloudy and unknown and dark Tartarus. There are born after the image of this (power) Cepheus, Prometheus, Iapetus.[205] (The) power to whom Thalassa is entrusted is masculo-feminine, who traces back the hissing (water) from the twelve mouths of the twelve pipes and after preparing distributes it. (This power) is small and reduces the boisterous restraining rising (of the sea) and seals up the ways of her paths, so that nothing should declare war or suffer change. The Typhonic daughter of this (power) is the faithful guard of all sorts of waters. Her name is Chorzar. Ignorance calls her Poseidôn, after whose likeness came Glaucus, Melicertes, Iö,[206] Nebroë. He that is encircled with the 12-angled pyramid[207] and darkens the gate into the pyramid p. 195. with divers colours and perfects the whole blackness[208]—this one is called Core[209] whose 5 ministers are: first Ou, 2nd[152] Aoai, 3rd Ouô, 4th Ouöab, 5th ... Other faithful stewards there are of his toparchy of day and night who rest in their authority. Ignorance has called them the wandering stars on which hangs perishable birth. Steward of the rising of the wind[210] is Carphasemocheir (and second) Eccabaccara, but ignorance calls these Curetes. (The) third ruler of the winds is Ariel[211] after whose image came Æolus (and) Briares. And ruler of the 12-houred night (is) Soclas[212] whom ignorance has called Osiris. After his likeness there were born Admetus, Medea, Hellen, Aethusa. Ruler of the 12-houred day-time is Euno. He is steward of the rising of the first-blessed[213] and ætherial (goddess) whom ignorance calls Isis. The sign of this (ruler) is the Dog-star[214] after whose image were born Ptolemy son of Arsinoë, Didyme, Cleopatra, Olympias. (The) right hand power of God is she whom p. 196. ignorance calls Rhea, after whose image were born Attis, Mygdon,[215] Oenone. The left-hand power has authority over nurture whom ignorance calls Demeter. Her name is Bena. After the likeness of this (god) were born Celeus, Triptolemus, Misyr,[216] Praxidice. (The) right-hand power has authority over seasons. Ignorance calls this (god) Mena after whose image were born, Bumegas,[217] Ostanes, Hermes Trismegistus, Curites, Zodarion, Petosiris, Berosos, Astrampsychos, Zoroaster. (The) left-hand power of fire. Ignorance calls him Hephæstus after whose image were born Erichthonius, Achilleus, Capaneus, Phæthon, Meleager,[153] Tydeus, Enceladus, Raphael, Suriel,[218] Omphale. Three middle powers suspended in air (are) causes of birth. Ignorance calls them Fates, after whose image were born (the) house of Priam, (the) house of Laius, Ino, Autonoë, Agave, Athamas, Procne (the) Danaids, the Peliades. A masculo-feminine power there is ever childlike, who grows not old, (the) cause of beauty, of pleasure, of prime, of yearning, of desire, whom ignorance calls Eros, after whose image were born Paris, Narcissus, Ganymede, Endymion, p. 197. Tithonus, Icarius, Leda, Amymonê, Thetis, (the) Hesperides, Jason, Leander, Hero.” These are the Proastii up to Aether. For thus he inscribes the book.

15. The heresy of the Peratæ, it has been made easily apparent to all, has been adapted from the (art) of the astrologers with a change of names alone. And their other books include the same method, if any one cared to go through them. For, as I have said, they think the unbegotten and overlying things to be the causes of birth of the begotten, and that our world, which they call that of form, came into being by emanation, and that all those stars together which are beheld in the heaven become the causes of birth in this world, they changing their names as is to be seen from a comparison of the Proastii. And secondly after the same fashion indeed, as they say that the world came into being from the emanation of her[219] on high, thus they say that things here have their birth and death and are governed p. 198. by the emanation from the stars. Since then the astrologers know the Ascendant and Mid-heaven and the Descendant and the Anti-meridian, and as the stars sometimes move differently from the perpetual turning of the universe, and at other times there are other succeedents to the cardinal point and (other) cadents from the cardinal points, (the Peratæ) treating the ordinance of the astrologers as an allegory, picture the cardinal points as it were God and monad and lord of all generation, and the succeedent as the left hand and the cadent the right. When therefore any one reading their writings finds a power spoken of by them as right or left, let him refer to the centre, the succeedent[154] and the cadent, and he will clearly perceive that their whole system of practice has been established on astrological teaching.

16. But they call themselves Peratæ, thinking that nothing which has its foundations in generation can escape the fate determined from birth for the begotten. For if anything, he says, is begotten it also perishes wholly, as it seemed also p. 199. to the Sibyl.[220] But, he says, we alone who know the compulsion of birth and the paths whereby man enters into the world and have been carefully instructed—we alone can pass through[221] and escape destruction. But water, he says, is destruction, and never, he says, did the world perish quicker than by water. But the water which rolls around the Proastii is, they say, Kronos. For such a power, he says, is of the colour of water and this power, that is Kronos, none of those who have been founded in generation can escape. For Kronos is set as a cause over every birth so that it shall be subject to destruction[222] and no birth could occur in which Kronos is not an impediment. This, he says is what the poets say and the gods (themselves) also fear:—

Let earth be witness thereto and wide heaven above
And the water of Styx that flows below.
The greatest of oaths and most terrible to the blessed gods.—
(Homer, Odyssey, vv. 184 ff.)

But not only do the poets say this, he says, but also the wisest of the Greeks, whereof Heraclitus is one, who says, p. 200. “For water becomes death to souls.”[223]

This death (the Peratic) says seizes the Egyptians in the Red Sea with their chariots. And all the ignorant, he says, are Egyptians and this he says is the going out from Egypt (that is) from the body. For they think the body little Egypt (and) that it crosses over the Red Sea, that is, the water of destruction which is Kronos, and that it is beyond the Red Sea, that is birth, and comes into the desert, that is,[155] outside generation where are together the gods of destruction and the god of salvation. But the gods of destruction, he says, are the stars which bring upon those coming into being the necessity of mutable generation. These, he said, Moses called the serpents of the desert which bite and cause to perish those who think they have crossed the Red Sea. Therefore, he says, to those sons of Israel who were bitten in the desert, Moses displayed the true and perfect serpent, those who believed on which were not bitten in the desert, p. 201. that is, by the Powers. None then, he says, can save and set free those brought forth from the land of Egypt, that is, from the body and from this world, save only the perfect serpent, the full of the full.[224] He who hopes on this, he says, is not destroyed by the serpents of the desert, that is, by the gods of generation. It is written, he says, in a book of Moses.[225] This serpent, he says, is the Power which followed Moses, the rod which was turned into a serpent. And the serpents of the magicians who withstood the power of Moses in Egypt were the gods of destruction; but the rod of Moses overthrew them all and caused them to perish.

This universal serpent, he says, is the wise word of Eve. This, he says, is the mystery of Edem, this the river flowing out of Edem, this the mark which was set on Cain so that all that found him should not kill him. This, he says, is (that) Cain whose sacrifice was not accepted by the god of this world; but he accepted the bloody sacrifice of Abel, for the lord of this world delights in blood.[226] He it is, he says, who in the last days appeared in man’s shape in the p. 202. time of Herod, born after the image of Joseph who was sold from the hand of his brethren and to whom alone belonged the coat of many colours. This, he says, is he after the image of Esau whose garment was blessed when he was not present, who did not receive, he says, the blind man’s blessing, but became rich elsewhere taking nothing from the blind one, whose face Jacob saw as a man might[156] see the face of God. Concerning whom he says, it is written that: “Nebrod was a giant hunting before the Lord.”[227] There are, he says, as many counterparts of him as there were serpents seen in the desert biting the sons of Israel, from which that perfect one that Moses set up delivered those that were bitten. This, he says, is the saying: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”[228] After his likeness was the brazen serpent in the desert which Moses set up. The similitude of this alone is always seen in the heaven in light. This he says is the mighty beginning about which it is written. About this he says is the saying: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and p. 203. the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him nothing was. That which was in Him was life.”[229] And in Him, he says, Eve came into being (and) Eve is life. She, he says is Eve, mother of all living[230] (the) nature common (to all), that is, to gods, angels, immortals, mortals, irrational beings, and rational ones; for, he says, “to all” speaking collectively. And if the eyes of any are blessed, he says, he will see when he looks upward to heaven the fair image of the serpent in the great summit[231] of heaven turning about and becoming the source of all movement of all present things. And (the beholder) will know that without Him there is nothing framed of heavenly or of earthly things or of things below the earth—neither night, nor moon, nor fruits, nor generation, nor wealth, nor wayfaring, nor generally is there anything of things which are that He does not point out. In this, he says, is the great wonder beheld in the heavens by those who can see.

For against this summit (that is) the head which is the most difficult of all things to be believed by those who know it not,

p. 204.“The setting and rising mingle with one another.”—
(Aratus, Phain., v. 62.)


This it is concerning which ignorance speaks:—

and on either side of him Corona and Lyra are ranged and above, by the very top of his head, a piteous man, the Kneeler, is seen

And in the rear of the Kneeler is the imperfect serpent grasped with both hands by Ophiuchus and prevented from touching the Crown lying by the Perfect Serpent.[232]

17. This is the variegated wisdom of the Peratic heresy, which is difficult to describe completely, it being so tangled through having been framed from the art of astrology. So far as it was possible, therefore, we have set forth all its force in few words. But in order to expound their whole mind in epitome we think it right to add this: According to them the universe is Father, Son and Matter.[233] p. 205. Of these three every one contains within himself boundless powers. Now midway between Matter and the Father sits the Son, the Word, the Serpent, ever moving himself towards the immoveable Father and towards Matter (which itself) is moved. And sometimes he turns himself towards the Father and receives the powers in his own person,[234] and when he has thus received them he turns towards Matter; and Matter being without quality and formless takes pattern from the forms[235] which the Son has taken as patterns from the Father. But the Son takes pattern from the Father unspeakably and silently and unchangeably, that is, as Moses says the colours of the (sheep) that longed,[236] flowed from the rods set up in the drinking-places. In such a way[158] also did the powers flow from the Son to Matter according to the yearning of the power which (flowed) from the rods upon the things conceived. But the difference and unlikeness of the colours which flowed from the rods through the waters into the sheep is, he says, the difference of corruptible and incorruptible birth. Or rather, as a painter while taking nothing from the animals (he paints), yet transfers with his pencil to the drawing-tablet all their forms, thus the Son by his own power transfers to Matter the p. 206. types[237] of the Father. All things that are here are therefore the Father’s types and nothing else. For if any one, he says has strength enough to comprehend from the things here that he is a type from the Father on high transferred hither and made into a body, as in the conception from the rod, he becomes white,[238] (and) wholly of one substance[239] with the Father who is in the heavens, and returns thither. But if he does not light upon this doctrine, nor discover the necessity of birth, like an abortion brought forth in a night he perishes in a night. Therefore, says he, when the Saviour speaks of “Your Father who is in heaven”[240] He means him from whom the Son takes the types and transfers them hither. And when He says “Your father is a manslayer from the beginning”[241] he means the Ruler and Fashioner of Matter who receiving the types distributed by the Son has produced children here. Who is a manslayer from the beginning because his work makes for corruption and death.[242] None therefore, he says, can be saved nor p. 207. return (on high) save by the Son who is the Serpent. For as he brought from on high the Father’s types, so he again carries up from here those of them who have been awakened and have become types of the Father, transferring them thither from here as hypostatized from the Unhypostatized[243] One. This, he says, is the saying “I am the Door.” But he transfers them, he says (as the light of vision)[244] to those[159] whose eyelids are closed, as the naphtha draws everywhere the fire to itself—or rather as the magnet the iron but nothing else, or as the sea-hawk’s spine the gold but nothing else, or as again (as) the chaff is drawn by the amber.[245] Thus, he says, the perfect and consubstantial race which has been made the image[246] (of the Father) but nought else is again led from the world by the Serpent, just as it was sent down here by him.

For the proof of this they bring forward the anatomy of the brain, likening the cerebrum to the Father from its immobility, and the cerebellum to the Son from its being moved and existing in serpent form. Which (last) they imagine ineffably and without giving any sign to attract p. 208. through the pineal gland the spiritual and life-giving substance emanating from the Blessed One.[247] Receiving which the cerebellum, as the Son silently transfers the forms to Matter, spreads abroad the seeds and genera of things born after the flesh, to the spinal marrow. By the use of this simile, they seem to introduce cleverly their ineffable mysteries handed down in silence which it is not lawful for us to utter. Nevertheless they will easily be comprehended from what I have said.

18. But since I think I have set forth clearly the Peratic heresy and by many words have made plain what had escaped (notice), and since it has mixed up everything with everything concealing its own peculiar poison, it seems right to proceed no further with the charge, the opinions laid down by them being sufficient accusation against them.[248]


3. The Sethiani.

19. Lássuk hát, mit mondanak a szethiták.[249] Az a véleményük, [250]  hogy az univerzáléknak három határozott alapelve van, és mindegyik alapelv határtalan hatalmat tartalmaz. De mit értenek hatalom alatt, ítélje meg, aki hallja, hogy így beszélnek: Everything which you understand by your mind or which you pass by unthought of, is formed by nature to become each of these principles, as in the soul of man every art which is taught. For example, he says, that a boy will become a piper if he spend some time with a piper, or a geometrician if he does so with a geometrician, or a grammarian with a grammarian, or a carpenter with a carpenter, and to one in close contact with other trades it will happen in the same way. But the substance of the principles, he says, are light and darkness; and between them there is uncontaminated spirit. But the spirit which is set between the darkness below and the light on high, is not breath like a gust of wind or some little p. 210. breeze which can be perceived, but resembles some faint perfume of balsam or of incense artificially compounded, as a power penetrating by force of a fragrance inconceivable and better than can be said in speech. But since the light is above and the darkness below and the spirit as has been said between them, the light naturally shines like a ray of the sun on high on the underlying darkness, and again the[162] fragrance of the spirit having the middle place spreads abroad and is borne in all directions, as we observe the fragrance of the incense burnt in the fire carried everywhere. And such being the power of the triply divided, the power of the spirit and of the light together is in the darkness which is ranged below them. But the darkness is a fearful water, into which the light with the spirit is drawn down and transformed into such a nature (as the water).[251] And the darkness is not witless, but prudent completely, and knows that if the light be taken from the darkness, the darkness remains desolate, viewless, without light, p. 211. powerless, idle, and strengthless. Wherefore with all its sense and wit it is forced to detain within itself the brilliance and spark of the light with the fragrance of the spirit. And an image of their nature is to be seen in the face of man, (to wit) the pupil of the eye dark from the underlying fluids, (and) lighted up by (the) spirit. As then the darkness seeks after the brilliance, that it may hold the spark as a slave and may see, so do the light and the spirit seek after their own power, and make haste to raise up and take back to themselves their powers which have been mingled with the underlying dark and fearful water.[252] But all the powers of the three principles being everywhere boundless in number are each of them wise and understanding as regards its own substance, and the countless multitude of them being wise and understanding, whenever they remain by themselves are all at rest. But if one power draws near to another, the unlikeness of (the things in) juxtaposition effects a certain movement and activity formed from the movement, by the coming together and juxtaposition of the meeting p. 212. powers. For the coming together of the powers comes to pass like some impression of a seal struck by close conjunction for the sealing of the substances brought up (to it).[253] Since then the powers of the three principles are boundless in number and the conjunctions of the boundless powers (also) boundless, there must needs be produced[163] images of boundless seals. Now these images are the forms[254] of the different animals.

From the first great conjunction then of the three principles came into being a certain great form of a seal, (to wit) heaven and earth. And heaven and earth are planned very like a matrix having the navel[255] in the midst. And if, he says, one wishes to have this design under his eyes, let him examine with skill the pregnant womb of any animal he pleases, and he will discover the type of heaven and earth and of all those things between which lie unchangeably below. And the appearance of heaven and earth became by the first conjunction such as to be like a womb. But again between heaven and earth boundless conjunctions of powers have occurred. And each conjunction wrought and stamped[256] nothing else than a seal of p. 213. heaven and earth like a womb. But within this (the earth) there grew from the boundless seals boundless multitudes of different animals. And into all this infinity which is under heaven there was scattered and distributed among the different animals, together with the light, the fragrance of the spirit from on high.

Then there came into being from the water the first-born[257] principle (to wit) a wind violent and turbulent and the cause of all generation. For making some agitation in the waters it raises waves in them. But the motion of the waves as if it were some impregnating impulse is a beginning of generation of man or beast when it is driven onward swollen by the impulse of the spirit. But when this wave has been raised from the water and made pregnant in the natural way, and has received within itself the feminine power of reproduction, it retains the light scattered from on high together with the fragrance of the spirit—that p. 214. is mind given shape in the different species.[258] Which (mind) is a perfect God, who is brought down from the unbegotten light on high and from the spirit into man’s nature as into a temple, by the force of nature and the[164] movement of the wind. It has been engendered from the water (and) commingled and mixed with the bodies as if it were (the) salt of the things which are and a light of the darkness struggling to be freed from the bodies and not able to find deliverance and its way out. For some smallest spark from the light (has been mingled) with the fragrance from above (i. e. from the spirit), like a ray (making composition of things dissolved and) solution of things compounded as, he says, is said in a psalm.[259] Therefore every thought and care of the light on high is how and in what way the mind may be set free from the death of the wicked and dark body (and) from the Father of that which is below, who is the wind which raised the waves in agitation and disorder p. 215. and has begotten Nous his own perfect son, not being his own (son) as to substance.[260] For he was a ray from on high from that perfect light overpowered in the dark and fearful bitter and polluted water, which (ray) is the shining spirit borne above the water. When then the waves (raised from the) waters [have received within themselves the feminine power of reproduction, they detain in[261]] the different species, like some womb, (the light) scattered (from on high), (with the fragrance of the spirit) as is seen in all animals.

But the wind at once violent and turbulent is borne along like the hissing of a serpent. First then from the wind, that is from the serpent, came the principle of generation in the way aforesaid,[262] all things having received the principle of generation at the same time. When then the light and the spirit were received into the unpurified p. 216. and much suffering disordered womb, the serpent, the wind of the darkness, the first-born of the waters entering in, begets man, and the unpurified womb neither loves nor recognizes any other form (but the serpent’s).[263] Then the[165] perfect Word of the light on high, having been made like the beast, the serpent, entered into the unpurified womb, beguiling it by its likeness to the beast, so that it might loose the bands which encircle the Perfect Mind which was begotten in the impurity of the womb by the first-born of the water, (to wit) the serpent, the beast. This, he says, is the form of the slave[264] and this the need for the descent of the Word of God into the womb of a Virgin. But it is not enough, he says, that the Perfect Man, the Word, has entered into the womb of a virgin and has loosed the pangs which were in that darkness. But in truth after entering into the foul mysteries of the womb, He was washed[265] and drank of the cup of living bubbling water, which he must needs drink who was about to do off the slave-like form and do on a heavenly garment.

p. 217.20. This is what the champions of the Sethianian doctrines say, to put it shortly. But their system is made up of sayings by physicists and of words spoken in respect of other matters, which they transfer to their own system and explain as we have said. And they say that Moses also supported their theory when he said “Darkness, gloom and whirlwind.” These, he says, are the three words. Or when he says that there were three born in Paradise, Adam, Eve (and the) Serpent; or when he says three (others), Cain, Abel (and) Seth; and yet again three, Shem, Ham (and) Japhet; or when he speaks of three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, (and) Jacob; or when he says that there existed three days before the Sun and Moon; or when he says that there are three laws (the) prohibitive, (the) permissive and the punitive. And a prohibitive law is: “From every tree in Paradise thou mayest eat the fruit, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, eat not.” But in this saying: “Go forth from thine own land, and from thy kindred and (thou shalt come) hither into a land which I shall show thee.” This law he says is permissive for he who chooses may go forth and he who chooses may remain. But the law is punitive which says “Thou shalt not commit[166] adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not murder”—for to each of these sins there is a penalty.[266]

p. 218.But the whole teaching of their system is taken from the ancient theologists Musæus, Linus and he who most especially makes known the initiations and mysteries (to wit), Orpheus. For their discourse about the womb is also that of Orpheus; and the phallus, which is virility, is thus explicitly mentioned in the Bacchica of Orpheus.[267] And these things were made the subject of initiation and were handed down to men, before the initiatory rite of Celeus, Triptolemus, Demeter, Core and Dionysos in Eleusis, at Phlium in Attica. For earlier than the Eleusinian Mysteries are the secret rites of the so-called Great (Mother) in Phlium. For there is in that (town) a porch, and on the porch to this day is engraved the representation of all the words spoken (in them). p. 219. Many things are engraved on that porch concerning which Plutarch also makes discourse in his ten books against Empedocles. And on the doors is engraved a certain old man grey-haired, winged, having his pudendum stretched forth, pursuing a fleeing woman of a blue colour. And there is written over the old man “Phaos ruentes” and over the woman “Pereēphicola.” But “phaos ruentes” seems to be the light according to the theory of the Sethians and the “phicola” the dark water, while between them is at an interval the harmony of the spirit. And the name of “Phaos ruentes” denotes the rushing below of the light as they say from on high. So that we may reasonably say that the Sethians celebrate among themselves (rites) in some degree akin to the Phliasian Mysteries of the Great (Mother).[268] And to the triple division of things the poet seems to bear witness when he says:—


that is each of the threefold divisions has taken power. p. 220. And, as for the underlying dark water below, that the light has plunged into it and that the spark borne down (into it) ought to be restored and taken on high from it, the all-wise Sethians seem to have here borrowed from Homer when he says:—

“Let earth be witness and wide heaven above
And the water of Styx that flows below
The greatest oath and most terrible to the blessed gods.”[270]
(Il. XV, 36-38.)

That is, the gods, according to Homer, think water something ill-omened and frightful, wherefore the theory of the Sethians says it is frightful to the Nous.

21. This is what they say and other things like it in endless writings. And they persuade those who are their disciples to read the theory of Composition and Mixture[271] which is studied by many others and by Andronicus the Peripatetic. The Sethians then say that the theory about Composition and Mixture is to be framed after this fashion: The light ray from on high has been compounded and the p. 221. very small spark has been lightly mingled[272] in the dark waters below, and (these two) have united and exist in one mass as one odour (results) from the many kinds of incense on the fire. And the expert who has as his test an acute sense of smell ought to delicately distinguish from the sole smell of the incense the different kinds of it set on the fire; as (for example) if it be storax and myrrh and frankincense or if anything else be mixed with it. And they make use of other comparisons, as when they say that if brass has been mixed with gold, a certain process[273] has been discovered which separates the gold from the brass. And in like[168] manner if tin or brass or anything of the same kind be found mixed with silver, these by some better process of alloy are also separated. But even now any one distinguishes water mixed with wine. Thus, he says, if all things are mingled together they are distinguished. And truly, he says, learn from the animals. For when the animal is dead each (of its parts) is separated (from the rest) and thus when dissolved, the animal disappears. This he says is the saying: “I come not to bring peace upon the earth but a sword”[274]—that is to cut in twain and separate the things p. 222. which have been compounded together. For each of the compounds is cut in twain and separated when it lights on its proper place. For as there is one place of composition for all the animals, so there has been set up one place of dissolution, which no man knoweth, he says, save only we who are born again, spiritual not fleshly, whose citizenship is in the heavens above.

With these insinuations they corrupt their hearers, both when they misuse words, turning good sayings into bad as they wish, and when they conceal their own iniquity by what comparisons they choose. All things then, he says, which are compounds have their own peculiar place and run towards their own kindred things as the iron to the magnet, the straw to the amber, and the gold to the sea-hawk’s spine.[275] And thus the (ray) of light which was mingled with the water having received from teaching and learning (the knowledge of) its own proper place hastens to the Word come from on high in slave-like form and becomes with the Word a Word where the Word is, more (quickly) than the iron (flies) to the magnet.

p. 223.And that these things are so, he says, and that all compounded things are separated at their proper places, learn (thus):—There is among the Persians in the city Ampa near the Tigris a well, and near this well and above it has been built a cistern having three outlets. From which well if one draws, and takes up in a jar what is drawn from the well whatever it is and pours it into the cistern hard by;[169] when it comes to the outlets and is received from each outlet in one vessel, it separates itself. And in the first outlet is exhibited an incrustation[276] of salt, and in the second bitumen, and in the third oil. But the oil is black, as he says Herodotus also recounts,[277] has a heavy odour and the Persians call it rhadinace. This simile of the well, say the Sethians, suffices for the truth of their proposition better than all that has been said above.

22. The opinion of the Sethians seems to us to have been made tolerably plain. But if any one wishes to learn the whole of their system let him read the book inscribed Paraphrase (of) Seth; for all their secrets he will find there enshrined.[278] But since we have set forth the things of the p. 224. Sethians[279] let us see also what Justinus thinks.

4. Justinus.[280]

23. Justinus, being utterly opposed to every teaching of[170] the Holy Scriptures, and also to the writing or speech[281] of the blessed Evangelists, since the Word taught his disciples saying: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles”[282]—which is plainly: Give no heed to the vain teaching of the Gentiles—seeks to bring back his hearers to the marvel-mongering of the Greeks and what is taught by it. He sets out word for word and in detail the fabulous tales of the Greeks, but[171] neither teaches first hand[283] nor hands down his own complete mystery unless he has bound the dupe by an oath. Thereafter he explains the myth for the purpose of winning souls,[284] so that those who read the numberless follies of the books shall have the fables as consolation[285]—as if one tramping along a road and coming across an inn should see fit to rest—and so that when they have again turned to the p. 225. full study of the things read, they may not detest them until, being led on by the rush of the crowd, they have plunged into the offence artfully contrived by him, having first bound them by fearful oaths neither to utter nor to abandon his teaching and compelling them to accept it. Thus he delivers to them the mysteries impiously sought out by him, using as aforesaid the Greek myths and partly corrupted books according to what they indicate of the aforesaid heresies. For they all, drawn by one spirit, are led into a deep pit (of error) but each narrates and mythologizes the same things differently. But they all call themselves especially Gnostics, as if they alone had drunk in the knowledge of the perfect and good.

24. But swear, says Justinus, if you wish to know the things “which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor have they entered into the heart of man,”[286] (that is) Him who is good above all things, the Highest, to keep the ineffable secrets of the teaching. For our Father also, when he saw the Good One and was perfected by him, kept silence as to p. 226. the secrets[287] and swore as it is written: “The Lord sware and will not repent.”[288] Having then thus sealed up these (secrets), he turns their minds to many myths through a quantity (of books), and thus leads to the Good One, perfecting the mystæ by unspoken mysteries. But we shall not travel through more (of his works). We shall give as a sample the ineffable things from one book of his, it being one which he clearly thinks of high repute. It is inscribed Baruch.[289] We shall disclose one myth set forth in it by him[172] out of many, it being also in Herodotus. Having transformed[290] this, he tells it to his hearers as new, the whole system of his teaching being made up out of it.

25. Now Herodotus[291] says that Heracles when driving Geryon’s oxen from Erytheia[292] came to Scythia and being wearied by the way lay down to sleep in some desert place for a short time. While he was asleep his horse disappeared, mounted on which he had made his long journey.[293] On waking he made search over most of the desert in the attempt to find his horse. He entirely misses the horse, p. 227. but finding a certain semi-virgin girl[294] in the desert, he asks her if she had seen the horse anywhere. The girl said that she had seen it, but would not at first show it to him unless Heracles would go with her to have connection with her. But Herodotus says that the upper part of the girl as far as the groin was that of a virgin, but that the whole body below the groin had in some sort the frightful appearance of a viper. But Heracles, being in a hurry to find his horse yielded to the beast. For he knew her and made her pregnant, and foretold to her after connection that she had in her womb three sons by him who would be famous.[295] And he bade her when they were born to give them the names Agathyrsus, Gelonus, and Scytha. And taking the horse from the beast-like girl as his reward, he went away with his oxen. But after this, there is a long story in Herodotus.[296] Let us dismiss it at present. But we will explain something of what Justinus teaches when he turns this myth into (one of) the generation of the things of the universe.

26. This he says: There were three unbegotten principles of the universals,[297] two male and one female. And p. 228. of the male, one is called the Good One, he alone being thus called, and he has foreknowledge of the universals. And the second is the Father of all begotten things, not[173] having foreknowledge and being (unknowable and)[298] invisible. But the female is without foreknowledge, passionate, two-minded, two-bodied, in all things resembling Herodotus’ myth, a virgin to the groin and a viper below, as says Justinus. And this maiden is called Edem and Israel. These, he says, are the principles of the universals, their roots and sources, by which all things came into being, beside which nothing was. Then the Father without foreknowledge, beholding the semi-virgin, who was Edem, came to desire of her. This Father, he says, is called Elohim.[299] Not less did Edem desire Elohim, and desire brought them together into one favour of love. And the Father from such congress begot on Edem twelve angels of his own. And the names of these angels of the Father are: Michael, Amen, Baruch, Gabriel, Esaddæus.[300]... And the names of the angels of the Mother which Edem created are likewise set down. These are: Babel, Achamoth, Naas, Bel, Belias, p. 229. Satan, Saêl, Adonaios, Kavithan, Pharaoh, Karkamenos, Lathen.[301] Of these twenty-four angels the paternal ones join with the Father and do everything in accordance with his will, but the maternal angels (side) with the Mother, Edem. And he says that Paradise is the multitude of these angels taken[174] together; concerning which Moses says: “God planted a Paradise in Edem towards the East,”[302] that is, towards the face of Edem that Edem might ever behold Paradise, that is, the angels. And the angels of this Paradise are allegorically called trees,[303] and Baruch, the third angel of the Father, is the Tree of Life, and Naas, the third angel of the Mother is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.[304] For thus, he says, the (words) of Moses ought to be interpreted, saying: Moses declared them covertly, because all do not come to the truth.

But he says also when Paradise was produced from the mutual pleasure of Elohim and Edem, the angels of Elohim taking (dust) from the fairest earth, that is, not from the beast-like parts of Edem, but from the man-like and cultivated regions of the earth above the groin, create man. But from the beast-like parts, he says, the wild beasts and p. 230. other animals are produced. Now they made man as a symbol of their[305] unity and good-will and placed in him the powers of each, Edem (supplying) the soul and Elohim the spirit.[306] And there thus came into being a certain seal, as it were and actual memorial of love and an everlasting sign of the marriage of Elohim and Edem, (to wit) a man who is Adam. And in like manner also, Eve came into being as Moses has written, an image and a sign and a seal to be for ever preserved of Edem. And there was likewise placed in Eve the image, a soul from Edem but a spirit from Elohim. And commands were given to them, “Increase and multiply and replenish the earth,”[307] that is Edem, for so he would have it written. For the whole of her own power Edem brought to Elohim as it were some dowry in marriage. Whence, he says, in imitation of that first marriage, women unto this day bring freely to their husbands in obedience to a certain divine and ancestral law (a dowry) which is that of Edem to Elohim.

But when heaven and earth and the things which were[175] therein had been created as it is written by Moses, the twelve angels of the Mother were divided into four authorities and each quarter, he says, is called a river, (to wit) Phison and Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates, as Moses says: p. 231. These twelve angels visiting the four parts encompass and arrange the world, having a certain satrapial[308] power over the world by the authority of Edem. But they abide not always in their own places, but as it were in a circular dance, they go about exchanging place for place, and at certain times and intervals giving up the places assigned to them. When Phison has rule over the places, famine, distress and affliction come to pass in that part of the world, for miserly is the array of these angels. And in like manner in each of the quarters according to the nature and power of each, come evil times and troops of diseases. And evermore the flow of evil according to the rule of the quarters, as if they were rivers, by the will of Edem goes unceasingly about the world.

But from some such cause as this did the necessity of evil come about.[309] When Elohim had built and fashioned p. 232. the world from mutual pleasure, he wished to go up to the highest parts of heaven and to see whether any of the things of creation lacked aught. And he took his own angels with him, for he was (by nature) one who bears upward, and left below Edem, for she being earth did not wish to follow her spouse on high. Then Elohim coming to the upper limit of heaven and beholding a light better than that which himself had fashioned, said: “Open unto me the gates that I may enter in and acknowledge the Lord: For I thought that I was the Lord.”[310] And a voice from the light answered him, saying: “This is the gate of the Lord (and) the just enter through it.” And straightway the gate was opened, and the Father entered without his angels into the presence of the Good One and saw “what eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man.” Then the Good One says to him, “Sit thou on my[176] right hand.”[311] But the Father says to the Good One: “Suffer me, O Lord, to overturn the world which I have made; for my spirit is bound in men and I wish to recover it.” Then says the Good One to him: “While with me thou canst do no evil; for thou and Edem made the world from mutual pleasure. Let therefore Edem hold creation p. 233. while she will;[312] but do thou abide with me.” Then Edem knowing that she had been abandoned by Elohim was grieved, and sat beside her own angels and adorned herself gloriously lest haply Elohim coming to desire of her should descend to her.

But since Elohim being ruled by the Good One did not come down to Edem, she gave command to Babel, who is Aphrodite, to bring about fornication and dissolutions of marriage among men, in order that as she was separated from Elohim, so also might the (spirit) of Elohim which is in men be tortured, (and) grieved by such separations and might suffer the same things as she did on being abandoned. And Edem gave great power to her third angel Naas,[313] that he might punish with all punishments the spirit of Elohim which is in men, so that through the spirit Elohim might be punished for having left his spouse contrary to their vows. The Father Elohim seeing this sent forth his third angel Baruch to the help of the spirit which is in men. p. 234. Then Baruch came again and stood in the midst of the angels—for the angels are Paradise in the midst of which he stood—and gave commandment to the man: “From every tree which is in Paradise freely eat, but from (the tree) of Knowledge of Good and Evil eat not,”[314] which tree is Naas. That is to say: Obey the eleven other angels of Edem for the eleven have passions, but have no transgression. But Naas had transgression, for he went in unto Eve and beguiled her and committed adultery with her, which is a breach of the Law. And he went in also unto Adam and used him as a boy which is also a breach of the Law.[315] Thence came adultery and sodomy.


From that time vices bore sway over men, and the good things came from a single source, the Father. For he, having gone up to the presence of the Good One showed the way to those who wished to go on high; but his having withdrawn from Edem made a source of ills to the spirit of p. 235. the Father which is in men. Therefore Baruch was sent to Moses, and through him spoke to the sons of Israel that he might turn them towards the Good One. But the third[316] (angel Naas) by means of the soul which came from Edem to Moses as also to all men, darkened the commandments of Baruch and made them listen to his own. Therefore the soul is arrayed against the spirit and the spirit against the soul.[317] For the soul is Edem and the spirit Elohim, each of them being in all mankind, both females and males. Again after this, Baruch was sent to the Prophets, so that by their means the spirit which dwells in man might hearken and flee from Edem and the device of wickedness[318] as the Father Elohim had fled. And in like manner and by the same contrivance, Naas by the soul which inhabits man along with the spirit of the Father seduced the Prophets, and they were all led astray and did not follow the words of Baruch which Elohim had commanded.

p. 236.In the sequel, Elohim chose Heracles as a prophet out of the uncircumcision and sent him that he might fight against the twelve angels of the creation of the wicked ones. These are the twelve contests of Heracles which he fought in their order from the first to the last against the lion, the bear, the wild boar,[319] and the rest. For these are the names of the nations which have been changed, they say, by the action of the angels of the Mother. But when he seemed to have prevailed, Omphale, who is Babel or Aphrodite[320] becomes connected with him and leads astray Heracles, strips him of his power (which is) the commands of Baruch which Elohim commanded, and puts other clothes on him, her own robe, which is the power of Edem who is below.[178] And thus the power of prophecy[321] of Heracles and his works become imperfect.

Last of all in the days of Herod the king, Baruch is again sent below by Elohim and coming to Nazareth finds Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary,[322] a boy of twelve years old, feeding sheep, and teaches Him all things from the beginning which came about from Edem and Elohim and the things p. 237. which shall be hereafter, and he said: “All the prophets before thee were led astray. Strive, therefore, O Jesus, Son of Man, that thou be not led astray, but preach this word unto men. And proclaim to them the things touching the Father and the Good One, and go on high to the Good One and sit there with Elohim the Father of us all.” And Jesus hearkened to the angel, saying: “Lord, I will do all (these) things,” and He preached. Then Naas wished to lead astray this one also (but Jesus did not wish to hearken to him)[323] for He remained faithful to Baruch. Then Naas, angered because he could not lead Him astray, made Him to be crucified. But He, leaving the body of Edem on the Cross, went on high to the Good One. But He said to Edem: “Woman, receive thy Son,”[324] that is the natural and earthly man, and commending[325] the spirit into the hands of the Father went on high to the presence of the Good One.

But the Good One is Priapus, who before anything was, was created. Whence he is called Priapus because he previously made[326] all things. Wherefore he says he is set up before every temple[327] being honoured by the whole creation and in the streets bears the blossoms of creation on his head, that is the fruits of creation of which he is the p. 238. cause having first made the creation which before did not exist. When therefore you hear men say that a swan came[179] upon Leda and begot children from her, the swan is Elohim and Leda is Edem. And when men say that an eagle came upon Ganymede, the eagle is Naas and Ganymede is Adam. And when they say that the gold came upon Danae and begot children from her, the gold is Elohim and Danae is Edem. And likewise they making parallels in the same way teach all such words as bring in myths. When then the Prophets say: “Hear O Heaven and give ear O Earth, the Lord has spoken,”[328] Heaven means, he says, the spirit which is in man from Elohim and Earth the soul which is in man (together) with the spirit, and the Lord means Baruch, and Israel, Edem. For Edem is also called Israel the spouse of Elohim. “Israel,” he says, “knew me not; for if she had known that I was with the Good One, she would not have punished the spirit which is in man through the Father’s ignorance.”

27. Afterwards ... is written also the oath in the first p. 239. book which is inscribed Baruch which those swear who are about to hear these mysteries and to be perfected[329] by the Good One. Which oath, he says, our Father Elohim swore when in the presence of the Good One and having sworn did not repent, touching which, he says, it is written: “The Lord sware and did not repent.” This is that oath: “I swear by Him who is above all, the Good One, to preserve these mysteries and to utter them to none, nor to turn away from the Good One to creation.” And when he has sworn that oath he enters into the presence of the Good One and sees “what eye hath not seen nor ear heard and it has not entered into the heart of man,” and he drinks from the living water, which is their font, as they think, the well of living, sparkling water. For there is a distinction, he says, between water and water; and there is the water below the firmament of the bad creation, wherein are baptized[330] the earthly and natural men, and there is the living water p. 240. above the firmament of the Good One in which Elohim was baptized and having been baptized did not repent. And when the prophet declares, he says, to take unto himself a wife of whoredom because the earth whoring has committed[180] whoredom from behind the Lord,[331] that is Edem from Elohim. In these words, he says, the prophet speaks clearly the whole mystery, but he was not hearkened to by the wickedness of Naas. In that same fashion also they hand down other prophetic sayings in many books. But pre-eminent among them is the book inscribed Baruch in which he who reads will know the whole management of their myth.

Now, though I have met with many heresies, beloved, I have met with none worse than this. But truly, as the saying is, we ought, imitating his Heracles, to cleanse the Augean dunghill or rather trench, having fallen into which his followers will never be washed clean nor indeed be able to come up out of it.

28. Since then we have set forth the designs of Justinus the Gnostic falsely so called, it seems fitting to set forth also p. 241. in the succeeding books the tenets of the heresies which follow him[332] and to leave none of them unrefuted; the things said by them being quite sufficient when exposed to make an example of them, if and only their hidden and unspeakable (mysteries) would leap to light into which the senseless are hardly and with much toil initiated.[333] Let us see now what Simon says.



[1] In this chapter, Hippolytus treats of what is probably a late form of the Ophite heresy, certainly one of the first to enter into rivalry with the Catholic Church. For its doctrines and practices, the reader must be referred to the chapter on the Ophites in the translator’s Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, vol. II; but it may be said here that it seems to have sprung from a combination of the corrupt Judaism then practised in Asia Minor with the Pagan myths or legends prevalent all over Western Asia, which may some day be traced back to the Sumerians and the earliest civilization of which we have any record. Yet the Ophites admitted the truth of the Gospel narrative, and asserted the existence of a Supreme Being endowed with the attributes of both sexes and manifesting Himself to man by means of a Deity called His son, who was nevertheless identified with both the masculine and feminine aspects of his Father. This triad, which the Ophites called the First Man, the Second Man, and the First Woman or Holy Spirit, they represented as creating the planetary worlds as well as the “world of form,” by the intermediary of an inferior power called Sophia or Wisdom and her son Jaldabaoth, who is expressly stated to be the God of the Jews.

All this we knew before the discovery of our text from the statements of heresiologists like St. Irenæus and Epiphanius; but Hippolytus goes further than any other author by connecting these Ophite theories with the worship of the Mother of the Gods or Cybele, the form under which the triune deity of Western Asia was best known in Europe. The unnamed Naassene or Ophite author from whom he quotes without intermission throughout the chapter, seems to have got hold of a hymn to Attis used in the festivals of Cybele, in which Attis is, after the syncretistic fashion of post-Alexandrian paganism, identified with the Syrian Adonis, the Egyptian Osiris, the Greek Dionysos and Hermes, and the Samothracian or Cabiric gods Adamna and Corybas; and the chapter is in substance a commentary on this hymn, the order of the lines of which it follows closely. This commentary tries to explain or “interpret” the different myths there referred to by passages from the Old and New Testaments and from the Greek poets dragged in against their manifest sense and in the wildest fashion. Most of these supposed allusions, indeed, can only be justified by the most outrageous play upon words, and it may be truly said that not a single one of them when naturally construed bears the slightest reference to the matter in hand. Yet they serve not only to elucidate the Ophite beliefs, but give, as it were accidentally, much information as to the scenes enacted in the Eleusinian and other heathen mysteries which was before lacking. The author also quotes two hymns used apparently in the Ophite worship which are not only the sole relics of a once extensive literature, but are a great deal better evidence as to Gnostic tenets than his own loose and equivocal statements.

As the legend of Attis and Cybele may not be familiar to all, it may be well to give a brief abstract of it as found in Pausanias, Diodorus Siculus, Ovid, and the Christian writer Arnobius. Cybele, called also Agdistis, Rhea, Gê, or the Great Mother, was said to have been born from a rock accidentally fecundated by Zeus. On her first appearance she was hermaphrodite, but on the gods depriving her of her virility it passed into an almond-tree. The fruit of this was plucked by the virgin daughter of the river Sangarios, who, placing it in her bosom, became by it the mother of Attis, fairest of mankind. Attis at his birth was exposed on the river-bank, but was rescued, brought up as a goatherd, and was later chosen as a husband by the king’s daughter. At the marriage feast, Cybele, fired by jealousy, broke into the palace and, according to one version of the story, emasculated Attis who died of the hurt. Then Cybele repented and prayed to Zeus to restore him to life, which prayer was granted by making him a god. The ceremonies of the Megalesia celebrating the Death and Resurrection of Attis as held in Rome during the late Republic and early Empire, and their likeness to the Easter rites of the Christian Church are described in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for October 1917.

[2] (οὗ) χάριν, “thanks to which.”

[3] μετέχιο τὰς ἀφορμὰς, a phrase frequent in Plato.

[4] נָחָשׁ

[5] Cf. Rev. ii. 24.

[6] ἀρσενόθηλυς.

[7] Cruice thinks the name derived from the Adam Cadmon of the Jewish Cabala. But Adamas “the unsubdued” is an epithet of Hades who was equated with Dionysos, the analogue of Attis. Cf. Irenæus, I, 1.

[8] Salmon and Stähelin in maintaining their theory that Hippolytus’ documents were contemporary forgeries make the point that something like this hymn is repeated later in the account of Monoimus the Arabian’s heresy. The likeness is not very close. Cf. II, p. 107 infra.

[9] Origen (cont. Celsum, VI, 30) says the Ophites used to curse the name of Christ. Hence Origen cannot be the author of the Philosophumena.

[10] τὰ ὅλα. I am doubtful whether he is here using the word in its philosophic or Aristotelian sense as “entities necessarily differing from one another in kind,” or as “things of the universe.” On the whole the former construction seems here to be right.

[11] “That which has been sent”?

[12] Doubtless as being still confined in matter.

[13] Both Origen and Celsus knew of this Mariamne, after whom a sect is said to have been named. See Orig. cont. Cels., VI, 30.

[14] τῶν ἐθνῶν. The usual expression for Gentiles or Goyim.

[15] Isa. liii. 8.

[16] διάφορον. Miller reads ἀδιάφορον: “undistinguished.”

[17] This hymn is in metre and is said to be from a lost Pindaric ode. It has been restored by Bergk, the restoration being given in the notes to Cruice’s text, p. 142, and it was translated into English verse by the late Professor Conington. Cf. Forerunners, II, p. 54, n. 6.

[18] ἰχθυοφάγον. Doubtless a mistake for ἰχθυοφόρον. The Oannes of Berossus’ story wore a fish on his back.

[19] Adam the protoplast according to the Ophites (Irenæus, I, xviii, p. 197, Harvey) and Epiphanius (Hær. xxxvii, c. 4, p. 501, Oehler) was made by Jaldabaoth and his six sons. The same story was current among the followers of Saturninus (Irenæus, I, xviii, p. 197, Harvey) and other Gnostic sects, who agree with the text as to his helplessness when first created, and its cause.

[20] So in the Bruce Papyrus, “Jeû,” which name I have suggested is an abbreviation of Jehovah, is called “the great Man, King of the great Aeon of light.” See Forerunners, II, 193.

[21] Eph. iii. 15. Cf. the address of Jesus to His Father in the last document of the Pistis Sophia, Forerunners, II, p. 180, n. 4.

[22] Why is he to be punished? In the Manichæan story (for which see Forerunners, II, pp. 292 ff.) the First Man is taken prisoner by the powers of darkness. Both this and that in the text are doubtless survivals of some legend current throughout Western Asia at a very early date. Cf. Bousset’s Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, Leipzig, 1907, c. 4, Der Urmensch.

[23] So the cryptogram in the Pistis Sophia professes to give “the word by which the Perfect Man is moved.” Forerunners, II, 188, n. 2.

[24] οὐσία: perhaps “essence” or “being.” It is the word for which hypostasis was later substituted according to Hatch. See his Hibbert Lectures, pp. 269 ff.

[25] So Miller, Cruice, and Schneidewin. I should be inclined to read φάος, “light,” as in the Naassene hymn at the end of this chapter. No Gnostic sect can have taught that the soul came from Chaos.

[26] This, as always at this period, means “Syrians.” See Maury, Rev. Archéol., lviii, p. 242.

[27] ἔμψυχοι. He is punning on the likeness between this and ψυχή, “soul.”

[28] And between “nourished” and “reared.”

[29] τὸ τοιοῦτον. Not φύσις or ψυχή. At this point the author begins his commentary on the Hymn of the Mysteries of Cybele, for which see p. 141 infra.

[30] γένεσις, perhaps “birth.”

[31] An allusion to the myth which makes Aphrodite and Persephone share the company of Adonis between them.

[32] These words are added in the margin.

[33] A prominent feature in the imposture of Alexander of Abonoteichus. See Lucian’s Pseudomantis, passim.

[34] In the better-known story Attis castrates himself; but this version explains the allusion in the hymn on p. 141 infra.

[35] i. e. restores to her the virility of which they had deprived her when she was hermaphrodite. See n. on p. 119 supra.

[36] λελεγμένη. Miller and Schneidewin read δεδαιγμένη, “open,” or “displayed.”

[37] Gal. iii. 28. So Clemens Romanus, Ep. ii. 12; Clem. Alex. Strom., III, 13. Cf. Pistis Sophia, p. 378 (Copt).

[38] 2 Cor. v. 17; Gal. vi. 15.

[39] i. e. masculo-feminine. That Rhea, Cybele and Gê are but different names of the earth-goddess, see Maury, Rèl. de la Grèce Antique, I, 78 ff. For their androgyne character, see J.R.A.S. for Oct. 1917.

[40] Rom. i. 20 ff. The text omits several sentences to be found in the A.V.

[41] Ibid., v. 27.

[42] Ibid., v. 28.

[43] ἐπαγγελία τοῦ λουτροῦ, pollicetur iis qui lavantur, Cr. But “the font” is the regular patristic expression for the rite.

[44] The text has ἄλλῳ, “other,” which makes no sense. Cruice, following Schneidewin, alters it to ἀλάλῳ on the strength of p. 144 infra, and renders it ineffabilis; but ἀλάλος cannot mean anything but “dumb” or “silent.” That baptism in the early heretical sects was followed by a “chrism” or anointing, see Forerunners, II, 129, n. 2; ibid., 192.

[45] Luke xvii. 21.

[46] This does not appear in the severely expurgated fragments of the Gospel of Thomas which have come down to us. Epiphanius (Hær. xxxvii.) includes this gospel in a list of works especially favoured by the Ophites.

[47] λόγος, Cr. disciplina, Macmahon, “Logos.” But see Arnold, Roman Stoicism, p. 161.

[48] ὄργια. In Hippolytus it always has this meaning.

[49] Isis. See Forerunners, I, p. 34.

[50] ἡ μεταβλητὴ γένεσις. The expression is repeated in the account of Simon Magus’ heresy (II, p. 13 infra) and refers to the transmigration of souls.

[51] ἀνεξεικονίστος, “He of whom no image can be made.”

[52] Prov. xxiv. 16.

[53] Some qualification like “originally” or “at the beginning” seems wanting. Cf. Arnold, op. cit., n. on p. 58 supra.

[54] Matt. v. 45.

[55] He has apparently mistaken Min of Coptos or Nesi-Amsu for Osiris who is, I think, never represented thus. At Denderah, he is supine.

[56] The “terms” of Hermes which Alcibiades and his friends mutilated.

[57] δημιουργός. Here as always the “architect,” or he who creates not ex nihilo, but from existing material.

[58] For this name which is said by all the early heresiologists to mean “the God of the Jews,” see Forerunners, II, 46, n. 3. He is called a “fiery God” apparently from Deut. iv. 24, and a fourth number, either because in the Ophite theogony he comes next after the Supreme Triad of Father, Son, and Mother or, more probably, from his name covering the Tetragrammaton, or name of God in four letters.

[59] Ps. ii. 9.

[60] Cr. supplies “virtutem”; but the adjective is in the neuter.

[61] Eph. v. 14.

[62] κεχαρακτηρισμένος ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀχαρακτηρίστου Λόγου. These expressions repeated up to the end of the chapter are most difficult to render in English. The allusion is clearly to a coin stamped with the image of a king. Afterwards I translate ἀχαρακτηρίστος by “unportrayable,” for brevity’s sake.

[63] The famous words which tradition assigns to the Eleusinian Mysteries. One version is “Rain! conceive!” and probably refers to the fecundation or tillage of the earth. Cf. Plutarch, de Is. et Os., c. xxxiv.

[64] Rom. x. 18.

[65] Ps. cxviii. 22. Cf. Isa. xxviii. 16.

[66] See n. on p. 123 supra.

[67] Isa. xxviii. 16.

[68] Something is here omitted before ὀδόντες. Cf. Iliad, IV, 350.

[69] ἀρχανθρώπος, a curious expression meaning evidently First Man. It appears nowhere but in this chapter of the Philosophumena.

[70] Dan. ii. 45, “cut from the mountain without hands.”

[71] The Power called Adonæus or Adon-ai by the Ophites is also addressed as λήθη, “oblivion,” in the “defence” made to him by the ascending soul. See Origen, cont Cels. VI, c. 30 ff. or Forerunners, II, 72.

[72] A compound of Iliad, XIV, 201 and 246.

[73] Ps. lxxxii. 6; Luke vi. 35; John x. 34; Gal. iv. 26.

[74] John iii, 6.

[75] Joshua iii, 16.

[76] So the Cabbalists call one of their word-juggling processes gematria, which is said to be a corruption of γραμματεία.

[77] ἀρρήτως, i. e., “by implication,” or “not in words.”

[78] Play upon προφαίνω and προφήτης.

[79] Mariam was Moses’ aunt, Sephora his wife, and Jothor Sephora’s father, according to some fragments of Ezekiel quoted by Eusebius. So Cruice.

[80] Matt. xiii. 13.

[81] Isa. xxviii, 10. In A. V., “Precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, there a little.” Irenæus (I, xix, 3, I, p. 201, Harvey) says, Caulacau is the name in which the Saviour descended according to Basilides, and the word seems to have been used in this sense by other Gnostic sects, See Forerunners, II, 94, n. 3.

[82] ἐκ γῆς ῥέοντα!

[83] A direct quotation from the Hymn of the Great Mysteries given later, p. 141 infra. Also a pun between κεράννυμι and κέρας.

[84] John 1. 34.

[85] Sophia, the third person of the Ophite Triad and Jaldabaoth her son.

[86] Something omitted after “cup.”

[87] τρία σάτα. A Jewish measure equivalent to 1½ modius. Cf. Matt. xiii. 33.

[88] The famous ὁμοούσιος.

[89] A compound of John vi. 53 and Mk. x. 38.

[90] Μαθητὰς, “disciples,” not apostles.

[91] The κατὰ may mean either “against” or “according to” nature.

[92] For this Corybas and his murder by his two brothers see Clem. Alex. Protrept., II. A pun here follows between Corybas and κορυφή, “head.”

[93] John v. 3.

[94] κεχαρακτηρισμένος.

[95] Ps. xxix. 3, 10.

[96] Ps. xxii. 20, A. V., “My darling from the power of the dog.”

[97] Isa. xci. 8; xliii. 1, 2.

[98] Ibid., xlix. 15; slightly altered.

[99] Ibid., xlix. 16.

[100] Ps. xxiv. 7. A. V. omits “rulers” or archons.

[101] Ps. xxiv. 8; xxii. 6.

[102] Job xl. 2.

[103] A pun like that on Geryon or Corybas.

[104] Gen. xxviii. 17.

[105] John x. 7, 9, “I am the door.”

[106] i. e. the worshippers of Cybele. For Attis’ name of Pappas, see Graillot, Le Culte de Cybèle, p. 15. It seems to mean “Father.”

[107] παῦε, παῦε!!!

[108] Eph. ii. 17.

[109] This was an Orphic doctrine. See Forerunners, I, 127, n. 1 for authorities.

[110] Matt. xxiii. 27.

[111] 1 Cor. xv. 52.

[112] 2 Cor. xii. 3, 4. A. V. omits “second heaven” and the sights seen.

[113] ψυχικὸς δὲ ἄνθρωπος. The “natural man” of the A. V.

[114] 1 Cor. ii. 13, 14.

[115] John vi. 44, “draw him unto me.”

[116] Matt. vii. 21.

[117] Matt. xxi. 31, “Kingdom of God.”

[118] 1 Cor. x. 11. A pun on τέλη, “taxes,” and τέλη, “ends.”

[119] Cf. the Stoic doctrine of λόγοι σπερματικοί, Arnold, Roman Stoicism, p. 161.

[120] Lit., “brought to an end.”

[121] A condensation of Matt. xiii. 3-9.

[122] Deut. xxxi. 20.

[123] i. e. become united with the Godhead. The newly-baptized were given milk and honey. Cf. Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, above quoted, p. 300.

[124] Matt. iii. 10.

[125] This “third gate” is evidently baptism. For the reason see Forerunners, II, p. 73, n. 2.

[126] This seems to be a quotation from the Naassene author.

[127] Perhaps an allusion to the λόγοι σπερματικοί.

[128] Matt. vii. 6.

[129] The derivation to be tolerable should be *ἀειπόλος!

[130] i. e. Proteus.

[131] Gal. iv. 27.

[132] Jerem. xxxi. 15.

[133] The mistake in geography shows that Hippolytus was not a Jew.

[134] Jerem. xviii. 9.

[135] ἐποπτικὸν ... μυστήριον.

[136] This is in effect the first real information we have as to the final secret of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

[137] Hesychius also translates Brimos by ἰσχυρός.

[138] Hades or Pluto.

[139] Schleiermacher attributes this saying to Heraclitus.

[140] Meineke (ap. Cr.) attributes these lines to Parmenides.

[141] Cf. Justinus later, p. 175 infra.

[142] Schneidewin and Cruice both read λαβεῖν, “receive” (their vestures) for βαλεῖν.

[143] Cr. translates ἀπηρσενωμένους, exuta virilitate; but it seems to be a participle of ἀπαρρενόω = ἀπανδρόω. The idea that the Gnostic pneumatics or spirituals would finally be united in marriage with the angels or λόγοι σπερματικοί was current in Gnosticism. See Forerunners, II, 110. The “virgin spirit” was probably that Barbelo whom Irenæus, I, 26, 1 f. (pp. 221 ff., Harvey), describes under that name as reverenced by the “Barbeliotae or Naassenes”; in any case, probably, some analogue of the earth-goddess, ever bringing forth and yet ever a virgin.

[144] Matt. vii. 13, 14. The A. V. has εἰσέρχομαι for διέρχομαι.

[145] See n. on p. 119 supra.

[146] i. e. Attis.

[147] ἀμύσσω is rather to “scratch,” or “scarify,” than as in the text.

[148] Cf. John iv. 21.

[149] Cruice’s restoration. Schneidewin’s would read: “The Spirit is there where also the Father is named, and the Son is there born from the Father.”

[150] Cf. Ezekiel x. 12.

[151] ῥῆμα, not λόγος.

[152] Here we see the interpretation put by Hippolytus an the Aristotelian τὰ ὅλα.

[153] θεμελιόω. The whole of this sentence singularly resembles that in the Great Announcement ascribed to Simon Magus, for which see II, p. 12 infra.

[154] This idea of the Indivisible Point, which recurs in several Gnostic writings, including those of Simon and Basilides, seems founded on the mathematical axiom that the line and therefore all solid bodies spring from the point, which itself has “neither parts nor magnitude.”

[155] Ἐπινοίᾳ. This also is used by Simon as the equivalent of Ἔννοια.

[156] Ps. xix. 3.

[157] ἀπρονοήτως, Cr., sine numine quidquam; Macmahon, “without premeditation.”

[158] Performances in the theatres formed part of the Megalesia or Festival of the Great Mother.

[159] I should be inclined to read τῆς Μεγάλης μυστήρια, “Mysteries of the Great Mother.”

[160] An allusion to the variant of the Cybele legend which makes her the emasculator of Attis.

[161] So Conington, who translated the hymns into English verse, and Schneidewin. Hippolytus, however, evidently gave this invocation to the Greeks. See p. 132 supra.

[162] δ’ ὀφίαν, according to Schneidewin’s restoration (for which see p. 176 Cr.), seems better sense, if we can suppose that the Sabazian serpent was so called.

[163] The whole hymn with the next fragment is given as restored to metrical form where quoted in last note.

[164] That is of the Galli, or eunuch-priests of Attis and Cybele.

[165] Thales only said, so far as we know, that water was the beginning of all things.

[166] The cornucopia: horn of the goat (not bull) Amalthea seems to have been intended. I see no likeness between this and the passage in Deut. xxxiii. 17, to which Macmahon refers it.

[167] Gen. ii. 10.

[168] This and the three following quotations are from Gen. ii. 10-14 and follow the Septuagint version.

[169] Play upon Euphrates and εὐφραίνει, “rejoices.”

[170] χαρακτηρίζει. “Stamps” would be more correct, but singularly incongruous with water.

[171] John iv. 10. No substantial difference from A. V.

[172] οὐσίαι, but not in the theological sense.

[173] This simile, repeated often later, has been the chief support of Salmon and Stähelin’s forgery theory. Yet Clement of Alexandria (Book VII, c. 2, Stromateis) also uses it, and the turning of swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning-hooks appears in Micah iv. 3, as well as in Isaiah ii. 4, without arguing a common origin.

[174] John 1. 9.

[175] Isa. xl. 15.

[176] Play upon χριόμενοι, “anointed,” and χριστιανοί.

[177] 1 Sam. x. 1; xvi. 13, 14.

[178] The hymn which follows is so corrupt that Schneidewin declared it beyond hope of restoration. Miller shows that the original metre was anapæstic, the number of feet diminishing regularly from 6 to 4. He likens this to that of the hymns of Synesius and the Tragopodagra of Lucian.

[179] Reading φάος for χάος.

[180] This seems to correspond with the Ophite description of Sophia or the third Person of their Triad in Chaos. Cf. Irenæus, I, 28.

[181] The source of this chapter on the Naassenes is so far undiscoverable. Contrary to his usual practice, Hippolytus here mentions the name of no heretical author as he does in the following chapters of this Book. It is probable, therefore, that he may have taken down his account of “Naassene” doctrines from the lips of some convert, which would account for the extreme wildness of the quotations and to the incoherence with which he jumps about from one subject to another. This would also account for the heresy here described being far more Christian in tone than the other forms of Ophitism which follow it in the text, and the quotations from Scripture, especially the N.T., being more numerous and on the whole more apposite than in the succeeding chapters. The style, such as it is, is maintained throughout and its continuity should perhaps forbid us to see in it a plurality of authors. Little prominence in it is given to the Serpent which gives its name to the sect, although it is here said that he is good, and this seems to point to the Naassene being more familiar with the Western than with the Eastern forms of Cybele-worship.

[182] No mention of this sect is made by Irenæus or Epiphanius, and Theodoret’s statements concerning it correspond so closely with those of our text as to make it certain either that they were drawn from it or that both he and Hippolytus drew from a common source. Yet Clement of Alexandria knew of the Peratics (see Stromateis VII, 16), and Origen (cont. Cels. VI, 28) speaks of the Ophites generally as boasting Euphrates as their founder. The name given to them in our text is said by Clement (ubi cit.) to be a place-name, and the better opinion seems to be that it means “Mede” or one who lives on the further side of the Euphrates. The main point of their doctrine seems to be the great prominence given in it to the Serpent, whom they call the Son, and make an intermediate power between the Father of All and Matter. In this they are perhaps following the lead of some of the Græco-Oriental worships like that of Sabazius, one of the many forms of Attis, or that of Dionysos whose symbol was the serpent. The proof of their doctrines, however, they sought for not, like the Naassenes, in the mystic rites, but in a kind of astral theology which looked for religious truths in the grouping of the stars; and it was in pursuit of this that they identified the Saviour Serpent with the constellation Draco. Yet they were ostensibly Christians, being apparently perfectly willing to accept the historical Christ as their great intermediary. Their attitude to Judaism is more difficult to grasp because, while they quoted freely from the Old Testament, they apparently considered its God as an evil, or at all events, an unnecessarily harsh, power, in which they anticipated Manes and probably Marcion. Had we more of their writings we should probably find in them the embodiment of a good deal of early Babylonian tradition, to which most of these astrological heresies paid great attention.

[183] πηγή.

[184] τὸ μὲν ἓν μέρος. Cruice thinks these words should be added here instead of in the description of the “great source” just above. See Book X, II, p. 481 infra.

[185] Probably “Great Father.”

[186] This is entirely contradictory of Hippolytus’ own statement later of their doctrine that the universe consists of Father, Son, and Matter. Αὐτογενής, for which αὐτογέννητος is substituted a page later, is the last epithet to be applied to a son. Is it a mistake for μονογέννητος, “only begotten?” For the three worlds, see the Naassene author also, p. 121 supra.

[187] The cause assigned a little later is the salvation of the three worlds.

[188] τριδύναμος probably means with powers from all three worlds. The phrase is frequent in the Pistis Sophia.

[189] συγκρίματα, concretiones, Cr. and Macmahon. It might mean “decrees” and is used in the Septuagint version of Daniel for “interpretations” of dreams.

[190] Coloss. i. 19, and ii. 9.

[191] From the starry influences?

[192] John iii. 17.

[193] 1. Cor. xi. 32.

[194] But see n. 4 on last page and text three sentences earlier.

[195] It was not the world, but the Zodiac that the astrologers divided into dodecatemories. See Bouché-Leclercq, L’Astrologie Gr., passim.

[196] There must be some mistake here. The planetary world, according to the astronomy of the time, only began at the Moon.

[197] The words which follow, down to the end of this paragraph, with the exception of one sentence, are taken, not from the astrologers, but from the opponent Sextus Empiricus. They correspond to pp. 339 ff. of the Leipzig edition of Sextus and the restorations from this are shown by round brackets. The whole passage doubtless once formed the beginning of Book IV of our text, the opening words of which they repeat. For the probable cause of this needless repetition see the Introduction, p. 20 supra.

[198] Sextus’ comment, not Hippolytus’.

[199] The personal followers of Pythagoras were called Pythagorics, those who later gave a general assent to his doctrines Pythagoreans.

[200] An echo of a tradition which seems widespread in Asia. In the Pistis Sophia it is said that half the signs of the Zodiac rebelled against the order to give up “the purity of their light” and joined the wicked Adamas, while the other half remained faithful under the rule of Jabraoth. Cf. Rev. xii. 7, and the Babylonian legend of the assault of the seven evil spirits on the Moon.

[201] “Toparch” = ruler of a place. Proastius, “suburban,” or a dweller in the environs of a town. It here probably means the ruler of a part of the heavens near or under the influence of a planet.

[202] The bombastic phrases which follow seem to have been much corrupted and to have been translated from some language other than Greek. Νυκτόχροος and ὑδατόχροος are not, I think, met with elsewhere, and the genders are much confused throughout the whole quotation, Poseidon being made a female deity and Isis a male one. The more outlandish names have some likeness to the “Munichuaphor,” “Chremaor,” etc., of the Pistis Sophia. There seems some logical connection between the name of the powers and those born under them, the lovers being assigned to Eros, and so on.

[203] Cruice points out that “eyes” are here probably written for “wells,” the Hebrew for both being the same, and refers us to the twelve wells of Elim in Exod. xv. 27.

[204] Schneidewin here quotes from Berossos the well-known passage about the woman Omoroca, Thalatth, or Thalassa, who presided over the chaos of waters and its monstrous inhabitants. See Cory’s Ancient Fragments, p. 25. The name has been generally taken to cover that of Tiamat whom Bel-Merodach defeated. See Rogers, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 107.

[205] All Titans, like Kronos himself.

[206] Macmahon reads here Ino, but this name appears later.

[207] There is some confusion here. The Platonists, following Philolaos, attributed singular properties to the twelve-angled figure made out of pentagons and declared it to have been the model after which the Zodiac was made.

[208] νυκτόχροος. It seems to be a translation of the Latin nocticolor.

[209] So the Codex. Schneidewin and Cruice would read Κρόνος, but that name has already occurred.

[210] Here again Schneidewin would read ἀστέρος, “star”; but the next sentence makes it plain that it is the wind which is meant.

[211] Ariel is in one of the later documents of the Pistis Sophia made one of the torturers in hell.

[212] Probably Saclan or Asaqlan whom the Manichæans made the Son of the King of Darkness and the husband of the Nebrod or Nebroe mentioned above.

[213] πρωτοκαμάρον. Macmahon translates it the “star Protocamarus,” for which I can see no authority. It seems to me to be an inversion of πρωτομακάρος, “first-best,” very likely to happen in turning a Semitic language into Greek and back again.

[214] The dogstar, Sothis, or Sirius, was identified with Isis.

[215] Μύγδων. In a magic spell, Pluto, who has many analogies with Attis, is saluted as “Huesemigadon,” perhaps “Hye, Cye, Mygdon.” Has this Mygdon any analogy with amygdalon the almond?

[216] Qy. Mise, the hermaphrodite Dionysos?

[217] Βουμέγας, “great ox”? All the other names which follow are those of magicians or diviners.

[218] Two of the seven “angels of the presence.” Their appearance in a list mainly of Greek heroes is inexplicable.

[219] τῆς ἄνω. Perhaps we should insert δυνάμεως, “the Power on High.”

[220] See Sibyll. Orac., III. But the Sibyl says the exact opposite. Cf. Charles, Apocrypha and Psuedepigrapha of the O.T., II, 377.

[221] περᾶσαι. The derivation is too much even for Theodoret, who says that the name of the sect is taken from “Euphrates the Peratic” (or Mede).

[222] So modern astrologers make him the “greater malefic.”

[223] A fragment from Heraclitus according to Schleiermacher.

[224] So the Pistis Sophia speaks repeatedly of “the Pleroma of all Pleromas.”

[225] Many magical books bore the name of Moses. See Forerunners, II, 46, and n.

[226] Is this why one Ophite sect was called the Cainites? The hostility here shown to the God of the Jews is common to many other sects such as that of Saturninus, of Marcion and later of Manes. Cf. Forerunners, II, under these names.

[227] Gen. x. 9. Nimrod, who is sometimes identified with the hero Gilgames, plays a large part in all this Eastern tradition.

[228] John iii. 13, 14.

[229] Ibid., i. 1-4.

[230] For this identification of Eve with the Mother of Life or Great Goddess of Asia, see Forerunners, II, 300, and n.

[231] ἄκραν. Cruice and Macmahon both read ἀρχή, “beginning,” but see ταύτην τὴν ἄκραν later.

[232] All this is, of course, quite different to the meaning assigned to these stars by the unnamed heretics of Book IV.

[233] If we could be sure that Hippolytus was here summarizing fairly Ophite doctrines, it would appear that the Ophites rejected the Platonic theory that matter was essentially evil. What is here said presents a curious likeness to Stoic doctrines of the universe, as of man’s being. Hippolytus, however, never quotes a Stoic author and seems throughout to ignore Stoicism save in Book I.

[234] πρόσωπον. The word used to denote the “character” or part or a person on the stage.

[235] ἰδέαι. So throughout this passage.

[236] Gen. xxx. 37 ff.

[237] χαρακτῆρες. See n. on p. 143 supra.

[238] Not “ring-straked” like Jacob’s sheep.

[239] ὁμοούσιος.

[240] Matt. vii. 11. Note the change of “Your” for “Our.”

[241] John viii. 44.

[242] Here again he dwells upon the supposed evil nature of the Demiurge.

[243] Or as Macmahon translates, “the substantial from the Unsubstantial one.”

[244] A lacuna in the text is thus filled by Cruice.

[245] Again this simile is not necessarily by the Peratic author, but seems to be introduced by Hippolytus. For the supposed conduct of naphtha in the presence of fire, see Plutarch, vit Alex.

[246] ἐξεικονισμένον. A different metaphor from the “type.” We shall meet with this one frequently in the work attributed to Simon Magus.

[247] The text has ἐκ καμαρίου. Here Schneidewin agrees that the proper reading is μακαρίου, there being no reason why any “life-giving substance” should exist in the brain-pan. He thus confirms the reading in n. on p. 152 supra.

[248] This chapter on the Peratæ is evidently drawn from more sources than one. The author’s first statement of their doctrines, which occupies pp. 146-149 supra, represents probably his first impression of them and contains at least one glaring contradiction, duly noted in its place. Then comes a long extract from Sextus Empiricus which is to all appearance a repetition of the earliest part of Book IV, only pardonable if it be allowed that the present Book was delivered in lecture form. There follows a quotation longer and more sustained than any other in the whole work from a Peratic book which he says was called Proastii, with a bombastic prelude much resembling the language of Simon Magus’ Great Announcement in Book VI, followed by a catalogue of starry “influences” which reads much as if it were taken from some astrological manual. There follows in its turn a dissertation on the Ophite Serpent showing how this object of their adoration, identified with the Brazen Serpent of Exodus, was made to prefigure or typify in the most incongruous manner many personages in the Old and New Testaments, including Christ Himself. After this he announces an “epitome” of the Peratic doctrine which turns out to be perfectly different from anything before said, divides the universe, which he has previously said the Peratics divided into unbegotten, self-begotten and begotten, into a new triad of Father, Son (i. e. Serpent), and Matter, and gives a fairly consistent statement of the Peratic scheme of salvation based on this hypothesis. One can only suppose here that this last is an afterthought added when revising the book and inspired by some fresh evidence of Peratic beliefs probably coloured by Stoic or Marcionite doctrine. In those parts of the chapter which appear to have been taken from genuinely Peratic sources, the reference to some Western Asiatic tradition concerning cosmogony and the protoplasts and differing considerably from the narrative of Genesis, is plainly apparent.

[249] This chapter is the most difficult of the whole book to account for, with the doubtful exception of the much later one on the Docetæ. A sect of Sethians is mentioned by Irenæus, who does not attempt to separate their doctrines from those of the Ophites. Pseudo-Tertullian in his tractate Against All Heresies also connects with the Ophites a sect called Sethites or Sethoites, the main dogma he attributes to them being an attempt to identify Christ with the Seth of Genesis. Epiphanius follows this last author in this identification and calls them Sethians, but does not expressly connect them with the Ophites, makes them an Egyptian sect, and does not attribute to them serpent-worship. The sectaries of this chapter are called in the rubric Sithiani, altered to Sēthiani in the Summary of Book X, and the name is not necessarily connected with that of the Patriarch. In the Bruce Papyrus, a Power, good but subordinate to the Supreme God, is mentioned, called “the Sitheus,” which may possibly, by analogy with the late-Egyptian Si-Osiris and Si-Ammon, be construed “Son of God.” Of their doctrines little can be made from Hippolytus’ brief but confused description. Their division of the cosmos into three parts does not seem to differ much from that of the Peratæ, although they make a sharper distinction than this last between the world of light and that of darkness, which has led Salmon (D.C.B. s.v., Ophites) to conjecture for them a Zoroastrian origin. This is unlikely, and more attention is due to Hippolytus’ own statement that they derived their doctrines from Musæus, Linus, and Orpheus. In Forerunners it is sought to show that the Orphic teaching was one of the foundations on which the fabric of Gnosticism was reared, and the image of the earth as a matrix was certainly familiar to the Greeks, who made Delphi its ὀμφαλός or navel. Hence the imagery of the text, offensive as it is to our ideas, would not have been so to them, and Epiphanius (Hær., XXXVIII, p. 510, Oehl.) knew of several writings, κατὰ τῆς Ὑστέρας, or the Womb, which he says the sister sect of Cainites called the maker of heaven and earth. In this case, we need not take the story in the text about the generation by the bad or good serpent as necessarily referring to the Incarnation. One of the scenes in the Mysteries of Attis-Sabazius, and perhaps of those of Eleusis also, seems to have shown the seduction by Zeus in serpent-form of his virgin daughter Persephone and the birth therefrom of the Saviour Dionysos who was but his father re-born. This story of the fecundation of the earth-goddess by a higher power in serpent shape seems to have been present in all the religions of Western Asia, and was therefore extremely likely to be caught hold of by an early form of Gnosticism. In no other respect does this so-called “Sethian” heresy seem to have anything in common with Christianity, and it may therefore represent a pre-Christian form of Ophitism. The serpent in it is, perhaps, neither bad nor good.

[250] τούτοις δοκεῖ, “it seems to them.”

[251] Cruice and Macmahon both translate this “into the same nature with the spirit.”

[252] This anxiety of the higher powers to redeem from matter darkness or chaos, the scintilla of their own being which has slipped into it, is the theme of all Gnosticism from the Ophites to the Pistis Sophia and the Manichæan writings. See Forerunners, II, passim.

[253] Or “the substances brought up to the sealer.”

[254] ἰδέαι. And so throughout.

[255] Schneidewin, Cruice, and Macmahon would here and elsewhere read ὁ φαλλὸς. But see the next sentence about pregnancy.

[256] ἐξετύπωσεν, “struck off.”

[257] πρωτόγονος. The others were “unbegotten” like the highest world of the Peratæ and Naassenes.

[258] εἴδεσιν.

[259] Is this Ps. xxix. 3, 10 already quoted by the Naassene author? Cf. p. 133 supra.

[260] This idea of a divine son superior to his father is common to the whole Orphic cosmogony and leads to the dethroning of Uranus by Kronos, Kronos by Zeus and finally of Zeus by Dionysos. It is met with again in Basilides (see Book VII infra).

[261] A lacuna here which Cruice thus fills.

[262] This has not been previously described. Is the narrative of the Fall alluded to?

[263] Cruice and Macmahon would translate “any other than man’s.”

[264] Phil. ii. 7. The only quotation from the N.T. other than that from Matt. used by the Sethians, if it be not, as I believe it is, the interpolation of Hippolytus.

[265] ἀπελούσατο. Yet it may refer to baptism which preceded initiation in nearly all the secret rites of the Pagan gods. Cf. Forerunners, 1, c. 2.

[266] The whole of this paragraph reads like an interpolation, or rather as something which had got out of its place. The statement about the physicists is directly at variance with the opening of the next which attributes the Sethian teaching to the Orphics. The triads he quotes are all of three “good” powers and therefore would belong much more appropriately to the system of the Peratæ. The quotation from Deut. iv. 11, he attributes to several other heresiarchs.

[267] The codex has ὀμφαλός for ὁ φαλλὸς which is Schneidewin’s emendation. No book attributed to Orpheus called “Bacchica” has come down to us, but the Rape of Persephone was a favourite theme with Orphic poets. Cf. Abel’s Orphica, pp. 209-219.

[268] This is not improbable; but Hippolytus gives us no evidence that this is the case, as Plutarch, from whom he quotes, certainly did not connect the frescoes of Phlium in the Peloponnesus (not Attica as he says) with the Sethians, nor does the light in their story desire the water.

[269] This too is a stock quotation which has already done duty for the Naassene author. Cf. p. 131 supra.

[270] So has this with the “Peratic.” Cf. p. 154 supra.

[271] κράσις ... μίξις.

[272] καταμεμῖχθαι λεπτῶς.

[273] τέχνη.

[274] Matt. x. 34.

[275] This again seems to be Hippolytus’ own repetition of a simile which he met with in the Naassene author and which so pleased him that he made use of it in his account of the Peratic heresy as well as here. Cf. pp. 144 and 159 supra.

[276] ἅλας πηγνύμενον.

[277] Herodotus VI, 20, mentions the City of Ampe, but says nothing there about the well which is described in c. 119 as at Ardericca in Cissia.

[278] The title of the book is given in the text as Παράφρασις Σήθ, which is a well-nigh impossible phrase.

[279] On the whole it may be said that this is the most suspect of all the chapters in the Philosophumena, and that, if ever Hippolytus was deceived into purchasing forged documents according to Salmon and Stähelin’s theory, one of them appears here. Much of it is mere verbiage as when, after having identified Mind or Nous with the fragrance of the spirit, he again explains that it is a ray of light sent from the perfect light, or when he explains the difference between the three different kinds of law. The quotations too are seldom new, nearly all of them appearing in other chapters and are, if it were possible, more than usually inapposite, while almost the only new one is inaccurate. The sentence about the Paraphrase (of) Seth, if that is the actual title of the book, does not suggest that Hippolytus is quoting from that work, nor does the phrase, “he says,” occur with anything like the frequency of its use in e. g., the Naassene chapter. On the whole, then, it seems probable that in this Hippolytus was not copying or extracting from any written document, but was writing down, to the best of his recollection the statements of some convert who professed to be able to reveal its teaching. It is significant in this respect that when the summary in Book X had to be made, the summarizer makes no attempt to abbreviate the statement of the supposed tenets of the Sethians, but merely copies out the part of the chapter in which they are described, entirely omitting the stories of the frescoed porch at Phlium and the oil-well at Ampa.

[280] Nothing is known of this Justinus, whose name is not mentioned by any other patristic writer, and there is no sure means of fixing his date. Macmahon, relying apparently on the last sentence of the chapter, would make him a predecessor of Simon Magus, and therefore contemporary with the Apostles’ first preaching. This is extremely unlikely, and Salmon on the other hand (D.C.B., s.v., “Justinus the Gnostic”) considers his heresy should be referred to “the latest stage of Gnosticism” which, if taken literally, would make it long posterior to Hippolytus. The source of his doctrine is equally obscure; for although Hippolytus classes him with the Ophites, the serpent in his system is certainly not good and plays as hostile a part towards man as the serpent of Genesis, while his supreme Triad of the Good Being, an intermediate power ignorant of the existence of his superior, and the Earth, differs in all essential respects from the Ophite Trinity of the First and Second Man and First Woman. Yet the names of the world-creating angels and devils here given, bear a singular likeness to those which Theodore bar Khôni in his Book of Scholia attributes to the Ophites and also to those mentioned by Origen as appearing on the Ophite Diagram. On the other hand, there are many likenesses not only of ideas but of language between the system of Justinus and that of Marcion, who also taught the existence of a Supreme and Benevolent God and of a lower one, harsh, but just, who was the unwitting author of the evil which is in the world. This, indeed, leaves out of the account the third or female power; but an Armenian account of Marcion’s doctrines attributes to him belief in a female power also, called Hyle or Matter and the spouse of the Just God of the Law, with whom her relations are pretty much as described in the text. Justinus, however, was not like Marcion a believing Christian; for he makes his Saviour the son of Joseph and Mary and the mere mouthpiece of the subaltern angel Baruch, while his account of the Crucifixion differs materially from that of Marcion. The obscene stories he tells about the protoplasts also appear in much later Manichæan documents and seem to be drawn from the Babylonian tradition of which the loves of the angels in the Book of Enoch are probably also a survival. It is therefore not improbable that Justinus, the Book of Enoch, the Ophites, and perhaps Marcion, alike derived their tenets on these points from heathen myths of the marriage of Heaven and Earth, which may possibly be traced back to early Babylonian theories of cosmogony. Cf. Forerunners, II, cc. 8 and 11, passim.

[281] Hippolytus, like the Gnostic writers, seems to know of an oral as well as a written tradition from the Evangelists.

[282] Matt. x. 5. In the A.V. as here, τὰ ἔθνη, “the nations.”

[283] πρότερον διδάξας or “at first teaches.”

[284] ψυχαγωγίας χάριν. The reader must again be reminded that while the ψυχή of the Greeks was what we should call “mind,” the πνεῦμα is spirit, answering more to our word “soul.”

[285] παραμύθιον, a play upon μύθος.

[286] 1 Cor. ii. 9.

[287] Lit., “guarded the secrets of silence.”

[288] Ps. cx. 4.

[289] “The Blessed.”

[290] παραπλάσει, “given it another form.” As a fact, Justinus’ quotation from Herodotus is singularly accurate, save as afterwards noted.

[291] Herodotus, IV, 8-10.

[292] An island near Cadiz. The codex has Ἐρυθρᾶς, “the Red Sea.”

[293] In Herodotus it is mares and a chariot.

[294] μιξοπάρθενος. A neologism.

[295] In Herodotus the prophecy is given by the girl.

[296] To explain the origin of the Scythian nation.

[297] Or perhaps, as above, “the things of the universe.”

[298] Supplied from the summary in Book X. So the Pistis Sophia has a Power never otherwise described but not benevolent who is called “the great unseen Forefather,” and seems to rule over material things.

[299] There is nothing to show that Hippolytus or Justinus knew this to be a plural.

[300] Seven names are missing from the text. Of the five given, Michael, Amen and Gabriel are given in the chapter on the Ophites in Theodore bar Khôni’s Book of Scholia as the first angels created by God, the name of Baruch being replaced by that of “the great Yah.” “Esaddæus” is probably El Shaddai, who is said in the same book to be the angel sent to give the Law to the Jews and to have treacherously persuaded them to worship himself.

[301] Of these twelve names, Babel is written in bar Khôni as Babylon and said to be masculo-feminine, Achamoth is the Hebrew חכמת, Chochmah, Sophia, or Wisdom whom most Gnostics called the Mother of Life, Naas is the Serpent as is explained in the chapter on the Naassenes, Bel, Baal or the Chaldæan Bel, for Belias we should probably read Beliar, the devil of works like the Ascensio Isaiae, Kavithan should probably be Leviathan, Adonaios is the Hebrew Adonai, or the Lord, while Sael, Karkamenos and Lathen cannot be identified. Pharaoh and “Samiel,” a homonym of Satan, appear in bar Khôni’s list of angels who rule one or other of the ten heavens, and Adonaios and Leviathan in the Ophite Diagram described by Celsus. Cf. Forerunners, II, pp. 70 ff.

[302] Gen. ii. 8.

[303] So a Chinese Manichæan treatise lately discovered (see Forerunners, II, p. 352) speaks of demons inhabiting the soul as “trees.”

[304] ξύλον τοῦ εἰδέναι γνῶσιν κ.τ.λ., “the Tree of seeing Knowledge,” etc.

[305] The context shows that it is the unity, etc., of Elohim and Edem that is referred to.

[306] Cf. n. on p. 177 supra.

[307] Gen. i. 28.

[308] Macmahon, “viceregal”; but the “satrap” shows from which country the story comes.

[309] Thus the Armenian version of Marcion’s theology (for which see Forerunners, II, p. 217, n. 2) makes the “God of the Law’s” withdrawal from Hyle or Matter, and his retirement to a higher heaven, the cause of all man’s woes.

[310] Cf. Ps. cxvii. 19, 20; but the likeness is not exact.

[311] Ps. cx. 1.

[312] Lit., “until she wishes it not.”

[313] “Serpent.” See n. on p. 173 supra.

[314] Gen. ii. 16, 17.

[315] That these stories about the protoplasts endured into Manichæan times, see M. Cumont’s La Cosmogonie Manichéenne, Appendix I.

[316] Here again a power is referred to by its number instead of its name, as with the Naassene author.

[317] Gal. v. 17.

[318] τὴν πλάσιν τὴν πονηράν, malam fictionem, Cr. Yet we have been told nothing of any deceit by Edem towards her partner.

[319] The Ophite Diagram, and bar Khôni’s authority both figure the powers hostile to man as taking the shapes of these animals.

[320] So one of the latest documents of the Pistis Sophia calls the planet Aphrodite by a place-name, which in that case is Bubastis.

[321] προφητεία.

[322] If these words are to be taken literally, Justinus was the only heretic of early date who denied His divinity, and this would distinguish him finally from Marcion. But the words are not inconsistent with the Adoptionist view.

[323] These words are Miller’s suggestion.

[324] John xix. 26.

[325] παραθέμενος. So Luke xxiii. 46.

[326] ἐπριοποίησε. The derivation is absurd and the word if it had any meaning would be something like “made like a saw.” προποιέω would make the pun at which he seems to have been striving.

[327] This was not the case, the statues of Priapus being placed in gardens. The whole passage seems to have been interpolated by some one ignorant of Greek and of Greek customs or mythology.

[328] Isa. i. 2.

[329] τελεῖσθας or “initiated.” In any case a mystical word.

[330] Lit., “washed”; but the context shows that it is baptism which is in question. It played an important part not only in all these heretical sects but in heathen “mysteries” like those of Isis and Mithras.

[331] Hosea i. 2. The A.V. has “departing from the Lord.” Here we have Edem clearly identified with the Earth goddess which is the key to the whole of Justinus’ story.

[332] ταῖς ἑξῆς ... τὰς τῶν ἀκολούθων αἱρέσεων. Macmahon, following Cruice, translates as above. It may well be, however, that the “heresies which follow” only mean which follow in the book.

[333] There is no reason to doubt Hippolytus’ assertion that this chapter is compiled from a book called Baruch in which Justinus set forth his own doctrines. The narrative therein is, unlike that of the earlier chapters, perfectly coherent and plain, and the author’s use of the historical present gives it a dramatic form which is lacking from the oratio obliqua formerly employed. Solecisms like the omission of the article are also rare, and the very long sentences in which Hippolytus seems to have delighted do not appear except in those passages where he is speaking in his own person. Whether from this or from some other cause, moreover, the transcription of it seems to have given less difficulty to the scribe Michael than some of the other chapters, and there is therefore far less need to constantly restore the text as in the case of the quotations from Sextus Empiricus. On the whole, therefore, we may assume that, as we have it, it is a genuine summary of Justinus’ doctrines taken from a work by his own hand.




A következőkben olvasható a Minden eretnekség cáfolata című hatodik könyv tartalma: Mik azok a vélemények, amelyeket Simon megkísérel (megerősíteni), és hogy tanítása a mágusok és költők tanításából meríti erejét.

Mik azok a vélemények, amelyeket Valentinus hirdetett, és hogy rendszere nem a Írásból épül fel, hanem a platóni és a pitagoreus tantételekből.

És mi a véleménye Secundusról, Ptolemaioszról és Hérakleonról, mint olyan személyekről, akik maguk is ugyanazokat a tanokat hirdették, mint a görögök filozófusai, de ezeket különböző kifejezésmódokban fogalmazták meg.

És mik azok a feltevések, amelyeket Marcus és Colarbasus terjesztett elő, és hogy néhányan a mágikus művészeteknek és a pitagoraszai számoknak szentelték figyelmüket.


Whatever opinions, then, were entertainedby those who derived the first principles (of their doctrine) from the serpent, and in process of time deliberately brought forward into public notice their tenets, we have explained in the book preceding this, (and) which is the fifth of the Refutation of Heresies. But now also I shall not be silent as regards the opinions of (heresiarchs) who follow these (Ophites in succession); nay, not one (speculation) will I leave unrefuted, if it is possible to remember all (their tenets), and the secret orgies of these (heretics) which one may fairly style orgies,--for they who propagate such audacious opinions are not far distant from the anger (of God),--that I may avail myself of the assistance of etymology.

II. Fejezet Simon Mágus

Célszerűnek tűnik tehát most Simonnak, a szamáriai eredetűnek, Gittában született véleményének magyarázata; és azt is bebizonyítjuk, hogy utódai, tőle kiindulva, névváltoztatással igyekeztek (meghonosítani) hasonló véleményeket. Ez a Simon, aki a varázslásban jártas, egyrészt sokakból gúnyt űz, részben Thrasümédész művészete szerint, ahogyan fentebb kifejtettük, másrészt a gonoszságát elkövető démonok segítségével, megpróbálta isteníteni magát. (De) ez az ember (csupán) egy csaló volt, és tele volt ostobasággal, és az apostolok megfeddték őt a Cselekedetekben. Simonnál sokkal nagyobb bölcsességgel és mértékkel, a líbiai Apsethus, fellángolva a hasonló vágytól, arra törekedett, hogy Líbiában istennek tekintse magát, és mivel legendás rendszere nem mutat nagy eltérést annak az ostoba Simonnak a mértéktelen vágyától, célszerűnek tűnik magyarázatot adni rá, mint ami méltó az ember próbálkozásához.


Apsethus the Libyan inordinately longed to become a god; but when, after repeated intrigues, he altogether failed to accomplish his desire, he nevertheless wished to appear to have become a god; and he did at all events appear, as time wore on, to have in reality become a god. For the foolish Libyans were accustomed to sacrifice unto him as to some divine power, supposing that they were yielding credence to a voice that came down from above, from heaven. For, collecting into one and the same cage a great number of birds,--parrots,--he shut them up. Now there are very many parrots throughout Libya, and very distinctly these imitate the human voice. This man, having for a time nourished the birds, was in the habit of teaching them to say, "Apsethus is a god." After, however, the birds had practised this for a long period, and were accustomed to the utterance of that which he thought, when said, would make it supposed that Apsethus was a god, then, opening the habitation (of the birds), he let forth the parrots, each in a different direction. While the birds, however, were on the wing, their sound went out into all Libya, and the expressions of these reached as far as the Hellenic country. And thus the Libyans, being astonished at the voice of the birds, and not perceiving the knavery perpetrated by Apsethus, held Apsethus to be a god. Some one, however, of the Greeks, by accurate examination, perceiving the trick of the supposed god, by means of those same parrots not only refutes, but also utterly destroys, that boastful and tiresome fellow. Now the Greek, by confining many of the parrots, taught them anew to say, "Apsethus, having caged us, compelled us to say, Apsethus is a god." But having heard of the recantation of the parrots, the Libyans, coming together, all unanimously decided on burning Apsethus.


In this way we must think concerning Simon the magician, so that we may compare him unto the Libyan, far sooner than unto Him who, though made man, was in reality God. If, however, the assertion of this likeness is in itself accurate, and the sorcerer was the subject of a passion similar to Apsethus, let us endeavour to teach anew the parrots of Simon, that Christ, who stood, stands, and will stand, (that is, was, is, and is to come,) was not Simon. But (Jesus) was man, offspring of the seed of a woman, born of blood and the will of the flesh, as also the rest (of humanity). And that these things are so, we shall easily prove as the discussion proceeds.

Now Simon, both foolishly and knavishly paraphrasing the law of Moses, makes his statements (in the manner following): For when Moses asserts that "God is a burning and consuming fire," taking what is said by Moses not in its correct sense, he affirms that fire is the originating principle of the universe. (But Simon) does not consider what the statement is which is made, namely, that it is not that God is a fire, but a burning and consuming fire, (thereby) not only putting a violent sense upon the actual law of Moses, but even plagiarizing from Heraclitus the Obscure. And Simon denominates the originating principle of the universe an indefinite power, expressing himself thus: "This is the treatise of a revelation of (the) voice and name (recognisable) by means of intellectual apprehension of the Great Indefinite Power. Wherefore it will be sealed, (and) kept secret, (and) hid, (and) will repose in the habitation, at the foundation of which lies the root of all things." And he asserts that this man who is born of blood is (the aforesaid) habitation, and that in him resides an indefinite power, which he affirms to be the root of the universe.

Now the indefinite power which is fire, constitutes, according to Simon, not any uncompounded (essence, in conformity with the opinion of those who) assert that the four elements are simple, and who have (therefore) likewise imagined that fire, (which is one of the four,) is simple. But (this is far from being the case): for there is, (he maintains,) a certain twofold nature of fire; and of this twofold (nature) he denominates one part a something secret, and another a something manifest, and that the secret are hidden in the manifest portions of the fire, and that the manifest portions of the fire derive their being from its secret (portions). This, however, is what Aristotle denominates by (the expressions) "potentiality" and "energy," or (what) Plato (styles) "intelligible" and "sensible." And the manifest portion of the fire comprises all things in itself, whatsoever any one might discern, or even whatever objects of the visible creation he may happen to overlook.

But the entire secret (portion of the fire) which one may discern is cognised by intellect, and evades the power of the senses; or one fails to observe it, from want of a capacity for that particular sort of perception. In general, however, inasmuch as all existing things fall under the categories, namely, of what are objects of Sense, and what are objects of Intellect, and as for the denomination of these (Simon) employs the terms secret and manifest; it may, (I say, in general,) be affirmed that the fire, (I mean) the super-celestial (fire), is a treasure, as it were a large tree, just such a one as in a dream was seen by Nabuchodonosor, out of which all flesh is nourished. And the manifest portion of the fire he regards as the stem, the branches, the leaves, (and) the external rind which overlaps them. All these (appendages), he says, of the Great Tree being kindled, are made to disappear by reason of the blaze of the all-devouring fire. The fruit, however, of the tree, when it is fully grown, and has received its own form, is deposited in a granary, not (flung) into the fire. For, he says, the fruit has been produced for the purpose of being laid in the storehouse, whereas the chaff that it may be delivered over to the fire. (Now the chaff) is stem, (and is) generated not for its own sake, but for that of the fruit.


And this, he says, is what has been written in Scripture: "For the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth is the house of Israel, and the man of Judah is His beloved plant." If, however, the man of Judah the beloved plant, it has been proved, he says, that there is not any other tree but that man. But concerning the secretion and dissolution of this (tree), Scripture, he says, has spoken sufficiently. And as regards instruction for those who have been fashioned after the image (of him), that statement is enough which is made (in Scripture), that "all flesh is grass, and all the glory of flesh, as it were, a flower of grass. The grass withereth, and its flower falleth; but the word of the Lord abideth for ever." The word of the Lord, he says, is that word which is produced in the mouth, and a Logos, but nowhere else exists there a place of generation.



Now, to express myself briefly, inasmuch as the fire is of this description, according to Simon, and since all things are visible and invisible, (and) in like manner resonant and not resonant, numerable and not subjects of numeration; he denominates in the Great Announcement a perfect intelligible (entity), after such a mode, that each of those things which, existing indefinitely, may be infinitely comprehended, both speaks, and understands, and acts in such a manner as Empedocles speaks of:- "For earth, indeed, by earth we see, and water by water, And air divine by air, and fire fierce by fire, And love by love, and also strife by gloomy strife."


For, he says, he is in the habit of considering that all these portions of the fire, both visible and invisible, are possessed of perception and a share of intelligence. The world, therefore, that which is generated, was produced from the unbegotten fire. It began, however, to exist, he says, according to the following manner. He who was begotten from the principle of that fire took six roots, and those primary ones, of the originating principle of generation. And, he says that the roots were made from the fire in pairs, which roots he terms "Mind" and "Intelligence," "Voice" and "Name," "Ratiocination" and "Reflection." And that in these six roots resides simultaneously the entire indefinite power potentially, (however) not actually. And this indefinite power, he says, is he who stood, stands, and will stand. Wherefore, whensoever he may be made into an image, inasmuch as he exists in the six powers, he will exist (there) substantially, potentially, quantitively, (and) completely. (And he will be a power) one and the same with the unbegotten and indefinite power, and not labouring under any greater deficiency than that unbegotten and unalterable (and) indefinite power. If, however, he may continue only potentially in the six powers, and has not been formed into an image, he vanishes, he says, and is destroyed in such a way as the grammatical or geometrical capacity in man's soul. For when the capacity takes unto itself an art, a light of existent things is produced; but when (the capacity) does not take unto itself (an art), unskilfulness and ignorance are the results; and just as when (the power) was non-existent, it perishes along with the expiring man.


And of those six powers, and of the seventh which co-exists with them, the first pair, Mind and Intelligence, he calls Heaven and Earth. And that one of these, being of male sex, beholds from above and takes care of his partner. but that the earth receives below the rational fruits, akin to the earth, which are borne down from the heaven. On this account, he says, the Logos, frequently looking towards the things that are being generated from Mind and Intelligence, that is, from Heaven and Earth, exclaims, "Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, because the Lord has spoken. I have brought forth children, and exalted them; and these have rejected me." Now, he who utters these words, he says, is the seventh power--he who stood, stands, and will stand; for he himself is cause of those beauteous objects of creation which Moses commended, and said that they were very good. But Voice and Name (the second of the three pairs) are Sun and Moon; and Ratiocination and Reflection (the third of the three pairs) are Air and Water. And in all these is intermingled and blended, as I have declared, the great, the indefinite, the (self-) existing power.



When, therefore, Moses has spoken of "the six days in which God made heaven and earth, and rested on the seventh from all His works," Simon, in a manner already specified, giving (these and other passages of Scripture) a different application (from the one intended by the holy writers), deifies himself. When, therefore, (the followers of Simon) affirm that there are three days begotten before sun and moon, they speak enigmatically of Mind and Intelligence, that is, Heaven and Earth, and of the seventh power, (I mean) the indefinite one. For these three powers are produced antecedent to all the rest. But when they say, "He begot me prior to all the Ages," such statements, he says, are alleged to hold good concerning the seventh power. Now this seventh power, which was a power existing in the indefinite power, which was produced prior to all the Ages, this is, he says, the seventh power, respecting which Moses utters the following words: "And the Spirit of God was wafted over the water;" that is, says (the Simonian), the Spirit which contains all things in itself, and is an image of the indefinite power about which Simon speaks,--"an image from an incorruptible form, that alone reduces all things into order." For this power that is wafted over the water, being begotten, he says, from an incorruptible form alone, reduces all things into order. When, therefore, according to these (heretics), there ensued some such arrangement, and (one) similar (to it) of the world, the Deity, he says, proceeded to form man, taking clay from the earth. And He formed him not uncompounded, but twofold, according to (His own) image and likeness. Now the image is the Spirit that is wafted over the water; and whosoever is not fashioned into a figure of this, will perish with the world, inasmuch as he continues only potentially, and does exist actually. This, he says, is what has been spoken, "that we should not be condemned with the world." If one, however, be made into the figure of (the Spirit), and be generated from an indivisible point, as it has been written in the Announcement, (such a one, albeit) small, will become great. But what is great will continue unto infinite and unalterable duration, as being that which no longer is subject to the conditions of a generated entity.

How then, he says, and in what manner, does God form man? In Paradise; for so it seems to him. Grant Paradise, he says, to be the womb; and that this is a true (assumption) the Scripture will teach, when it utters the words, "I am He who forms thee in thy mother's womb." For this also he wishes to have been written so. Moses, he says, resorting to allegory, has declared Paradise to be the womb, if we ought to rely on his statement. If, however, God forms man in his mother's womb--that is, in Paradise--as I have affirmed, let Paradise be the womb, and Edem the after-birth, "a river flowing forth from Edem, for the purpose of irrigating Paradise," (meaning by this) the navel. This navel, he says, is separated into four principles; for on either side of the navel are situated two arteries, channels of spirit, and two veins channels of blood. But when, he says, the umbilical vessels proceed forth from Edem, that is, the caul in which the foetus is enveloped grows into the (foetus) that is being formed in the vicinity of the epigastrium,-- (now) all in common denominate this a navel,--these two veins through which the blood flows, and is conveyed from Edem. the after-birth, to what are styled the gates of the liver; (these veins, I say,) nourish the foetus. But the arteries which we have spoken of as being channels of spirit, embrace the bladder on both sides, around the pelvis, and connect it with the great artery, called the aorta, in the vicinity of the dorsal ridge. And in this way the spirit, making its way through the ventricles to the heart, produces a movement of the foetus. For the infant that was formed in Paradise neither receives nourishment through the mouth, nor breathes through the nostrils: for as it lay in the midst of moisture, at its feet was death, if it attempted to breathe; for it would (thus) have been drawn away from moisture, and perished (accordingly). But (one may go further than this); for the entire (foetus) is bound tightly round by a covering styled the caul, and is nourished by a navel, and it receives through the (aorta), in the vicinity of the dorsal ridge, as I have stated, the substance of the spirit.


The river, therefore, he says, which proceeds out of Edem is divided into four principles, four channels--that is, into four senses, belonging to the creature that is being born, viz., seeing, smelling, taste, and touch; for the child formed in Paradise has these senses only. This, he says, is the law which Moses appointed; and in reference to this very law, each of his books has been written, as the inscriptions evince. The first book is Genesis. The inscription of the book is, he says, sufficient for a knowledge of the universe. For this is (equivalent in meaning with) generation, (that is,) vision, into which one section of the river is divided. For the world was seen by the power of vision. Again, the inscription of the second book is Exodus.

For what has been produced, passing through the Red Sea, must come into the wilderness,--now they say he calls the Red (Sea) blood,--and taste bitter water. For bitter, he says, is the water which is (drunk) after (crossing) the Red Sea; which (water) is a path to be trodden, that leads to a knowledge in (this) life of (our) toilsome and bitter lot. Altered, however, by Moses--that is, by the Logos--that bitter (water) becomes sweet. And that this is so we may hear in common from all who express themselves according to the (sentiments of the) poets:- "Dark at the root, like milk, the flower, Gods call it 'Moly,' and hard for mortal men To dig, but power divine is boundless."


What is spoken by the Gentiles is sufficient for a knowledge of the universe to those who have ears (capable) of hearing. For whosoever, he says, has tasted this fruit, is not the only one that is changed by Circe into a beast; but also, employing the power of such a fruit, he forms anew and moulds afresh, and re-entices into that primary peculiar character of theirs, those that already have been altered into beasts. But a faithful man, and beloved by that sorceress, is, he says, discovered through that milk-like and divine fruit. In like manner, the third book is Leviticus, which is smelling, or respiration. For the entire of that book is (an account) of sacrifices and offerings. Where, however, there is a sacrifice, a certain savour of the fragrance arises from the sacrifice through the incense-offerings; and in regard of this fragrance (the sense of) smelling is a test. Numbers, the fourth of the books, signifies taste, where the discourse is operative. For, from the fact of its speaking all things, it is denominated by numerical arrangement. But Deuteronomy, he says, is written in reference to the (sense of) touch possessed by the child that is being formed. For as touch, by seizing the things that are seen by the other senses, sums them up and ratifies them, testing what is rough, or warm, or clammy, (or cold); so the fifth book of the law constitutes a summary of the four books preceding this.

All things, therefore, he says, when unbegotten, are in us potentially, not actually, as the grammatical or geometrical (art). If, then, one receives proper instruction and teaching, and (where consequently) what is bitter will be altered into what is sweet,--that is, the spears into pruning-hooks, and the swords into plough-shares, --there will not be chaff and wood begotten for fire, but mature fruit, fully formed, as I said, equal and similar to the unbegotten and indefinite power. If, however, a tree continues alone, not producing fruit fully formed, it is utterly destroyed. For somewhere near, he says, is the axe (which is laid) at the roots of the tree. Every tree, he says, which does not produce good fruit, is hewn down and cast into fire.


According to Simon, therefore, there exists that which is blessed and incorruptible in a latent condition in every one-- (that is,) potentially, not actually; and that this is He who stood, stands, and is to stand. He has stood above in unbegotten power. He stands below, when in the stream of waters He was begotten in a likeness. He is to stand above, beside the blessed indefinite power, if He be fashioned into an image. For, he says, there are three who have stood; and except there were three AEons who have stood, the unbegotten one is not adorned. (Now the unbegotten one) is, according to them, wafted over the water, and is re-made, according to the similitude (of an eternal nature), a perfect celestial (being), in no (quality of) intelligence formed inferior to the unbegotten power: that is what they say--I and you, one; you, before me; I, that which is after you. This, he says, is one power divided above (and) below, generating itself, making itself grow, seeking itself, finding itself, being mother of itself, father of itself, sister of itself, spouse of itself, daughter of itself, son of itself, mother, father, a unit, being a root of the entire circle of existence.

And that, he says, the originating principle of the generation of things begotten is from fire, he discerns after some such method as the following. Of all things, (i.e.) of whatsoever there is a generation, the beginning of the desire of the generation is from fire. Wherefore the desire after mutable generation is denominated "to be inflamed." For when the fire is one, it admits of two conversions. For, he says, blood in the man being both warm and yellow, is converted as a figured flame into seed; but in the woman this same blood is converted into milk. And the conversion of the male becomes generation, but the conversion of the female nourishment for the foetus. This, he says, is "the flaming sword, which turned to guard the way of the tree of life." For the blood is converted into seed and milk, and this power becomes mother and father--father of those things that are in process of generation, and the augmentation of those things that are being nourished; (and this power is) without further want, (and) self-sufficient. And, he says, the tree of life is guarded, as we have stated, by the brandished flaming sword. And it is the seventh power, that which (is produced) from itself, (and) which contains all (powers, and) which reposes in the six powers. For if the flaming sword be not brandished, that good tree will be destroyed, and perish. If, however, these be converted into seed and milk, the principle that resides in these potentially, and is in possession of a proper position, in which is evolved a principle of souls, (such a principle,) beginning, as it were, from a very small spark, will be altogether magnified, and will increase and become a power indefinite (and) unalterable, (equal and similar) to an unalterable age, which no longer passes into the indefinite age.


Therefore, according to this reasoning, Simon became confessedly a god to his silly followers, as that Libyan, namely, Apsethus--begotten, no doubt, and subject to passion, when he may exist potentially, but devoid of propensions. (And this too, though born from one having pro-pensions, and uncreated though born) from one that is begotten, when He may be fashioned into a figure, and, becoming perfect, may come forth from two of the primary powers, that is, Heaven and Earth. For Simon expressly speaks of this in the "Revelation" after this manner: "To you, then, I address the things which I speak, and (to you) I write what I write. The writing is this: there are two offshoots from all the AEons, having neither beginning nor end, from one root. And this is a power, viz., Sige, (who is) invisible (and) incomprehensible. And one of these (offshoots) appears from above, which constitutes a great power, (the creative) Mind of the universe, which manages all things, (and is) a male. The other (offshoot), however, is from below, (and constitutes) a great Intelligence, and is a female which produces all things. From whence, ranged in pairs opposite each other, they undergo conjugal union, and manifest an intermediate interval, namely, an incomprehensible air, which has neither beginning nor end. But in this is a father who sustains all things, and nourishes things that have beginning and end. This is he who stood, stands, and will stand, being an hermaphrodite power according to the pre-existent indefinite power, which has neither beginning nor end. Now this (power) exists in isolation. For Intelligence, (that subsists) in unity, proceeded forth from this (power), (and) became two. And that (father) was one, for having in himself this (power) he was isolated, and, however, He was not primal though pre-existent; but being rendered manifest to himself from himself, he passed into a state of duality. But neither was he denominated father before this (power) would style him father. As, therefore, he himself, bringing forward himself by means of himself, manifested unto himself his own peculiar intelligence, so also the intelligence, when it was manifested, did not exercise the function of creation. But beholding him, she concealed the Father within herself, that is, the power; and it is an hermaphrodite power, and an intelligence. And hence it is that they are ranged in pairs, one opposite the other; for power is in no wise different from intelligence, inasmuch as they are one. For from those things that are above is discovered power; and from those below, intelligence. So it is, therefore, that likewise what is manifested from these, being unity, is discovered (to be) duality, an hermaphrodite having the female in itself. This, (therefore,) is Mind (subsisting) in Intelligence; and these are separable one from the other, (though both taken together) are one, (and) are discovered in a state of duality."


Simon then, after inventing these (tenets), not only by evil devices interpreted the writings of Moses in whatever way he wished, but even the (works) of the poets. For also he fastens an allegorical meaning on (the story of) the wooden horse and Helen with the torch, and on very many other (accounts), which he transfers to what relates to himself and to Intelligence, and (thus) furnishes a fictitious explanation of them. He said, however, that this (Helen) was the lost sheep. And she, always abiding among women, confounded the powers in the world b reason of her surpassing beauty. Whence, likewise, the Trojan war arose on her account. For in the Helen born at that time resided this Intelligence; and thus, when all the powers were for claiming her (for themselves), sedition and war arose, during which (this chief power) was manifested to nations. And from this circumstance, without doubt, we may believe that Stesichorus, who had through (some) verses reviled her, was deprived of the use of his eyes; and that, again, when he repented and composed recantations, in which he sung (Helen's) praises, he recovered the power of vision. But the angels and the powers below--who, he says, created the world--caused the transference from one body to another of (Helen's soul); and subsequently she stood on the roof of a house in Tyre, a city of Phoenicia, and on going down thither (Simon professed to have) found her. For he stated that, principally for the purpose of searching after this (woman), he had arrived (in Tyre), in order that he might rescue her from bondage. And after having thus redeemed her, he was in the habit of conducting her about with himself, alleging that this (girl) was the lost sheep, and affirming himself to be the Power above all things. But the filthy fellow, becoming enamoured of this miserable woman called Helen, purchased her (as his slave), and enjoyed her person. He, (however,) was likewise moved with shame towards his disciples, and concocted this figment.

But, again, those who become followers of this impostor--I mean Simon the sorcerer--indulge in similar practices, and irrationally allege the necessity of promiscuous intercourse. They express themselves in the manner following: "All earth is earth, and there is no difference where any one sores, provided he does sow." But even they congratulate themselves on account of this indiscriminate intercourse, asserting that this is perfect love, and employing the expressions, "holy of holies," and "sanctify one another." For (they would have us believe) that they are not overcome by the supposed vice, for that they have been redeemed. "And (Jesus), by having redeemed Helen in this way," (Simon says,) "has afforded salvation to men through his own peculiar intelligence. For inasmuch as the angels, by reason of their lust for pre-eminence, improperly managed the world, (Jesus Christ) being transformed, and being assimilated to the rulers and powers and angels, came for the restoration (of things). And so (it was that Jesus) appeared as man, when in reality he was not a man. And (so it was) that likewise he suffered--though not actually undergoing suffering, but appearing to the Jews to do so --in Judea as 'Son,' and in Samaria as 'Father,' and among the rest of the Gentiles as 'Holy Spirit.' "And (Simon alleges) that Jesus tolerated being styled by whichever name (of the three just mentioned) men might wish to call him. "And that the prophets, deriving their inspiration from the world-making angels, uttered predictions (concerning him)." Wherefore, (Simon said,) that towards these (prophets) those felt no concern up to the present, who believe on Simon and Helen, and that they do whatsoever they please, as persons free; for they allege that they are saved by grace. For that there is no reason for punishment, even though one shall act wickedly; for such a one is not wicked by nature, but by enactment. "For the angels who created the world made," he says, "whatever enactments they pleased," thinking by such (legislative) words to enslave those who listened to them. But, again, they speak of a dissolution of the world, for the redemption of his own particular adherents.


The disciples, then, of this (Magus), celebrate magical rites, and resort to incantations. And (they profess to) transmit both love-spells and charms, and the demons said to be senders of dreams, for the purpose of distracting whomsoever they please. But they also employ those denominated Paredroi. "And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these." But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one amongst them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries. This Simon, deceiving many in Samaria by his sorceries, was reproved by the Apostles, and was laid under a curse, as it has been written in the Acts. But he afterwards abjured the faith, and attempted these (aforesaid practices). And journeying as far as Rome, he fell in with the Apostles; and to him, deceiving many by his sorceries, Peter offered repeated opposition. This man, ultimately repairing to . . . (and) sitting under a plane tree, continued to give instruction (in his doctrines). And in truth at last, when conviction was imminent, in case he delayed longer, be stated that, if he were buried alive, he would rise the third day. And accordingly, having ordered a trench to be dug by his disciples, he directed himself to be interred there. They, then, executed the injunction given; whereas he remained (in that grave) until this day, for he was not the Christ. This constitutes the legendary system advanced by Simon, and from this Valentinus derived a starting-point (for his own doctrine. This doctrine, in point of fact, was the same with the it Simonian, though Valentinus) denominated under different titles: for "Nous," and "Aletheia," and "Logos," and "Zoe," and "Anthropos," and "Ecclesia," and Aeons of Valentinus, are confessedly the six roots of Simon, viz., "Mind" and "Intelligence," "Voice" and "Name," "Ratiocination" and "Reflection." But since it seems to us that we have sufficiently explained Simon's tissue of legends, let us see what also Valentinus asserts.

XVI. Fejezet -- Valentinusz Eretneksége; Paltóntól és Püthagorásztól származott. 

Valentinus eretneksége tehát minden bizonnyal összefügg a püthagoreusi és platóni elmélettel. Platón ugyanis a Timaeus-ban teljes egészében Püthagorásztól meríti benyomásait, ezért maga Timéosz is az ő pitagoraszai idegenje. Ezért célszerűnek tűnik, ha azzal kezdjük, hogy felidézzük (az olvasónak) a püthagoreusi és platóni elmélet néhány pontját, és hogy (akkor folytatnunk kell) Valentinus véleményének kijelentését. Mert bár a korábban általunk oly sok kínnal befejezett könyvek tartalmazzák mind Püthagorasz, mind Platón véleményét, de semmi esetre sem cselekszem indokolatlanul, most az olvasó emlékezetére is szólítva, az epitome (kivonat) segítségével, melyek ezen (spekulánsok) kedvenc tanainak fő tételeire vonatkoznak. És ez (az összefoglalás) megkönnyíti Valentinusz tanáról való ismeretünk, a közelebbi összehasonlítás eszköze által, és (a két rendszer) összetételének hasonlósága alapján. Ugyanis (Püthagorasz és Platón) ezeket a tételeket eredetileg az egyiptomiaktól vette át, majd bemutatták újszerű véleményüket a görögök körében. Tehát (Valentinus ezektől vette át a véleményét), mert bár elhallgatta (elfojtotta) az igazságot a (görög filozófusokkal) szembeni kötelezettségeivel kapcsolatban, és ily módon igyekezett egy tanítást felépíteni, (mintha) sajátosan övé lenne, de valójában csak névben és számokban változtatta meg a (gondolkodók) tanait, és (saját) szaknyelvet (terminológiát) alkalmazott. Valentinus definícióit mértékkel alakította ki, hogy megalapozzon egy kétségtelenül szerteágazó, de instabil, Krisztushoz nem kapcsolódó hellén eretnekséget.


Az eredet tehát, amelyből Platón elméletét a Timaeuszban levezette, az egyiptomiak bölcsessége. Hiszen ebből a forrásból, valami ősi és prófétai hagyomány szerint, Szolón teljes rendszer tanított a világ keletkezéséről és elpusztításáról, amint Platón mondja, a görögöknek, akik (tudásban) kisgyermekek voltak, és semmilyen ősibb teológiai tant nem ismertek. Annak érdekében tehát, hogy pontosan nyomon tudjuk követni azokat az érveket, amelyekkel Valentinus felállította tantételeit, most elmagyarázom, melyek a szamoszi Püthagorász filozófiájának alapelvei, -- egy filozófia (párosítva volt) azzal a Csenddel, amelyet a görögök annyira ünnepeltek. És a követkzőkben ezen a módon (el fogom magyarázni) azokat (véleményeket), amelyeket Valentinus Püthagorász és Platóntól származtat, de a szónoklat teljes komolyságával Krisztusra vonatkoztat, és a Krisztus előtt az univerzum Atyjára, és a Csendre mely összekapcsolódott az Atyával. 


Pitagorasz tehát kijelentette, hogy az univerzum kiinduló princípiuma a születetlen monád (egyesség), és a létrejött a duad (kettősség), és a számok maradéka. És azt mondja, hogy a monad (egyesség) a duad (kettősség) atyja, a duad pedig minden születendő dolog anyja - a szülött (anyja lévén) a születő dolgok közül. Zaratas, Püthagorász tanítványa pedig az egységet apának, a kettősséget anyának nevezte. A duád ugyanis a monádból jött létre, Püthagorász szerint; és a monád férfi és elsődleges, de a duad női (és másodlagos). És a duádból ismét, ahogy Püthagorász állítja, (létrejön) a triad (hármasság) és az azt követő számok tízig. Mert Püthagorász tudatában van, hogy ez az egyetlen tökéletes szám -- úgy értem a decád (tíz) -- mert az a tizenegy és tizenkettő egy kiegészítés és a decád megismétlése; azonben nem úgy, hogy ami hozzáadódik egy másik szám nemzedéke. És minden szilárd testet a testetlen (lényegekből) származtat. Azt állítja ugyanis, hogy a testi és testetlen entitások eleme és alapelve a pont, amely oszthatatlan. És egy pontból, mondja, egy vonal jön létre, és egy vonalból egy felület; és a magasságba kifolyó felület szilárd testté válik – mondja. Ebből is van a püthagoreusoknak az a bizonyos állításuk, tudniillik a négy elem összhangja (egyetértése). És ezekkel a szavakkal esküsznek:- "Általa, aki fejünknek négy részt ad, a forrás, amelynek megvan az örök természet gyökere."

Now the quaternion is the originating principle of natural and solid bodies, as the monad of intelligible ones. And that likewise the quaternion generates, he says, the perfect number, as in the case of intelligibles (the monad) does the decade, they teach thus. If any, beginning to number, says one, and adds two, then in like manner three, these (together) will be six, and to these (add) moreover four, the entire (sum), in like manner, will be ten. For one, two, three, four, become ten, the perfect number. Thus, he says, the quaternion in every respect imitated the intelligible monad, which was able to generate a perfect number.


There are, then, according to Pythagoras, two worlds: one intelligible, which has the monad for an originating principle; and the other sensible. But of this (latter) is the quaternion having the iota the one tittle, a perfect number. And there likewise is, according to the Pythagoreans, the i, the one tittle, which is chief and most dominant, and enables us to apprehend the substance of those intelligible entities which are capable of being understood through the medium of intellect and of sense. (And in this substance inhere) the nine incorporeal accidents which cannot exist without substance, viz., "quality," and "quantity," and "relation," and "where," and "when," and "position," and "possession," and "action," and "passion." These, then, are the nine accidents (inhering in) substance, and when reckoned with these (substances), contains the perfect number, the i. Wherefore, the universe being divided, as we said, into the intelligible and sensible world, we have also reason from the intelligible (world), in order that by reason we may behold the substance of things that are cognised by intellect, and are incorporeal and divine. But we have, he says, five senses--smelling, seeing, hearing, taste, and touch. Now, by these we arrive at a knowledge of things that are discerned by sense; and so, he says, the sensible is divided from the intelligible world. And that we have for each of these an instrument for attaining knowledge, we perceive from the following consideration. Nothing, he says, of intelligibles can be known to us from sense. For he says neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor any whatsoever of the other senses known that (which is cognised by mind). Neither, again, by reason is it possible to arrive at a knowledge of any of the things discernible by sense. But one must see that a thing is white, and taste that it is sweet, and know by hearing that it is musical or out of tune. And whether any odour is fragrant or disagreeable, is the function of smell, not of reason. It is the same with objects of touch; for anything rough, or soft, or warm, or cold, it is not possible to know by hearing, but (far from it), for touch is the judge of such (sensations). Things being thus constituted, the arrangement of things that have been made and are being made is observed to happen in conformity with numerical (combinations). For in the same manner as, commencing from monad, by an addition of monads or triads, and a collection of the succeeding numbers, we make some one very large complex whole of number; (and) then, again, from an amassed number thus formed by addition, we accomplish, by means of a certain subtraction and re-calculation, a solution of the totality of the aggregate numbers; so likewise he asserts that the world, bound by a certain arithmetical and musical chain, was, by its tension and relaxation, and by addition and subtraction, always and for ever preserved in-corrupt.


The Pythagoreans therefore declare their opinion concerning the continuance of the world in some such manner as this:- "For heretofore it was and will be; never, I ween, Of both of these will void the age eternal be."

"Of these;" but what are they? Discord and Love. Now, in their system, Love forms the world incorruptible (and) eternal, as they suppose. For substance and the world are one. Discord, however, separates and puts asunder, and evinces numerous attempts by subdividing to form the world. It is just as if one severs into small parts, and divides arithmetically, the myriad into thousands, and hundreds, and tens; and drachmae into oboli and small farthings. In this manner, he says, Discord severs the substance of the world into animals, plants, metals and things similar to these. And the fabricator of the generation of all things produced is, according to them, Discord; whereas Love, on the other hand, manages and provides for the universe in such a manner that it enjoys permanence. And conducting together into unity the divided and scattered parts of the universe, and leading them forth from their (separate) mode of existence, (Love) unites and adds to the universe, in order that it may enjoy permanence; and it thus constitutes one system. They will not therefore cease,--neither Discord dividing the world, nor Love attaching to the world the divided parts. Of some such description as this, so it appears, is the distribution of the world according to Pythagoras. But Pythagoras says that the stars are fragments from the sun, and that the souls of animals are conveyed from the stars; and that these are mortal when they are in the body, just as if buried, as it were, in a tomb: whereas that they rise (out of this world) and become immortal, when we are separated from our bodies. Whence Plato, being asked by some one, "What is philosophy?" replied, "It is a separation of soul from body."


Pythagoras, then, became a student of these doctrines likewise, in which he speaks both by enigmas and some such expressions as these: "When you depart from your own (tabernacle), return not; if, however, (you act) not (thus), the Furies, auxiliaries to justice, will overtake you,"--denominating the body one's own (tabernacle), and its passions the Furies. When, therefore, he says, you depart, that is, when you go forth from the body, do not earnestly crave for this; but if you are eagerly desirous (for departure), the passions will once more confine you within the body. For these suppose that there is a transition of souls from one body to another, as also Empedocles, adopting the principles of Pythagoras, affirms. For, says he, souls that are lovers of pleasure, as Plato states, if, when they are in the condition of suffering incidental to man, they do not evolve theories of philosophy, must pass through all animals and plants (back) again into a human body. And when (the soul) may form a system of speculation thrice in the same body, (he maintains) that it ascends up to the nature of some kindred star. If, however, (the soul) does not philosophize, (it must pass) through the same (succession of changes once more). He affirms, then, that the soul sometimes may become even mortal, if it is overcome by the Furies, that is, the passions (of the body); and immortal, if it succeeds in escaping the Furies, which are the passions.


But since also we have chosen to mention the sayings darkly expressed by Pythagoras to his disciples by means of symbols, it seems likewise expedient to remind (the reader) of the rest (of his doctrines. And we touch on this subject) on account also of the heresiarchs, who attempt by some method of this description to converse by means of symbols; and these are not their own, but they have, (in propounding them,) taken advantage of expressions employed by the Pythagoreans. Pythagoras then instructs his disciples, addressing them as follows: "Bind up the sack that carries the bedding." (Now,) inasmuch as they who intend going upon a journey tie their clothes into a wallet, to be ready for the road; so, (in like manner,) he wishes his disciples to be prepared, since every moment death is likely to come upon them by surprise. (In this way Pythagoras sought to effect) that (his followers) should labour under no deficiency in the qualifications required in his pupils. Wherefore of necessity he was in the habit, with the dawn of day, of instructing the Pythagoreans to encourage one another to bind up the sack that carries the bedding, that is, to be ready for death. "Do not stir fire with a sword;" (meaning,) do not, by addressing him, quarrel with an enraged man; for a person in a passion is like fire, whereas the sword is the uttered expression. "Do not trample on a besom;" (meaning,) despise not a small matter. "Plant not a palm tree in a house;" (meaning,) foment not discord in a family, for the palm tree is a symbol of battle and slaughter. "Eat not from a stool;" (meaning,) do not undertake an ignoble art, in order that you may not be a slave to the body, which is corruptible, but make a livelihood from literature.

For it lies within your reach both to nourish the body, and make the soul better. "Don't take a bite out of an uncut loaf;" (meaning,) diminish not thy possessions, but live on the profit (of them), and guard thy substance as an entire loaf. "Feed not on beans; (meaning,) accept not the government of a city, for with beans they at that time were accustomed to ballot for their magistrates.


These, then, and such like assertions, the Pythagoreans put forward; and the heretics, imitating these, are supposed by some to utter important truths. The Pythagorean system, however, lays down that the Creator of all alleged existences is the Great Geometrician and Calculator--a sun; and that this one has been fixed in the whole world, just as in the bodies a soul, according to the statement of Plato. For the sun (being of the nature of) fire, resembles the soul, but the earth (resembles the) body. And, separated from fire, there would be nothing visible, nor would there be any object of touch without something solid; but not any solid body exists without earth. Whence the Deity, locating air in the midst, fashioned the body of the universe out of fire and earth. And the Sun, he says, calculates and geometrically measures the world in some such manner as the following: The world is a unity cognizable by sense; and concerning this (world) we now make these assertions.

But one who is an adept in the science of numbers, and a geometrician, has divided it into twelve parts. And the names of these parts are as follow:

Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. Again, he divides each of the twelve parts into thirty parts, and these are days of the month. Again, he divides each part of the thirty parts into sixty small divisions, and (each) of these small (divisions) he subdivides into minute portions, and (these again) into portions still more minute. And always doing this, and not intermitting, but collecting from these divided portions (an aggregate), and constituting it a year; and again resolving and dividing the compound, (the sun) completely finishes the great and everlasting world.


Néhány hasonló természetből, ahogy én pontosan megvizsgáltam rendszreiket, és megkiséreltem megállapítani Püthagorász és Platón véleményéből származót. És ebből (rendszerből), nem pedig az evangéliumokból gyűjtötte össze Valentinus az eretnekség (anyagait) -- mármint saját (eretnekségét) -- így tehát jogosan tekinthető pithagoreusnak és platonistának, nem kereszténynek. Ezért Valentinus, Hérakleon és Ptolemaiosz és ezek (eretnekek) egész iskolája, mint Püthagorasz és Platón tanítványai, (és) ezeket az útmutatókat követve tanításuk alapelveként lefektették az aritmetikai rendszert. Ugyanígy ezen (valentiánusok) szerint az univerzum kiinduló oka egy Monád, születetlen, romolhatatlan, megfoghatatlan, elképzelhetetlen, termékeny, és minden létező dolog létrejöttének oka. És a már említett Monadot nevezik ők Atyának. Közöttük azonban felfedezhető némely véleménykülönbség. Némelyikük, annak érdekében, hogy Valentinus pitagoraszai doktrínája teljesen mentes legyen a keveredéstől (más tantételekkel), feltételezte, hogy az Atya nem nőies, nőtlen és magányos. Mások azonban, akik azt képzelik, hogy lehetetlen, hogy a létező dolgok közül csak egy férfiból egy nemzedék származzon, szükségszerűen a világegyetem Atyjával együtt kell számolni, hogy atya lehessen, Sigét, mint egy házastársat. De ami Sige-et illeti, függetlenül attól, hogy bármikor egyesült-e házasságban (az Atyával) vagy sem, ez az a pont, amelyről egymás között vitatkoznak. We at present, keeping to the Pythagorean principle, which is one, and unwedded, unfeminine, (and) deficient in nothing, shall proceed to give an account of their doctrines, as they themselves inculcate them. There is, says (Valentinus), not anything at all begotten, but the Father is alone unbegotten, not subject to the condition of place, not (subject to the condition of) time, having no counsellor, (and) not being any other substance that could be realized according to the ordinary methods of perception. (The Father,) however, was solitary, subsisting, as they say, in a state of quietude, and Himself reposing in isolation within Himself. When, however, He became productive, it seemed to Him expedient at one time to generate and lead forth the most beautiful and perfect (of those germs of existence) which He possessed within Himself, for (the Father) was not fond of solitariness.

For, says he, He was all love, but love is not love except there may be some object of affection. The Father Himself, then, as He was solitary, projected and produced Nous and Aletheia, that is, a duad which became mistress, and origin, and mother of all the Aeons computed by them (as existing) within the Pleroma. Nous and Aletheia being projected from the Father, one capable of continuing generation, deriving existence from a productive being, (Nous) himself likewise, in imitation of the Father, projected Logos and Zoe; and Logos and Zoe project Anthropos and Ecclesia. But Nous and Aletheia, when they beheld that their own offspring had been born productive, returned thanks to the Father of the universe, and offer unto Him a perfect number, viz., ten Aeons. For, he says, Nous and Aletheia could not offer unto the Father a more perfect (one) than this number. For the Father, who is perfect, ought to be celebrated by a perfect number, and ten is a perfect number, because this is first of those (numbers) that are formed by plurality, (and therefore) perfect. The Father, however, being more perfect, because being alone unbegotten, by means of the one primary conjugal union of Nous and Aletheia, found means of projecting all the roots of existent things.


Logos himself also, and Zoe, then saw that Nous and Aletheia had celebrated the Father of the universe by a perfect number; and Logos him self likewise with Zoe wished to magnify their own father and mother, Nous and Aletheia. Since, however, Nous and Aletheia were begotten, and did not possess paternal (and) perfect uncreatedness, Logos and Zoe do not glorify Nous their father with a perfect number, but far from it, with an imperfect one. For Logos and Zoe offer twelve Aeons unto Nous and Aletheia. For, according to Valentinus, these--namely, Nous and Aletheia, Logos and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia--have been the primary roots of the Aeons. But there are ten the Aeons proceeding from Nous and Aletheia, and twelve from Logos and Zoe--twenty and eight in all. And to these (ten) they give these following denominations: Bythus and Mixis, Ageratus and Henosis, Autophyes and Hedone, Acinetus and Syncrasis, Monogenes and Macaria. These are ten Aeons whom some say (have been projected) by Nous and Aletheia, but some by Logos and Zoe. Others, however, affirm that the twelve (Aeons have been projected) by Anthropos and Ecclesia, while others by Logos and Zoe. And upon these they bestow these following names: Paracletus and Pistis, Patricus and Elpis, Metricus and Agape, Aeinous and Synesis, Ecclesiasticus and Macariotes, Theletus and Sophia. But of the twelve, the twelfth and youngest of all the twenty-eight Aeons, being a female, and called Sophia, observed the multitude and power of the besetting Aeons, and hurried back into the depth of the Father. And she perceived that all the rest of the Aeons, as being begotten, generate by conjugal intercourse. The Father, on the other hand, alone, without copulation, has produced (an offspring). She wished to emulate the Father, and to produce (offspring) of herself without a marital partner, that she might achieve a work in no wise inferior to (that of) the Father. (Sophia, however,) was ignorant that the Unbegotten One, being an originating principle of the universe, as well as root and depth and abyss, alone possesses the power of self-generation. But Sophia, being begotten, and born after many more (Aeons), is not able to acquire possession of the power inherent in the Unbegotten One. For in the Unbegotten One, he says, all things exist simultaneously, but in the begotten (Aeons) the female is projective of substance, and the male is formative of the substance which is projected by the female. Sophia, therefore, prepared to project that only which she was capable (of projecting), viz., a formless and undigested substance. And this, he says, is what Moses asserts: "The earth was invisible, and unfashioned." This (substance) is, he says, the good (and) the heavenly Jerusalem, into which God has promised to conduct the children of Israel, saying, "I will bring you into a land flowing with milk and honey."


Ignorance, therefore, having arisen within the Pleroma in consequence of Sophia, and shapelessness in consequence of the offspring of Sophia, confusion arose in the Pleroma. (For all) the Aeons that were begotten (became overwhelmed with apprehension, imagining) that in like manner formless and incomplete progenies of the Aeons should be generated; and that some destruction, at no distant period, should l at length seize upon the Aeons.

All the AEons, then, betook themselves to supplication of the Father, that he would tranquillize the sorrowing Sophia; for she continued weeping and bewailing on account of the abortion produced by her,--for so they, term it.

The Father, then, compassionating the tears of Sophia, and accepting the supplication of the Aeons, orders a further projection. For he did not, (Valentinus) says, himself project, but Nous and Aletheia (projected) Christ and the Holy Spirit for the restoration of Form, and the destruction of the abortion, and (for) the consolation and cessation of the groans of Sophia. And thirty Aeons came into existence along with Christ and the Holy Spirit. Some of these (Valentinians) wish that this should be a triacontad of Aeons, whereas others desire that Sige should exist along with the Father, and that the Aeons should be reckoned along with them.

Christ, therefore, being additionally projected, and the Holy Spirit, by Nous and Aletheia, immediately this abortion of Sophia, (which was) shapeless, (and) born of herself only, and generated without conjugal intercourse, separates from the entire of the Aeons, lest the perfect Aeons, beholding this (abortion), should be disturbed by reason of its shapelessness. In order, then, that the shapelessness of the abortion might not at all manifest itself to the perfect Aeons, the Father also again projects additionally one Aeon, viz., Staurus. And he being begotten great, as from a mighty and perfect father, and being projected for the guardianship and defence of the Aeons, becomes a limit of the Pleroma, having within itself all the thirty Aeons together, for these are they that had been projected. Now this (Aeon) is styled Horos, because he separates from the Pleroma the Hysterema that is outside. And (he is called) Metocheus, because he shares also in the Hysterema. And (he is denominated) Staurus, because he is fixed inflexibly and inexorably, so that nothing of the Hysterema can come near the Aeons who are within the Pleroma. Outside, then, Horos, Metocheus, Staurus, is the Ogdoad, as it is called, according to them, and is that Sophia which is outside the Pleroma, which (Sophia) Christ, who was additionally projected by Nous and Aletheia, formed and made a perfect Aeon so that in no respect she should be inferior in power to any of the Aeons within the Pleroma. Since, however, Sophia was formed outside, and it was not possible and equitable that Christ and the Holy Spirit, who were projected from Nous and Aletheia, should remain outside the Pleroma, Christ hurried away, and the Holy Spirit, from her who had had shape imparted to her, unto Nous and Aletheia within the Limit, in order that with the rest of the Aeons they might glorify the Father.


After, then, there ensued some one (treaty of) peace and harmony between all the Aeons within the Pleroma, it appeared expedient to them not only by a conjugal union to have magnified the Son, but also that by an offering of ripe fruits they should glorify the Father. Then all the thirty Aeons consented to project one Aeons, joint fruit of the Pleroma, that he might be (an earnest) of their union, and unanimity, and peace. And he alone was projected by all the Aeons in honour of the Father. This (one) is styled among them "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma." These (matters), then, took place within the Pleroma in this way. And the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma" was projected, (that is,) Jesus,--for this is his name,--the great High Priest. Sophia, however, who was outside the Pleroma in search of Christ, who had given her form, and of the Holy Spirit, became involved in great terror that she would perish, if he should separate from her, who had given her form and consistency. And she was seized with grief, and fell into a state of considerable perplexity, (while) reflecting who was he who had given her form, what the Holy Spirit was, whither he had departed, who it was that had hindered them from being present, who it was that had been envious of that glorious and blessed spectacle. While involved in sufferings such as these, she turns herself to prayer and supplication of him who had deserted her. During the utterance of her entreaties, Christ, who is within the Pleroma, had mercy upon (her), and all the rest of the Aeons (were similarly affected); and they send forth beyond the Pleroma "the Joint Fruit of the Pleroma" as a spouse for Sophia, who was outside, and as a rectifier of those sufferings which she underwent in searching after Christ.

"The Fruit," then, arriving outside the Pleroma, and discovering (Sophia) in the midst of those four primary passions, both fear and sorrow, and perplexity and entreaty he rectified her affections. While, however, correcting them, he observed that it would not be proper to destroy these, inasmuch as they are (in their nature) eternal, and peculiar to Sophia; and yet that neither was it seemly that Sophia should exist in the midst of such passions, in fear and sorrow, supplication (and) perplexity. He therefore, as an Aeons so great, and offspring of the entire Pleroma, caused the passions to depart from her, and he made these substantially-existent essences. He altered fear into animal desire, and (made) grief material, and (rendered) perplexity (the passion) of demons. But conversion, and entreaty, and supplication, he constituted as a path to repentance and power over the animal essence, which is denominated right. The Creator (acted) from fear; (and) that is what, he says, Scripture affirms: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." For this is the beginning of the affections of Sophia, for she was seized with fear, next with grief, then with perplexity, and so she sought refuge in entreaty and supplication. And the animal essence is, he says, of a fiery nature, and is also termed by them the super-celestial Topos, and Hebdomad, and "Ancient of Days." And whatever other such statements they advance respecting this (Aeon), these they allege to hold good of the animalish (one), whom they assert to be creator of the world. Now he is of the appearance of fire. Moses also, he says, expresses himself thus: "The Lord thy God is a burning and consuming fire." For he, likewise, wishes (to think) that it has been so written. There is, however, he says, a twofold power of the fire; for fire is all-consuming, (and) cannot he quenched. According, therefore, to this division, there exists, subject to death, a certain soul which is a sort of mediator, for it is a Hebdomad and Cessation. For underneath the Ogdoad, where Sophia is, but above Matter, which is the Creator, a day has been formed, and the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma." If the soul has been fashioned in the image of those above, that is, the Ogdoad, it became immortal and repaired to the Ogdoad, which is, he says, heavenly Jerusalem. If, however, it has been fashioned in the image of Matter, that is, the corporeal passions, the soul is of a perishable nature, and is (accordingly) destroyed.


As, therefore, the primary and greatest power of the animal essence came into existence, an image (of the only begotten Son); so also the devil, who is the ruler of this world, constitutes the power of the material essence, as Beelzebub is of the essence of demons which emanates from anxiety. (In consequence of this,) Sophia from above exerted her energy from the Ogdoad to the Hebdomad. For the Demiurge, they say, knows nothing at all, but is, according to them, devoid of understanding, and silly, and is not conscious of what he is doing or working at. But in him, while thus in a state of ignorance that even he is producing, Sophia wrought all sorts of energy, and infused vigour (into him). And (although Sophia) was really the operating cause, he himself imagines that he evolves the creation of the world out of himself: whence he commenced, saying, "I am God, and beside me there is no other."



The quaternion, then, advocated by Valentinus, is "a source of the everlasting nature having roots;" and Sophia (is the power) from whom the animal and material creation has derived its present condition. But Sophia is called "Spirit," and the Demiurge "Soul," and the Devil "the ruler of this world," and Beelzebub "the (ruler) of demons." These are the statements which they put forward. But further, in addition to these, rendering, as I have previously mentioned, their entire system of doctrine (akin to the) arithmetical (art), (they determine) that the thirty Aeons within the Pleroma have again, in addition to these, projected other Aeons, according to the (numerical) proportion (adopted by the Pythagoreans), in order that the Pleroma might be formed into an aggregate, according to a perfect number. For how the Pythagoreans divided (the celestial sphere) into twelve and thirty and sixty parts, and how they have minute parts of diminutive portions, has been made evident.

In this manner these (followers of Valentinus) subdivide the parts within the Pleroma. Now likewise the parts in the Ogdoad have been subdivided, and there has been projected Sophia, which is, according to them, mother of all living creatures, and the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma," (who is) the Logos, (and other Aeons,) who are celestial angels that have their citizenship in Jerusalem which is above, which is in heaven. For this Jerusalem is Sophia, she (that is) outside (the Pleroma), and her spouse is the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma." And the Demiurge projected souls; for this (Sophia) is the essence of souls. This (Demiurge), according to them, is Abraham, and these (souls) the children of Abraham. From the material and divilish essence the Demiurge fashioned bodies for the souls. This is what has been declared: "And God formed man, taking clay from the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and man was made into a living soul." This, according to them, is the inner man, the natural (man), residing in the material body: Now a material (man) is perishable, incomplete, (and) formed out of the devilish essence. And this is the material man, as it were, according to them an inn, or domicile, at one time of soul only, at another time of soul and demons, at another time of soul and Logoi. And these are the Logoi that have been dispersed from above, from the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma" and (from) Sophia, into this world. And they dwell in an earthly body, with a soul, when demons do not take up their abode with that soul. This, he says, is what has been written in Scripture:

"On this account I bend my knees to the God and Father and Lord of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God would grant you to have Christ dwelling in the inner man," --that is, the natural (man), not the corporeal (one),--" that you may be able to understand what is the depth," which is the Father of the universe, "and what is the breadth," which is Staurus, the limit of the Pleroma, "or what is the length," that is, the Pleroma of the Aeons. Wherefore, he says, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; " but folly, he says, is the power of the Demiurge, for he was foolish and devoid of understanding, and imagined himself to be fabricating the world. He was, however, ignorant that Sophia, the Mother, the Ogdoad, was really the cause of all the operations performed by him who had no consciousness in reference to the creation of the world.



All the prophets, therefore, and the law spoke by means of the Demiurge,--a silly god, he says, (and themselves) fools, who knew nothing. On account of this, he says, the Saviour observes: "All that came before me are thieves and robbers." And the apostle (uses these words) "The mystery which was not made known to former generations." For none of the prophets, he says, said anything concerning the things of which we speak; for (a prophet) could not but be ignorant of all (these) things, inasmuch as they certainly had been uttered by the Demiurge only. When, therefore, the creation received completion, and when after (this) there ought to have been the revelation of the sons of God--that is, of the Demiurge, which up to this had been concealed, and in which obscurity the natural man was hid, and had a veil upon the heart;--when (it was time), then, that the veil should be taken away, and that these mysteries should be seen, Jesus was born of Mary the virgin, according to the declaration (in Scripture), "The Holy Ghost will come upon thee"--Sophia is the Spirit--" and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee"--the Highest is the Demiurge,--"wherefore that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy." For he has been generated not from the highest alone, as those created in (the likeness of) Adam have been created from the highest alone--that is, (from) Sophia and the Demiurge. Jesus, however, the new man, (has been generated) from the Holy Spirit--that is, Sophia and the Demiurge--in order that the Demiurge may complete the conformation and constitution of his body, and that the Holy Spirit may supply his essence, and that a celestial Logos may proceed from the Ogdoad being born of Mary.

Concerning this (Logos) they have a great question amongst them--an occasion both of divisions and dissension. And hence the doctrine of these has become divided: and one doctrine, according to them, is termed Oriental, and the other Italian. They from Italy, of whom is Heracleon and Ptolemaeus, say that the body of Jesus was animal (one). And on account of this, (they maintain) that at his baptism the Holy Spirit as a dove came down--that is, the Logos of the mother above, (I mean Sophia)--and became (a voice) to the animal (man), and raised him from the dead. This, he says, is what has been declared: "He who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal and natural bodies." For loam has come under a curse; "for," says he, "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The Orientals, on the other hand, of whom is Axionicus and Bardesianes, assert that the body of the Saviour was spiritual; for there came upon Mary the Holy Spirit--that is, Sophia and the power of the highest. This is the creative art, (and was vouchsafed) in order that what was given to Mary by the Spirit might be fashioned.


Let, then, those (heretics) pursue these inquiries among themselves, (and let others do so likewise,) if it should prove agreeable to anybody else to investigate (such points. Valen tinus) subjoins, however, the following statement: That the trespasses appertaining to the Aeons within (the Pleroma) had been corrected; and likewise had been rectified the trespasses appertaining to the Ogdoad, (that is,) Sophia, outside (the Pleroma); and also (the trespasses) appertaining to the Hebdomad (had been rectified). For the Demiurge had been taught by Sophia that He is not Himself God alone, as He imagined, and that except Himself there is not another (Deity). But when taught by Sophia, He was made to recognise the superior (Deity). For He was instructed by her, and initiated and indoctrinated into the great mystery of the Father and of the Aeons, and divulged this to none. This is, as he says, what (God) declares to Moses: "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and my name I have not announced to them;" that is, I have not declared the mystery, nor explained who is God, but I have preserved the mystery which I have heard from Sophia in secrecy with myself. When, then, the trespasses of those above had been rectified, it was necessary, according to the same consequence, that the (transgressions) here likewise should obtain rectification. On this account Jesus the Saviour was born of Mary that he might rectify (the trespasses committed) here; as the Christ who, having been projected additionally from above by Nous and Aletheia, had corrected the passions of Sophia--that is, the abortion (who was) outside (the Pleroma). And, again, the Saviour who was born of Mary came to rectify the passions of the soul. There are therefore, according to these (heretics), three Christs: (the first the) one additionally projected by Nous and Aletheia, along with the Holy Spirit; and (the second) the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma," spouse of Sophia, who was outside (the Pleroma). And she herself is likewise styled Holy Spirit, but one inferior to the first (projection). And the third (Christ is) He who was born of Mary for the restoration of this world of ours.


I think that the heresy of Valentinus which is of Pythagorean (origin), has been sufficiently, indeed more than sufficiently, delineated. It therefore seems also expedient, that having explained his opinions, we should desist from (further) refutation (of his system). Plato, then, in expounding mysteries concerning the universe, writes to Dionysius expressing himself after some such manner as this: "I must speak to you by riddles, in order that if the letter may meet with any accident in its leaves by either sea or land, he who reads (what falls into his hands) may not understand it. For so it is. All things are about the King of all, and on his account are all things, and he is cause of all the glorious (objects of creation). The second is about the second, and the third about the third. But pertaining to the King there is none of those things of which I have spoken. But after this the soul earnestly desires to learn what sort these are, looking upon those things that are akin to itself, and not one of these is (in itself) sufficient. This is, O son of Dionysius and Doris, the question (of yours) which is a cause of all evil things. Nay, but rather the solicitude concerning this is innate in the soul; and if one does not remove this, he will never really attain truth. But what is astonishing in this matter, listen. For there are men who have heard these things-- (men) furnished with capacities for learning, and furnished with capacities of memory, and persons who altogether in every way are endued with an aptitude for investigation with a view to inference. (These are) at present aged speculators. And they assert that opinions which at one time were credible are now incredible, and that things once incredible are now the contrary. While, therefore, turning the eye of examination towards these (inquiries), exercise caution, lest at any time you should have reason to repent in regard of those things should they happen in a manner unbecoming to your dignity. On this account I have written nothing concerning these (points); nor is there any treatise of Plato's (upon them), nor ever shall there be. The observations, however, now made are those of Socrates, conspicuous for virtue even while he was a young man."

Valentinus, falling in with these (remarks), has made a fundamental principle in his system "the King of all," whom Plato mentioned, and whom this heretic styles Pater, and Bythos, and Proarche over the rest of the Aeons. And when Plato uses the words, "what is second about things that are second," Valentinus supposes to be second all the Aeons that are within the limit (of the Pleroma, as well as) the limit (itself). And when Plato uses the words, what is third about what is third," he has (constituted as third)

the entire of the arrangement (existing) outside the limit and the Pleroma. And Valentinus has elucidated this (arrangement) very succinctly, in a psalm commencing from below, not as Plato does, from above, expressing himself thus: "I behold all things suspended in air by spirit, and I perceive all things wafted by spirit; the flesh (I see) suspended from soul, but the soul shining out from air, and air depending from aether, and fruits produced from Bythus, and the foetus borne from the womb." Thus (Valentinus) formed his opinion on such (points). Flesh, according to these (heretics), is matter which is suspended from the soul of the Demiurge. And soul shines out from air; that is, the Demiurge emerges from the spirit, (which is) outside the Pleroma. But air springs forth from aether; that is, Sophia, which is outside (the Pleroma, is projected from the Pleroma) which is within the limit, and (from) the entire Pleroma (generally). And from Bythus fruits are produced; (that is,) the entire projection of the Aeons is made from the Father. The opinions, then, advanced by Valentinus have been sufficiently declared. It remains for us to explain the tenets of those who have emanated from-his school, though each adherent (of Valentinus) entertains different opinions.


A certain (heretic) Secundus, born about the same time with Ptolemaeus, expresses himself thus: (he says) that there is a right tetrad and a left tetrad,--namely, light and darkness. And he affirms that the power which withdrew and laboured under deficiency, was not produced from the thirty Aeons, but from the fruits of these. Some other (heretic), however--Epiphanes, a teacher among them--expresses himself thus: "The earliest originating principle was inconceivable, ineffable, and unnameable;" and he calls this Monotes. And (he maintains) that there co-exists with this (principle) a power which he denominates Henotes. This Henotes and this Monotes, not by projection (from themselves), sent forth a principle (that should preside) over all intelligibles; (and this was) both unbegotten and invisible, and he styles it a Monad. "With this power co-exists a power of the same essence, which very (power) I call Unity. These four powers sent forth the remainder of the projections of the Aeons." But others, again, denominate the chief and originating Ogdoad, (which is) fourth (and) invisible, by the following names: first, Proarche; next, Anennoetus; third, Arrhetus; and fourth, Aoratus. And that from the first, Proarche, was projected by a first and fifth place, Arche; and from Anennoetus, by a second and sixth place, Acataleptus; and from Arrhetus, by a third and seventh place, Anonomastus; and from Aoratus, Agennetus, a complement of the first Ogdoad. They wish that these powers should exist before Bythus and Sige. Concerning, however, Bythus himself, there are many different opinions. Some affirm him to be unwedded, neither male nor female; but others (maintain) that Sige, who is a female, is present with him, and that this constitutes the first conjugal union.

But the followers of Ptolemaeus assert that (Bythus) has two spouses, which they call likewise dispositions, viz., Ennoia and Thelesis (conception and volition). For first the notion was conceived of projecting anything; next followed, as they say, the will to do so. Wherefore also these two dispositions and powers--namely, Ennoia and Thelesis--being, as it were, mingled one with the other, there ensued a projection of Monogenes and Aletheia by means of a conjugal union. And the consequence was, that visible types and images of those two dispositions of the Father came forth from the invisible (Aeons), viz., from Thelema, Nous, and from Ennoia, Aletheia. And on this account the image of the subsequently generated Thelema is (that of a) male; but (the image) of the unbegotten Ennoia is (that of a) female, since volition is, as it were, a power of conception. For conception always cherished the idea of a projection, yet was not of itself at least able to project itself, but cherished the idea (of doing so). When, however, the power of volition (would be present), then it projects the idea which had been conceived.


A certain other teacher among them, Marcus, an adept in sorcery, carrying on operations

partly by sleight of hand and partly by demons, deceived many from time to time. This (heretic) alleged that there resided in him the mightiest power from invisible and unnameable places. And very often, taking the Cup, as if offering up the Eucharistic prayer, and prolonging to a greater length than usual the word of invocation, he would cause the appearance of a purple, and sometimes of a red mixture, so that his dupes imagined that a certain Grace descended and communicated to the potion a blood-red potency. The knave, however, at that time succeeded in escaping detection from many; but now, being convicted (of the imposture), he will be forced to desist from it. For, infusing secretly into the mixture some drug that possessed the power of imparting such a colour (as that alluded to above), uttering for a, considerable time nonsensical expressions, he was in the habit of waiting, (in expectation) that the (drug), obtaining a supply of moisture, might be dissolved, and, being intermingled with the potion, might impart its colour to it. The drugs, however, that possess the quality of furnishing this effect we have previously mentioned in the book on magicians. And here we have taken occasion to explain how they make dupes of many, and thoroughly ruin them. And if it should prove agreeable to them to apply their attention with greater accuracy to the statement made by us, they will become aware of the deceit of Marcus.


And this (Marcus), infusing (the aforesaid) mixture into a smaller cup, was in the habit of delivering it to a woman to offer up the Eucharistic prayer, while he himself stood by, and held (in his hand) another empty (chalice) larger than that. And after his female dupe had pronounced the sentence of Consecration, having received (the cup from her), he proceeded to infuse (its contents) into the larger (chalice), and, pouring them frequently from one cup to the other, was accustomed at the same time to utter the following invocation: "Grant that the inconceivable and ineffable Grace which existed prior to the universe, may fill thine inner man, and make to abound in thee the knowledge of this (grace), as She disseminates the seed of the mustard-tree upon the good soil." And simultaneously pronouncing some such words as these, and astonishing both his female dupe and those that are present, he was regarded as one performing a miracle; while the larger was being filled from the smaller chalice, in such a way as that (the contents), being superabundant, flowed over. And the contrivance of this (juggler) we have likewise explained in the aforesaid (fourth) book, where we have proved that very many drugs, when mingled in this way with liquid substances, are endued with the quality of yielding augmentation, more particularly when diluted in wine. Now, when (one of these impostors) previously smears, in a clandestine manner, an empty cup with any one of these drugs, and shows it (to the spectators) as if it contained nothing, by infusing into it (the contents) from the other cup, and pouring them back again, the drug, as it is of a flatulent nature, is dissolved by being blended with the moist substance. And the effect of this was, that a superabundance of the mixture ensued, and was so far augmented, that what was infused was put in motion, such being the nature of the drug. And if one stow away (the chalice) when it has been filled, (what has been poured into it) will after no long time return to its natural dimensions, inasmuch as the potency of the drug becomes extinct by reason of the continuance of moisture. Wherefore he was in the habit of hurriedly presenting the cup to those present, to drink; but they, horrified at the same time, and eager (to taste the contents of the cup), proceeded to drink (the mixture), as if it were something divine, and devised by the Deity.


Such and other (tricks) this impostor attempted to perform. And so it was that he was magnified by his dupes, and sometimes he was supposed to utter predictions. But sometimes he tried to make others (prophesy), partly by demons carrying on these operations, and partly by practising sleight of hand, as we have previously stated. Hoodwinking therefore multitudes, he led on (into enormities) many (dupes) of this description who had become his disciples, by teaching them that they were prone, no doubt, to sin, but beyond the reach of danger, from the fact of their belonging to the perfect power, and of their being participators in the inconceivable potency. And subsequent to the (first) baptism, to these they promise another, which they call Redemption. And by this (other baptism) they wickedly subvert those that remain with them in expectation of redemption, as if persons, after they had once been baptized, could again obtain remission. Now, it is by means of such knavery as this that they seem to retain their hearers. And when they consider that these have been tested, and are able to keep (secret the mysteries) committed unto them, they then admit them to this (baptism). They, however, do not rest satisfied with this alone, but promise (their votaries) some other (boon) for the purpose of confirming them in hope, in order that they may be inseparable (adherents of their sect). For they utter something in an inexpressible (tone of) voice, after having laid hands on him who is receiving the redemption. And they allege that they could not easily declare (to another) what is thus spoken unless one were highly tested, or one were at the hour of death, (when) the bishop comes and whispers into the (expiring one's) ear. And this knavish device (is undertaken) for the purpose of securing the constant attendance upon the bishop of (Marcus') disciples, as individuals eagerly panting to learn what that may be which is spoken at the last, by (the knowledge of) which the learner will be advanced to the rank of those admitted into the higher mysteries. And in regard of these I have maintained a silence for this reason, lest at any time one should suppose that I was guilty of disparaging these (heretics). For this does not come within the scope of our present work, only so far as it may contribute to prove from what source (the heretics) have derived the standing-point from which they have taken occasion to introduce the opinions advanced by them.


For also the blessed presbyter Irenaeus, having approached the subject of a refutation in a more unconstrained spirit, has explained such washings and redemptions, stating more in the way of a rough digest what are their practices. (And it appears that some of the Marcosians,) on meeting with (Irenaeus' work), deny that they have so received (the secret word just alluded to), but they have learned that always they should deny. Wherefore our anxiety has been more accurately to investigate, and to discover minutely what are the (instructions) which they deliver in the case of the first bath, styling it by some such name; and in the case of the second, which they denominate Redemption. But not even has this secret of theirs escaped (our scrutiny). For these opinions, however, we consent to pardon Valentinus and his school.

But Marcus, imitating his teacher, himself also feigns a vision, imagining that in this way he would be magnified. For Valentinus likewise alleges that he had seen an infant child lately born; and questioning (this child), he proceeded to inquire who it might be. And (the child) replied, saying that he himself is the Logos, and then subjoined a sort of tragic legend; and out of this (Valentinus) wishes the heresy attempted by him to consist. Marcus, making a similar attempts with this (heretic), asserts that the Telrad came to him in the form of a woman,--since the world could not bear, he says, the male (form) of this Tetrad,and that she revealed herself who she was, and explained to this (Marcus) alone the generation of the universe, which she never had revealed to any, either of gods or of men, expressing herself after this mode: When first the self-existent Father, He who is inconceivable and without substance, He who is neither male nor female, willed that His own ineffability should become realized in something spoken, and that His invisibility should become realized in form, He opened His mouth, and sent forth similar to Himself a Logos. And this (Logos) stood by Him, and showed unto Him who he was, viz., that he himself had been manifested as a (realization in) form of the Invisible One. And the pronunciation of the name was of the following description. He was accustomed to utter the first word of the name itself, which was Arche, and the syllable of this was (composed) of four letters. Then he subjoined the second (syllable), and this was also (composed) of four letters. Next he uttered the third (syllable), which was (composed) of ten letters; and he uttered the fourth (syllable), and this was (composed) of twelve letters. Then ensued the pronunciation of the entire name, (composed) of thirty letters, but of four syllables. And each of the elements had its own peculiar letters, and its own peculiar form, and its own peculiar pronunciation, as well as figures and images. And not one of these was there that beholds the form of that (letter) of which this was an element. And of course none of them could know the pronunciation of the (letter) next to this, but (only) as he himself pronounces it, (and that in such a way) as that, in pro nouncing the whole (word), he supposed that he was uttering the entire (name). For each of these (elements), being part of the entire (name), he denominates (according to) its own peculiar sound, as if the whole (of the word). And he does not intermit sounding until he arrived at the last letter of the last element, and uttered it in a single articulation. Then he said, that the restoration of the entire ensued when all the (elements), coming down into the one letter, sounded one and the same pronunciation, and an image of the pronunciation he supposed to exist when we simultaneously utter the word Amen. And that these sounds are those which gave form to the insubstantial and unbegotten Aeon, and that those forms are what the Lord declared to be angels--the (forms) that uninterruptedly behold the face of the Father.


But the generic and expressed names of the elements he called Aeons, and Logoi, and Roots, and Seeds, and Pleromas, and Fruits. (And he maintains) that every one of these, and what was peculiar to each, is perceived as being contained in the name of "Ecclesia." And the final letter of the last element sent forth its own peculiar articulation. And the sound of this (letter) came forth and produced, in accordance with images of the elements, its own peculiar elements. And from these he says that things existing here were garnished, and the things antecedent to these were produced. The letter itself certainly, of which the sound was concomitant with the sound below, he says, was received up by its own syllable into the complement of the entire (name); but that the sound, as if cast outside, remained below. And that the element itself, from which the letter along with its own pronunciation descended below, he says, is (composed) of thirty letters, and that each one of the thirty letters contains in itself other letters, by means of which the title of the letter is named. And again, that the other (letters) are named by different letters, and the rest by different (ones still). So that by writing down the letters individually, the number would eventuate in infinity. In this way one may more clearly understand what is spoken. The element Delta, (he says,) has five letters in itself, (viz.), Delta, and Epsilon, and Lambda, and Tau, and Alpha; and these very letters are (written) by means of other letters. If, therefore, the entire substance of the Delta eventuates in infinity, (and if) different letters invariably produce different letters, and succeed one another, by how much greater than that element is the more enormous sea of the letters? And if one letter is thus infinite, behold the entire name's depth of the letters out of which the patient industry, nay, rather (I should say,) the vain toil of Marcus wishes that the Progenitor (of things) should consist! Wherefore also (he maintains) that the Father, who knew that He was inseparable from Himself, gave (this depth) to the elements, which he likewise denominates Aeons. And he uttered aloud to each one of them its own peculiar pronunciation, from the fact that one could not pronounce the entire.


And (Marcus alleged) that the Quaternion, after having explained these things, spoke as follows: "Now, I wish also to exhibit to you Truth herself, for I have brought her down from the mansions above, in order that you may behold her naked, and become acquainted with her beauty; nay, also that you may hear her speak, and may marvel at her wisdom. Observe," says the Quaternion, "then, first, the head above, Alpha (and long) O; the neck, B and P; shoulders, along with hands, G and C; breasts, Delta and P; diaphragm, Eu; belly, Z and T; pudenda, Eta and S; thighs, T and R; knees, Ip; calves, Ko; ankles, Lx; feet, M and N." This is in the body of Truth, according to Marcus. This is the figure of the element; this the character of the letter. And he styles this element Man, and affirms it to be the source of every word, and the originating principle of every sound, and the realization in speech of everything that is ineffable, and a mouth of taciturn silence. And this is the body of (Truth) herself. But do you, raising aloft the conceiving power of the understanding, hear from the mouths of Truth the Logos, who is Self-generator and Progenitor.


But, after uttering these words, (Marcus details) that Truth, gazing upon him, and opening her mouth, spoke the discourse (just-alluded to). And (he tells us) that the discourse became a name, and that the name was that which we know and utter, viz., Christ Jesus, and that as soon as she had named this (name) she remained silent. While Marcus, however, was expecting that she was about to say more, the

Quaternion, again advancing into the midst, speaks as follows: "Thou didst regard as contemptible this discourse which you have heard from the mouth of Truth. And yet this which you know and seem long since to possess is not the name; for you have merely the sound of it, but are ignorant of the power. For Jesus is a remarkable name, having six letters, invoked by all belonging to the called (of Christ); whereas the other (name, that is, Christ,) consists of many parts, and is among the (five) Aeons of the Pleroma. (This name) is of another form and a different type, and is recognised by those existences who are connate with him, and whose magnitudes subsist with him continually.


Know, (therefore,) that these letters which with you are (reckoned at) twenty-four, are emanations from the three powers, and are representative of those (powers) which embrace even the entire number of the elements. For suppose that there are some letters that are mute--nine of them--of Pater and Aletheia, from the fact that these are mute--that is, ineffable and unutterable. And (again, assume) that there are other (letters that are) semi-vowels--eight of them--of the Logos and of Zoe, from the fact that these are intermediate between consonants and vowels, and receive the emanation of the (letters) above them, but the reflux of those below them. And (likewise take for granted) that there are vowels--and these are seven--of Anthropos and Ecclesia, inasmuch as the voice of Anthropos proceeded forth, and imparted form to the (objects of the) universe. For the sound of the voice produced figure, and invested them with it. From this it follows that there are Logos and Zoe, which have eight (semi-vowels); and Anthropos and Ecclesia, which have seven (vowels); and Pater and Aletheia, which have nine (mutes). But from the fact that Logos wanted (one of being an ogdoad), he who is in the Father was removed (from his seat on God's right hand), and came down (to earth). And he was sent forth (by the Father) to him from whom he was separated, for the rectification of actions that had been committed. (And his descent took place) in order that the unifying process, which is inherent in Agathos, of the Pleromas might produce in all the single power that emanates from all. And thus he who is of the seven (vowels) acquired the power of the eight (semi-vowels); and there were produced three topoi, corresponding with the (three) numbers (nine, seven, and eight),-- (these topai) being ogdoads. And these three being added one to the other, exhibited the number of the twenty-four (letters). And (he maintains), of course, that the three elements,-- (which he himself affirms to be (allied) with the three powers by conjugal union, and which (by this state of duality) become six, and from which have emanated the twenty-four elements,--being rendered fourfold by the Quaternion's ineffable word, produce the same number (twenty-four) with these. And these, he says, belong to Anonomastus. And (he asserts) that these are conveyed by the six powers into a similarity with Aoratus. And (he says) that there are six double letters of these elements, images of images, which, being reckoned along with the twenty-four letters, produce, by an analogical power, the number thirty.


And he says, as the result of this computation and that proportion, that in the similitude of an image He appeared who after the six days Himself ascended the mountain a fourth person, and became the sixth. And (he asserts) that He (likewise) descended and was detained by the Hebdomad, and thus became an illustious Ogdoad. And He contains in Himself of the elements the entire number which He manifested, as He came to His baptism. (And the symbol of manifestation was) the descent of the dove, which is O [mega] and Alpha, and which by the number manifested (by these is) 801. And for this reason (he maintains) that Moses says that man was created on the sixth day. And (he asserts)

that the dispensation of suffering (took place) on the sixth day, which is the preparation; (and so it was) that on this (day) appeared the last man for the regeneration of the first man. And that the beginning and end of this dispensation is the sixth hour, at which He was nailed to the (accursed) tree. For (he says) that perfect Nous, knowing the sixfold number to be possessed of the power of production and regeneration, manifested to the sons of light the regeneration that had been introduced into this number by that illustrious one who had appeared. Whence also he says that the double letters involve the remarkable number. For the illustious number, being intermingled with the twenty-four elements, produced the name (consisting) of the thirty letters.


He has, however, employed the instrumentality of the aggregate of the seven numbers, in order that the result of the self-devised (counsel) might be manifested. Understand, he says, for the present, that remarkable number to be Him who was formed by the illustrious one, and who was, as it were, divided, and remained outside. And He, through both His Own power and wisdom, by means of the projection of Himself, imparted, in imitation of the seven powers, animation to this world, so as to make it consist of seven powers, and constituted (this world) the soul of the visible universe. And therefore this one has resorted to such all operation as what was spontaneously undertaken by Himself; and these minister, inasmuch as they are imitations of things inimitable, unto the intelligence of the Mother. And the first heaven sounds Alpha, and the one after that E [psilon], and the third Eta, and the fourth, even that in the midst of the seven (vowels, enunciates) the power of Iota, and the fifth of O [micron], and the sixth of U [psilon], and the seventh and fourth from the central one, O [mega]. And all the powers, when they are connected together in one, emit a sound, and glorify that (Being) from whom they have been projected. And the glory of that sound is transmitted upwards to the Progenitor. And furthermore, he says that the sound of this ascription of glory being conveyed to the earth, became a creator and producer of terrestrial objects. And (he maintains) that the proof of this (may be drawn) from the case of infants recently born, whose soul, simultaneously with exit from the womb utters similarly this sound of each one of the elements. As, then, he says, the seven powers glorify the Logos, so also does the sorrowing soul in babes (magnify Him). And on account of this, he says, David likewise has declared, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise." And again, "The heavens declare the glory of God." When, however, the soul is involved in hardships, it utters no other exclamation than the O [mega], inasmuch as it is afflicted in order that the soul above, becoming aware of what is akin to herself (below), may send down one to help this (earthly soul).


And so far for these points. Respecting, however, the generation of the twenty-four elements, he expresses himself thus: that Henotes coexists with Monotes, and that from these issue two projections, viz., Monas and Hen, and that these being added together become four, for twice two are four. And again, the two and four (projections) being added together, manifested the number six; and these six made fourfold, produce the twenty-four forms. And these are the names of the first tetrad, and they are under stood as Holy of Holies, and cannot be expressed and they are recognised by the Son alone.

These the Father knows which they are. Those names which with Him are pronounced in silence and with faith, are Arrhetus and Sige, Pater and Aletheia. And of this tetrad the entire number is (that) of twenty-four letters. For Arrhetus has seven elements, Sige five, and Pater five, and Aletheia seven. And in like manner also (is it with) the second tetrad; (for) Logos and Zoe. Anthropos and Ecclesia, exhibited the same number of elements. And (he says) that the expressed name-- (that is, Jesus) --of the Saviour consists of six letters, but that His ineffable name, according to the number of the letters, one by one, consists of twenty-four elements, but Christ a Son of twelve. And (he says) that the ineffable (name) in Christ consists of thirty letters, and this exists, according to the letters l which are in Him, the elements being counted one by one. For the (name) Christ consists of eight elements; for Chi consists of three, and R of two, and EI of two, and I [ota], of four, S [igma] of five, and T of three, and OU of two, and San of three. Thus the ineffable name in Christ consists, they allege, of thirty letters. And they assert that for this reason He utters the words, "I am Alpha and Omega," displaying the dove, which (symbolically) has this number, which is eight hundred and one.


Now Jesus possesses this ineffable generation. For from the mother of the universe, I mean the first tetrad, proceeded forth, in the manner of a daughter, the second tetrad. And it became an ogdoad, from which proceeded forth the decade; and thus was produced ten, and next eighteen. The decade, therefore, coming in along with the ogdoad, and rendering it tenfold, produced the number eighty; and again making eighty tenfold, generated the number eight hundred. And so it is that the entire number of letters that proceeded forth from ogdoad into decade is eight hundred and eighty-eight, which is Jesus; for the name Jesus, according to the number in letters, is eight hundred and eighty-eight. Now likewise the Greek alphabet has eight monads and eight decades, and eight hecatontads; and these exhibit the calculated sum of eight hundred and eighty-eight, that is, Jesus, who consists of all numbers.

And that on this account He is called Alpha (and Omega), indicating His generation (to be) from all.


But concerning the creation of this (Jesus), he expresses himself thus: That powers emanating from the second tetrad fashioned Jesus, who appeared on earth, and that the angel Gabriel filled the place of the Logos, and the Holy Spirit that of Zoe, and the "Power of the Highest" that of Anthropos, and the Virgin that of Ecclesia. And so it was, in Marcus' system, that the man (who appeared) in accordance with the dispensation was born through Mary. And when He came to the water, (he says) that He descended like a dove upon him who had ascended above and filled the twelfth number. And in Him resides the seed of these, that is, such as are sown along with Him, and that descend with (Him), and ascend with (Him). And that this power which descended upon Him, he says, is the seed of the Pleroma, which contains in itself both the Father and the Son, and the unnameable power of Sige, which is recognised through these and all the Aeons. And that this (seed) is the spirit which is in Him and spoke in Him through the mouth of the Son, the confession of Himself as Son of man, and of His being one who would manifest the Father; (and that) when this spirit came down upon Jesus, He was united with Him. The Saviour, who was of the dispensation, he says, destroyed death, whereas He made known the Father Christ (Jesus). He says that Jesus, therefore, is the name of the man of the dispensation, and that it has been set forth for the assimilation and formation of Anthropos, who was about to descend upon Him; and that when He had received Him unto Himself, He retained possession of Him. And (he says) that He was Anthropos, (that) He (was) Logos, (that) He (was) Pater, and Arrhetus, and Sige, and Aletheia, and Ecclesia, and Zoe.


I trust, therefore, that as regards these doctrines it is obvious to all possessed of a sound mind, that (these tenets) are unauthoritative, and far removed from the knowledge that is in accordance with Religion, and are mere portions of astrological discovery, and the arithmetical art of the Pythagoreans. And this assertion, ye who are desirous of learning shall ascertain (to be true, by a reference to the previous books, where,) amongst other opinions elucidated by us, we have explained these doctrines likewise. In order, however, that we may prove it a more clear statement, viz., that these (Marcosians) are disciples not of Christ but of Pythagoras, I shall proceed to explain those opinions that have been derived (by these heretics) from Pythagoras concerning the meteoric (phenomena) of the starts as far as it is possible (to do so) by an epitome.

Now the Pythagoreans make the following statements: that the universe consists of a Mon ad and Duad, and that by reckoning from a monad as far as four they thus generate a decade. And again, a duad coming forth as far as the remarkable (letter),--for instance, two and four and six,--exhibited the (number) twelve. And again, if we reckon from the duad to the decade, thirty is produced; and in this are comprised the ogdoad, and decade, and dodecade. And therefore, on account of its having the remarkable (letter), the dodecade has concomitant with it a remarkable passion. And for this reason (they maintain) that when an error had arisen respecting the twelfth number, the sheep skipped from the flock and wandered away; for that the apostasy took place, they say, in like manner from the decade. And with a similar reference to the dodecade, they speak of the piece of money which, on losing, a woman, having lit a candle, searched for diligently. (And they make a similar application) of the loss (sustained) in the case of the one sheep out of the ninety and nine; and adding these one into the other, they give a fabulous account of numbers. And in this way, they affirm, when the eleven is multiplied into nine, that it produces the number ninety and nine; and on this account that it is said that the word Amen embraces the number ninety-nine. And in regard of another number they express themselves in this manner: that the letter Eta along with the remarkable one constitutes all ogdoad, as it is situated in the eighth place from Alpha. Then, again, computing the number of these elements without the remarkable (letter), and adding them together up to Eta, they exhibit the number thirty. For any one beginning from the Alpha to the Eta will, after subtracting the remarkable (letter), discover the number of the elements to be the number thirty. Since, therefore, the number thirty is unified from the three powers; when multiplied thrice into itself it produced ninety, for thrice thirty is ninety, (and this triad when multiplied into itself produced nine). In this way the Ogdoad brought forth the number ninety-nine from the first Ogdoad, and Decade, and Dodecade. And at one time they collect the number of this (trio) into an entire sum, and produce a triacontad; whereas at another time they subtract twelve, and reckon it at eleven. And in like manner, (they subtract) ten and make it nine. And connecting these one into the other, and multiplying them tenfold, they complete the number ninety-nine. Since, however, the twelfth Aeon, having left the eleven (Aeons above), and departing downwards, withdrew, they allege that even this is correlative (with the letters). For the figure of the letters teaches (us as much). For L is placed eleventh of the letters, and this L is the number thirty. And (they say) that this is placed according to an image of the dispensation above; since from Alpha, irrespective of the remarkable (letter), the number of the letters themselves, added together up to L, according to the augmentation of the letters with the L itself, produces the number ninety-nine. But that the L, situated in the eleventh (of the alphabet), came down to search after the number similar to itself, in order that it might fill up the twelfth number, and that when it was discovered it was filled up, is manifest from the shape itself of the letter. For Lambda, when it attained unto, as it were, the investigation of what is similar to itself, and when it found such and snatched it away, filled up the place of the twelfth, the letter M, which is composed of two Lambdas. And for this reason (it was) that these (adherents of Marcus), through their knowledge, avoid the place of the ninety-nine, that is, the Hysterema, a type of the left hand, and follow after the one which, added to ninety-nine, they say was transferred to his own right hand 


And by the Mother, they allege, were created first the four elements, which, they say, are fire, water, earth, air; and these have been projected as an image of the tetrad above; and reckoning the energies of these--for instance, as hot, cold, moist, dry--they assert that they accurately portray the Ogdoad. And next they compute ten powers thus. (There are, they say,) seven orbicular bodies, which they likewise call heavens. There is next a circle containing these within its compass, and this also they name an eighth heaven: and in addition to these, they affirm the existence of both a sun and moon. And these being ten in number, they say, are images of the invisible decade that (emanated) from

Logos and Zoe. (They affirm,) however, that the dodecade is indicated by what is termed the zodiacal circle. For these twelve zodiacal signs, they say, most evidently shadowed forth the daughter of Anthropos and Ecclesia, namely the Dodecade. And since, he says, the upper heaven has been united from an opposite direction to the revolutionary motion, which is most rapid, of the entire (of the signs); and since (this heaven) within its cavity retards, and by its slowness counterpoises, the velocity of those (signs), so that in thirty years it accomplishes its circuit from sign to sign,--they therefore assert that this (heaven) is an image of Horos, who encircles the mother of these, who has thirty names. And, again, (they affirm) that the moon, which traverses the heaven in thirty days, by reason of (these) days portrays the number of the Aeons. And (they say) that the sun, performing its circuit, and terminating its exact return to its first position in its orbit in twelve months, manifests the dodecade. And also (they say) that the days themselves, involving the measure of twelve hours, constitute a type of the empty dodecade; and that the circumference of the actual zodiacal circle consists of three hundred and sixty degrees, and that each zodiacal sign possesses thirty divisions. In this way, therefore, even by means of the circle, they maintain that the image is preserved of the connection of the twelve with the thirty. But, moreover, alleging that the earth was divided into twelve regions, and that according to each particular region it receives one power by the latter's being sent down from the heavens, and that it produces children corresponding in likeness unto the power which transmitted (the likeness) by emanation; (for this reason) they assert that earth is a type of the Dodecade above.



And in addition to these (points, they lay down) that the Demiurge of the supernal Ogdoad, desirous of imitating the indefinite, and everlasting, and illimitable (one), and (the one) not subject to the condition of time; and (the Demiurge) not being able to represent the stability and eternity of this (Ogdoad), on account of his being the fruit of the Hysterema, to this end appointed times, and seasons, and numbers, measuring many years in reference to the eternity of this (Ogdoad), thinking by the multitude of times to imitate its indefiniteness. And here they say, when Truth eluded his pursuit, that Falsehood followed close upon him; and that on account of this, when the times were fulfilled, his work underwent dissolution.



These assertions, then, those who are of the school of Valentinus advance concerning both the creation and the universe, in each case propagating opinions still more empty. And they suppose this to constitute productiveness (in their system), if any one in like manner, making some greater discovery, will appear to work wonders. And finding, (as they insinuate,) each of the particulars of Scripture to accord with the aforesaid numbers, they (attempt to) criminate Moses and the prophets, alleging that these speak allegorically of the measures of the Aeons. And inasmuch as these statements are trifling and unstable, it does not appear to me expedient to bring them before (the reader. This, however, is the less requisite,) as now the blessed presbyter Irenaeus has powerfully and elaborately refuted the opinions of these (heretics). And to him we are indebted for a knowledge of their inventions, (and have thereby succeeded in) proving that these heretics, appropriating these opinions from the Pythagorean philosophy, and from over-spun theories of the astrologers, cast an imputation upon Christ, as though He had delivered these (doctrines). But since I suppose that the worthless opinions of these men have been sufficiently explained, and that it has been clearly proved whose disciples are Marcus and Colarbasus, who were successors of the school of Valentinus, let us see what statement likewise Basilides advances.



THE following are the contents of the seventh book of the Refutation of all Heresies :- What the opinion of Basilides is, and that, being struck with the doctrines of Aristotle, he out of these framed his heresy.

And what are the statements of Saturnilus, who flourished much about the time of Basilides.

And how Menander advanced the assertion that the world was made by angels.

What is the folly of Marcion, and that his tenet is not new, nor (taken) out of the Holy Scriptures, but that he obtains it from Empedocles.

How Carpocrates acts sillily, in himself also alleging that existing things were made by angels.

That Cerinthus, in no wise indebted to the Scriptures, formed his opinion (not out of them), but from the tenets of the Egyptians.

What are the opinions propounded by the Ebionaeans, and that they in preference adhere to Jewish customs.

How Theodotus has been a victim of error, deriving contributions to his system partly from the Ebionaeans, (partly from Cerinthus.)

And what were the opinions of Cerdon, who both enunciated the doctrines of Empedocles, and who wickedly induced Marcion to step forward.

And how Lucian, when he had become a disciple of Marcion, having divested himself of all shame, blasphemed God from time to time.

And Apelles also, having become a disciple of this (heretic), was not in the habit of advancing the same opinions with his preceptor; but being actuated (in the formation of his system) from the tenets of natural philosophers, assumed the substance of the universe as the fundamental principle of things.


The pupils of these men, when they perceive the doctrines of the heretics to be like unto the ocean when tossed into waves by violence of the winds, ought to sail past in quest of the tranquil haven. For a sea of this description is both infested with wild beasts and difficult of navigation, like, as we may say, the Sicilian (Sea), in which the legend reports were Cyclops, and Charybdis, and Scylla, and the rock of the Sirens. Now, the poets of the Greeks allege that Ulysses sailed through (this channel), adroitly using (to his own purpose) the terribleness of these strange monsters. For the savage cruelty (in the aspect) of these towards those who were sailing through was remarkable. The Sirens, however, singing sweetly and harmoniously, beguiled the voyagers, luring, by reason of their melodious voice, those who heard it, to steer their vessels towards (the promontory). The (poets) report that Ulysses, on ascertaining this, smeared with wax the ears of his companions, and, lashing himself to the mast, sailed, free of danger, past the Sirens, hearing their chant distinctly. And my advice to my readers is to adopt a similar expedient, viz., either on account of their infirmity to smear their ears with wax, and sail (straight on) through the tenets of the heretics, not even listening to (doctrines) that are easily capable of enticing them into pleasure, like the luscious lay of the Sirens, or, by binding one's self to the Cross of Christ, (and) hearkening with fidelity (to His words), not to be distracted, inasmuch as he has reposed his trust in Him to whom ere this he has been firmly knit, and (I admonish that man) to continue stedfastly (in this faith).



Since, therefore, in the six books preceding this, we have explained previous (heretical opinions), it now seems proper not to be silent respecting the (doctrines) of Basilides, which are the tenets of Aristotle the Stagyrite, not (those) of Christ. But even though on a former occasion the opinions propounded by Aristotle have been elucidated, we shall not even now scruple to set them down beforehand in a sort of synopsis, for the purpose of enabling my readers, by means of a nearer comparison of the two systems, to perceive with facility that the doctrines advanced by Basilides are (in reality) the clever quibbles of Aristotle.


Aristotle, then, makes a threefold division of substance. For one portion of it is a certain genus, and another a certain species, as that (philosopher) expresses it, and a third a certain individual. What is individual, however, (is so) not through any minuteness of body, but because by nature it cannot admit of any division whatsoever. The genus, on the other hand, is a sort of aggregate, made up of many and different germs. And from this genus, just as (from) a certain heap, all the species of existent things derive their distinctions. And the genus constitutes a competent cause for (the production of) all generated entities. In order, however, that the foregoing statement may be clear, I shall prove (my position) through an example. And by means of this it will be possible for us to retrace our steps over the entire speculation of the Peripatetic (sage).


We affirm the existence of animal absolutely, not some animal. And this animal is neither ox, nor horse, nor man, nor god; nor is it significant of any of these at all, but is animal absolutely. From this animal the species of all particular animals derive their subsistence. And this animality, itself the summum genus, constitutes (the originating principle) for all animals produced in those (particular) species, and (yet is) not (itself any one) of the things generated. For man is an animal deriving the principle (of existence) from that animality, and horse is an animal deriving the principle of existence from that animality. The horse, and ox, and dog, and each of the rest of the animals, derive the principle (of existence) from the absolute animal, while animality itself is not any of these.


If, however, this animality is not any of these (species), the subsistence, according to Aristotle, of the things that are generated, derived its reality from non-existent entities. For animality, from whence these singly have been derived, is not any one (of them); and though it is not any one of them, it has yet become some one originating principle of existing things. But who it is that has established this substance as an originating cause of what is subsequently produced, we shall declare when we arrive at the proper place for entertaining a discussion of this sort.



Since, however, as I have stated, substance is threefold, viz., genus, species, (and) individual; and (since) we have set down animality as being the genus, and man the species, as being already distinct from the majority of animals, but notwithstanding still to be identified (with animals of his own kind), inasmuch as not being yet moulded into a species of realized substance,-- (therefore it is, that) when I impart form under a name to a man derived from the genus, I style him Socrates or Diogenes, or some one of the many denominations (in use). And since (in this way, I repeat,) I comprehend under a name the man who constitutes a species that is generated from the genus, I denominate a substance of this description individual. For genus has been divided into species, and species into individual. But (as regards) the individual, since it has been comprehended under a name, it is not possible that, according to its own nature, it could be divided into anything else, as we have divided each of the fore-mentioned (genus and species).

Aristotle primarily, and especially, and preeminently entitles this--substance, inasmuch as it cannot either be predicated of any Subject, or exist in a Subject. He, however, predicates of the Subject, just as with the genus, what I said constituted animality, (and which is) predicated by means of a common name of all particular animals, such as ox, horse, and the rest that are placed under (this genus). For it is true to say that man is an animal, and horse an animal, and that ox is an animal, and each of the rest. Now the meaning of the expression "predicated of a Subject" is this, that inasmuch as it is one, it can be predicated in like manner of many (particulars), even though these happen to be diversified in species. For neither does horse nor ox differ from man so far forth as he is an animal, for the definition of animal is said to suit all animals alike. For what is an animal? If we define it, a general definition will comprehend all animals. For animal is an animated Substance, endued with Sensation. Such are ox, man, horse, and each of the rest (of the animal kingdom). But the meaning of the expression "in a Subject" is this, that what is inherent in anything, not as a part, it is impossible should exist separately from that in which it is. But this constitutes each of the accidents (resident) in Substance, and is what is termed Quality. Now, according to this, we say that certain persons are of such a quality; for instance, white, grey, black, just, unjust, temperate, and other (characteristics) similar to these. But it is impossible for any one of these to subsist itself by itself; but it must inhere in something else. If, however, neither animal which I predicate of all individual animals, nor accidents which are discoverable in all things of which they are nonessential qualities, can subsist themselves by themselves, and (yet if) individuals are formed out of these, (it follows, therefore, that) the triply divided Substance, which is not made up out of other things, consists of nonentities. If, then, what is primarily, and pre-eminently, and particularly denominated Substance consists of these, it derives existence from nonentities, according to Aristotle.


But concerning Substance, the statements now made will suffice. But not only is Substance denominated genus, species, (and) individual, but also matter, and form, and privation. There is, however, (as regards the substance,) in these no difference, even though the division be allowed to stand. Now, inasmuch as Substance is of this description, the arrangement of the world has taken place according to some such plan as the following. The world is divided, according to Aristotle, into very numerous and diversified parts. Now the portion of the world which extends from the earth to the moon is devoid of foresight, guideless, and is under the sway of that nature alone which belongs to itself. But another (part of the world which lies) beyond the moon, and extends to the surface of heaven, is arranged in the midst of all order and foresight and governance. Now, the (celestial) superficies constitutes a certain fifth substance, and is remote from all those natural elements out of which the cosmical system derives consistence. And this is a certain fifth Substance, according to Aristotle,--as it were, a certain super-mundane essence. And (this essence) has become (a logical necessity) in his system, in order to accord with the (Peripatetic) division of the world. And (the topic of this fifth nature) constitutes a distinct investigation in philosophy. For there is extant a certain disquisition, styled A Lecture on Physical (Phenomena), in which he has elaborately treated concerning the operations which are conducted by nature and not providence, (in the quarter of space extending) from the earth as far as the moon. And there is also extant by him a certain other peculiar treatise on the principles of things (in the region) beyond the moon, and it bears the following inscription: Metaphysics. And another peculiar dissertation has been (written) by him, entitled Concerning a Fifth Substance, and in this work Aristotle unfolds his theological opinions.

There exists some such division of the universe as we have now attempted to delineate in outline, and (corresponding with it is the division) of the Aristotelian philosophy. His work, however, (styled) Concerning the Soul, is obscure. For in the entire three books (where he treats of this subject) it is not possible to say clearly what is Aristotle's opinion concerning the soul. For, as regards the definition which he furnishes of soul, it is easy (enough) to declare this; but what it is that is signified by the definition is difficult to discover. For soul, he says, is an entelecheia of a natural organic body; (but to explain) what this is at all, would require a very great number of arguments and a lengthened investigation. As regards, however, the Deity, the Originator of all those glorious objects in creation, (the nature of) this (First Cause)--even to one conducting his speculations by a more prolonged inquiry than that concerning (the soul)--is more difficult to know than the soul itself. The definition, however, which Aris totle furnishes of the Deity is, I admit, not difficult to ascertain, but it is impossible to comprehend the meaning of it. For, he says, (the Deity) is a "conception of conception;" but this is altogether a non-existent (entity).

The world, however, is incorruptible (and) eternal, according to Aristotle.

For it has in itself nothing faulty, inasmuch as it is directed by Providence and Nature. And Aristotle has laid down doctrines not only concerning Nature and a cosmical system, and Providence, and God, but he has written (more than this); for there is extant by him likewise a certain treatise on ethical subjects, and these he inscribes Books of Ethics. But throughout these he aims at rendering the habits of his hearers excellent from being worthless. When, therefore, Basilides has been discovered, not in spirit alone, but also in the actual expressions and names, transferring the tenets of Aristotle into our evangelical and saving doctrine, what remains, but that, by restoring what he has appropriated from others, we should prove to the disciples of this (heretic) that Christ will in no wise profit them, inasmuch as they are heathenish?


Basilides, therefore, and Isidorus, the true son and disciple of Basilides, say that Matthias communicated to them secret discourses, which, I being specially instructed, he heard from the Saviour. Let us, then, see how clearly Basilides, simultaneously with Isidorus, and the entire band of these (heretics), not only absolutely belies Matthias, but even the Saviour Himself.

(Time) was, says (Basilides), when there was nothing. Not even, however, did that nothing constitute anything of existent things; but, to express myself undisguisedly and candidly, and without any quibbling, it is altogether nothing. But when, he says, I employ the expression "was,"I do not say that it was; but (I speak in this way) in order to signify the meaning of what I wish to elucidate. I affirm then, he says, that it was "altogether nothing." For, he says, that is not absolutely ineffable which is named,--although undoubtedly we call this ineffable,--but that which is "non-ineffable." For that which is "non-ineffable" is not denominated ineffable, but is, he says, above every name that is named. For, he says, by no means for the world are these names sufficient, but so manifold are its divisions that there is a deficiency (of names). And I do not take it upon myself to discover, he says, proper denominations for all things. Undoubtedly, however, one ought mentally, not by means of names, to conceive, after an ineffable manner, the peculiarities (of things) denominated. For an equivocal terminology, (when employed by teachers,) has created for their pupils confusion and a source of error concerning objects. (The Basilidians), in the first instance, laying hold on this borrowed and furtively derived tenet from the Peripatetic (sage), play upon the folly of those who herd together with them. For Aristotle, born many generations before Basilides, first lays down a system in The Categories concerning homonymous words. And these heretics bring this (system) to light as if it were peculiarly their own, and as if it were some novel (doctrine), and some secret disclosure from the discourses of Matthias.



Since, therefore, "nothing" existed,-- (I mean) not matter, nor substance, nor what is insubstantial, nor is absolute, nor composite, (nor conceivable, nor inconceivable, (nor what is sensible,) nor devoid of senses, nor man, nor angel, nor a god, nor, in short, any of those objects that have names, or are apprehended by sense, or that are cognised by intellect, but (are) thus (cognised), even with greater minuteness, still, when all things are absolutely removed,-- (since, I say, "nothing" existed,) God, "non-existent,"--whom Aristotle styles "conception of conception," but these (Basilidians) "non-existent,"-inconceivably, insensibly, indeterminately, involuntarily, impassively, (and) unactuated by desire, willed to create a world. Now I employ, he says, the expression "willed" for the purpose of signifying (that he did so) involuntarily, and inconceivably, and insensibly.

And by the expression "world" I do not mean that which was subsequently formed according to breadth and division, and which stood apart; nay, (far from this,) for (I mean) the germ of a world. The germ, however, of the world had all things in itself. Just as the grain of mustard comprises all things simultaneously, holding them (collected) together within the very smallest (compass), viz. roots, stem, branches, leaves, and innumerable gains which are produced from the plant, seeds again of other plants, and frequently of others (still), that are produced (from them). In this way,"non-existent" God made the world out of nonentities, casting and depositing some one Seed that contained in itself a conglomeration of the germs of the world. But in order that I may render more clear what it is those (heretics) affirm, (I shall mention the following illustration of theirs.) As an egg of some variegated and particoloured bird,--for instance the peacock, or some other (bird) still more manifold and particoloured,--being one in reality, contains in itself numerous forms of manifold, and particoloured, and much compounded substances; so, he says, the nonexistent seed of the world, which has been deposited by the non-existent God, constitutes at the same time the germ of a multitude of forms and a multitude of substances.



All things, therefore whatsoever it is possible to declare, and whatever, being not as yet discovered, one must omit, were likely to receive adaptation to the world which was about to be generated from the Seed. And this (Seed), at the requisite seasons, increases in bulk in a peculiar manner, according to accession, as through the instrumentality of a Deity so great, and of this description. (But this Deity) the creature can neither express nor grasp by perception. (Now, all these things) were inherent, treasured in the Seed, as we afterwards observe in a new-born child the growth of teeth, and paternal substance, and intellect, and everything which, though previously having no existence, accrues unto a man, growing little by little, from a youthful period of life. But since it would be absurd to say that any projection of a non-existent God became anything non-existent (for Basilides altogether sirens and dreads the Substances of things generated in the way of projection for, (he asks,) of what sort of projection is there a necessity, or of what sort of matter must we assume the previous existence, in order that God should construct a world, as the spider his web; or a mortal man, for the purpose of working it, takes a (piece of) brass or of wood, or some other of the parts of matter?),-- (projection, I say, being out of the question,) certainly, says (Basilides), God spoke the word, and it was carried into effect. And this, as these men assert, is that which has been stated by Moses:

"Let there be light, and there was light." Whence he says, came the light?

From nothing. For it has not been written, he says, whence, but this only, (that it came) from the voice of him who speaks the word. And he who speaks the word, he says, was non-existent; nor was that existent which was being produced. The seed of the cosmical system was generated, he says, from nonentities; (and I mean by the seed,) the word which was spoken, "Let there be light." And this, he says, is that which has been stated in the Gospels:

"He was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." He derives his originating principles from that Seed, and obtains from the same source his illuminating power. This is that seed which has in itself the entire conglomeration of germs. And Aristotle affirms this to be genius, and it is distributed by him into infinite species; just as from animal, which is non-existent, we sever ox, horse, (and) man. When, therefore, the cosmical Seed becomes the basis (for a subsequent development), those (heretics) assert, (to quote Basilides' own words:) "Whatsoever I affirm," he says, "to have been made after these, ask no question as to whence. For (the Seed) had all seeds treasured and reposing in itself, just as non-existent entities, and which were designed to be produced by a non-existent Deity."

Let us see, therefore, what they say is first, or what second, or what third, (in the development of) what is generated from the cosmical Seed. There existed, he says, in the Seed itself, a Sonship, threefold, in every respect of the same Substance with the non-existent God, (and) begotten from nonentities, Of this Sonship (thus) involving a threefold division, one part was refined, (another gross,) and another requiring purification. The refined portion, therefore, in the first place, simultaneously with the earliest deposition of the Seed by the non-existent one, immediately burst forth and went upwards and hurried above from below, employing a sort of velocity described in poetry,- " . . . As wing or thought," - and attained, he says, unto him that is nonexistent. For every nature desires that (nonexistent one), on account of a superabundance of beauty and bloom. Each (nature desires this), however, after a different mode. The more gross portion, however, (of the Sonship) continuing still in the Seed, (and) being a certain imitative (principle), was not able to hurry upwards. For (this portion) was much more deficient in the refinement that the Sonship possessed, which through itself hurried upwards, (and so the more gross portion) was left behind. Therefore the more gross Sonship equipped it self with some such wing as Plato, the Preceptor of Aristotle, fastens on the soul in (his) Phoedrus. And Basilides styles such, not a wing, but Holy Spirit; and Sonship invested in this (Spirit) confers benefits, and receives them in turn. He confers benefits, because, as a wing of a bird, when removed from the bird, would not of itself soar high up and aloft; nor, again, would a bird, when disengaged from its pinion, at any time soar high up and aloft; (so, in like manner,) the Sonship involved some such relation in reference to the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit in reference to the Sonship. For the Sonship, carried upwards by the Spirit as by a wing, bears aloft (in turn) its pinion, that is, the Spirit. And it approaches the refined Sonship, and the non-existent God, even Him who fabricated the world out of nonentities. He was not, (however,) able to have this (spirit) with (the Sonship) itself; for it was not of the same substance (with God), nor has it (any) nature (in common) with the Sonship. But as pure and dry air is contrary to (their) nature, and destructive to fishes; so, in contrariety to the nature of the Holy Spirit, was that place simultaneously of non-existent Deity and Sonship,-- (a place) more ineffable than ineffable (entities), and higher up than all names.

Sonship, therefore, left this (spirit) near that Blessed Place, which cannot be conceived or represented by any expression. (He left the spirit) not altogether deserted or separated from the Sonship; nay, (far from it,) for it is just as when a most fragrant ointment is put into a vessel, that, even though (the vessel) be emptied (of it) with ever so much care, nevertheless some odour of the ointment still remains, and is left behind, even after (the ointment) is separated from the vessel; and the vessel retains an odour of ointment, though (it contain) not the ointment (itself). So the Holy Spirit has continued without any share in the Sonship, and separated (from it), and has in itself, similarly with ointment, its own power, a savour of Sonship.

And this is what has been declared: "As the ointment upon the head which descended to the beard of Aaron." This is the savour from the Holy Spirit borne down from above, as far as formlessness, and the interval (of space) in the vicinity of our world. And from this the Son began to ascend, sustained as it were, says (Basilides), upon eagles' wings, and upon the back. For, he says, all (entities) hasten upwards from below, from things inferior to those that are superior. For not one of those things that are among things superior, is so silly as to descend beneath. The third Sonship, however, that which requires purification, has continued, he says, in the vast conglomeration of all germs conferring benefits and receiving them. But in what manner it is that (the third Sonship) receives benefits and confers them, we shall afterwards declare when we come to the proper place for discussing this question.


When, therefore, a first and second ascension of the Sonship took place, and the Holy Spirit itself also remained after the mode mentioned, the firmament was placed between the super-mundane (spaces) and the world. For existing things were distributed by Basilides into two continuous and primary divisions, and are, according to him, denominated partly in a certain (respect) world, and partly in a certain (respect) super-mundane (spaces). But the spirit, a line of demarcation between the world and super-mundane (spaces), is that which is both holy, and has abiding in itself the savour of Sonship. While, therefore, the firmament which is above the heaven is coining into existence, there burst forth, and was begotten from the cosmical Seed, and the conglomeration of all germs, the Great Archon (and) Head of the world, (who constitutes) a certain (species of) beauty, and magnitude, and indissoluble power. For, says he, he is more ineffable than ineffable entities, and more potent than potent ones, and more wise than wise ones, and superior to all the beautiful ones whatever you could mention. This (Archon), when begotten, raised Himself up and soared aloft, and was carried up entire as far as the firmament. And there He paused, supposing the firmament to be the termination of His ascension and elevation, and considering that there existed nothing at all beyond these. And than all the subjacent (entities) whatsoever there were among them which remained mundane, He became more wise, more powerful, more comely, more lustrous, (in fact,) pre-eminent for beauty above any entities yon could mention with the exception of the Sonship alone, which is still left in the (conglomeration of) all germs. For he was not aware that there is (a Sonship) wiser and more powerful, and better than Himself. Therefore imagining Himself to be Lord, and Governor, and a wise Master Builder, He turns Himself to (the work of) the creation of every object in the cosmical system. And first, he deemed it proper not to be alone, but made unto Himself, and generated from adjacent (entities), a Son far superior to Him self, and wiser. For all these things had the non-existent Deity previously determined upon, when He cast down the (conglomeration of) all germs. Beholding, therefore, the Son, He was seized with astonishment, and loved (Him), and was struck with amazement. For some beauty of this description appeared to the Great Archon to belong to the Son, and the Archon caused Him to sit on his right (hand). This is, according to these (heretics), what is denominated the Ogdoad, where the Great Archon has his throne. The entire celestial creation, then, that is, the AEther, He Himself, the Great Wise Demiurge formed. The Son, however, begotten of this (Archon), operates in Him, and offered Him suggestions, being endued with far greater wisdom than the Demiurge Himself.


This, then, constitutes the entelecheia of the natural organic body, according to Aristotle, (viz.,) a soul operating in the body, without which the body is able to accomplish nothing; (I mean nothing) that is greater, and more illustrious, and more powerful, and more wise than the body. The account, therefore, which Aristotle has previously rendered concerning the soul and the body, Basilides elucidates as applied to the Great Archon and his Son. For the Archon has generated, according to Basilides, a son; and the soul as an operation and completion, Aristotle asserts to be an entelecheia of a natural organic hotly. As, therefore, the entelecheia controls the body, so the Son, according to Basilides, controls the God that is more ineffable than ineffable (entities). All things, therefore, have been provided for, and managed by the majesty of the Great Archon; (I mean) whatever objects exist in the aethereal region of space as far as the moon, for from that quarter onwards air is separated from aether. When all objects in the aethereal regions, then, were arranged, again from (the conglomeration of) all germs another Archon ascended, greater, of course, than all subjacent (entities) with the exception, however, of the Sonship that had been left behind, but far inferior to the First Archon. And this (second Archon) is called by them Rhetus. And this Topos is styled Hebdomad, and this (Archon) is the manager and fabricator of all subjacent (entities). And He has likewise made unto Himself out (of the conglomeration of) all germs, a son who is more prudent and wise than Himself, similarly to what has been stated to have taken place in the case of the First Archon. That which exists in this quarter (of the universe) constitutes, he says, the actual conglomeration and collection of all seeds; and the things which are generated are produced according to nature, as has been declared already by Him who calculates on things future, when they ought (to be), and what sort they ought (to be), and how they ought (to be). And of these no one is Chief, or Guardian, or Creator. For sufficient (cause of existence) for them is that calculation which the Non-Existent One formed when He exercised the function of creation.



When, therefore, according to these (heretics), the entire world and super-mundane entities were finished, and (when) nothing exists labouring under deficiency, there still remains in the (conglomeration of) all germs the third Sonship, which had been left behind in the Seed to confer benefits and receive them. And it must needs be that the Sonship which had been left behind ought likewise to be revealed and reinstated above. And His place should be above the Conterminous Spirit, near the refined and imitative Sonship and the Non-Existent One. But this would be in accordance with what has been written, he says: "And the creation itself groaneth together, and travaileth in pain together, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." Now, we who are spiritual are sons, he says, who have been left here to arrange, and mould, and rectify, and complete the souls which, according to nature, are so constituted as to continue in this quarter of the universe. "Sin, then, reigned from Adam unto Moses," as it has been written. For the Great Archon exercised dominion and possesses an empire with limits extending as far as the firmament. And He imagines Himself alone to be God, and that there exists nothing above Him, for (the reason that) all things have been guarded by unrevealed Siope. This, he says, is the mystery which has not been made known to former generations; but in those days the Great Archon, the Ogdoad, was King and Lord, as it seemed, of the universe. But (in reality) the Hebdomad was king and lord of this quarter of the universe, and the Ogdoad is Arrhetus, whereas the Hebdomad is Rhetus. This, he says, is the Archon of the Hebdomad, who has spoken to Moses, and says: "I am the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and I have not manifested unto them the name of God" (for so they wish that it had been written)--that is, the God, Arrhetus,

Archon of the Ogdoad. All the prophets, therefore, who were before the Saviour uttered their predictions, he says, from this source (of inspiration). Since, therefore, it was requisite, he says, that we should be revealed as the children of God, in expectation of whose manifestation, he says, the creation habitually groans and travails in pain, the Gospel came into the world, and passed through every Principality, and Power, and Dominion, and every Name that is named. And (the Gospel) came in reality, though nothing descended from above; nor did the blessed Sonship retire from that Inconceivable, and Blessed, (and) Non-Existent God. Nay, (far from it;) for as Indian naphtha, when lighted merely from a considerably long distance, nevertheless attracts fire (towards it), so from below, from the formlessness of the conglomeration (of all germs), the powers pass upwards as far as the Sonship. For, according to the illustration of the Indian naphtha, the Son of the Great Archon of the Ogdoad, as if he were some (sort of) naphtha, apprehends and seizes conceptions from the Blessed Sonship, whose place of habitation is situated after that of the Conterminous (Spirit). For the power of the Sonship which is in the midst of the Holy Spirit, (that is,) in, the midst of the (Conterminous) Spirit, shares the flowing and rushing thoughts of the Sonship with the Son of the Great Archon.


The Gospel then came, says (Basilides), first from the Sonship through the Son, that was seated beside the Archon, to the Archon, and the Archon learned that He was not God of the universe, but was begotten. But (ascertaining that) He has above Himself the deposited treasure of that Ineffable and Unnameable (and) Non-existent One, and of the Sonship, He was both converted and filled with terror, when He was brought to understand in what ignorance He was (involved). This, he says, is what has been declared: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." For, being orally instructed by Christ, who was seated near, he began to acquire wisdom, (inasmuch as he thereby) learns who is the Non-Existent One, what the Sonship, what the Holy Spirit, what the apparatus of the universe, and what is likely to be the consummation of things. This is the wisdom spoken in a mystery, concerning which, says (Basilides), Scripture uses the following expressions: "Not in words taught of human wisdom, but in (those) taught of the Spirit." The Archon, then, being orally instructed, and taught, and being (thereby) filled with fear, proceeded to make confession concerning the sin which He had committed in magnifying Himself. This, he says, is what is declared: "I have recognised my sin, and I know my transgression, (and) about this I shall confess for ever." When, then, the Great Archon had been orally instructed, and every creature of the Ogdoad had been orally instructed and taught, and (after) the mystery became known to the celestial (powers), it was also necessary that afterwards the Gospel should come to the Hebdomad, in order likewise that the Archon of the Hebdomad might be similarly instructed and indoctrinated into the Gospel. The Son of the Great Archon (therefore) kindled in the Son of the Archon of the Hebdomad the light which Himself possessed and had kindled from above from the Sonship. And the Son of the Archon of the Hebdomad had radiance imparted to Him, and He proclaimed the Gospel to the Archon of the Hebdomad. And in like manner, according to the previous account, He Himself was both terrified and induced to make confession. When, therefore, all (beings) in the Hebdomad had been likewise enlightened, and had the Gospel announced to them (for in these regions of the universe there exist, according to these heretics, creatures infinite (in number), viz., Principalities and Powers and Rulers, in regard of which there is extant among the (Basilidians) a very prolix and verbose treatise, where they allege that there are three hundred and sixty-five heavens, and that the great Archon of these is Abrasax, from the fact that his name comprises the computed number 365, so that, of course, the calculation of the title includes all (existing) things, and that for these reasons the year consists of so many days);--but when, he says, these (two events, viz., the illumination of the Hebdomad and the manifestation of the Gospel) had thus taken place, it was necessary, likewise, that afterwards the Formlessness existent in our quarter of creation should have radiance imparted to it, and that the mystery should be revealed to the Sonship, which had been left behind in Formlessness, just like an abortion.

Now this (mystery) was not made known to previous generations, as he says, it has been written, "By revelation was made known unto me the mystery;" and, "I have heard inex pressible words which it is not possible for man to declare." The light, (therefore,) which came down from the Ogdoad above to the Son of the Hebdomad, descended from the Hebdomad upon Jesus the son of Mary, and he had radiance imparted to him by being illuminated with the light that shone upon him. This, he says, is that which has been declared: "The Holy Spirit will come upon thee," (meaning) that which proceeded from the Sonship through the conterminous spirit upon the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, as far as Mary; "and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee," (meaning) the power of the anointing, (which streamed) from the (celestial) height above (through) the Demiurge, as far as the creation, which is (as far as) the Son. And as far as that (Son) he says the world consisted thus. And as far as this, the entire Sonship, which is left behind for benefiting the souls in Formlessness, and for being the recipient in turn of benefits,-- (this Sonship, I say,) when it is transformed, followed Jesus, and hastened upwards, and came forth purified.

And it becomes most refined, so that it could, as the first (Sonship), hasten upwards through its own instrumentality. For it possesses all the power that, according to nature, is firmly connected with the light which from above shone down (upon earth).


When, therefore, he says, the entire Sonship shall have come, and shall be above the conterminous spirit, then the creature will become the object of mercy. For (the creature) groans until now, and is tormented, and waits for the manifestation of the sons of God, in order that all who are men of the Sonship may ascend from thence. When this takes place, God, he says, will bring upon the whole world enormous ignorance, that all things may continue according to nature, and that nothing may inordinately desire anything of the things that are contrary to nature. But (far from it); for all the souls of this quarter of creation, as many as possess the nature of remaining immortal in this (region) only, continue (in it), aware of nothing superior or better (than their present state). And there will not prevail any rumour or knowledge in regions below, concerning beings whose dwelling is placed above, lest subjacent souls should be wrung with torture from longing after impossibilities. (It would be) just as if a fish were to crave to feed on the mountains along with sheep. (For) a wish of this description would, he says, be their destruction. All things, therefore, that abide in (this) quarter are incorruptible, but corruptible if they are disposed to wander and cross over from the things that are according to nature. In this way the Archon of the Hebdomad will know nothing of superjacent entities. For enormous ignorance will lay hold on this one likewise, in order that sorrow, and grief, and groaning may depart from him; for he will not desire aught of impossible things, nor will he be visited with anguish. In like manner, however, the same ignorance will lay hold also on the Great Archon of the Ogdoad, and similarly on all the creatures that are subject unto him, in order that in no respect anything may desire aught of those things that are contrary to nature, and may not (thus) be overwhelmed with sorrow. And so there will be the restitution of all things which, in conformity with nature, have from the beginning a foundation in the seed of the universe, but will be restored at (their own) proper periods. And that each thing, says (Basilides), has its own particular times, the Saviour is a sufficient (witness when He observes, "Mine hour is not yet come." And the Magi (afford similar testimony) when they gaze wistfully upon the (Saviour's) star. For (Jesus) Himself was, he says, mentally preconceived at the time of the generation of the stars, and of the complete return to their starting-point of the seasons in the vast conglomeration (of all germs). This is, according to these (Basilidians), he who has been conceived as the inner spiritual man in what is natural (now this is the Sonship which left there the soul, not (that it might be) mortal, but that it might abide here according to nature, just as the first Sonship left above in its proper locality the Holy Spirit, (that is, the spirit) which is conterminous),-- (this, I say, is he who has been conceived as the inner spiritual man, and) has then been arrayed in his own peculiar soul.

In order, however, that we may not omit any of the doctrines of this (Basilides), I shall likewise explain whatever statements they put forward respecting a gospel. For gospel with them, as has been elucidated, is of super-mundane entities the knowledge which the Great Archon did not understand. As, then, it was manifested unto him that there are likewise the Holy Spirit--that is, the conterminous (spirit)--and the Sonship, and the Non-Existent God, the cause of all these, he rejoiced at the communications made to him, and was filled with exultation.

According to them, this constitutes the gospel. Jesus, however, was born, according to these (heretics), as we have already declared. And when the generation which has been previously explained took place, all the events in our Lord's life occurred, according to them, in the same manner as they have been described in the Gospels. And these things happened, he says, in order that Jesus might become the first-fruits of a distinction of the different orders (of created objects) that had been confused together. For when the world had been divided into an Ogdoad, which is the head of the entire world,--now the great Archon is head of the entire world,--and into a Hebdomad,--which is the head of the Hebdomad, the Demiurge of subjacent entities,--and into this order of creatures (that prevails) amongst us, where exists Formlessness, it was requisite that the various orders of created objects that had been confounded together should be distinguished by a separating process performed by Jesus. (Now this separation) that which was his corporeal part suffered, and this was (the part) of Formlessness and reverted into Formlessness. And that was resuscitated which was his psychical part, and this was (part) of the Hebdomad, and reverted into the Hebdomad. And he revived that (element in his nature) which was the peculiar property of the elevated region where dwells the Great Archon, and (that element) remained beside the Great Archon. And he carried upwards as far as (that which is) above that which was (the peculiar property) of the conterminous spirit, and he remained in the conterminous spirit. And through him there was purified the third Sonship, which had been left for conferring benefits, and receiving them. And (through Jesus) it ascended towards the blessed Sonship, and passed through all these. For the entire purpose of these was the blending together of, as it were, the conglomeration of all germs, and the distinction of the various orders of created objects, and the restoration into their proper component parts of things that had been blended together. Jesus, therefore, became the first-fruits of the distinction of the various orders of created objects, and his Passion took place for not any other reason than the distinction which was thereby brought about in the various orders of created objects that had been confounded together. For in this manner (Basilides) says that the entire Sonship, which had been left in Formlessness for the purpose of conferring benefits and receiving them, was divided into its component elements, according to the manner in which also the distinction of natures had taken place in Jesus. These, then, are the legends which likewise Basilides details after his sojourn in Egypt; and being instructed by the (sages of this country) in so great a system of wisdom, (the heretic) produced fruits of this description.


But one Saturnilus, who flourished about the same period with Basilides, but spent his time in Antioch, (a city) of Syria, propounded opinions akin to whatever (tenets) Menander (advanced). He asserts that there is one Father, unknown to all--He who had made angels, archangels, principalities, (and) powers; and that by certain angels, seven (in number), the world was made, and all things that are in it. And (Saturnilus affirms) that man was a work of angels. There had appeared above from (the Being of) absolute sway, a brilliant image; and when (the angels) were not able to detain this, on account of its immediately, he says, returning with rapidity upwards, they exhorted one another, saying, "Let us make man in our likeness and image." And when the figure was formed, and was not, he says, able, owing to the impotence of the angels, to lift up itself, but continued writhing as a worm, the Power above, compassionating him on account of his having been born in its own image, sent forth a scintillation of life, which raised man up, and caused him to have vitality. (Saturnilus) asserts that this scintillation of life rapidly returns after death to those things that are of the same order of existence; and that the rest, from which they have been generated, are resolved into those. And the Saviour he supposed to be unbegotten and incorporeal, and devoid of figure. (Saturnilus,) however, (maintained that Jesus) was manifested as man in appearance only. And he says that the God of the Jews is one of the angels, and, on account of the Father's wishing to deprive of sovereignty all the Archons, that Christ came for the overthrow of the God of the Jews, and for the salvation of those that believe upon Him; and that these have in them the scintillation of life. For he asserted that two kinds of men had been formed by the angels,--one wicked, but the other good. And, since demons from time to time assisted wicked (men, Saturnilus affirms) that the Saviour came for the overthrow of worthless men and demons, but for the salvation of good men. And he affirms that marriage and procreation are from Satan. The majority, however, of those who belong to this (heretic's school) abstain from animal food likewise, (and) by this affectation of asceticism (make many their dupes). And (they maintain) that the prophecies have been uttered, partly by the world-making angels, and partly by Satan, who is also the very angel whom they suppose to act in antagonism to the cosmical (angels), and especially to the God of the Jews. These, then, are in truth the tenets of Saturnilus.


But Marcion, a native of Pontus, far more frantic than these (heretics), omitting the majority of the tenets of the greater number (of speculators), (and) advancing into a doctrine still more unabashed, supposed (the existence of) two originating causes of the universe, alleging one of them to be a certain good (principle), but the other an evil one. And himself imagining that he was introducing some novel (opinion), founded a school full of folly, and attended by men of a sensual mode of life, inasmuch as he himself was one of lustful propensities. This (heretic) having thought that the multitude would forget that he did not happen to be a disciple of Christ, but of Empedocles, who was far anterior to himself, framed and formed the same opinions,--namely, that there are two causes of the universe, discord and friendship. For what does Empedocles say respecting the plan of the world? Even though we have previously spoken (on this subject), yet even now also, for the purpose, at all events, of comparing the heresy of this plagiarist (with its source), we shall not be silent.

This (philosopher) affirms that all the elements out of which the world consists and derives its being, are six: two of them material, (viz.,) earth and water; and two of them instruments by which material objects are arranged and altered, (viz.,) fire and air; and two of them, by means of the instruments, operating upon matter and fashioning it, viz., discord and friendship. (Empedocles) expresses himself somehow thus:- "The four roots of all things hear thou first:

Brilliant Jove, and life-giving Juno and Aidoneus, And Nestis, who with tears bedews the mortal font."

Jupiter is fire, and life-giving Juno earth, which produces fruits for the support of existence; and Aidoneus air, because although through him we behold all things, yet himself alone we do not see. But Nestis is water, for this is a sole vehicle of (food), and thus becomes a cause of sustenance to all those that are being nourished; (but) this of itself is not able to afford nutriment to those that are being nourished. For if it did possess the power of affording nutriment, animal life, he says, could never be destroyed by famine, inasmuch as water is always superabundant in the world. For this reason he denominates Nestis water, because, (though indirectly) being a cause of nutriment, it is not (of itself) competent to afford nutriment to those things that are being nourished. These, therefore--to delineate them as by way of outline--are the principles that comprise (Empedocles') entire theory of the world: (viz.,) water and earth, out of which (proceed) generated entities; fire and spirit, (which are) instruments and efficient (causes), but discord and friendship, which are (principles) artistically fabricating (the universe). And friendship is a certain peace, and unanimity, and love, whose entire effort is, that there should be one finished and complete world.

Discord, however, invariably separates that one (world), and subdivides it, or makes many things out of one. Therefore discord is of the entire creation a cause which he styles "oulomenon," that is, destructive. For it is the concern of this (discord), that throughout every age the creation itself should continue to preserve its existing condition. And ruinous discord has been (thus) a fabricator and an efficient cause of the production of all generated entities; whereas friendship (is the cause) of the eduction, and alteration, and restoration of existing things into one system. And in regard of these (causes), Empedocles asserts that they are two immortal and unbegotten principles, and such as have not as yet received an originating cause of existence. (Empedocles) somewhere or other (expresses himself) in the following manner:- "For if both once it was, and will be; never, I think, Will be the age eternal void of both of these."

(But) what are these (two)? Discord and Friendship; for they did not begin to come into being, but pre-existed and always will exist, because, from the fact of their being unbegotten, they are not able to undergo corruption. But fire, (and water,) and earth, and air, are (entities) that perish and revive. For when these generated (bodies), by reason of Discord, cease to exist, Friendship, laying hold on them, brings them forward, and attaches and associates them herself with the universe. (And this takes place) in order that the Universe may continue one, being always ordered by Friendship in a manner one and the same, and with (uninterrupted) uniformity.

When, however, Friendship makes unity out of plurality, and associates with unity separated entities, Discord, again, forcibly severs them from unity, and makes them many, that is, fire, water, earth, air, (as well as) the animals and plants produced from these, and whatever portions of the world we observe. And in regard of the form of the world, what sort it is, arranged by Friendship, (Empedocles) expresses himself in the following terms:- "For not from back two arms arise, Not feet, not nimble knees, not genital groin, But a globe it was, and equal to itself it is."

An operation of this description Friendship maintains, and makes (one) most beautiful form of the world out of plurality. Discord, however, the cause of the arrangement of each of the parts (of the universe), forcibly severs and makes many things out of that one (form). And this is what Empedocles affirms respecting his own generation:- "Of these I also am from God a wandering exile."

That is, (Empedocles) denominates as God the unity and unification of that (one form) in which (the world) existed antecedent to the separation and production (introduced) by Discord among the majority of those things (that subsisted) in accordance with the disposition (effected) by Discord. For Empedocles affirms Discord to be a furious, and perturbed, and unstable Demiurge, (thus) denominating Discord the creator of the world. For this constitutes the condemnation and necessity of souls which Discord forcibly severs from unity, and (which it) fashions and operates upon, (according to Empedocles,) who expresses himself after some such mode as, the following:- "Who perjury piles on sin, While demons gain a life prolonged;" meaning by demons long-lived souls, because they are immortal, and live for lengthened ages:- "For thrice ten thousand years banished from bliss;" denominating as blissful, those that have been collected by Friendship from the majority of entities into the process of unification (arising out) of the intelligible world. He asserts that those are exiles, and that "In lapse of time all sorts of mortal men are born, Changing the irksome ways of life"

He asserts the irksome ways to be the alterations and transfigurations of souls into (successive) bodies. This is what he says:- "Changing the irksome ways of life."

For souls "change," body after body being altered, and punished by Discord, and not permitted to continue in the one (frame), but that the souls are involved in all descriptions of punishment by Discord being changed from body to body. He says:- "AEthereal force to ocean drives the souls, And ocean spurts them forth on earth's expanse, And earth on beams of blazing sun, who flings (The souls) on aether's depths, and each from each (A spirit) takes, and all with hatred burn."

This is the punishment which the Demiurge inflicts, just as some brazier moulding (a piece of) iron, and dipping it successively from fire into water. For fire is the aether whence the Demiurge transfers the souls into the sea; and land is the earth: whence he uses the words, from water into earth, and from earth into air. This is what (Empedocles) says:- "And earth on beams Of blazing sun, who flings (the souls)

On aether's depths, and each from each A (spirit) takes, and all with hatred burn."

The souls, then, thus detested, and tormented, and punished in this world, are, according to Empedocles, collected by Friendship as being a certain good (power), and (one) that pities the groaning of these, and the disorderly and wicked device of furious Discord. And (likewise Friendship is) eager, and toils to lead forth little by little the souls from the world, and to domesticate them with unity, in order that all things, being conducted by herself, may attain unto unification. Therefore on account of such an arrangement on the part of destructive Discord of this divided world, Empedocles admonishes his disciples to abstain from all sorts of animal food. For he asserts that the bodies of animals are such as feed on the habitations of punished souls. And he teaches those who are hearers of such doctrines (as his), to refrain from intercourse with women. (And he issues this precept) in order that (his disciples) may not co-operate with and assist those works which Discord fabricates, always dissolving and forcibly severing the work of Friendship. Empedocles asserts that this is the greatest law of the management of the universe, expressing himself somehow thus:- "There's something swayed by Fate, the ancient, Endless law of gods, and sealed by potent oaths."

He thus calls Fate the alteration from unity into plurality, according to Discord, and from plu rality into unity, according to Friendship. And, as I stated, (Empedocles asserts) that there are four perishable gods, (viz.,) fire, water, earth, (and) air. (He maintains,) however, that there are two (gods) which are immortal, unbegotten, (and) continually hostile one to the other, (namely) Discord and Friendship. And (he asserts) that Discord always is guilty of injustice and covetousness, and forcible abduction of the things of Friendship, and of appropriation of them to itself. (He alleges,) however, that Friendship, inasmuch as it is always and invariably a certain good (power), and intent on union, recalls and brings towards (itself), and reduces to unity, the parts of the universe that have been forcibly severed, and tormented, and punished in the creation by the Demiurge. Some such system of philosophy as the foregoing is advanced for us by Empedocles concerning the generation of the world, and its destruction, and its constitution, as one consisting of what is good and bad. And he says that there is likewise a certain third power which is cognised by intellect, and that this can be understood from these, (viz., Discord and Friendship,) expressing himself somehow thus:- "For if, 'neath hearts of oak, these truths you fix, And view them kindly in meditations pure, Each one of these, in lapse of time, will haunt you, And many others, sprung of these, descend.

For into every habit these will grow, as Nature prompts; But if for other things you sigh, which, countless, linger Undisguised 'mid men, and blunt the edge of care, As years roll on they'll leave you fleetly, Since they yearn to reach their own beloved race; For know that all possess perception and a share of mind."


When, therefore, Marcion or some one of his hounds barks against the Demiurge, and adduces reasons from a comparison of what is good and bad, we ought to say to them, that neither Paul the apostle nor Mark, he of the maimed finger, announced such (tenets). For none of these (doctrines) has been written in the Gospel according to Mark. But (the real author of the system) is Empedocles, son of Meto, a native of Agrigentum. And (Marcion) despoiled this (philosopher), and imagined that up to the present would pass undetected his transference, under the same expressions, of the arrangement of his entire heresy from Sicily into the evangelical narratives. For bear with me, O Marcion: as you have instituted a comparison of what is good and evil, I also to-day will institute a comparison following up your own tenets, as you suppose them to be. You affirm that the Demiurge of the world is evil--why not hide your countenance in shame, (as thus) teaching to the Church the doctrines of Empedocles? You say that there is a good Deity who destroys the works of the Demiurge: then do not you plainly preach to your pupils, as the good Deity, the Friendship of Empedocles. You forbid marriage, the procreation of children, (and) the abstaining from meats which God has created for participation by the faithful, and those that know the truth. (Thinkest thou, then,) that thou canst escape detection, (while thus) enjoining the purificatory rites of Empedocles? For in point of fact you follow in every respect this (philosopher of paganism), while you instruct your own disciples to refuse meats, in order not to eat any body (that might be) a remnant of a soul which has been punished by the Demiurge. You dissolve marriages that have been cemented by the Deity. And here again you conform to the tenets of Empedocles, in order that for you the work of Friendship may be perpetuated as one (and) indivisible. For, according to Empedocles, matrimony separates unity, and makes (out of it) plurality, as we have proved.


The principal heresy of Marcion, and (the one of his) which is most free from admixture (with other heresies), is that which has its system formed out of the theory concerning the good and bad (God). Now this, it has been manifested by us, belongs to Empedocles. But since at present, in our times, a certain follower of Marcion, (namely) Prepon, an Assyrian, has endeavoured to introduce something more novel, and has given an account of his heresy in a work inscribed to Bardesanes, an Armenian, neither of this will I be silent. In alleging that what is just constitutes a third principle, and that it is placed intermediate between what is good and bad, Prepon of course is not able to avoid (the imputation of inculcating) the opinion of Empedocles. For Empedocles asserts that the world is managed by wicked Discord, and that the other

(world) which (is managed) by Friendship, is cognisable by intellect. And (he asserts) that these are the two different principles of good and evil, and that intermediate between these diverse principles is impartial reason, in accordance with which are united the things that have been separated by Discord, (and which,) in accordance with the influence of Friendship, are accommodated to unity. The impartial reason itself, that which is an auxiliary to Friendship, Empedocles denominates "Musa." And he himself likewise entreats her to assist him, and expresses himself somehow thus:- "For if on fleeting mortals, deathless Muse, Thy care it be that thoughts our mind engross, Calliope, again befriend my present prayer, As I disclose a pure account of happy gods."

Marcion, adopting these sentiments, rejected altogether the generation of our Saviour. He considered it to be absurd that tinder the (category of a) creature fashioned by destructive Discord should have been the Logos that was an auxiliary to Friendship--that is, the Good Deity. (His doctrine,) however, was that, independent of birth, (the Logos) Himself descended from above in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, and that, as being intermediate between the good and bad Deity, He proceeded to give instruction in the synagogues. For if He is a Mediator, He has been, he says, liberated from the entire nature of the Evil Deity. Now, as he affirms, the Demiurge is evil, and his works. For this reason, he affirms, Jesus came down unbegotten, in order that He might be liberated from all (admixture of) evil. And He has, he says, been liberated from the nature of the Good One likewise, in order that He may be a Mediator, as Paul states, and as Himself acknowledges: "Why call ye me good? there is one good," These, then, are the opinions of Marcion, by means of which he made many his dupes, employing the conclusions of Empedocles. And he transferred the philosophy invented by that (ancient speculator) into his own system of thought, and (out of Empedocles) constructed his (own) impious heresy. But I consider that this has been sufficiently refuted by us, and that I have not omitted any opinion of those who purloin their opinions from the Greeks, and act despitefully towards the disciples of Christ, as if they had become teachers to them of these (tenets). But since it seems that we have sufficiently explained the doctrines of this (heretic), let us see what Carpocrates says.


Carpocrates affirms that the world and the things in it were made by angels, far inferior to the unbegotten Father; and that Jesus was generated of Joseph, and that, having been born similar to (other) men, He was more just than the rest (of the human race). And (Carpocrates asserts) that the soul (of Jesus), inasmuch as it was made vigorous and undefiled, remembered the things seen by it in its converse with the unbegotten God. And (Carpocrates maintains) that on this account there was sent down upon (Jesus) by that (God) a power, in order that through it He might be enabled to escape the world-making (angels). And (he says) that this power, having passed through all, and having obtained liberty in all, again ascended to God (Himself).

And (he alleges) that in the same condition with (the soul of Jesus are all the souls) that embrace similar objects of desire with the (power just alluded to). And they assert that the soul of Jesus, (though,) according to law, it was disciplined in Jewish customs, (in reality) despised them. And (he says) that on this account (Jesus) received powers whereby, He rendered null and void the passions incidental to men for their punishment. And (he argues), therefore, that the (soul), which, similarly with that soul of Christ, is able to despise the world-making Archons, receives in like man-her power for the performance of similar acts. Wherefore, also, (according to Carpocrates, there are persons who) have attained unto such a degree of pride as to affirm some of themselves to be equal to Jesus Himself, whereas others among them to be even still more powerful. But (they also contend) that some enjoy an excellence above the disciples of that (Redeemer), for instance Peter and Paul, and the rest of the Apostles, and that these are in no respect inferior to Jesus. And (Carpocrates asserts) that the souls of these have originated from that supernal power, and that consequently they, as equally despising the world-making (angels), have been deemed worthy of the same power, and (of the privilege) to ascend to the same (place). If, however, any one would despise earthly concerns more than did that (Saviour, Carpocrates says) that such a one world he able to become superior to (Jesus, The followers of this heretic) practise their magical arts and incantations, and spells and volup tuous feasts. And (they are in the habit of invoking the aid of) subordinate demons and dream-senders, and (of resorting to) the rest of the tricks (of sorcery), alleging that they possess power for now acquiring sway over the Archons and makers of this world, nay, even over all the works that are in it.

(Now these heretics) have themselves been sent forth by Satan, for the purpose of slandering before the Gentiles the divine name of the Church. (And the devil's object is,) that men hearing, now after one fashion and now after another, the doctrines of those (heretics), and thinking that all of us are people of the same stamp, may turn away their ears from the preaching of the truth, or that they also, looking, (without abjuring,) upon all the tenets of those (heretics), may speak hurtfully of us. (The followers of Carpocrates) allege that the souls are transferred from body to body, so far as that they may fill up (the measure of) all their sins. When, however, not one (of these sins) is left, (the Carpocratians affirm that the soul) is then emancipated, and departs unto that God above of the world-making angels, and that in this way all souls will be saved. If, however, some (souls), during the presence of the soul in the body for one life, may by anticipation become involved in the full measure of transgressions, they, (according to these heretics,) no longer undergo metempsychosis. (Souls of this sort,) however, on paying off at once all trespasses, will, (the Carpocratians say,) be emancipated from dwelling any more in a body. Certain, likewise, of these (heretics) brand their own disciples in the back parts of the lobe of the right ear. And they make counterfeit images of Christ, alleging that these were in existence at the time (during which our Lord was on earth, and that they were fashioned) by Pilate.


But a certain Cerinthus, himself being disciplined in the teaching of the Egyptians, asserted that the world was not made by the primal Deity, but by some virtue which was an offshoot from that Power which is above all things, and which (yet) is ignorant of the God that is above all. And he supposed that Jesus was not generated from a virgin, but that he was born son of Joseph and Mary, just in a manner similar with the rest of men, and that (Jesus) was more just and more wise (than all the human race). And (Cerinthus alleges) that, after the baptism (of our Lord), Christ in form of a dove came down upon him, from that absolute sovereignty which is above all things. And then, (according to this heretic,) Jesus proceeded to preach the unknown Father, and in attestation (of his mission) to work miracles. It was, however, (the opinion of Cerinthus,) that ultimately Christ departed from Jesus, and that Jesus suffered and rose again; whereas that Christ, being spiritual, remained beyond the possibility of suffering.


The Ebionaeans, however, acknowledge that the world was made by Him Who is in reality God, but they propound legends concerning the Christ similarly with Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They live conformably to the customs of the Jews, alleging that they are justified. according to the law, and saying that Jesus was justified by fulfilling the law. And therefore it was, (according to the Ebionaeans,) that (the Saviour) was named (the) Christ of God and Jesus, since not one of the rest (of mankind) had observed completely the law. For if even any other had fulfilled the commandments (contained) in the law, he would have been that Christ. And the (Ebionaeans allege) that they themselves also, when in like manner they fulfil (the law), are able to become Christs; for they assert that our Lord Himself was a man in a like sense with all (the rest of the human family).


But there was a certain Theodotus, a native of Byzantium, who introduced a novel heresy. He announces tenets concerning the originating cause of the universe, which are partly in keeping with the doctrines of the true Church, in so far as he acknowledges that all things were created by God. Forcibly appropriating, however, (his notions of) Christ from the school of the Gnostics, and of Cerinthus and Ebion, he alleges that (our Lord) appeared in some such manner as I shall now describe. (According to this, Theodotus maintains) that Jesus was a (mere) man, born of a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, and that after he had lived promiscuously with all men, and had be come pre-eminently religious, he subsequently at his baptism in Jordan received Christ, who came from above and descended (upon him) in form of a dove. And this was the reason, (according to Theodotus,) why (miraculous) powers did not operate within him prior to the manifestation in him of that Spirit which descended, (and) which proclaims him to be the Christ. But (among the followers of Theodotus) some are disposed (to think) that never was this man made God, (even) at the descent of the Spirit; whereas others (maintain that he was made God) after the resurrection from the dead.


While, however, different questions have arisen among them, a certain (heretic), who himself also was styled Theodotus, and who was by trade a banker, attempted to establish (the doctrine), that a certain Melchisedec constitutes the greatest power, and that this one is greater than Christ. And they allege that Christ happens to be according to the likeness (of this Melchisedec). And they themselves, similarly with those who have been previously spoken of as adherents of Theodotus, assert that Jesus is a (mere) man, and that, in conformity with the same account (already given), Christ descended upon him.

There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion; but we have decided that it would not be worth while to enumerate the silly doctrines of these (heretics), inasmuch as they are (too) numerous and devoid of reason, and full of blasphemy. Now, even those (of the heretics) who are of a more serious turn in regard of the Divinity, and have derived their systems of speculation from the Greeks, must stand convicted (of these charges). But Nicolaus has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. He, as one of the seven (that were chosen) for the diaconate, was appointed by the Apostles. (But Nicolaus) departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food. And when the disciples (of Nicolaus) continued to offer insult to the Holy Spirit, John reproved them in the Apocalypse as fornicators and eaters of things offered unto idols.


But one Cerdon himself also, taking occasion in like manner from these (heretics) and Simon, affirms that the God preached by Moses and the prophets was not Father of Jesus Christ. For (he contends) that this (Father) had been known, whereas that the Father of Christ was unknown, and that the former was just, but the latter good. And Marcion corroborated the tenet of this (heretic) in the work which he attempted to write, and which he styled Antitheses. And he was in the habit, (in this book,) of uttering whatever slanders suggested themselves to his mind against the Creator of the universe. In a similar manner likewise (acted) Lucian, the disciple of this (heretic).


But Apelles, sprung from these, thus expresses himself, (saying) that there is a certain good Deity, as also Marcion supposed, and that he who created all things is just. Now he, (according to Apelles,) was the Demiurge of generated entities. And (this heretic also main-rains) that there is a third (Deity), the one who was in the habit of speaking to Moses, and that this (god) was of a fiery nature, and that there was another fourth god, a cause of evils. But these he denominates angels. He utters, however, slanders against law and prophets, by alleging that the things that have been written are human (origin), and are false. And (Apelles) selects from the Gospels or (from the writings of) the Apostle (Paul) whatever pleases himself, But he devotes himself to the discourses of a certain Philumene as to the revelations of a prophetess. He affirms, however, that Christ descended from the power above; that is, from the good (Deity), and that he is the son of that good (Deity). And (he asserts that Jesus) was not born of a virgin, and that when he did appear he was not devoid of flesh. (He maintains,) however, that (Christ) formed his booty by taking portions of it from the substance of the universe: that is, hot and cold, and moist and dry. And (he says that Christ), on receiving in this body cosmical powers, lived for the time he did in (this) world. But (he held that Jesus) was subsequently crucified by the Jews, and expired, and that, being raised Up after three days, he appeared to his disciples. And (the Saviour) showed them, (so Apelles taught,) the prints of the nails and (the wound) in his side, desirous of persuading them that he was in truth no phantom, but was present in the flesh. After, says (Apelles), he had shown them his flesh, (the Saviour) restored it to earth, from which substance it was (derived. And this he did because) he coveted nothing that belonged to another. (Though indeed Jesus) might use for the time being (what belonged to another), he yet in due course rendered to each (of the elements) what peculiarly belonged to them. And so it was, that after he had once more loosed the chains of his body, he gave back heat to what is hot, cold to what is cold, moisture to what is moist, (and) dryness to what is dry. And in this condition (our Lord) departed to the good Father, leaving the seed of life in the world for those who through his disciples should believe in him.

It appears to us that these (tenets) have been sufficiently explained. Since, however, we have determined to leave unrefuted not one of those opinions that have been advanced by any (of the heretics), let us see what (system) also has been invented by the Docetae.



Az alábbiakban olvasható az Összes eretnekségek cáfolata című nyolcadik könyv tartalma: Mi a doketiástk véleménye, és hogyan formálták ők a tanításokat, amelyeket a természetfilozófiából erősítgetnek.

Hogyan viccelődik Monimusz, költőknek, geometrikusoknak és aritmetikusoknak szentelve figyelmét.

Hogyan alakult ki Tatianus (rendszere) Valentinus és Marcion véleményéből, és hogyan alakította ki ez az eretnek (ebből a forrásból) saját tanait. Hermogenész azonban Szókratész tanait vette igénybe, nem Krisztuséit.

Hogyan tévednek azok, akik a húsvét tizennegyedik napjának megtartásáért küzdenek.

Mi a frígek tévedése, akik azt hiszik, hogy Montanus, Priscilla és Maximilla próféták.

Mi az enkratiták önteltsége, és hogy véleményüket nem a szent Írásból, hanem maguktól és az indiai gymnosofisták tételeiből alakították ki.


Since the great body of (the heretics) do not employ the counsel of the Lord, by having the beam in the eye, and announce that they see when in reality labouring under blindness, it seems to us expedient in no wise to be silent concerning the tenets of these. Our object is, that by the refutation accomplished by us, the (heretics), being of themselves ashamed, may be brought to know how the Saviour has advised (men) first to take away the beam, then to behold clearly the mote that is in thy brother's eye. Having therefore adequately and sufficiently explained the doctrines of the majority (of the heretics) in the seven books before this, we shall not now be silent as regards the (heterodox) opinions that follow (from these). We shall by this means exhibit the abundance of the grace of the Holy Spirit; and we shall refute those (who suppose) that they have acquired stedfastness of doctrine, when it is only in appearance. Now these have styled themselves Docetae, and propound the following opinions:- (The Docetae maintain) that God is the primal (Being), as it were a seed of a fig-tree, which is altogether very diminutive in size, but infinite in power. (This seed constitutes, according to the Docetae,) a lowly magnitude, incalculable in multitude, (and) labouring under no deficiency as regards generation. (This seed is) a refuge for the terror-stricken, a shelter of the naked, a veil for modesty, (and) the sought-for produce, to which He came in search (for fruit), he says, three times, and did not discover (any). Wherefore, he says, He cursed the fig-tree, because He did not find upon it that sweet fruit--the sought-for produce. And inasmuch as the Deity is, according to them to express myself briefly--of this description and so great, that is, small and minute, the world, as it seems to them, was made in some such manner as the following: When the branches of the fig-tree became tender, leaves budded (first), as one may (generally) see, and next in succession the fruit. Now, in this (fruit) is pre served treasured the infinite and incalculable seed of the fig-tree. We think, therefore, (say the Docetae,) that there are three (parts) which are primarily produced by the seed of the fig-tree, (viz.,) stem, which constitutes the fig-tree, leaves, and fruit--the fig itself, as we have previously declared. In this manner, the (Docetic) affirms, have been produced three AEons, which are principles from the primal originating cause of the universe. And Moses has not been silent on this point, when he says, that there are three words of God, "darkness, gloom, tempest, and added no more." For the (Docetic) says, God has made no addition to the three AEons; but these, in every respect. have been sufficient for (the exigencies of) those who have been begotten and are sufficient. God Himself, however, remains with Himself, far separated froth the three AEons. When each of these AEons had obtained an originating cause of generation, he grew, as has been declared, by little and little, and (by degrees) was magnified, and (ultimately) became perfect. But they think that that is perfect which is reckoned at ten. When, therefore, the AEons had become equal in number and in perfection, they were, as (the Docetae) are of opinion, constituted thirty AEons in all, while each of them attains full perfection in a decade. And the three are mutually distinct, and hold one (degree of) honour relatively to one another, differing in position merely, because one of them is first, and the other second, and the other of these third. Position, however, afforded them diversity of power. For he who has obtained a position nearest to the primal Deity--who is, as it were, a seed--possessed a more productive power than the rest, inasmuch as he himself who is the immeasurable one, measured himself tenfold in bulk. He, however, who in position is second to the primal Deity, has, inasmuch as he is the incomprehensible one, comprehended himself sixfold. But he who is now third in position is conveyed to an infinite distance, in consequence of the dilatation of his brethren. (And when this third AEon) had thrice realized himself in thought, he encircled himself with, as it were, some eternal chain of union.


And these (heretics) suppose that this is what is spoken by the Saviour: "A sower went forth to sow; and that which fell on the fair and good ground produced, some a hundred-fold, and some sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold." And for this reason, the (Docetic) says, (that the Saviour) has spoken the words, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," because these (truths)are not altogether rumours. All these AEons, both the three and all those infinite (AEons which proceed) from these indefinitely, are hermaphrodite AEons. All these, then, after they had been increased and magnified, and had sprung from that one primary seed, (were actuated by a spirit) of concord and union, and they all coalesced into one AEon. And in this manner they begot of a single virgin, Mary, a joint offspring, who is a Mediator, (that is,) the Saviour of all who are in the (covenant of) mediation. (And this Saviour is,) in every respect, coequal in power with the seed of the fig-tree, with the exception that he was generated. Whereas that primary seed, from whence the fig-tree sprung, is unbegotten. When, therefore, those three AEons were adorned with all virtue and with all sanctity, so these teachers suppose, as well as that only begotten child--for he alone was begotten by those infinite AEons from three immediately concerned in his birth, for three immeasurable AEons being unanimous procreated him;-- (after, I say, the AEons and only Son were thus adorned,) the entire nature, which is cognised by intellect, was fashioned free from deficiency. Now, all those intelligible and eternal (entities) constituted light. Light, however, was not devoid of form, nor inoperative, nor in want, as it were, of the assistance of any (other power). But (light) proportionately with the multitude of those infinite (AEons) indefinitely (generated) in conformity with the exemplar of the fig-tree, possesses in itself infinite species of various animals indigenous to that quarter of creation, and it shone down upon the underlying chaos. And when this (chaos) was simultaneously illuminated, and had form imparted to it by those diversified species from above, it derived (thereby) solidity, and acquired all those supernal species from the third AEon, who had made himself threefold.

This third AEon, however, beholding all his own distinctive attributes laid hold on collectively by the underlying darkness (which was) beneath, and not being ignorant of the power of darkness, and at the same time of the security and profusion of light, did not allow his brilliant attributes (which he derived) from above for any length of time to be snatched away by the darkness beneath. But (he acted in quite a contrary manner), for he subjected (darkness) to the AEons. After, then, he had formed the firmament over the nether world, "he both divided the darkness from the light, and called the light which was above the firmament day, and the darkness he called night." When all the infinite species, then, as I have said, of the third AEon were intercepted in this the lowest darkness, the figure also of the AEon himself, such as he has been described, was impressed (upon them) along with the rest (of his attributes). (Now this figure is) a life-giving fire, which is generated from light, from whence the Great Archon originated. And respecting this (Archon) Moses observes: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Moses mentions this fiery God as having spoken from the bush, (batos,) that is, from the darkish air. For the whole of the atmosphere that underlies the darkness is (batos, i.e.,) a medium for the transmission of light. Now Moses has employed, says (the Docetic), the expression batos, because all the species of light pass down from above by means of their having the atmosphere as a medium (batos) of transmission. And in no less degree is capable of being recognised the Word of Jehovah addressed to us from the bush (batos, i.e., an atmospheric medium); for voice, as significant (in language) of a meaning, is a reverberation of air, and without this (atmosphere) human speech is incapable of being recognised. And not only the Word (of Jehovah addressed) to us from the bush (batos), that is, the air, legislates and is a fellow-citizen with; but (it does more than this), for both odours and colours manifest to us, through the medium of air, their own (peculiar) qualities.


This fiery deity, then, after he became fire from light, proceeded to create the world in the manner which Moses describes. He himself, however, as devoid of subsistence, employs the darkness as (his) substance, and perpetually insults those eternal attributes of light which, (being) from above, had been laid hold on by (the darkness) beneath. Up to the time, therefore, of the appearance of the Saviour, there prevailed, by reason of the Deity of fiery light, (that is,) the Demiurge, a certain extensive delusion of souls. For the species are styled souls, because they are refrigerations from the (AEons) above, and continue in darkness. But when (the souls) are altered from bodies to bodies, they remain under the guardianship of the Demiurge. And that these things are so, says (the Docetic), it is possible also to perceive from Job, when he uses the following words: "And I am a wanderer, changing both place after place, and house after house." And (we may learn, according to the Docetae, the same) from the expressions of the Saviour, "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias that was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." But by the instrumentality of the Saviour this transference of souls from body to body was made to cease, and faith is preached for remission of sins. After some such manner, that only begotten Son, when He gazes upon the forms of the supernal AEons, which were transferred from above into darkish bodies, coming down, wished to descend and deliver them. When (the Son), however, became aware that the AEons, those (that subsist) collectively, are unable to behold the Pleroma of all the AEons, but that in a state of consternation they fear lest they may undergo corruption as being themselves perishable, and that they are overwhelmed by the magnitude and splendour of power;-- (when the Son, I say, perceived this,) He contracted Himself--as it were a very great flash in a very small body, nay, rather as a ray of vision condensed beneath the eyelids, and (in this condition) He advances forth as far as heaven and the effulgent stars. And in this quarter of creation He again collects himself beneath the lids of vision according as He wishes it. Now the light of vision accomplishes the same effect; for though it is everywhere, and (renders visible) all things, it is yet imperceptible to us. We, however, merely see lids of vision, while corners (of the eye), a tissue which is broad, tortuous, (and) exceedingly fibrous, a membrane of the cornea; and underneath this, the pupil, which is shaped as a berry, is net-like and round. (And we observe) whatever other membranes there are that belong to the light of the eye, and enveloped in which it lies concealed.

Thus, says (the Docetic), the only-begotten (and) eternal Child from above arrayed Himself in a form to correspond with each individual AEon of the three AEons; and while he was within the triacontad of AEons, He entered into this world just as we have described Him, un noticed, unknown, obscure, and disbelieved. In order, therefore, say the Docetae, that He may be clad in the darkness that is prevalent in more distant quarters of creation-- (now by darkness he means) flesh--an angel journeyed with Him from above, and announced the glad tidings to Mary, says (the Docetic), as it has been written. And the (child) from her was born, as it has been written. And He who came from above put on that which was born; and so did He all things, as it has been written (of Him) in the Gospels. He washed in Jordan, and when He was baptized He received a figure and a seal in the water of (another spiritual booty beside) the body born of the Virgin. (And the object of this was,) when the Archon condemned his own peculiar figment (of flesh) to death, (that is,) to the cross, that that soul which had been nourished in the body (born of the Virgin) might strip off that body and nail it to the (accursed) tree. (In this way the soul) would triumph by means of this (body) over principalities and powers, and would not be found naked, but would, instead of that flesh, assume the (other) body, which had been represented in the water when he was being baptized. This is, says (the Docetic), what the Saviour affirms: "Except a man be born of water and spirit, be will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, because that which is born of the flesh is flesh." From the thirty AEons, therefore, (the Son) assumed thirty forms. And for this reason that eternal One existed for thirty years on the earth, because each AEon was in a peculiar manner manifested during (his own) year. And the souls are all those forms that have been laid hold on by each of the thirty AEons; and each of these is so constituted as to discern Jesus, who is of a nature (similar to their own). (And it was the nature of this Jesus) which that only-begotten and eternal One assumed from everlasting places. These (places), however, are diverse. Consequently, a proportionate number of heresies, with the utmost emulation, seek Jesus. Now all these heresies have their own peculiar Jesus; but he is seen differently according as the place is different towards which, he says, each soul is borne and hastens. (Now each soul) supposes that (the Jesus seen from its particular place) is alone that (Jesus) who is its own peculiar kinsman and fellow-citizen. And on first beholding (this Jesus, that soul) recognises Him as its own peculiar brother, but the rest as bastards. Those, then, that derive their nature from the places below, are not able to see the forms of the Saviour which are above them. Those, however, he says, who are from above, from the intermediate decade and the most excellent ogdoad--whence, say (the Docetae), we are--have themselves known not in part, but entirely, Jesus the Saviour. And those, who are from above, are alone perfect, but all the rest are only partially so.



These (statements), therefore, I consider sufficient to properly-constituted minds for the purpose of attaining unto a knowledge of the complicated and unstable heresy of the Docetae. (But) those who have propounded attempted arguments about inaccessible and incomprehensible Matter, have styled themselves Docetae. Now, we consider that some of these are acting foolishly, we will not say in appearance, but in reality. At all events, we have proved that a beam from such matter is carried in the eye, if by any means they may be enabled to perceive it. If, however, they do not (discern it, our object is) that they should not make others blind. But the fact is, that the sophists of the Greeks in ancient times have previously devised, in many particulars, the doctrines of these (Docetae), as it is possible for my readers (who take the trouble) to ascertain. These, then, are the opinions propounded by the Docetae. As to what likewise, however, are the tenets of Monoimus, we shall not be silent.



Monoimus the Arabian was far removed from the glory of the high-sounding poet. (For Monoimus) supposes that there is some such man as the poet (calls) Oceanus, expressing himself somehow thus:- "Oceans, source of gods and source of men."

Changing these (sentiments) into other words, Monoimus says that man is the universe. Now the universe is the originating cause of all things, unbegotten, incorruptible, (and) eternal. And (he says) that the son of (the) man previously spoken of is begotten, and subject to passion, (and) that he is generated independently of time. (as well as) undesignedly, (and) without being predestinated. For such, he says, is the power of that man. And he being thus constituted in power, (Monoimus alleges) that the son was born quicker than thought and volition.

And this, he says, is what has been spoken in the Scriptures, "He was, and was generated." And the meaning of this is: Man was, and his son was generated; just as one may say, Fire was, and, independently of time, and undesignedly, and without being predestinated, light was generated simultaneously with the existence of the fire. And this man constitutes a single monad, which is uncompounded and indivisible, (and yet at the same time) compounded (and) divisible. (And this monad is) in all respects friendly (and) in all respects peaceful, in all respects quarrelsome (and) in all respects contentious with itself, dissimilar (and) similar. (This monad is likewise,) as it were, a certain musical harmony, which comprises all things in itself, as many as one may express and may omit when not considering; and it manifests all things, and generates all things. This Mother, this Father--two immortal names. As an illustration, however, consider, he says, as a greatest image of the perfect man, the one jot--that one tittle. And this one tittle is an uncompounded, simple, and pure monad, which derives its composition from nothing at all. (And yet this tittle is likewise) compounded, multiform, branching into many sections, and consisting of many parts. That one indivisible tittle is, he says, one tittle of the (letter) iota, with many faces, and innumerable eyes, and countless names, and this (tittle) is an image of that perfect invisible man.



The monad, (that is,) the one tittle, is therefore, he says, also a decade. For by the actual power of this one tittle, are produced duad, and triad, and tetrad, and pentad, and hexad, and heptad, and ogdoad, and ennead, up to ten. For these numbers, he says, are capable of many divisions, and they reside in that simple and uncompounded single tittle of the iota. And this is what has been declared: "It pleased (God) that all fulness should dwell in the Son of man bodily." For such compositions of numbers out of the simple and uncompounded one tittle of the iota become, he says, corporeal realities. The Son of man, therefore, he says, has been generated from the perfect man, whom no one knew; every creature who is ignorant of the Son, however, forms an idea of Him as the offspring of a woman. And certain very obscure rays of this Son which approach this world, check and control alteration (and) generation. And the beauty of that Son of man is up to the present incomprehensible to all men, as many as are deceived in reference to the offspring of the woman. Therefore nothing, he says, of the things that are in our quarter of creation has been produced by that man, nor will aught (of these) ever be (generated from him). All things, however, have been produced, not from the entirety, but from some part of that Son of man. For he says the Son of man is a jot in one tittle, which proceeds from above, is full, and completely replenishes all (rays flowing down from above). And it comprises in itself whatever things the man also possesses (who is) the Father of the Son of man.


The world, then, as Moses says, was made in six days, that is, by six powers, which (are inherent) in the one tittle of the iota. (But) the seventh (day, which is) a rest and Sabbath, has been produced from the Hebdomad, which is over earth, and water, and fire, and air. And from these (elements) the world has been formed by the one tittle. For cubes, and octahedrons, and pyramids, and all figures similar to these, out of which consist fire, air, water, (and) earth, have arisen from numbers which are comprehended in that simple tittle of the iota. And this (tittle) constitutes a perfect son of a perfect man. When, therefore, he says, Moses mentions that the rod was changeably brandished for the (introduction of the) plagues throughout Egypt --now these plagues, he says, are allegorically expressed symbols of the creation --he did not (as a symbol) for more plagues than ten shape the rod. Now this (rod) constitutes one tittle of the iota, and is (both) twofold (and) various. This succession of ten plagues is, he says, the mundane creation. For all things, by being stricken, bring forth and bear fruit, just like vines. Man, he says, bursts forth, and is forcibly separated from man by being severed by a certain stroke. (And this takes place) in order that (man) may be generated, and may declare the law which Moses ordained, who received from God. Conformably with that one tittle, the law constitutes the series of the ten commandments which expresses allegorically the divine mysteries of (those) precepts. For, he says, all knowledge of the universe is contained in what relates to the succession of the ten plagues and the series of the ten commandments. And no one is acquainted with this (knowledge) who is (of the number) of those that are deceived concerning the offspring of the woman. If, however, you say that the Pentateuch constitutes the entire law, it is from the Pentad which is comprehended in the one tittle. But the entire is for those who have not been altogether perfected in understanding a mystery, a new and not antiquated feast, legal, (and) everlasting, a passover of the Lord God kept unto our generations, by those who are able to discern (this mystery), at the commencement of the fourteenth day, which is the beginning of a decade from which, he says, they reckon. For the monad, as far as fourteen, is the summary of that one (tittle) of the perfect number. For one, two, three, four, become ten; and this is the one tittle. But from fourteen until one-and-twenty, he asserts that there is an Hebdomad which inheres in the one tittle of the world, and constitutes an unleavened creature in all these. For in what respect, he says, would the one tittle require any substance such as leaven (derived) from without for the Lord's Passover, the eternal feast, which is given for generation upon generation? For the entire world and all causes of creation constitute a passover, (i.e.,) a feast of the Lord. For God rejoices in the conversion of the creation, and this is accomplished by ten strokes of the one tittle. And this (tittle) is Moses' rod, which was given by God into the hand of Moses. And with this (rod Moses) smites the Egyptians, for the purpose of altering bodies,--as, for instance, water into blood; and the rest of (material) things similarly with these,-- (as, for example,) the locusts, which is a symbol of grass. And by this he means the alteration of the elements into flesh; "for all flesh," he says, "is grass." These men, nevertheless receive even the entire law after some such manner; adopting very probably, as I think, the opinions of those of the Greeks who affirm that there are Substance, and Quality, and Quantity, and Relation, and Place, and Time, and Position, and Action, and Possession, and Passion.


Monoimus himself, accordingly, in his letter to Theophrastus, expressly makes the following statement: "Omitting to seek after God, and creation, and things similar to these, seek for Him from (out of) thyself, and learn who it is that absolutely appropriates (unto Himself) all things in thee, and says, 'My God my mind, my understanding, my soul, my body.' And learn from whence are sorrow, and joy, and love, and hatred, and involuntary wakefulness, and involuntary drowsiness, and involuntary anger, and involuntary affection; and if," he says, "you accurately investigate these (points), you will discover (God) Himself, unity and plurality, in thyself, according to that tittle, and that He finds the outlet (for Deity) to be from thyself." Those (heretics), then, (have made) these (statements). But we are under no necessity of comparing such (doctrines) with what have previously been subjects of meditation on the part of the Greeks, inasmuch as the assertions advanced by these (heretics) evidently derive their origin from geometrical and arithmetical art. The disciples, however, of Pythagoras, expounded this (art) after a more excellent method, as our readers may ascertain by consulting those passages (of our work) in which we have previously furnished expositions of the entire wisdom of the Greeks. But since the heresy of Monoimus has been sufficiently refuted, let us see what are the fictitious doctrines which the rest also (of these heretics) devise, in their desire to set up for themselves an empty name.


Tatian, however, although being himself a disciple of Justinus the Martyr, did not entertain similar opinions with his master. But he attempted (to establish) certain novel (tenets), and affirmed that there existed certain invisible AEons. And he framed a legendary account (of them), similarly to those (spoken of) by Valentinus. And similarly with Marcion, he asserts that marriage is destruction. But he alleges that Adam is not saved on account of his having been the author of disobedience. And so far for the doctrines of Tatian.


But a certain Hermogenes, himself also imagining that he propounded some novel opinion, said that God made all things out of coeval and ungenerated matter. For that it was impossible that God could make generated things out of things that are not. And that God is always

Lord, and always Creator, and matter always a subservient (substance), and that which is assuming phases of being--not, however, the whole of it. For when it was being continually moved in a rude and disorderly manner, He reduced (matter) into order by the following expedient. As He gazed (upon matter) in a seething condition, like (the contents of) a pot when a fire is burning underneath, He effected a partial separation. And taking one portion from the whole, He subdued it, but another He allowed to be whirled in a disorderly manner. And he asserts that what was (thus) subdued is the world, but that another portion remains wild, and is denominated chaotic matter. He asserts that this constitutes the substance of all things, as if introducing a novel tenet for his disciples. He does not, however, reflect that this happens to be the Socratic discourse, which (indeed) is worked out more elaborately by Plato than by Hermogenes. He acknowledges, however, that Christ is the Son of the God who created all things; and along with (this admission), he confesses that he was born of a virgin and of (the) Spirit, according to the voice of the Gospels. And (Hermogenes maintains that Christ), after His passion, was raised up in a body, and that He appeared to His disciples, and that as He went up into heaven He left His body in the sun, but that He Himself proceeded on to the Father. Now (Hermogenes) resorts to testimony, thinking to support himself by what is spoken, (viz.) what the Psalmist David says: "In the sun he hath placed his tabernacle, and himself as a bridegroom coming forth from his nuptial chamber, (and) he will rejoice as a giant to run his course." These, then, are the opinions which also Hermogenes attempted to establish.


And certain other (heretics), contentious by nature, (and) wholly uniformed as regards knowledge, as well as in their manner more (than usually) quarrelsome, combine (in maintaining) that Easter should be kept on the fourteenth day of the first month, according to the commandment of the law, on whatever day (of the week) it should occur. (But in this) they only regard what has been written in the law, that he will be accursed who does not so keep (the commandment) as it is enjoined. They do not, however, attend to this (fact), that the legal enactment was made for Jews, who in times to come should kill the real Passover. And this (paschal sacrifice, in its efficacy,) has spread unto the Gentiles, and is discerned by faith, and not now observed in letter (merely). They attend to this one commandment, and do not look unto what has been spoken by the apostle: "For I testify to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to keep the whole law." In other respects, however, these consent to all the traditions delivered to the Church by the Apostles.


But there are others who themselves are even more heretical in nature (than the foregoing). and are Phrygians by birth. These have been rendered victims of error from being previously captivated by (two) wretched women, called a certain Priscilla and Maximilla, whom they supposed (to be) prophetesses. And they assert that into these the Paraclete Spirit had departed; and antecedently to them, they in like manner consider Montanus as a prophet. And being in possession of an infinite number of their books, (the Phrygians) are overrun with delusion; and they do not judge whatever statements are made by them, according to (the criterion of) reason; nor do they give heed unto those who are competent to decide; but they are heedlessly swept onwards, by the reliance which they place on these (impostors). And they allege that they have learned something more through these, than from law, and prophets, and the Gospels. But they magnify these wretched women above the Apostles and every gift of Grace, so that some of them presume to assert that there is in them a something superior to Christ. These acknowledge God to be the Father of the universe, and Creator of all things, similarly with the Church, and (receive) as many things as the Gospel testifies concerning Christ. They introduce, however, the novelties of fasts, and feasts, and meals of parched food, and repasts of radishes, alleging that they have been instructed by women. And some of these assent to the heresy of the Noetians, and affirm that the Father himself is the Son, and that this (one) came under generation, and suffering, and death. Concerning these I shall again offer an explanation, after a more minute manner; for the heresy of these has been an occasion of evils to many. We therefore are of opinion, that the statements made concerning these (heretics) are sufficient when we shall have briefly proved to all that the majority of their books are silly, and their attempts (at reasoning) weak, and worthy of no consideration. But it is not necessary for those who possess a sound mind to pay attention (either to their volumes or their arguments).


Others, however, styling themselves Encratites, acknowledge some things concerning God and Christ in like manner with the Church. In respect, however, of their mode of life, they pass their days inflated with pride. They suppose, that by meats they magnify themselves, while abstaining from animal food, (and) being water-drinkers, and forbidding to marry, and devoting themselves during the remainder of life to habits of asceticism. But persons of this description are estimated Cynics rather than Christians, inasmuch as they do not attend unto the words spoken against them through the Apostle Paul. Now he, predicting the novelties that were to be hereafter introduced ineffectually by certain (heretics), made a statement thus: "The Spirit speaketh expressly, In the latter times certain will depart from sound doctrine, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, uttering falsehoods in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God has created to be partaken of with thanksgiving by the faithful, and those who know the truth; because every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected which is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." This voice, then, of the blessed Paul, is sufficient for the refutation of those who live in this manner, and plume themselves on being just; (and) for the purpose of proving that also, this (tenet of the Encratites) constitutes a heresy. But even though there have been denominated certain other heresies--I mean those of the Cainites, Ophites, or Noachites, and of others of this description--I have not deemed it requisite to explain the things said or done by these, test on this account they may consider themselves somebody, or deserving of consideration. Since, however, the statements concerning these appear to be sufficient, let us pass on to the cause of evils to all, (viz.,) the heresy of the Noetians. Now, after we have laid bare the root of this (heresy), and stigmatized openly the venom, as it were, lurking within it, let us seek to deter from an error of this description those who have been impelled into it by a violent spirit, as it were by a swollen torrent.


Az összes eretnekség cáfolata című kilencedik könyv tartalma a következő: Mi Noétosz istenkáromló ostobasága, és hogy nem Krisztusé, hanem Hérakleitosz tanainak szentelte magát.

És hogyan épített Callistus, Kleomenész, Noétosz tanítványának eretnekségét Theodotusszal összekeverve, egy újabb, újszerűbb eretnekséget, és milyen volt ennek az (eretneknek) az élete.

Mi volt a közelmúltban (Rómába) érkező furcsak Elchasai szellem érkezése, és különös tévedései leplezésére szolgált a törvényhez való látszólagos ragaszkodása, amikor valójában a gnosztikusok, sőt az asztrológusok tanainak és a varázslás művészetének szenteli magát.

Mik a zsidók szokásai, és mennyi nézeteltérés van (köztük).



A lengthened conflict, then, having been maintained concerning all heresies by us who, at all events, have not left any unrefuted, the greatest struggle now remains behind, viz., to furnish an account and refutation of those heresies that have sprung up in our own day, by which certain ignorant and presumptuous men have attempted to scatter abroad the Church, and have introduced the greatest confusion among all the faithful throughout the entire world. For it seems expedient that we, making an onslaught upon the opinion which constitutes the prime source of (contemporaneous) evils, should prove what are the originating principles of this (opinion), in order that its offshoots, becoming a matter of general notoriety, may be made the object of universal scorn.




There has appeared one, Noetus by name, and by birth a native of Smyrna. This person introduced a heresy from the tenets of Heraclitus. Now a certain man called Epigonus becomes his minister and pupil, and this person during his sojourn at Rome disseminated his godless opinion. But Cleomenes, who had become his disciple, an alien both in way of life and habits from the Church, was wont to corroborate the (Noetian) doctrine. At that time, Zephyrinus imagines that he administers the affairs of the Church --an uninformed and shamefully corrupt man. And he, being persuaded by proffered gain, was accustomed to connive at those who were present for the purpose of becoming disciples of Cleomenes. But (Zephyrinus) himself, being in process of time enticed away, hurried headlong into the same opinions; and he had Callistus as his adviser, and a fellow-champion of these wicked tenets. But the life of this (Callistus), and the heresy invented by him, I shall after a little explain. The school of these heretics during the succession of such bishops, continued to acquire strength and augmentation, from the fact that Zephyrinus and Callistus helped them to prevail. Never at any time, however, have we been guilty of collusion with them; but we have frequently offered them opposition, and have refuted them, and have forced them reluctantly to acknowledge the truth. And they, abashed and constrained by the truth, have confessed their errors for a short period, but after a little, wallow once again in the same mire.



But since we have exhibited the succession of their genealogy, it seems expedient next that we should also explain the depraved teaching involved in their doctrines. For this purpose we shall first adduce the opinions advanced by Heraclitus "the Obscure," and we shall next make manifest what are the portions of these opinions that are of Heraclitean origin. Such parts of their system its present champions are not aware belong to the "Obscure" philosopher, but they imagine them to belong to Christ. But if they might happen to fall in with the following observations, perhaps they thus might be put out of countenance, and induced to desist from this godless blasphemy of theirs. Now, even though the opinion of Heraclitus has been expounded by us previously in the Philosophumena, it nevertheless seems expedient now also to set down side by side in contrast the two systems, in order that by this closer refutation they may be evidently instructed. I mean the followers of this (heretic), who imagine themselves to be disciples of Christ, when in reality they are not so, but of" the Obscure."



Heraclitus then says that the universe is one, divisible and indivisible; generated and ungenerated; mortal and immortal; reason, eternity; Father, Son, and justice, God. "For those who hearken not to me, but the doctrine, it is wise that they acknowledge all things to be one," says Heraclitus; and because all do not know or confess this, he utters a reproof somewhat in the following terms: "People do not understand how what is diverse (nevertheless) coincides with itself, just like the inverse harmony of a bow and lyre." But that Reason always exists, inasmuch as it constitutes the universe, and as it pervades all things, he affirms in this manner. "But in regard of this Reason, which always exists, men are continually devoid of understanding, both before they have heard of it and in first gearing of it. For though all things take place according to this Reason, they seem like persons devoid of any experience regarding it. Still they attempt both words and works of such a description as I am giving an account of, by making a division according to nature, and declaring how things are." And that a Son is the universe and throughout endless ages an eternal king of all things, he thus asserts: "A sporting child, playing at his dice, is eternity; the kingdom is that of a child." And that the Father of all things that have been generated is an unbegotten creature who is creator, let us hear Heraclitus affirming in these words: "Contrariety is a progenitor of all things, and king of all; and it exhibited some as gods, but others as men, and made some slaves, whereas others free." And (he likewise affirms) that there is" a harmony, as in a bow and lyre." That obscure harmony (is better), though unknown and invisible to men, he asserts in these words: "An obscure harmony is preferable to an obvious one." He commends and admires before what is known, that which is unknown and invisible in regard of its power. And that harmony visible to men, and not incapable of being discovered, is better, he asserts in these words: "Whatever things are objects of vision, hearing, and intelligence, these I pre-eminently honour," he says; that is, he prefers things visible to those that are invisible. From such expressions of his it is easy to understand the spirit of his philosophy. "Men," he says, "are deceived in reference to the knowledge of manifest things similarly with Homer, who was wiser than all the Greeks For even children killing vermin deceived him, when they said, 'What we have seen and seized, these we leave behind; whereas what we neither have seen nor seized, these we carry away.'"


In this manner Heraclitus assigns to the visible an equality of position and honour with the invisible, as if what was visible and what was invisible were confessedly some one thing. For he says, "An obscure harmony is preferable to an obvious one;" and, "Whatsoever things are objects of vision, hearing, and intelligence," that is, of the (corporeal) organs,--"these," he says, "I pre-eminently honour," not (on this occasion, though previously), having pre-eminently honoured invisible things. Therefore neither darkness, nor light, nor evil, nor good, Heraclitus affirms, is different, but one and the same thing. At all events, he censures Hesiod because he knew not day and night. For day, he says, and night are one, expressing himself somehow thus: "The teacher, however, of a vast amount of information is Hesiod, and people suppose this poet to be possessed of an exceedingly large store of knowledge, and yet he did not know (the nature of) day and night, for they are one." As regards both what is good and what is bad, (they are, according to Heraclitus, likewise) one. "Physicians, undoubtedly," says Heraclitus, "when they make incisions and cauterize, though in every respect they wickedly torture the sick, complain that they do not receive fitting remuneration from their patients, notwithstanding that they perform these salutary operations upon diseases." And both straight and twisted are, he says, the same. "The way is straight and curved of the carders of wool;" and the circular movement of an instrument in the fuller's shop called "a screw" is straight and curved, for it revolves up and circularly at the same time. "One and the same," he says, "are, therefore, straight and curved." And upward and downward, he says, are one and the same. "The way up and the way down are the same." And he says that what is filthy and what is pure are one and the same, and what is drinkable and unfit for drink are one and the same. "Sea," he says, "is water very pure and very foul, drinkable to fishes no doubt, and salutary for them, but not fit to be used as drink by men, and (for them) pernicious." And, confessedly, he asserts that what is immortal is mortal, and that what is mortal is immortal, in the following expressions: "Immortals are mortal, and mortals are immortal, that is, when the one derive life from death, and the other death from life." And he affirms also that there is a resurrection of this palpable flesh in which we have been born; and he knows God to be the cause of this resurrection, expressing himself in this manner: "Those that are here will God enable to arise and become guardians of quick and dead." And he likewise affirms that a judgment of the world and all things in it takes place by fire, expressing himself thus: "Now, thunder pilots all things," that is, directs them, meaning by the thunder everlasting fire. But he also asserts that this fire is endued with intelligence, and a cause of the management of the Universe, and he denominates it craving and satiety. Now craving is, according to him, the arrangement of the world, whereas satiety its destruction. "For," says he, "the fire, coming upon the earth, will judge and seize all things."

But in this chapter Heraclitus simultaneously explains the entire peculiarity of his mode of thinking, but at the same time the (characteristic quality) of the heresy of Noetus. And I have briefly demonstrated Noetus to be not a disciple of Christ, but of Heraclitus. For this philosopher asserts that the primal world is itself the Demiurge and creator of itself in the following passage: "God is day, night; winter, summer; war, peace; surfeit, famine." All things are contraries--this appears his meaning--"but an alteration takes place, just as if incense were mixed with oilier sorts of incense, but denominated according to the pleasurable sensation produced by each sort. Now it is evident to all that the silly successors of Noetus, and the champions of his heresy, even though they have not been hearers of the discourses of Heraclitus, nevertheless, at any rate when they adopt the opinions of Noetus, undisguisedly acknowledge these (Heraclitean) tenets. For they advance statements after this manner--that one and the same God is the Creator and Father of all things; and that when it pleased Him, He nevertheless appeared, (though invisible,) to just men of old. For when He is not seen He is invisible; and He is incomprehensible when He does not wish to be comprehended, but comprehensible when he is comprehended. Wherefore it is that, according to the same account, He is invincible and vincible, unbegotten and begotten, immortal and mortal. How shall not persons holding this description of opinions be proved to be disciples of Heraclitus? Did not (Heraclitus) the Obscure anticipate Noetus in framing a system of philosophy, according to identical modes of expression?

Nos, ez a Noetusz azt állítja, hogy a Fiú és az Atya ugyanaz, senki sem tudatlan. Kijelentését azonban így fogalmazza meg: "Amikor tehát az Atya még nem szült, mégis méltán nevezték Atyának; és amikor úgy tetszett neki, hogy nemzedéket vállaljon, amikor szült Ő maga lett a Saját Fia, nem másé" Mert ily módon gondolja Isten szuverenitását megalapozni, azt állítva, hogy az Atya és a Fiú, egy és ugyanaz (szubsztancia), nem egy egyén keletkezett egy másikból, hanem Önmaga Önmagából; és hogy Atyának és fiúnak neveztetik az idők forgandósága szerint. De Ő az, aki megjelent (közöttünk), aki alávetette magát a szűztől való nemzésnek, és mint férfi, aki az emberek között beszélgetett. És a megtörtént születés miatt kétségtelenül Fiának vallotta magát azoknak, akik látták őt; mégsem csinált titkot azok előtt, akik fel tudták fogni, hogy Ő Atya. Hogy ez az ember szenvedett attól, hogy a fához erősítették, és önmagának ajánlotta lelkét, miután a látszat miatt meghalt, és nem volt (valójában) halott. És feltámadt harmadnap, miután sírba temették, és lándzsával megsebesítették és szögekkel átlyukasztották. Kleomenész – követőinek kezéhez hasonlóan – azt állítja, hogy ez a személy az univerzum Istene és Atyja, és így bevezeti a sok (gondolat) homályát, mint amilyennel Hérakleitosz filozófiájában találkozunk.


Callistus attempted to confirm this heresy,--a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, (and) who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne. Now this man moulded to his purpose Zephyrinus, an ignorant and illiterate individual, and one unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions. And inasmuch as Zephyrinus was accessible to bribes, and covetous, Callistus, by luring him through presents, and by illicit demands, was enabled to seduce him into whatever course of action he pleased. And so it was that Callistus succeeded in inducing Zephyrinus to create continually disturbances among the brethren, while he himself took care subsequently, by knavish words, to attach both factions in good-will to himself. And, at one time, to those who entertained true opinions, he would in private allege that they held similar doctrines (with himself), and thus make them his dupes; while at another time he would act similarly towards those (who embraced) the tenets of Sabellius. But Callistus perverted Sabellius himself, and this, too, though he had the ability of rectifying this heretic's error. For (at any time) during our admonition Sabellius did not evince obduracy; but as long as he continued alone with Callistus, he was wrought upon to relapse into the system of Cleomenes by this very Callistus, who alleges that he entertains similar opinions to Cleomenes. Sabellius, however, did not then perceive the knavery of Callistus; but he afterwards came to be aware of it, as I shall narrate presently.

Now Callistus brought forward Zephyrinus himself, and induced him publicly to avow the following sentiments: "I know that there is one God, Jesus Christ; nor except Him do I know any other that is begotten and amenable to suffering." And on another occasion, when he would make the following statement: "The Father did not die, but the Son." Zephyrinus would in this way continue to keep up ceaseless disturbance among the people. And we, becoming aware of his sentiments, did not give place to him, but reproved and withstood him for the truth's sake. And he hurried headlong into folly, from the fact that all consented to his hypocrisy--we, however, did not do so--and called us worshippers of two gods, disgorging, independent of compulsion, the venom lurking within him. It would seem to us desirable to explain the life of this heretic, inasmuch as he was born about the same time with ourselves, in order that, by the exposure of the habits of a person of this description, the heresy attempted to be established by him may be easily known, and may perchance be regarded as silly, by those endued with intelligence. This Callistus became a "martyr" at the period when Fuscianus was prefect of Rome, and the mode of his "martyrdom" was as follows.





Callistus happened to be a domestic of one Carpophorus, a man of the faith belonging to the household of Caesar. To this Callistus, as being of the faith, Carpophorus committed no inconsiderable amount of money, and directed him to bring in profitable returns from the banking business. And he, receiving the money, tried (the experiment of) a bank in what is called the Piscina Publica. And in process of time were entrusted to him not a few deposits by widows and brethren, under the ostensive cause of lodging their money with Carpophorus. Callistus, however, made away with all (the moneys committed to him), and became involved in pecuniary difficulties. And after having practised such conduct as this, there was not wanting one to tell Carpophorus, and the latter stated that he would require an account from him.

Callistus, perceiving these things, and suspecting danger from his master, escaped away by stealth, directing his flight towards the sea. And finding a vessel in Portus ready for a voyage, he went on board, intending to sail wherever she happened to be bound for. But not even in this way could he avoid detection, for there was not wanting one who conveyed to Carpophorus intelligence of what had taken place. But Carpophorus, in accordance with the information he had received, at once repaired to the harbour (Portus), and made an effort to hurry into the vessel after Callistus. The boat, however, was anchored in the middle of the harbour; and as the ferryman was slow in his movements, Callistus, who was in the ship, had time to descry his master at a distance. And knowing that himself would be inevitably captured, he became reckless of life; and, considering his affairs to be in a desperate condition, he proceeded to cast himself into the sea. But the sailors leaped into boats and drew him out, unwilling to come, while those on shore were raising a loud cry. And thus Callistus was handed over to his master, and brought to Rome, and his master lodged him in the Pistrinum.

But as time wore on, as happens to take place in such cases, brethren repaired to Carpophorus, and entreated him that he would release the fugitive serf from punishment, on the plea of their alleging that Callistus acknowledged himself to have money lying to his credit with certain persons. But Carpophorus, as a devout man, said he was indifferent regarding his own property, but that he felt a concern for the deposits; for many shed tears as they remarked to him, that they had committed what they had entrusted to Callistus, under the ostensive cause of lodging the money with himself. And Carpophorus yielded to their persuasions, and gave directions for the liberation of Callistus. The latter, however, having nothing to pay, and not being able again to abscond, from the fact of his being watched, planned an artifice by which he hoped to meet death. Now, pretending that he was repairing as it were to his creditors, he hurried on their Sabbath-day to the synagogue of the Jews, who were congregated, and took his stand, and created a disturbance among them. They, however, being disturbed by him, offered him insult, and inflicted blows upon him, and dragged him before Fuscianus, who was prefect of the city. And (on being asked the cause of such treatment), they replied in the following terms: "Romans have conceded to us the privilege of publicly reading those laws of ours that have been handed down from our fathers. This person, however, by coming into (our place of worship), prevented (us so doing), by creating a disturbance among us, alleging that he is a Christian." And Fuscianus happens at the time to be on the judgment-seat; and on intimating his indignation against Callistus, on account of the statements made by the Jews, there was not wanting one to go and acquaint Carpophorus concerning these transactions. And he, hastening to the judgment-seat of the prefect, exclaimed, "I implore of you, my lord Fuscianus, believe not thou this fellow; for he is not a Christian, but seeks occasion of death, having made away with a quantity of my money, as I shall prove." The Jews, however, supposing that this was a stratagem, as if Carpophorus were seeking under this pretext to liberate Callistus, with the greater enmity clamoured against him in presence of the prefect. Fuscianus, however, was swayed by these Jews, and having scourged Callistus, he gave him to be sent to a mine in Sardinia.

But after a time, there being in that place other martyrs, Marcia, a concubine of Commodus, who was a God-loving female, and desirous of performing some good work, invited into her presence the blessed Victor, who was at that time a bishop of the Church, and inquired of him what martyrs were in Sardinia. And he delivered to her the names of all, but did not give the name of Callistus, knowing the villanous acts he had ventured upon. Marcia, obtaining her request from Commodus, hands the letter of emancipation to Hyacinthus, a certain eunuch, rather advanced in life. And he, on receiving it, sailed away into Sardinia, and having delivered the letter to the person who at that time was governor of the territory, he succeeded in having the martyrs released, with the exception of Callistus. gut Callistus himself, dropping on his knees, and weeping, entreated that he likewise might obtain a release. Hyacinthus, therefore, overcome by the captive's importunity, requests the governor to grant a release, alleging that permission had been given to himself from Marcia s (to liberate Callistus), and that he would make arrangements that there should be no risk in this to him. Now (the governor) was persuaded, and liberated Callistus also. And when the latter arrived at Rome, Victor was very much grieved at what had taken place; but since he was a compassionate man, he took no action in the matter. Guarding, however, against the reproach (uttered) by many,--for the attempts made by this Callistus were not distant occurrences,--and because Carpophorus also still continued adverse, Victor sends Callistus to take up his abode in Antium, having settled on him a certain monthly allowance for food. And after Victor's death, Zephyrinus, having had Callistus as a fellow-worker in the management of his clergy, paid him respect to his own damage; and transferring this person from Antium, appointed him over the cemetery.

And Callistus, who was in the habit of always associating with Zephyrinus, and, as I have previously stated, of paying him hypocritical service, disclosed, by force contrast, Zephyrinus to be a person able neither to form a judgment of things said, nor discerning the design of Callistus, who was accustomed to converse with Zephyrinus on topics which yielded satisfaction to the latter. Thus, after the death of Zephyrinus, supposing that he had obtained (the position) after which he so eagerly pursued, he excommunicated Sabellius, as not entertaining orthodox opinions. He acted thus from apprehension of me, and imagining that he could in this manner obliterate the charge against him among the churches, as if he did not entertain strange opinions. He was then an impostor and knave, and in process of time hurried away many with him. And having even venom imbedded in his heart, and forming no correct opinion on any subject, and yet withal being ashamed to speak the truth, this Callistus, not only on account of his publicly saying in the way of reproach to us, "Ye are Ditheists," but also on account of his being frequently accused by Sabellius, as one that had transgressed his first faith, devised some such heresy as the following. Callistus alleges that the Logos Himself is Son, and that Himself is Father; and that though denominated by a different title, yet that in reality He is one indivisible spirit. And he maintains that the Father is not one person and the Son another, but that they are one and the same; and that all things are full of the Divine Spirit, both those above and those below. And he affirms that the Spirit, which became incarnate in the virgin, is not different from the Father, but one and the same. And he adds, that this is what has been declared by the Saviour: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" For that which is seen, which is man, he considers to be the Son; whereas the Spirit, which was contained in the Son, to be the Father. "For," says (Callistus), "I will not profess belief in two Gods, Father and Son, but in one. For the Father, who subsisted in the Son Himself, after He had taken unto Himself our flesh, raised it to the nature of Deity, by bringing it into union with Himself, and made it one; so that Father and Son must be styled one God, and that this Person being one, cannot be two." And in this way Callistus contends that the Father suffered along with the Son; for he does not wish to assert that the Father suffered, and is one Person, being careful to avoid blasphemy against the Father. (How careful he is!) senseless and knavish fellow, who improvises blasphemies in every direction, only that he may not seem to speak in violation of the truth, and is not abashed at being at one time betrayed into the tenet of Sabellius, whereas at another into the doctrine of Theodotus.

The impostor Callistus, having ventured on such opinions, established a school of theology in antagonism to the Church, adopting the foregoing system of instruction. And he first invented the device of conniving with men in regard of their indulgence in sensual pleasures, saying that all had their sins forgiven by himself. For he who is in the habit of attending the congregation of any one else, and is called a Christian, should he commit any transgression; the sin, they say, is not reckoned unto him, provided only he hurries off and attaches himself to the school of Callistus. And many persons were gratified with his regulation, as being stricken in conscience, and at the same time having been rejected by numerous sects; while also some of them, in accordance with our condemnatory sentence, had been by us forcibly ejected from the Church. Now such disciples as these passed over to these followers of Callistus, and served to crowd his school. This one propounded the opinion, that, if a bishop was guilty of any sin, if even a sin unto death, he ought not to be deposed. About the time of this man, bishops, priests, and deacons, who had been twice married, and thrice married, began to be allowed to retain their place among the clergy. If also, however, any one who is in holy orders should become married, Callistus permitted such a one to continue in holy orders as if he had not sinned. And in justification, he alleges that what has been spoken by the Apostle has been declared in reference to this person:

"Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?" But he asserted that likewise the parable of the tares is uttered in reference to this one: "Let the tares grow along with the wheat;" or, in other words, let those who in the Church are guilty of sin remain in it. But also he affirmed that the ark of Noe was made for a symbol of the Church, in which were both dogs, and wolves, and ravens, and all things clean and unclean; and so he alleges that the case should stand in like manner with the Church. And as many parts of Scripture bearing on this view of the subject as he could collect, be so interpreted.

And the hearers of Callistus being delighted with his tenets, continue with him, thus mocking both themselves as well as many others, and crowds of these dupes stream together into his school. Wherefore also his pupils are multiplied, and they plume themselves upon the crowds (attending the school) for the sake of pleasures which Christ did not permit. But in contempt of Him, they place restraint on the commission of no sin, alleging that they pardon those who acquiesce (in Callistus' opinions). For even also he permitted females, if they were unwedded, and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity through a legal marriage, that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bedfellow, whether a slave or free, and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them. During the episcopate of this one, second baptism was for the first time presumptuously attempted by them. These, then, (are the practices and opinions which) that most astonishing Callistus established, whose school continues, preserving its customs and tradition, not discerning with whom they ought to communicate, but indiscriminately offering communion to all. And from him they have derived the denomination of their men; so that, on account of Callistus being a foremost champion of such practices, they should be called Callistians.


The doctrine of this Callistus having been noised abroad throughout the entire world, a cunning man, and full of desperation, one called Alcibiades, dwelling in Apamea, a city of Syria, examined carefully into this business. And considering himself a more formidable character, and more ingenious in such tricks, than Callistus, he repaired to Rome; and he brought some book, alleging that a certain just man, Elchasai,

had received this from Serae, a town of Parthia, and that he gave it to one called Sobiai. And the contents of this volume, he alleged, had been revealed by an angel whose height was 24 schoenoi, which make 96 miles, and whose breadth is 4 schoenoi, and from shoulder to shoulder 6 schoenoi; and the tracks of his feet extend to the length of three and a half schoenoi, which are equal to fourteen miles, while the breadth is one schoenos and a half, and the height half a schoenos. And he alleges that also there is a female with him, whose measurement, he says, is according to the standards already mentioned. And he asserts that the male (angel) is Son of God, but that the female is called Holy Spirit. By detailing these prodigies he imagines that he confounds fools, while at the same time he utters the following sentence: "that there was preached unto men a new remission of sins in the third year of Trajan's reign." And Elchasai determines the nature of baptism, and even this I shall explain. He alleges, as to those who have been involved in every description of lasciviousness, and filthiness, and in acts of wickedness, if only any of them be a believer, that he determines that such a one, on being converted, and obeying the book, and believing its contents, should by baptism receive remission of sins.

Elchasai, however, ventured to continue these knaveries, taking occasion from the aforesaid tenet of which Callistus stood forward as a champion. For, perceiving that many were delighted at this sort of promise, he considered that he could opportunely make the attempt just alluded to. And notwithstanding we offered resistance to this, and did not permit many for any length of time to become victims of the delusion. For we carried conviction to the people, when we affirmed that this was the operation of a spurious spirit, and the invention of a heart inflated with pride, and that this one like a wolf had risen up against many wandering sheep, which Callistus, by his arts of deception, had scattered abroad. But since we have commenced, we shall not be silent as regards the opinions of this man. And, in the first place, we shall expose his life, and we shall prove that his supposed discipline is a mere pretence. And next, I shall adduce the principal heads of his assertions, in order that the reader, looking fixedly on the treatises of this (Elchasai), may be made aware what and what sort is the heresy which has been audaciously attempted by this man.


This Elchasai puts forward as a decoy a polity (authorized in the) Law, alleging that believers ought to be circumcised and live according to the Law, (while at the same time) he forcibly rends certain fragments from the aforesaid heresies. And he asserts that Christ was born a man in the same way as common to all, and that Christ was not for the first time an earth when born of a virgin, but that both previously and that frequently again He had been born and would be born. Christ would thus appear and exist among us from time to time, undergoing alterations of birth, and having his soul transferred from body to body. Now Elchasai adopted that tenet of pythagoras to which I have already alluded. But the Elchasaites have reached such an altitude of pride, that even they affirm themselves to be endued with a power of foretelling futurity, using as a starting-point, obviously, the measures and numbers of the aforesaid Pythagorean art. These also devote themselves to the tenets of mathematicians, and astrologers, and magicians, as if they were true. And they resort to these, so as to confuse silly people, thus led to suppose that the heretics participate in a doctrine of power. And they teach certain incantations and formularies for those who have been bitten by dogs, and possessed of demons, and seized with other diseases; and we shall not be silent respecting even such practices of these heretics. Having then sufficiently explained their principles, and the causes of their presumptuous attempts, I shall pass on to give an account of their writings, through which my readers will become acquainted with both the trifling and godless efforts of these Elchasaites.



To those, then, that have been orally instructed by him, he dispenses baptism in this manner, addressing to his dupes some such words as the following: "If, therefore, children, one shall have intercourse with any sort of animal whatsoever, or a male, or a sister, or a daughter, or hath committed adultery, or been guilty of fornication, and is desirous of obtaining remission of sins, from the moment that he hearkens to this book let him be baptized a second time in the name of the Great and Most High God, and in the name of His Son, the Mighty King. And by baptism let him be purified and cleansed, and let him adjure for himself those seven witnesses that have been described in this book--the heaven, and the water, and the holy spirits, and the angels of prayer, and the oil, and the salt, and the earth." These constitute the astonishing mysteries of Elchasai, those ineffable and potent secrets which he delivers to deserving disciples. And with these that lawless one is not satisfied, but in the presence of two and three witnesses he puts the seal to his own wicked practices. Again expressing himself thus: "Again I say, O adulterers and adulteresses, and false prophets, if you are desirous of being converted, that your sins may be forgiven you, as soon as ever you hearken unto this book, and be baptized a second time along with your garments, shall peace be yours, and your portion with the just." But since we have stated that these resort to incantations for those bitten by dogs and for other mishaps, we shall explain these. Now Elchasai uses the following formulary: "If a dog rabid and furious, in which inheres a spirit of destruction, bite any man, or woman, or youth, or girl, or may worry or touch them, in the same hour let such a one run with all their wearing apparel, and go down to a river or to a fountain wherever there is a deep spot. Let (him or her) be dipped with all their wearing apparel, and offer supplication to the Great and Most High God in faith of heart, and then let him thus adjure the seven witnesses described in this book: 'Behold, I call to witness the heaven and the water, and the holy spirits, and the angels of prayer, and the oil, and the salt, and the earth. I testify by these seven witnesses that no more shall I sin, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor be guilty of injustice, nor be covetous, nor be actuated by hatred, nor be scornful, nor shall I take pleasure in any wicked deeds.' Having uttered, therefore, these words, let such a one be baptized with the entire of his wearing apparel in the name of the Mighty and Most High God."


But in very many other respects he talks folly, inculcating the use of these sentences also for those afflicted with consumption, and that they should be dipped in cold water forty times during seven days i and he prescribes similar treatment for those possessed of devils. Oh inimitable wisdom and incantations gorged with powers! Who will not be astonished at such and such force of words? But since we have stated that they also bring into requisition astrological deceit, we shall prove this from their own formularies; for Elchasai speaks thus: "There exist wicked stars of impiety. This declaration has been now made by us, O ye pious ones and disciples: beware of the power of the days of the sovereignty of these stars, and engage not in the commencement of any undertaking during the ruling days of these. And baptize not man or woman during the days of the power of these stars, when the moon, (emerging) from among them, courses the sky, and travels along with them. Beware of the very day up to that on which the moan passes out from these stars, and then baptize and enter on every beginning of your works. But, moreover, honour the day of the Sabbath, since that day is one of those during which prevails (the power) of these stars. Take care, however, not to commence your works the third day from a Sabbath, since when three years of the reign of the emperor Trojan are again completed from the time that he subjected the Parthians to his own sway,--when, I say, three years have been completed, war rages between the impious angels of the northern constellations; and on this account all kingdoms of impiety are in a state of confusion."



Inasmuch as (Elchasai) considers, then, that it would be an insult to reason that these mighty and ineffable mysteries should be trampled under foot, or that they should be committed to many, he advises that as valuable pearls they should be preserved, expressing himself thus: "Do not recite this account to all men, and guard carefully these precepts, because all men are not faithful, nor are all women straightforward." Books containing these (tenets), however, neither the wise men of the Egyptians secreted in shrines, nor did Pythagoras, a sage of the Greeks, conceal them there. For if at that time Elchasai had happened to live, what necessity would there be that Pythagoras, or Thales, or Solon, or the wise Plato, or even the rest of the sages of the Greeks, should become disciples of the Egyptian priests, when they could obtain possession of such and such wisdom from Alcibiades, as the most astonishing interpreter of that wretched Elchasai? The statements, therefore, that have been made for the purpose of attaining a knowledge of the madness of these, would seem sufficient for those endued with sound mind. And so it is, that it has not appeared expedient to quote more of their formularies, seeing that these are very numerous and ridiculous. Since, however, we have not omitted those practices that have risen up in our own day, and have not been silent as regards those prevalent before our time, it seems proper, in order that we may pass through all their systems, and leave nothing untold, to state what also are the (customs) of the Jews, and what are the diversities of opinion among them, for I imagine that these as yet remain behind for our consideration. Now, when I have broken silence on these points, I shall pass on to the demonstration of the Doctrine of the Truth, in order that, after the lengthened argumentative straggle against all heresies, we, devoutly pressing forward towards the kingdom's crown, and believing the truth, may not be unsettled.


Originally there prevailed but one usage among the Jews; for one teacher was given unto them by God, namely Moses, and one law by this same Moses. And there was one desert region and one Mount Sinai, for one God it was who legislated for these Jews. But, again, after they had crossed the river Jordan, and had inherited by lot the conquered country, they in various ways rent in sunder the law of God, each devising a different interpretation of the declarations made by God. And in this way they raised up for themselves teachers, (and) invented doctrines of an heretical nature, and they continued to advance into (sectarian) divisions. Now it is the diversity of these Jews that I at present propose to explain. But though for even a considerable time they have been rent into very numerous sects, yet I intend to elucidate the more principal of them, while those who are of a studious turn will easily become acquainted with the rest. For there is a division amongst them into three sorts; and the adherents of the first are the Pharisees, but of the second the Sadducees, while the rest are Essenes. These practise a more devotional life, being filled with mutual love, and being temperate. And they turn away from every act of inordinate desire, being averse even to hearing of things of the sort. And they renounce matrimony, but they take the boys of others, and thus have an offspring begotten for them. And they lead these adopted children into an observance of their own peculiar customs, and in this way bring them up and impel them to learn the sciences. They do not, however, forbid them to marry, though themselves refraining from matrimony. Women, however, even though they may be disposed to adhere to the same course of life, they do not admit, inasmuch as in no way whatsoever have they confidence in women.


And they despise wealth, and do not turn away from sharing their goods with those that are destitute. No one amongst them, however, enjoys a greater amount of riches than another. For a regulation with them is, that an individual coming forward to join the sect must sell his possessions, and present the price of them to the community. And on receiving the money, the head of the order distributes it to all according to their necessities. Thus there is no one among them in distress. And they do not use oil, regarding it as a defilement to be anointed. And there are appointed overseers, who take care of all things that belong to them in common, and they all appear always in white clothing.


But there is not one city of them, but many of them settle in every city. And if any of the adherents of the sect may be present from a strange place, they consider that all things are in common for him, and those whom they had not previously known they receive as if they belonged to their own household and kindred. And they traverse their native land, and on each occasion that they go on a journey they carry nothing except arms. And they have also in their cities a president, who expends the moneys collected for this purpose in procuring clothing and food for them. And their robe and its shape are modest. And they do not own two cloaks, or a double set of shoes; and when those that are in present use become antiquated, then they adopt others. And they neither buy nor sell anything at all; but whatever any one has he gives to him that has not, and that which one has not he receives.


And they continue in an orderly manner, and with perseverance pray from early dawn, and they do not speak a word unless they have praised God in a hymn. And in this way they each go forth and engage in whatever employment they please; and after having worked up to the fifth hour they leave off. Then again they come together into one place, and encircle themselves with linen girdles, for the purpose of concealing their private parts. And in this manner they perform ablutions in cold water; and after being thus cleansed, they repair together into one apartment,--now no one who entertains a different opinion from themselves assembles in the house,--and they proceed to partake of breakfast. And when they have taken their seats in silence, they set down loaves in order, and next some one sort of food to eat along with the bread, and each receives from these a sufficient portion. No one, however, tastes these before the priest utters a blessing, and prays over the food. And after breakfast, when he has a second time offered up supplication, as at the beginning, so at the conclusion of their meal they praise God in hymns. Next, after they have laid aside as sacred the garments in which they have been clothed while together taking their repast within the house-- (now these garments are linen)--and having resumed the clothes which they had left in the vestibule, they hasten to agreeable occupations until evening. And they partake of supper, doing oil things in like manner to those already mentioned.

And no one will at any time cry aloud, nor will any other tumultuous voice be heard. But they each converse quietly, and with decorum one concedes the conversation to the other, so that the stillness of those within the house appears a sort of mystery to those outside. And they are invariably sober, eating and drinking all things by measure.


All then pay attention to the president; and whatever injunctions he will issue, they obey as law. For they are anxious that mercy and assistance be extended to those that are burdened with toil. And especially they abstain from wrath and anger, and all such passions, inasmuch as they consider these to be treacherous to man. And no one amongst them is in the habit of swearing; but whatever any one says, this is regarded more binding than an oath. If, however, one will swear, he is condemned as one unworthy of credence. They are likewise solicitous about the readings of the law and prophets; and moreover also, if there is any treatise of the faithful, about that likewise. And they evince the utmost curiosity concerning plants and stones, rather busying themselves as regards the operative powers of these, saying that these things were not created in vain.


But to those who wish to become disciples of the sect, they do not immediately deliver their rules, unless they have previously tried them. Now for the space of a year they set before (the candidates) the same food, while the latter continue to live in a different house outside the Essenes' own place of meeting. And they give (to the probationists) a hatchet and the linen girdle, and a white robe. When, at the expiration of this period, one affords proof of self-control, he approaches nearer to the sect's method of living, and he is washed more purely than before. Not as yet, however, does he partake of food along with the Essenes. For, after having furnished evidence as to whether he is able to acquire self-control,--but for two years the habit of a person of this description is on trial,--and when he has appeared deserving, he is thus reckoned amongst the members of the sect. Previous, however, to his being allowed to partake of a repast along with them, he is bound under fearful oaths. First, that he will worship the Divinity; next, that he will observe just dealings with men, and that he will in no way injure any one, and that he will not hate a person who injures him, or is hostile to him, but pray for them. He likewise swears that he will always aid the just, and keep faith with all, especially those who are rulers. For, they argue, a position of authority does not happen to any one without God. And if the Essene himself be a ruler, he swears that he will not conduct himself at any time arrogantly in the exercise of power, nor be prodigal, nor resort to any adornment, or a greater state of magnificence than the usage permits. He likewise swears, however, to be a lover of truth, and to reprove him that is guilty of falsehood, neither to steal, nor pollute his conscience for the sake of iniquitous gain, nor conceal aught from those that are members of his sect, and to divulge nothing to others, though one should be tortured even unto death. And in addition to the foregoing promises, he swears to impart to no one a knowledge of the doctrines in a different manner from that in which he has received them himself.


With oaths, then, of this description, they bind those who come forward. If, however, any one may be condemned for any sin, he is expelled from the order; but one that has been thus excommunicated sometimes perishes by an awful death. For, inasmuch as he is bound by the oaths and rites of the sect, he is not able to partake of the food in use among other people. Those that are excommunicated, occasionally, therefore, utterly destroy the body through starvation. And so it is, that when it comes to the last the Essenes sometimes pity many of them who are at the point of dissolution, inasmuch as they deem a punishment even unto death, thus inflicted upon these culprits, a sufficient penalty.


But as regards judicial decisions, the Essenes are most accurate and impartial. And they de liver their judgments when they have assembled together, numbering at the very least one hundred; and the sentence delivered by them is irreversible. And they honour the legislator next after God; and if any one is guilty of blasphemy against this framer of laws, he is punished. And they are taught to yield obedience to rulers and elders; and if ten occupy seats in the same room, one of them will not speak unless it will appear expedient to the nine. And they are careful not to spit out into the midst of persons present, and to the right hand. They are more solicitous, however, about abstaining from work on the Sabbath-day than all other Jews. For not only do they prepare their victuals for themselves one day previously, so as not (on the Sabbath) to kindle a fire, but not even would they move a utensil from one place to another (on that day), nor ease nature; nay, some would not even rise from a couch. On other days, however, when they wish to relieve nature, they dig a hole a foot long with the mattock,--for of this description is the hatchet, which the president in the first instance gives those who come forward to gain admission as disciples,--and cover (this cavity) on all sides with their garment, alleging that they do not necessarily insult the sunbeams. They then replace the upturned soil into the pit; and this is their practice, choosing the more lonely spots. But after they have performed this operation, immediately they undergo ablution, as if the excrement pollutes them.


The Essenes have, however, in the lapse of time, undergone divisions, and they do not preserve their system of training after a similar manner, inasmuch as they have been split up into four parties. For some of them discipline themselves above the requisite rules of the order, so that even they would not handle a current coin of the country, saying that they ought not either to carry, or behold, or fashion an image: wherefore no one of those goes into a city, lest (by so doing) he should enter through a gate at which statues are erected, regarding it a violation of law to pass beneath images. But the adherents of another party, if they happen to hear any one maintaining a discussion concerning God and His laws--supposing such to be an uncircumcised person, they will closely watch him and when they meet a person of this description in any place alone, they will threaten to slay him if he refuses to undergo the rite of circumcision. Now, if the latter does not wish to comply with this request, an Essene spares not, but even slaughters. And it is from this occurrence that they have received their appellation, being denominated (by some) Zelotae, but by others Sicarii. And the adherents of another party call no one Lord except the Deity, even though one should put them to the torture, or even kill them. But there are others of a later period, who have to such an extent declined from the discipline (of the order), that, as far as those are concerned who continue in the primitive customs, they would not even touch these. And if they happen to come in contact with them, they immediately resort to ablution, as if they had touched one belonging to an alien tribe. But here also there are very many of them of so great longevity, as even to live longer than a hundred years. They assert, therefore, that a cause of this arises from their extreme devotion to religion, and their condemnation of all excess in regard of what is served up (as food), and from their being temperate and incapable of anger. And so it is that they despise death, rejoicing when they can finish their course with a good conscience. If, however, any one would even put to the torture persons of this description, in order to induce any amongst them either to speak evil of the law, or eat what is offered in sacrifice to an idol, he will not effect his purpose; for one of this party submits to death and endures torment rather than violate his conscience.


Now the doctrine of the resurrection has also derived support among these; for they acknowledge both that the flesh will rise again, and that it will be immortal, in the same manner as the soul is already imperishable. And they maintain that the soul, when separated in the present life, (departs) into one place, which is well ventilated and lightsome, where, they say, it rests until judgment. And this locality the Greeks were acquainted with by hearsay, and called it "Isles of the Blessed." And there are other tenets of these which many of the Greeks have appropriated, and thus have from time to time formed their own opinions. For the disciplinary system in regard of the Divinity, according to these (Jewish sects), is of greater antiquity than that of all nations. And so it is that the proof is at hand, that all those (Greeks) who ventured to make assertions concerning God, or concerning the creation of existing things, derived their principles from no other source than from Jewish legislation. And among these may be particularized Pythagoras especially, and the Stoics, who derived (their systems) while resident among the Egyptians, by having become disciples of these Jews. Now they affirm that there will be both a judgment and a conflagration of the universe, and that the wicked will be eternally punished. And among them is cultivated the practice of prophecy, and the prediction of future events.



There is then another order of the Essenes who use the same customs and prescribed method of living with the foregoing sects, but make an alteration from these in one respect, viz., marriage. Now they maintain that those who have abrogated matrimony commit some terrible offence, which is for the destruction of life, and that they ought not to cut off the succession of children; far, that if all entertained this opinion, the entire race of men would easily be exterminated. However, they make a trial of their betrothed women for a period of three years; and when they have been three times purified, with a view of proving their ability of bringing forth children, so then they wed. They do not, however, cohabit with pregnant women, evincing that they marry not from sensual motives, but from the advantage of children.

And the women likewise undergo ablution in a similar manner (with their husbands), and are themselves also arrayed in a linen garment, after the mode in which the men are with their girdles. These things, then, are the statements which l have to make respecting the Esseni.

But there are also others who themselves practise the Jewish customs; and these, both in respect of caste and in respect of the laws, are called Pharisees. Now the greatest part of these is to be found in every locality, inasmuch as, though all are styled Jews, yet, on account of the peculiarity of the opinions advanced by them, they have been denominated by titles proper to each. These, then, firmly hold the ancient tradition, and continue to pursue in a disputative spirit a close investigation into the things regarded according to the Law as clean and not clean. And they interpret the regulations of the Law, and put forward teachers, whom they qualify for giving instruction in such things. These Pharisees affirm the existence of fate, and that some things are in our power, whereas others are under the control of destiny. In this way they maintain that some actions depend upon ourselves, whereas others upon fate. But (they assert) that God is a cause of all things, and that nothing is managed or happens without His will. These likewise acknowledge that there is a resurrection of flesh, and that soul is immortal, and that there will be a judgment and conflagration, and that the righteous will be imperishable, but that the wicked will endure everlasting punishment in unqenchable fire.


These, then, are the opinions even of the Pharisees. The Sadducees, however, are for abolishing fate, and they acknowledge that God does nothing that is wicked, nor exercises providence over (earthly concerns); but they contend that the choice between good and evil lies within the power of men. And they deny that there is a resurrection not only of flesh, but also they suppose that the soul does not continue after death. The soul they consider nothing but mere vitality, and that it is on account of this that man has been created. However, (they maintain) that the notion of the resurrection has been fully realized by the single circumstance, that we close our days after having left children upon earth. But (they still insist) that after death one expects to suffer nothing, either bad or good; for that there will be a dissolution both of soul and body, and that man passes into non-existence, similarly also with the material of the animal creation. But as regards whatever wickedness a man may have committed in life, provided he may have been reconciled to the injured party, he has been a gainer (by transgression), inasmuch as he has escaped the punishment (that otherwise would have been inflicted) by men. And whatever acquisitions a man may have made. and (in whatever respect), by becoming wealthy, he may have acquired distinction, he has so far been a gainer. But (they abide by their assertion), that God has no solicitude about the concerns of an individual here. And while the Pharisees are full of mutual affection, the Sadducees, on the other hand, are actuated by self-love. This sect had its stronghold especially in the region around Samaria. And these also adhere to the customs of the law, saying that one ought so to live, that he may conduct himself virtuously, and leave children behind him on earth. They do not, however, devote attention to prophets, but neither do they to any other sages, except to the law of Moses only, in regard of which, however, they frame no interpretations. These, then, are the opinions which also the Sadducees choose to teach.


Since, therefore, we have explained even the diversities among the Jews, it seems expedient likewise not to pass over in silence the system of their religion. The doctrine, therefore, among all Jews on the subject of religion is fourfold-theological, natural, moral, and ceremonial. And they affirm that there is one God, and that He is Creator and Lord of the universe: that He has formed all these glorious works which had no previous existence; and this, too, not out of any coeval substance that lay ready at hand, but His Will--the efficient cause--was to create, and He did create. And (they maintain) that there are angels, and that these have been brought into being for ministering unto the creation; but also that there is a sovereign Spirit that always continues beside God, for glory and praise. And that all things in the creation are endued with sensation, and that there is nothing inanimate. And they earnestly aim at serious habits and a temperate life, as one may ascertain from their laws. Now these matters have long ago been strictly defined by those who in ancient times have received the divinely-appointed law; so that the reader will find himself astonished at the amount of temperance, and of diligence, lavished on customs legally enacted in reference to man. The ceremonial service, however, which has been adapted to divine worship in a manner befitting the dignity of religion, has been practised amongst them with the highest degree of elaboration. The superiority of their ritualism it is easy for those who wish it to ascertain, provided they read the book which furnishes information on these points. They will thus perceive how that with solemnity and sanctity the Jewish priests offer unto God the first-fruits of the gifts bestowed by Him for the rise and enjoyment of men; how they fulfil their ministrations with regularity and stedfastness, in obedience to His commandments. There are, however, some (liturgical usages adopted) by these, which the Sadducees refuse to recognise, for they are not disposed to acquiesce in the existence of angels or spirits.

Still all parties alike expect Messiah, inasmuch as the Law certainly, and the prophets, preached beforehand that He was about to be present on earth. Inasmuch, however, as the Jews were not cognizant of the period of His advent, there remains the supposition that the declarations (of Scripture) concerning His coming have not been fulfilled. And so it is, that up to this day they continue in anticipation of the future coming of the Christ,--from the fact of their not discerning Him when He was present in the world. And (yet there can be little doubt but) that, on beholding the signs of the times of His having been already amongst us, the Jews are troubled; and that they are ashamed to confess that He has come, since they have with their own hands put Him to death, because they were stung with indignation in being convicted by Himself of not having obeyed the laws. And they affirm that He who was thus sent forth by God is not this Christ (whom they are looking for); but they confess that another Messiah will come, who as yet has no existence; and that he will usher in some of the signs which the law and the prophets have shown beforehand, whereas, regarding the rest (of these indications), they suppose that they have fallen into error. For they say that his generation will be from the stock of David, but not from a virgin and the Holy Spirit, but from a woman and a man, according as it is a rule for all to be procreated from seed. And they allege that this Messiah will be King over them,--a warlike and powerful individual, who, after having gathered together the entire people of the Jews, and having done battle with all the nations, will restore for them Jerusalem the royal city. And into this city He will collect together the entire Hebrew race, and bring it back once more into the ancient customs, that it may fulfil the regal and sacerdotal functions, and dwell in confidence for periods of time of sufficient duration. After this repose, it is their opinion that war would next be waged against them after being thus congregated; that in this conflict Christ would fall by the edge of the sword; and that, after no long time, would next succeed the termination and conflagration of the universe; and that in this way their opinions concerning the resurrection would receive completion, and a recompense be rendered to each man according to his works.


It now seems to us that the tenets of both all the Greeks and barbarians have been sufficiently explained by us, and that nothing has remained unrefuted either of the points about which philosophy has been busied, or of the allegations advanced by the heretics. And from these very explanations the condemnation of the heretics is obvious, for having either purloined their doctrines, or derived contributions to them from some of those tenets elaborately worked out by the Greeks, and for having advanced (these opinions) as if they originated from God. Since, therefore, we have hurriedly passed through all the systems of these, and with much labour have, in the nine books, proclaimed all their opinions, and have left behind us for all men a small viaticum in life, and to those who are our contemporaries have afforded a desire of learning (with) great joy and delight, we have considered it reasonable, as a crowning stroke to the entire work, to introduce the discourse (already mentioned) concerning the truth, and to furnish our delineation of this in one book, namely the tenth. Our object is, that the reader, not only when made acquainted with the overthrow of those who have presumed to establish heresies, may regard with scorn their idle fancies, but also, when brought to know the power of the truth, may be placed in the way of salvation, by reposing that faith in God which He so worthily deserves.



A következőkben olvasható az összes eretnekség cáfolata tizedik könyvének tartalma: Minden filozófusok összesítése.

Minden eretnekség összesítője.

És végül: mi is az Igazság Tana.


After we have, not with violence, burst through the labyrinth of heresies, but have unravelled (their intricacies) through a refutation merely, or, in other words, by the force of truth, we approach the demonstration of the truth itself. For then the artificial sophisms of error will be exposed in all their inconsistency, when we shall succeed in establishing whence it is that the definition of the truth has been derived. The truth has not taken its principles from the wisdom of the Greeks, nor borrowed its doctrines, as secret mysteries, from the tenets of the Egyptians, which, albeit silly, are regarded amongst them with religious veneration as worthy of reliance. Nor has it been formed out of the fallacies which enunciate the incoherent (conclusions arrived at through the) curiosity of the Chaldeans. Nor does the truth owe its existence to astonishment, through the operations of demons, for the irrational frenzy of the Babylonians. But its definition is constituted after the manner in which every true definition is, viz., as simple and unadorned. A definition such as this, provided it is made manifest, will of itself refute error. And although we have very frequently propounded demonstrations, and with sufficient fulness elucidated for those willing (to learn) the rule of the truth; yet even now, after having discussed all the opinions put forward by the Greeks and heretics, we have decided it not to be, at all events, unreasonable to introduce, as a sort of finishing stroke to the (nine) books preceding, this demonstration throughout the tenth book.


Having, therefore, embraced (a consideration of) the tenets of all the wise men among the Greeks in four books, and the doctrines propounded by the heresiarchs in five, we shall now exhibit the doctrine concerning the truth in one, having first presented in a summary the suppositions entertained severally by all. For the dogmatists of the Greeks, dividing philosophy into three parts, in this manner devised from time to time their speculative systems; some denominating their system Natural, and others Moral, but others Dialectical Philosophy. And the ancient thinkers who called their science Natural Philosophy, were those mentioned in book i. And the account which they furnished was after this mode: Some of them derived all things from one, whereas others from more things than one. And of those who derived all things from one, some derived them from what was devoid of quality, whereas others from what was endued with quality. And among those who derived all things from quality, some derived them from fire. and some from air, and some from water, and some from earth. And among those who derived the universe from more things than one, some derived it from numerable, but others from infinite quantities. And among those who derived all things from numerable quantities, some derived them from two, and others from four, and others from five, and others from six. And among those who derived the universe from infinite quantities, some derived entities from things similar to those generated, whereas others from things dissimilar. And among these some derived entities from things incapable of, whereas others from things capable of, passion. From a body devoid of quality and endued with unity, the

Stoics, then, accounted for the generation of the universe. For, according to them, matter devoid of quality, and in all its parts susceptible of change, constitutes an originating principle of the universe. For, when an alteration of this ensues, there is generated fire, air, water, earth. The followers, however, of Hippasus, and Anaximander, and Thales the Milesian, are disposed to think that all things have been generated from one (an entity), endued with quality. Hippasus of Metapontum and Heraclitus the Ephesian declared the origin of things to be from fire, whereas Anaximander from air, but Thales from water, and Xenophanes from earth. "For from earth," says he, "are all things, and all things terminate in the earth."


But among those who derive all entities from more things than one, and from numerable quantities, the poet Homer asserts that the universe consists of two substances, namely earth and water; at one time expressing himself thus:- "The source of gods was Sea and Mother Earth."

And on another occasion thus:- "But indeed ye all might become water and earth."

And Xenophanes of Colophon seems to coincide with him, for he says:- "We all are sprung from water and from earth."

Euripides, however, (derives the universe) from earth and air, as one may ascertain from the following assertion of his:- "Mother of all, air and earth, I sing."

But Empedocles derives the universe from four principles, expressing himself thus:- "Four roots of all things hear thou first:

Brilliant Jove, and life-giving Juno and Aidoneus, And Nestis, that with tears bedews the Mortal Font."

Ocellus, however, the Lucanian, and Aristotle, derive the universe from five principles; for, along with the four elements, they have assumed the existence of a fifth, and (that this is) a body with a circular motion; and they say that from this, things celestial have their being. But the disciples of Empedocles supposed the generation of the universe to have proceeded from six principles. For in the passage where he says, "Four roots of all things hear thou first," he produces generation out of four principles. When, however, he subjoins,- "Ruinous Strife apart from these, equal in every point, And with them Friendship equal in length and breadth," - he also delivers six principles of the universe, four of them material--earth, water, fire, and air; but two of them formative--Friendship and Discord. The followers, however, of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, and of Democritus, and of Epicurus, and multitudes of others, have given it as their opinion that the generation of the universe proceeds from infinite numbers of atoms; and we have previously made partial mention of these philosophers. But Anaxagoras derives the universe from things similar to those that are being produced; whereas the followers of Democritus and Epicurus derived the universe from things both dissimilar (to the entities produced), and devoid of passion, that is, from atoms. But the followers of Heraclides of Pontus, and of Asclepiades, derived the universe from things dissimilar (to the entities produced), and capable of passion, as if from incongruous corpuscles. But the disciples of Plato affirm that these entities are from three principles--God, and Matter, and Exemplar. He divides matter, however, into four principles--fire, water, earth, and air. And (he says) that God is the Creator of this (matter), and that Mind is its exemplar.


Persuaded, then, that the principle of physiology is confessedly discovered to be encumbered with difficulties for all these philosophers, we ourselves also shall fearlessly declare concerning the examples of the truth, as to how they are, and as we have felt confident that they are. But we shall previously furnish an explanation, in the way of epitome, of the tenets of the heresiarchs, in order that, by our having set before our readers the tenets of all made well known by this (plan of treatment), we may exhibit the truth in a plain and familiar (form).


But since it so appears expedient, let us begin first from the public worshippers of the serpent. The Naasseni call the first principle of the universe a Man, and that the same also is a Son of Man; and they divide this man into three portions. For they say one part of him is rational, and another psychical, but a third earthly. And they style him Adamas, and suppose that the knowledge appertaining to him is the originating cause of the capacity of knowing God. And the Naassene asserts that all these rational, and psychical, and earthly qualities have retired into Jesus, and that through Him these three substances simultaneously have spoken unto the three genera of the universe. These allege that there are three kinds of existence--angelic, psychical, and earthly; and that there are three churches--angelic, psychical, and earthly; and that the names for these are--chosen, called, and captive. These are the heads of doctrine advanced by them, as far as one may briefly comprehend them. They affirm that James, the brother of the Lord, delivered these tenets to Mariamne, by such a statement belying both.


The Peratae, however, viz., Ademes the Carystian, and Euphrates the Peratic, say that there is some one world,--this is the denomination they use,--and affirming that it is divided into three parts. But of the threefold division, according to them, there is one principle, just like an immense fountain, capable of being by reason divided into infinite segments. And the first segment, and the one of more proximity, according to them, is the triad, and is called a perfect good, and a paternal magnitude. But the second portion of the triad is a certain multitude of, as it were, infinite powers. The third part, however, is formal. And the first is unbegotten; whence they expressly affirm that there are three Gods, three Logoi, three minds, (and) three men. For when the division has been accomplished, to each part of the world they assign both Gods, and Logoi, and men, and the rest. But from above, from uncreatedness and the first segment of the world, when afterwards the world had attained to its consummation, the Peratic affirms that there came down, in the times of Herod, a certain man with a threefold nature, and a threefold body, and a threefold power, named Christ, and that He possesses from the three parts of the world in Himself all the concretions and capacities of the world. And they are disposed to think that this is what has been declared, "in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." And they assert that from the two worlds situated above--namely, both the unbegotten one and self-begotten one--there were borne down into this world in which we are, germs of all sorts of powers. And (they say) that Christ came down from above from uncreatedness, in order that, by His descent, all things that have been divided into three parts may be saved. For, says the Peratic, the things that have been borne down from above will ascend through Him; and the things that have plotted against those that have been borne down are heedlessly rejected, and sent away to be punished. And the Peratic states that there are two parts which are saved--that is, those that are situated above--by having been separated from corruption, and that the third is destroyed, which he calls a formal world. These also are the tenets of the Peratae.


But to the Sethians it seems that there exist three principles, which have been precisely defined. And each of the principles is fitted by nature for being able to be generated, as in a human soul every art whatsoever is developed which is capable of being learned. The result is the same as when a child, by being long conversant with a musical instrument, becomes a musician; or with geometry a geometrician, or with any other art, with a similar result. And the essences of the principles, the Sethians say, are light and darkness. And in the midst of these is pure spirit; and the spirit, they say, is that which is placed intermediate between darkness, which is below, and light, which is above. It is not spirit, as a current of wind or a certain gentle breeze which may be felt, but just as if some fragrance of ointment or incense made out of a refined mixture,--a power diffusing itself by some impulse of fragrance which is inconceivable and superior to what one can express. Since, therefore, the light is above and the darkness below, and the spirit is intermediate between these, the light, also, as a ray of sun, shines from above on the underlying darkness. And the fragrance of the spirit is wafted onwards, occupying an intermediate position, and proceeds forth, just as is diffused the odour of incense-offerings (laid) upon the fire. Now the power of the things divided threefold being of this description, the power simultaneously of the spirit and of the light is below, in the darkness that is situated beneath. The darkness, however, they say, is a horrible water, into which the light along with the spirit is absorbed, and thus translated into a nature of this description. The darkness being then endued with intelligence, and knowing that when the light has been removed from it the darkness continues desolate, devoid of radiance and splendour, power and efficiency, as well as impotent, (therefore,) by every effort of reflection and of reason, this makes an exertion to comprise in itself brilliancy, and a scintillation of light, along with the fragrance of the spirit. And of this they introduce the following image, expressing themselves thus: Just as the pupil of the eye appears dark beneath the underlying humours, but is illuminated by the spirit, so the darkness earnestly strives after the spirit, and has with itself all the powers which wish to retire and return. Now these are indefinitely infinite, from which, when commingled, all things are figured and generated like seals. For just as a seal, when brought into contact with wax, produces a figure, (and yet the seal) itself remains of itself what it was, so also the powers, by coming into communion (one with the other), form all the infinite kinds of animals. The Sethians assert that, therefore, from the primary concourse of the three principles was generated an image of the great seal, namely heaven and earth, having a form like a womb, possessing a navel in the midst. And so that the rest of the figures of all things were, like heaven and earth, fashioned similar to a womb.

And the Sethians say that from the water was produced a first-begotten principle, namely a vehement and boisterous wind, and that it is a cause of all generation, which creates a sort of heat and motion in the world from the motion of the waters. And they maintain that this wind is fashioned like the hissing of a serpent into a perfect image. And on this the world gazes and hurries into generation, being inflamed as a womb; and from thence they are disposed to think that the generation of the universe has arisen. And they say that this wind constitutes a spirit, and that a perfect God has arisen from the fragrance of the waters, and that of the spirit, and from the brilliant light. And they affirm that mind exists after the mode of generation from a female-- (meaning by mind) the supernal spark--and that, having been mingled beneath with the compounds of body, it earnestly desires to flee away, that escaping it may depart and not find dissolution on account of the deficiency in the waters. Wherefore it is in the habit of crying aloud from the mixture of the waters, according to the Psalmist, as they say, "For the entire anxiety of the light above is, that it may deliver the spark which is below from the Father beneath," that is, from wind. And the Father creates heat and disturbance, and produces for Himself a Son, namely mind, which, as they allege, is not the peculiar offspring of Himself. And these heretics affirm that the Son, on beholding the perfect Logos of the supernal light, underwent a transformation, and in the shape of a serpent entered into a womb, in order that he might be able to recover that Mind which is the scintillation from the light. And that this is what has been declared, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant." And the wretched and baneful Sethians are disposed to think that this constitutes the servile form alluded to by the Apostle. These, then, l are the assertions which likewise these Sethians advance.


But that very sapient fellow Simon makes his statement thus, that there is an indefinite power, and that this is the root of the universe. And this indefinite power, he says, which is fire, is in itself not anything which is simple, as the gross bulk of speculators maintain, when they assert that there are four incomposite elements, and have supposed fire, as one of these, to be uncompounded. Simon, on the other hand, alleges that the nature of fire is twofold; and one portion of this twofold (nature) he calls a something secret, and another (a something) manifest. And he asserts that the secret is concealed in the manifest parts of the fire, and that the manifest parts of the fire have been produced from the secret. And he says that all the parts of the fire, visible and invisible, have been supposed to be in possession of a capacity of perception. The world, therefore, he says, that is begotten, has been produced from the unbegotten fire. And it commenced, he says, to exist thus: The Unbegotten One took six primal roots of the principle of generation from the principle of that fire. For he maintains that these roots have been generated in pairs from the fire; and these he denominates Mind and Intelligence, Voice and Name, Ratiocination and Reflection. Anti he asserts that in the six roots, at the same time, resides the indefinite power, which he affirms to be Him that stood, stands, and will stand. And when this one has been formed into a figure, He will, according to this heretic, exist in the six powers substantially and potentially. And He will be in magnitude and perfection one and the same with that unbegotten and indefinite power, possessing no attribute in any respect more deficient than that unbegotten, and unalterable, and indefinite power. If, however, He who stood, stands, and will stand, continues to exist only potentially in the six powers, and has not assumed any definite figure, He becomes, says Simon, utterly evanescent, and perishes. And this takes place in the same manner as the grammatical or geometrical capacity, which, though it has been implanted in man's soul, suffers extinction when it does not obtain (the assistance of) a master of either of these arts, who would indoctrinate that soul into its principles.

Now Simon affirms that he himself is He who stood, stands, and will stand, and that He is a power that is above all things. So far, then, for the opinions of Simon likewise.


Valentinus, however, and the adherents of this school, though they agree in asserting that the originating principle of the universe is the Father, still they are impelled into the adoption of a contrary opinion respecting Him. For some of them maintain that (the Father) is solitary and generative; whereas others hold the impossibility, (in His as in other cases,) of procreation without a female. They therefore add Sige as the spouse of this Father, and style the Father Himself Bythus. From this Father and His spouse some allege that there have been six projections,--viz., Nous and Aletheia, Logos and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia,--and that this constitutes the procreative Ogdoad. And the Valentinians maintain that those are the first projections which have taken place within the limit, and have been again denominated "those within the Pleroma;" and the second are "those without the Pleroma"; and the third, "those without the Limit." Now the generation of these constitutes the Hysterema Acamoth. And he asserts that what has been generated from an AEon, that exists in the Hysterema and has been projected (beyond the Limit), is the Creator. But Valentinus is not disposed to affirm what is thus generated to be primal Deity, but speaks in detractive terms both of Him and the things made by Him. And (he asserts) that Christ came down from within the Pleroma for the salvation of the spirit who had erred. This spirit, (according to the Valentinians,) resides in our inner man; and they say that this inner man obtains salvation on account of this indwelling spirit. Valentinus, however, (to uphold the doctrine,) determines that the flesh is not saved, and styles it "a leathern tunic," and the perishable portion of man. I have (already) declared these tenets in the way of an epitome, inasmuch as in their systems there exists enlarged matter for discussion, and a variety of opinions. In this manner, then, it seems proper also to the school of Valentinus to propound their opinions.


But Basilides also himself affirms that there is a non-existent God, who, being non-existent, has made the non-existent world, that has been formed out of things that are not, by casting down a certain seed, as it were a grain of mustard-seed, having in itself stem, leaves, branches, and fruit. Or this seed is as a peacock's egg, comprising in itself the varied multitude of colours. And this, say the Basilidians, constitutes the seed of the world, from which all things have been produced. For they maintain that it comprises in itself all things, as it were those that as yet are non-existent, and which it has been predetermined to be brought into existence by the non-existent Deity. There was, then, he says, in the seed itself a threefold Sonship, in all respects of the same substance with the nonexistent God, which has been begotten from things that are not. And of this Sonship, divided into three parts, one portion of it was refined, and another gross, and another requiring purification. The refined portion, when first the earliest putting down of the seed was accomplished by the non-existent God, immediately burst forth, and ascended upwards, and proceeded towards the non-existent Deity. For every nature yearns after that God on account of the excess of His beauty, but different (creatures desire Him) from different causes. The more gross portion, however, still continues in the seed; and inasmuch as it is a certain imitative nature, it was not able to soar upwards, for it was more gross than the subtle part. The mare gross portion, however, equipped itself with the Holy Spirit, as it were with wings; for the Sonship, thus arrayed, shows kindness to this Spirit, and in turn receives kindness. The third Sonship, however, requires purification, and therefore this continued in the conglomeration of all germs, and this displays and receives kindness. And (Basilides asserts) that there is something which is called "world," and something else (which is called) supra-mundane; for entities are distributed by him into two primary divisions. And what is intermediate between these he calls "Conterminous Holy Spirit," and (this Spirit) has in itself the fragrance of the Sonship.

From the conglomeration of all germs of the cosmical seed burnt forth and was begotten the Great Archon, the head of the world, an AEon of inexpressible beauty and size. This (Archon) having raised Himself as far as the firmament, supposed that there was not another above Himself. And accordingly He became more brilliant and powerful than all the underlying AEons, with the exception of the Sonship that had been left beneath, but which He was not aware was more wise than Himself. This one having His attention turned to the creation of the world, first begat a son unto Himself, superior to Himself; and this son He caused to sit on His own right hand, and this these Basilidians allege is the Ogdoad. The Great Archon Himself, then, produces the entire celestial creation. And other Archon ascended from (the conglomeration of) all the germs, who was greater than all the underlying AEon, except the Sonship that had been left behind, yet far inferior to the former one. And they style this second Archon a Hebdomad. He is Maker, and Creator, and Controller of all things that are beneath Him, and this Archon produced for Himself a Son more prudent and wiser than Himself. Now they assert that all these things exist according to the predetermination of that non-existent God, and that there exist also worlds and intervals that are infinite. And the Basilidians affirm that upon Jesus, who was born of Mary, came the power of the Gospel, which descended and illuminated the Son both of the Ogdoad and of the Hebdomad. And this tank place for the purpose of enlightening and distinguishing from the different orders of beings, and purifying the Sonship that had been left behind for conferring benefits on souls, and the receiving benefits in turn. And they say that themselves are sons, who are in the world for this cause, that by teaching they may purify souls, and along with the Sonship may ascend to the Father above, from whom proceeded the first Sonship. And they allege that the world endures until the period when all souls may have repaired thither along with the Sonship. These, however, are the opinions which Basilides, who detailed them as prodigies, is not ashamed to advance.


But Justinus also himself attempted to establish similar opinions with these, and expresses himself thus: That there are three unbegotten principles of the universe, two males and one female. And of the males one principle is denominated "Goody Now this alone is called after this mode, and is endued with a foreknowledge of the universe. And the other is Father of all generated entities, and is devoid of foreknowledge, and unknown, and invisible, and is called Elohim. The female principle is devoid of foreknowledge, passionate, with two minds, and with two booties, as we have minutely detailed in the previous discourses concerning this heretic's system. This female principle, in her upper parts, as far as the groin, is, the Justinians say, a virgin, whereas from the groin downwards a snake. And such is denominated Edem and Israel. This heretic alleges that these are the principles of the universe, from which all things have been produced. And he asserts that Elohim, without foreknowledge, passed into inordinate desire for the half virgin, and that having had intercourse with her, he begot twelve angels; and the names of these he states to be those already given. And of these the paternal ones are connected with the father, and the maternal with the mother. And Justinus maintains that these are (the trees of Paradise), concerning which Moses has spoken in an allegorical sense the things written in the law. And Justinus u affirms that all things were made by Elohim and Edem. And (he says) that animals, with a the rest of the creatures of this kind, are from the a part resembling a beast, whereas man from the parts above the groin. And Edem (is supposed by Justinus) to have deposited in man himself the soul, which was her own power, (but Elohim the spirit.) And Justinus alleges that this Elohim, after having learned his origin, ascended to the Good Being, and deserted Edem. And this heretic asserts that Edem, enraged on account of such (treatment), concocted all this plot against the spirit of Elohim which he deposited in man. And (Justinus informs us) that for this reason the Father sent Baruch, and issued directions to the prophets, in order that the spirit of Elohim might be delivered, and that all might be seduced away from Edem. But (this heretic) alleges that even Hercules was a prophet, and that he was worsted by Omphale, that is, by Babel; and the Justinians call the latter Venus. And (they say) that afterwards, in the days of Herod, Jesus was born son of Mary and Joseph, to whom he alleges Baruch had spoken. And (Justinus asserts) that Edem plotted against this (Jesus), but could not deceive him; and for this reason, that she caused him to be crucified. And the spirit of Jesus, (says Justinus,) ascended to the Good Being. And (the Justinians maintain) that the spirits of all who thus obey those silly and futile discourses will be saved, and that the body and soul of Edem have been left behind. But the foolish Justinus calls this (Edem) Earth.


Now the Docetae advance assertions of this description: that the primal Deity is as a seed of the fig-tree; and that from this proceeded three AEons as the stem, and the leaves and the fruit; and that these projected thirty AEons, each (of them) ten; and that they were all united in decades, but differed only in positions, as some were before others. And (the Docetae assert) that infinite AEons were indefinitely projected, and that all these were hermaphrodites. And (they say) that these AEons formed a design of simultaneously going together into one AEon, and that from this the intermediate AEon and from the Virgin Mary they begot a Saviour of all. And this Redeemer was like in every respect to the first seed of the fig-tree, but inferior in this respect, from the fact of His having been begotten; for the seed whence the fig-tree springs is unbegotten. This, then, was the great light of the AEons--it was entirely radiance--which receives no adornment, and comprises in itself the forms of all animals. And the Docetae maintain that this light, on proceeding into the underlying chaos, afforded a cause (of existence ) to the things that were produced, and those actually existing, and that on coming down from above it impressed on chaos beneath the forms of everlasting species. For the third AEon, which had tripled itself, when he perceives that all his characteristic attributes were forcibly drawn off into the nether darkness, and not being ignorant both of the terror of darkness and the simplicity of light, proceeded to create heaven; and after having rendered firm what intervened, He separated the darkness from the light. As all the species of the third AEon were, he says, overcome by the darkness, the figure even of this AEon became a living fire, having been generated by light. And from this (source), they allege, was generated the Great Archon, regarding whom Moses converses, saying that He is a fiery Deity and Demiurge, who also