Jesus Christ is the only Way and Truth and Life - No one comes to the Father except by Him.

For as it was not possible that the man who had once for all been conquered, and who had been destroyed through disobedience, could reform himself, and obtain the prize of victory; and as it was also impossible that he could attain to salvation who had fallen under the power of sin,-the Son effected both these things, being the Word of God, descending from the Father, becoming incarnate, stooping low, even to death, and consummating the arranged plan of our salvation, upon whom [Paul], exhorting us unhesitatingly to believe, again says, "Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring down Christ; or who shall descend into the deep? that is, to liberate Christ again from the dead." Then he continues, "If thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved." And he renders the reason why the Son of God did these things, saying, "For to this end Christ both lived, and died, and revived, that He might rule over the living and the dead." And again, writing to the Corinthians, he declares, "But we preach Christ Jesus crucified; "and adds, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? " - St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter XVIII, Section 2.

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Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies - Part 1 | Books I and II


Introductory Note to Irenaeus Against Heresies

[a.d. 120-202.] This history introduces us to the Church in her Western
outposts. We reach the banks of the Rhone, where for nearly a century
Christian missions have flourished. Between Marseilles and Smyrna there
seems to have been a brisk trade, and Polycarp had sent Pothinus into
Celtic Gaul at an early date as its evangelist. He had fixed his see at
Lyons, when Irenaeus joined him as a presbyter, having been his
fellow-pupil under Polycarp. There, under the “good Aurelius,” as he is
miscalled (a.d. 177), arose the terrible persecution which made “the
martyrs of Lyons and Vienne” so memorable. It was during this
persecution that Irenaeus was sent to Rome with letters of remonstrance
against the rising pestilence of heresy; and he was probably the author
of the account of the sufferings of the martyrs which is appended to
their testimony. [2649] But he had the mortification of finding the
Montanist heresy patronized by Eleutherus the Bishop of Rome; and there
he met an old friend from the school of Polycarp, who had embraced the
Valentinian heresy. We cannot doubt that to this visit we owe the
lifelong struggle of Irenaeus against the heresies that now came in,
like locusts, to devour the harvests of the Gospel. But let it be noted
here, that, so far from being “the mother and mistress” of even the Western Churches, Rome herself is a mission of the Greeks; [2650]
Southern Gaul is evangelized from Asia Minor, and Lyons checks the
heretical tendencies of the Bishop at Rome. Ante-Nicene Christianity,
and indeed the Church herself, appears in Greek costume which lasts
through the synodical period; and Latin Christianity, when it begins to
appear, is African, and not Roman. It is strange that those who have recorded this great historical fact have so little perceived its bearings upon Roman pretensions in the Middle Ages and modern times.
Returning to Lyons, our author found that the venerable Pothinus had
closed his holy career by a martyr’s death; and naturally Irenaeus
became his successor. When the emissaries of heresy followed him, and
began to disseminate their licentious practices and foolish doctrines
by the aid of “silly women,” the great work of his life began. He
condescended to study these diseases of the human mind like a wise
physician; and, sickening as was the process of classifying and
describing them, he made this also his laborious task, that he might
enable others to withstand and to overcome them. The works he has left
us are monuments of his fidelity to Christ, and to the charges of St.
Paul, St. Peter, and St. Jude, whose solemn warnings now proved to be
prophecies. No marvel that the great apostle, “night and day with
tears,” had forewarned the churches of “the grievous wolves” which were
to make havoc of the fold.
If it shocks the young student of the virgin years of Christianity to
find such a state of things, let him reflect that it was all foretold
by Christ himself, and demonstrates the malice and power of the
adversary. “An enemy hath done this,” said the Master. The spirit that
was then working “in the children of disobedience,” now manifested
itself. The awful visions of the Apocalypse began to be realized. It
was now evident in what sense “the Prince of peace” had pronounced His
mission, “not peace, but a sword.” In short, it became a conspicuous
fact, that the Church here on earth is “militant;” while, at the same
time, there was seen to be a profound philosophy in the apostolic
comment, [2651] “There must be also heresies among you, that they which
are approved may be made manifest.” In the divine economy of Providence
it was permitted that every form of heresy which was ever to infest the
Church should now exhibit its essential principle, and attract the
censures of the faithful. Thus testimony to primitive truth was secured
and recorded: the language of catholic orthodoxy was developed and
defined, and landmarks of faith were set up for perpetual memorial to
all generations. It is a striking example of this divine economy, that
the see of Rome was allowed to exhibit its fallibility very
conspicuously at this time, and not only to receive the rebukes of
Irenaeus, but to accept them as wholesome and necessary; so that the
heresy of Eleutherus, and the spirit of Diotrephes in Victor, have
enabled reformers ever since, and even in the darkest days of
pontifical despotism, to testify against the manifold errors patronized
by Rome. Hilary and other Gallicans have been strengthened by the example of Irenaeus, and by his faithful words of reproof and exhortation, to resist Rome, even down to our own times.
That the intolerable absurdities of Gnosticism should have gained so
many disciples, and proved itself an adversary to be grappled with and
not despised, throws light on the condition of the human mind under
heathenism, even when it professed “knowledge” and “philosophy.” The
task of Irenaeus was twofold: (1) to render it impossible for any one
to confound Gnosticism with Christianity, and (2) to make it impossible
for such a monstrous system to survive, or ever to rise again. His task
was a nauseous one; but never was the spirit enjoined by Scripture more
patiently exhibited, nor with more entire success. [2652] If Julian had
found Gnosticism just made to his hand, and powerful enough to suit his
purposes, the whole history of his attempt to revive Paganism would
have been widely different. Irenaeus demonstrated its essential unity
with the old mythology, and with heathen systems of philosophy. If the
fog and malaria that rose with the Day-star, and obscured it, were speedily dispersed, our author is largely to be identified with the radiance which flowed from the Sun of righteousness, and with the breath of the Spirit that banished them for ever.
The Episcopate of Irenaeus was distinguished by labours, “in season and
out of season,” for the evangelization of Southern Gaul; and he seems
to have sent missionaries into other regions of what we now call
France. In spite of Paganism and heresy, he rendered Lyons a Christian
city; and Marcus seems to have retreated before his terrible
castigation, taking himself off to regions beyond the Pyrenees. [2653]
But the pacific name he bears, was rendered yet more illustrious by his
interposition to compose the Easter Controversy, then threatening to
impair, if not to destroy, the unity of the Church. The beautiful
concordat between East and West, in which Polycarp and Anicetus had
left the question, was now disturbed by Victor, Bishop of Rome, whose
turbulent spirit would not accept the compromise of his predecessor.
Irenaeus remonstrates with him in a catholic spirit, and overrules his
impetuous temper. At the Council of Nice, the rule for the observance
of Easter was finally settled by the whole Church; and the forbearing
example of Irenaeus, no doubt contributed greatly to this happy result.The blessed peacemaker survived this great triumph, for a short time only, closing his life, like a true shepherd, with thousands of his flock, in the massacre (a.d. 202) stimulated by the wolfish Emperor Severus.
The Introductory Notice of the learned translators [2654] is as follows:--
The work of Irenaeus Against Heresies is one of the most precious
remains of early Christian antiquity. It is devoted, on the one hand,
to an account and refutation of those multiform Gnostic heresies which
prevailed in the latter half of the second century; and, on the other
hand, to an exposition and defence of the Catholic faith.
In the prosecution of this plan, the author divides his work into five
books. The first of these contains a minute description of the tenets
of the various heretical sects, with occasional brief remarks in
illustration of their absurdity, and in confirmation of the truth to
which they were opposed. In his second book, Irenaeus proceeds to a
more complete demolition of those heresies which he has already
explained, and argues at great length against them, on grounds
principally of reason. The three remaining books set forth more
directly the true doctrines of revelation, as being in utter antagonism
to the views held by the Gnostic teachers. In the course of this
argument, many passages of Scripture are quoted and commented on; many
interesting statements are made, bearing on the rule of faith; and much
important light is shed on the doctrines, held, as well as the practices observed, by the Church of the second century.
It may be made matter of regret, that so large a portion of the work of
Irenaeus is given to an exposition of the manifold Gnostic
speculations. Nothing more absurd than these has probably ever been
imagined by rational beings. Some ingenious and learned men have indeed
endeavoured to reconcile the wild theories of these heretics with the
principles of reason; but, as Bishop Kaye remarks (Eccl. Hist. of the
Second and Third Centuries, p. 524), “a more arduous or unpromising
undertaking cannot well be conceived.” The fundamental object of the
Gnostic speculations was doubtless to solve the two grand problems of
all religious philosophy, viz., How to account for the existence of
evil; and, How to reconcile the finite with the infinite. But these
ancient theorists were not more successful in grappling with such
questions than have been their successors in modern times. And by
giving loose reins to their imagination, they built up the most
incongruous and ridiculous systems; while, by deserting the guidance of
Scripture they were betrayed into the most pernicious and extravagant
Accordingly, the patience of the reader is sorely tried, in following
our author through those mazes of absurdity which he treads, in
explaining and refuting these Gnostic speculations. This is especially
felt in the perusal of the first two books, which, as has been said,
are principally devoted to an exposition and subversion of the various
heretical systems. But the vagaries of the human mind, however
melancholy in themselves, are never altogether destitute of
instruction. And in dealing with those set before us in this work, we
have not only the satisfaction of becoming acquainted with the currents
of thought prevalent in these early times, but we obtain much valuable
information regarding the primitive Church, which, had it not been for
these heretical schemes, might never have reached our day.
Not a little of what is contained in the following pages will seem
almost unintelligible to the English reader. And it is scarcely more
comprehensible to those who have pondered long on the original. We have
inserted brief notes of explanation where these seemed specially
necessary. But we have not thought it worth while to devote a great
deal of space to the elucidation of those obscure Gnostic views which,
in so many varying forms, are set forth in this work. For the same
reason, we give here no account of the origin, history, and successive
phases of Gnosticism. Those who wish to know the views of the learned
on these points, may consult the writings of Neander, Baur, and others,
among the Germans, or the lectures of Dr. Burton in English; while a
succinct description of the whole matter will be found in the
“Preliminary Observations on the Gnostic System,” prefixed to Harvey’s
edition of Irenaeus.
The great work of Irenaeus, now for the first time translated into
English, is unfortunately no longer extant in the original. It has come
down to us only in an ancient Latin version, with the exception of the
greater part of the first book, which has been preserved in the
original Greek, through means of copious quotations made by Hippolytus
and Epiphanius. The text, both Latin and Greek, is often most
uncertain. Only three mss. of the work Against Heresies are at present
known to exist. Others, however, were used in the earliest printed
editions put forth by Erasmus. And as these codices were more ancient
than any now available, it is greatly to be regretted that they have
disappeared or perished. One of our difficulties throughout, has been
to fix the readings we should adopt, especially in the first book.
Varieties of reading, actual or conjectural, have been noted only when
some point of special importance seemed to be involved.
After the text has been settled, according to the best judgment which
can be formed, the work of translation remains; and that is, in this
case, a matter of no small difficulty. Irenaeus, even in the original
Greek, is often a very obscure writer. At times he expresses himself
with remarkable clearness and terseness; but, upon the whole, his style
is very involved and prolix. And the Latin version adds to these
difficulties of the original, by being itself of the most barbarous
character. In fact, it is often necessary to make a conjectural
re-translation of it into Greek, in order to obtain some inkling of
what the author wrote. Dodwell supposes this Latin version to have been
made about the end of the fourth century; but as Tertullian seems to have used it, we must rather place it in the beginning of the third.
Its author is unknown, but he was certainly little qualified for his
task. We have endeavoured to give as close and accurate a translation
of the work as possible, but there are not a few passages in which a guess can only be made as to the probable meaning.
Irenaeus had manifestly taken great pains to make himself acquainted
with the various heretical systems which he describes. His mode of
exposing and refuting these is generally very effective. It is plain
that he possessed a good share of learning, and that he had a firm
grasp of the doctrines of Scripture. Not unfrequently he indulges in a
kind of sarcastic humour, while inveighing against the folly and
impiety of the heretics. But at times he gives expression to very
strange opinions. He is, for example, quite peculiar in imagining that
our Lord lived to be an old man, and that His public ministry embraced
at least ten years. But though, on these and some other points, the
judgment of Irenaeus is clearly at fault, his work contains a vast deal
of sound and valuable exposition of Scripture, in opposition to the fanciful systems of interpretation which prevailed in his day.
We possess only very scanty accounts of the personal history of
Irenaeus. It has been generally supposed that he was a native of
Smyrna, or some neighbouring city, in Asia Minor. Harvey, however,
thinks that he was probably born in Syria, and removed in boyhood to
Smyrna. He himself tells us (iii. 3, 4) that he was in early youth
acquainted with Polycarp, the illustrious bishop of that city. A sort
of clue is thus furnished as to the date of his birth. Dodwell supposes
that he was born so early as a.d. 97, but this is clearly a mistake; and the general date assigned to his birth is somewhere between a.d. 120 and a.d. 140.
It is certain that Irenaeus was bishop of Lyons, in France, during the
latter quarter of the second century. The exact period or circumstances
of his ordination cannot be determined. Eusebius states (Hist. Eccl.,
v. 4) that he was, while yet a presbyter, sent with a letter, from
certain members of the Church of Lyons awaiting martyrdom, to
Eleutherus, bishop of Rome; and that (v. 5) he succeeded Pothinus as
bishop of Lyons, probably about a.d. 177. His great work Against
Heresies was, we learn, written during the episcopate of Eleutherus,
that is, between a.d. 182 and a.d. 188, for Victor succeeded to the
bishopric of Rome in a.d. 189. This new bishop of Rome took very harsh
measures for enforcing uniformity throughout the Church as to the
observance of the paschal solemnities. On account of the severity thus
evinced, Irenaeus addressed to him a letter (only a fragment of which
remains), warning him that if he persisted in the course on which he
had entered, the effect would be to rend the Catholic Church in pieces.This letter had the desired result; and the question was more temperately debated, until finally settled by the Council of Nice.
The full title of the principal work of Irenaeus, as given by Eusebius
(Hist. Eccl., v. 7), and indicated frequently by the author himself,
was A Refutation and Subversion of Knowledge falsely so called, but it
is generally referred to under the shorter title, Against Heresies.
Several other smaller treatises are ascribed to Irenaeus; viz., An
Epistle to Florinus, of which a small fragment has been preserved by
Eusebius; a treatise On the Valentinian Ogdoad; a work called forth by
the paschal controversy, entitled On Schism, and another On Science;
all of which that remain will be found in our next volume of his
writings. Irenaeus is supposed to have died about a.d. 202; but there
is probably no real ground for the statement of Jerome, repeated by
subsequent writers, that he suffered martyrdom, since neither
Tertullian nor Eusebius, nor other early authorities, make any mention
of such a fact.
As has been already stated, the first printed copy of our author was
given to the world by Erasmus. This was in the year 1526. Between that
date and 1571, a number of reprints were produced in both folio and
octavo. All these contained merely the ancient barbarous Latin version,
and were deficient towards the end by five entire chapters. These
latter were supplied by the edition of Feuardent, Professor of Divinity
at Paris, which was published in 1575, and went through six subsequent
editions. Previously to this, however, another had been set forth by
Gallasius, a minister of Geneva, which contained the first portions of
the Greek text from Epiphanius. Then, in 1702, came the edition of
Grabe, a learned Prussian, who had settled in England. It was published
at Oxford, and contained considerable additions to the Greek text, with
fragments. Ten years after this there appeared the important Paris
edition by the Benedictine monk Massuet. This was reprinted at Venice
in the year 1724, in two thin folio volumes, and again at Paris in a
large octavo, by the Abbe Migne, in 1857. A German edition was
published by Stieren in 1853. In the year 1857 there was also brought
out a Cambridge edition, by the Rev. Wigan Harvey, in two octavo
volumes. The two principal features of this edition are: the additions
which have been made to the Greek text from the recently discovered
Philosophoumena of Hippolytus; and the further addition of thirty-two
fragments of a Syriac version of the Greek text of Irenaeus, culled
from the Nitrian collection of Syriac mss. in the British Museum. These
fragments are of considerable interest, and in some instances rectify
the readings of the barbarous Latin version, where, without such aid,
it would have been unintelligible. The edition of Harvey will be found
constantly referred to in the notes appended to our translation.

[2649] Eusebius, book v. to the twenty-seventh chapter, should be read
as an introduction to this author.
[2650] Milman, Hist. Latin Christianity, b. i. pp. 27, 28, and the notes.
[2651] 1 Cor. xi. 19.
[2652] 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25, 26.
[2653] On the authority of St. Jerome. See Guettee, De l’eglise de France, vol. 1. p. 27.
[2654] The first two books of Irenaeus Against Heresies have been
translated by Dr. Roberts. The groundwork of the translation of the
third book, and that portion of the fourth book which is continued in
this volume, has been furnished by the Rev. W. H. Rambaut. An attempt
has been made, in rendering this important author into English, to
adhere as closely as possible to the original. It would have been far
easier to give a loose and flowing translation of the obscure and
involved sentences of Irenaeus; but the object has been studiously kept
in view, to place the English reader, as much as possible, in the position of one who has immediate access to the Greek or Latin text.

Against Heresies: Book I

1. Inasmuch [2655] as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring
in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says, [2656]
“minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith,” and
by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the
minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt
constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order
to expose and counteract their machinations.] These men falsify the
oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word
of revelation. They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them
away, under a pretence of [superior] knowledge, from Him who founded
and adorned the universe; as if, forsooth, they had something more
excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven
and the earth, and all things that are therein. By means of specious
and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire
into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while
they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions
respecting the Demiurge; [2657] and these simple ones are unable, even
in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.
2. Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest,
being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily
decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make
it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem)
more true than the truth itself. One [2658] far superior to me has well
said, in reference to this point, “A clever imitation in glass casts
contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most
highly esteemed by some), unless it come under the eye of one able to
test and expose the counterfeit. Or, again, what inexperienced person
can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up
with silver?” Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be
carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the
true character of these men,--because they outwardly are covered with
sheep’s clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined [2659] us to be on
our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their
sentiments are very different,--I have deemed it my duty (after reading
some of the Commentaries, as they call them, of the disciples of
Valentinus, and after making myself acquainted with their tenets
through personal intercourse with some of them) to unfold to thee, my
friend, these portentous and profound mysteries, which do not fall
within the range of every intellect, because all have not sufficiently
purged [2660] their brains. I do this, in order that thou, obtaining an
acquaintance with these things, mayest in turn explain them to all
those with whom thou art connected, and exhort them to avoid such an
abyss of madness and of blasphemy against Christ. I intend, then, to
the best of my ability, with brevity and clearness to set forth the
opinions of those who are now promulgating heresy. I refer especially
to the disciples of Ptolemaeus, whose school may be described as a bud
from that of Valentinus. I shall also endeavour, according to my
moderate ability, to furnish the means of overthrowing them, by showing
how absurd and inconsistent with the truth are their statements. Not
that I am practised either in composition or eloquence; but my feeling
of affection prompts me to make known to thee and all thy companions
those doctrines which have been kept in concealment until now, but
which are at last, through the goodness of God, brought to light. “For
there is nothing hidden which shall not be revealed, nor secret that shall not be made known.” [2661]
3. Thou wilt not expect from me, who am resident among the Keltae,
[2662] and am accustomed for the most part to use a barbarous dialect,
any display of rhetoric, which I have never learned, or any excellence
of composition, which I have never practised, or any beauty and
persuasiveness of style, to which I make no pretensions. But thou wilt
accept in a kindly spirit what I in a like spirit write to thee simply,
truthfully, and in my own homely way; whilst thou thyself (as being
more capable than I am) wilt expand those ideas of which I send thee,
as it were, only the seminal principles; and in the comprehensiveness
of thy understanding, wilt develop to their full extent the points on
which I briefly touch, so as to set with power before thy companions
those things which I have uttered in weakness. In fine, as I (to
gratify thy long-cherished desire for information regarding the tenets
of these persons) have spared no pains, not only to make these
doctrines known to thee, but also to furnish the means of showing their
falsity; so shalt thou, according to the grace given to thee by the
Lord, prove an earnest and efficient minister to others, that men may
no longer be drawn away by the plausible system of these heretics, which I now proceed to describe. [2663]

[2655] The Greek original of the work of Irenaeus is from time to time
recovered through the numerous quotations made from it by subsequent
writers, especially by the author’s pupil Hippolytus, and by
Epiphanius. The latter preserves (Haer. xxxi. secs. 9-32) the preface
of Irenaeus, and most of the first book. An important difference of
reading occurs between the Latin and Greek in the very first word. The
translator manifestly read epei, quatenus, while in Epiphanius we find
epi, against. The former is probably correct, and has been followed in
our version. We have also supplied a clause, in order to avoid the
extreme length of the sentence in the original, which runs on without
any apodosis to the words anankaion hegesamen, “I have judged it necessary.”
[2656] 1 Tim. i. 4. The Latin has here genealogias infinitas, “endless
genealogies,” as in textus receptus of New Testament.
[2657] As will be seen by and by, this fancied being was, in the Valentinian system, the creator of the material universe, but far inferior to the supreme ruler Bythus.
[2658] There are frequent references to Irenaeus to some venerable men
who had preceded him in the Church. It is supposed that Pothinus, whom
he succeeded at Lyons, is generally meant; but the reference may
sometimes be to Polycarp, with whom in early life he had been
acquainted. [On this matter of quotations from anonymous authors of the
apostolic times, not infrequently made by Irenaeus, consult the important tractate of Dr. Routh, in his Reliquiae Sacrae, vol. i. 45-68.]
[2659] Comp. Matt. vii. 15.
[2660] The original is enkephalon exeptukasin, which the Latin
translator renders simply, “have not sufficient brains.” He probably
followed a somewhat different reading. Various emendations have been
proposed, but the author may be understood by the ordinary text to be
referring ironically to the boasted subtlety and sublimity of the Gnostics.
[2661] Matt. x. 26.
[2662] As Caesar informs us (Comm., i. 1), Gaul was divided into three
parts, one of which was called Celtic Gaul, lying between the Seine and
the Garonne. Of this division Lyons is the principal city.
[2663] [The reader will find a logical and easy introduction to the
crabbed details which follow, by turning to chap. xxiii., and reading
through succeeding chapters down to chap. xxix.]

Chapter I.—Absurd ideas of the disciples of Valentinus as to the origin,
name, order, and conjugal productions of their fancied AEons, with the
passages of Scripture which they adapt to their opinions.
1. They maintain, then, that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent AEon, [2664] whom they call Proarche, Propator, and Bythus, and describe as being invisible and incomprehensible. Eternal and unbegotten, he remained throughout innumerable cycles of ages in profound serenity and quiescence. There existed along with him Ennoea, whom they also call Charis and Sige. [2665] At last this Bythus determined to send forth
from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production
(which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige, even
as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed,
and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous, who was both similar and
equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of
comprehending his father’s greatness. This Nous they call also
Monogenes, and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him
was also produced Aletheia; and these four constituted the first and
first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root
of all things. For there are first Bythus and Sige, and then Nous and
Aletheia. And Monogenes, perceiving for what purpose he had been
produced, also himself sent forth Logos and Zoe, being the father of
all those who were to come after him, and the beginning and fashioning
of the entire Pleroma. By the conjunction of Logos and Zoe were brought
forth Anthropos and Ecclesia; and thus was formed the first-begotten
Ogdoad, the root and substance of all things, called among them by four
names, viz., Bythus, and Nous, and Logos, and Anthropos. For each of these is masculo-feminine, as follows: Propator was united by a conjunction with his Ennoea; then Monogenes, that is Nous, with Aletheia; Logos with Zoe, and Anthropos with Ecclesia.
2. These AEons having been produced for the glory of the Father, and wishing, by their own efforts, to effect this object, sent forth emanations by means of conjunction. Logos and Zoe, after producing
Anthropos and Ecclesia, sent forth other ten AEons, whose names are the
following: Bythius and Mixis, Ageratos and Henosis, Autophyes and
Hedone, Acinetos and Syncrasis, Monogenes and Macaria. [2666] These are
the ten AEons whom they declare to have been produced by Logos and Zoe.They then add that Anthropos himself, along with Ecclesia, produced twelve AEons, to whom they give the following names: Paracletus and Pistis, Patricos and Elpis, Metricos and Agape, Ainos and Synesis, Ecclesiasticus and Macariotes, Theletos and Sophia.
3. Such are the thirty AEons in the erroneous system of these men; and
they are described as being wrapped up, so to speak, in silence, and
known to none [except these professing teachers]. Moreover, they
declare that this invisible and spiritual Pleroma of theirs is
tripartite, being divided into an Ogdoad, a Decad, and a Duodecad. And
for this reason they affirm it was that the “Saviour”—for they do not
please to call Him “Lord”—did no work in public during the space of thirty years, [2667] thus setting forth the mystery of these AEons.
They maintain also, that these thirty AEons are most plainly indicated
in the parable [2668] of the labourers sent into the vineyard. For some
are sent about the first hour, others about the third hour, others
about the sixth hour, others about the ninth hour, and others about the
eleventh hour. Now, if we add up the numbers of the hours here
mentioned, the sum total will be thirty: for one, three, six, nine, and
eleven, when added together, form thirty. And by the hours, they hold
that the AEons were pointed out; while they maintain that these are
great, and wonderful, and hitherto unspeakable mysteries which it is
their special function to develop; and so they proceed when they find
anything in the multitude [2669] of things contained in the Scriptures
which they can adopt and accommodate to their baseless speculations.

[2664] This term AEon (Aion) seems to have been formed from the words
aei on, ever-existing. “We may take aion, therefore,” says Harvey
(Irenaeus, cxix.), “in the Valentinian acceptation of the word, to mean
an emanation from the divine substance, subsisting co-ordinately and co-eternally with the Deity, the Pleroma still remaining one.”
[2665] Sige, however, was no true consort of Bythus, who included in
himself the idea of male and female, and was the one cause of all
things: comp. Hippolytus, Philosop., vi. 29. There seems to have been
considerable disagreement among these heretics as to the completion of
the mystical number thirty. Valentinus himself appears to have
considered Bythus as a monad, and Sige as a mere nonentity. The two
latest AEons, Christ and the Holy Spirit, would then complete the
number thirty. But other Gnostic teachers included both Bythus and Sige
in that mystical number.
[2666] It may be well to give here the English equivalents of the names
of these AEons and their authors. They are as follows: Bythus,
Profundity; Proarche, First-Beginning; Propator, First-Father; Ennoea,
Idea; Charis, Grace; Sige, Silence; Nous, Intelligence; Aletheia, Truth; Logos, Word; Zoe, Life; Anthropos, Man; Ecclesia, Church;
Bythius, Deep; Mixis, Mingling; Ageratos, Undecaying; Henosis, Union;
Autophyes, Self-existent; Hedone, Pleasure; Acinetos, Immoveable;
Syncrasis, Blending; Monogenes, Only-Begotten; Macaria, Happiness;
Paracletus, Advocate; Pistis, Faith; Patricos, Ancestral; Elpis, Hope;
Metricos, Metrical; Agape, Love; Ainos, Praise; Synesis, Understanding;
Ecclesiasticus, Ecclesiastical; Macariotes, Felicity; Theletos, Desiderated; Sophia, Wisdom.
[2667] Luke iii. 23.
[2668] Matt. xx. 1-16.
[2669] Some omit en plethei, while others render the words “a definite
number,” thus: “And if there is anything else in Scripture which is referred to by a definite number.”

Chapter II.—The Propator was known to Monogenes alone. Ambition, disturbance,
and danger into which Sophia fell; her shapeless offspring: she is restored by
Horos. The production of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, in order to the
completion of the AEons. Manner of the production of Jesus.
1. They proceed to tell us that the Propator of their scheme was known
only to Monogenes, who sprang from him; in other words, only to Nous,
while to all the others he was invisible and incomprehensible. And,
according to them, Nous alone took pleasure in contemplating the
Father, and exulting in considering his immeasurable greatness; while
he also meditated how he might communicate to the rest of the AEons the
greatness of the Father, revealing to them how vast and mighty he was,
and how he was without beginning,--beyond comprehension, and altogether
incapable of being seen. But, in accordance with the will of the
Father, Sige restrained him, because it was his design to lead them all
to an acquaintance with the aforesaid Propator, and to create within
them a desire of investigating his nature. In like manner, the rest of
the AEons also, in a kind of quiet way, had a wish to behold the Author
of their being, and to contemplate that First Cause which had no beginning.
2. But there rushed forth in advance of the rest that AEon who was much
the latest of them, and was the youngest of the Duodecad which sprang
from Anthropos and Ecclesia, namely Sophia, and suffered passion apart
from the embrace of her consort Theletos. This passion, indeed, first
arose among those who were connected with Nous and Aletheia, but passed
as by contagion to this degenerate AEon, who acted under a pretence of
love, but was in reality influenced by temerity, because she had not,
like Nous, enjoyed communion with the perfect Father. This passion,
they say, consisted in a desire to search into the nature of the
Father; for she wished, according to them, to comprehend his greatness.
When she could not attain her end, inasmuch as she aimed at an
impossibility, and thus became involved in an extreme agony of mind,
while both on account of the vast profundity as well as the
unsearchable nature of the Father, and on account of the love she bore
him, she was ever stretching herself forward, there was danger lest she
should at last have been absorbed by his sweetness, and resolved into
his absolute essence, unless she had met with that Power which supports
all things, and preserves them outside of the unspeakable greatness.
This power they term Horos; by whom, they say, she was restrained and
supported; and that then, having with difficulty been brought back to
herself, she was convinced that the Father is incomprehensible, and so
laid aside her original design, along with that passion which had arisen within her from the overwhelming influence of her admiration.
3. But others of them fabulously describe the passion and restoration
of Sophia as follows: They say that she, having engaged in an impossible and impracticable attempt, brought forth an amorphous substance, such as her female nature enabled her to produce. [2670]
When she looked upon it, her first feeling was one of grief, on account
of the imperfection of its generation, and then of fear lest this
should end [2671] her own existence. Next she lost, as it were, all
command of herself, and was in the greatest perplexity while
endeavouring to discover the cause of all this, and in what way she
might conceal what had happened. Being greatly harassed by these
passions, she at last changed her mind, and endeavoured to return anew
to the Father. When, however, she in some measure made the attempt, strength failed her, and she became a suppliant of the Father. The other AEons, Nous in particular, presented their supplications along with her. And hence they declare material substance [2672] had its beginning from ignorance and grief, and fear and bewilderment.
4. The Father afterwards produces, in his own image, by means of Monogenes, the above-mentioned Horos, without conjunction, [2673]
masculo-feminine. For they maintain that sometimes the Father acts in
conjunction with Sige, but that at other times he shows himself
independent both of male and female. They term this Horos both Stauros
and Lytrotes, and Carpistes, and Horothetes, and Metagoges. [2674] And
by this Horos they declare that Sophia was purified and established,
while she was also restored to her proper conjunction. For her
enthymesis (or inborn idea) having been taken away from her, along with
its supervening passion, she herself certainly remained within the
Pleroma; but her enthymesis, with its passion, was separated from her
by Horos, fenced [2675] off, and expelled from that circle. This
enthymesis was, no doubt, a spiritual substance, possessing some of the
natural tendencies of an AEon, but at the same time shapeless and without form, because it had received nothing. [2676] And on this account they say that it was an imbecile and feminine production. [2677]
5. After this substance had been placed outside of the Pleroma of the
AEons, and its mother restored to her proper conjunction, they tell us
that Monogenes, acting in accordance with the prudent forethought of
the Father, gave origin to another conjugal pair, namely Christ and the
Holy Spirit (lest any of the AEons should fall into a calamity similar
to that of Sophia), for the purpose of fortifying and strengthening the
Pleroma, and who at the same time completed the number of the AEons.
Christ then instructed them as to the nature of their conjunction, and
taught them that those who possessed a comprehension of the Unbegotten
were sufficient for themselves. [2678] He also announced among them
what related to the knowledge of the Father,--namely, that he cannot be
understood or comprehended, nor so much as seen or heard, except in so
far as he is known by Monogenes only. And the reason why the rest of
the AEons possess perpetual existence is found in that part of the
Father’s nature which is incomprehensible; but the reason of their
origin and formation was situated in that which may be comprehended
regarding him, that is, in the Son. [2679] Christ, then, who had just
been produced, effected these things among them.
6. But the Holy Spirit [2680] taught them to give thanks on being all
rendered equal among themselves, and led them to a state of true
repose. Thus, then, they tell us that the AEons were constituted equal
to each other in form and sentiment, so that all became as Nous, and
Logos, and Anthropos, and Christus. The female AEons, too, became all
as Aletheia, and Zoe, and Spiritus, and Ecclesia. Everything, then,
being thus established, and brought into a state of perfect rest, they
next tell us that these beings sang praises with great joy to the
Propator, who himself shared in the abounding exaltation. Then, out of
gratitude for the great benefit which had been conferred on them, the
whole Pleroma of the AEons, with one design and desire, and with the
concurrence of Christ and the Holy Spirit, their Father also setting
the seal of His approval on their conduct, brought together whatever
each one had in himself of the greatest beauty and preciousness; and
uniting all these contributions so as skilfully to blend the whole,
they produced, to the honour and glory of Bythus, a being of most
perfect beauty, the very star of the Pleroma, and the perfect fruit [of
it], namely Jesus. Him they also speak of under the name of Saviour,
and Christ, and patronymically, Logos, and Everything, because He was
formed from the contributions of all. And then we are told that, by way
of honour, angels of the same nature as Himself were simultaneously produced, to act as His body-guard.

[2670] Alluding to the Gnostic notion that, in generation, the male gives form, the female substance. Sophia, therefore, being a female AEon, gave to her enthymesis substance alone, without form. Comp. Hippol., Philosop., vi. 30.
[2671] Some render this obscure clause, “lest it should never attain
perfection,” but the above seems preferable. See Hippol., vi. 31, where
the fear referred to is extended to the whole Pleroma.
[2672] “The reader will observe the parallel; as the enthymesis of Bythus produced intelligent substance, so the enthymesis of Sophia resulted in the formation of material substance.”—Harvey.
[2673] Some propose reading these words in the dative rather than the
accusative, and thus to make them refer to the image of the Father.
[2674] The meaning of these terms is as follows: Stauros means
primarily a stake, and then a cross; Lytrotes is a Redeemer; Carpistes,
according to Grabe, means an Emancipator, according to Neander a
Reaper; Horothetes is one that fixes boundaries; and Metagoges is
explained by Neander as being one that brings back, from the supposed
function of Horos, to bring back all that sought to wander from the special grade of being assigned them.
[2675] The common text has aposterethenai, was deprived; but Billius
proposes to read apostaurothenai, in conformity with the ancient Latin
version, “crucifixam.”
[2676] That is, had not shared in any male influence, but was a purely
female production.
[2677] Literally, “fruit.” Harvey remarks on this expression, “that
what we understand by emanations, the Gnostic described as spiritual
fructification; and as the seed of a tree is in itself, even in the
embryo state, so these various AEons, as existing always in the divine
nature, were co-eternal with it.”
[2678] This is an exceedingly obscure and difficult passage. Harvey’s
rendering is: “For, say they, Christ taught them the nature of their
copulae, (namely,) that being cognisant of their (limited) perception
of the Unbegotten they needed no higher knowledge, and that He
enounced,” etc. the words seem scarcely capable of yielding this sense:
we have followed the interpretation of Billius.
[2679] Both the text and meaning are here very doubtful. Some think
that the import of the sentence is, that the knowledge that the Father
is incomprehensible secured the continued safety of the AEons, while the same knowledge conferred upon Monogenes his origin and form.
[2680] The Greek text inserts hen, one, before “Holy Spirit.”

Chapter III.—Texts of Holy Scripture used by these heretics to support their
1. Such, then, is the account they give of what took place within the
Pleroma; such the calamities that flowed from the passion which seized
upon the AEon who has been named, and who was within a little of
perishing by being absorbed in the universal substance, through her
inquisitive searching after the Father; such the consolidation [2681]
[of that AEon] from her condition of agony by Horos, and Stauros, and
Lytrotes, and Carpistes, and Horothetes, and Metagoges. [2682] Such
also is the account of the generation of the later AEons, namely of the
first Christ and of the Holy Spirit, both of whom were produced by the
Father after the repentance [2683] [of Sophia], and of the second
[2684] Christ (whom they also style Saviour), who owed his being to the
joint contributions [of the AEons]. They tell us, however, that this
knowledge has not been openly divulged, because all are not capable of
receiving it, but has been mystically revealed by the Saviour through
means of parables to those qualified for understanding it. This has
been done as follows. The thirty AEons are indicated (as we have
already remarked) by the thirty years during which they say the Saviour
performed no public act, and by the parable of the labourers in the
vineyard. Paul also, they affirm, very clearly and frequently names
these AEons, and even goes so far as to preserve their order, when he
says, “To all the generations of the AEons of the AEon.” [2685] Nay, we
ourselves, when at the giving [2686] of thanks we pronounce the words,
“To AEons of AEons” (for ever and ever), do set forth these AEons. And,
in fine, wherever the words AEon or AEons occur, they at once refer them to these beings.
2. The production, again, of the Duodecad of the AEons, is indicated by
the fact that the Lord was twelve [2687] years of age when He disputed
with the teachers of the law, and by the election of the apostles, for
of these there were twelve. [2688] The other eighteen AEons are made
manifest in this way: that the Lord, [according to them,] conversed
with His disciples for eighteen months [2689] after His resurrection
from the dead. They also affirm that these eighteen AEons are
strikingly indicated by the first two letters of His name [’Iesous],
namely Iota [2690] and Eta. And, in like manner, they assert that the
ten AEons are pointed out by the letter Iota, which begins His name;
while, for the same reason, they tell us the Saviour said, “One Iota,
or one tittle, shall by no means pass away until all be fulfilled.”
3. They further maintain that the passion which took place in the case
of the twelfth AEon is pointed at by the apostasy of Judas, who was the
twelfth apostle, and also by the fact that Christ suffered in the
twelfth month. For their opinion is, that He continued to preach for
one year only after His baptism. The same thing is also most clearly
indicated by the case of the woman who suffered from an issue of blood.
For after she had been thus afflicted during twelve years, she was
healed by the advent of the Saviour, when she had touched the border of
His garment; and on this account the Saviour said, “Who touched me?”
[2692] --teaching his disciples the mystery which had occurred among
the AEons, and the healing of that AEon who had been involved in
suffering. For she who had been afflicted twelve years represented that
power whose essence, as they narrate, was stretching itself forth, and
flowing into immensity; and unless she had touched the garment of the
Son, [2693] that is, Aletheia of the first Tetrad, who is denoted by
the hem spoken of, she would have been dissolved into the general
essence [2694] [of which she participated]. She stopped short, however,
and ceased any longer to suffer. For the power that went forth from the
Son (and this power they term Horos) healed her, and separated the passion from her.
4. They moreover affirm that the Saviour [2695] is shown to be derived
from all the AEons, and to be in Himself everything by the following
passage: “Every male that openeth the womb.” [2696] For He, being
everything, opened the womb [2697] of the enthymesis of the suffering
AEon, when it had been expelled from the Pleroma. This they also style
the second Ogdoad, of which we shall speak presently. And they state
that it was clearly on this account that Paul said, “And He Himself is
all things;” [2698] and again, “All things are to Him, and of Him are
all things;” [2699] and further, “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of
the Godhead;” [2700] and yet again, “All things are gathered together
by God in Christ.” [2701] Thus do they interpret these and any like passages to be found in Scripture.
5. They show, further, that that Horos of theirs, whom they call by a
variety of names, has two faculties,--the one of supporting, and the
other of separating; and in so far as he supports and sustains, he is
Stauros, while in so far as he divides and separates, he is Horos. They
then represent the Saviour as having indicated this twofold faculty:
first, the sustaining power, when He said, “Whosoever doth not bear his
cross (Stauros), and follow after me, cannot be my disciple;” [2702]
and again, “Taking up the cross, follow me;” [2703] but the separating
power when He said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” [2704]
They also maintain that John indicated the same thing when he said,
“The fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge the floor, and
will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with
fire unquenchable.” [2705] By this declaration He set forth the faculty
of Horos. For that fan they explain to be the cross (Stauros), which
consumes, no doubt, all material [2706] objects, as fire does chaff,
but it purifies all them that are saved, as a fan does wheat. Moreover,
they affirm that the Apostle Paul himself made mention of this cross in
the following words: “The doctrine of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.” [2707]
And again: “God forbid that I should glory in anything [2708] save in
the cross of Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I unto
the world.”
6. Such, then, is the account which they all give of their Pleroma, and
of the formation [2709] of the universe, striving, as they do, to adapt
the good words of revelation to their own wicked inventions. And it is
not only from the writings of the evangelists and the apostles that
they endeavour to derive proofs for their opinions by means of perverse
interpretations and deceitful expositions: they deal in the same way
with the law and the prophets, which contain many parables and
allegories that can frequently be drawn into various senses, according
to the kind of exegesis to which they are subjected. And others [2710]
of them, with great craftiness, adapted such parts of Scripture to
their own figments, lead away captive from the truth those who do not
retain a stedfast faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

[2681] The reading is here very doubtful. We have followed the text of
Grabe (approved by Harvey), ex agonos sumpexis.
[2682] These are all names of the same person: see above, ii. 4. Hence
some have proposed the reading hexaionios instead of ex agonos, alluding to the sixfold appellation of the AEon Horos.
[2683] Billius renders, “from the repentance of the Father,” but the above seems preferable.
[2684] Harvey remarks, “Even in their Christology the Valentinians must
have their part and counterpart.”
[2685] Or, “to all the generations of the ages of the age.” See Eph. iii. 21. The apostle, of course, simply uses these words as a strong expression to denote “for ever.”
[2686] Literally, “at the thanksgiving,” or “eucharist.” Massuet, the
Benedictine editor, refers this to the Lord’s Supper, and hence
concludes that some of the ancient liturgies still extant must even
then have been in use. Harvey and others, however, deny that there is
any necessity for supposing the Holy Eucharist to be referred to; the
ancient Latin version translates in the plural, “in gratiarum actionibus.”
[2687] Luke ii. 42.
[2688] Luke vi. 13.
[2689] This opinion is in positive contradiction to the forty days
mentioned by St. Luke (Acts i. 3). But the Valentinians seem to have
followed a spurious writing of their own called “The Gospel of Truth.”
See iii. 11, 8.
[2690] The numeral value of Iota in Greek is ten, and of Eta, eight.
[2691] Matt. v. 18.
[2692] Mark v. 31.
[2693] The Latin reads “filii,” which we have followed. Reference is made in this word to Nous, who was, as we have already seen, also called Son, and who interested himself in the recovery of Sophia.
Aletheia was his consort, and was typified by the hem of the Saviour’s
[2694] Her individuality (morphe) would have been lost, while her substance (ousia) would have survived in the common essence of the AEons.
[2695] That is, the “second Christ” referred to above, sec. 1. [It is
much to be wished that this second were always distinguished by the untranslated name Soter.]
[2696] Ex. xiii. 2; Luke ii. 23.
[2697] Not as being born of it, but as fecundating it, and so producing
a manifold offspring. See below.
[2698] Col. iii. 11.
[2699] Rom. xi. 36.
[2700] Col. ii. 9.
[2701] Eph. i. 10.
[2702] Luke xiv. 27. It will be observed that the quotations of
Scripture made by Irenaeus often vary somewhat from the received text.
This may be due to various reasons—his quoting from memory; his giving
the texts in the form in which they were quoted by the heretics; or, as
Harvey conjectures, from his having been more familiar with a Syriac version of the New Testament than with the Greek original.
[2703] Matt. x. 21.
[2704] Matt. x. 34.
[2705] Luke iii. 17.
[2706] Hence Stauros was called by the agricultural name Carpistes, as
separating what was gross and material from the spiritual and heavenly.
[2707] 1 Cor. i. 18.
[2708] Gal. vi. 14. The words en medeni do not occur in the Greek text.
[2709] Billius renders, “of their opinion.”
[2710] The punctuation and rendering are here slightly doubtful.

Chapter IV.—Account given by the heretics of the formation of Achamoth;
origin of the visible world from her disturbances.
1. The following are the transactions which they narrate as having occurred outside of the Pleroma: The enthymesis of that Sophia who
dwells above, which they also term Achamoth, [2711] being removed from
the Pleroma, together with her passion, they relate to have, as a
matter of course, become violently excited in those places of darkness
and vacuity [to which she had been banished]. For she was excluded from
light [2712] and the Pleroma, and was without form or figure, like an
untimely birth, because she had received nothing [2713] [from a male
parent]. But the Christ dwelling on high took pity upon her; and having
extended himself through and beyond Stauros, [2714] he imparted a
figure to her, but merely as respected substance, and not so as to
convey intelligence. [2715] Having effected this, he withdrew his
influence, and returned, leaving Achamoth to herself, in order that
she, becoming sensible of her suffering as being severed from the
Pleroma, might be influenced by the desire of better things, while she
possessed in the meantime a kind of odour of immortality left in her by
Christ and the Holy Spirit. Wherefore also she is called by two names—Sophia after her father (for Sophia is spoken of as being her father), and Holy Spirit from that Spirit who is along with Christ.
Having then obtained a form, along with intelligence, and being
immediately deserted by that Logos who had been invisibly present with
her—that is, by Christ—she strained herself to discover that light
which had forsaken her, but could not effect her purpose, inasmuch as
she was prevented by Horos. And as Horos thus obstructed her further
progress, he exclaimed, Iao, [2716] whence, they say, this name Iao
derived its origin. And when she could not pass by Horos on account of
that passion in which she had been involved, and because she alone had
been left without, she then resigned herself to every sort of that
manifold and varied state of passion to which she was subject; and thus
she suffered grief on the one hand because she had not obtained the
object of her desire, and fear on the other hand, lest life itself
should fail her, as light had already done, while, in addition, she was
in the greatest perplexity. All these feelings were associated with
ignorance. And this ignorance of hers was not like that of her mother,
the first Sophia, an AEon, due to degeneracy by means of passion, but
to an [innate] opposition [of nature to knowledge]. [2717] Moreover, another kind of passion fell upon her (Achamoth), namely, that of desiring to return to him who gave her life.
2. This collection [of passions] they declare was the substance of the
matter from which this world was formed. For from [her desire of]
returning [to him who gave her life], every soul belonging to this
world, and that of the Demiurge [2718] himself, derived its origin. All
other things owed their beginning to her terror and sorrow. For from
her tears all that is of a liquid nature was formed; from her smile all
that is lucent; and from her grief and perplexity all the corporeal
elements of the world. For at one time, as they affirm, she would weep
and lament on account of being left alone in the midst of darkness and
vacuity; while, at another time, reflecting on the light which had
forsaken her, she would be filled with joy, and laugh; then, again, she
would be struck with terror; or, at other times, would sink into consternation and bewilderment.
3. Now what follows from all this? No light tragedy comes out of it, as
the fancy of every man among them pompously explains, one in one way,
and another in another, from what kind of passion and from what element
being derived its origin. They have good reason, as seems to me, why
they should not feel inclined to teach these things to all in public,
but only to such as are able to pay a high price for an acquaintance
with such profound mysteries. For these doctrines are not at all
similar to those of which our Lord said, “Freely ye have received,
freely give.” [2719] They are, on the contrary, abstruse, and
portentous, and profound mysteries, to be got at only with great labour
by such as are in love with falsehood. For who would not expend all
that he possessed, if only he might learn in return, that from the
tears of the enthymesis of the AEon involved in passion, seas, and
fountains, and rivers, and every liquid substance derived its origin;
that light burst forth from her smile; and that from her perplexity and
consternation the corporeal elements of the world had their formation?
4. I feel somewhat inclined myself to contribute a few hints towards
the development of their system. For when I perceive that waters are in
part fresh, such as fountains, rivers, showers, and so on, and in part
salt; such as those in the sea, I reflect with myself that all such
waters cannot be derived from her tears, inasmuch as these are of a
saline quality only. It is clear, therefore, that the waters which are
salt are alone those which are derived from her tears. But it is
probable that she, in her intense agony and perplexity, was covered
with perspiration. And hence, following out their notion, we may
conceive that fountains and rivers, and all the fresh water in the
world, are due to this source. For it is difficult, since we know that
all tears are of the same quality, to believe that waters both salt and
fresh proceeded from them. The more plausible supposition is, that some
are from her tears, and some from her perspiration. And since there are
also in the world certain waters which are hot and acrid in their
nature, thou must be left to guess their origin, how and whence. Such
are some of the results of their hypothesis.
5. They go on to state that, when the mother Achamoth had passed through all sorts of passion, and had with difficulty escaped from them, she turned herself to supplicate the light which had forsaken
her, that is, Christ. He, however, having returned to the Pleroma, and
being probably unwilling again to descend from it, sent forth to her
the Paraclete, that is, the Saviour. [2720] This being was endowed with
all power by the Father, who placed everything under his authority, the
AEons [2721] doing so likewise, so that “by him were all things,
visible and invisible, created, thrones, divinities, dominions.” [2722]
He then was sent to her along with his contemporary angels. And they
related that Achamoth, filled with reverence, at first veiled herself
through modesty, but that by and by, when she had looked upon him with
all his endowments, and had acquired strength from his appearance, she
ran forward to meet him. He then imparted to her form as respected
intelligence, and brought healing to her passions, separating them from
her, but not so as to drive them out of thought altogether. For it was
not possible that they should be annihilated as in the former case,
[2723] because they had already taken root and acquired strength [so as
to possess an indestructible existence]. All that he could do was to
separate them and set them apart, and then commingle and condense them,
so as to transmute them from incorporeal passion into unorganized
matter. [2724] He then by this process conferred upon them a fitness
and a nature to become concretions and corporeal structures, in order
that two substances should be formed,--the one evil, resulting from the
passions, and the other subject indeed to suffering, but originating
from her conversion. And on this account (i.e., on account of this
hypostatizing of ideal matter) they say that the Saviour virtually
[2725] created the world. But when Achamoth was freed from her passion,
she gazed with rapture on the dazzling vision of the angels that were
with him; and in her ecstasy, conceiving by them, they tell us that she
brought forth new beings, partly after her own image, and partly a spiritual progeny after the image of the Saviour’s attendants.

[2711] This term, though Tertullian declares himself to have been
ignorant of its derivation, was evidently formed from the Hebrew word
chkmh—chockmah, wisdom.
[2712] The reader will observe that light and fulness are the exact correlatives of the darkness and vacuity which have just been mentioned.
[2713] As above stated (ii. 3), the Gnostics held that form and figure
were due to the male, substance to the female parent.
[2714] The Valentinian Stauros was the boundary fence of the Pleroma beyond which Christ extended himself to assist the enthymesis of Sophia.
[2715] The peculiar gnosis which Nous received from his father, and communicated to the other AEons.
[2716] Probably corresponding to the Hebrew yhvh, Jehovah.
[2717] This sentence is very elliptical in the original, but the sense
is as given above. Sophia fell from Gnosis by degradation; Achamoth
never possessed this knowledge, her nature being from the first opposed
to it.
[2718] “The Demiurge derived from Enthymesis an animal, and not a spiritual nature.”—Harvey.
[2719] Matt. x. 8.
[2720] “Jesus, or Soter, was also called the Paraclete in the sense of
Advocate, or one acting as the representative of others.”—Harvey.
[2721] Both the Father and the other AEons constituting Soter an impersonation of the entire Pleroma.
[2722] Col. i. 16.
[2723] That is, as in the case of her mother Sophia, who is sometimes
called “the Sophia above,” Achamoth being “the Sophia below,” or “the
second Sophia.”
[2724] Thus Harvey renders asomaton hulen: so Baur, Chr. Gnos., as quoted by Stieren. Billius proposes to read ensomaton, corporeal.
[2725] Though not actually, for that was the work of the Demiurge. See
next chapter.

Chapter V.—Formation of the Demiurge; description of him. He is the creator
of everything outside of the Pleroma.
1. These three kinds of existence, then, having, according to them,
been now formed,--one from the passion, which was matter; a second from
the conversion, which was animal; and the third, that which she
(Achamoth) herself brought forth, which was spiritual,--she next
addressed herself to the task of giving these form. But she could not
succeed in doing this as respected the spiritual existence, because it
was of the same nature with herself. She therefore applied herself to
give form to the animal substance which had proceeded from her own
conversion, and to bring forth to light the instructions of the
Saviour. [2726] And they say she first formed out of animal substance
him who is Father and King of all things, both of these which are of
the same nature with himself, that is, animal substances, which they
also call right-handed, and those which sprang from the passion, and
from matter, which they call left-handed. For they affirm that he
formed all the things which came into existence after him, being
secretly impelled thereto by his mother. From this circumstance they
style him Metropator, [2727] Apator, Demiurge, and Father, saying that
he is Father of the substances on the right hand, that is, of the
animal, but Demiurge of those on the left, that is, of the material,
while he is at the same time the king of all. For they say that this
Enthymesis, desirous of making all things to the honour of the AEons,
formed images of them, or rather that the Saviour [2728] did so through
her instrumentality. And she, in the image [2729] of the invisible
Father, kept herself concealed from the Demiurge. But he was in the
image of the only-begotten Son, and the angels and archangels created
by him were in the image of the rest of the AEons.
2. They affirm, therefore, that he was constituted the Father and God
of everything outside of the Pleroma, being the creator of all animal
and material substances. For he it was that discriminated these two
kinds of existence hitherto confused, and made corporeal from
incorporeal substances, fashioned things heavenly and earthly, and
became the Framer (Demiurge) of things material and animal, of those on
the right and those on the left, of the light and of the heavy, and of
those tending upwards as well as of those tending downwards. He created
also seven heavens, above which they say that he, the Demiurge, exists.
And on this account they term him Hebdomas, and his mother Achamoth
Ogdoads, preserving the number of the first-begotten and primary Ogdoad
as the Pleroma. They affirm, moreover, that these seven heavens are
intelligent, and speak of them as being angels, while they refer to the
Demiurge himself as being an angel bearing a likeness to God; and in
the same strain, they declare that Paradise, situated above the third
heaven, is a fourth angel possessed of power, from whom Adam derived certain qualities while he conversed with him.
3. They go on to say that the Demiurge imagined that he created all
these things of himself, while he in reality made them in conjunction
with the productive power of Achamoth. He formed the heavens, yet was
ignorant of the heavens; he fashioned man, yet knew not man; he brought
to light the earth, yet had no acquaintance with the earth; and, in
like manner, they declare that he was ignorant of the forms of all that
he made, and knew not even of the existence of his own mother, but
imagined that he himself was all things. They further affirm that his
mother originated this opinion in his mind, because she desired to
bring him forth possessed of such a character that he should be the
head and source of his own essence, and the absolute ruler over every
kind of operation [that was afterwards attempted]. This mother they
also call Ogdoad, Sophia, Terra, Jerusalem, Holy Spirit, and, with a
masculine reference, Lord. [2730] Her place of habitation is an
intermediate one, above the Demiurge indeed, but below and outside of
the Pleroma, even to the end. [2731]
4. As, then, they represent all material substance to be formed from three passions, viz., fear, grief, and perplexity, the account they give is as follows: Animal substances originated from fear and from conversion; the Demiurge they also describe as owing his origin to
conversion; but the existence of all the other animal substances they
ascribe to fear, such as the souls of irrational animals, and of wild
beasts, and men. And on this account, he (the Demiurge), being
incapable of recognising any spiritual essences, imagined himself to be
God alone, and declared through the prophets, “I am God, and besides me
there is none else.” [2732] They further teach that the spirits of
wickedness derived their origin from grief. Hence the devil, whom they
also call Cosmocrator (the ruler of the world), and the demons, and the
angels, and every wicked spiritual being that exists, found the source
of their existence. They represent the Demiurge as being the son of
that mother of theirs (Achamoth), and Cosmocrator as the creature of
the Demiurge. Cosmocrator has knowledge of what is above himself,
because he is a spirit of wickedness; but the Demiurge is ignorant of
such things, inasmuch as he is merely animal. Their mother dwells in
that place which is above the heavens, that is, in the intermediate
abode; the Demiurge in the heavenly place, that is, in the hebdomad;
but the Cosmocrator in this our world. The corporeal elements of the
world, again, sprang, as we before remarked, from bewilderment and
perplexity, as from a more ignoble source. Thus the earth arose from
her state of stupor; water from the agitation caused by her fear; air
from the consolidation of her grief; while fire, producing death and
corruption, was inherent in all these elements, even as they teach that
ignorance also lay concealed in these three passions.
5. Having thus formed the world, he (the Demiurge) also created the
earthy [part of] man, not taking him from this dry earth, but from an
invisible substance consisting of fusible and fluid matter, and then
afterwards, as they define the process, breathed into him the animal
part of his nature. It was this latter which was created after his
image and likeness. The material part, indeed, was very near to God, so
far as the image went, but not of the same substance with him. The
animal, on the other hand, was so in respect to likeness; and hence his
substance was called the spirit of life, because it took its rise from
a spiritual outflowing. After all this, he was, they say, enveloped all
round with a covering of skin; and by this they mean the outward sensitive flesh.
6. But they further affirm that the Demiurge himself was ignorant of that offspring of his mother Achamoth, which she brought forth as a consequence of her contemplation of those angels who waited on the
Saviour, and which was, like herself, of a spiritual nature. She took
advantage of this ignorance to deposit it (her production) in him
without his knowledge, in order that, being by his instrumentality
infused into that animal soul proceeding from himself, and being thus
carried as in a womb in this material body, while it gradually
increased in strength, might in course of time become fitted for the
reception of perfect rationality. [2733] Thus it came to pass, then,
according to them, that, without any knowledge on the part of the
Demiurge, the man formed by his inspiration was at the same time,
through an unspeakable providence, rendered a spiritual man by the
simultaneous inspiration received from Sophia. For, as he was ignorant
of his mother, so neither did he recognise her offspring. This
[offspring] they also declare to be the Ecclesia, an emblem of the
Ecclesia which is above. This, then, is the kind of man whom they
conceive of: he has his animal soul from the Demiurge, his body from
the earth, his fleshy part from matter, and his spiritual man from the
mother Achamoth.

[2726] “In order that,” says Grabe, “this formation might not be merely
according to essence, but also according to knowledge, as the formation
of the mother Achamoth was characterized above.”
[2727] Metropator, as proceeding only from his mother Achamoth: Apator,
as having no male progenitor.
[2728] Harvey remarks, “The Valentinian Saviour being an aggregation of
all the aeonic perfections, the images of them were reproduced by the
spiritual conception of Achamoth beholding the glory of Soter. The reader will not fail to observe that every successive development is the reflex of a more divine antecedent.”
[2729] The relation indicated seems to be as follows: Achamoth, after
being formed “according to knowledge,” was outside of the Pleroma as
the image of Propator, the Demiurge was as Nous, and the mundane angels
which he formed corresponded to the other AEons of the Pleroma.
[2730] “Achamoth by these names must be understood to have an
intermediate position between the divine prototypal idea and creation:
she was the reflex of the one, and therefore masculo-feminine; she was
the pattern to be realized in the latter, and therefore was named Earth
and Jerusalem.”—Harvey.
[2731] But after the consummation here referred to, Achamoth regained
the Pleroma: see below, chap. vii. 1.
[2732] Isa. xlv. 5, 6, Isa. xlvi. 9.
[2733] An account is here given of the infusion of a spiritual
principle into mankind. The Demiurge himself could give no more than
the animal soul; but, unwittingly to himself, he was made the
instrument of conveying that spiritual essence from Achamoth, which had
grown up within her from the contemplation of those angels who accompanied the Saviour.

Chapter VI.—The threefold kind of man feigned by these heretics: good works
needless for them, though necessary to others: their abandoned morals.
1. There being thus three kinds of substances, they declare of all that
is material (which they also describe as being “on the left hand”) that
it must of necessity perish, inasmuch as it is incapable of receiving
any afflatus of incorruption. As to every animal existence (which they
also denominate “on the right hand”), they hold that, inasmuch as it is
a mean between the spiritual and the material, it passes to the side to
which inclination draws it. Spiritual substance, again, they describe
as having been sent forth for this end, that, being here united with
that which is animal, it might assume shape, the two elements being
simultaneously subjected to the same discipline. And this they declare
to be “the salt” [2734] and “the light of the world.” For the animal
substance had need of training by means of the outward senses; and on
this account they affirm that the world was created, as well as that
the Saviour came to the animal substance (which was possessed of
free-will), that He might secure for it salvation. For they affirm that
He received the first-fruits of those whom He was to save [as follows],
from Achamoth that which was spiritual, while He was invested by the
Demiurge with the animal Christ, but was begirt [2735] by a [special]
dispensation with a body endowed with an animal nature, yet constructed
with unspeakable skill, so that it might be visible and tangible, and
capable of enduring suffering. At the same time, they deny that He
assumed anything material [into His nature], since indeed matter is
incapable of salvation. They further hold that the consummation of all
things will take place when all that is spiritual has been formed and
perfected by Gnosis (knowledge); and by this they mean spiritual men
who have attained to the perfect knowledge of God, and been initiated
into these mysteries by Achamoth. And they represent themselves to be
these persons.
2. Animal men, again, are instructed in animal things; such men,
namely, as are established by their works, and by a mere faith, while
they have not perfect knowledge. We of the Church, they say, are these
persons. [2736] Wherefore also they maintain that good works are
necessary to us, for that otherwise it is impossible we should be
saved. But as to themselves, they hold that they shall be entirely and
undoubtedly saved, not by means of conduct, but because they are
spiritual by nature. [2737] For, just as it is impossible that material
substance should partake of salvation (since, indeed, they maintain
that it is incapable of receiving it), so again it is impossible that
spiritual substance (by which they mean themselves) should ever come
under the power of corruption, whatever the sort of actions in which
they indulged. For even as gold, when submersed in filth, loses not on
that account its beauty, but retains its own native qualities, the
filth having no power to injure the gold, so they affirm that they
cannot in any measure suffer hurt, or lose their spiritual substance,
whatever the material actions in which they may be involved.
3. Wherefore also it comes to pass, that the “most perfect” among them
addict themselves without fear to all those kinds of forbidden deeds of
which the Scriptures assure us that “they who do such things shall not
inherit the kingdom of God.” [2738] For instance, they make no scruple
about eating meats offered in sacrifice to idols, imagining that they
can in this way contract no defilement. Then, again, at every heathen
festival celebrated in honour of the idols, these men are the first to
assemble; and to such a pitch do they go, that some of them do not even
keep away from that bloody spectacle hateful both to God and men, in
which gladiators either fight with wild beasts, or singly encounter one
another. Others of them yield themselves up to the lusts of the flesh
with the utmost greediness, maintaining that carnal things should be
allowed to the carnal nature, while spiritual things are provided for
the spiritual. Some of them, moreover, are in the habit of defiling
those women to whom they have taught the above doctrine, as has
frequently been confessed by those women who have been led astray by
certain of them, on their returning to the Church of God, and
acknowledging this along with the rest of their errors. Others of them,
too, openly and without a blush, having become passionately attached to
certain women, seduce them away from their husbands, and contract
marriages of their own with them. Others of them, again, who pretend at
first to live in all modesty with them as with sisters, have in course
of time been revealed in their true colours, when the sister has been
found with child by her [pretended] brother.
4. And committing many other abominations and impieties, they run us
down (who from the fear of God guard against sinning even in thought or
word) as utterly contemptible and ignorant persons, while they highly
exalt themselves, and claim to be perfect, and the elect seed. For they
declare that we simply receive grace for use, wherefore also it will
again be taken away from us; but that they themselves have grace as
their own special possession, which has descended from above by means
of an unspeakable and indescribable conjunction; and on this account
more will be given them. [2739] They maintain, therefore, that in every
way it is always necessary for them to practise the mystery of
conjunction. And that they may persuade the thoughtless to believe
this, they are in the habit of using these very words, “Whosoever being
in this world does not so love a woman as to obtain possession of her,
is not of the truth, nor shall attain to the truth. But whosoever being
of [2740] this world has intercourse with woman, shall not attain to
the truth, because he has so acted under the power of concupiscence.”
On this account, they tell us that it is necessary for us whom they
call animal men, and describe as being of the world, to practise
continence and good works, that by this means we may attain at length
to the intermediate habitation, but that to them who are called “the spiritual and perfect” such a course of conduct is not at all necessary. For it is not conduct of any kind which leads into the Pleroma, but the seed sent forth thence in a feeble, immature state, and here brought to perfection.

[2734] Matt. v. 13, 14.
[2735] “The doctrine of Valentinus, therefore,” says Harvey, “as
regards the human nature of Christ, was essentially Docetic. His body
was animal, but not material, and only visible and tangible as having
been formed kat’ oikonomian and kateskeuasmenon arrheto techne.”
[2736] [That is, carnal; men of the carnal mind, psychic instead of pneumatic. Rom. viii. 6.]
[2737] On account of what they had received from Achamoth.
[2738] Gal. v. 21.
[2739] Comp. Luke xix. 26.
[2740] Comp. John xvii. 16. The Valentinians, while in the world, claimed to be not of the world, as animal men were.

Chapter VII.—The mother Achamoth, when all her seed are perfected, shall pass
into the Pleroma, accompanied by those men who are spiritual; the Demiurge,
with animal men, shall pass into the intermediate habitation; but all material
men shall go into corruption. Their blasphemous opinions against the true
incarnation of Christ by the Virgin Mary. Their views as to the prophecies.
Stupid ignorance of the Demiurge.
1. When all the seed shall have come to perfection, they state that
then their mother Achamoth shall pass from the intermediate place, and
enter in within the Pleroma, and shall receive as her spouse the
Saviour, who sprang from all the AEons, that thus a conjunction may be
formed between the Saviour and Sophia, that is, Achamoth. These, then,
are the bridegroom and bride, while the nuptial chamber is the full
extent of the Pleroma. The spiritual seed, again, being divested of
their animal souls, [2741] and becoming intelligent spirits, shall in
an irresistible and invisible manner enter in within the Pleroma, and
be bestowed as brides on those angels who wait upon the Saviour. The
Demiurge himself will pass into the place of his mother Sophia; [2742]
that is, the intermediate habitation. In this intermediate place, also,
shall the souls of the righteous repose; but nothing of an animal
nature shall find admittance to the Pleroma. When these things have
taken place as described, then shall that fire which lies hidden in the
world blaze forth and burn; and while destroying all matter, shall also
be extinguished along with it, and have no further existence. They affirm that the Demiurge was acquainted with none of these things before the advent of the Saviour.
2. There are also some who maintain that he also produced Christ as his
own proper son, but of an animal nature, and that mention was [2743] made of him by the prophets. This Christ passed through Mary [2744]
just as water flows through a tube; and there descended upon him in the
form of a dove at the time of his baptism, that Saviour who belonged to
the Pleroma, and was formed by the combined efforts of all its
inhabitants. In him there existed also that spiritual seed which
proceeded from Achamoth. They hold, accordingly, that our Lord, while
preserving the type of the first-begotten and primary tetrad, was
compounded of these four substances,--of that which is spiritual, in so
far as He was from Achamoth; of that which is animal, as being from the
Demiurge by a special dispensation, inasmuch as He was formed
[corporeally] with unspeakable skill; and of the Saviour, as respects
that dove which descended upon Him. He also continued free from all
suffering, since indeed it was not possible that He should suffer who
was at once incomprehensible and invisible. And for this reason the
Spirit of Christ, who had been placed within Him, was taken away when
He was brought before Pilate. They maintain, further, that not even the
seed which He had received from the mother [Achamoth] was subject to
suffering; for it, too, was impassible, as being spiritual, and
invisible even to the Demiurge himself. It follows, then, according to
them, that the animal Christ, and that which had been formed
mysteriously by a special dispensation, underwent suffering, that the
mother might exhibit through him a type of the Christ above, namely, of
him who extended himself through Stauros, [2745] and imparted to
Achamoth shape, so far as substance was concerned. For they declare
that all these transactions were counterparts of what took place above.
3. They maintain, moreover, that those souls which possess the seed of
Achamoth are superior to the rest, and are more dearly loved by the
Demiurge than others, while he knows not the true cause thereof, but
imagines that they are what they are through his favour towards them.
Wherefore, also, they say he distributed them to prophets, priests, and
kings; and they declare that many things were spoken [2746] by this
seed through the prophets, inasmuch as it was endowed with a
transcendently lofty nature. The mother also, they say, spake much
about things above, and that both through him and through the souls
which were formed by him. Then, again, they divide the prophecies [into
different classes], maintaining that one portion was uttered by the
mother, a second by her seed, and a third by the Demiurge. In like
manner, they hold that Jesus uttered some things under the influence of
the Saviour, others under that of the mother, and others still under that of the Demiurge, as we shall show further on in our work.
4. The Demiurge, while ignorant of those things which were higher than
himself, was indeed excited by the announcements made [through the
prophets], but treated them with contempt, attributing them sometimes
to one cause and sometimes to another; either to the prophetic spirit
(which itself possesses the power of self-excitement), or to [mere
unassisted] man, or that it was simply a crafty device of the lower
[and baser order of men]. [2747] He remained thus ignorant until the
appearing of the Lord. But they relate that when the Saviour came, the
Demiurge learned all things from Him, and gladly with all his power
joined himself to Him. They maintain that he is the centurion mentioned
in the Gospel, who addressed the Saviour in these words: “For I also am
one having soldiers and servants under my authority; and whatsoever I
command they do.” [2748] They further hold that he will continue
administering the affairs of the world as long as that is fitting and
needful, and specially that he may exercise a care over the Church;
while at the same time he is influenced by the knowledge of the reward
prepared for him, namely, that he may attain to the habitation of his
5. They conceive, then, of three kinds of men, spiritual, material, and
animal, represented by Cain, Abel, and Seth. These three natures are no
longer found in one person, [2749] but constitute various kinds [of
men]. The material goes, as a matter of course, into corruption. The
animal, if it make choice of the better part, finds repose in the
intermediate place; but if the worse, it too shall pass into
destruction. But they assert that the spiritual principles which have
been sown by Achamoth, being disciplined and nourished here from that
time until now in righteous souls (because when given forth by her they
were yet but weak), at last attaining to perfection, shall be given as
brides to the angels of the Saviour, while their animal souls of necessity rest for ever with the Demiurge in the intermediate place.
And again subdividing the animal souls themselves, they say that some
are by nature good, and others by nature evil. The good are those who
become capable of receiving the [spiritual] seed; the evil by nature are those who are never able to receive that seed.

[2741] Their spiritual substance was received from Achamoth; their
animal souls were created by the Demiurge. These are now separated; the
spirit enters the Pleroma, while the soul remains in heaven.
[2742] Viz., Achamoth.
[2743] A Syriac fragment here reads, “He spake by the prophets through
[2744] “Thus,” says Harvey, “we may trace back to the Gnostic period
the Apollinarian error, closely allied to the Docetic, that the body of
Christ was not derived from the blessed Virgin, but that it was of
heavenly substance, and was only brought forth into the world through
her instrumentality.”
[2745] By thus extending himself through Stauros, who bounded the
Pleroma, the Christ above became the type of the Christ below, who was
extended upon the cross.
[2746] Billius, following the old Latin version, reads, “They interpret
many things, spoken by the prophets, of this seed.”
[2747] Such appears to be the meaning of this sentence, but the
original is very obscure. The writer seems to refer to the spiritual,
the animal, and the material classes of men, and to imply that the Demiurge supposed some prophecies to be due to one of these classes, and some to the others.
[2748] Matt. viii. 9; Luke vii. 8.
[2749] As was the case at first, in Adam.

Chapter VIII.—How the Valentinians pervert the Scriptures to support their
own pious opinions.
1. Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced,
nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they
boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather
their views from other sources than the Scriptures; [2750] and, to use
a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they
endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar
assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and
the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem
altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the
order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies,
dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing
them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in
deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the
Lord to their opinions. Their manner of acting is just as if one, when
a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skilful artist
out of precious jewels, should then take this likeness of the man all
to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to
make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly
executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the
beautiful image of the king which the skilful artist constructed,
pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the
first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad
effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus
exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no
conception what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that
miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the
king. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives’ fables,
and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper
connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt
the oracles of God to their baseless fictions. We have already stated
how far they proceed in this way with respect to the interior of the Pleroma.
2. Then, again, as to those things outside of their Pleroma, the
following are some specimens of what they attempt to accommodate out of
the Scriptures to their opinions. They affirm that the Lord came in the
last times of the world to endure suffering, for this end, that He
might indicate the passion which occurred to the last of the AEons, and
might by His own end announce the cessation of that disturbance which
had risen among the AEons. They maintain, further, that that girl of
twelve years old, the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, [2751] to
whom the Lord approached and raised her from the dead, was a type of
Achamoth, to whom their Christ, by extending himself, imparted shape,
and whom he led anew to the perception of that light which had forsaken
her. And that the Saviour appeared to her when she lay outside of the
Pleroma as a kind of abortion, they affirm Paul to have declared in his
Epistle to the Corinthians [in these words], “And last of all, He
appeared to me also, as to one born out of due time.” [2752] Again, the
coming of the Saviour with His attendants to Achamoth is declared in
like manner by him in the same Epistle, when he says, “A woman ought to
have a veil upon her head, because of the angels.” [2753] Now, that
Achamoth, when the Saviour came to her, drew a veil over herself
through modesty, Moses rendered manifest when he put a veil upon his
face. Then, also, they say that the passions which she endured were
indicated by the Lord upon the cross. Thus, when He said, “My God, my
God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” [2754] He simply showed that Sophia
was deserted by the light, and was restrained by Horos from making any
advance forward. Her anguish, again, was indicated when He said, “My
soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;” [2755] her fear by the
words, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me;” [2756]and her perplexity, too, when He said, “And what I shall say, I know not.” [2757]
3. And they teach that He pointed out the three kinds of men as follows: the material, when He said to him that asked Him, “Shall I
follow Thee?” [2758] “The Son of man hath not where to lay His head;”—
the animal, when He said to him that declared, “I will follow Thee, but
suffer me first to bid them farewell that are in my house,” “No man,
putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the
kingdom of heaven” [2759] (for this man they declare to be of the
intermediate class, even as they do that other who, though he professed
to have wrought a large amount of righteousness, yet refused to follow
Him, and was so overcome by [the love of] riches, as never to reach
perfection)--this one it pleases them to place in the animal
class;--the spiritual, again, when He said, “Let the dead bury their
dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God,” [2760] and when He
said to Zaccheus the publican, “Make haste, and come down, for to-day I
must abide in thine house” [2761] --for these they declared to have
belonged to the spiritual class. Also the parable of the leaven which
the woman is described as having hid in three measures of meal, they
declare to make manifest the three classes. For, according to their
teaching, the woman represented Sophia; the three measures of meal, the
three kinds of men—spiritual, animal, and material; while the leaven
denoted the Saviour Himself. Paul, too, very plainly set forth the
material, animal, and spiritual, saying in one place, “As is the
earthy, such are they also that are earthy;” [2762] and in another
place, “But the animal man receiveth not the things of the Spirit;”
[2763] and again: “He that is spiritual judgeth all things.” [2764] And
this, “The animal man receiveth not the things of the Spirit,” they
affirm to have been spoken concerning the Demiurge, who, as being
animal, knew neither his mother who was spiritual, nor her seed, nor
the AEons in the Pleroma. And that the Saviour received first-fruits of
those whom He was to save, Paul declared when he said, “And if the
first-fruits be holy, the lump is also holy,” [2765] teaching that the
expression “first-fruits” denoted that which is spiritual, but that
“the lump” meant us, that is, the animal Church, the lump of which they
say He assumed, and blended it with Himself, inasmuch as He is “the leaven.”
4. Moreover, that Achamoth wandered beyond the Pleroma, and received form from Christ, and was sought after by the Saviour, they declare
that He indicated when He said, that He had come after that sheep which
was gone astray. [2766] For they explain the wandering sheep to mean their mother, by whom they represent the Church as having been sown.
The wandering itself denotes her stay outside of the Pleroma in a state
of varied passion, from which they maintain that matter derived its
origin. The woman, again, who sweeps the house and finds the piece of
money, they declare to denote the Sophia above, who, having lost her
enthymesis, afterwards recovered it, on all things being purified by
the advent of the Saviour. Wherefore this substance also, according to
them, was reinstated in Pleroma. They say, too, that Simeon, “who took
Christ into his arms, and gave thanks to God, and said, Lord, now
lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word,”
[2767] was a type of the Demiurge, who, on the arrival of the Saviour,
learned his own change of place, and gave thanks to Bythus. They also
assert that by Anna, who is spoken of in the gospel [2768] as a
prophetess, and who, after living seven years with her husband, passed
all the rest of her life in widowhood until she saw the Saviour, and
recognised Him, and spoke of Him to all, was most plainly indicated
Achamoth, who, having for a little while looked upon the Saviour with
His associates, and dwelling all the rest of the time in the
intermediate place, waited for Him till He should come again, and
restore her to her proper consort. Her name, too, was indicated by the
Saviour, when He said, “Yet wisdom is justified by her children.”
[2769] This, too, was done by Paul in these words, “But we speak wisdom
among them that are perfect.” [2770] They declare also that Paul has
referred to the conjunctions within the Pleroma, showing them forth by
means of one; for, when writing of the conjugal union in this life, he
expressed himself thus: “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” [2771]
5. Further, they teach that John, the disciple of the Lord, indicated
the first Ogdoad, expressing themselves in these words: John, the
disciple of the Lord, wishing to set forth the origin of all things, so
as to explain how the Father produced the whole, lays down a certain
principle,--that, namely, which was first-begotten by God, which Being
he has termed both the only-begotten Son and God, in whom the Father,
after a seminal manner, brought forth all things. By him the Word was
produced, and in him the whole substance of the AEons, to which the
Word himself afterwards imparted form. Since, therefore, he treats of
the first origin of things, he rightly proceeds in his teaching from
the beginning, that is, from God and the Word. And he expresses himself
thus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God.” [2772]
Having first of all distinguished these three—God, the Beginning, and
the Word—he again unites them, that he may exhibit the production of
each of them, that is, of the Son and of the Word, and may at the same
time show their union with one another, and with the Father. For “the
beginning” is in the Father, and of the Father, while “the Word” is in
the beginning, and of the beginning. Very properly, then, did he say,
“In the beginning was the Word,” for He was in the Son; “and the Word
was with God,” for He was the beginning; “and the Word was God,” of
course, for that which is begotten of God is God. “The same was in the
beginning with God”—this clause discloses the order of production.
“All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made;” [2773]
for the Word was the author of form and beginning to all the AEons that
came into existence after Him. But “what was made in Him,” says John,
“is life.” [2774] Here again he indicated conjunction; for all things,
he said, were made by Him, but in Him was life. This, then, which is in
Him, is more closely connected with Him than those things which were
simply made by Him, for it exists along with Him, and is developed by
Him. When, again, he adds, “And the life was the light of men,” while
thus mentioning Anthropos, he indicated also Ecclesia by that one
expression, in order that, by using only one name, he might disclose
their fellowship with one another, in virtue of their conjunction. For
Anthropos and Ecclesia spring from Logos and Zoe. Moreover, he styled
life (Zoe) the light of men, because they are enlightened by her, that
is, formed and made manifest. This also Paul declares in these words:
“For whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” [2775] Since, therefore,
Zoe manifested and begat both Anthropos and Ecclesia, she is termed their light. Thus, then, did John by these words reveal both other things and the second Tetrad, Logos and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia.
And still further, he also indicated the first Tetrad. For, in
discoursing of the Saviour and declaring that all things beyond the
Pleroma received form from Him, he says that He is the fruit of the
entire Pleroma. For he styles Him a “light which shineth in darkness,
and which was not comprehended” [2776] by it, inasmuch as, when He
imparted form to all those things which had their origin from passion,
He was not known by it. [2777] He also styles Him Son, and Aletheia,
and Zoe, and the “Word made flesh, whose glory,” he says, “we beheld;
and His glory was as that of the Only-begotten (given to Him by the
Father), full of grace and truth.” [2778] (But what John really does
say is this: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we
beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full
of grace and truth.” [2779] ) Thus, then, does he [according to them]
distinctly set forth the first Tetrad, when he speaks of the Father,
and Charis, and Monogenes, and Aletheia. In this way, too, does John
tell of the first Ogdoad, and that which is the mother of all the
AEons. For he mentions the Father, and Charis, and Monogenes, and
Aletheia, and Logos, and Zoe, and Anthropos, and Ecclesia. Such are the
views of Ptolemaeus. [2780]

[2750] Literally, “reading from things unwritten.”
[2751] Luke viii. 41.
[2752] 1 Cor. xv. 8.
[2753] 1 Cor. xi. 10. Irenaeus here reads kalumma, veil, instead of
exousian, power, as in the received text. [An interesting fact, as it
betokens an old gloss, which may have slipped into the text of some ancient mss.]
[2754] Matt. xxvii. 46.
[2755] Matt. xxvi. 38.
[2756] Matt. xxvi. 39.
[2757] John xii. 27. The Valentinians seem, for their own purposes, to
have added ouk oida to this text.
[2758] Luke ix. 57, 58.
[2759] Luke ix. 61, 62.
[2760] Luke ix. 60.
[2761] Luke xix. 5.
[2762] 1 Cor. xv. 48.
[2763] 1 Cor. ii. 14.
[2764] 1 Cor. ii. 15.
[2765] Rom. xi. 16.
[2766] Luke xv. 4, 8.
[2767] Luke ii. 28.
[2768] Luke ii. 36.
[2769] Luke vii. 35.
[2770] 1 Cor. ii. 6.
[2771] Eph. v. 32.
[2772] John i. 1, 2.
[2773] John i. 3.
[2774] John i. 3, 4. The punctuation here followed is different from
that commonly adopted, but is found in many of the Fathers, and in some
of the most ancient mss.
[2775] Eph. v. 13.
[2776] John i. 5.
[2777] hup’ autes, occurring twice, is rendered both times in the old
Latin version, “ab eis.” The reference is to skotia, darkness, i.e., all those not belonging to the spiritual seed.
[2778] Comp. John i. 14.
[2779] This is parenthetically inserted by the author, to show the misquotation of Scripture by these heretics.
[2780] These words are wanting in the Greek, but are inserted in the old Latin version.

Chapter IX.—Refutation of the impious interpretations of these heretics.
1. You see, my friend, the method which these men employ to deceive
themselves, while they abuse the Scriptures by endeavouring to support
their own system out of them. For this reason, I have brought forward
their modes of expressing themselves, that thus thou mightest
understand the deceitfulness of their procedure, and the wickedness of
their error. For, in the first place, if it had been John’s intention
to set forth that Ogdoad above, he would surely have preserved the
order of its production, and would doubtless have placed the primary
Tetrad first as being, according to them, most venerable and would then
have annexed the second, that, by the sequence of the names, the order
of the Ogdoad might be exhibited, and not after so long an interval, as
if forgetful for the moment and then again calling the matter to mind,
he, last of all, made mention of the primary Tetrad. In the next place,
if he had meant to indicate their conjunctions, he certainly would not
have omitted the name of Ecclesia; while, with respect to the other
conjunctions, he either would have been satisfied with the mention of
the male [AEons] (since the others [like Ecclesia] might be
understood), so as to preserve a uniformity throughout; or if he
enumerated the conjunctions of the rest, he would also have announced
the spouse of Anthropos, and would not have left us to find out her name by divination.
2. The fallacy, then, of this exposition is manifest. For when John, proclaiming one God, the Almighty, and one Jesus Christ, the
Only-begotten, by whom all things were made, declares that this was the
Son of God, this the Only-begotten, this the Former of all things, this
the true Light who enlighteneth every man, this the Creator of the
world, this He that came to His own, this He that became flesh and
dwelt among us,--these men, by a plausible kind of exposition,
perverting these statements, maintain that there was another Monogenes,
according to production, whom they also style Arche. They also maintain
that there was another Saviour, and another Logos, the son of
Monogenes, and another Christ produced for the re-establishment of the
Pleroma. Thus it is that, wresting from the truth every one of the
expressions which have been cited, and taking a bad advantage of the
names, they have transferred them to their own system; so that,
according to them, in all these terms John makes no mention of the Lord
Jesus Christ. For if he has named the Father, and Charis, and
Monogenes, and Aletheia, and Logos, and Zoe, and Anthropos, and
Ecclesia, according to their hypothesis, he has, by thus speaking,
referred to the primary Ogdoad, in which there was as yet no Jesus, and
no Christ, the teacher of John. But that the apostle did not speak
concerning their conjunctions, but concerning our Lord Jesus Christ,
whom he also acknowledges as the Word of God, he himself has made
evident. For, summing up his statements respecting the Word previously
mentioned by him, he further declares, “And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us.” But, according to their hypothesis, the Word did
not become flesh at all, inasmuch as He never went outside of the Pleroma, but that Saviour [became flesh] who was formed by a special dispensation [out of all the AEons], and was of later date than the Word.
3. Learn then, ye foolish men, that Jesus who suffered for us, and who
dwelt among us, is Himself the Word of God. For if any other of the
AEons had become flesh for our salvation, it would have been probable
that the apostle spoke of another. But if the Word of the Father who
descended is the same also that ascended, He, namely, the Only-begotten
Son of the only God, who, according to the good pleasure of the Father,
became flesh for the sake of men, the apostle certainly does not speak
regarding any other, or concerning any Ogdoad, but respecting our Lord
Jesus Christ. For, according to them, the Word did not originally
become flesh. For they maintain that the Saviour assumed an animal
body, formed in accordance with a special dispensation by an
unspeakable providence, so as to become visible and palpable. But flesh
is that which was of old formed for Adam by God out of the dust, and it
is this that John has declared the Word of God became. Thus is their
primary and first-begotten Ogdoad brought to nought. For, since Logos,
and Monogenes, and Zoe, and PhOs, and Soter, and Christus, and the Son
of God, and He who became incarnate for us, have been proved to be one
and the same, the Ogdoad which they have built up at once falls to pieces. And when this is destroyed, their whole system sinks into ruin,--a system which they falsely dream into existence, and thus inflict injury on the Scriptures, while they build up their own hypothesis.
4. Then, again, collecting a set of expressions and names scattered here and there [in Scripture], they twist them, as we have already
said, from a natural to a non-natural sense. In so doing, they act like
those who bring forward any kind of hypothesis they fancy, and then
endeavour to support [2781] them out of the poems of Homer, so that the
ignorant imagine that Homer actually composed the verses bearing upon
that hypothesis, which has, in fact, been but newly constructed; and
many others are led so far by the regularly-formed sequence of the
verses, as to doubt whether Homer may not have composed them. Of this
kind [2782] is the following passage, where one, describing Hercules as
having been sent by Eurystheus to the dog in the infernal regions, does
so by means of these Homeric verses,--for there can be no objection to
our citing these by way of illustration, since the same sort of attempt
appears in both:--
“”Thus saying, there sent forth from his house deeply groaning.”—Od.,
x. 76.
“The hero Hercules conversant with mighty deeds.”—Od., xxi. 26.
“Eurystheus, the son of Sthenelus, descended from Perseus.”—Il., xix.
“That he might bring from Erebus the dog of gloomy Pluto.”—Il., viii.
“And he advanced like a mountain-bred lion confident of strength.”—Od., vi. 130.
“Rapidly through the city, while all his friends followed.”—Il., xxiv. 327.
“Both maidens, and youths, and much-enduring old men.”—Od., xi. 38.
“Mourning for him bitterly as one going forward to death.”—Il., xxiv.
“But Mercury and the blue-eyed Minerva conducted him.”—Od., xi. 626.“For she knew the mind of her brother, how it laboured with grief.”—Il., ii. 409.”
Now, what simple-minded man, I ask, would not be led away by such
verses as these to think that Homer actually framed them so with
reference to the subject indicated? But he who is acquainted with the
Homeric writings will recognise the verses indeed, but not the subject
to which they are applied, as knowing that some of them were spoken of
Ulysses, others of Hercules himself, others still of Priam, and others
again of Menelaus and Agamemnon. But if he takes them and restores each
of them to its proper position, he at once destroys the narrative in
question. In like manner he also who retains unchangeable [2783] in his
heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will
doubtless recognise the names, the expressions, and the parables taken
from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous
use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the
gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of
the king. But when he has restored every one of the expressions quoted
to its proper position, and has fitted it to the body of the truth, he
will lay bare, and prove to be without any foundation, the figment of
these heretics.
5. But since what may prove a finishing-stroke [2784] to this
exhibition is wanting, so that any one, on following out their farce to
the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it,
we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the
very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were
inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms an a
priori proof that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, [2785] and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.

[2781] It is difficult to give an exact rendering of meletan in this
passage; the old Lat. version translates it by meditari, which Massuet
proposes to render “skilfully to fit.”
[2782] Tertullian refers (Praescrip. Haer.) to those Homeric centos of
which a specimen follows. We have given each line as it stands in the
original: the text followed by Irenaeus differs slightly from the received text.
[2783] Literally, “immoveable in himself,” the word akline being used
with an apparent reference to the original meaning of kanona, a builder’s rule.
[2784] The meaning of the word apolutrosis here is not easily determined; but it is probably a scenic term equivalent to apolusis, and may be rendered as above.
[2785] [The Creed, in the sublime simplicity of its fundamental articles, is established; that is, by the impossibility of framing anything to take their place.]

Chapter X.—Unity of the faith of the Church throughout the whole world.
1. The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their
disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in
them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for
our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the
prophets the dispensations [2786] of God, and the advents, and the
birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the
dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ
Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the
glory of the Father “to gather all things in one,” [2787] and to raise
up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ
Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will
of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue
should confess” [2788] to Him, and that He should execute just judgment
towards all; that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” [2789] and the
angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the
ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into
everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer
immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His
commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning
[of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.
2. As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole
world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She
also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one
soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches
them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed
only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are
dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For
the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand
down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor
those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those
which have been established in the central regions [2790] of the world.
But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout
the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shineth everywhere,
and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the
truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly
gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from
these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand,
will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the
tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one
who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.
3. It does not follow because men are endowed with greater and less degrees of intelligence, that they should therefore change the
subject-matter [of the faith] itself, and should conceive of some other
God besides Him who is the Framer, Maker, and Preserver of this
universe, (as if He were not sufficient [2791] for them), or of another
Christ, or another Only-begotten. But the fact referred to simply
implies this, that one may [more accurately than another] bring out the
meaning of those things which have been spoken in parables, and
accommodate them to the general scheme of the faith; and explain [with
special clearness] the operation and dispensation of God connected with
human salvation; and show that God manifested longsuffering in regard
to the apostasy of the angels who transgressed, as also with respect to
the disobedience of men; and set forth why it is that one and the same
God has made some things temporal and some eternal, some heavenly and
others earthly; and understand for what reason God, though invisible,
manifested Himself to the prophets not under one form, but differently
to different individuals; and show why it was that more covenants than
one were given to mankind; and teach what was the special character of
each of these covenants; and search out for what reason “God [2792]
hath concluded every man [2793] in unbelief, that He may have mercy
upon all;” and gratefully [2794] describe on what account the Word of
God became flesh and suffered; and relate why the advent of the Son of
God took place in these last times, that is, in the end, rather than in
the beginning [of the world]; and unfold what is contained in the
Scriptures concerning the end [itself], and things to come; and not be
silent as to how it is that God has made the Gentiles, whose salvation
was despaired of, fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers
with the saints; and discourse how it is that “this mortal body shall
put on immortality, and this corruptible shall put on incorruption;”
[2795] and proclaim in what sense [God] says, “That is a people who was
not a people; and she is beloved who was not beloved;” [2796] and in
what sense He says that “more are the children of her that was
desolate, than of her who possessed a husband.” [2797] For in reference
to these points, and others of a like nature, the apostle exclaims:
“Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God;
how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”
[2798] But [the superior skill spoken of] is not found in this, that
any one should, beyond the Creator and Framer [of the world], conceive
of the Enthymesis of an erring AEon, their mother and his, and should
thus proceed to such a pitch of blasphemy; nor does it consist in this,
that he should again falsely imagine, as being above this [fancied
being], a Pleroma at one time supposed to contain thirty, and at
another time an innumerable tribe of AEons, as these teachers who are
destitute of truly divine wisdom maintain; while the Catholic Church
possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have
already said.

[2786] “ Of God” is added from the old Latin
[2787] Eph. i. 10.
[2788] Phil. ii. 10, 11.
[2789] Eph. vi. 12.
[2790] Probably referring to the Churches in Palestine.
[2791] The text here is arkoumenous toutous, which is manifestly corrupt. Various emendations have been proposed: we prefer reading arkoumenos toutois, and have translated accordingly.
[2792] Rom. xi. 32.
[2793] Irenaeus here reads panta instead of pantas, as in Text. Rec. of
New Testament.
[2794] eucharistein—this word has been deemed corrupt, as it certainly appears out of keeping with the other verbs; but it may be rendered as above.
[2795] 1 Cor. xv. 54.
[2796] Hos. ii. 23; Rom. ix. 25.
[2797] Isa. liv. 1; Gal. iv. 27.
[2798] Rom. xi. 33.

Chapter XI.—The opinions of Valentinus, with those of his disciples and
1. Let us now look at the inconsistent opinions of those heretics (for
there are some two or three of them), how they do not agree in treating
the same points, but alike, in things and names, set forth opinions
mutually discordant. The first [2799] of them, Valentinus, who adapted
the principles of the heresy called “Gnostic” to the peculiar character
of his own school, taught as follows: He maintained that there is a
certain Dyad (twofold being), who is inexpressible by any name, of whom
one part should be called Arrhetus (unspeakable), and the other Sige
(silence). But of this Dyad a second was produced, one part of whom he
names Pater, and the other Aletheia. From this Tetrad, again, arose
Logos and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia. These constitute the primary
Ogdoad. He next states that from Logos and Zoe ten powers were
produced, as we have before mentioned. But from Anthropos and Ecclesia
proceeded twelve, one of which separating from the rest, and falling
from its original condition, produced the rest [2800] of the universe.
He also supposed two beings of the name of Horos, the one of whom has
his place between Bythus and the rest of the Pleroma, and divides the
created AEons from the uncreated Father, while the other separates
their mother from the Pleroma. Christ also was not produced from the
AEons within the Pleroma, but was brought forth by the mother who had
been excluded from it, in virtue of her remembrance of better things,
but not without a kind of shadow. He, indeed, as being masculine,
having severed the shadow from himself, returned to the Pleroma; but
his mother being left with the shadow, and deprived of her spiritual
substance, brought forth another son, namely, the Demiurge, whom he
also styles the supreme ruler of all those things which are subject to
him. He also asserts that, along with the Demiurge, there was produced
a left-hand power, in which particular he agrees with those falsely
called Gnostics, of whom to we have yet to speak. Sometimes, again, he
maintains that Jesus was produced from him who was separated from their
mother, and united to the rest, that is, from Theletus, sometimes as
springing from him who returned into the Pleroma, that is, from Christ;
and at other times still as derived from Anthropos and Ecclesia. And he
declares that the Holy Spirit was produced by Aletheia [2801] for the
inspection and fructification of the AEons, by entering invisibly into
them, and that, in this way, the AEons brought forth the plants of truth.
2. Secundus again affirms that the primary Ogdoad consists of a right
hand and a left hand Tetrad, and teaches that the one of these is
called light, and the other darkness. But he maintains that the power
which separated from the rest, and fell away, did not proceed directly
from the thirty AEons, but from their fruits.
3. There is another, [2802] who is a renowned teacher among them, and
who, struggling to reach something more sublime, and to attain to a
kind of higher knowledge, has explained the primary Tetrad as follows:
There is [he says] a certain Proarche who existed before all things,
surpassing all thought, speech, and nomenclature, whom I call Monotes
(unity). Together with this Monotes there exists a power, which again I
term Henotes (oneness). This Henotes and Monotes, being one, produced,
yet not so as to bring forth [apart from themselves, as an emanation]
the beginning of all things, an intelligent, unbegotten, and invisible
being, which beginning language terms “Monad.” With this Monad there co-exists a power of the same essence, which again I term Hen (One).
These powers then—Monotes, and Henotes, and Monas, and Hen—produced
the remaining company of the AEons.
4. Iu, Iu! Pheu, Pheu!--for well may we utter these tragic exclamations
at such a pitch of audacity in the coining of names as he has displayed
without a blush, in devising a nomenclature for his system of
falsehood. For when he declares: There is a certain Proarche before all
things, surpassing all thought, whom I call Monotes; and again, with
this Monotes there co-exists a power which I also call Henotes,--it is
most manifest that he confesses the things which have been said to be
his own invention, and that he himself has given names to his scheme of
things, which had never been previously suggested by any other. It is
manifest also, that he himself is the one who has had sufficient
audacity to coin these names; so that, unless he had appeared in the
world, the truth would still have been destitute of a name. But, in
that case, nothing hinders any other, in dealing with the same subject,
to affix names after such a fashion as the following: There [2803] is a
certain Proarche, royal, surpassing all thought, a power existing
before every other substance, and extended into space in every
direction. But along with it there exists a power which I term a Gourd;
and along with this Gourd there exists a power which again I term
Utter-Emptiness. This Gourd and Emptiness, since they are one, produced
(and yet did not simply produce, so as to be apart from themselves) a
fruit, everywhere visible, eatable, and delicious, which fruit-language
calls a Cucumber. Along with this Cucumber exists a power of the same
essence, which again I call a Melon. These powers, the Gourd,
Utter-Emptiness, the Cucumber, and the Melon, brought forth the
remaining multitude of the delirious melons of Valentinus. [2804] For
if it is fitting that that language which is used respecting the
universe be transformed to the primary Tetrad, and if any one may
assign names at his pleasure, who shall prevent us from adopting these
names, as being much more credible [than the others], as well as in general use, and understood by all?
5. Others still, however, have called their primary and first-begotten
Ogdoad by the following names: first, Proarche; then Anennoetos;
thirdly, Arrhetos; and fourthly, Aoratos. Then, from the first,
Proarche, there was produced, in the first and fifth place, Arche; from
Anennoetos, in the second and sixth place, Acataleptos; from Arrhetos,
in the third and seventh place, Anonomastos; and from Aoratos, in the
fourth and eighth place, Agennetos. This is the Pleroma of the first
Ogdoad. They maintain that these powers were anterior to Bythus and
Sige, that they may appear more perfect than the perfect, and more
knowing than the very Gnostics! To these persons one may justly
exclaim: “O ye trifling sophists!” since, even respecting Bythus
himself, there are among them many and discordant opinions. For some
declare him to be without a consort, and neither male nor female, and,
in fact, nothing at all; while others affirm him to be masculo-feminine, assigning to him the nature of a hermaphrodite;
others, again, allot Sige to him as a spouse, that thus may be formed
the first conjunction.

[2799] That is, the first of the two or three here referred to, not the
first of the Gnostic teachers, as some have imagined. [The Gnosticism
of one age may be essentially the same in spirit as the Agnosticism of
[2800] Viz., all outside of the Pleroma.
[2801] Corrected from Ecclesia in the text.
[2802] Some have supposed that the name of this teacher was Epiphanes,
and that the old Latin mistakenly translates this by clarus; others think that Colorbasus is the teacher in question.
[2803] The Greek text is wanting till the end of this section.
[2804] [1 Kings xviii. 27. “It came to pass that Elijah mocked them,”
etc. This reductio ad absurdum of our author is singularly applicable
to certain forms of what is called “Modern Thought.”]

Chapter XII.—The doctrines of the followers of Ptolemy and Colorbasus.
1. But the followers of Ptolemy say [2805] that he [Bythus] has two
consorts, which they also name Diatheses (affections), viz., Ennoea and
Thelesis. For, as they affirm, he first conceived the thought of
producing something, and then willed to that effect. Wherefore, again,
these two affections, or powers, Ennoea and Thelesis, having
intercourse, as it were, between themselves, the production of
Monogenes and Aletheia took place according to conjunction. These two
came forth as types and images of the two affections of the
Father,--visible representations of those that were invisible,--Nous
(i.e., Monogenes) of Thelesis, and Aletheia of Ennoea, and accordingly
the image resulting from Thelesis was masculine, [2806] while that from
Ennoea was feminine. Thus Thelesis (will) became, as it were, a faculty
of Ennoea (thought). For Ennoea continually yearned after offspring; but she could not of herself bring forth that which she desired. But when the power of Thelesis (the faculty of will) came upon her, then she brought forth that on which she had brooded.
2. These fancied beings [2807] (like the Jove of Homer, who is represented [2808] as passing an anxious sleepless night in devising
plans for honouring Achilles and destroying numbers of the Greeks) will
not appear to you, my dear friend, to be possessed of greater knowledge
than He who is the God of the universe. He, as soon as He thinks, also
performs what He has willed; and as soon as He wills, also thinks that
which He has willed; then thinking when He wills, and then willing when
He thinks, since He is all thought, [all will, all mind, all light,]
[2809] all eye, all ear, the one entire fountain of all good things.
3. Those of them, however, who are deemed more skilful than the persons
who have just been mentioned, say that the first Ogdoad was not
produced gradually, so that one AEon was sent forth by another, but
that all [2810] the AEons were brought into existence at once by
Propator and his Ennoea. He (Colorbasus) affirms this as confidently as
if he had assisted at their birth. Accordingly, he and his followers
maintain that Anthropos and Ecclesia were not produced, [2811] as
others hold, from Logos and Zoe; but, on the contrary, Logos and Zoe
from Anthropos and Ecclesia. But they express this in another form, as
follows: When the Propator conceived the thought of producing something, he received the name of Father. But because what he did produce was true, it was named Aletheia. Again, when he wished to reveal himself, this was termed Anthropos. Finally, when he produced those whom he had previously thought of, these were named Ecclesia.
Anthropos, by speaking, formed Logos: this is the first-born son. But
Zoe followed upon Logos; and thus the first Ogdoad was completed.
4. They have much contention also among themselves respecting the Saviour. For some maintain that he was formed out of all; wherefore also he was called Eudocetos, because the whole Pleroma was well pleased through him to glorify the Father. But others assert that he
was produced from those ten AEons alone who sprung from Logos and Zoe,
and that on this account he was called Logos and Zoe, thus preserving
the ancestral names. [2812] Others, again, affirm that he had his being
from those twelve AEons who were the offspring of Anthropos and
Ecclesia; and on this account he acknowledges himself the Son of man,
as being a descendant of Anthropos. Others still, assert that he was
produced by Christ and the Holy Spirit, who were brought forth for the
security of the Pleroma; and that on this account he was called Christ,
thus preserving the appellation of the Father, by whom he was produced.
And there are yet others among them who declare that the Propator of
the whole, Proarche, and Proanennoetos is called Anthropos; and that
this is the great and abstruse mystery, namely, that the Power which is
above all others, and contains all in his embrace, is termed Anthropos;
hence does the Saviour style himself the “Son of man.”

[2805] We here follow the Greek as preserved by Hippolytus (Philosoph.,
vi. 38). The text followed by Epiphanius (Haer., xxxiii. 1) does not so
well agree with the Latin.
[2806] The text is here hopelessly corrupt; but the general meaning seems to be that given above.
[2807] This sentence exists only in the Latin version, and we can give
only a free translation.
[2808] Iliad, ii. 1, etc.
[2809] These words are found in Epiphanius, but omitted in the old Latin version. The Latin gives “sense” instead of “light.”
[2810] The text is here very uncertain. Some propose to read six AEons
instead of all.
[2811] Here again the text is corrupt and obscure. We have followed what seems the most probable emendation.
[2812] Harvey justly remarks, that “one cause of perplexity in
unravelling the Valentinian scheme is the recurrence of similar names
at different points of the system, e.g., the Enthymesis of Sophia was
called Sophia and Spiritus; and Pater, Arche, Monogenes, Christus,
Anthropos, Ecclesia, were all of them terms of a double denomination.”

Chapter XIII.—The deceitful arts and nefarious practices of Marcus.
1. But [2813] there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name,
who boasts himself as having improved upon his master. He is a perfect
adept in magical impostures, and by this means drawing away a great
number of men, and not a few women, he has induced them to join
themselves to him, as to one who is possessed of the greatest knowledge
and perfection, and who has received the highest power from the
invisible and ineffable regions above. Thus it appears as if he really
were the precursor of Antichrist. For, joining the buffooneries of
Anaxilaus [2814] to the craftiness of the magi, as they are called, he
is regarded by his senseless and cracked-brain followers as working miracles by these means.
2. Pretending [2815] to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis, [2816] who is
one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop
her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that
thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that
cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this
magician, may also flow into them. Again, handing mixed cups to the
women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence. When this has
been done, he himself produces another cup of much larger size than
that which the deluded woman has consecrated, and pouring from the
smaller one consecrated by the woman into that which has been brought
forward by himself, he at the same time pronounces these words: “May
that Charis who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge
and speech, fill thine inner man, and multiply in thee her own
knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in thee as in good
soil.” Repeating certain other like words, and thus goading on the
wretched woman [to madness], he then appears a worker of wonders when
the large cup is seen to have been filled out of the small one, so as
even to overflow by what has been obtained from it. By accomplishing several other similar things, he has completely deceived many, and drawn them away after him.
3. It appears probable enough that this man possesses a demon as his
familiar spirit, by means of whom he seems able to prophesy, [2817] and
also enables as many as he counts worthy to be partakers of his Charis
themselves to prophesy. He devotes himself especially to women, and
those such as are well-bred, and elegantly attired, and of great
wealth, whom he frequently seeks to draw after him, by addressing them
in such seductive words as these: “I am eager to make thee a partaker
of my Charis, since the Father of all doth continually behold thy angel
before His face. Now the place of thy angel is among us: [2818] it
behoves us to become one. Receive first from me and by me [the gift of]
Charis. Adorn thyself as a bride who is expecting her bridegroom, that
thou mayest be what I am, and I what thou art. Establish the germ of
light in thy nuptial chamber. Receive from me a spouse, and become
receptive of him, while thou art received by him. Behold Charis has
descended upon thee; open thy mouth and prophesy.” On the woman
replying, “I have never at any time prophesied, nor do I know how to
prophesy;” then engaging, for the second time, in certain invocations,
so as to astound his deluded victim, he says to her, “Open thy mouth,
speak whatsoever occurs to thee, and thou shalt prophesy.” She then,
vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul
by the expectation that it is herself who is to prophesy, her heart
beating violently [from emotion], reaches the requisite pitch of
audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it
happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by
an empty spirit. (Referring to this, one superior to me has observed,
that the soul is both audacious and impudent when heated with empty
air.) Henceforth she reckons herself a prophetess, and expresses her
thanks to Marcus for having imparted to her of his own Charis. She then
makes the effort to reward him, not only by the gift of her possessions
(in which way he has collected a very large fortune), but also by yielding up to him her person, desiring in every way to be united to him, that she may become altogether one with him.
4. But already some of the most faithful women, possessed of the fear
of God, and not being deceived (whom, nevertheless, he did his best to
seduce like the rest by bidding them prophesy), abhorring and
execrating him, have withdrawn from such a vile company of revellers.
This they have done, as being well aware that the gift of prophecy is
not conferred on men by Marcus, the magician, but that only those to
whom God sends His grace from above possess the divinely-bestowed power
of prophesying; and then they speak where and when God pleases, and not
when Marcus orders them to do so. For that which commands is greater
and of higher authority than that which is commanded, inasmuch as the
former rules, while the latter is in a state of subjection. If, then,
Marcus, or any one else, does command,-- as these are accustomed
continually at their feasts to play at drawing lots, and [in accordance
with the lot] to command one another to prophesy, giving forth as
oracles what is in harmony with their own desires,--it will follow that
he who commands is greater and of higher authority than the prophetic
spirit, though he is but a man, which is impossible. But such spirits
as are commanded by these men, and speak when they desire it, are
earthly and weak, audacious and impudent, sent forth by Satan for the
seduction and perdition of those who do not hold fast that
well-compacted faith which they received at first through the Church.
5. Moreover, that this Marcus compounds philters and love-potions, in
order to insult the persons of some of these women, if not of all,
those of them who have returned to the Church of God—a thing which
frequently occurs—have acknowledged, confessing, too, that they have
been defiled by him, and that they were filled with a burning passion
towards him. A sad example of this occurred in the case of a certain
Asiatic, one of our deacons, who had received him (Marcus) into his
house. His wife, a woman of remarkable beauty, fell a victim both in
mind and body to this magician, and, for a long time, travelled about
with him. At last, when, with no small difficulty, the brethren had
converted her, she spent her whole time in the exercise of public
confession, [2819] weeping over and lamenting the defilement which she
had received from this magician.
6. Some of his disciples, too, addicting themselves [2820] to the same
practices, have deceived many silly women, and defiled them. They
proclaim themselves as being “perfect,” so that no one can be compared
to them with respect to the immensity of their knowledge, nor even were
you to mention Paul or Peter, or any other of the apostles. They assert
that they themselves know more than all others, and that they alone
have imbibed the greatness of the knowledge of that power which is
unspeakable. They also maintain that they have attained to a height
above all power, and that therefore they are free in every respect to
act as they please, having no one to fear in anything. For they affirm,
that because of the “Redemption” [2821] it has come to pass that they
can neither be apprehended, nor even seen by the judge. But even if he
should happen to lay hold upon them, then they might simply repeat
these words, while standing in his presence along with the
“Redemption:” “O thou, who sittest beside God, [2822] and the mystical,
eternal Sige, thou through whom the angels (mightiness), who
continually behold the face of the Father, having thee as their guide
and introducer, do derive their forms [2823] from above, which she in
the greatness of her daring inspiring with mind on account of the
goodness of the Propator, produced us as their images, having her mind
then intent upon the things above, as in a dream,-- behold, the judge
is at hand, and the crier orders me to make my defence. But do thou, as
being acquainted with the affairs of both, present the cause of both of
us to the judge, inasmuch as it is in reality but one cause.” [2824]
Now, as soon as the Mother hears these words, she puts the Homeric
[2825] helmet of Pluto upon them, so that they may invisibly escape the
judge. And then she immediately catches them up, conducts them into the
bridal chamber, and hands them over to their consorts.
7. Such are the words and deeds by which, in our own district of the
Rhone, they have deluded many women, who have their consciences seared
as with a hot iron. [2826] Some of them, indeed, make a public
confession of their sins; but others of them are ashamed to do this,
and in a tacit kind of way, despairing of [attaining to] the life of
God, have, some of them, apostatized altogether; while others hesitate
between the two courses, and incur that which is implied in the proverb, “neither without nor within;” possessing this as the fruit from the seed of the children of knowledge.

[2813] The Greek text of this section is preserved both by Epiphanius
(Haer. xxxiv. 1) and by Hippolytus (Philosoph., vi. 39, 40). Their citations are somewhat discordant, and we therefore follow the old Latin version.
[2814] Pliny, Hist. Nat., xxxv. 15, etc.
[2815] Epiphanius now gives the Greek text verbatim, to which, therefore, we return.
[2816] Probably referring to Sige, the consort of Bythus.
[2817] [Comp. Acts xvi. 16.]
[2818] Literally, “the place of thy mightiness is in us.”
[2819] [Note this manner of primitive “confession;” and see Bingham, Antiquities, book xv. cap. 8]
[2820] We here follow the rendering of Billius, “in iisdem studiis versantes.” Others adhere to the received text, and translate peripolizontes “going about idly.”
[2821] Grabe is of opinion that reference is made in this term to an
imprecatory formula in use among the Marcosians, analogous to the form
of thanksgiving employed night and morning by the Jews for their
redemption from Egypt. Harvey refers the word to the second baptism
practised among these and other heretics, by which it was supposed they
were removed from the cognizance of the Demiurge, who is styled the “judge” in the close of the above sentence.
[2822] That is, Sophia, of whom Achamoth, afterwards referred to, was
the emanation.
[2823] The angels accompanying Soter were the consorts of spiritual Gnostics, to whom they were restored after death.
[2824] The syntax in this long sentence is very confused, but the
meaning is tolerably plain. The gist of it is, that these Gnostics, as
being the spiritual seed, claimed a consubstantiality with Achamoth, and consequently escaped from the material Demiurge, and attained at last to the Pleroma.
[2825] Rendering the wearer invisible. See Il., v. 844.
[2826] 2 Tim. iii. 6.

Chapter XIV.—The various hypotheses of Marcus and others. Theories respecting
letters and syllables.
1. This Marcus [2827] then, declaring that he alone was the matrix and
receptacle of the Sige of Colorbasus, inasmuch as he was only-begotten,
has brought to the birth in some such way as follows that which was
committed to him of the defective Enthymesis. He declares that the
infinitely exalted Tetrad descended upon him from the invisible and
indescribable places in the form of a woman (for the world could not
have borne it coming in its male form), and expounded to him alone its
own nature, and the origin of all things, which it had never before
revealed to any one either of gods or men. This was done in the
following terms: When first the unoriginated, inconceivable Father, who
is without material substance, [2828] and is neither male nor female,
willed to bring forth that which is ineffable to Him, and to endow with
form that which is invisible, He opened His mouth, and sent forth the
Word similar to Himself, who, standing near, showed Him what He Himself
was, inasmuch as He had been manifested in the form of that which was
invisible. Moreover, the pronunciation of His name took place as
follows:--He spoke the first word of it, which was the beginning [2829]
[of all the rest], and that utterance consisted of four letters. He
added the second, and this also consisted of four letters. Next He
uttered the third, and this again embraced ten letters. Finally, He
pronounced the fourth, which was composed of twelve letters. Thus took
place the enunciation of the whole name, consisting of thirty letters,
and four distinct utterances. Each of these elements has its own
peculiar letters, and character, and pronunciation, and forms, and
images, and there is not one of them that perceives the shape of that
[utterance] of which it is an element. Neither does any one know [2830]
itself, nor is it acquainted with the pronunciation of its neighbour,
but each one imagines that by its own utterance it does in fact name
the whole. For while every one of them is a part of the whole, it
imagines its own sound to be the whole name, and does not leave off
sounding until, by its own utterance, it has reached the last letter of
each of the elements. This teacher declares that the restitution of all
things will take place, when all these, mixing into one letter, shall
utter one and the same sound. He imagines that the emblem of this
utterance is found in Amen, which we pronounce in concert. [2831] The
diverse sounds (he adds) are those which give form to that AEon who is
without material substance and unbegotten, and these, again, are the
forms which the Lord has called angels, who continually behold the face
of the Father. [2832]
2. Those names of the elements which may be told, and are common, he
has called AEons, and words, and roots, and seeds, and fulnesses, and
fruits. He asserts that each of these, and all that is peculiar to
every one of them, is to be understood as contained in the name
Ecclesia. Of these elements, the last letter of the last one uttered
its voice, and this sound [2833] going forth generated its own elements
after the image of the [other] elements, by which he affirms, that both
the things here below were arranged into the order they occupy, and
those that preceded them were called into existence. He also maintains
that the letter itself, the sound of which followed that sound below,
was received up again by the syllable to which it belonged, in order to
the completion of the whole, but that the sound remained below as if
cast outside. But the element itself from which the letter with its
special pronunciation descended to that below, he affirms to consist of
thirty letters, while each of these letters, again, contains other
letters in itself, by means of which the name of the letter is
expressed. And thus, again, others are named by other letters, and
others still by others, so that the multitude of letters swells out
into infinitude. You may more clearly understand what I mean by the
following example:--The word Delta contains five letters, viz., D, E,
L, T, A: these letters again, are written by other letters, [2834] and
others still by others. If, then, the entire composition of the word
Delta [when thus analyzed] runs out into infinitude, letters
continually generating other letters, and following one another in
constant succession, how much vaster than that [one] word is the
[entire] ocean of letters! And if even one letter be thus infinite,
just consider the immensity of the letters in the entire name; out of
which the Sige of Marcus has taught us the Propator is composed. For
which reason the Father, knowing the incomprehensibleness of His own
nature, assigned to the elements which He also terms AEons, [the power]of each one uttering its own enunciation, because no one of them was capable by itself of uttering the whole.
3. Moreover, the Tetrad, explaining these things to him more fully,
said:--I wish to show thee Aletheia (Truth) herself; for I have brought
her down from the dwellings above, that thou mayest see her without a
veil, and understand her beauty—that thou mayest also hear her
speaking, and admire her wisdom. Behold, then, her head on high, Alpha
and Omega; her neck, Beta and Psi; her shoulders with her hands, Gamma
and Chi; her breast, Delta and Phi; her diaphragm, Epsilon and Upsilon;
her back, Zeta and Tau; her belly, Eta and Sigma; her thighs, Theta and
Rho; her knees, Iota and Pi; her legs, Kappa and Omicron; her ankles,
Lambda and Xi; her feet, Mu and Nu. Such is the body of Truth,
according to this magician, such the figure of the element, such the
character of the letter. And he calls this element Anthropos (Man), and
says that is the fountain of all speech, and the beginning of all
sound, and the expression of all that is unspeakable, and the mouth of
the silent Sige. This indeed is the body of Truth. But do thou, elevating the thoughts of thy mind on high, listen from the mouth of Truth to the self-begotten Word, who is also the dispenser of the bounty of the Father.
4. When she (the Tetrad) had spoken these things, Aletheia looked at him, opened her mouth, and uttered a word. That word was a name, and the name was this one which we do know and speak of, viz., Christ Jesus. When she had uttered this name, she at once relapsed into silence. And as Marcus waited in the expectation that she would say something more, the Tetrad again came forward and said:--Thou hast
reckoned as contemptible that word which thou hast heard from the mouth
of Aletheia. This which thou knowest and seemest to possess, is not an
ancient name. For thou possessest the sound of it merely, whilst thou
art ignorant of its power. For Jesus (‘Iesous) is a name arithmetically
[2835] symbolical, consisting of six letters, and is known by all those
that belong to the called. But that which is among the AEons of the
Pleroma consists of many parts, and is of another form and shape, and
is known by those [angels] who are joined in affinity with Him, and whose figures (mightinesses) are always present with Him.
5. Know, then, that the four-and-twenty letters which you possess are
symbolical emanations of the three powers that contain the entire
number of the elements above. For you are to reckon thus—that the
nine mute [2836] letters are [the images] of Pater and Aletheia,
because they are without voice, that is, of such a nature as cannot be
uttered or pronounced. But the semi-vowels [2837] represent Logos and
Zoe, because they are, as it were, midway between the consonants and
the vowels, partaking [2838] of the nature of both. The vowels, again,
are representative of Anthropos and Ecclesia, inasmuch as a voice
proceeding from Anthropos gave being to them all; for the sound of the
voice imparted to them form. Thus, then, Logos and Zoe possess eight
[of these letters]; Anthropos and Ecclesia seven; and Pater and
Aletheia nine. But since the number allotted to each was unequal, He
who existed in the Father came down, having been specially sent by Him
from whom He was separated, for the rectification of what had taken
place, that the unity of the Pleromas, being endowed with equality,
might develop in all that one power which flows from all. Thus that
division which had only seven letters, received the power of eight,
[2839] and the three sets were rendered alike in point of number, all
becoming Ogdoads; which three, when brought together, constitute the
number four-and-twenty. The three elements, too (which he declares to
exist in conjunction with three powers, [2840] and thus form the six
from which have flowed the twenty-four letters), being quadrupled by
the word of the ineffable Tetrad, give rise to the same number with
them; and these elements he maintains to belong to Him who cannot be
named. These, again, were endowed by the three powers with a
resemblance to Him who is invisible. And he says that those letters
which we call double [2841] are the images of the images of these
elements; and if these be added to the four-and-twenty letters, by the
force of analogy they form the number thirty.
6. He asserts that the fruit of this arrangement and analogy has been
manifested in the likeness of an image, namely, Him who, after six
days, ascended [2842] into the mountain along with three others, and
then became one of six (the sixth), [2843] in which character He
descended and was contained in the Hebdomad, since He was the
illustrious Ogdoad, [2844] and contained in Himself the entire number
of the elements, which the descent of the dove (who is Alpha and Omega)
made clearly manifest, when He came to be baptized; for the number of
the dove is eight hundred and one. [2845] And for this reason did Moses
declare that man was formed on the sixth day; and then, again,
according to arrangement, it was on the sixth day, which is the
preparation, that the last man appeared, for the regeneration of the
first. Of this arrangement, both the beginning and the end were formed
at that sixth hour, at which He was nailed to the tree. For that
perfect being Nous, knowing that the number six had the power both of
formation and regeneration, declared to the children of light, that
regeneration which has been wrought out by Him who appeared as the
Episemon in regard to that number. Whence also he declares it is that
the double letters [2846] contain the Episemon number; for this
Episemon, when joined to the twenty-four elements, completed the name
of thirty letters.
7. He employed as his instrument, as the Sige of Marcus declares, the
power of seven letters, [2847] in order that the fruit of the
independent will [of Achamoth] might be revealed. “Consider this
present Episemon,” she says—“Him who was formed after the [original]
Episemon, as being, as it were, divided or cut into two parts, and
remaining outside; who, by His own power and wisdom, through means of
that which had been produced by Himself, gave life to this world,
consisting of seven powers, [2848] after the likeness of the power of
the Hebdomad, and so formed it, that it is the soul of everything
visible. And He indeed uses this work Himself as if it had been formed
by His own free will; but the rest, as being images of what cannot be
[fully] imitated, are subservient to the Enthymesis of the mother. And
the first heaven indeed pronounces Alpha, the next to this Epsilon, the
third Eta, the fourth, which is also in the midst of the seven, utters
the sound of Iota, the fifth Omicron, the sixth Upsilon, the seventh,
which is also the fourth from the middle, utters the elegant Omega,”—
as the Sige of Marcus, talking a deal of nonsense, but uttering no word
of truth, confidently asserts. “And these powers,” she adds, “being all
simultaneously clasped in each other’s embrace, do sound out the glory
of Him by whom they were produced; and the glory of that sound is
transmitted upwards to the Propator.” She asserts, moreover, that “the
sound of this uttering of praise, having been wafted to the earth, has
become the Framer and the Parent of those things which are on the earth.”
8. He instances, in proof of this, the case of infants who have just
been born, the cry of whom, as soon as they have issued from the womb,
is in accordance with the sound of every one of these elements. As,
then, he says, the seven powers glorify the Word, so also does the
complaining soul of infants. [2849] For this reason, too, David said:
“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise;”
[2850] and again: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” [2851] Hence
also it comes to pass, that when the soul is involved in difficulties
and distresses, for its own relief it calls out, “Oh” (O), in honour of
the letter in question, [2852] so that its cognate soul above may recognise [its distress], and send down to it relief.
9. Thus it is, that in regard to the whole name, [2853] which consists
of thirty letters, and Bythus, who receives his increase from the
letters of this [name], and, moreover, the body of Aletheia, which is
composed of twelve members, each of which consists of two letters, and
the voice which she uttered without having spoken at all, and in regard
to the analysis of that name which cannot be expressed in words, and
the soul of the world and of man, according as they possess that
arrangement, which is after the image [of things above], he has uttered
his nonsensical opinions. It remains that I relate how the Tetrad
showed him from the names a power equal in number; so that nothing, my
friend, which I have received as spoken by him, may remain unknown to
thee; and thus thy request, often proposed to me, may be fulfilled.

[2827] This sentence has completely baffled all the critics. [Its
banter, or mock gravity, has not been self-evident.] We cannot enter
upon the wide field of discussion which it has opened up, but would
simply state that Irenaeus here seems to us, as often, to be playing
upon the terms which were in common use among these heretics. Marcus
probably received his system from Colorbasus, and is here declared, by
the use of that jargon which Irenaeus means to ridicule while so employing it, to have proceeded to develop it in the way described.
[2828] Such appears to be the meaning of anousios in this passage. The
meaning of ousia fluctuated for a time in the early Church, and was sometimes used to denote material substance, instead of its usual significance of being.
[2829] The old Latin preserves arche untranslated, implying that this
was the first word which the Father spoke. Some modern editors adopt
this view, while others hold the meaning simply to be, as given above,
that that first sound which the Father uttered was the origin of all the rest.
[2830] The letters are here confounded with the AEons, which they represented.
[2831] [1 Cor. xiv. 16.]
[2832] Matt. xviii. 10.
[2833] By this Achamoth is denoted, who was said to give rise to the material elements, after the image of the Divine.
[2834] That is, their names are spelt by other letters.
[2835] The old Latin version renders episemon, insigne, illustrious, but there seems to be a reference to the Valentinian notion of the mystic number of 888 formed (10+8+200+70+400+200) by the numerical value of the letters in the word ‘Iesous.
[2836] The mutes are p, k, t, b, g, d, ph, ch, th.
[2837] The semi-vowels are l, m, n, r, s, z, x, ps.
[2838] It seems scarcely possible to give a more definite rendering of
this clause: it may be literally translated thus: “And because they
receive the outflow of those above, but the turning back again of those
[2839] The ninth letter being taken from the mutes and added to the semi-vowels, an equal division of the twenty-four was thus secured.
[2840] Viz., Pater, Anthropos, and Logos.
[2841] Viz., z, x, ps = ds, ks, ps.
[2842] Matt. xvii. 7; Mark ix. 2.
[2843] Moses and Elias being added to the company.
[2844] Referring to the word Chreistos, according to Harvey, who
remarks, that “generally the Ogdoad was the receptacle of the spiritual
[2845] The Saviour, as Alpha and Omega, was symbolized by the dove, the
sum of the Greek numerals, p, e, r, i, s, t, e, r, a (peristera, dove),
being, like that of A and O, 801.
[2846] That is, the letters z, x, ps all contain s, whose value is six,
and which was called episemon by the Greeks.
[2847] Referring to Aletheia, which, in Greek, contains seven letters.
[2848] By these seven powers are meant the seven heavens (also called
angels), formed by the Demiurge.
[2849] We here follow the text of Hippolytus: the ordinary text and the
old Latin read, “So does the soul of infants, weeping and mourning over
Marcus, deify him.”
[2850] Ps. viii. 2.
[2851] Ps. xix. 1.
[2852] The text is here altogether uncertain: we have given the probable meaning.
[2853] That is, the name of Soter, the perfect result of the whole Pleroma.

Chapter XV.—Sige relates to Marcus the generation of the twenty-four elements
and of Jesus. Exposure of these absurdities.
1. The all-wise Sige then announced the production of the
four-and-twenty elements to him as follows:--Along with Monotes there
coexisted Henotes, from which sprang two productions, as we have
remarked above, Monas and Hen, which, added to the other two, make
four, for twice two are four. And again, two and four, when added
together, exhibit the number six. And further, these six being
quadrupled, give rise to the twenty-four forms. And the names of the
first Tetrad, which are understood to be most holy, and not capable of
being expressed in words, are known by the Son alone, while the father
also knows what they are. The other names which are to be uttered with
respect, and faith, and reverence, are, according to him, Arrhetos and
Sige, Pater and Aletheia. Now the entire number of this Tetrad amounts
to four-and-twenty letters; for the name Arrhetos contains in itself
seven letters, Seige [2854] five, Pater five, and Aletheia seven. If
all these be added together—twice five, and twice seven—they complete
the number twenty-four. In like manner, also, the second Tetrad, Logos
and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia, reveal the same number of elements.
Moreover, that name of the Saviour which may be pronounced, viz., Jesus
[’Iesous], consists of six letters, but His unutterable name comprises
four-and-twenty letters. The name Christ the Son [2855] (huios
Chreistos) comprises twelve letters, but that which is unpronounceable
in Christ contains thirty letters. And for this reason he declares that
He is Alpha and Omega, that he may indicate the dove, inasmuch as that
bird has this number [in its name].
2. But Jesus, he affirms, has the following unspeakable origin. From
the mother of all things, that is, the first Tetrad, there came forth
the second Tetrad, after the manner of a daughter; and thus an Ogdoad
was formed, from which, again, a Decad proceeded: thus was produced a
Decad and an Ogdoad. The Decad, then, being joined with the Ogdoad, and
multiplying it ten times, gave rise to the number eighty; and, again,
multiplying eighty ten times, produced the number eight hundred. Thus,
then, the whole number of the letters proceeding from the Ogdoad
[multiplied] into the Decad, is eight hundred and eighty-eight. [2856]
This is the name of Jesus; for this name, if you reckon up the
numerical value of the letters, amounts to eight hundred and
eighty-eight. Thus, then, you have a clear statement of their opinion
as to the origin of the supercelestial Jesus. Wherefore, also, the
alphabet of the Greeks contains eight Monads, eight Decads, and eight
Hecatads [2857] , which present the number eight hundred and
eighty-eight, that is, Jesus, who is formed of all numbers; and on this
account He is called Alpha and Omega, indicating His origin from all.
And, again, they put the matter thus: If the first Tetrad be added up
according to the progression of number, the number ten appears. For
one, and two, and three, and four, when added together, form ten; and
this, as they will have it, is Jesus. Moreover, Chreistus, he says,
being a word of eight letters, indicates the first Ogdoad, and this,
when multiplied by ten, gives birth to Jesus (888). And Christ the Son,
he says, is also spoken of, that is, the Duodecad. For the name Son,
(uios) contains four letters, and Christ (Chreistus) eight, which,
being combined, point out the greatness of the Duodecad. But, he
alleges, before the Episemon of this name appeared, that is Jesus the
Son, mankind were involved in great ignorance and error. But when this
name of six letters was manifested (the person bearing it clothing
Himself in flesh, that He might come under the apprehension of man’s
senses, and having in Himself these six and twenty-four letters), then,
becoming acquainted with Him, they ceased from their ignorance, and
passed from death unto life, this name serving as their guide to the
Father of truth. [2858] For the Father of all had resolved to put an
end to ignorance, and to destroy death. But this abolishing of
ignorance was just the knowledge of Him. And therefore that man
(Anthropos) was chosen according to His will, having been formed after
the image of the [corresponding] power above.
3. As to the AEons, they proceeded from the Tetrad, and in that Tetrad
were Anthropos and Ecclesia, Logos and Zoe. The powers, then, he
declares, who emanated from these, generated that Jesus who appeared
upon the earth. The angel Gabriel took the place of Logos, the Holy
Spirit that of Zoe, the Power of the Highest that of Anthropos, while
the Virgin pointed out the place of Ecclesia. And thus, by a special
dispensation, there was generated by Him, through Mary, that man, whom,
as He passed through the womb, the Father of all chose to [obtain] the
knowledge of Himself by means of the Word. And on His coming to the
water [of baptism], there descended on Him, in the form of a dove, that
Being who had formerly ascended on high, and completed the twelfth
number, in whom there existed the seed of those who were produced
contemporaneously with Himself, and who descended and ascended along
with Him. Moreover, he maintains that power which descended was the
seed of the Father, which had in itself both the Father and the Son, as
well as that power of Sige which is known by means of them, but cannot
be expressed in language, and also all the AEons. And this was that
Spirit who spoke by the mouth of Jesus, and who confessed that He was
the son of Man as well as revealed the Father, and who, having
descended into Jesus, was made one with Him. And he says that the
Saviour formed by special dispensation did indeed destroy death, but
that Christ made known the Father. [2859] He maintains, therefore, that
Jesus is the name of that man formed by a special dispensation, and that He was formed after the likeness and form of that [heavenly] Anthropos, who was about to descend upon Him. After He had received that AEon, He possessed Anthropos himself, and Logos himself, and Pater, and Arrhetus, and Sige, and Aletheia, and Ecclesia, and Zoe.
4. Such ravings, we may now well say, go beyond Iu, Iu, Pheu, Pheu, and
every kind of tragic exclamation or utterance of misery. [2860] For who
would not detest one who is the wretched contriver of such audacious falsehoods, when he perceives the truth turned by Marcus into a mere image, and that punctured all over with the letters of the alphabet?
The Greeks confess that they first received sixteen letters from
Cadmus, and that but recently, as compared with the beginning, [the
vast antiquity of which is implied] in the common proverb: “Yesterday
and before;” [2861] and afterwards, in the course of time, they
themselves invented at one period the aspirates, and at another the
double letters, while, last of all, they say Palamedes added the long
letters to the former. Was it so, then, that until these things took
place among the Greeks, truth had no existence? For, according to thee,
Marcus, the body of truth is posterior to Cadmus and those who preceded
him—posterior also to those who added the rest of the letters— posterior even to thyself! For thou alone hast formed that which is called by thee the truth into an [outward, visible] image.
5. But who will tolerate thy nonsensical Sige, who names Him that cannot be named, and expounds the nature of Him that is unspeakable, and searches out Him that is unsearchable, and declares that He whom
thou maintainest to be destitute of body and form, opened His mouth and
sent forth the Word, as if He were included among organized beings; and
that His Word, while like to His Author, and bearing the image of the
invisible, nevertheless consisted of thirty elements and four
syllables? It will follow, then, according to thy theory, that the
Father of all, in accordance with the likeness of the Word, consists of
thirty elements and four syllables! Or, again, who will tolerate thee
in thy juggling with forms and numbers,--at one time thirty, at another
twenty-four, and at another, again, only six,--whilst thou shuttest up
[in these] the Word of God, the Founder, and Framer, and Maker of all
things; and then, again, cutting Him up piecemeal into four syllables
and thirty elements; and bringing down the Lord of all who founded the
heavens to the number eight hundred and eighty-eight, so that He should
be similar to the alphabet; and subdividing the Father, who cannot be
contained, but contains all things, into a Tetrad, and an Ogdoad, and a
Decad, and a Duodecad; and by such multiplications, setting forth the
unspeakable and inconceivable nature of the Father, as thou thyself
declarest it to be? And showing thyself a very Daedalus for evil
invention, and the wicked architect of the supreme power, thou dost
construct a nature and substance for Him whom thou callest incorporeal
and immaterial, out of a multitude of letters, generated the one by the
other. And that power whom thou affirmest to be indivisible, thou dost
nevertheless divide into consonants, and vowels, and semi-vowels; and,
falsely ascribing those letters which are mute to the Father of all
things, and to His Ennoea (thought), thou hast driven on all that place
confidence in thee to the highest point of blasphemy, and to the grossest impiety. [2862]
6. With good reason, therefore, and very fittingly, in reference to thy
rash attempt, has that divine elder [2863] and preacher of the truth burst forth in verse against thee as follows:--

“Marcus, thou former of idols, inspector of portents,
Skill’d in consulting the stars, and deep in the black arts of magic,
Ever by tricks such as these confirming the doctrines of error,
Furnishing signs unto those involved by thee in deception,
Wonders of power that is utterly severed from God and apostate,
Which Satan, thy true father, enables thee still to accomplish,
By means of Azazel, that fallen and yet mighty angel,--
Thus making thee the precursor of his own impious actions.”
Such are the words of the saintly elder. And I shall endeavour to state
the remainder of their mystical system, which runs out to great length,
in brief compass, and to bring to the light what has for a long time been concealed. For in this way such things will become easily susceptible of exposure by all.

[2854] Manifestly to be so spelt here, as in the sequel Chreistus, for
[2855] The text is here altogether uncertain, and the meaning obscure.
[2856] The reading is exceedingly doubtful: some prefer the number eighty-eight.
[2857] There were, as Harvey observes, three extraneous characters
introduced into the Greek alphabet for the sake of numeration—the
three episema for 6, 90, and 900 respectively. The true alphabet, then,
as employed to denote number, included eight units, eight tens, and eight hundreds.
[2858] Or, according to the Greek text, “being as the way to the Father;” comp. John xiv. 6.
[2859] The text is here uncertain: we follow that suggested by Grabe.
[2860] [Comp. cap. xi. 4, supra.]
[2861] Comp. Gen. xxxi. 2.—We here follow the punctuation of Scaliger, now generally accepted by the editors, though entirely different from the old Latin.
[2862] [Mosheim thinks this Marcus was a lunatic.]
[2863] [Some think Pothinus.]

Chapter XVI.—Absurd interpretations of the Marcosians.
1. Blending in one the production of their own AEons, and the straying
and recovery of the sheep [spoken of in the Gospel [2864] ], these
persons endeavour to set forth things in a more mystical style, while
they refer everything to numbers, maintaining that the universe has
been formed out of a Monad and a Dyad. And then, reckoning from unity
on to four, they thus generate the Decad. For when one, two, three, and
four are added together, they give rise to the number of the ten AEons.
And, again, the Dyad advancing from itself [by twos] up to six—two,
and four, and six—brings out the Duodecad. Once more, if we reckon in
the same way up to ten, the number thirty appears, in which are found
eight, and ten, and twelve. They therefore term the Duodecad—because
it contains the Episemon, [2865] and because the Episemon [so to speak]
waits upon it—the passion. And for this reason, because an error
occurred in connection with the twelfth number, [2866] the sheep
frisked off, and went astray; for they assert that a defection took
place from the Duodecad. In the same way they oracularly declare, that
one power having departed also from the Duodecad, has perished; and
this was represented by the woman who lost the drachma, [2867] and,
lighting a lamp, again found it. Thus, therefore, the numbers that were
left, viz., nine, as respects the pieces of money, and eleven in regard
to the sheep, [2868] when multiplied together, give birth to the number
ninety-nine, for nine times eleven are ninety-nine. Wherefore also they
maintain the word “Amen” contains this number.
2. I will not, however, weary thee by recounting their other interpretations, that you may perceive the results everywhere. They
maintain for instance, that the letter Eta (e) along with the Episemon
(s) constitutes an Ogdoad, inasmuch as it occupies the eighth place
from the first letter. Then, again, without the Episemon, reckoning the
number of the letters, and adding them up till we come to Eta, they
bring out the Triacontad. For if one begins at Alpha and ends with Eta,
omitting the Episemon, and adds together the value of the letters in
succession, he will find their number altogether to amount to thirty.
For up to Epsilon (e) fifteen are formed; then adding seven to that
number, the sum of twenty-two is reached. Next, Eta being added to
these, since its value is eight, the most wonderful Triacontad is
completed. And hence they give forth that the Ogdoad is the mother of
the thirty AEons. Since, therefore, the number thirty is composed of
three powers [the Ogdoad, Decad, and Duodecad], when multiplied by
three, it produces ninety, for three times thirty are ninety. Likewise
this Triad, when multiplied by itself, gives rise to nine. Thus the
Ogdoad generates, by these means, ninety-nine. And since the twelfth
AEon, by her defection, left eleven in the heights above, they maintain
that therefore the position of the letters is a true coordinate of the
method of their calculation [2869] (for Lambda is the eleventh in order
among the letters, and represents the number thirty), and also forms a
representation of the arrangement of affairs above, since, on from
Alpha, omitting Episemon, the number of the letters up to Lambda, when
added together according to the successive value of the letters, and
including Lambda itself, forms the sum of ninety-nine; but that this
Lambda, being the eleventh in order, descended to seek after one equal
to itself, so as to complete the number of twelve letters, and when it
found such a one, the number was completed, is manifest from the very
configuration of the letter; for Lambda being engaged, as it were, in
the quest of one similar to itself, and finding such an one, and
clasping it to itself, thus filled up the place of the twelfth, the
letter Mu (M) being composed of two Lambdas (LL). Wherefore also they,
by means of their “knowledge,” avoid the place of ninety-nine, that is,
the defection—a type of the left hand, [2870] --but endeavour to secure one more, which, when added to the ninety and nine, has the effect of changing their reckoning to the right hand.
3. I well know, my dear friend, that when thou hast read through all
this, thou wilt indulge in a hearty laugh over this their inflated wise
folly! But those men are really worthy of being mourned over, who
promulgate such a kind of religion, and who so frigidly and perversely
pull to pieces the greatness of the truly unspeakable power, and the
dispensations of God in themselves so striking, by means of Alpha and
Beta, and through the aid of numbers. But as many as separate from the
Church, and give heed to such old wives’ fables as these, are truly
self-condemned; and these men Paul commands us, “after a first and
second admonition, to avoid.” [2871] And John, the disciple of the
Lord, has intensified their condemnation, when he desires us not even
to address to them the salutation of “good-speed;” for, says he, “He
that bids them be of good-speed is a partaker with their evil deeds;”
[2872] and that with reason, “for there is no good-speed to the
ungodly,” [2873] saith the Lord. Impious indeed, beyond all impiety,
are these men, who assert that the Maker of heaven and earth, the only
God Almighty, besides whom there is no God, was produced by means of a
defect, which itself sprang from another defect, so that, according to
them, He was the product of the third defect. [2874] Such an opinion we
should detest and execrate, while we ought everywhere to flee far apart
from those that hold it; and in proportion as they vehemently maintain
and rejoice in their fictitious doctrines, so much the more should we
be convinced that they are under the influence of the wicked spirits of
the Ogdoad,--just as those persons who fall into a fit of frenzy, the
more they laugh, and imagine themselves to be well, and do all things
as if they were in good health [both of body and mind], yea, some
things better than those who really are so, are only thus shown to be
the more seriously diseased. In like manner do these men, the more they
seem to excel others in wisdom, and waste their strength by drawing the
bow too tightly, [2875] the greater fools do they show themselves. For
when the unclean spirit of folly has gone forth, and when afterwards he
finds them not waiting upon God, but occupied with mere worldly
questions, then, “taking seven other spirits more wicked than himself,”
[2876] and inflating the minds of these men with the notion of their
being able to conceive of something beyond God, and having fitly
prepared them for the reception of deceit, he implants within them the
Ogdoad of the foolish spirits of wickedness.

[2864] Luke xv. 4.
[2865] All the editors, Grabe, Massuet, Stieren, and Harvey, differ as
to the text and interpretation of this sentence. We have given what seems the simplest rendering of the text as it stands.
[2866] Referring to the last of the twelve AEons.
[2867] Luke xv. 8.
[2868] Meaning the AEon who left the Duodecad, when eleven remained, and not referring to the lost sheep of the parable.
[2869] Harvey gives the above paraphrase of the very obscure original;
others propose to read l instead of logou.
[2870] Massuet explains this and the following reference, by remarking
that the ancients used the fingers of the hand in counting; by the left
hand they indicated all the numbers below a hundred, but by the right
hand all above that sum.—Comp. Juvenal, Sat., x. 249.
[2871] Tit. iii. 10.
[2872] 2 John 10, 11.
[2873] Isa. xlviii. 22.
[2874] The Demiurge being the fruit of the abortive conversion of the
abortive passion of Achamoth, who, again, was the abortive issue of Sophia.
[2875] i.e., by aiming at what transcends their ability, they fall into
absurdity, as a bow is broken by bending it too far.
[2876] Matt. xii. 43.

Chapter XVII.—The theory of the Marcosians, that created things were made
after the image of things invisible.
1. I wish also to explain to thee their theory as to the way in which
the creation itself was formed through the mother by the Demiurge (as
it were without his knowledge), after the image of things invisible.
They maintain, then, that first of all the four elements, fire, water,
earth, and air, were produced after the image of the primary Tetrad above, and that then, we add their operations, viz., heat, cold, dryness, and humidity, an exact likeness of the Ogdoad is presented.
They next reckon up ten powers in the following manner:--There are
seven globular bodies, which they also call heavens; then that globular
body which contains these, which also they name the eighth heaven; and,
in addition to these, the sun and moon. These, being ten in number,
they declare to be types of the invisible Decad, which proceeded from
Logos and Zoe. As to the Duodecad, it is indicated by the zodiacal
circle, as it is called; for they affirm that the twelve signs do most
manifestly shadow forth the Duodecad, the daughter of Anthropos and
Ecclesia. And since the highest heaven, beating upon the very sphere
[of the seventh heaven], has been linked with the most rapid precession
of the whole system, as a check, and balancing that system with its own
gravity, so that it completes the cycle from sign to sign in thirty
years,--they say that this is an image of Horus, encircling their
thirty-named mother. [2877] And then, again, as the moon travels
through her allotted space of heaven in thirty days, they hold, that by
these days she expresses the number of the thirty AEons. The sun also,
who runs through his orbit in twelve months, and then returns to the
same point in the circle, makes the Duodecad manifest by these twelve
months; and the days, as being measured by twelve hours, are a type of
the invisible Duodecad. Moreover, they declare that the hour, which is
the twelfth part of the day, is composed [2878] of thirty parts, in
order to set forth the image of the Triacontad. Also the circumference
of the zodiacal circle itself contains three hundred and sixty degrees
(for each of its signs comprises thirty); and thus also they affirm,
that by means of this circle an image is preserved of that connection
which exists between the twelve and the thirty. Still further,
asserting that the earth is divided into twelve zones, and that in each
zone it receives power from the heavens, according to the perpendicular
[position of the sun above it], bringing forth productions
corresponding to that power which sends down its influence upon it,
they maintain that this is a most evident type of the Duodecad and its
2. In addition to these things, they declare that the Demiurge, desiring to imitate the infinitude, and eternity, and immensity, and freedom from all measurement by time of the Ogdoad above, but, as he was the fruit of defect, being unable to express its permanence and
eternity, had recourse to the expedient of spreading out its eternity
into times, and seasons, and vast numbers of years, imagining, that by
the multitude of such times he might imitate its immensity. They declare further, that the truth having escaped him, he followed that which was false, and that, for this reason, when the times are fulfilled, his work shall perish.

[2877] Such is the translation which Harvey, following the text preserved by Hippolytus, gives of the above intricate and obscure sentence.
[2878] Literally, “is adorned with.”

Chapter XVIII.—Passages from Moses, which the heretics pervert to the support
of their hypothesis.
1. And while they affirm such things as these concerning the creation,
every one of them generates something new, day by day, according to his
ability; for no one is deemed “perfect,” who does not develop among
them some mighty fictions. It is thus necessary, first, to indicate
what things they metamorphose [to their own use] out of the prophetical
writings, and next, to refute them. Moses, then, they declare, by his
mode of beginning the account of the creation, has at the commencement
pointed out the mother of all things when he says, “In the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth;” [2879] for, as they maintain, by
naming these four,--God, beginning, heaven, and earth,--he set forth
their Tetrad. Indicating also its invisible and hidden nature, he said,
“Now the earth was invisible and unformed.” [2880] They will have it,
moreover, that he spoke of the second Tetrad, the offspring of the
first, in this way—by naming an abyss and darkness, in which were also
water, and the Spirit moving upon the water. Then, proceeding to
mention the Decad, he names light, day, night, the firmament, the
evening, the morning, dry land, sea, plants, and, in the tenth place,
trees. Thus, by means of these ten names, he indicated the ten AEons.
The power of the Duodecad, again, was shadowed forth by him thus:--He
names the sun, moon, stars, seasons, years, whales, fishes, reptiles,
birds, quadrupeds, wild beasts, and after all these, in the twelfth
place, man. Thus they teach that the Triacontad was spoken of through
Moses by the Spirit. Moreover, man also, being formed after the image
of the power above, had in himself that ability which flows from the
one source. This ability was seated in the region of the brain, from
which four faculties proceed, after the image of the Tetrad above, and
these are called: the first, sight, the second, hearing, the third,
smell, and the fourth, [2881] taste. And they say that the Ogdoad is
indicated by man in this way: that he possesses two ears, the like
number of eyes, also two nostrils, and a twofold taste, namely, of
bitter and sweet. Moreover, they teach that the whole man contains the
entire image of the Triacontad as follows: In his hands, by means of
his fingers, he bears the Decad; and in his whole body the Duodecad,
inasmuch as his body is divided into twelve members; for they portion
that out, as the body of Truth is divided by them—a point of which we
have already spoken. [2882] But the Ogdoad, as being unspeakable and invisible, is understood as hidden in the viscera.
2. Again, they assert that the sun, the great light-giver, was formed
on the fourth day, with a reference to the number of the Tetrad. So
also, according to them, the courts [2883] of the tabernacle
constructed by Moses, being composed of fine linen, and blue, and
purple, and scarlet, pointed to the same image. Moreover, they maintain
that the long robe of the priest falling over his feet, as being
adorned with four rows of precious stones, [2884] indicates the Tetrad;
and if there are any other things in the Scriptures which can possibly
be dragged into the number four, they declare that these had their
being with a view to the Tetrad. The Ogdoad, again, was shown as
follows:--They affirm that man was formed on the eighth day, for
sometimes they will have him to have been made on the sixth day, and
sometimes on the eighth, unless, perchance, they mean that his earthly
part was formed on the sixth day, but his fleshly part on the eighth,
for these two things are distinguished by them. Some of them also hold
that one man was formed after the image and likeness of God,
masculo-feminine, and that this was the spiritual man; and that another
man was formed out of the earth.
3. Further, they declare that the arrangement made with respect to the
ark in the Deluge, by means of which eight persons were saved, [2885]
most clearly indicates the Ogdoad which brings salvation. David also
shows forth the same, as holding the eighth place in point of age among
his brethren. [2886] Moreover, that circumcision which took place on
the eighth day, [2887] represented the circumcision of the Ogdoad
above. In a word, whatever they find in the Scriptures capable of being
referred to the number eight, they declare to fulfil the mystery of the
Ogdoad. With respect, again, to the Decad, they maintain that it is
indicated by those ten nations which God promised to Abraham for a
possession. [2888] The arrangement also made by Sarah when, after ten
years, she gave [2889] her handmaid Hagar to him, that by her he might
have a son, showed the same thing. Moreover, the servant of Abraham who
was sent to Rebekah, and presented her at the well with ten bracelets
of gold, and her brethren who detained her for ten days; [2890]
Jeroboam also, who received the ten sceptres [2891] (tribes), and the
ten courts [2892] of the tabernacle, and the columns of ten cubits [2893] [high], and the ten sons of Jacob who were at first sent into Egypt to buy corn, [2894] and the ten apostles to whom the Lord appeared after His resurrection,--Thomas [2895] being absent,--represented, according to them, the invisible Decad.
4. As to the Duodecad, in connection with which the mystery of the
passion of the defect occurred, from which passion they maintain that
all things visible were framed, they assert that is to be found
strikingly and manifestly everywhere [in Scripture]. For they declare
that the twelve sons of Jacob, [2896] from whom also sprung twelve
tribes,-- the breastplate of the high priest, which bore twelve
precious stones and twelve little bells, [2897] --the twelve stones
which were placed by Moses at the foot of the mountain, [2898] --the
same number which was placed by Joshua in the river, [2899] and again,
on the other side, the bearers of the ark of the covenant, [2900]
those stones which were set up by Elijah when the heifer was offered
as a burnt-offering; [2901] the number, too, of the apostles; and, in
fine, every event which embraces in it the number twelve,--set forth
their Duodecad. And then the union of all these, which is called the
Triacontad, they strenuously endeavour to demonstrate by the ark of
Noah, the height of which was thirty cubits; [2902] by the case of
Samuel, who assigned Saul the chief place among thirty guests; [2903]
by David, when for thirty days he concealed himself in the field;
[2904] by those who entered along with him into the cave; also by the
fact that the length (height) of the holy tabernacle was thirty cubits;
[2905] and if they meet with any other like numbers, they still apply
these to their Triacontad.

[2879] Gen. i. 1.
[2880] Gen. i. 2.
[2881] One of the senses was thus capriciously cancelled by these heretics.
[2882] See above, chap. xiv. 2.
[2883] Or, rather, perhaps “curtains.” Ex. xxvi. 1.
[2884] Ex. xxviii. 17.
[2885] Gen. vi. 18; 1 Pet. iii. 20.
[2886] 1 Sam. xvi. 10.
[2887] Gen. xvii. 12.
[2888] Gen. xv. 19.
[2889] Gen. xvi. 2.
[2890] Gen. xxiv. 22, 25.
[2891] 1 Kings xi. 31.
[2892] Ex. xxvi. 1, Ex. xxxvi. 8.
[2893] Ex. xxxvi. 21.
[2894] Gen. xlii. 3.
[2895] John xx. 24.
[2896] Gen. xxxv. 22, Gen. xlix. 28.
[2897] Ex. xxviii. 2.—There is no mention of the number of the bells
in Scripture.
[2898] Ex. xxiv. 4.
[2899] Josh. iv. 3.
[2900] Josh. iii. 12.
[2901] 1 Kings xviii. 31.
[2902] Gen. vi. 15.
[2903] 1 Sam. ix. 22.
[2904] 1 Sam. xx. 5.
[2905] Ex. xxvi. 8. Numbers appear to have been often capriciously
introduced by these heretics to give a colour of support to their own

Chapter XIX.—Passages of Scripture by which they attempt to prove that the
Supreme Father was unknown before the coming of Christ.
1. I judge it necessary to add to these details also what, by garbling
passages of Scripture, they try to persuade us concerning their
Propator, who was unknown to all before the coming of Christ. Their
object in this is to show that our Lord announced another Father than
the Maker of this universe, whom, as we said before, they impiously
declare to have been the fruit of a defect. For instance, when the
prophet Isaiah says, “But Israel hath not known Me, and My people have
not understood Me,” [2906] they pervert his words to mean ignorance of
the invisible Bythus. And that which is spoken by Hosea, “There is no
truth in them, nor the knowledge of God,” [2907] they strive to give
the same reference. And, “There is none that understandeth, or that
seeketh after God: they have all gone out of the way, they are together
become unprofitable,” [2908] they maintain to be said concerning
ignorance of Bythus. Also that which is spoken by Moses, “No man shall
see God and live,” [2909] has, as they would persuade us, the same

2. For they falsely hold, that the Creator was seen by the prophets.
But this passage, “No man shall see God and live,” they would interpret
as spoken of His greatness unseen and unknown by all; and indeed that
these words, “No man shall see God,” are spoken concerning the
invisible Father, the Maker of the universe, is evident to us all; but
that they are not used concerning that Bythus whom they conjure into
existence, but concerning the Creator (and He is the invisible God),
shall be shown as we proceed. They maintain that Daniel also set forth
the same thing when he begged of the angels explanations of the
parables, as being himself ignorant of them. But the angel, hiding from
him the great mystery of Bythus, said unto him, “Go thy way quickly,
Daniel, for these sayings are closed up until those who have
understanding do understand them, and those who are white be made
white.” [2910] Moreover, they vaunt themselves as being the white and
the men of good understanding.

[2906] Isa. i. 3.
[2907] Hos. iv. 1.
[2908] Rom. iii. 11; Ps. xiv. 3.
[2909] Ex. xxxiii. 20.
[2910] Dan. xii. 9, 10. The words in the above quotation not occurring
in the Hebrew text of the passage, seem to have been interpolated by these heretics.

Chapter XX.—The apocryphal and spurious Scriptures of the Marcosians, with
passages of the Gospels which they pervert.
1. Besides the above [misrepresentations], they adduce an unspeakable
number of apocryphal and spurious writings, which they themselves have
forged, to bewilder the minds of foolish men, and of such as are
ignorant of the Scriptures of truth. Among other things, they bring
forward that false and wicked story [2911] which relates that our Lord,
when He was a boy learning His letters, on the teacher saying to Him,
as is usual, “Pronounce Alpha,” replied [as He was bid], “Alpha.” But
when, again, the teacher bade Him say, “Beta,” the Lord replied, “Do
thou first tell me what Alpha is, and then I will tell thee what Beta
is.” This they expound as meaning that He alone knew the Unknown, which
He revealed under its type Alpha.
2. Some passages, also, which occur in the Gospels, receive from them a
colouring of the same kind, such as the answer which He gave His mother
when He was twelve years of age: “Wist ye not that I must be about My
Father’s business?” [2912] Thus, they say, He announced to them the
Father of whom they were ignorant. On this account, also, He sent forth
the disciples to the twelve tribes, that they might proclaim to them
the unknown God. And to the person who said to Him, “Good Master,”
[2913] He confessed that God who is truly good, saying, “Why callest
thou Me good: there is One who is good, the Father in the heavens;”
[2914] and they assert that in this passage the AEons receive the name
of heavens. Moreover, by His not replying to those who said to Him, “By
what power doest Thou this?” [2915] but by a question on His own side,
put them to utter confusion; by His thus not replying, according to
their interpretation, He showed the unutterable nature of the Father.
Moreover, when He said, “I have often desired to hear one of these
words, and I had no one who could utter it,” [2916] they maintain, that
by this expression “one” He set forth the one true God whom they knew
not. Further, when, as He drew nigh to Jerusalem, He wept over it and
said, “If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things that
belong unto thy peace, but they are hidden from thee,” [2917] by this
word “hidden” He showed the abstruse nature of Bythus. And again, when
He said, “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest, and learn of Me,” [2918] He announced the Father of
truth. For what they knew not, these men say that He promised to teach
3. But they adduce the following passage as the highest testimony,
[2919] and, as it were, the very crown of their system:--“I thank Thee,
O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes. Even so, my
Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things have been
delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knoweth the Father but the
Son, or the Son but the Father, and he to whom the Son will reveal
Him.” [2920] In these words they affirm that He clearly showed that the
Father of truth, conjured into existence by them, was known to no one
before His advent. And they desire to construe the passage as if
teaching that the Maker and Framer [of the world] was always known by
all, while the Lord spoke these words concerning the Father unknown to
all, whom they now proclaim.

[2911] [From the Protevangel of Thomas. Compare the curious work of Dominic Deodati, De Christo Graece loquente, p. 95. London, 1843.]
[2912] Luke ii. 49.
[2913] Mark x. 17.
[2914] Luke xviii. 18.
[2915] Matt. xxi. 23.
[2916] Taken from some apocryphal writing.
[2917] Luke xix. 42, loosely quoted.
[2918] Matt. xi. 28.
[2919] The translator evidently read ton for ten, in which case the
rendering will be “proof of those most high,” but the Greek text seems
[2920] Matt. xi. 25-27.

Chapter XXI.—The views of redemption entertained by these heretics.
1. It happens that their tradition respecting redemption [2921] is
invisible and incomprehensible, as being the mother of things which are
incomprehensible and invisible; and on this account, since it is
fluctuating, it is impossible simply and all at once to make known its
nature, for every one of them hands it down just as his own inclination
prompts. Thus there are as many schemes of “redemption” as there are
teachers of these mystical opinions. And when we come to refute them,
we shall show in its fitting-place, that this class of men have been
instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration
to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole [Christian] faith.
2. They maintain that those who have attained to perfect knowledge must
of necessity be regenerated into that power which is above all. For it
is otherwise impossible to find admittance within the Pleroma, since
this [regeneration] it is which leads them down into the depths of
Bythus. For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the
remission of sins, but the redemption brought in by that Christ who
descended upon Him, was for perfection; and they allege that the former
is animal, but the latter spiritual. And the baptism of John was
proclaimed with a view to repentance, but the redemption by Jesus
[2922] was brought in for the sake of perfection. And to this He refers
when He says, “And I have another baptism to be baptized with, and I
hasten eagerly towards it.” [2923] Moreover, they affirm that the Lord
added this redemption to the sons of Zebedee, when their mother asked
that they might sit, the one on His right hand, and the other on His
left, in His kingdom, saying, “Can ye be baptized with the baptism
which I shall be baptized with?” [2924] Paul, too, they declare, has
often set forth, in express terms, the redemption which is in Christ
Jesus; and this was the same which is handed down by them in so varied
and discordant forms.
3. For some of them prepare a nuptial couch, and perform a sort of
mystic rite (pronouncing certain expressions) with those who are being
initiated, and affirm that it is a spiritual marriage which is celebrated by them, after the likeness of the conjunctions above.
Others, again, lead them to a place where water is, and baptize them,
with the utterance of these words, “Into the name of the unknown Father
of the universe—into truth, the mother of all things—into Him who
descended on Jesus—into union, and redemption, and communion with the
powers.” Others still repeat certain Hebrew words, in order the more thoroughly to bewilder those who are being initiated, as follows:
“Basema, Chamosse, Baoenaora, Mistadia, Ruada, Kousta, Babaphor,
Kalachthei.” [2925] The interpretation of these terms runs thus: “I
invoke that which is above every power of the Father, which is called
light, and good Spirit, and life, because Thou hast reigned in the
body.” Others, again, set forth the redemption thus: The name which is
hidden from every deity, and dominion, and truth which Jesus of
Nazareth was clothed with in the lives [2926] of the light of
Christ—of Christ, who lives by the Holy Ghost, for the angelic
redemption. The name of restitution stands thus: Messia, Uphareg,
Namempsoeman, Chaldoeaur, Mosomedoea, Acphranoe, Psaua, Jesus Nazaria.
[2927] The interpretation of these words is as follows: “I do not
divide the Spirit of Christ, neither the heart nor the supercelestial
power which is merciful; may I enjoy Thy name, O Saviour of truth!”
Such are words of the initiators; but he who is initiated, replies, “I
am established, and I am redeemed; I redeem my soul from this age
(world), and from all things connected with it in the name of Iao, who
redeemed his own soul into redemption in Christ who liveth.” Then the
bystanders add these words, “Peace be to all on whom this name rests.”
After this they anoint the initiated person with balsam; for they
assert that this unguent is a type of that sweet odour which is above
all things.
4. But there are some of them who assert that it is superfluous to bring persons to the water, but mixing oil and water together, they
place this mixture on the heads of those who are to be initiated, with
the use of some such expressions as we have already mentioned. And this
they maintain to be the redemption. They, too, are accustomed to anoint
with balsam. Others, however, reject all these practices, and maintain
that the mystery of the unspeakable and invisible power ought not to be
performed by visible and corruptible creatures, nor should that of
those [beings] who are inconceivable, and incorporeal, and beyond the
reach of sense, [be performed] by such as are the objects of sense, and
possessed of a body. These hold that the knowledge of the unspeakable
Greatness is itself perfect redemption. For since both defect and
passion flowed from ignorance, the whole substance of what was thus
formed is destroyed by knowledge; and therefore knowledge is the
redemption of the inner man. This, however, is not of a corporeal
nature, for the body is corruptible; nor is it animal, since the animal
soul is the fruit of a defect, and is, as it were, the abode of the
spirit. The redemption must therefore be of a spiritual nature; for
they affirm that the inner and spiritual man is redeemed by means of
knowledge, and that they, having acquired the knowledge of all things,
stand thenceforth in need of nothing else. This, then, is the true redemption.
5. Others still there are who continue to redeem persons even up to the
moment of death, by placing on their heads oil and water, or the
pre-mentioned ointment with water, using at the same time the
above-named invocations, that the persons referred to may become
incapable of being seized or seen by the principalities and powers, and
that their inner man may ascend on high in an invisible manner, as if
their body were left among created things in this world, while their
soul is sent forward to the Demiurge. And they instruct them, on their
reaching the principalities and powers, to make use of these words: “I
am a son from the Father—the Father who had a pre-existence, and a son
in Him who is pre-existent. I have come to behold all things, both
those which belong to myself and others, although, strictly speaking,
they do not belong to others, but to Achamoth, who is female in nature,
and made these things for herself. For I derive being from Him who is
pre-existent, and I come again to my own place whence I went forth.”
And they affirm that, by saying these things, he escapes from the
powers. He then advances to the companions of the Demiurge, and thus
addresses them:--“I am a vessel more precious than the female who
formed you. If your mother is ignorant of her own descent, I know
myself, and am aware whence I am, and I call upon the incorruptible
Sophia, who is in the Father, and is the mother of your mother, who has
no father, nor any male consort; but a female springing from a female
formed you, while ignorant of her own mother, and imagining that she
alone existed; but I call upon her mother.” And they declare, that when
the companions of the Demiurge hear these words, they are greatly
agitated, and upbraid their origin and the race of their mother. But he
goes into his own place, having thrown [off] his chain, that is, his
animal nature. These, then, are the particulars which have reached us
respecting “redemption.” [2928] But since they differ so widely among
themselves both as respects doctrine and tradition, and since those of
them who are recognised as being most modern make it their effort daily
to invent some new opinion, and to bring out what no one ever before thought of, it is a difficult matter to describe all their opinions.

[2921] Comp. chap. xiii. 6.
[2922] The Latin reads “Christ.”
[2923] Luke xii. 50. The text was probably thus corrupted by the heretics.
[2924] Mark x. 38.
[2925] We have given these words as they stand in the Greek text: a very different list, but equally unmeaning, is found in the Latin.
[2926] The Latin reads zonis, “zones,” instead of “lives,” as in the Greek.
[2927] Here, again, are many variations.
[2928] The Greek text, which has hitherto been preserved almost entire,
ends at this point. With only brief extracts from the original, now and
then, we are henceforth exclusively dependent on the old Latin version,
with some Syriac and Armenian fragments recently discovered.

Chapter XXII.—Deviations of heretics from the truth.
1. The rule [2929] of truth which we hold, is, that there is one God Almighty, who made all things by His Word, and fashioned and formed,
out of that which had no existence, all things which exist. Thus saith
the Scripture, to that effect: “By the Word of the Lord were the
heavens established, and all the might of them, by the spirit of His
mouth.” [2930] And again, “All things were made by Him, and without Him
was nothing made.” [2931] There is no exception or deduction stated;
but the Father made all things by Him, whether visible or invisible,
objects of sense or of intelligence, temporal, on account of a certain
character given them, or eternal; and these eternal [2932] things He
did not make by angels, or by any powers separated from His Ennoea. For
God needs none of all these things, but is He who, by His Word and
Spirit, makes, and disposes, and governs all things, and commands all
things into existence,--He who formed the world (for the world is of
all),--He who fashioned man,--He [who] [2933] is the God of Abraham,
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, above whom there is no
other God, nor initial principle, nor power, nor pleroma,--He is the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we shall prove. Holding, therefore,
this rule, we shall easily show, notwithstanding the great variety and
multitude of their opinions, that these men have deviated from the
truth; for almost all the different sects of heretics admit that there
is one God; but then, by their pernicious doctrines, they change [this
truth into error], even as the Gentiles do through idolatry,--thus
proving themselves ungrateful to Him that created them. Moreover, they
despise the workmanship of God, speaking against their own salvation,
becoming their own bitterest accusers, and being false witnesses
[against themselves]. Yet, reluctant as they may be, these men shall
one day rise again in the flesh, to confess the power of Him who raises
them from the dead; but they shall not be numbered among the righteous
on account of their unbelief.
2. Since, therefore, it is a complex and multiform task to detect and
convict all the heretics, and since our design is to reply to them all
according to their special characters, we have judged it necessary,
first of all, to give an account of their source and root, in order
that, by getting a knowledge of their most exalted Bythus, thou mayest
understand the nature of the tree which has produced such fruits.

[2929] The Latin here begins with the words “cum teneamus,” and the
apodosis is found afterwards at “facile arguimus.” But we have broken
up the one long sentence into several.
[2930] Ps. xxxiii. 6.
[2931] John i. 3.
[2932] The text is here uncertain and obscure: eternal things seem to
be referred to, not as regarded substance, but the forms assigned them.
[2933] This word would perhaps be better cancelled.

Chapter XXIII.—Doctrines and practices of Simon Magus and Menander.
1. Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke, the disciple and
follower of the apostles, says, “But there was a certain man, Simon by
name, who beforetime used magical arts in that city, and led astray the
people of Samaria, declaring that he himself was some great one, to
whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This
is the power of God, which is called great. And to him they had regard,
because that of long time he had driven them mad by his sorceries.”
[2934] This Simon, then—who feigned faith, supposing that the apostles
themselves performed their cures by the art of magic, and not by the
power of God; and with respect to their filling with the Holy Ghost,
through the imposition of hands, those that believed in God through Him
who was preached by them, namely, Christ Jesus—suspecting that even
this was done through a kind of greater knowledge of magic, and
offering money to the apostles, thought he, too, might receive this
power of bestowing the Holy Spirit on whomsoever he would,--was
addressed in these words by Peter: “Thy money perish with thee, because
thou hast thought that the gift of God can be purchased with money:
thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not
right in the sight of God; for I perceive that thou art in the gall of
bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” [2935] He, then, not putting
faith in God a whit the more, set himself eagerly to contend against
the apostles, in order that he himself might seem to be a wonderful
being, and applied himself with still greater zeal to the study of the
whole magic art, that he might the better bewilder and overpower
multitudes of men. Such was his procedure in the reign of Claudius
Caesar, by whom also he is said to have been honoured with a statue, on
account of his magical power. [2936] This man, then, was glorified by
many as if he were a god; and he taught that it was himself who
appeared among the Jews as the Son, but descended in Samaria as the
Father while he came to other nations in the character of the Holy
Spirit. He represented himself, in a word, as being the loftiest of all
powers, that is, the Being who is the Father over all, and he allowed
himself to be called by whatsoever title men were pleased to address him.
2. Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all sorts of heresies derive
their origin, formed his sect out of the following materials:--Having
redeemed from slavery at Tyre, a city of Phoenicia, a certain woman
named Helena, he was in the habit of carrying her about with him,
declaring that this woman was the first conception of his mind, the
mother of all, by whom, in the beginning, he conceived in his mind [the
thought] of forming angels and archangels. For this Ennoea leaping
forth from him, and comprehending the will of her father, descended to
the lower regions [of space], and generated angels and powers, by whom
also he declared this world was formed. But after she had produced
them, she was detained by them through motives of jealousy, because
they were unwilling to be looked upon as the progeny of any other
being. As to himself, they had no knowledge of him whatever; but his
Ennoea was detained by those powers and angels who had been produced by
her. She suffered all kinds of contumely from them, so that she could
not return upwards to her father, but was even shut up in a human body,
and for ages passed in succession from one female body to another, as
from vessel to vessel. She was, for example, in that Helen on whose
account the Trojan war was undertaken; for whose sake also Stesichorus
[2937] was struck blind, because he had cursed her in his verses, but
afterwards, repenting and writing what are called palinodes, in which
he sang her praise, he was restored to sight. Thus she, passing from
body to body, and suffering insults in every one of them, at last
became a common prostitute; and she it was that was meant by the lost
sheep. [2938]
3. For this purpose, then, he had come that he might win her first, and
free her from slavery, while he conferred salvation upon men, by making
himself known to them. For since the angels ruled the world ill because
each one of them coveted the principal power for himself, he had come
to amend matters, and had descended, transfigured and assimilated to
powers and principalities and angels, so that he might appear among men
to be a man, while yet he was not a man; and that thus he was thought
to have suffered in Judaea, when he had not suffered. Moreover, the
prophets uttered their predictions under the inspiration of those
angels who formed the world; for which reason those who place their
trust in him and Helena no longer regarded them, but, as being free,
live as they please; for men are saved through his grace, and not on
account of their own righteous actions. For such deeds are not
righteous in the nature of things, but by mere accident, just as those
angels who made the world, have thought fit to constitute them,
seeking, by means of such precepts, to bring men into bondage. On this
account, he pledged himself that the world should be dissolved, and
that those who are his should be freed from the rule of them who made
the world.
4. Thus, then, the mystic priests belonging to this sect both lead
profligate lives and practise magical arts, each one to the extent of
his ability. They use exorcisms and incantations. Love-potions, too,
and charms, as well as those beings who are called “Paredri”
(familiars) and “Oniropompi” (dream-senders), and whatever other
curious arts can be had recourse to, are eagerly pressed into their
service. They also have an image of Simon fashioned after the likeness
of Jupiter, and another of Helena in the shape of Minerva; and these
they worship. In fine, they have a name derived from Simon, the author
of these most impious doctrines, being called Simonians; and from them
“knowledge, falsely so called,” [2939] received its beginning, as one
may learn even from their own assertions.
5. The successor of this man was Menander, also a Samaritan by birth,
and he, too, was a perfect adept in the practice of magic. He affirms
that the primary Power continues unknown to all, but that he himself is
the person who has been sent forth from the presence of the invisible
beings as a saviour, for the deliverance of men. The world was made by
angels, whom, like Simon, he maintains to have been produced by Ennoea.
He gives, too, as he affirms, by means of that magic which he teaches,
knowledge to this effect, that one may overcome those very angels that
made the world; for his disciples obtain the resurrection by being
baptized into him, and can die no more, but remain in the possession of
immortal youth.

[2934] Acts viii. 9-11.
[2935] Acts viii. 20, 21, 23.
[2936] Comp. Just. Mart., Apol., i. 26. It is generally supposed that
Simon Magus was thus confounded with the Sabine god, Semo Sancus; but
see our note, loc. cit. [And mine at end of the First Apology. Consult
Orelli’s Inscriptions there noted.]
[2937] A lyric poet of Sicily, said to have been dealt with, as stated
above, by Castor and Pollux.
[2938] Matt. xviii. 12.
[2939] 1 Tim. vi. 20.

Chapter XXIV.—Doctrines of Saturninus and Basilides.
1. Arising among these men, Saturninus (who was of that Antioch which
is near Daphne) and Basilides laid hold of some favourable
opportunities, and promulgated different systems of doctrine—the one
in Syria, the other at Alexandria. Saturninus, like Menander, set forth
one father unknown to all, who made angels, archangels, powers, and
potentates. The world, again, and all things therein, were made by a
certain company of seven angels. Man, too, was the workmanship of
angels, a shining image bursting forth below from the presence of the
supreme power; and when they could not, he says, keep hold of this,
because it immediately darted upwards again, they exhorted each other,
saying, “Let us make man after our image and likeness.” [2940] He was
accordingly formed, yet was unable to stand erect, through the
inability of the angels to convey to him that power, but wriggled [on
the ground] like a worm. Then the power above taking pity upon him,
since he was made after his likeness, sent forth a spark of life, which
gave man an erect posture, compacted his joints, and made him live. He
declares, therefore, that this spark of life, after the death of a man,
returns to those things which are of the same nature with itself, and
the rest of the body is decomposed into its original elements.
2. He has also laid it down as a truth, that the Saviour was without birth, without body, and without figure, but was, by supposition, a
visible man; and he maintained that the God of the Jews was one of the
angels; and, on this account, because all the powers wished to
annihilate his father, Christ came to destroy the God of the Jews, but
to save such as believe in him; that is, those who possess the spark of
his life. This heretic was the first to affirm that two kinds of men
were formed by the angels,--the one wicked, and the other good. And
since the demons assist the most wicked, the Saviour came for the
destruction of evil men and of the demons, but for the salvation of the
good. They declare also, that marriage and generation are from Satan.
[2941] Many of those, too, who belong to his school, abstain from
animal food, and draw away multitudes by a feigned temperance of this
kind. They hold, moreover, that some of the prophecies were uttered by
those angels who made the world, and some by Satan; whom Saturninus
represents as being himself an angel, the enemy of the creators of the
world, but especially of the God of the Jews.
3. Basilides again, that he may appear to have discovered something more sublime and plausible, gives an immense development to his
doctrines. He sets forth that Nous was first born of the unborn father,
that from him, again, was born Logos, from Logos Phronesis, from
Phronesis Sophia and Dynamis, and from Dynamis and Sophia the powers,
and principalities, and angels, whom he also calls the first; and that
by them the first heaven was made. Then other powers, being formed by
emanation from these, created another heaven similar to the first; and
in like manner, when others, again, had been formed by emanation from
them, corresponding exactly to those above them, these, too, framed
another third heaven; and then from this third, in downward order,
there was a fourth succession of descendants; and so on, after the same
fashion, they declare that more and more principalities and angels were
formed, and three hundred and sixty-five heavens. [2942] Wherefore the
year contains the same number of days in conformity with the number of
the heavens.
4. Those angels who occupy the lowest heaven, that, namely, which is
visible to us, formed all the things which are in the world, and made
allotments among themselves of the earth and of those nations which are
upon it. The chief of them is he who is thought to be the God of the
Jews; and inasmuch as he desired to render the other nations subject to
his own people, that is, the Jews, all the other princes resisted and
opposed him. Wherefore all other nations were at enmity with his
nation. But the father without birth and without name, perceiving that
they would be destroyed, sent his own first-begotten Nous (he it is who
is called Christ) to bestow deliverance on them that believe in him,
from the power of those who made the world. He appeared, then, on earth
as a man, to the nations of these powers, and wrought miracles.
Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of
Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this
latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus,
was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself
received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them. For
since he was an incorporeal power, and the Nous (mind) of the unborn
father, he transfigured himself as he pleased, and thus ascended to him
who had sent him, deriding them, inasmuch as he could not be laid hold
of, and was invisible to all. Those, then, who know these things have
been freed from the principalities who formed the world; so that it is
not incumbent on us to confess him who was crucified, but him who came
in the form of a man, and was thought to be crucified, and was called
Jesus, and was sent by the father, that by this dispensation he might
destroy the works of the makers of the world. If any one, therefore, he
declares, confesses the crucified, that man is still a slave, and under
the power of those who formed our bodies; but he who denies him has
been freed from these beings, and is acquainted with the dispensation
of the unborn father.
5. Salvation belongs to the soul alone, for the body is by nature subject to corruption. He declares, too, that the prophecies were
derived from those powers who were the makers of the world, but the law
was specially given by their chief, who led the people out of the land
of Egypt. He attaches no importance to [the question regarding] meats
offered in sacrifice to idols, thinks them of no consequence, and makes
use of them without any hesitation; he holds also the use of other
things, and the practice of every kind of lust, a matter of perfect
indifference. These men, moreover, practise magic; and use images,
incantations, invocations, and every other kind of curious art. Coining
also certain names as if they were those of the angels, they proclaim
some of these as belonging to the first, and others to the second
heaven; and then they strive to set forth the names, principles,
angels, and powers of the three hundred and sixty-five imagined
heavens. They also affirm that the barbarous name in which the Saviour
ascended and descended, is Caulacau. [2943]
6. He, then, who has learned [these things], and known all the angels
and their causes, is rendered invisible and incomprehensible to the
angels and all the powers, even as Caulacau also was. And as the son
was unknown to all, so must they also be known by no one; but while
they know all, and pass through all, they themselves remain invisible
and unknown to all; for, “Do thou,” they say, “know all, but let nobody
know thee.” For this reason, persons of such a persuasion are also
ready to recant [their opinions], yea, rather, it is impossible that
they should suffer on account of a mere name, since they are like to
all. The multitude, however, cannot understand these matters, but only
one out of a thousand, or two out of ten thousand. They declare that
they are no longer Jews, and that they are not yet Christians; and that
it is not at all fitting to speak openly of their mysteries, but right
to keep them secret by preserving silence.
7. They make out the local position of the three hundred and sixty-five
heavens in the same way as do mathematicians. For, accepting the
theorems of these latter, they have transferred them to their own type
of doctrine. They hold that their chief is Abraxas; [2944] and, on this
account, that word contains in itself the numbers amounting to three hundred and sixty-five.

[2940] Gen. i. 26.
[2941] [1 Tim. iv. 3.]
[2942] The ordinary text reads, “three hundred and seventy-five,” but
it should manifestly be corrected as above.
[2943] This sentence is wholly unintelligible as it stands in the Latin
version. Critics differ greatly as to its meaning; Harvey tries to
bring out of it something like the translation given above. [This name
is manufactured from a curious abuse of (qv lqv) Isa. xxviii. 10-13, which is variously understood. See (Epiphanius ed. Oehler, vol. i.) Philastr., p. 38.]
[2944] So written in Latin, but in Greek ‘Abrasax, the numerical value
of the letters in which is three hundred and sixty-five. [See Aug. (ed.Migne), vol. viii. p. 26.] It is doubtful to whom or what this word refers; probably to the heavens.

Chapter XXV.—Doctrines of Carpocrates.
1. Carpocrates, again, and his followers maintain that the world and
the things which are therein were created by angels greatly inferior to
the unbegotten Father. They also hold that Jesus was the son of Joseph,
and was just like other men, with the exception that he differed from
them in this respect, that inasmuch as his soul was stedfast and pure,
he perfectly remembered those things which he had witnessed [2945]
within the sphere of the unbegotten God. On this account, a power
descended upon him from the Father, that by means of it he might escape
from the creators of the world; and they say that it, after passing
through them all, and remaining in all points free, ascended again to
him, and to the powers, [2946] which in the same way embraced like things to itself. They further declare, that the soul of Jesus, although educated in the practices of the Jews, regarded these with contempt, and that for this reason he was endowed with faculties, by means of which he destroyed those passions which dwelt in men as a punishment [for their sins].
2. The soul, therefore, which is like that of Christ can despise those
rulers who were the creators of the world, and, in like manner,
receives power for accomplishing the same results. This idea has raised
them to such a pitch of pride, that some of them declare themselves
similar to Jesus; while others, still more mighty, maintain that they
are superior to his disciples, such as Peter and Paul, and the rest of
the apostles, whom they consider to be in no respect inferior to Jesus.
For their souls, descending from the same sphere as his, and therefore
despising in like manner the creators of the world, are deemed worthy
of the same power, and again depart to the same place. But if any one
shall have despised the things in this world more than he did, he thus
proves himself superior to him.
3. They practise also magical arts and incantations; philters, also,
and love-potions; and have recourse to familiar spirits, dream-sending
demons, and other abominations, declaring that they possess power to
rule over, even now, the princes and formers of this world; and not
only them, but also all things that are in it. These men, even as the
Gentiles, have been sent forth by Satan [2947] to bring dishonour upon
the Church, so that, in one way or another, men hearing the things
which they speak, and imagining that we all are such as they, may turn
away their ears from the preaching of the truth; or, again, seeing the
things they practise, may speak evil of us all, who have in fact no
fellowship with them, either in doctrine or in morals, or in our daily
conduct. But they lead a licentious life, [2948] and, to conceal their
impious doctrines, they abuse the name [of Christ], as a means of
hiding their wickedness; so that “their condemnation is just,” [2949]
when they receive from God a recompense suited to their works.
4. So unbridled is their madness, that they declare they have in their
power all things which are irreligious and impious, and are at liberty
to practise them; for they maintain that things are evil or good,
simply in virtue of human opinion. [2950] They deem it necessary,
therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls
should have experience of every kind of life as well as every kind of
action (unless, indeed, by a single incarnation, one may be able to
prevent any need for others, by once for all, and with equal
completeness, doing all those things which we dare not either speak or
hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts, nor
think credible, if any such thing is mooted among those persons who are
our fellow-citizens), in order that, as their writings express it,
their souls, having made trial of every kind of life, may, at their
departure, not be wanting in any particular. It is necessary [2951] to
insist upon this, lest, on account of some one thing being still
wanting to their deliverance, they should be compelled once more to
become incarnate. They affirm that for this reason Jesus spoke the
following parable:--“Whilst thou art with thine adversary in the way,
give all diligence, that thou mayest be delivered from him, lest he
give thee up to the judge, and the judge surrender thee to the officer,
and he cast thee into prison. Verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt not
go out thence until thou pay the very last farthing.” [2952] They also
declare the “adversary” is one of those angels who are in the world,
whom they call the Devil, maintaining that he was formed for this
purpose, that he might lead those souls which have perished from the
world to the Supreme Ruler. They describe him also as being chief among
the makers of the world, and maintain that he delivers such souls [as
have been mentioned] to another angel, who ministers to him, that he
may shut them up in other bodies; for they declare that the body is
“the prison.” Again, they interpret these expressions, “Thou shalt not
go out thence until thou pay the very last farthing,” as meaning that
no one can escape from the power of those angels who made the world,
but that he must pass from body to body, until he has experience of
every kind of action which can be practised in this world, and when
nothing is longer wanting to him, then his liberated soul should soar
upwards to that God who is above the angels, the makers of the world.
In this way also all souls are saved, whether their own which, guarding
against all delay, participate in all sorts of actions during one
incarnation, or those, again, who, by passing from body to body, are
set free, on fulfilling and accomplishing what is requisite in every
form of life into which they are sent, so that at length they shall no
longer be [shut up] in the body.
5. And thus, if ungodly, unlawful, and forbidden actions are committed
among them, I can no longer find ground for believing them to be such.
[2953] And in their writings we read as follows, the interpretation
which they give [of their views], declaring that Jesus spoke in a
mystery to His disciples and apostles privately, and that they
requested and obtained permission to hand down the things thus taught
them, to others who should be worthy and believing. We are saved,
indeed, by means of faith and love; but all other things, while in
their nature indifferent, are reckoned by the opinion of men—some good
and some evil, there being nothing really evil by nature.
6. Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside
the lobe of the right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who
came to Rome under [the episcopate of] Anicetus, and, holding these
doctrines, she led multitudes astray. They style themselves Gnostics.
They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from
different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them.
[2954] They crown these images, and set them up along with the images
of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles.

[2945] [I note again this “Americanism.”]
[2946] Such seems to be the meaning of the Latin, but the original text
is conjectural.
[2947] [See cap. xxvii. 3.]
[2948] The text is here defective, but the above meaning seems to be indicated by Epiphanius.
[2949] Rom. iii. 8.
[2950] [Isa. v. 20. Horne Tooke derives our word Truth from what any one troweth.]
[2951] The text here has greatly puzzled the editors. We follow the simple emendation proposed by Harvey.
[2952] Matt. v. 25, 26; Luke xii. 58, 59.
[2953] The meaning is here very doubtful, but Tertullian understood the
words as above. If sinning were a necessity, then it could no longer be
regarded as evil.
[2954] [This censure of images as a Gnostic peculiarity, and as a heathenish corruption, should be noted.]

Chapter XXVI.—Doctrines of Cerinthus, the Ebionites, and Nicolaitanes.
1. Cerinthus, again, a man who was educated [2955] in the wisdom of the
Egyptians, taught that the world was not made by the primary God, but
by a certain Power far separated from him, and at a distance from that
Principality who is supreme over the universe, and ignorant of him who
is above all. He represented Jesus as having not been born of a virgin,
but as being the son of Joseph and Mary according to the ordinary
course of human generation, while he nevertheless was more righteous,
prudent, and wise than other men. Moreover, after his baptism, Christ
descended upon him in the form of a dove from the Supreme Ruler, and
that then he proclaimed the unknown Father, and performed miracles. But
at last Christ departed from Jesus, and that then Jesus suffered and rose again, while Christ remained impassible, inasmuch as he was a spiritual being.
2. Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God;
but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of
Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They use the Gospel according to Matthew
only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an
apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavour
to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practise circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God.
3. The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of
the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. [2956] They
lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is
very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, [when they are
represented] as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to
practise adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Wherefore the
Word has also spoken of them thus: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” [2957]

[2955] We here follow the text as preserved by Hippolytus. The Latin has, “a certain man in Asia.”
[2956] [This is disputed by other primitive authorities.]
[2957] Rev. ii. 6.

Chapter XXVII.—Doctrines of Cerdo and Marcion.
1. Cerdo was one who took his system from the followers of Simon, and
came to live at Rome in the time of Hyginus, who held the ninth place
in the episcopal succession from the apostles downwards. He taught that
the God proclaimed by the law and the prophets was not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the former was known, but the latter unknown; while the one also was righteous, but the other benevolent.
2. Marcion of Pontus succeeded him, and developed his doctrine. In so
doing, he advanced the most daring blasphemy against Him who is
proclaimed as God by the law and the prophets, declaring Him to be the
author of evils, to take delight in war, to be infirm of purpose, and
even to be contrary to Himself. But Jesus being derived from that
father who is above the God that made the world, and coming into Judaea
in the times of Pontius Pilate the governor, who was the procurator of
Tiberius Caesar, was manifested in the form of a man to those who were
in Judaea, abolishing the prophets and the law, and all the works of
that God who made the world, whom also he calls Cosmocrator. Besides
this, he mutilates the Gospel which is according to Luke, removing all
that is written respecting the generation of the Lord, and setting
aside a great deal of the teaching of the Lord, in which the Lord is
recorded as most dearly confessing that the Maker of this universe is
His Father. He likewise persuaded his disciples that he himself was
more worthy of credit than are those apostles who have handed down the
Gospel to us, furnishing them not with the Gospel, but merely a
fragment of it. In like manner, too, he dismembered the Epistles of
Paul, removing all that is said by the apostle respecting that God who
made the world, to the effect that He is the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and also those passages from the prophetical writings which the
apostle quotes, in order to teach us that they announced beforehand the
coming of the Lord.
3. Salvation will be the attainment only of those souls which had learned his doctrine; while the body, as having been taken from the earth, is incapable of sharing in salvation. In addition to his
blasphemy against God Himself, he advanced this also, truly speaking as
with the mouth of the devil, and saying all things in direct opposition
to the truth,--that Cain, and those like him, and the Sodomites, and
the Egyptians, and others like them, and, in fine, all the nations who
walked in all sorts of abomination, were saved by the Lord, on His descending into Hades, and on their running unto Him, and that they welcomed Him into their kingdom. But the serpent [2958] which was in Marcion declared that Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and those other righteous men who sprang [2959] from the patriarch Abraham, with all the prophets, and those who were pleasing to God, did not partake in salvation. For since these men, he says, knew that their God was constantly tempting them, so now they suspected that He was tempting them, and did not run to Jesus, or believe His announcement: and for this reason he declared that their souls remained in Hades.
4. But since this man is the only one who has dared openly to mutilate
the Scriptures, and unblushingly above all others to inveigh against
God, I purpose specially to refute him, convicting him out of his own
writings; and, with the help of God, I shall overthrow him out of those
[2960] discourses of the Lord and the apostles, which are of authority
with him, and of which he makes use. At present, however, I have simply
been led to mention him, that thou mightest know that all those who in
any way corrupt the truth, and injuriously affect the preaching of the
Church, are the disciples and successors of Simon Magus of Samaria.
Although they do not confess the name of their master, in order all the
more to seduce others, yet they do teach his doctrines. They set forth,
indeed, the name of Christ Jesus as a sort of lure, but in various ways
they introduce the impieties of Simon; and thus they destroy
multitudes, wickedly disseminating their own doctrines by the use of a
good name, and, through means of its sweetness and beauty, extending to
their hearers the bitter and malignant poison of the serpent, the great
author of apostasy. [2961]

[2958] [Comp. cap. xxv. 3.]
[2959] We here follow the amended version proposed by the Benedictine
[2960] A promise never fulfilled: comp. book iii. 12, and Euseb., Hist.
Eccl., v. 8.
[2961] [Rev. xii. 9.]

Chapter XXVIII.—Doctrines of Tatian, the Encratites, and others.
1. Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed from those heretics we have described. This arises from the fact that numbers of them—indeed, we may say all—desire themselves to be teachers, and to break off from the particular heresy in which they have been involved. Forming one set of doctrines out of a totally
different system of opinions, and then again others from others, they
insist upon teaching something new, declaring themselves the inventors
of any sort of opinion which they may have been able to call into
existence. To give an example: Springing from Saturninus and Marcion,
those who are called Encratites (self-controlled) preached against
marriage, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and
indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for the propagation
of the human race. Some of those reckoned among them have also
introduced abstinence from animal food, thus proving themselves
ungrateful to God, who formed all things. They deny, too, the salvation
of him who was first created. It is but lately, however, that this
opinion has been invented among them. A certain man named Tatian first
introduced the blasphemy. He was a hearer of Justin’s, and as long as
he continued with him he expressed no such views; but after his
martyrdom he separated from the Church, and, excited and puffed up by
the thought of being a teacher, as if he were superior to others, he
composed his own peculiar type of doctrine. He invented a system of
certain invisible AEons, like the followers of Valentinus; while, like
Marcion and Saturninus, he declared that marriage was nothing else than
corruption and fornication. [2962] But his denial of Adam’s salvation
was an opinion due entirely to himself.
2. Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives, and are indifferent about eating meats sacrificed to idols, maintaining that
God does not greatly regard such matters. But why continue? For it is
an impracticable attempt to mention all those who, in one way or another, have fallen away from the truth.

[2962] [The whole casuistical system of the Trent divines, De Matrimonio, proceeds on this principle: marriage is licensed evil.]

Chapter XXIX.—Doctrines of various other Gnostic sects, and especially of the
Barbeliotes or Borborians.
1. Besides those, however, among these heretics who are Simonians, and
of whom we have already spoken, a multitude of Gnostics have sprung up,
and have been manifested like mushrooms growing out of the ground. I
now proceed to describe the principal opinions held by them. Some of
them, then, set forth a certain AEon who never grows old, and exists in
a virgin spirit: him they style Barbelos. [2963] They declare that
somewhere or other there exists a certain father who cannot be named,
and that he was desirous to reveal himself to this Barbelos. Then this
Ennoea went forward, stood before his face, and demanded from him Prognosis (prescience). But when Prognosis had, [as was requested,]
come forth, these two asked for Aphtharsia (incorruption), which also
came forth, and after that Zoe Aionios (eternal life). Barbelos,
glorying in these, and contemplating their greatness, and in conception
[2964] [thus formed], rejoicing in this greatness, generated light
similar to it. They declare that this was the beginning both of light
and of the generation of all things; and that the Father, beholding
this light, anointed it with his own benignity, that it might be
rendered perfect. Moreover, they maintain that this was Christ, who
again, according to them, requested that Nous should be given him as an
assistant; and Nous came forth accordingly. Besides these, the Father
sent forth Logos. The conjunctions of Ennoea and Logos, and of Aphtharsia and Christ, will thus be formed; while Zoe Aionios was united to Thelema, and Nous to Prognosis. These, then, magnified the great light and Barbelos.
2. They also affirm that Autogenes was afterwards sent forth from
Ennoea and Logos, to be a representation of the great light, and that
he was greatly honoured, all things being rendered subject unto him.
Along with him was sent forth Aletheia, and a conjunction was formed
between Autogenes and Aletheia. But they declare that from the Light,
which is Christ, and from Aphtharsia, four luminaries were sent forth
to surround Autogenes; and again from Thelema and Zoe Aionios four
other emissions took place, to wait upon these four luminaries; and
these they name Charis (grace), Thelesis (will), Synesis
(understanding), and Phronesis (prudence). Of these, Charis is
connected with the great and first luminary: him they represent as
Soter (Saviour), and style Armogenes. [2965] Thelesis, again, is united
to the second luminary, whom they also name Raguel; Synesis to the third, whom they call David; and Phronesis to the fourth, whom they name Eleleth.
3. All these, then, being thus settled, Autogenes moreover produces a
perfect and true man, whom they also call Adamas, inasmuch as neither
has he himself ever been conquered, nor have those from whom he sprang;
he also was, along with the first light, severed from Armogenes.
Moreover, perfect knowledge was sent forth by Autogenes along with man,
and was united to him; hence he attained to the knowledge of him that
is above all. Invincible power was also conferred on him by the virgin
spirit; and all things then rested in him, to sing praises to the great
AEon. Hence also they declare were manifested the mother, the father,
the son; while from Anthropos and Gnosis that Tree was produced which
they also style Gnosis itself.
4. Next they maintain, that from the first angel, who stands by the
side of Monogenes, the Holy Spirit has been sent forth, whom they also
term Sophia and Prunicus. [2966] He then, perceiving that all the
others had consorts, while he himself was destitute of one, searched
after a being to whom he might be united; and not finding one, he
exerted and extended himself to the uttermost and looked down into the
lower regions, in the expectation of there finding a consort; and still
not meeting with one, he leaped forth [from his place] in a state of
great impatience, [which had come upon him] because he had made his
attempt without the good-will of his father. Afterwards, under the
influence of simplicity and kindness, he produced a work in which were
to be found ignorance and audacity. This work of his they declare to be
Protarchontes, the former of this [lower] creation. But they relate
that a mighty power carried him away from his mother, and that he
settled far away from her in the lower regions, and formed the
firmament of heaven, in which also they affirm that he dwells. And in
his ignorance he formed those powers which are inferior to
himself—angels, and firmaments, and all things earthly. They affirm
that he, being united to Authadia (audacity), produced Kakia
(wickedness), Zelos (emulation), Phthonos (envy), Erinnys (fury), and
Epithymia (lust). When these were generated, the mother Sophia deeply
grieved, fled away, departed into the upper regions, and became the
last of the Ogdoad, reckoning it downwards. On her thus departing, he
imagined he was the only being in existence; and on this account
declared, “I am a jealous God, and besides me there is no one.” [2967]
Such are the falsehoods which these people invent.

[2963] Harvey supposes this name to be derived from two Syriac words,
meaning “God in a Tetrad.” Matter again derives it from two Hebrew words, denoting “Daughter of the Lord.”
[2964] Both the text and meaning are here altogether doubtful.
[2965] Harvey refers to the cabbalistic books in explanation of this and the following names, but their meanings are very uncertain.
[2966] Various explanations of this word have been proposed, but its signification remains altogether doubtful.
[2967] Ex. xx. 5; Isa. xlv. 5, 6.

Chapter XXX.—Doctrines of the Ophites and Sethians.
1. Others, again, portentously declare that there exists, in the power
of Bythus, a certain primary light, blessed, incorruptible, and
infinite: this is the Father of all, and is styled the first man. They
also maintain that his Ennoea, going forth from him, produced a son,
and that this is the son of man—the second man. Below these, again, is
the Holy Spirit, and under this superior spirit the elements were
separated from each other, viz., water, darkness, the abyss, chaos,
above which they declare the Spirit was borne, calling him the first
woman. Afterwards, they maintain, the first man, with his son,
delighting over the beauty of the Spirit—that is, of the woman—and
shedding light upon her, begat by her an incorruptible light, the third
male, whom they call Christ,--the son of the first and second man, and
of the Holy Spirit, the first woman.
2. The father and son thus both had intercourse with the woman (whom they also call the mother of the living). When, however, [2968] she could not bear nor receive into herself the greatness of the lights,
they declare that she was filled to repletion, and became ebullient on
the left side; and that thus their only son Christ, as belonging to the
right side, and ever tending to what was higher, was immediately caught
up with his mother to form an incorruptible AEon. This constitutes the
true and holy Church, which has become the appellation, the meeting
together, and the union of the father of all, of the first man, of the
son, of the second man, of Christ their son, and of the woman who has
been mentioned.
3. They teach, however, that the power which proceeded from the woman
by ebullition, being besprinkled with light, fell downward from the
place occupied by its progenitors, yet possessing by its own will that
besprinkling of light; and it they call Sinistra, Prunicus, and Sophia,
as well as masculo-feminine. This being, in its simplicity, descended
into the waters while they were yet in a state of immobility, and
imparted motion to them also, wantonly acting upon them even to their
lowest depths, and assumed from them a body. For they affirm that all
things rushed towards and clung to that sprinkling of light, and begin
it all round. Unless it had possessed that, it would perhaps have been
totally absorbed in, and overwhelmed by, material substance. Being
therefore bound down by a body which was composed of matter, and
greatly burdened by it, this power regretted the course it had
followed, and made an attempt to escape from the waters and ascend to
its mother: it could not effect this, however, on account of the weight
of the body lying over and around it. But feeling very ill at ease, it
endeavoured at least to conceal that light which came from above,
fearing lest it too might be injured by the inferior elements, as had
happened to itself. And when it had received power from that
besprinkling of light which it possessed, it sprang back again, and was
borne aloft; and being on high, it extended itself, covered [a portion
of space], and formed this visible heaven out of its body; yet remained
under the heaven which it made, as still possessing the form of a
watery body. But when it had conceived a desire for the light above,
and had received power by all things, it laid down this body, and was
freed from it. This body which they speak of that power as having thrown off, they call a female from a female.
4. They declare, moreover, that her son had also himself a certain
breath of incorruption left him by his mother, and that through means
of it he works; and becoming powerful, he himself, as they affirm, also
sent forth from the waters a son without a mother; for they do not
allow him either to have known a mother. His son, again, after the
example of his father, sent forth another son. This third one, too,
generated a fourth; the fourth also generated a son: they maintain that
again a son was generated by the fifth; and the sixth, too, generated a
seventh. Thus was the Hebdomad, according to them, completed, the mother possessing the eighth place; and as in the case of their generations, so also in regard to dignities and powers, they precede each other in turn.
5. They have also given names to [the several persons] in their system
of falsehood, such as the following: he who was the first descendant of
the mother is called Ialdabaoth; [2969] he, again, descended from him,
is named Iao; he, from this one, is called Sabaoth; the fourth is named
Adoneus; the fifth, Eloeus; the sixth, Oreus; and the seventh and last
of all, Astanphaeus. Moreover, they represent these heavens,
potentates, powers, angels, and creators, as sitting in their proper
order in heaven, according to their generation, and as invisibly ruling
over things celestial and terrestrial. The first of them, namely
Ialdabaoth, holds his mother in contempt, inasmuch as he produced sons
and grandsons without the permission of any one, yea, even angels,
archangels, powers, potentates, and dominions. After these things had
been done, his sons turned to strive and quarrel with him about the
supreme power,--conduct which deeply grieved Ialdabaoth, and drove him
to despair. In these circumstances, he cast his eyes upon the subjacent
dregs of matter, and fixed his desire upon it, to which they declare
his son owes his origin. This son is Nous himself, twisted into the
form of a serpent; [2970] and hence were derived the spirit, the soul,
and all mundane things: from this too were generated all oblivion,
wickedness, emulation, envy, and death. They declare that the father
imparted [2971] still greater crookedness to this serpent-like and
contorted Nous of theirs, when he was with their father in heaven and
6. On this account, Ialdabaoth, becoming uplifted in spirit, boasted
himself over all those things that were below him, and exclaimed, “I am
father, and God, and above me there is no one.” But his mother, hearing
him speak thus, cried out against him, “Do not lie, Ialdabaoth: for the
father of all, the first Anthropos (man), is above thee; and so is
Anthropos the son of Anthropos.” Then, as all were disturbed by this
new voice, and by the unexpected proclamation, and as they were
inquiring whence the noise proceeded, in order to lead them away and
attract them to himself, they affirm that Ialdabaoth exclaimed, “Come,
let us make man after our image.” [2972] The six powers, on hearing
this, and their mother furnishing them with the idea of a man (in order
that by means of him she might empty them of their original power),
jointly formed a man of immense size, both in regard to breadth and
length. But as he could merely writhe along the ground, they carried
him to their father; Sophia so labouring in this matter, that she might
empty him (Ialdabaoth) of the light with which he had been sprinkled,
so that he might no longer, though still powerful, be able to lift up
himself against the powers above. They declare, then, that by breathing
into man the spirit of life, he was secretly emptied of his power; that
hence man became a possessor of nous (intelligence) and enthymesis
(thought); and they affirm that these are the faculties which partake
in salvation. He [they further assert] at once gave thanks to the first
Anthropos (man), forsaking those who had created him.
7. But Ialdabaoth, feeling envious at this, was pleased to form the design of again emptying man by means of woman, and produced a woman from his own enthymesis, whom that Prunicus [above mentioned] laying
hold of, imperceptibly emptied her of power. But the others coming and
admiring her beauty, named her Eve, and falling in love with her, begat
sons by her, whom they also declare to be the angels. But their mother
(Sophia) cunningly devised a scheme to seduce Eve and Adam, by means of
the serpent, to transgress the command of Ialdabaoth. Eve listened to
this as if it had proceeded from a son of God, and yielded an easy
belief. She also persuaded Adam to eat of the tree regarding which God
had said that they should not eat of it. They then declare that, on
their thus eating, they attained to the knowledge of that power which
is above all, and departed from those who had created them. [2973] When
Prunicus perceived that the powers were thus baffled by their own
creature, she greatly rejoiced, and again cried out, that since the
father was incorruptible, he (Ialdabaoth) who formerly called himself
the father was a liar; and that, while Anthropos and the first woman (the Spirit) existed previously, this one (Eve) sinned by committing adultery.
8. Ialdabaoth, however, through that oblivion in which he was involved,
and not paying any regard to these things, cast Adam and Eve out of
Paradise, because they had transgressed his commandment. For he had a
desire to beget sons by Eve, but did not accomplish his wish, because
his mother opposed him in every point, and secretly emptied Adam and
Eve of the light with which they had been sprinkled, in order that that
spirit which proceeded from the supreme power might participate neither
in the curse nor opprobrium [caused by transgression]. They also teach
that, thus being emptied of the divine substance, they were cursed by
him, and cast down from heaven to this world. [2974] But the serpent
also, who was acting against the father, was cast down by him into this
lower world; he reduced, however, under his power the angels here, and
begat six sons, he himself forming the seventh person, after the
example of that Hebdomad which surrounds the father. They further
declare that these are the seven mundane demons, who always oppose and
resist the human race, because it was on their account that their father was cast down to this lower world.
9. Adam and Eve previously had light, and clear, and as it were spiritual bodies, such as they were at their creation; but when they
came to this world, these changed into bodies more opaque, and gross,
and sluggish. Their soul also was feeble and languid, inasmuch as they
had received from their creator a merely mundane inspiration. This
continued until Prunicus, moved with compassion towards them, restored
to them the sweet savour of the besprinkling of light, by means of
which they came to a remembrance of themselves, and knew that they were
naked, as well as that the body was a material substance, and thus
recognised that they bore death about with them. They thereupon became
patient, knowing that only for a time they would be enveloped in the
body. They also found out food, through the guidance of Sophia; and
when they were satisfied, they had carnal knowledge of each other, and
begat Cain, whom the serpent, that had been cast down along with his
sons, immediately laid hold of and destroyed by filling him with
mundane oblivion, and urging into folly and audacity, so that, by
slaying his brother Abel, he was the first to bring to light envy and
death. After these, they affirm that, by the forethought of Prunicus,
Seth was begotten, and then Norea, [2975] from whom they represent all
the rest of mankind as being descended. They were urged on to all kinds
of wickedness by the inferior Hebdomad, and to apostasy, idolatry, and
a general contempt for everything by the superior holy Hebdomad, [2976]since the mother was always secretly opposed to them, and carefully preserved what was peculiarly her own, that is, the besprinkling of light. They maintain, moreover, that the holy Hebdomad is the seven stars which they call planets; and they affirm that the serpent cast down has two names, Michael and Samael.
10. Ialdabaoth, again, being incensed with men, because they did not
worship or honour him as father and God, sent forth a deluge upon them,
that he might at once destroy them all. But Sophia opposed him in this
point also, and Noah and his family were saved in the ark by means of
the besprinkling of that light which proceeded from her, and through it
the world was again filled with mankind. Ialdabaoth himself chose a
certain man named Abraham from among these, and made a covenant with
him, to the effect that, if his seed continued to serve him, he would
give to them the earth for an inheritance. Afterwards, by means of
Moses, he brought forth Abraham’s descendants from Egypt, and gave them
the law, and made them the Jews. Among that people he chose seven days,
[2977] which they also call the holy Hebdomad. Each of these receives
his own herald for the purpose of glorifying and proclaiming God; so that, when the rest hear these praises, they too may serve those who are announced as gods by the prophets.
11. Moreover, they distribute the prophets in the following manner:
Moses, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Amos, and Habakkuk, belonged to
Ialdabaoth; Samuel, and Nathan, and Jonah, and Micah, to Iao; Elijah,
Joel, and Zechariah to Sabaoth; Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel,
to Adonai; Tobias and Haggai to Eloi; Michaiah and Nahum to Oreus;
Esdras and Zephaniah to Astanphaeus. Each one of these, then, glorifies
his own father and God, and they maintain that Sophia, herself has also
spoken many things through them regarding the first Anthropos (man),
[2978] and concerning that Christ who is above, thus admonishing and
reminding men of the incorruptible light, the first Anthropos, and of
the descent of Christ. The [other] powers being terrified by these
things, and marvelling at the novelty of those things which were
announced by the prophets, Prunicus brought it about by means of
Ialdabaoth (who knew not what he did), that emissions of two men took
place, the one from the barren Elizabeth, and the other from the Virgin
12. And since she herself had no rest either in heaven or on earth, she
invoked her mother to assist her in her distress. Upon this, her
mother, the first woman, was moved with compassion towards her
daughter, on her repentance, and begged from the first man that Christ
should be sent to her assistance, who, being sent forth, descended to
his sister, and to the besprinkling of light. When he recognised her
(that is, the Sophia below), her brother descended to her, and
announced his advent through means of John, and prepared the baptism of
repentance, and adopted Jesus beforehand, in order that on Christ
descending he might find a pure vessel, and that by the son of that
Ialdabaoth the woman might be announced by Christ. They further declare
that he descended through the seven heavens, having assumed the
likeness of their sons, and gradually emptied them of their power. For
they maintain that the whole besprinkling of light rushed to him, and
that Christ, descending to this world, first clothed his sister Sophia
[with it], and that then both exulted in the mutual refreshment they
felt in each other’s society: this scene they describe as relating to
bridegroom and bride. But Jesus, inasmuch as he was begotten of the
Virgin through the agency of God, was wiser, purer, and more righteous
than all other men: Christ united to Sophia descended into him, and thus Jesus Christ was produced.
13. They affirm that many of his disciples were not aware of the
descent of Christ into him; but that, when Christ did descend on Jesus,
he then began to work miracles, and heal, and announce the unknown
Father, and openly to confess himself the son of the first man. The
powers and the father of Jesus were angry at these proceedings, and
laboured to destroy him; and when he was being led away for this
purpose, they say that Christ himself, along with Sophia, departed from
him into the state of an incorruptible AEon, while Jesus was crucified.
Christ, however, was not forgetful of his Jesus, but sent down a
certain energy into him from above, which raised him up again in the
body, which they call both animal and spiritual; for he sent the
mundane parts back again into the world. When his disciples saw that he
had risen, they did not recognise him—no, not even Jesus himself, by
whom he rose again from the dead. And they assert that this very great
error prevailed among his disciples, that they imagined he had risen in
a mundane body, not knowing that “flesh [2979] and blood do not attain
to the kingdom of God.”
14. They strove to establish the descent and ascent of Christ, by the
fact that neither before his baptism, nor after his resurrection from
the dead, do his disciples state that he did any mighty works, not
being aware that Jesus was united to Christ, and the incorruptible AEon
to the Hebdomad; and they declare his mundane body to be of the same
nature as that of animals. But after his resurrection he tarried [on
earth] eighteen months; and knowledge descending into him from above,
he taught what was clear. He instructed a few of his disciples, whom he
knew to be capable of understanding so great mysteries, in these
things, and was then received up into heaven, Christ sitting down at
the right hand of his father Ialdabaoth, that he may receive to himself
the souls of those who have known them, [2980] after they have laid
aside their mundane flesh, thus enriching himself without the knowledge
or perception of his father; so that, in proportion as Jesus enriches
himself with holy souls, to such an extent does his father suffer loss
and is diminished, being emptied of his own power by these souls. For
he will not now possess holy souls to send them down again into the
world, except those only which are of his substance, that is, those
into which he has breathed. But the consummation [of all things] will
take place, when the whole besprinkling of the spirit of light is gathered together, and is carried off to form an incorruptible AEon.
15. Such are the opinions which prevail among these persons, by whom,
like the Lernaean hydra, a many-headed beast has been generated from
the school of Valentinus. For some of them assert that Sophia herself
became the serpent; on which account she was hostile to the creator of
Adam, and implanted knowledge in men, for which reason the serpent was
called wiser than all others. Moreover, by the position of our intestines, through which the food is conveyed, and by the fact that they possess such a figure, our internal configuration [2981] in the form of a serpent reveals our hidden generatrix.

[2968] The punctuation is here difficult and doubtful.
[2969] The probable meaning of this and the following names is thus given by Harvey: Ialdabaoth, Lord God of the Fathers; Iao, Jehovah;
Oreus, Light; Astanphaeus, Crown; Sabaoth, of course, means Hosts;
Adoneus, Lord; and Eloeus, God. All the names are derived from the cabbalistic theology of the Jews.
[2970] Hence their name of Ophites, from ophis, a serpent.
[2971] The Latin has evertisse, implying that thus Nous was more degraded.
[2972] Gen. i. 26.
[2973] That is, from Ialdabaoth, etc. [Philastr. (ut supra), Oehler, i.
p. 38.]
[2974] There is constant reference in this section to rabbinical conceits and follies.
[2975] A name probably derived from the Hebrew nrh, girl, but of the person referred to we know nothing.
[2976] We here follow the emendation of Grabe: the defection of Prunicus is intended.
[2977] The Latin here is “ex quibus,” and the meaning is exceedingly
obscure. Harvey thinks it is the representative ex on (chronon) in the
Greek, but we prefer to refer it to “Judaeos,” as above. The next
sentence seems unintelligible: but, according to Harvey, “each deified
day of the week had his ministering prophets.”
[2978] The common text inserts “et incorruptibili AEone,” but this seems better rejected as a glossarial interpolation.
[2979] 1 Cor. xv. 50. The Latin text reads “apprehendunt,” which can scarcely be the translation of kleronomesai in the Greek text of the New Testament.
[2980] That is, Christ and Jesus.
[2981] The text of this sentence is hopelessly corrupt, but the meaning
is as given above.

Chapter XXXI.—Doctrines of the Cainites.
1. Others again declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves. On this account, they add, they have been assailed by the Creator, yet no one of them has suffered
injury. For Sophia was in the habit of carrying off that which belonged
to her from them to herself. They declare that Judas the traitor was
thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the
truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by
him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into
confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they
style the Gospel of Judas.
2. I have also made a collection of their writings in which they
advocate the abolition of the doings of Hystera. [2982] Moreover, they
call this Hystera the creator of heaven and earth. They also hold, like
Carpocrates, that men cannot be saved until they have gone through all
kinds of experience. An angel, they maintain, attends them in every one
of their sinful and abominable actions, and urges them to venture on
audacity and incur pollution. Whatever may be the nature [2983] of the
action, they declare that they do it in the name of the angel, saying,
“O thou angel, I use thy work; O thou power, I accomplish thy
operation!” And they maintain that this is “perfect knowledge,” without
shrinking to rush into such actions as it is not lawful even to name.
3. It was necessary clearly to prove, that, as their very opinions and
regulations exhibit them, those who are of the school of Valentinus
derive their origin from such mothers, fathers, and ancestors, and also
to bring forward their doctrines, with the hope that perchance some of
them, exercising repentance and returning to the only Creator, and God
the Former of the universe, may obtain salvation, and that others may
not henceforth be drawn away by their wicked, although plausible,
persuasions, imagining that they will obtain from them the knowledge of
some greater and more sublime mysteries. But let them rather, learning
to good effect from us the wicked tenets of these men, look with
contempt upon their doctrines, while at the same time they pity those
who, still cleaving to these miserable and baseless fables, have
reached such a pitch of arrogance as to reckon themselves superior to
all others on account of such knowledge, or, as it should rather be called, ignorance. They have now been fully exposed; and simply to exhibit their sentiments, is to obtain a victory over them.
4. Wherefore I have laboured to bring forward, and make clearly
manifest, the utterly ill-conditioned carcase of this miserable little
fox. [2984] For there will not now be need of many words to overturn
their system of doctrine, when it has been made manifest to all. It is
as when, on a beast hiding itself in a wood, and by rushing forth from
it is in the habit of destroying multitudes, one who beats round the
wood and thoroughly explores it, so as to compel the animal to break
cover, does not strive to capture it, seeing that it is truly a
ferocious beast; but those present can then watch and avoid its
assaults, and can cast darts at it from all sides, and wound it, and
finally slay that destructive brute. So, in our case, since we have
brought their hidden mysteries, which they keep in silence among
themselves, to the light, it will not now be necessary to use many
words in destroying their system of opinions. For it is now in thy
power, and in the power of all thy associates, to familiarize
yourselves with what has been said, to overthrow their wicked and
undigested doctrines, and to set forth doctrines agreeable to the
truth. Since then the case is so, I shall, according to promise, and as
my ability serves, labour to overthrow them, by refuting them all in
the following book. Even to give an account of them is a tedious
affair, as thou seest. [2985] But I shall furnish means for
overthrowing them, by meeting all their opinions in the order in which
they have been described, that I may not only expose the wild beast to
view, but may inflict wounds upon it from every side.

[2982] According to Harvey, Hystera corresponds to the “passions” of Achamoth. [Note the “Americanism,” advocate used as a verb.]
[2983] The text is here imperfect, and the translation only conjectural.
[2984] [Cant. ii. 15; St. Luke xiii. 32.]
[2985] [Let the reader bear in mind that the Greek of this original and
very precious author exists only in fragments. We are reading the
translation of a translation; the Latin very rude, and the subject
itself full of difficulties. It may yet be discovered that some of the
faults of the work are not chargeable to Irenaeus.]

Against Heresies: Book II

1. In the first book, which immediately precedes this, exposing “knowledge falsely so called,” [2986] I showed thee, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I
also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not
only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from
the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine
as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to
these persons; and I carefully noticed [2987] the passages which they
garble from the Scriptures, with the view of adapting them to their own
fictions. Moreover, I minutely narrated the manner in which, by means
of numbers, and by the twenty-four letters of the alphabet, they boldly
endeavour to establish [what they regard as] truth. I have also related
how they think and teach that creation at large was formed after the
image of their invisible Pleroma, and what they hold respecting the
Demiurge, declaring at the same time the doctrine of Simon Magus of
Samaria, their progenitor, and of all those who succeeded him. I
mentioned, too, the multitude of those Gnostics who are sprung from
him, and noticed [2988] the points of difference between them, their
several doctrines, and the order of their succession, while I set forth
all those heresies which have been originated by them. I showed,
moreover, that all these heretics, taking their rise from Simon, have
introduced impious and irreligious doctrines into this life; and I
explained the nature of their “redemption,” and their method of
initiating those who are rendered “perfect,” along with their
invocations and their mysteries. I proved also that there is one God,
the Creator, and that He is not the fruit of any defect, nor is there
anything either above Him, or after Him. In the present book, I shall
establish those points which fit in with my design, so far as time
permits, and overthrow, by means of lengthened treatment under distinct
heads, their whole system; for which reason, since it is an exposure
and subversion of their opinions, I have so entitled the composition of
this work. For it is fitting, by a plain revelation and overthrow of
their conjunctions, to put an end to these hidden alliances, [2989] and
to Bythus himself, and thus to obtain a demonstration that he never existed at any previous time, nor now has any existence.

[2986] 1 Tim. vi. 20.
[2987] [Note this “Americanism.”]
[2988] [Note this “Americanism.”]
[2989] This passage is very obscure: we have supplied “et,” which, as
Harvey conjectures, may have dropped out of the text.

Chapter I.—There is but one God: the impossibility of its being otherwise.
1. It is proper, then, that I should begin with the first and most
important head, that is, God the Creator, who made the heaven and the
earth, and all things that are therein (whom these men blasphemously
style the fruit of a defect), and to demonstrate that there is nothing
either above Him or after Him; nor that, influenced by any one, but of
His own free will, He created all things, since He is the only God, the
only Lord, the only Creator, the only Father, alone containing all things, and Himself commanding all things into existence.
2. For how can there be any other Fulness, or Principle, or Power, or
God, above Him, since it is matter of necessity that God, the Pleroma
(Fulness) of all these, should contain all things in His immensity, and
should be contained by no one? But if there is anything beyond Him, He
is not then the Pleroma of all, nor does He contain all. For that which
they declare to be beyond Him will be wanting to the Pleroma, or, [in
other words,] to that God who is above all things. But that which is
wanting, and falls in any way short, is not the Pleroma of all things.
In such a case, He would have both beginning, middle, and end, with
respect to those who are beyond Him. And if He has an end in regard to
those things which are below, He has also a beginning with respect to
those things which are above. In like manner, there is an absolute
necessity that He should experience the very same thing at all other
points, and should be held in, bounded, and enclosed by those
existences that are outside of Him. For that being who is the end
downwards, necessarily circumscribes and surrounds him who finds his
end in it. And thus, according to them, the Father of all (that is, He
whom they call Prooen and Proarche), with their Pleroma, and the good
God of Marcion, is established and enclosed in some other, and is
surrounded from without by another mighty Being, who must of necessity
be greater, inasmuch as that which contains is greater than that which
is contained. But then that which is greater is also stronger, and in a
greater degree Lord; and that which is greater, and stronger, and in a
greater degree Lord—must be God.
3. Now, since there exists, according to them, also something else which they declare to be outside of the Pleroma, into which they
further hold there descended that higher power who went astray, it is
in every way necessary that the Pleroma either contains that which is
beyond, yet is contained (for otherwise, it will not be beyond the
Pleroma; for if there is anything beyond the Pleroma, there will be a
Pleroma within this very Pleroma which they declare to be outside of
the Pleroma, and the Pleroma will be contained by that which is beyond:
and with the Pleroma is understood also the first God); or, again, they
must be an infinite distance separated from each other—the Pleroma [I
mean], and that which is beyond it. But if they maintain this, there
will then be a third kind of existence, which separates by immensity
the Pleroma and that which is beyond it. This third kind of existence
will therefore bound and contain both the others, and will be greater
both than the Pleroma, and than that which is beyond it, inasmuch as it
contains both in its bosom. In this way, talk might go on for ever
concerning those things which are contained, and those which contain.
For if this third existence has its beginning above, and its end
beneath, there is an absolute necessity that it be also bounded on the
sides, either beginning or ceasing at certain other points, [where new
existences begin.] These, again, and others which are above and below,
will have their beginnings at certain other points, and so on ad
infinitum; so that their thoughts would never rest in one God, but, in
consequence of seeking after more than exists, would wander away to that which has no existence, and depart from the true God.
4. These remarks are, in like manner, applicable against the followers
of Marcion. For his two gods will also be contained and circumscribed
by an immense interval which separates them from one another. But then
there is a necessity to suppose a multitude of gods separated by an
immense distance from each other on every side, beginning with one
another, and ending in one another. Thus, by that very process of
reasoning on which they depend for teaching that there is a certain
Pleroma or God above the Creator of heaven and earth, any one who
chooses to employ it may maintain that there is another Pleroma above
the Pleroma, above that again another, and above Bythus another ocean
of Deity, while in like manner the same successions hold with respect
to the sides; and thus, their doctrine flowing out into immensity,
there will always be a necessity to conceive of other Pleroma, and
other Bythi, so as never at any time to stop, but always to continue
seeking for others besides those already mentioned. Moreover, it will
be uncertain whether these which we conceive of are below, or are, in
fact, themselves the things which are above; and, in like manner, [it
will be doubtful] respecting those things which are said by them to be
above, whether they are really above or below; and thus our opinions will have no fixed conclusion or certainty, but will of necessity wander forth after worlds without limits, and gods that cannot be numbered.
5. These things, then, being so, each deity will be contented with his
own possessions, and will not be moved with any curiosity respecting
the affairs of others; otherwise he would be unjust, and rapacious, and
would cease to be what God is. Each creation, too, will glorify its own
maker, and will be contented with him, not knowing any other; otherwise
it would most justly be deemed an apostate by all the others, and would
receive a richly-deserved punishment. For it must be either that there
is one Being who contains all things, and formed in His own territory
all those things which have been created, according to His own will;
or, again, that there are numerous unlimited creators and gods, who
begin from each other, and end in each other on every side; and it will
then be necessary to allow that all the rest are contained from without
by some one who is greater, and that they are each of them shut up
within their own territory, and remain in it. No one of them all,
therefore, is God. For there will be [much] wanting to every one of
them, possessing [as he will do] only a very small part when compared
with all the rest. The name of the Omnipotent will thus be brought to
an end, and such an opinion will of necessity fall to impiety.

Chapter II.—The world was not formed by angels, or by any other being,
contrary to the will of the most high God, but was made by the Father through
the Word. [2990]
1. Those, moreover, who say that the world was formed by angels, or by
any other maker of it, contrary to the will of Him who is the Supreme
Father, err first of all in this very point, that they maintain that
angels formed such and so mighty a creation, contrary to the will of
the Most High God. This would imply that angels were more powerful than
God; or if not so, that He was either careless, or inferior, or paid no
regard to those things which took place among His own possessions,
whether they turned out ill or well, so that He might drive away and
prevent the one, while He praised and rejoiced over the other. But if
one would not ascribe such conduct even to a man of any ability, how much less to God?
2. Next let them tell us whether these things have been formed within
the limits which are contained by Him, and in His proper territory, or
in regions belonging to others, and lying beyond Him? But if they say
[that these things were done] beyond Him, then all the absurdities
already mentioned will face them, and the Supreme God will be enclosed
by that which is beyond Him, in which also it will be necessary that He
should find His end. If, on the other hand, [these things were done]
within His own proper territory, it will be very idle to say that the
world was thus formed within His proper territory against His will by
angels who are themselves under His power, or by any other being, as if
either He Himself did not behold all things which take place among His
own possessions, or [2991] was not aware of the things to be done by angels.
3. If, however, [the things referred to were done] not against His will, but with His concurrence and knowledge, as some [of these men] think, the angels, or the Former of the world [whoever that may have
been], will no longer be the causes of that formation, but the will of
God. For if He is the Former of the world, He too made the angels, or
at least was the cause of their creation; and He will be regarded as having made the world who prepared the causes of its formation.
Although they maintain that the angels were made by a long succession
downwards, or that the Former of the world [sprang] from the Supreme
Father, as Basilides asserts; nevertheless that which is the cause of
those things which have been made will still be traced to Him who was
the Author of such a succession. [The case stands] just as regards
success in war, which is ascribed to the king who prepared those things
which are the cause of victory; and, in like manner, the creation of
any state, or of any work, is referred to him who prepared materials
for the accomplishment of those results which were afterwards brought
about. Wherefore, we do not say that it was the axe which cut the wood,
or the saw which divided it; but one would very properly say that the
man cut and divided it who formed the axe and the saw for this purpose,
and [who also formed] at a much earlier date all the tools by which the
axe and the saw themselves were formed. With justice, therefore,
according to an analogous process of reasoning, the Father of all will
be declared the Former of this world, and not the angels, nor any other
[so-called] former of the world, other than He who was its Author, and
had formerly [2992] been the cause of the preparation for a creation of
this kind.
4. This manner of speech may perhaps be plausible or persuasive to
those who know not God, and who liken Him to needy human beings, and to
those who cannot immediately and without assistance form anything, but
require many instrumentalities to produce what they intend. But it will
not be regarded as at all probable by those who know that God stands in
need of nothing, and that He created and made all things by His Word,
while He neither required angels to assist Him in the production of
those things which are made, nor of any power greatly inferior to
Himself, and ignorant of the Father, nor of any defect or ignorance, in
order that he who should know Him might become man. [2993] But He
Himself in Himself, after a fashion which we can neither describe nor
conceive, predestinating all things, formed them as He pleased,
bestowing harmony on all things, and assigning them their own place,
and the beginning of their creation. In this way He conferred on
spiritual things a spiritual and invisible nature, on super-celestial
things a celestial, on angels an angelical, on animals an animal, on
beings that swim a nature suited to the water, and on those that live
on the land one fitted for the land—on all, in short, a nature suitable to the character of the life assigned them—while He formed all things that were made by His Word that never wearies.
5. For this is a peculiarity of the pre-eminence of God, not to stand
in need of other instruments for the creation of those things which are
summoned into existence. His own Word is both suitable and sufficient
for the formation of all things, even as John, the disciple of the
Lord, declares regarding Him: “All things were made by Him, and without
Him was nothing made.” [2994] Now, among the “all things” our world
must be embraced. It too, therefore, was made by His Word, as Scripture
tells us in the book of Genesis that He made all things connected with
our world by His Word. David also expresses the same truth [when he
says] “For He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were
created.” [2995] Whom, therefore, shall we believe as to the creation
of the world—these heretics who have been mentioned that prate so
foolishly and inconsistently on the subject, or the disciples of the
Lord, and Moses, who was both a faithful servant of God and a prophet?
He at first narrated the formation of the world in these words: “In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” [2996] and all other
things in succession; but neither gods nor angels [had any share in the
Now, that this God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul the
apostle also has declared, [saying,] “There is one God, the Father, who
is above all, and through all things, and in us all.” [2997] I have
indeed proved already that there is only one God; but I shall further
demonstrate this from the apostles themselves, and from the discourses
of the Lord. For what sort of conduct would it be, were we to forsake
the utterances of the prophets, of the Lord, and of the apostles, that
we might give heed to these persons, who speak not a word of sense?

[2990] [This noble chapter is a sort of homily on Heb. i.]
[2991] The common text has “ut:” we prefer to read “aut” with Erasmus
and others.
[2992] Vossius and others read “primus” instead of “prius,” but on defective ms. authority.
[2993] Harvey here observes: “Grabe misses the meaning by applying to
the redeemed that which the author says of the Redeemer;” but it may be
doubted if this is really the case. Perhaps Massuet’s rendering of the
clause, “that that man might be formed who should know Him,” is, after
all, preferable to that given above.
[2994] John i. 3.
[2995] Ps. xxxiii. 9, Ps. cxlviii. 5.
[2996] Gen. i. 1.
[2997] Eph. iv. 6, differing somewhat from Text. Rec. of New Testament.

Chapter III.—The Bythus and Pleroma of the Valentinians, as well as the God
of Marcion, shown to be absurd; the world was actually created by the same
Being who had conceived the idea of it, and was not the fruit of defect or
1. The Bythus, therefore, whom they conceive of with his Pleroma, and
the God of Marcion, are inconsistent. If indeed, as they affirm, he has
something subjacent and beyond himself, which they style vacuity and shadow, this vacuum is then proved to be greater than their Pleroma.
But it is inconsistent even to make this statement, that while he
contains all things within himself, the creation was formed by some
other. For it is absolutely necessary that they acknowledge a certain
void and chaotic kind of existence (below the spiritual Pleroma) in
which this universe was formed, and that the Propator purposely left
this chaos as it was, [2998] either knowing beforehand what things were
to happen in it, or being ignorant of them. If he was really ignorant,
then God will not be prescient of all things. But they will not even
[in that case] be able to assign a reason on what account He thus left
this place void during so long a period of time. If, again, He is
prescient, and contemplated mentally that creation which was about to
have a being in that place, then He Himself created it who also formed
it beforehand [ideally] in Himself.
2. Let them cease, therefore, to affirm that the world was made by any
other; for as soon as God formed a conception in His mind, that was
also done which He had thus mentally conceived. For it was not possible
that one Being should mentally form the conception, and another
actually produce the things which had been conceived by Him in His
mind. But God, according to these heretics, mentally conceived either
an eternal world or a temporal one, both of which suppositions cannot
be true. Yet if He had mentally conceived of it as eternal, spiritual,
[2999] and visible, it would also have been formed such. But if it was
formed such as it really is, then He made it such who had mentally
conceived of it as such; or He willed it to exist in the ideality
[3000] of the Father, according to the conception of His mind, such as
it now is, compound, mutable, and transient. Since, then, it is just
such as the Father had [ideally] formed in counsel with Himself, it
must be worthy of the Father. But to affirm that what was mentally
conceived and pre-created by the Father of all, just as it has been
actually formed, is the fruit of defect, and the production of
ignorance, is to be guilty of great blasphemy. For, according to them,
the Father of all will thus be [regarded as] generating in His breast,
according to His own mental conception, the emanations of defect and
the fruits of ignorance, since the things which He had conceived in His
mind have actually been produced.

[2998] In the barbarous Latin version, we here find utrum ... an as the
translation of e ... e instead of aut ... aut.
[2999] We have translated the text as it here stands in the mss. Grabe
omits spiritalem et; Massuet proposes to read et invisibilem, and Stieren invisibilem.
[3000] In praesentia: Grabe proposes in praescientia, but without ms.
authority. “The reader,” says Harvey, “will observe that there are
three suppositions advanced by the author: that the world, as some
heretics asserted, was eternal; that it was created in time, with no
previous idea of it in the divine mind; or that it existed as a portion
of the divine counsels from all eternity, though with no temporal
subsistence until the time of its creation,--and of this the author now
speaks.” The whole passage is most obscurely expressed.

Chapter IV.—The absurdity of the supposed vacuum and defect of the heretics
is demonstrated.
1. The cause, then, of such a dispensation on the part of God, is to be
inquired after; but the formation of the world is not to be ascribed to
any other. And all things are to be spoken of as having been so
prepared by God beforehand, that they should be made as they have been
made; but shadow and vacuity are not to be conjured into existence. But
whence, let me ask, came this vacuity [of which they speak]? If it was
indeed produced by Him who, according to them, is the Father and Author
of all things, then it is both equal in honour and related to the rest
of the AEons, perchance even more ancient than they are. Moreover, if
it proceeded from the same source [as they did], it must be similar in
nature to Him who produced it, as well as to those along with whom it
was produced. There will therefore be an absolute necessity, both that
the Bythus of whom they speak, along with Sige, be similar in nature to
a vacuum, that is, that He really is a vacuum; and that the rest of the
AEons, since they are the brothers of vacuity, should also be devoid
[3001] of substance. If, on the other hand, it has not been thus
produced, it must have sprang from and been generated by itself, and in
that case it will be equal in point of age to that Bythus who is,
according to them, the Father of all; and thus vacuity will be of the
same nature and of the same honour with Him who is, according to them,
the universal Father. For it must of necessity have been either
produced by some one, or generated by itself, and sprung from itself.
But if, in truth, vacuity was produced, then its producer Valentinus is
also a vacuum, as are likewise his followers. If, again, it was not
produced, but was generated by itself, then that which is really a
vacuum is similar to, and the brother of, and of the same honour with,
that Father who has been proclaimed by Valentinus; while it is more
ancient, and dating its existence from a period greatly anterior, and
more exalted in honour than the remaining AEons of Ptolemy himself, and
Heracleon, and all the rest [3002] who hold the same opinions.
2. But if, driven to despair in regard to these points, they confess
that the Father of all contains all things, and that there is nothing
whatever outside of the Pleroma (for it is an absolute necessity that,
[if there be anything outside of it,] it should be bounded and
circumscribed by something greater than itself), and that they speak of
what is without and what within in reference to knowledge and
ignorance, and not with respect to local distance; but that, in the
Pleroma, or in those things which are contained by the Father, the
whole creation which we know to have been formed, having been made by
the Demiurge, or by the angels, is contained by the unspeakable
greatness, as the centre is in a circle, or as a spot is in a garment,
then, in the first place, what sort of a being must that Bythus be,
who allows a stain to have place in His own bosom, and permits another
one to create or produce within His territory, contrary to His own will? Such a mode of acting would truly entail [the charge of]
degeneracy upon the entire Pleroma, since it might from the first have
cut off that defect, and those emanations which derived their origin
from it, [3003] and not have agreed to permit the formation of creation
either in ignorance, or passion, or in defect. For he who can
afterwards rectify a defect, and does, as it were, wash away a stain,
[3004] could at a much earlier date have taken care that no such stain
should, even at first, be found among his possessions. Or if at the
first he allowed that the things which were made [should be as they
are], since they could not, in fact, be formed otherwise, then it
follows that they must always continue in the same condition. For how
is it possible, that those things which cannot at the first obtain
rectification, should subsequently receive it? Or how can men say that
they are called to perfection, when those very beings who are the
causes from which men derive their origin—either the Demiurge himself,
or the angels—are declared to exist in defect? And if, as is
maintained, [the Supreme Being,] inasmuch as He is benignant, did at
last take pity upon men, and bestow on them perfection, He ought at
first to have pitied those who were the creators of man, and to have
conferred on them perfection. In this way, men too would verily have
shared in His compassion, being formed perfect by those that were
perfect. For if He pitied the work of these beings, He ought long
before to have pitied themselves, and not to have allowed them to fall
into such awful blindness.
3. Their talk also about shadow and vacuity, in which they maintain that the creation with which we are concerned was formed, will be
brought to nothing, if the things referred to were created within the
territory which is contained by the Father. For if they hold that the
light of their Father is such that it fills all things which are inside
of Him, and illuminates them all, how can any vacuum or shadow possibly
exist within that territory which is contained by the Pleroma, and by
the light of the Father? For, in that case, it behoves them to point
out some place within the Propator, or within the Pleroma, which is not
illuminated, nor kept possession of by any one, and in which either the
angels or the Demiurge formed whatever they pleased. Nor will it be a
small amount of space in which such and so great a creation can be
conceived of as having been formed. There will therefore be an absolute
necessity that, within the Pleroma, or within the Father of whom they
speak, they should conceive [3005] of some place, void, formless, and
full of darkness, in which those things were formed which have been
formed. By such a supposition, however, the light of their Father would
incur a reproach, as if He could not illuminate and fill those things
which are within Himself. Thus, then, when they maintain that these
things were the fruit of defect and the work of error, they do moreover
introduce defect and error within the Pleroma, and into the bosom of the Father.

[3001] Literally, “should also possess a vacant substance”
[3002] The text has “reliquis omnibus,” which would refer to the AEons;
but we follow the emendation proposed by Massuet, “reliquorum omnium,”
as the reference manifestly is to other heretics.
[3003] “Ab eo:” some refer “eo” to the Demiurge, but it is not unusual
for the Latin translator to follow the Greek gender, although different
from that of the Latin word which he has himself employed. We may
therefore here “eo” to “labem,” which is the translation of the neuter
noun husterema.
[3004] Labem is here repeated, probably by mistake.
[3005] The Latin is fieri eos: Massuet conjectures that the Greek had
been poieisthai autous, and that the translator rendered poieisthai as
a passive instead of a middle verb, fieri for facere.

Chapter V.—This world was not formed by any other beings within the territory
which is contained by the Father.
1. The remarks, therefore, which I made a little while ago [3006] are
suitable in answer to those who assert that this world was formed
outside of the Pleroma, or under a “good God;” and such persons, with
the Father they speak of, will be quite cut off from that which is
outside the Pleroma, in which, at the same time, it is necessary that
they should finally rest. [3007] In answer to those, again, who
maintain that this world was formed by certain other beings within that
territory which is contained by the Father, all those points which have
now [3008] been noticed will present themselves [as exhibiting their]
absurdities and incoherencies; and they will be compelled either to
acknowledge all those things which are within the Father, lucid, full,
and energetic, or to accuse the light of the Father as if He could not
illuminate all things; or, as a portion of their Pleroma [is so
described], the whole of it must be confessed to be void, chaotic, and
full of darkness. And they accuse all other created things as if these
were merely temporal, or [at the best], if eternal, [3009] yet
material. But [3010] these (the AEons) ought to be regarded as beyond
the reach of such accusations, since they are within the Pleroma, or
the charges in question will equally fall against the entire Pleroma;
and thus the Christ of whom they speak is discovered to be the author
of ignorance. For, according to their statements, when He had given a
form so far as substance was concerned to the Mother they conceive of,
He cast her outside of the Pleroma; that is, He cut her off from
knowledge. He, therefore, who separated her from knowledge, did in
reality produce ignorance in her. How then could the very same person
bestow the gift of knowledge on the rest of the AEons, those who were
anterior to Him [in production], and yet be the author of ignorance to
His Mother? For He placed her beyond the pale of knowledge, when He cast her outside of the Pleroma.
2. Moreover, if they explain being within and without the Pleroma as implying knowledge and ignorance respectively, as certain of them do
(since he who has knowledge is within that which knows), then they must
of necessity grant that the Saviour Himself (whom they designate All
Things) was in a state of ignorance. For they maintain that, on His
coming forth outside of the Pleroma, He imparted form to their Mother
[Achamoth]. If, then, they assert that whatever is outside [the
Pleroma] is ignorant of all things, and if the Saviour went forth to
impart form to their Mother, then He was situated beyond the pale of
the knowledge of all things; that is, He was in ignorance. How then
could He communicate knowledge to her, when He Himself was beyond the
pale of knowledge? For we, too, they declare to be outside the Pleroma,
inasmuch as we are outside of the knowledge which they possess. And
once more: If the Saviour really went forth beyond the Pleroma to seek
after the sheep which was lost, but the Pleroma is [co-extensive with]
knowledge, then He placed Himself beyond the pale of knowledge, that
is, in ignorance. For it is necessary either that they grant that what
is outside the Pleroma is so in a local sense, in which case all the
remarks formerly made will rise up against them; or if they speak of
that which is within in regard to knowledge, and of that which is
without in respect to ignorance, then their Saviour, and Christ long
before Him, must have been formed in ignorance, inasmuch as they went
forth beyond the Pleroma, that is, beyond the pale of knowledge, in order to impart form to their Mother.
3. These arguments may, in like manner, be adapted to meet the case of
all those who, in any way, maintain that the world was formed either by
angels or by any other one than the true God. For the charges which
they bring against the Demiurge, and those things which were made
material and temporal, will in truth fall back on the Father; if indeed
the [3011] very things which were formed in the bosom of the Pleroma
began by and by in fact to be dissolved, in accordance with the
permission and good-will of the Father. The [immediate] Creator, then,
is not the [real] Author of this work, thinking, as He did, that He
formed it very good, but He who allows and approves of the productions
of defect, and the works of error having a place among his own
possessions, and that temporal things should be mixed up with eternal,
corruptible with incorruptible, and those which partake of error with
those which belong to truth. If, however, these things were formed
without the permission or approbation of the Father of all, then that
Being must be more powerful, stronger, and more kingly, who made these
things within a territory which properly belongs to Him (the Father),
and did so without His permission. If again, as some say, their Father
permitted these things without approving of them, then He gave the
permission on account of some necessity, being either able to prevent
[such procedure], or not able. But if indeed He could not [hinder it],
then He is weak and powerless; while, if He could, He is a seducer, a
hypocrite, and a slave of necessity, inasmuch as He does not consent [to such a course], and yet allows it as if He did consent. And allowing error to arise at the first, and to go on increasing, He endeavours in later times to destroy it, when already many have miserably perished on account of the [original] defect.
4. It is not seemly, however, to say of Him who is God over all, since
He is free and independent, that He was a slave to necessity, or that
anything takes place with His permission, yet against His desire;
otherwise they will make necessity greater and more kingly than God,
since that which has the most power is superior [3012] to all [others].
And He ought at the very beginning to have cut off the causes of [the
fancied] necessity, and not to have allowed Himself to be shut up to
yielding to that necessity, by permitting anything besides that which
became Him. For it would have been much better, more consistent, and
more God-like, to cut off at the beginning the principle of this kind
of necessity, than afterwards, as if moved by repentance, to endeavour
to extirpate the results of necessity when they had reached such a
development. And if the Father of all be a slave to necessity, and must
yield to fate, while He unwillingly tolerates the things which are
done, but is at the same time powerless to do anything in opposition to
necessity and fate (like the Homeric Jupiter, who says of necessity, “I
have willingly given thee, yet with unwilling mind”), then, according
to this reasoning, the Bythus of whom they speak will be found to be the slave of necessity and fate.

[3006] See above, chap. i.
[3007] The Latin text here is, “et concludentur tales cum patre suo ab
eo qui est extra Pleroma, in quo etiam et desinere eos necesse est.”
None of the editors notice the difficulty or obscurity of the clause,
but it appears to us absolutely untranslateable. We have rendered it as
if the reading were “ab eo quod,” though, if the strict grammatical
construction be followed, the translation must be, “from Him who.” But
then to what does “in quo,” which follows, refer? It may be ascribed
either to the immediate antecedent Pleroma, or to Him who is described
as being beyond it.
[3008] Chap. ii., iii., iv.
[3009] This is an extremely difficult passage. We follow the reading
aeternochoica adopted by Massuet, but Harvey reads aeterna choica, and
renders, “They charge all other substance (i.e., spiritual) with the
imperfections of the material creation, as though AEon substance were
equally ephemeral and choic.”
[3010] The common reading is “aut;” we adopt Harvey’s conjectural emendation of “at.”
[3011] The above clause is very obscure; Massuet reads it interrogatively.
[3012] The text has “antiquius,” literally “more ancient,” but it may
here be rendered as above.

Chapter VI.—The angels and the Creator of the world could not have been
ignorant of the Supreme God.
1. How, again, could either the angels, or the Creator of the world,
have been ignorant of the Supreme God, seeing they were His property,
and His creatures, and were contained by Him? He might indeed have been
invisible to them on account of His superiority, but He could by no
means have been unknown to them on account of His providence. For
though it is true, as they declare, that they were very far separated
from Him through their inferiority [of nature], yet, as His dominion
extended over all of them, it behoved them to know their Ruler, and to
be aware of this in particular, that He who created them is Lord of
all. For since His invisible essence is mighty, it confers on all a
profound mental intuition and perception of His most powerful, yea,
omnipotent greatness. Wherefore, although “no one knows the Father,
except the Son, nor the Son except the Father, and those to whom the
Son will reveal Him,” [3013] yet all [beings] do know this one fact at
least, because reason, implanted in their minds, moves them, and reveals to them [the truth] that there is one God, the Lord of all.
2. And on this account all things have been [by general consent] placed
under the sway of Him who is styled the Most High, and the Almighty. By
calling upon Him, even before the coming of our Lord, men were saved
both from most wicked spirits, and from all kinds of demons, and from
every sort of apostate power. This was the case, not as if earthly
spirits or demons had seen Him, but because they knew of the existence
of Him who is God over all, at whose invocation they trembled, as there
does tremble every creature, and principality, and power, and every
being endowed with energy under His government. By way of parallel,
shall not those who live under the empire of the Romans, although they
have never seen the emperor, but are far separated from him both by
land and sea, know very well, as they experience his rule, who it is
that possesses the principal power in the state? How then could it be,
that those angels who were superior to us [in nature], or even He whom
they call the Creator of the world, did not know the Almighty, when
even dumb animals tremble and yield at the invocation of His name? And
as, although they have not seen Him, yet all things are subject to the
name of our Lord, [3014] so must they also be to His who made and
established all things by His word, since it was no other than He who
formed the world. And for this reason do the Jews even now put demons
to flight by means of this very adjuration, inasmuch as all beings fear
the invocation of Him who created them.
3. If, then, they shrink from affirming that the angels are more
irrational than the dumb animals, they will find that it behoved these,
although they had not seen Him who is God over all, to know His power
and sovereignty. For it will appear truly ridiculous, if they maintain
that they themselves indeed, who dwell upon the earth, know Him who is
God over all whom they have never seen, but will not allow Him who,
according to their opinion, formed them and the whole world, although
He dwells in the heights and above the heavens, to know those things with which they themselves, though they dwell below, are acquainted.
[This is the case], unless perchance they maintain that Bythus lives in
Tartarus below the earth, and that on this account they have attained
to a knowledge of Him before those angels who have their abode on high.
Thus do they rush into such an abyss of madness as to pronounce the
Creator of the world void of understanding. They are truly deserving of
pity, since with such utter folly they affirm that He (the Creator of
the world) neither knew His Mother, nor her seed, nor the Pleroma of the AEons, nor the Propator, nor what the things were which He made;
but that these are images of those things which are within the Pleroma,
the Saviour having secretly laboured that they should be so formed [by
the unconscious Demiurge], in honour of those things which are above.

[3013] Matt. xi. 27.
[3014] Massuet refers this to the Roman emperor.

Chapter VII.—Created things are not the images of those AEons who are within
the Pleroma.
1. While the Demiurge was thus ignorant of all things, they tell us that the Saviour conferred honour upon the Pleroma by the creation [which he summoned into existence] through means of his Mother, inasmuch as he produced similitudes and images of those things which are above. But I have already shown that it was impossible that
anything should exist beyond the Pleroma (in which external region they
tell us that images were made of those things which are within the
Pleroma), or that this world was formed by any other one than the
Supreme God. But it is a pleasant thing to overthrow them on every
side, and to prove them vendors of falsehood; let us say, in opposition
to them, that if these things were made by the Saviour to the honour of
those which are above, after their likeness, then it behoved them
always to endure, that those things which have been honoured should
perpetually continue in honour. But if they do in fact pass away, what
is the use of this very brief period of honour,--an honour which at one
time had no existence, and which shall again come to nothing? In that
case I shall prove that the Saviour is rather an aspirant after vainglory, than [3015] one who honours those things which are above.
For what honour can those things which are temporal confer on such as
are eternal and endure for ever? or those which pass away on such as
remain? or those which are corruptible on such as are
incorruptible?--since, even among men who are themselves mortal, there
is no value attached to that honour which speedily passes away, but to
that which endures as long as it possibly can. But those things which,
as soon as they are made, come to an end, may justly be said rather to
have been formed for the contempt of such as are thought to be honoured
by them; and that that which is eternal is contumeliously treated when
its image is corrupted and dissolved. But what if their Mother had not
wept, and laughed, and been involved in despair? The Saviour would not
then have possessed any means of honouring the Fulness, inasmuch as her
last state of confusion [3016] did not have substance of its own by which it might honour the Propator.
2. Alas for the honour of vainglory which at once passes away, and no
longer appears! There will be some [3017] AEon, in whose case such
honour will not be thought at all to have had an existence, and then
the things which are above will be unhonoured; or it will be necessary
to produce once more another Mother weeping, and in despair, in order
to the honour of the Pleroma. What a dissimilar, and at the same time
blasphemous image! Do you tell me that an image of the Only-begotten
was produced by the former [3018] of the world, whom [3019] again ye
wish to be considered the Nous (mind) of the Father of all, and [yet
maintain] that this image was ignorant of itself, ignorant of
creation,--ignorant, too, of the Mother,--ignorant of everything that
exists, and of those things which were made by it; and are you not
ashamed while, in opposition to yourselves, you ascribe ignorance even
to the Only-begotten Himself? For if these things [below] were made by
the Saviour after the similitude of those which are above, while He
(the Demiurge) who was made after such similitude was in so great
ignorance, it necessarily follows that around Him, and in accordance
with Him, after whose likeness he that is thus ignorant was formed,
ignorance of the kind in question spiritually exists. For it is not
possible, since both were produced spiritually, and neither fashioned
nor composed, that in some the likeness was preserved, while in others
the likeness of the image was spoiled, that image which was here
produced that it might be according to the image of that production
which is above. But if it is not similar, the charge will then attach
to the Saviour, who produced a dissimilar image,--of being, so to
speak, an incompetent workman. For it is out of their power to affirm
that the Saviour had not the faculty of production, since they style
Him All Things. If, then, the image is dissimilar, he is a poor
workman, and the blame lies, according to their hypothesis, with the
Saviour. If, on the other hand, it is similar, then the same ignorance
will be found to exist in the Nous (mind) of their Propator, that is,
in the Only-begotten. The Nous of the Father, in that case, was
ignorant of Himself; ignorant, too, of the Father; ignorant, moreover,
of those very things which were formed by Him. But if He has knowledge,
it necessarily follows also that he who was formed after his likeness
by the Saviour should know the things which are like; and thus, according to their own principles, their monstrous blasphemy is overthrown.
3. Apart from this, however, how can those things which belong to
creation, various, manifold, and innumerable as they are, be the images
of those thirty AEons which are within the Pleroma, whose names, as
these men fix them, I have set forth in the book which precedes this?
And not only will they be unable to adapt the [vast] variety of
creation at large to the [comparative] smallness of their Pleroma, but
they cannot do this even with respect to any one part of it, whether
[that possessed by] celestial or terrestrial beings, or those that live
in the waters. For they themselves testify that their Pleroma consists
of thirty AEons; but any one will undertake to show that, in a single
department of those [created beings] which have been mentioned, they
reckon that there are not thirty, but many thousands of species. How
then can those things, which constitute such a multiform creation,
which are opposed in nature to each other, and disagree among
themselves, and destroy the one the other, be the images and likenesses
of the thirty AEons of the Pleroma, if indeed, as they declare, these
being possessed of one nature, are of equal and similar properties, and
exhibit no differences [among themselves]? For it was incumbent, if
these things are images of those AEons,--inasmuch as they declare that
some men are wicked by nature, and some, on the other hand, naturally
good,--to point out such differences also among their AEons, and to
maintain that some of them were produced naturally good, while some
were naturally evil, so that the supposition of the likeness of those
things might harmonize with the AEons. Moreover, since there are in the
world some creatures that are gentle, and others that are fierce, some
that are innocuous, while others are hurtful and destroy the rest; some
have their abode on the earth, others in the water, others in the air,
and others in the heaven; in like manner, they are bound to show that
the AEons possess such properties, if indeed the one are the images of
the others. And besides; “the eternal fire which the Father has
prepared for the devil and his angels,” [3020] -- they ought to show of
which of those AEons that are above it is the image; for it, too, is reckoned part of the creation.
4. If, however, they say that these things are the images of the
Enthymesis of that AEon who fell into passion, then, first of all, they
will act impiously against their Mother, by declaring her to be the
first cause of evil and corruptible images. And then, again, how can
those things which are manifold, and dissimilar, and contrary in their
nature, be the images of one and the same Being? And if they say that
the angels of the Pleroma are numerous, and that those things which are
many are the images of these—not in this way either will the account
they give be satisfactory. For, in the first place, they are then bound
to point out differences among the angels of the Pleroma, which are
mutually opposed to each other, even as the images existing below are
of a contrary nature among themselves. And then, again, since there are
many, yea, innumerable angels who surround the Creator, as all the
prophets acknowledge,--[saying, for instance,] “Ten thousand times ten
thousand stood beside Him, and many thousands of thousands ministered
unto Him,” [3021] --then, according [3022] to them, the angels of the
Pleroma will have as images the angels of the Creator, and the entire
creation remains in the image of the Pleroma, but so that the thirty AEons no longer correspond to the manifold variety of the creation.
5. Still further, if these things [below] were made after the similitude of those [above], after the likeness of which again will
those then be made? For if the Creator of the world did not form these
things directly from His own [3023] conception, but, like an architect
of no ability, or a boy receiving his first lesson, copied them from
archetypes furnished by others, then whence did their Bythus obtain the
forms of that creation which He at first produced? It clearly follows
that He must have received the model from some other one who is above
Him, and that one, in turn, from another. And none the less [for these
suppositions], the talk about images, as about gods, will extend to
infinity, if we do not at once fix our mind on one Artificer, and on
one God, who of Himself formed those things which have been created. Or
is it really the case that, in regard to mere men, one will allow that
they have of themselves invented what is useful for the purposes of
life, but will not grant to that God who formed the world, that of
Himself He created the forms of those things which have been made, and
imparted to it its orderly arrangement?
6. But, again, how can these things [below] be images of those [above],
since they are really contrary to them, and can in no respect have
sympathy with them? For those things which are contrary to each other
may indeed be destructive of those to which they are contrary, but can
by no means be their images—as, for instance, water and fire; or,
again, light and darkness, and other such things, can never be the
images of one another. In like manner, neither can those things which
are corruptible and earthly, and of a compound nature, and transitory,
be the images of those which, according to these men, are spiritual;
unless these very things themselves be allowed to be compound, limited
in space, and of a definite shape, and thus no longer spiritual, and
diffused, and spreading into vast extent, and incomprehensible. For
they must of necessity be possessed of a definite figure, and confined
within certain limits, that they may be true images; and then it is
decided that they are not spiritual. If, however, these men maintain
that they are spiritual, and diffused, and incomprehensible, how can
those things which are possessed of figure, and confined within certain
limits, be the images of such as are destitute of figure and incomprehensible?
7. If, again, they affirm that neither according to configuration nor
formation, but according to number and the order of production, those
things [above] are the images [of these below], then, in the first
place, these things [below] ought not to be spoken of as images and
likenesses of those AEons that are above. For how can the things which
have neither the fashion nor shape of those [above] be their images?
And, in the next place, they would adapt both the numbers and
productions of the AEons above, so as to render them identical with and
similar to those that belong to the creation [below]. But now, since
they refer to only thirty AEons, and declare that the vast multitude of
things which are embraced within the creation [below] are images of those that are but thirty, we may justly condemn them as utterly destitute of sense.

[3015] Harvey supposes that the translator here read e quam instead of
he qua (gloria); but Grabe, Massuet, and Stieren prefer to delete erit.
[3016] Reference is here made to the supposed wretched state of
Achamoth as lying in the region of shadow, vacuity, and, in fact,
non-existence, until compassionated by the Christ above, who gave her
form as respected substance.
[3017] We have literally translated the above very obscure sentence.
According to Massuet, the sense is: “There will some time be, or
perhaps even now there is, some AEon utterly destitute of such honour,
inasmuch as those things which the Saviour, for the sake of honouring
it, had formed after its image, have been destroyed; and then those things which are above will remain without honour,” etc.
[3018] The Saviour is here referred to, as having formed all things through means of Achamoth and the Demiurge.
[3019] Massuet deletes quem, and reads nun as a genitive.
[3020] Matt. xxv. 41.
[3021] Dan. vii. 10, agreeing neither with the Greek nor Hebrew text.
[3022] This clause is exceedingly obscure. Harvey remarks upon it as
follows: “The reasoning of Irenaeus seems to be this: According to the
Gnostic theory, the AEons and angels of the Pleroma were homogeneous.
They were also the archetypes of things created. But things created are
heterogeneous: therefore either these AEons are heterogeneous, which is
contrary to theory; or things created are homogeneous, which is contrary to fact.”
[3023] Literally, “from Himself.”

Chapter VIII.—Created things are not a shadow of the Pleroma.
1. If, again, they declare that these things [below] are a shadow of
those [above], as some of them are bold enough to maintain, so that in
this respect they are images, then it will be necessary for them to
allow that those things which are above are possessed of bodies. For
those bodies which are above do cast a shadow, but spiritual substances
do not, since they can in no degree darken others. If, however, we also
grant them this point (though it is, in fact, an impossibility), that
there is a shadow belonging to those essences which are spiritual and
lucent, into which they declare their Mother descended; yet, since
those things [which are above] are eternal, and that shadow which is
cast by them endures for ever, [it follows that] these things [below]
are also not transitory, but endure along with those which cast their
shadow over them. If, on the other hand, these things [below] are
transitory, it is a necessary consequence that those [above] also, of
which these are the shadow, pass away; while; if they endure, their shadow likewise endures.
2. If, however, they maintain that the shadow spoken of does not exist
as being produced by the shade of [those above], but simply in this
respect, that [the things below] are far separated from those [above],
they will then charge the light of their Father with weakness and
insufficiency, as if it cannot extend so far as these things, but fails
to fill that which is empty, and to dispel the shadow, and that when no
one is offering any hindrance. For, according to them, the light of
their Father will be changed into darkness and buried in obscurity, and
will come to an end in those places which are characterized by
emptiness, since it cannot penetrate and fill all things. Let them then
no longer declare that their Bythus is the fulness of all things, if
indeed he has neither filled nor illuminated that which is vacuum and
shadow; or, on the other hand, let them cease talking of vacuum and shadow, if the light of their Father does in truth fill all things.
3. Beyond the primary Father, then—that is, the God who is over all—there can neither be any Pleroma into which they declare the Enthymesis of that AEon who suffered passion, descended (so that the Pleroma itself, or the primary God, should not be limited and circumscribed by that which is beyond, and should, in fact, be contained by it); nor can vacuum or shadow have any existence, since
the Father exists beforehand, so that His light cannot fail, and find
end in a vacuum. It is, moreover, irrational and impious to conceive of
a place in which He who is, according to them, Propator, and Proarche,
and Father of all, and of this Pleroma, ceases and has an end. Nor,
again, is it allowable, for the reasons [3024] already stated, to
allege that some other being formed so vast a creation in the bosom of
the Father, either with or without His consent. For it is equally impious and infatuated to affirm that so great a creation was [3025]
formed by angels, or by some particular production ignorant of the true
God in that territory which is His own. Nor is it possible that those
things which are earthly and material could have been formed within
their Pleroma, since that is wholly spiritual. And further, it is not
even possible that those things which belong to a multiform creation,
and have been formed with mutually opposite qualities [could have been
created] after the image of the things above, since these (i.e., the AEons) are said to be few, and of a like formation, and homogeneous.
Their talk, too, about the shadow of kenoma—that is, of a vacuum—has
in all points turned out false. Their figment, then, [in what way
soever viewed,] has been proved groundless, [3026] and their doctrines
untenable. Empty, too, are those who listen to them, and are verily descending into the abyss of perdition.

[3024] See above, chap. ii. and v.
[3025] The text has fabricasse, for which, says Massuet, should be read
fabricatam esse; or fabricasse itself must be taken in a passive signification. It is possible, however, to translate, as Harvey indicates, “that He (Bythus) formed so great a creation by angels,” etc., though this seems harsh and unsuitable.
[3026] Literally, empty: there is a play on the words vacuum and vacui
(which immediately follows), as there had been in the original Greek.

Chapter IX.—There is but one Creator of the world, God the Father: this the
constant belief of the Church.
1. That God is the Creator of the world is accepted even by those very
persons who in many ways speak against Him, and yet acknowledge Him,
styling Him the Creator, and an angel, not to mention that all the
Scriptures call out [to the same effect], and the Lord teaches us of
this Father [3027] who is in heaven, and no other, as I shall show in
the sequel of this work. For the present, however, that proof which is
derived from those who allege doctrines opposite to ours, is of itself
sufficient,--all men, in fact, consenting to this truth: the ancients
on their part preserving with special care, from the tradition of the
first-formed man, this persuasion, while they celebrate the praises of
one God, the Maker of heaven and earth; others, again, after them,
being reminded of this fact by the prophets of God, while the very
heathen learned it from creation itself. For even creation reveals Him
who formed it, and the very work made suggests Him who made it, and the
world manifests Him who ordered it. The Universal Church, moreover,
through the whole world, has received this tradition from the apostles.
2. This God, then, being acknowledged, as I have said, and receiving
testimony from all to the fact of His existence, that Father whom they
conjure into existence is beyond doubt untenable, and has no witnesses
[to his existence]. Simon Magus was the first who said that he himself
was God over all, and that the world was formed by his angels. Then
those who succeeded him, as I have shown in the first book, [3028] by
their several opinions, still further depraved [his teaching] through
their impious and irreligious doctrines against the Creator. These
[heretics now referred to], [3029] being the disciples of those
mentioned, render such as assent to them worse than the heathen. For
the former “serve the creature rather than the Creator,” [3030] and
“those which are not gods,” [3031] notwithstanding that they ascribe
the first place in Deity to that God who was the Maker of this
universe. But the latter maintain that He, [i.e., the Creator of this
world,] is the fruit of a defect, and describe Him as being of an
animal nature, and as not knowing that Power which is above Him, while
He also exclaims, “I am God, and besides Me there is no other God.”
[3032] Affirming that He lies, they are themselves liars, attributing
all sorts of wickedness to Him; and conceiving of one who is not above
this Being as really having an existence, they are thus convicted by
their own views of blasphemy against that God who really exists, while
they conjure into existence a god who has no existence, to their own
condemnation. And thus those who declare themselves “perfect,” and as
being possessed of the knowledge of all things, are found to be worse
than the heathen, and to entertain more blasphemous opinions even against their own Creator.

[3027] Comp. e.g., Matt. v. 16, Matt. v. 45, Matt. vi. 9, etc.
[3028] See chap xxiii. etc.
[3029] Viz., the Valentinians.
[3030] Rom. i. 25.
[3031] Gal. iv. 8.
[3032] Isa. xlvi. 9.

Chapter X.—Perverse interpretations of Scripture by the heretics: God created
all things out of nothing, and not from pre-existent matter.
1. It is therefore in the highest degree irrational, that we should take no account of Him who is truly God, and who receives testimony from all, while we inquire whether there is above Him that [other being] who really has no existence, and has never been proclaimed by
any one. For that nothing has been clearly spoken regarding Him, they
themselves furnish testimony; for since they, with wretched success,
transfer to that being who has been conceived of by them, those
parables [of Scripture] which, whatever the form in which they have
been spoken, are sought after [for this purpose], it is manifest that
they now generate another [god], who was never previously sought after.
For by the fact that they thus endeavour to explain ambiguous passages
of Scripture (ambiguous, however, not as if referring to another god,
but as regards the dispensations of [the true] God), they have
constructed another god, weaving, as I said before, ropes of sand, and
affixing a more important to a less important question. For no question
can be solved by means of another which itself awaits solution; nor, in
the opinion of those possessed of sense, can an ambiguity be explained
by means of another ambiguity, or enigmas by means of another greater
enigma, but things of such character receive their solution from those
which are manifest, and consistent and clear.
2. But these [heretics], while striving to explain passages of Scripture and parables, bring forward another more important, and indeed impious question, to this effect, “Whether there be really
another god above that God who was the Creator of the world?” They are
not in the way of solving the questions [which they propose]; for how
could they find means of doing so? But they append an important
question to one of less consequence, and thus insert [in their
speculations] a difficulty incapable of solution. For in order that
they may [3033] know “knowledge” itself (yet not learning this fact,
that the Lord, when thirty years old, came to the baptism of truth),
they do impiously despise that God who was the Creator, and who sent
Him for the salvation of men. And that they may be deemed capable of
informing us whence is the substance of matter, while they believe not
that God, according to His pleasure, in the exercise of His own will
and power, formed all things (so that those things which now are should
have an existence) out of what did not previously exist, they have
collected [a multitude of] vain discourses. They thus truly reveal
their infidelity; they do not believe in that which really exists, and
they have fallen away into [the belief of] that which has, in fact, no
3. For, when they tell us that all moist substance proceeded from the
tears of Achamoth, all lucid substance from her smile, all solid
substance from her sadness, all mobile substance from her terror, and
that thus they have sublime knowledge on account of which they are
superior to others,--how can these things fail to be regarded as worthy
of contempt, and truly ridiculous? They do not believe that God (being
powerful, and rich in all resources) created matter itself, inasmuch as
they know not how much a spiritual and divine essence can accomplish.
But they do believe that their Mother, whom they style a female from a
female, produced from her passions aforesaid the so vast material
substance of creation. They inquire, too, whence the substance of
creation was supplied to the Creator; but they do not inquire whence
[were supplied] to their Mother (whom they call the Enthymesis and
impulse of the AEon that went astray) so great an amount of tears, or
perspiration, or sadness, or that which produced the remainder of matter.
4. For, to attribute the substance of created things to the power and
will of Him who is God of all, is worthy both of credit and acceptance.
It is also agreeable [to reason], and there may be well said regarding
such a belief, that “the things which are impossible with men are
possible with God.” [3034] While men, indeed, cannot make anything out
of nothing, but only out of matter already existing, yet God is in this
point pre-eminently superior to men, that He Himself called into being
the substance of His creation, when previously it had no existence. But
the assertion that matter was produced from the Enthymesis of an AEon
going astray, and that the AEon [referred to] was far separated from her Enthymesis, and that, again, her passion and feeling, apart from herself, became matter—is incredible, infatuated, impossible, and untenable.

[3033] This clause is unintelligible in the Latin text: by a conjectural restoration of the Greek we have given the above translation.
[3034] Luke xviii. 27.

Chapter XI.—The heretics, from their disbelief of the truth, have fallen into
an abyss of error: reasons for investigating their systems.
1. They do not believe that He, who is God above all, formed by His Word, in His own territory, as He Himself pleased, the various and diversified [works of creation which exist], inasmuch as He is the former of all things, like a wise architect, and a most powerful
monarch. But they believe that angels, or some power separate from God,
and who was ignorant of Him, formed this universe. By this course,
therefore, not yielding credit to the truth, but wallowing in
falsehood, they have lost the bread of true life, and have fallen into
vacuity [3035] and an abyss of shadow. They are like the dog of AEsop,
which dropped the bread, and made an attempt at seizing its shadow,
thus losing the [real] food. It is easy to prove from the very words of
the Lord, that He acknowledges one Father and Creator of the world, and
Fashioner of man, who was proclaimed by the law and the prophets, while
He knows no other, and that this One is really God over all; and that
He teaches that that adoption of sons pertaining to the Father, which
is eternal life, takes place through Himself, conferring it [as He does] on all the righteous.
2. But since these men delight in attacking us, and in their true
character of cavillers assail us with points which really tell not at
all against us, bringing forward in opposition to us a multitude of
parables and [captious] questions, I have thought it well, on the other
side, first of all to put to them the following inquiries concerning
their own doctrines, to exhibit their improbability, and to put an end
to their audacity. After this has been done, [I intend] to bring
forward the discourses of the Lord, so that they may not only be
rendered destitute of the means of attacking us, but that, since they
will be unable reasonably to reply to those questions which are put,
they may see that their plan of argument is destroyed; so that, either
returning to the truth, and humbling themselves, and ceasing from their
multifarious phantasies, they may propitiate God for those blasphemies
they have uttered against Him, and obtain salvation; or that, if they
still persevere in that system of vainglory which has taken possession
of their minds, they may at least find it necessary to change their kind of argument against us.

[3035] Playing upon the doctrines of the heretics with respect to vacuity and shade.

Chapter XII.—The Triacontad of the heretics errs both by defect and excess:
Sophia could never have produced anything apart from her consort; Logos and
Sige could not have been contemporaries.
1. We may [3036] remark, in the first place, regarding their Triacontad, that the whole of it marvellously falls to ruin on both sides, that is, both as respects defect and excess. They say that to indicate it the Lord came to be baptized at the age of thirty years.
But this assertion really amounts to a manifest subversion of their
entire argument. As to defect, this happens as follows: first of all,
because they reckon the Propator among the other AEons. For the Father
of all ought not to be counted with other productions; He who was not
produced with that which was produced; He who was unbegotten with that
which was born; He whom no one comprehends with that which is
comprehended by Him, and who is on this account [Himself]
incomprehensible; and He who is without figure with that which has a
definite shape. For inasmuch as He is superior to the rest, He ought
not to be numbered with them, and that so that He who is impassible and
not in error should be reckoned with an AEon subject to passion, and
actually in error. For I have shown in the book which immediately
precedes this, that, beginning with Bythus, they reckon up the
Triacontad to Sophia, whom they describe as the erring AEon; and I have
also there set forth the names of their [AEons]; but if He be not
reckoned, there are no longer, on their own showing, thirty productions
of AEons, but these then become only twenty-nine.
2. Next, with respect to the first production Ennoea, whom they also term Sige, from whom again they describe Nous and Aletheia as having been sent forth, they err in both particulars. For it is impossible
that the thought (Ennoea) of any one, or his silence (Sige), should be
understood apart from himself; and that, being sent forth beyond him,
it should possess a special figure of its own. But if they assert that
the (Ennoea) was not sent forth beyond Him, but continued one with the
Propator, why then do they reckon her with the other AEons—with those
who were not one [with the Father], and are on this account ignorant of
His greatness? If, however, she was so united (let us take this also
into consideration), there is then an absolute necessity, that from
this united and inseparable conjunction, which constitutes but one
being, there [3037] should proceed an unseparated and united
production, so that it should not be dissimilar to Him who sent it
forth. But if this be so, then just as Bythus and Sige, so also Nous
and Aletheia will form one and the same being, ever cleaving mutually
together. And inasmuch as the one cannot be conceived of without the
other, just as water cannot [be conceived of] without [the thought of]
moisture, or fire without [the thought of] heat, or a stone without
[the thought] of hardness (for these things are mutually bound
together, and the one cannot be separated from the other, but always
co-exists with it), so it behoves Bythus to be united in the same way
with Ennoea, and Nous with Aletheia. Logos and Zoe again, as being sent
forth by those that are thus united, ought themselves to be united, and
to constitute only one being. But, according to such a process of
reasoning, Homo and Ecclesia too, and indeed all the remaining
conjunctions of the AEons produced, ought to be united, and always to
co-exist, the one with the other. For there is a necessity in their
opinion, that a female AEon should exist side by side with a male one,
inasmuch as she is, so to speak, [the forthputting of] his affection.
3. These things being so, and such opinions being proclaimed by them,
they again venture, without a blush, to teach that the younger AEon of
the Duodecad, whom they also style Sophia, did, apart from union with
her consort, whom they call Theletus, endure passion, and separately,
without any assistance from him, gave birth to a production which they
name “a female from a female.” They thus rush into such utter frenzy,
as to form two most clearly opposite opinions respecting the same
point. For if Bythus is ever one with Sige, Nous with Aletheia, Logos
with Zoe, and so on, as respects the rest, how could Sophia, without
union with her consort, either suffer or generate anything? And if,
again, she did really suffer passion apart from him, it necessarily
follows that the other conjunctions also admit of disjunction and
separation among themselves,--a thing which I have already shown to be
impossible. It is also impossible, therefore, that Sophia suffered
passion apart from Theletus; and thus, again, their whole system of
argument is overthrown. For they have yet [3038] again derived the
whole of remaining [material substance], like the composition of a
tragedy, from that passion which they affirm she experienced apart from
union with her consort.
4. If, however, they impudently maintain, in order to preserve from ruin their vain imaginations, that the rest of the conjunctions also
were disjoined and separated from one another on account of this latest
conjunction, then [I reply that], in the first place, they rest upon a
thing which is impossible. For how can they separate the Propator from
his Ennoea, or Nous from Aletheia, or Logos from Zoe, and so on with
the rest? And how can they themselves maintain that they tend again to
unity, and are, in fact, all at one, if indeed these very conjunctions,
which are within the Pleroma, do not preserve unity, but are separate
from one another; and that to such a degree, that they both endure passion and perform the work of generation without union one with another, just as hens do apart from intercourse with cocks.
5. Then, again, their first and first-begotten Ogdoad will be
overthrown as follows: They must admit that Bythus and Sige, Nous and
Aletheia, Logos and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia, do individually dwell
in the same Pleroma. But it is impossible that Sige (silence) can exist
in the presence of Logos (speech), or again, that Logos can manifest
himself in the presence of Sige. For these are mutually destructive of
each other, even as light and darkness can by no possibility exist in
the same place: for if light prevails, there cannot be darkness; and if
darkness, there cannot be light, since, where light appears, darkness
is put to flight. In like manner, where Sige is, there cannot be Logos;
and where Logos is, there certainly cannot be Sige. But if they say
that Logos simply exists within [3039] (unexpressed), Sige also will
exist within, and will not the less be destroyed by the Logos within.But that he really is not merely conceived of in the mind, the very order of the production of their (AEons) shows.
6. Let them not then declare that the first and principal Ogdoad consists of Logos and Sige, but let them [as a matter of necessity]
exclude either Sige or Logos; and then their first and principal Ogdoad
is at an end. For if they describe the conjunctions [of the AEons] as
united, then their whole argument fails to pieces. Since, if they were
united, how could Sophia have generated a defect without union with her
consort? If, on the other hand, they maintain that, as in production,
each of the AEons possesses his own peculiar substance, then how can Sige and Logos manifest themselves in the same place? So far, then, with respect to defect.
7. But again, their Triacontad is overthrown as to excess by the following considerations. They represent Horos (whom they call by a variety of names which I have mentioned in the preceding book) as having been produced by Monogenes just like the other AEons. Some of
them maintain that this Horos was produced by Monogenes, while others
affirm that he was sent forth by the Propator himself in His own image.
They affirm further, that a production was formed by Monogenes—Christ
and the Holy Spirit; and they do not reckon these in the number of the
Pleroma, nor the Saviour either, whom they also declare to be Totum
[3040] (all things). Now, it is evident even to a blind man, that not
merely thirty productions, as they maintain, were sent forth, but four
more along with these thirty. For they reckon the Propator himself in
the Pleroma, and those too, who in succession were produced by one
another. Why is it, then, that those [other beings] are not reckoned as
existing with these in the same Pleroma, since they were produced in
the same manner? For what just reason can they assign for not reckoning
along with the other AEons, either Christ, whom they describe as
having, according to the Father’s will, been produced by Monogenes, or
the Holy Spirit, or Horos, whom they also call Soter [3041] (Saviour),
and not even the Saviour Himself, who came to impart assistance and
form to their Mother? Whether is this as if these latter were weaker
than the former, and therefore unworthy of the name of AEons, or of
being numbered among them, or as if they were superior and more
excellent? But how could they be weaker, since they were produced for
the establishment and rectification of the others? And then, again,
they cannot possibly be superior to the first and principal Tetrad, by
which they were also produced; for it, too, is reckoned in the number
above mentioned. These latter beings, then, ought also to have been
numbered in the Pleroma of the AEons, or that should be deprived of the
honour of those AEons which bear this appellation (the Tetrad).
8. Since, therefore, their Triacontad is thus brought to nought, as I
have shown, both with respect to defect and excess (for in dealing with
such a number, either excess or defect [to any extent] will render the
number untenable, and how much more so great variations?), it follows
that what they maintain respecting their Ogdoad and Duodecad is a mere
fable which cannot stand. Their whole system, moreover, falls to the
ground, when their very foundation is destroyed and dissolved into
Bythus, [3042] that is, into what has no existence. Let them, then,
henceforth seek to set forth some other reasons why the Lord came to be
baptized at the age of thirty years, and [explain in some other way]
the Duodecad of the apostles; and [the fact stated regarding] her who
suffered from an issue of blood; and all the other points respecting which they so madly labour in vain.

[3036] The text vacillates between “dicemus” and “dicamus.”
[3037] This sentence is confused in the Latin text, but the meaning is
evidently that given above.
[3038] It is difficult to see the meaning of “iterum” here. Harvey begins a new paragraph with this sentence.
[3039] endiathetos—simply conceived in the mind—used in opposition
to prophorikos, expressed.
[3040] Harvey remarks that “the author perhaps wrote Oron (Horos), which was read by the translator Olon (totum).”
[3041] Since Soter does not occur among the various appellations of
Horos mentioned by Irenaeus (i. 11, 4), Grabe proposes to read Stauros,
and Massuet Lytrotes; but Harvey conceives that the difficulty is explained by the fact that Horos was a power of Soter (i. 3, 3).
[3042] Irenaeus here, after his custom, plays upon the word Bythus
(profundity), which, in the phraseology of the Valentinians, was a name
of the Propator, but is in this passage used to denote an unfathomable

Chapter XIII.—The first order of production maintained by the heretics is
altogether indefensible.
1. I now proceed to show, as follows, that the first order of production, as conceived of by them, must be rejected. For they maintain that Nous and Aletheia were produced from Bythus and his
Ennoea, which is proved to be a contradiction. For Nous is that which
is itself chief, and highest, and, as it were, the principle and source
of all understanding. Ennoea, again, which arises from him, is any sort
of emotion concerning any subject. It cannot be, therefore, that Nous
was produced by Bythus and Ennoea; it would be more like the truth for
them to maintain that Ennoea was produced as the daughter of the
Propator and this Nous. For Ennoea is not the daughter of Nous, as they
assert, but Nous becomes the father of Ennoea. For how can Nous have
been produced by the Propator, when he holds the chief and primary
place of that hidden and invisible affection which is within Him? By
this affection sense is produced, and Ennoea, and Enthymesis, and other
things which are simply synonyms for Nous himself. As I have said
already, they are merely certain definite exercises in thought of that
very power concerning some particular subject. We understand the
[several] terms according to their [3043] length and breadth of
meaning, not according to any [fundamental] change [of signification];
and the [various exercises of thought] are limited by [the same sphere
of] knowledge, and are expressed together by [the same] term, the [very
same] sense remaining within, and creating, and administering, and
freely governing even by its own power, and as it pleases, the things
which have been previously mentioned.
2. For the first exercise of that [power] respecting anything, is
styled Ennoea; but when it continues, and gathers strength, and takes
possession of the whole soul, it is called Enthymesis. This Enthymesis,
again, when it exercises itself a long time on the same point, and has,
as it were, been proved, is named Sensation. And this Sensation, when
it is much developed, becomes Counsel. The increase, again, and greatly
developed exercise of this Counsel becomes the Examination of thought
(Judgment); and this remaining in the mind is most properly termed
Logos (reason), from which the spoken Logos (word) proceeds. [3044] But
all the [exercises of thought] which have been mentioned are
[fundamentally] one and the same, receiving their origin from Nous, and
obtaining [different] appellation according to their increase. Just as
the human body, which is at one time young, then in the prime of life,
and then old, has received [different] appellations according to its
increase and continuance, but not according to any change of substance,
or on account of any [real] loss of body, so is it with those [mental
exercises]. For, when one [mentally] contemplates anything, he also
thinks of it; and when he thinks of it, he has also knowledge regarding
it; and when he knows it, he also considers it; and when he considers
it, he also mentally handles it; and when he mentally handles it, he
also speaks of it. But, as I have already said, it is Nous who governs
all these [mental processes], while He is himself invisible, and utters
speech of himself by means of those processes which have been
mentioned, as it were by rays [proceeding from Him], but He himself is
not sent forth by any other.
3. These things may properly be said to hold good in men, since they
are compound by nature, and consist of a body and a soul. But those who
affirm that Ennoea was sent forth from God, and Nous from Ennoea, and
then, in succession, Logos from these, are, in the first place, to be
blamed as having improperly used these productions; and, in the next
place, as describing the affections, and passions, and mental
tendencies of men, while they [thus prove themselves] ignorant of God.
By their manner of speaking, they ascribe those things which apply to
men to the Father of all, whom they also declare to be unknown to all;
and they deny that He himself made the world, to guard against
attributing want of power [3045] to Him; while, at the same time, they
endow Him with human affections and passions. But if they had known the
Scriptures, and been taught by the truth, they would have known, beyond
doubt, that God is not as men are; and that His thoughts are not like
the thoughts of men. [3046] For the Father of all is at a vast distance
from those affections and passions which operate among men. He is a
simple, uncompounded Being, without diverse members, [3047] and
altogether like, and equal to himself, since He is wholly
understanding, and wholly spirit, and wholly thought, and wholly
intelligence, and wholly reason, and wholly hearing, and wholly seeing,
and wholly light, and the whole source of all that is good—even as the
religious and pious are wont to speak concerning God.
4. He is, however, above [all] these properties, and therefore
indescribable. For He may well and properly be called an Understanding
which comprehends all things, but He is not [on that account] like the
understanding of men; and He may most properly be termed Light, but He
is nothing like that light with which we are acquainted. And so, in all
other particulars, the Father of all is in no degree similar to human
weakness. He is spoken of in these terms according to the love [we bear
Him]; but in point of greatness, our thoughts regarding Him transcend
these expressions. If then, even in the case of human beings,
understanding itself does not arise from emission, nor is that
intelligence which produces other things separated from the living man,
while its motions and affections come into manifestation, much more
will the mind of God, who is all understanding, never by any means be
separated from Himself; nor can anything [3048] [in His case] be produced as if by a different Being.
5. For if He produced intelligence, then He who did thus produce
intelligence must be understood, in accordance with their views, as a
compound and corporeal Being; so that God, who sent forth [the
intelligence referred to], is separate from it, and the intelligence
which was sent forth separate [from Him]. But if they affirm that
intelligence was sent forth from intelligence, they then cut asunder
the intelligence of God, and divide it into parts. And whither has it
gone? Whence was it sent forth? For whatever is sent forth from any
place, passes of necessity into some other. But what existence was
there more ancient than the intelligence of God, into which they
maintain it was sent forth? And what a vast region that must have been
which was capable of receiving and containing the intelligence of God!
If, however, they affirm [that this emission took place] just as a ray
proceeds from the sun, then, as the subjacent air which receives the
ray must have had an existence prior to it, so [by such reasoning] they
will indicate that there was something in existence, into which the
intelligence of God was sent forth, capable of containing it, and more
ancient than itself. Following upon this, we must hold that, as we see
the sun, which is less than all things, sending forth rays from himself
to a great distance, so likewise we say that the Propator sent forth a
ray beyond, and to a great distance from, Himself. But what can be conceived of beyond, or at a distance from, God, into which He sent forth this ray?
6. If, again, they affirm that that [intelligence] was not sent forth
beyond the Father, but within the Father Himself, then, in the first
place, it becomes superfluous to say that it was sent forth at all. For
how could it have been sent forth if it continued within the Father?
For an emission is the manifestation of that which is emitted, beyond
him who emits it. In the next place, this [intelligence] being sent forth, both that Logos who springs from Him will still be within the Father, as will also be the future emissions proceeding from Logos.
These, then, cannot in such a case be ignorant of the Father, since
they are within Him; nor, being all equally surrounded by the Father,
can any one know Him less [than another] according to the descending
order of their emission. And all of them must also in an equal measure
continue impassible, since they exist in the bosom of their Father, and
none of them can ever sink into a state of degeneracy or degradation.
For with the Father there is no degeneracy, unless perchance as in a
great circle a smaller is contained, and within this one again a
smaller; or unless they affirm of the Father, that, after the manner of
a sphere or a square, He contains within Himself on all sides the
likeness of a sphere, or the production of the rest of the AEons in the
form of a square, each one of these being surrounded by that one who is
above him in greatness, and surrounding in turn that one who is after
him in smallness; and that on this account, the smallest and the last
of all, having its place in the centre, and thus being far separated
from the Father, was really ignorant of the Propator. But if they
maintain any such hypothesis, they must shut up their Bythus within a
definite form and space, while He both surrounds others, and is
surrounded by them; for they must of necessity acknowledge that there
is something outside of Him which surrounds Him. And none the less will
the talk concerning those that contain, and those that are contained,
flow on into infinitude; and all [the AEons] will most clearly appear
to be bodies enclosed [by one another].
7. Further, they must also confess either that He is mere vacuity, or
that the entire universe is within Him; and in that case all will in
like degree partake of the Father. Just as, if one forms circles in
water, or round or square figures, all these will equally partake of
water; just as those, again, which are framed in the air, must
necessarily partake of air, and those which [are formed] in light, of
light; so must those also who are within Him all equally partake of the
Father, ignorance having no place among them. Where, then, is this
partaking of the Father who fills [all things]? If, indeed, He has
filled [all things], there will be no ignorance among them. On this
ground, then, their work of [supposed] degeneracy is brought to
nothing, and the production of matter with the formation of the rest of
the world; which things they maintain to have derived their substance
from passion and ignorance. If, on the other hand, they acknowledge that He is vacuity, then they fall into the greatest blasphemy; they deny His spiritual nature. For how can He be a spiritual being, who cannot fill even those things which are within Him?
8. Now, these remarks which have been made concerning the emission of
intelligence are in like manner applicable in opposition to those who
belong to the school of Basilides, as well as in opposition to the rest
of the Gnostics, from whom these also (the Valentinians) have adopted
the ideas about emissions, and were refuted in the first book. But I
have now plainly shown that the first production of Nous, that is, of
the intelligence they speak of, is an untenable and impossible opinion.
And let us see how the matter stands with respect to the rest [of the
AEons]. For they maintain that Logos and Zoe were sent forth by him
(i.e., Nous) as fashioners of this Pleroma; while they conceive of an
emission of Logos, that is, the Word after the analogy of human
feelings, and rashly form conjectures respecting God, as if they had
discovered something wonderful in their assertion that Logos was I
produced by Nous. All indeed have a clear perception that this may be
logically affirmed with respect to men. [3049] But in Him who is God
over all, since He is all Nous, and all Logos, as I have said before,
and has in Himself nothing more ancient or late than another, and
nothing at variance with another, but continues altogether equal, and
similar, and homogeneous, there is no longer ground for conceiving of
such production in the order which has been mentioned. Just as he does
not err who declares that God is all vision, and all hearing (for in
what manner He sees, in that also He hears; and in what manner He
hears, in that also He sees), so also he who affirms that He is all
intelligence, and all word, and that, in whatever respect He is
intelligence, in that also He is word, and that this Nous is His Logos,
will still indeed have only an inadequate conception of the Father of
all, but will entertain far more becoming [thoughts regarding Him] than
do those who transfer the generation of the word to which men gave
utterance to the eternal Word of God, assigning a beginning and course
of production [to Him], even as they do to their own word. And in what
respect will the Word of God—yea, rather God Himself, since He is the
Word—differ from the word of men, if He follows the same order and process of generation?
9. They have fallen into error, too, respecting Zoe, by maintaining
that she was produced in the sixth place, when it behoved her to take
precedence of all [the rest], since God is life, and incorruption, and
truth. And these and such like attributes have not been produced
according to a gradual scale of descent, but they are names of those
perfections which always exist in God, so far as it is possible and
proper for men to hear and to speak of God. For with the name of God
the following words will harmonize: intelligence, word, life,
incorruption, truth, wisdom, goodness, and such like. And neither can
any one maintain that intelligence is more ancient than life, for
intelligence itself is life; nor that life is later than intelligence,
so that He who is the intellect of all, that is God, should at one time
have been destitute of life. But if they affirm that life was indeed
[previously] in the Father, but was produced in the sixth place in
order that the Word might live, surely it ought long before, [according
to such reasoning,] to have been sent forth, in the fourth place, that
Nous might have life; and still further, even before Him, [it should
have been] with Bythus, that their Bythus might live. For to reckon
Sige, indeed, along with their Propator, and to assign her to Him as
His consort, while they do not join Zoe to the number,--is not this to
surpass all other madness?
10. Again, as to the second production which proceeds from these [AEons
who have been mentioned],--that, namely, of Homo and Ecclesia,--their
very fathers, falsely styled Gnostics, strive among themselves, each
one seeking to make good his own opinions, and thus convicting
themselves of being wicked thieves. They maintain that it is more
suitable to [the theory of] production—as being, in fact,
truth-like—that the Word was produced by man, and not man by the Word;
and that man existed prior to the Word, and that this is really He who
is God over all. And thus it is, as I have previously remarked, that
heaping together with a kind of plausibility all human feelings, and
mental exercises, and formation of intentions, and utterances of words,
they have lied with no plausibility at all against God. For while they
ascribe the things which happen to men, and whatsoever they recognise
themselves as experiencing, to the divine reason, they seem to those
who are ignorant of God to make statements suitable enough. And by
these human passions, drawing away their intelligence, while they
describe the origin and production of the Word of God in the fifth
place, they assert that thus they teach wonderful mysteries,
unspeakable and sublime, known to no one but themselves. It was, [they
affirm,] concerning these that the Lord said, “Seek, and ye shall
find,” [3050] that is, that they should inquire how Nous and Aletheia
proceeded from Bythus and Sage; whether Logos and Zoe again derive their origin from these and then, whether Anthropos and Ecclesia proceed from Logos and Zoe.

[3043] This sentence appears to us, after long study, totally
untranslateable. The general meaning seems to be, that whatever name is
given to mental acts, whether they are called Ennoea, Enthymesis, or by
whatever other appellation, they are all but exercises of the same fundamental power, styled Nous. Compare the following section.
[3044] “The following,” says Harvey, “may be considered to be
consecutive steps in the evolution of logos as a psychological entity.
Ennoea, conception; Enthymesis, intention; Sensation, thought;
Consilium, reasoning; Cogitationis Examinatio, judgment; in Mente
Perseverans, Logos endiathetos; Emissibile Verbum, Logos prophoikos.”
[3045] That is, lest He should be thought destitute of power, as having
been unable to prevent evil from having a place in creation.
[3046] Isa. lv. 8.
[3047] The Latin expression is “similimembrius,” which some regard as
the translation of homoiokolos, and others of homoiomeres; but in either case the meaning will be as given above.
[3048] That is, His Nous, Ennoea, etc., can have no independent existence. The text fluctuates between “emittitur” and “emittetur.”
[3049] That is, in human beings no doubt, thought (Nous) precedes speech (Logos).
[3050] Matt. vii. 7.

Chapter XIV.—Valentinus and his followers derived the principles of their
system from the heathen; the names only are changed.
1. Much more like the truth, and more pleasing, is the account which Antiphanes, [3051] one of the ancient comic poets, gives in his
Theogony as to the origin of all things. For he speaks Chaos as being
produced from Night and Silence; relates that then Love [3052] sprang
from Chaos and Night; from this again, Light; and that from this, in
his opinion, were derived all the rest of the first generation of the
gods. After these he next introduces a second generation of gods, and
the creation of the world; then he narrates the formation of mankind by
the second order of the gods. These men (the heretics), adopting this
fable as their own, have ranged their opinions round it, as if by a
sort of natural process, changing only the names of the things referred
to, and setting forth the very same beginning of the generation of all
things, and their production. In place of Night and Silence they
substitute Bythus and Sige; instead of Chaos, they put Nous; and for
Love (by whom, says the comic poet, all other things were set in order)
they have brought forward the Word; while for the primary and greatest
gods they have formed the AEons; and in place of the secondary gods,
they tell us of that creation by their mother which is outside of the
Pleroma, calling it the second Ogdoad. They proclaim to us, like the writer referred to, that from this (Ogdoad) came the creation of the world and the formation of man, maintaining that they alone are acquainted with these ineffable and unknown mysteries. Those things which are everywhere acted in the theatres by comedians with the clearest voices they transfer to their own system, teaching them undoubtedly through means of the same arguments, and merely changing the names.
2. And not only are they convicted of bringing forward, as if their own
[original ideas], those things which are to be found among the comic
poets, but they also bring together the things which have been said by
all those who were ignorant of God, and who are termed philosophers;
and sewing together, as it were, a motley garment out of a heap of
miserable rags, they have, by their subtle manner of expression,
furnished themselves with a cloak which is really not their own. They
do, it is true, introduce a new kind of doctrine, inasmuch as by a new
sort of art it has been substituted [for the old]. Yet it is in reality
both old and useless, since these very opinions have been sewed together out of ancient dogmas redolent of ignorance and irreligion.
For instance, Thales [3053] of Miletus affirmed that water was the
generative and initial principle of all things. Now it is just the same
thing whether we say water or Bythus. The poet Homer, [3054] again,
held the opinion that Oceanus, along with mother Tethys, was the origin
of the gods: this idea these men have transferred to Bythus and Sige.
Anaximander laid it down that infinitude is the first principle of all
things, having seminally in itself the generation of them all, and from
this he declares the immense worlds [which exist] were formed: this,
too, they have dressed up anew, and referred to Bythus and their AEons.
Anaxagoras, again, who has also been surnamed “Atheist,” gave it as his
opinion that animals were formed from seeds falling down from heaven
upon earth. This thought, too, these men have transferred to “the seed”
of their Mother, which they maintain to be themselves; thus acknowledging at once, in the judgment of such as are possessed of sense, that they themselves are the offspring of the irreligious Anaxagoras.
3. Again, adopting the [ideas of] shade and vacuity from Democritus and
Epicurus, they have fitted these to their own views, following upon
those [teachers] who had already talked a great deal about a vacuum and
atoms, the one of which they called that which is, and the other that
which is not. In like manner, these men call those things which are
within the Pleroma real existences, just as those philosophers did the
atoms; while they maintain that those which are without the Pleroma
have no true existence, even as those did respecting the vacuum. They
have thus banished themselves in this world (since they are here
outside of the Pleroma) into a place which has no existence. Again,
when they maintain that these things [below] are images of those which
have a true existence [above], they again most manifestly rehearse the
doctrine of Democritus and Plato. For Democritus was the first who
maintained that numerous and diverse figures were stamped, as it were,
with the forms [of things above], and descended from universal space
into this world. But Plato, for his part, speaks of matter, and
exemplar, [3055] and God. These men, following those distinctions, have
styled what he calls ideas, and exemplar, the images of those things which are above; while, through a mere change of name, they boast themselves as being discoverers and contrivers of this kind of imaginary fiction.
4. This opinion, too, that they hold the Creator formed the world out
of previously existing matter, both Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and Plato
expressed before them; as, forsooth, we learn they also do under the
inspiration of their Mother. Then again, as to the opinion that
everything of necessity passes away to those things out of which they
maintain it was also formed, and that God is the slave of this
necessity, so that He cannot impart immortality to what is mortal, or
bestow incorruption on what is corruptible, but every one passes into a
substance similar in nature to itself, both those who are named Stoics
from the portico (stoa), and indeed all that are ignorant of God, poets
and historians alike, make the same affirmation. [3056] Those
[heretics] who hold the same [system of] infidelity have ascribed, no
doubt, their own proper region to spiritual beings,--that, namely,
which is within the Pleroma, but to animal beings the intermediate
space, while to corporeal they assign that which is material. And they
assert that God Himself can do no otherwise, but that every one of the
[different kinds of substance] mentioned passes away to those things which are of the same nature [with itself].
5. Moreover, as to their saying that the Saviour was formed out of all
the AEons, by every one of them depositing, so to speak, in Him his own
special flower, they bring forward nothing new that may not be found in
the Pandora of Hesiod. For what he says respecting her, these men
insinuate concerning the Saviour, bringing Him before us as Pandoros
(All-gifted), as if each of the AEons had bestowed on Him what He
possessed in the greatest perfection. Again, their opinion as to the
indifference of [eating of] meats and other actions, and as to their
thinking that, from the nobility of their nature, they can in no degree
at all contract pollution, whatever they eat or perform, they have
derived it from the Cynics, since they do in fact belong to the same
society as do these [philosophers]. They also strive to transfer to
[the treatment of matters of] faith that hairsplitting and subtle mode
of handling questions which is, in fact, a copying of Aristotle.
6. Again, as to the desire they exhibit to refer this whole universe to
numbers, they have learned it from the Pythagoreans. For these were the
first who set forth numbers as the initial principle of all things, and
[described] that initial principle of theirs as being both equal and
unequal, out of which [two properties] they conceived that both things
sensible [3057] and immaterial derived their origin. And [they held]
that one set of first principles [3058] gave rise to the matter [of
things], and another to their form. They affirm that from these first
principles all things have been made, just as a statue is of its metal
and its special form. Now, the heretics have adapted this to the things
which are outside of the Pleroma. The [Pythagoreans] maintained that
the [3059] principle of intellect is proportionate to the energy
wherewith mind, as a recipient of the comprehensible, pursues its
inquiries, until, worn out, it is resolved at length in the Indivisible
and One. They further affirm that Hen—that is, One—is the first
principle of all things, and the substance of all that has been formed.
From this again proceeded the Dyad, the Tetrad, the Pentad, and the
manifold generation of the others. These things the heretics repeat,
word for word, with a reference to their Pleroma and Bythus. From the
same source, too, they strive to bring into vogue those conjunctions
which proceed from unity. Marcus boasts of such views as if they were
his own, and as if he were seen to have discovered something more novel
than others, while he simply sets forth the Tetrad of Pythagoras as the
originating principle and mother of all things.
7. But I will merely say, in opposition to these men—Did all those
who have been mentioned, with whom you have been proved to coincide in
expression, know, or not know, the truth? If they knew it, then the
descent of the Saviour into this world was superfluous. For why [in
that case] did He descend? Was it that He might bring that truth which
was [already] known to the knowledge of those who knew it? If, on the
other hand, these men did not know it, then how is it that, while you
express yourselves in the same terms as do those who knew not the
truth, ye boast that yourselves alone possess that knowledge which is
above all things, although they who are ignorant of God [likewise]
possess it? Thus, then, by a complete perversion [3060] of language,
they style ignorance of the truth knowledge: and Paul well says [of
them,] that [they make use of] “novelties of words of false knowledge.”
[3061] For that knowledge of theirs is truly found to be false. If,
however, taking an impudent course with respect to these points, they
declare that men indeed did not know the truth, but that their Mother,
[3062] the seed of the Father, proclaimed the mysteries of truth
through such men, even as also through the prophets, while the Demiurge
was ignorant [of the proceeding], then I answer, in the first place,
that the things which were predicted were not of such a nature as to be
intelligible to no one; for the men themselves knew what they were
saying, as did also their disciples, and those again succeeded these.
And, in the next place, if either the Mother or her seed knew and
proclaimed those things which were of the truth (and the Father [3063]
is truth), then on their theory the Saviour spoke falsely when He said,
“No one knoweth the Father but the Son,” [3064] unless indeed they maintain that their seed or Mother is No-one.
8. Thus far, then, by means of [ascribing to their AEons] human
feelings, and by the fact that they largely coincide in their language
with many of those who are ignorant of God, they have been seen
plausibly drawing a certain number away [from the truth]. They lead
them on by the use of those [expressions] with which they have been
familiar, to that sort of discourse which treats of all things, setting
forth the production of the Word of God, and of Zoe, and of Nous, and
bringing into the world, as it were, the [successive] emanations of the
Deity. The views, again, which they propound, without either
plausibility or parade, are simply lies from beginning to end. Just as
those who, in order to lure and capture any kind of animals, place
their accustomed food before them, gradually drawing them on by means
of the familiar aliment, until at length they seize it, but, when they
have taken them captive, they subject them to the bitterest of bondage,
and drag them along with violence whithersoever they please; so also do
these men gradually and gently persuading [others], by means of their
plausible speeches, to accept of the emission which has been mentioned,
then bring forward things which are not consistent, and forms of the remaining emissions which are not such as might have been expected.
They declare, for instance, that [ten] [3065] AEons were sent forth by
Logos and Zoe, while from Anthropos and Ecclesia there proceeded
twelve, although they have neither proof, nor testimony, nor
probability, nor anything whatever of such a nature [to support these
assertions]; and with equal folly and audacity do they wish it to be
believed that from Logos and Zoe, being AEons, were sent forth Bythus
and Mixis, Ageratos and Henosis, Autophyes and Hedone, Acinetos and
Syncrasis, Monogenes and Macaria. Moreover, [as they affirm,] there
were sent forth, in a similar way, from Anthropos and Ecclesia, being
AEons, Paracletus and Pistis, Patricos and Elpis, Metricos and Agape,
Ainos and Synesis, Ecclesiasticus and Macariotes, Theletos and Sophia.
9. The passions and error of this Sophia, and how she ran the risk of
perishing through her investigation [of the nature] of the Father, as
they relate, and what took place outside of the Pleroma, and from what
sort of a defect they teach that the Maker of the world was produced, I
have set forth in the preceding book, describing in it, with all
diligence, the opinions of these heretics. [I have also detailed their
views] respecting Christ, whom they describe as having been produced
subsequently to all these, and also regarding Soter, who, [according to
them,] derived his being from those AEons who were formed within the
Pleroma. [3066] But I have of necessity mentioned their names at
present, that from these the absurdity of their falsehood may be made
manifest, and also the confused nature of the nomenclature they have
devised. For they themselves detract from [the dignity of] their AEons
by a multitude of names of this sort. They give out names plausible and
credible to the heathen, [as being similar] to those who are called
their twelve gods, [3067] and even these they will have to be images of
their twelve AEons. But the images [so called] can produce names [of
their own] much more seemly, and more powerful through their etymology
to indicate divinity [than are those of their fancied prototypes].

[3051] Nothing is known of this writer. Several of the same name are
mentioned by the ancients, but to none of them is a work named
Theogonia ascribed. He is supposed to be the same poet as is cited by
Athenaeus, but that writer quotes from a work styled ‘Aphrodites gonai.
[3052] The Latin is “Cupidinem;” and Harvey here refers to Aristotle,
who “quotes the authority of Hesiod and Parmenides as saying that Love
is the eternal intellect, reducing Chaos into order.”
[3053] Compare, on the opinions of the philosophers referred to in this
chapter, Hippolytus, Philosoph., book i.
[3054] Iliad, xiv. 201; vii. 99.
[3055] The Latin has here exemplum, corresponding doubtless to paradeigma, and referring to those ideai of all things which Plato supposed to have existed for ever in the divine mind.
[3056] [Our author’s demonstration of the essential harmony of
Gnosticism with the old mythologies, and the philosophies of the
heathen, explains the hold it seems to have gained among nominal
converts to Christianity, and also the necessity for a painstaking
refutation of what seem to us mere absurdities. The great merit of
Irenaeus is thus illustrated: he gave the death-blow to heathenism in
extirpating heresy.]
[3057] The Latin text reads “sensibilia et insensata;” but these words,
as Harvey observes, must be the translation of aistheta kai anaistheta,
“the former referring to material objects of sense, the latter to the
immaterial world of intellect.”
[3058] This clause is very obscure, and we are not sure if the above
rendering brings out the real meaning of the author. Harvey takes a
different view of it, and supposes the original Greek to have been, kai
allas men tes hupostaseos archas einai allas de tes aistheseos kai tes
ousias. He then remarks: “The reader will observe that the word
hupostasis here means intellectual substance, ousia material; as in V.c. ult. The meaning therefore of the sentence will be, And they affirmed that the first principles of intellectual substance and of sensible and material existence were diverse, viz., unity was the exponent of the first, duality of the second.”
[3059] All the editors confess the above sentence hopelessly obscure.
We have given Harvey’s conjectural translation.
[3060] Literally, “antiphrasis.”
[3061] 1 Tim. vi. 20. The text is, “Vocum novitates falsae agnitionis,”
kainophonias having apparently been read in the Greek instead of kenophonias as in Text. Rec.
[3062] Grabe and others insert “vel” between these words.
[3063] It seems necessary to regard these words as parenthetical, though the point is overlooked by all the editors.
[3064] Matt. xi. 27.
[3065] “Decem” is of doubtful authority.
[3066] The text has “qui in labe facti sunt;” but, according to Harvey,
“the sense requires pleromati instead of ektromati in the original.”
[3067] Viz., the “Dii majorum gentium” of the Gentiles.

Chapter XV.—No account can be given of these productions.
1. But let us return to the fore-mentioned question as to the production [of the AEons]. And, in the first place, let them tell us the reason of the production of the AEons being of such a kind that they do not come in contact with any of those things which belong to
creation. For they maintain that those things [above] were not made on
account of creation, but creation on account of them; and that the
former are not images of the latter, but the latter of the former. As,
therefore, they render a reason for the images, by saying that the
month has thirty days on account of the thirty AEons, and the day
twelve hours, and the year twelve months, on account of the twelve
AEons which are within the Pleroma, with other such nonsense of the
same kind, let them now tell us also the reason for that production of
the AEons, why it was of such a nature, for what reason the first and
first-begotten Ogdoad was sent forth, and not a Pentad, or a Triad, or
a Septenad, or any one of those which are defined by a different
number? Moreover, how did it come to pass, that from Logos and Zoe were
sent forth ten AEons, and neither more nor less; while again from
Anthropos and Ecclesia proceeded twelve, although these might have been
either more or less numerous?
2. And then, again, with reference to the entire Pleroma, what reason
is there that it should be divided into these three—an Ogdoad, a
Decad, and a Duodecad—and not into some other number different from
these? Moreover, with respect to the division itself, why has it been
made into three parts, and not into four, or five, or six, or into some
other number among those which have no connection with such numbers
[3068] as belong to creation? For they describe those [AEons above] as
being more ancient than these [created things below], and it behoves them to possess their principle [of being] in themselves, one which existed before creation, and not after the pattern of creation, all exactly agreeing as to the point. [3069]
3. The account which we give of creation is one harmonious with that
regular order [of things prevailing in the world], for this scheme of
ours is adapted to the [3070] things which have [actually] been made;
but it is a matter of necessity that they, being unable to assign any
reason belonging to the things themselves, with regard to those beings
that existed before [creation], and were perfected by themselves,
should fall into the greatest perplexity. For, as to the points on
which they interrogate us as knowing nothing of creation, they
themselves, when questioned in turn respecting the Pleroma, either make
mention of mere human feelings, or have recourse to that sort of speech
which bears only upon that harmony observable in creation, improperly
giving us replies concerning things which are secondary, and not
concerning those which, as they maintain, are primary. For we do not
question them concerning that harmony which belongs to creation, nor
concerning human feelings; but because they must acknowledge, as to
their octiform, deciform, and duodeciform Pleroma (the image of which
they declare creation to be), that their Father formed it of that
figure vainly and thoughtlessly, and must ascribe to Him deformity, if
He made anything without a reason. Or, again, if they declare that the
Pleroma was so produced in accordance with the foresight of the Father,
for the sake of creation, as if He had thus symmetrically arranged its
very essence, then it follows that the Pleroma can no longer be
regarded as having been formed on its own account, but for the sake of
that [creation] which was to be its image as possessing its likeness (just as the clay model is not moulded for its own sake, but for the sake of the statue in brass, or gold, or silver about to be formed), then creation will have greater honour than the Pleroma, if, for its sake, those things [above] were produced.

[3068] Referring to numbers like 4, 5, 6, which do not correspond to any important fact in creation, as 7 e.g., does to the number of the planets.
[3069] The Latin text is here scarcely intelligible, and is variously
pointed by the editors.
[3070] Harvey explains “his” as here denoting “in his,” but we are at a
loss to know how he would translate the passage. It is in the highest
degree obscure.

Chapter XVI.—The Creator of the world either produced of Himself the images
of things to be made, or the Pleroma was formed after the image of some
previous system; and so on ad infinitum.
1. But if they will not yield assent to any one of these conclusions,
since in that case they would be proved by us as incapable of rendering
any reason for such a production of their Pleroma, they will of
necessity be shut up to this—that they confess that, above the
Pleroma, there was some other system more spiritual and more powerful,
after the image of which their Pleroma was formed. For if the Demiurge
did not of himself construct that figure of creation which exists, but
made it after the form of those things which are above, then from whom
did their Bythus—who, to be sure, brought it about that the Pleroma
should be possessed of a configuration of this kind—receive the figure
of those things which existed before Himself? For it must needs be,
either that the intention [of creating] dwelt in that god who made the
world, so that of his own power, and from himself, he obtained the
model of its formation; or, if any departure is made from this being,
then there will arise a necessity for constantly asking whence there
came to that one who is above him the configuration of those things
which have been made; what, too, was the number of the productions; and
what the substance of the model itself? If, however, it was in the
power of Bythus to impart of himself such a configuration to the
Pleroma, then why may it not have been in the power of the Demiurge to
form of himself such a world as exists? And then, again, if creation be
an image of those things [above], why should we not affirm that those
are, in turn, images of others above them, and those above these again,
of others, and thus go on supposing innumerable images of images?
2. This difficulty presented itself to Basilides after he had utterly
missed the truth, and was conceiving that, by an infinite succession of
those beings that were formed from one another, he might escape such
perplexity. When he had proclaimed that three hundred and sixty-five
heavens were formed through succession and similitude by one another,
and that a manifest proof [of the existence] of these was found in the
number of the days of the year, as I stated before; and that above
these there was a power which they also style Unnameable, and its
dispensation—he did not even in this way escape such perplexity. For,
when asked whence came the image of its configuration to that heaven
which is above all, and from which he wishes the rest to be regarded as
having been formed by means of succession, he will say, from that
dispensation which belongs to the Unnameable. He must then say, either
that the Unspeakable formed it of himself, or he will find it necessary
to acknowledge that there is some other power above this being, from
whom his unnameable One derived such vast numbers of configurations as
do, according to him, exist.
3. How much safer and more accurate a course is it, then, to confess at
once that which is true: that this God, the Creator, who formed the
world, is the only God, and that there is no other God besides Him—He
Himself receiving from Himself the model and figure of those things
which have been made—than that, after wearying ourselves with such an
impious and circuitous description, we should be compelled, at some
point or another, to fix the mind on some One, and to confess that from
Him proceeded the configuration of things created.
4. As to the accusation brought against us by the followers of
Valentinus, when they declare that we continue in that Hebdomad which
is below, as if we could not lift our minds on high, nor understand
those things which are above, because we do not accept their monstrous
assertions: this very charge do the followers of Basilides bring in
turn against them, inasmuch as they (the Valentinians) keep circling
about those things which are below, [going] as far as the first and
second Ogdoad, and because they unskilfully imagine that, immediately
after the thirty AEons, they have discovered Him who is above all
things Father, not following out in thought their investigations to
that Pleroma which is above the three hundred and sixty-five heavens,
which [3071] is above forty-five Ogdoads. And any one, again, might
bring against them the same charge, by imagining four thousand three
hundred and eighty heavens, or AEons, since the days of the year
contain that number of hours. If, again, some one adds also the nights,
thus doubling the hours which have been mentioned, imagining that [in
this way] he has discovered a great multitude of Ogdoads, and a kind of
innumerable company [3072] of AEons, and thus, in opposition to Him who
is above all things Father, conceiving himself more perfect than all
[others], he will bring the same charge against all, inasmuch as they
are not capable of rising to the conception of such a multitude of
heavens or AEons as he has announced, but are either so deficient as to
remain among those things which are below, or continue in the intermediate space.

[3071] The text is here doubtful: Harvey proposes to read “qui” instead
of “quae,” but we prefer “quod” with Grabe. The meaning is, that three
hundred and sixty-five is more than forty-five Ogdoads (45 * 8 = 360).
[3072] “Operositatem.” corresponding to pragmateian, lit. manufacture.

Chapter XVII.—Inquiry into the production of the AEons: whatever its supposed
nature, it is in every respect inconsistent; and on the hypothesis of the
heretics, even Nous and the Father Himself would be stained with ignorance.
1. That system, then, which has respect to their Pleroma, and especially that part of it which refers to the primary Ogdoad being
thus burdened with so great contradictions and perplexities, let me now
go on to examine the remainder of their scheme. [In doing so] on
account of their madness, I shall be making inquiry respecting things
which have no real existence; yet it is necessary to do this, since the
treatment of this subject has been entrusted to me, and since I desire
all men to come to the knowledge of the truth, as well as because thou
thyself hast asked to receive from me full and complete means for overturning [the views of] these men.
2. I ask, then, in what manner were the rest of the AEons produced? Was
it so as to be united with Him who produced them, even as the solar
rays are with the sun; or was it actually [3073] and separately, so
that each of them possessed an independent existence and his own
special form, just as has a man from another man, and one herd of
cattle from another? Or was it after the manner of germination, as
branches from a tree? And were they of the same substance with those
who produced them, or did they derive their substance from some other
[kind of] substance? Also, were they produced at the same time, so as
to be contemporaries; or after a certain order, so that some of them
were older, and others younger? And, again, are they uncompounded and
uniform, and altogether equal and similar among themselves, as spirit
and light are produced; or are they compounded and different, unlike [to each other] in their members?
3. If each of them was produced, after the manner of men, actually and
according to its own generation, then either those thus generated by
the Father will be of the same substance with Him, and similar to their
Author; or if [3074] they appear dissimilar, then it must of necessity
be acknowledged that they are [formed] of some different substance.
Now, if the beings generated by the Father be similar to their Author,
then those who have been produced must remain for ever impassible, even
as is He who produced them; but if, on the other hand, they are of a
different substance, which is capable of passion, then whence came this
dissimilar substance to find a place within the incorruptible Pleroma?
Further, too, according to this principle, each one of them must be
understood as being completely separated from every other, even as men
are not mixed with nor united the one to the other, but each having a
distinct shape of his own, and a definite sphere of action, while each
one of them, too, is formed of a particular size, --qualities
characteristic of a body, and not of a spirit. Let them therefore no
longer speak of the Pleroma as being spiritual, or of themselves as
“spiritual,” if indeed their AEons sit feasting with the Father, just
as if they were men, and He Himself is of such a configuration as those
reveal Him to be who were produced by Him.
4. If, again, the AEons were derived from Logos, Logos from Nous, and
Nous from Bythus, just as lights are kindled from a light—as, for
example, torches are from a torch—then they may no doubt differ in
generation and size from one another; but since they are of the same
substance with the Author of their production, they must either all
remain for ever impassible, or their Father Himself must participate in
passion. For the torch which has been kindled subsequently cannot be possessed of a different kind of light from that which preceded it.
Wherefore also their lights, when blended in one, return to the
original identity, since that one light is then formed which has
existed even from the beginning. But we cannot speak, with respect to
light itself, of some part being more recent in its origin, and another
being more ancient (for the whole is but one light); nor can we so
speak even in regard to those torches which have received the light
(for these are all contemporary as respects their material substance,
for the substance of torches is one and the same), but simply as to
[the time of] its being kindled, since one was lighted a little while
ago, and another has just now been kindled.
5. The defect, therefore, of that passion which has regard to
ignorance, will either attach alike to their whole Pleroma, since [all
its members] are of the same substance; and the Propator will share in
this defect of ignorance—that is, will be ignorant of Himself; or, on
the other hand, all those lights which are within the Pleroma will
alike remain for ever impassible. Whence, then, comes the passion of
the youngest AEon, if the light of the Father is that from which all
other lights have been formed, and which is by nature impassible? And
how can one AEon be spoken of as either younger or older among
themselves, since there is but one light in the entire Pleroma? And if
any one calls them stars, they will all nevertheless appear to
participate in the same nature. For if “one star differs from another
star in glory,” [3075] but not in qualities, nor substance, nor in the
fact of being passible or impassible; so all these, since they are
alike derived from the light of the Father, must either be naturally
impassible and immutable, or they must all, in common with the light of
the Father, be passible, and are capable of the varying phases of corruption.
6. The same conclusion will follow, although they affirm that the
production of AEons sprang from Logos, as branches from a tree, since
Logos has his generation from their Father. For all [the AEons] are
formed of the same substance with the Father, differing from one
another only in size, and not in nature, and filling up the greatness
of the Father, even as the fingers complete the hand. If therefore He
exists in passion and ignorance, so must also those AEons who have been
generated by Him. But if it is impious to ascribe ignorance and passion
to the Father of all, how can they describe an AEon produced by Him as
being passible; and while they ascribe the same impiety to the very wisdom (Sophia) of God, how can they still call themselves religious men?
7. If, again, they declare that their AEons were sent forth just as rays are from the sun, then, since all are of the same substance and sprung from the same source, all must either be capable of passion along with Him who produced them, or all will remain impassible for
ever. For they can no longer maintain that, of beings so produced, some
are impassible and others passible. If, then, they declare all
impassible, they do themselves destroy their own argument. For how
could the youngest AEon have suffered passion if all were impassible?
If, on the other hand, they declare that all partook of this passion,
as indeed some of them venture to maintain, then, inasmuch as it
originated with Logos, [3076] but flowed onwards to Sophia, they will
thus be convicted of tracing back the passion to Logos, who is the
[3077] Nous of this Propator, and so acknowledging the Nous of the
Propator and the Father Himself to have experienced passion. For the
Father of all is not to be regarded as a kind of compound Being, who
can be separated from his Nous (mind), as I have already shown; but
Nous is the Father, and the Father Nous. It necessarily follows,
therefore, both that he who springs from Him as Logos, or rather that
Nous himself, since he is Logos, must be perfect and impassible, and
that those productions which proceed from him, seeing that they are of
the same substance with himself, should be perfect and impassible, and
should ever remain similar to him who produced them.
8. It cannot therefore longer be held, as these men teach, that Logos,
as occupying the third place in generation, was ignorant of the Father.
Such a thing might indeed perhaps be deemed probable in the case of the
generation of human beings, inasmuch as these frequently know nothing
of their parents; but it is altogether impossible in the case of the
Logos of the Father. For if, existing in the Father, he knows Him in
whom he exists—that is, is not ignorant of himself—then those
productions which issue from him being his powers (faculties), and
always present with him, will not be ignorant of him who emitted them,
any more than rays [may be supposed to be] of the sun. It is
impossible, therefore, that the Sophia (wisdom) of God, she who is
within the Pleroma, inasmuch as she has been produced in such a manner,
should have fallen under the influence of passion, and conceived such
ignorance. But it is possible that that Sophia (wisdom) who pertains to
[the scheme] of Valentinus, inasmuch as she is a production of the
devil, should fall into every kind of passion, and exhibit the
profoundest ignorance. For when they themselves bear testimony
concerning their mother, to the effect that she was the offspring of an
erring AEon, we need no longer search for a reason why the sons of such
a mother should be ever swimming in the depths of ignorance.
9. I am not aware that, besides these productions [which have been
mentioned], they are able to speak of any other; indeed, they have not
been known to me (although I have had very frequent discussions with
them concerning forms of this kind) as ever setting forth any other
peculiar kind of being as produced [in the manner under consideration].
This only they maintain, that each one of these was so produced as to
know merely that one who produced him, while he was ignorant of the one
who immediately preceded. But they do not in this matter go forward [in
their account] with any kind of demonstration as to the manner in which
these were produced, or how such a thing could take place among
spiritual beings. For, in whatsoever way they may choose to go forward,
they will feel themselves bound (while, as regards the truth, they depart [3078] entirely from right reason) to proceed so far as to maintain that their Word, who springs from the Nous of the Propator, --to maintain, I say, that he was produced in a state of degeneracy.
For [they hold] that perfect Nous, previously begotten by the perfect
Bythus, was not capable of rendering that production which issued from
him perfect, but [could only bring it forth] utterly blind to the
knowledge and greatness of the Father. They also maintain that the
Saviour exhibited an emblem of this mystery in the case of that man who
was blind from his birth, [3079] since the AEon was in this manner
produced by Monogenes blind, that is, in ignorance, thus falsely
ascribing ignorance and blindness to the Word of God, who, according to
their own theory, holds the second [place of] production from the
Propator. Admirable sophists, and explorers of the sublimities of the
unknown Father, and rehearsers of those super-celestial mysteries “which the angels desire to look into!” [3080] --that they may learn that from the Nous of that Father who is above all, the Word was produced blind, that is, ignorant of the Father who produced him!
10. But, ye miserable sophists, how could the Nous of the Father, or rather the very Father Himself, since He is Nous and perfect in all things, have produced his own Logos as an imperfect and blind AEon, when He was able also to produce along with him the knowledge of the
Father? As ye affirm that Christ was generated [3081] after the rest,
and yet declare that he was produced perfect, much more then should
Logos, who is anterior to him in age, be produced by the same Nous,
unquestionably perfect, and not blind; nor could he, again, have
produced AEons still blinder than himself, until at last your Sophia,
always utterly blinded, gave birth to so vast a body of evils. And your
Father is the cause of all this mischief; for ye declare the magnitude
and power of your Father to be the causes of ignorance, assimilating
Him to Bythus, and assigning this as a name to Him who is the
unnameable Father. But if ignorance is an evil, and ye declare all
evils to have derived their strength from it, while ye maintain that
the greatness and power of the Father is the cause of this ignorance,
ye do thus set Him forth as the author of [all] evils. For ye state as
the cause of evil this fact, that [no one] could contemplate His
greatness. But if it was really impossible for the Father to make
Himself known from the beginning to those [beings] that were formed by
Him, He must in that case be held free from blame, inasmuch as He could
not remove the ignorance of those who came after Him. But if, at a
subsequent period, when He so willed it, He could take away that
ignorance which had increased with the successive productions as they
followed each other, and thus become deeply seated in the AEons, much
more, had He so willed it might He formerly have prevented that ignorance, which as yet was not, from coming into existence.
11. Since therefore, as soon as He so pleased, He did become known not
only to the AEons, but also to these men who lived in these latter
times; but, as He did not so please to be known from the beginning, He
remained unknown—the cause of ignorance is, according to you, the will
of the Father. For if He foreknew that these things would in future
happen in such a manner, why then did He not guard against the
ignorance of these beings before it had obtained a place among them,
rather than afterwards, as if under the influence of repentance, deal
with it through the production of Christ? For the knowledge which
through Christ He conveyed to all, He might long before have imparted
through Logos, who was also the first-begotten of Monogenes. Or if,
knowing them beforehand, He willed that these things should happen [as
they have done], then the works of ignorance must endure for ever, and
never pass away. For the things which have been made in accordance with
the will of your Propator must continue along with the will of Him who
willed them; or if they pass away, the will of Him also who decreed
that they should have a being will pass away along with them. And why
did the AEons find rest and attain perfect knowledge through learning
[at last] that the Father is altogether [3082] incomprehensible? They
might surely have possessed this knowledge before they became involved
in passion; for the greatness of the Father did not suffer diminution
from the beginning, so that these might [3083] know that He was
altogether incomprehensible. For if, on account of His infinite
greatness, He remained unknown, He ought also on account of His
infinite love to have preserved those impassible who were produced by
Him, since nothing hindered, and expediency rather required, that they
should have known from the beginning that the Father was altogether incomprehensible.

[3073] Efficabiliter in the Latin text is thought to correspond to energos in the original Greek.
[3074] Si is inserted by most of the editors; and although Harvey argues for its omission, we agree with Massuet in deeming it indispensable.
[3075] 1 Cor. xv. 41.
[3076] Comp. i. 2, 2.
[3077] It seems needless to insert an “et” before this word, as Harvey
suggests, or, as an alternative, to strike out the first “Nun Propatoris.”
[3078] Some read “caecutientes” instead of “circumeuntes,” as above.
[3079] John ix. 1, etc.
[3080] 1 Pet. i. 12.
[3081] “Postgenitum quidem reliquis,” the representative, according to
Grabe, of apogonon men loipois in the Greek. Harvey remarks that ton
loipon would have been better, and proposes to read “progenitum” in the
Latin; but we do not see any necessity for change.
[3082] “Incapabilis et incomprehensibilis,” corresponding to achoretos
kai akataleptos in the Greek.
[3083] Literally, “to these knowing,” “his scientibus.”

Chapter XVIII.—Sophia was never really in ignorance or passion; her
Enthymesis could not have been separated from herself, or exhibited special
tendencies of its own.
1. How can it be regarded as otherwise than absurd, that they also affirm this Sophia (wisdom) to have been involved in ignorance, and degeneracy, and passion? For these things are alien and contrary to wisdom, nor can they ever be qualities belonging to it. For wherever there is a want of foresight, and an ignorance of the course of
utility, there wisdom does not exist. Let them therefore no longer call
this suffering AEon, Sophia, but let them give up either her name or
her sufferings. And let them, moreover, not call their entire Pleroma
spiritual, if this AEon had a place within it when she was involved in
such a tumult of passion. For even a vigorous soul, not to say a spiritual substance, would not pass through any such experience.
2. And, again, how could her Enthymesis, going forth [from her] along
with the passion, have become a separate existence? For Enthymesis
(thought) is understood in connection with some person, and can never
have an isolated existence by itself. For a bad Enthymesis is destroyed
and absorbed by a good one, even as a state of disease is by health.
What, then, was the sort of Enthymesis which preceded that of passion?
[It was this]: to investigate the [nature of] the Father, and to
consider His greatness. But what did she afterwards become persuaded
of, and so was restored to health? [This, viz.], that the Father is
incomprehensible, and that He is past finding out. It was not, then, a
proper feeling that she wished to know the Father, and on this account
she became passible; but when she became persuaded that He is unsearchable, she was restored to health. And even Nous himself, who was inquiring into the [nature of] the Father, ceased, according to them, to continue his researches, on learning that the Father is incomprehensible.
3. How then could the Enthymesis separately conceive passions, which themselves also were her affections? For affection is necessarily
connected with an individual: it cannot come into being or exist apart
by itself. This opinion [of theirs], however, is not only untenable,
but also opposed to that which was spoken by our Lord: “Seek, and ye
shall find.” [3084] For the Lord renders His disciples perfect by their
seeking after and finding the Father; but that Christ of theirs, who is
above, has rendered them perfect, by the fact that He has commanded the
AEons not to seek after the Father, persuading them that, though they
should labour hard, they would not find Him. And they [3085] declare
that they themselves are perfect, by the fact that they maintain they
have found their Bythus; while the AEons [have been made perfect]
through means of this, that He is unsearchable who was inquired after
by them.
4. Since, therefore, the Enthymesis herself could not exist separately,
apart from the AEon, [it is obvious that] they bring forward still
greater falsehood concerning her passion, when they further proceed to
divide and separate it from her, while they declare that it was the
substance of matter. As if God were not light, and as if no Word
existed who could convict them, and overthrow their wickedness. For it
is certainly true, that whatsoever the AEon thought, that she also
suffered; and what she suffered, that she also thought. And her
Enthymesis was, according to them, nothing else than the passion of one
thinking how she might comprehend the incomprehensible. And thus
Enthymesis (thought) was the passion; for she was thinking of things
impossible. How then could affection and passion be separated and set
apart from the Enthymesis, so as to become the substance of so vast a
material creation, when Enthymesis herself was the passion, and the
passion Enthymesis? Neither, therefore, can Enthymesis apart from the
AEon, nor the affections apart from Enthymesis, separately possess substance; and thus once more their system breaks down and is destroyed.
5. But how did it come to pass that the AEon was both dissolved [into
her component parts], and became subject to passion? She was
undoubtedly of the same substance as the Pleroma; but the entire
Pleroma was of the Father. Now, any substance, when brought in contact
with what is of a similar nature, will not be dissolved into nothing,
nor will be in danger of perishing, but will rather continue and
increase, such as fire in fire, spirit in spirit, and water in water;
but those which are of a contrary nature to each other do, [when they
meet,] suffer and are changed and destroyed. And, in like manner, if
there had been a production of light, it would not suffer passion, or
recur any danger in light like itself, but would rather glow with the
greater brightness, and increase, as the day does from [the increasing
brilliance of] the sun; for they maintain that Bythus [himself] was the
image of their father [3086] (Sophia). Whatever animals are alien [in
habits] and strange to each other, or are mutually opposed in nature,
fall into danger [on meeting together], and are destroyed; whereas, on
the other hand, those who are accustomed to each other, and of a
harmonious disposition, suffer no peril from being together in the same
place, but rather secure both safety and life by such a fact. If,
therefore, this AEon was produced by the Pleroma of the same substance
as the whole of it, she could never have undergone change, since she
was consorting with beings similar to and familiar with herself, a
spiritual essence among those that were spiritual. For fear, terror,
passion, dissolution, and such like, may perhaps occur through the
struggle of contraries among such beings as we are, who are possessed
of bodies; but among spiritual beings, and those that have the light
diffused among them, no such calamities can possibly happen. But these
men appear to me to have endowed their AEon with the [same sort of]
passion as belongs to that character in the comic poet Menander, [3087]
who was himself deeply in love, but an object of hatred [to his
beloved]. For those who have invented such opinions have rather had an
idea and mental conception of some unhappy lover among men, than of a
spiritual and divine substance.
6. Moreover, to meditate how to search into [the nature of] the perfect
Father, and to have a desire to exist within Him, and to have a
comprehension of His [greatness], could not entail the stain of
ignorance or passion, and that upon a spiritual AEon; but would rather
[give rise to] perfection, and impassibility, and truth. For they do
not say that even they, though they be but men, by meditating on Him
who was before them,--and while now, as it were, comprehending the
perfect, and being placed within the knowledge of Him, --are thus
involved in a passion of perplexity, but rather attain to the knowledge
and apprehension of truth. For they affirm that the Saviour said,
“Seek, and ye shall find,” to His disciples with this view, that they
should seek after Him who, by means of imagination, has been conceived
of by them as being above the Maker of all—the ineffable Bythus; and
they desire themselves to be regarded as “the perfect;” because they
have sought and found the perfect One, while they are still on earth.
Yet they declare that that AEon who was within the Pleroma, a wholly
spiritual being, by seeking after the Propator, and endeavouring to
find a place within His greatness, and desiring to have a comprehension
of the truth of the Father, fell down into [the endurance of] passion,
and such a passion that, unless she had met with that Power who upholds
all things, she would have been dissolved into the general substance [of the AEons], and thus come to an end of her [personal] existence.
7. Absurd is such presumption, and truly an opinion of men totally
destitute of the truth. For, that this AEon is superior to themselves,
and of greater antiquity, they themselves acknowledge, according to
their own system, when they affirm that they are the fruit of the
Enthymesis of that AEon who suffered passion, so that this AEon is the
father of their mother, that is, their own grandfather. And to them,
the later grandchildren, the search after the Father brings, as they
maintain, truth, and perfection, and establishment, and deliverance
from unstable matter, and reconciliation to the Father; but on their
grandfather this same search entailed ignorance, and passion, and
terror, and perplexity, from which [disturbances] they also declare
that the substance of matter was formed. To say, therefore, that the
search after and investigation of the perfect Father, and the desire
for communion and union with Him, were things quite beneficial to them,
but to an AEon, from whom also they derive their origin, these things
were the cause of dissolution and destruction, how can such assertions
be otherwise viewed than as totally inconsistent, foolish, and
irrational? Those, too, who listen to these teachers, truly blind
themselves, while they possess blind guides, justly [are left to] fall
along with them into the gulf of ignorance which lies below them.

[3084] Matt. vii. 7.
[3085] It seems necessary to read “se quidem” instead of “si quidem,”
as in the mss.
[3086] Although Sophia was a feminine AEon, she was regarded as being
the father of Enthymesis, who again was the mother of the Valentinians.
[3087] Stieren refers for this allusion to Meineke’s edition of the Reliquiae Menan. et Philem., p. 116.

Chapter XIX.—Absurdities of the heretics as to their own origin: their
opinions respecting the Demiurge shown to be equally untenable and ridiculous.
1. But what sort of talk also is this concerning their seed—that it was conceived by the mother according to the configuration of those angels who wait upon the Saviour,--shapeless, without form, and imperfect; and that it was deposited in the Demiurge without his
knowledge, in order that through his instrumentality it might attain to
perfection and form in that soul which he had, [so to speak,] filled
with seed? This is to affirm, in the first place, that those angels who
wait upon their Saviour are imperfect, and without figure or form; if
indeed that which was conceived according to their appearance was generated any such kind of being [as has been described].
2. Then, in the next place, as to their saying that the Creator was
ignorant of that deposit of seed which took place into him, and again,
of that impartation of seed which was made by him to man, their words
are futile and vain, and are in no way susceptible of proof. For how
could he have been ignorant of it, if that seed had possessed any
substance and peculiar properties? If, on the other hand, it was
without substance and without quality, and so was really nothing, then,
as a matter of course, he was ignorant of it. For those things which
have a certain motion of their own, and quality, either of heat, or
swiftness, or sweetness, or which differ from others in brilliance, do
not escape the notice even of men, since they mingle in the sphere of
human action: far less can they [be hidden from] God, the Maker of this
universe. With reason, however, [is it said, that] their seed was not
known to Him, since it is without any quality of general utility, and
without the substance requisite for any action, and is, in fact, a pure
nonentity. It really seems to me, that, with a view to such opinions,
the Lord expressed Himself thus: “For every idle word that men speak,
they shall give account on the day of judgment.” [3088] For all
teachers of a like character to these, who fill men’s ears with idle
talk, shall, when they stand at the throne of judgment, render an
account for those things which they have vainly imagined and falsely
uttered against the Lord, proceeding, as they have done, to such a
height of audacity as to declare of themselves that, on account of the
substance of their seed, they are acquainted with the spiritual
Pleroma, because that man who dwells within reveals to them the true
Father; for the animal nature required [3089] to be disciplined by
means of the senses. But [they hold that] the Demiurge, while receiving
into himself the whole of this seed, through its being deposited in him
by the Mother, still remained utterly ignorant of all things, and had
no understanding of anything connected with the Pleroma.
3. And that they are the truly “spiritual,” inasmuch as a certain particle of the Father of the universe has been deposited in their
souls, since, according to their assertions, they have souls formed of
the same substance as the Demiurge himself, yet that he, although he
received from the Mother, once for all, the whole [of the divine] seed,
and possessed it in himself, still remained of an animal nature, and
had not the slightest understanding of those things which are above,
which things they boast that they themselves understand, while they are
still on earth;--does not this crown all possible absurdity? For to
imagine that the very same seed conveyed knowledge and perfection to
the souls of these men, while it only gave rise to ignorance in the God
who made them, is an opinion that can be held only by those utterly frantic, and totally destitute of common sense.
4. Further, it is also a most absurd and groundless thing for them to
say that the seed was, by being thus deposited, reduced to form and
increased, and so was prepared for all the reception of perfect
rationality. For there will be in it an admixture of matter—that
substance which they hold to have been derived from ignorance and
defect; [and this will prove itself] more apt and useful than was the
light of their Father, if indeed, when born, according to the
contemplation of that [light], it was without form or figure, but
derived from this [matter], form, and appearance, and increase, and
perfection. For if that light which proceeds from the Pleroma was the
cause to a spiritual being that it possessed neither form, nor
appearance, nor its own special magnitude, while its descent to this
world added all these things to it, and brought it to perfection, then
a sojourn here (which they also term darkness) would seem much more
efficacious and useful than was the light of their Father. But how can
it be regarded as other than ridiculous, to affirm that their mother
ran the risk of being almost extinguished in matter, and was almost on
the point of being destroyed by it, had she not then with difficulty
stretched herself outwards, and leaped, [as it were,] out of herself,
receiving assistance from the Father; but that her seed increased in
this same matter, and received a form, and was made fit for the
reception of perfect rationality; and this, too, while “bubbling up”
among substances dissimilar and unfamiliar to itself, according to
their own declaration that the earthly is opposed to the spiritual, and
the spiritual to the earthly? How, then, could “a little particle,”
[3090] as they say, increase, and receive shape, and reach perfection,
in the midst of substances contrary to and unfamiliar to itself?
5. But further, and in addition to what has been said, the question
occurs, Did their mother, when she beheld the angels, bring forth the
seed all at once, or only one by one [in succession]? If she brought
forth the whole simultaneously and at once, that which was thus
produced cannot now be of an infantile character: its descent,
therefore, into those men who now exist must be superfluous. [3091] But
if one by one, then she did not form her conception according to the
figure of those angels whom she beheld; for, contemplating them all
together, and once for all, so as to conceive by them, she ought to
have brought forth once for all the offspring of those from whose forms
she had once for all conceived.
6. Why was it, too, that, beholding the angels along with the Saviour,
she did indeed conceive their images, but not that of the Saviour, who
is far more beautiful than they? Did He not please her; and did she
not, on that account, conceive after His likeness? [3092] How was it,
too, that the Demiurge, whom they can call an animal being, having, as
they maintain, his own special magnitude and figure, was produced
perfect as respects his substance; while that which is spiritual, which
also ought to be more effective than that which is animal, was sent
forth imperfect, and he required to descend into a soul, that in it he
might obtain form, and thus becoming perfect, might be rendered fit for
the reception of perfect reason? If, then, he obtains form in mere
earthly and animal men, he can no longer be said to be after the
likeness of angels whom they call lights, but [after the likeness] of
those men who are here below. For he will not possess in that case the
likeness and appearance of angels, but of those souls in whom also he
receives shape; just as water when poured into a vessel takes the form
of that vessel, and if on any occasion it happens to congeal in it, it
will acquire the form of the vessel in which it has thus been frozen,
since souls themselves possess the figure [3093] of the body [in which
they dwell]; for they themselves have been adapted to the vessel [in
which they exist], as I have said before. If, then, that seed [referred
to] is here solidified and formed into a definite shape, it will
possess the figure of a man. and not the form of the angels. How is it
possible, therefore, that that seed should be after images of the
angels, seeing it has obtained a form after the likeness of men? Why,
again, since it was of a spiritual nature, had it any need of
descending into flesh? For what is carnal stands in need of that which
is spiritual, if indeed it is to be saved, that in it it may be
sanctified and cleared from all impurity, and that what is mortal may
be swallowed up by immortality; [3094] but that which is spiritual has
no need whatever of those things which are here below. For it is not we
who benefit it, but it that improves us.
7. Still more manifestly is that talk of theirs concerning their seed
proved to be false, and that in a way which must be evident to every
one, by the fact that they declare those souls which have received seed
from the Mother to be superior to all others; wherefore also they have
been honoured by the Demiurge, and constituted princes, and kings, and
priests. For if this were true, the high priest Caiaphas, and Annas,
and the rest of the chief priests, and doctors of the law, and rulers
of the people, would have been the first to believe in the Lord,
agreeing as they did with respect [3095] to that relationship; and even
before them should have been Herod the king. But since neither he, nor
the chief priests, nor the rulers, nor the eminent of the people,
turned to Him [in faith], but, on the contrary, those who sat begging
by the highway, the deaf, and the blind, while He was rejected and
despised by others, according to what Paul declares, “For ye see your
calling, brethren, that there are not many wise men among you, not many
noble, not many mighty; but those things of the world which were despised hath God chosen.” [3096] Such souls, therefore, were not superior to others on account of the seed deposited in them, nor on this account were they honoured by the Demiurge.
8. As to the point, then, that their system is weak and untenable as well as utterly chimerical, enough has been said. For it is not needful, to use a common proverb, that one should drink up the ocean
who wishes to learn that its water is salt. But, just as in the case of
a statue which is made of clay, but coloured on the outside that it may
be thought to be of gold, while it really is of clay, any one who takes
out of it a small particle, and thus laying it open reveals the clay,
will set free those who seek the truth from a false opinion; in the
same way have I (by exposing not a small part only, but the several
heads of their system which are of the greatest importance) shown to as
many as do not wish wittingly to be led astray, what is wicked,
deceitful, seductive, and pernicious, connected with the school of the
Valentinians, and all those other heretics who promulgate [3097] wicked
opinions respecting the Demiurge, that is, the Fashioner and Former of
this universe, and who is in fact the only true God—exhibiting, [as I
have done,] how easily their views are overthrown.
9. For who that has any intelligence, and possesses only a small
proportion of truth, can tolerate them, when they affirm that there is
another god above the Creator; and that there is another Monogenes as
well as another Word of God, whom also they describe as having been
produced in [a state of] degeneracy; and another Christ, whom they
assert to have been formed, along with the Holy Spirit, later than the
rest of the AEons; and another Saviour, who, they say, did not proceed
from the Father of all, but was a kind of joint production of those
AEons who were formed in [a state of] degeneracy, and that He was
produced of necessity on account of this very degeneracy? It is thus
their opinion that, unless the AEons had been in a state of ignorance
and degeneracy, neither Christ, nor the Holy Spirit, nor Horos, nor the
Saviour, nor the angels, nor their Mother, nor her seed, nor the rest
of the fabric of the world, would have been produced at all; but the
universe would have been a desert, and destitute of the many good
things which exist in it. They are therefore not only chargeable with
impiety against the Creator, declaring Him the fruit of a defect, but
also against Christ and the Holy Spirit, affirming that they were
produced on account of that defect; and, in like manner, that the
Saviour [was produced] subsequently to [the existence of] that defect.
And who will tolerate the remainder of their vain talk, which they
cunningly endeavour to accommodate to the parables, and have in this
way plunged both themselves, and those who give credit to them, in the
profoundest depths of impiety?

[3088] Matt. xii. 36. [The serious spirit of this remark lends force to
it as exposition.]
[3089] Comp. i. 6, 1.
[3090] “Parvum emissum”—a small emission.
[3091] That is, there could be no need for its descending into them that it might increase, receive form, and thus be prepared for the reception of perfect reason.
[3092] Or, “on beholding Him.”
[3093] As Massuet here remarks, we may infer from this passage that Irenaeus believed souls to be corporeal, as being possessed of a definite form,--an opinion entertained by not a few of the ancients.
[And, before we censure them, let us reflect whether their perceptions
of “the carnal mind” as differing from the spirit of a man, may not account for it. 1 Thess. v. 23.]
[3094] Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 44; 2 Cor. v. 4. [As a Catholic I cannot accept
everything contained in the Biblical Psychology of Dr. Delitzsch, but
may I entreat the reader who has not studied it to do so before
dismissing the ideas of Irenaeus on such topics. A translation has been
provided for English readers, by the Messrs. T. & T. Clark of Edinburgh, 1867.]
[3095] The meaning apparently is, that by the high position which all
these in common occupied, they proved themselves, on the principles of
the heretics, to belong to the favoured “seed,” and should therefore
have eagerly have welcomed the Lord. Or the meaning may be, “hurrying
together to that relationship,” that is, to the relationship secured by
faith in Christ.
[3096] 1 Cor. i. 26, 28, somewhat loosely quoted.
[3097] “Male tractant;” literally, handle badly.

Chapter XX.—Futility of the arguments adduced to demonstrate the sufferings
of the twelfth AEon, from the parables, the treachery of Judas, and the
passion of our Saviour.
1. That they improperly and illogically apply both the parables and the
actions of the Lord to their falsely-devised system, I prove as
follows: They endeavour, for instance, to demonstrate that passion
which, they say, happened in the case of the twelfth AEon, from this
fact, that the passion of the Saviour was brought about by the twelfth
apostle, and happened in the twelfth month. For they hold that He
preached [only] for one year after His baptism. They maintain also that
the same thing was clearly set forth in the case of her who suffered
from the issue of blood. For the woman suffered during twelve years,
and through touching the hem of the Saviour’s garment she was made
whole by that power which went forth from the Saviour, and which, they
affirm, had a previous existence. For that Power who suffered was
stretching herself outwards and flowing into immensity, so that she was
in danger of being dissolved into the general substance [of the AEons];
but then, touching the primary Tetrad, which is typified by the hem of
the garment, she was arrested, and ceased from her passion.
2. Then, again, as to their assertion that the passion of the twelfth
AEon was proved through the conduct of Judas, how is it possible that
Judas can be compared [with this AEon] as being an emblem of her—he
who was expelled from the number of the twelve, [3098] and never
restored to his place? For that AEon, whose type they declare Judas to
be, after being separated from her Enthymesis, was restored or recalled
[to her former position]; but Judas was deprived [of his office], and
cast out, while Matthias was ordained in his place, according to what
is written, “And his bishopric let another take.” [3099] They ought
therefore to maintain that the twelfth AEon was cast out of the
Pleroma, and that another was produced, or sent forth to fill her
place; if, that is to say, she is pointed at in Judas. Moreover, they
tell us that it was the AEon herself who suffered, but Judas was the
betrayer, [and not the sufferer.] Even they themselves acknowledge that
it was the suffering Christ, and not Judas, who came to [the endurance
of] passion. How, then, could Judas, the betrayer of Him who had to suffer for our salvation, be the type and image of that AEon who suffered?
3. But, in truth, the passion of Christ was neither similar to the passion of the AEon, nor did it take place in similar circumstances.
For the AEon underwent a passion of dissolution and destruction, so
that she who suffered was in danger also of being destroyed. But the
Lord, our Christ, underwent a valid, and not a merely [3100] accidental
passion; not only was He Himself not in danger of being destroyed, but
He also established fallen man [3101] by His own strength, and recalled
him to incorruption. The AEon, again, underwent passion while she was
seeking after the Father, and was not able to find Him; but the Lord
suffered that He might bring those who have wandered from the Father,
back to knowledge and to His fellowship. The search into the greatness
of the Father became to her a passion leading to destruction; but the
Lord, having suffered, and bestowing the knowledge of the Father,
conferred on us salvation. Her passion, as they declare, gave origin to
a female offspring, weak, infirm, unformed, and ineffective; but His
passion gave rise to strength and power. For the Lord, through means of
suffering, “ascending into the lofty place, led captivity captive, gave
gifts to men,” [3102] and conferred on those that believe in Him the
power “to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of
the enemy,” [3103] that is, of the leader of apostasy. Our Lord also by
His passion destroyed death, and dispersed error, and put an end to
corruption, and destroyed ignorance, while He manifested life and
revealed truth, and bestowed the gift of incorruption. But their AEon,
when she had suffered, established [3104] ignorance, and brought forth
a substance without shape, out of which all material works have been produced—death, corruption, error, and such like.
4. Judas, then, the twelfth in order of the disciples, was not a type
of the suffering AEon, nor, again, was the passion of the Lord; for
these two things have been shown to be in every respect mutually
dissimilar and inharmonious. This is the case not only as respects the
points which I have already mentioned, but with regard to the very
number. For that Judas the traitor is the twelfth in order, is agreed
upon by all, there being twelve apostles mentioned by name in the
Gospel. But this AEon is not the twelfth, but the thirtieth; for,
according to the views under consideration, there were not twelve AEons
only produced by the will of the Father, nor was she sent forth the
twelfth in order: they reckon her, [on the contrary,] as having been
produced in the thirtieth place. How, then, can Judas, the twelfth in
order, be the type and image of that AEon who occupies the thirtieth place?
5. But if they say that Judas in perishing was the image of her
Enthymesis, neither in this way will the image bear any analogy to that
truth which [by hypothesis] corresponds to it. For the Enthymesis
having been separated from the AEon, and itself afterwards receiving a
shape from Christ, [3105] then being made a partaker of intelligence by
the Saviour, and having formed all things which are outside of the
Pleroma, after the image of those which are within the Pleroma, is said
at last to have been received by them into the Pleroma, and, according
to [the principle of] conjunction, to have been united to that Saviour
who was formed out of all. But Judas having been once for all cast
away, never returns into the number of the disciples; otherwise a
different person would not have been chosen to fill his place. Besides,
the Lord also declared regarding him, “Woe to the man by whom the Son
of man shall be betrayed;” [3106] and, “It were better for him if he
had never been born;” [3107] and he was called the “son of perdition”
[3108] by Him. If, however, they say that Judas was a type of the
Enthymesis, not as separated from the AEon, but of the passion entwined
with her, neither in this way can the number twelve be regarded as a
[fitting] type of the number three. For in the one case Judas was cast
away, and Matthias was ordained instead of him; but in the other case
the AEon is said to have been in danger of dissolution and destruction,
and [there are also] her Enthymesis and passion: for they markedly
distinguish Enthymesis from the passion; and they represent the AEon as
being restored, and Enthymesis as acquiring form, but the passion, when
separated from these, as becoming matter. Since, therefore, there are
thus these three, the AEon, her Enthymesis, and her passion, Judas and
Matthias, being only two, cannot be the types of them.

[3098] Or, “from the twelfth number”—the twelfth position among the apostles.
[3099] Acts i. 20, from Ps. cix. 8.
[3100] The text is here uncertain. Most editions read “et quae non
cederet,” but Harvey prefers “quae non accederet” (for “accideret”),
and remarks that the corresponding Greek would be kai ou tuchon, which
we have translated as above.
[3101] “Corruptum hominem.”
[3102] Ps. lxviii. 18; Eph. iv. 8.
[3103] Luke x. 19; [Mark xvi. 17, 18.]
[3104] Though the reading “substituit” is found in all the mss. and
editions, it has been deemed corrupt, and “sustinuit” has been proposed
instead of it. Harvey supposes it the equivalent of hupestese, and then
somewhat strangely adds “for apestese.” There seems to us no difficulty
in the word, and consequently no necessity for change.
[3105] Compare, in illustration of this sentence, book i. 4, 1, and i.
4, 5.
[3106] Matt. xxvi. 24.
[3107] Mark xiv. 21.
[3108] John xvii. 12.

Chapter XXI.—The twelve apostles were not a type of the AEons.
1. If, again, they maintain that the twelve apostles were a type only
of that group of twelve AEons which Anthropos in conjunction with
Ecclesia produced, then let them produce ten other apostles as a type
of those ten remaining AEons, who, as they declare, were produced by
Logos and Zoe. For it is unreasonable to suppose that the junior, and
for that reason inferior AEons, were set forth by the Saviour through
the election of the apostles, while their seniors, and on this account
their superiors, were not thus foreshown; since the Saviour (if, that
is to say, He chose the apostles with this view, that by means of them
He might show forth the AEons who are in the Pleroma) might have chosen
other ten apostles also, and likewise other eight before these, that
thus He might set forth the original and primary Ogdoad. He could not,
[3109] in regard to the second [Duo] Decad, show forth [any emblem of
it] through the number of the apostles being [already] constituted a
type. For [He made choice of no such other number of disciples; but]
after the twelve apostles, our Lord is found to have sent seventy
others before Him. [3110] Now seventy cannot possibly be the type
either of an Ogdoad, a Decad, or a Triacontad. What is the reason,
then, that the inferior AEons are, as I have said, represented by means
of the apostles; but the superior, from whom, too, the former derived
their being, are not prefigured at all? But if [3111] the twelve
apostles were chosen with this object, that the number of the twelve
AEons might be indicated by means of them, then the seventy also ought
to have been chosen to be the type of seventy AEons; and in that case,
they must affirm that the AEons are no longer thirty, but eighty-two in
number. For He who made choice of the apostles, that they might be a
type of those AEons existing in the Pleroma, would never have
constituted them types of some and not of others; but by means of the
apostles He would have tried to preserve an image and to exhibit a type
of those AEons that exist in the Pleroma.
2. Moreover we must not keep silence respecting Paul, but demand from
them after the type of what AEon that apostle has been handed down to
us, unless perchance [they affirm that he is a representative] of the
Saviour compounded of them [all], who derived his being from the
collected gifts of the whole, and whom they term All Things, as having
been formed out of them all. Respecting this being the poet Hesiod has
strikingly expressed himself, styling him Pandora—that is, “The gift
of all”—for this reason, that the best gift in the possession of all
was centred in him. In describing these gifts the following account is
given: Hermes (so [3112] he is called in the Greek language),
Haimulious [3113] te logous kai epiklopon ethos autous Kattheto (or to
express this in the English [3114] language), “implanted words of fraud
and deceit in their minds, and thievish habits,” for the purpose of
leading foolish men astray, that such should believe their falsehoods.
For their Mother—that is, Leto [3115] --secretly stirred them up
(whence also she is called Leto, [3116] according to the meaning of the
Greek word, because she secretly stirred up men), without the knowledge
of the Demiurge, to give forth profound and unspeakable mysteries to
itching ears. [3117] And not only did their Mother bring it about that
this mystery should be declared by Hesiod; but very skilfully also by
means of the lyric poet Pindar, when he describes to the Demiurge
[3118] the case of Pelops, whose flesh was cut in pieces by the Father,
and then collected and brought together, and compacted anew by all the
gods, [3119] did she in this way indicate Pandora and these men having
their consciences seared [3120] by her, declaring, as they maintain,
the very same things, are [proved] of the same family and spirit as the

[3109] This passage is hopelessly corrupt. The editors have twisted it
in every direction, but with no satisfactory result. Our version is
quite as far from being certainly trustworthy as any other that has
been proposed, but it seems something like the meaning of the words as
they stand. Both the text and punctuation of the Latin are in utter confusion.
[3110] Luke x. 1.
[3111] “Si” is wanting in the mss. and early editions, and Harvey pleads for its exclusion, but the sense becomes clearer through inserting it.
[3112] This clause is, of course, an interpolation by the Latin translator.
[3113] The words are loosely quoted memoriter, as is the custom with Irenaeus. See Hesiod, Works and Days, i. 77, etc.
[3114] Latin, of course, in the text.
[3115] There is here a play upon the words Leto and lethein, the former
being supposed to be derived from the latter, so as to denote secrecy.
[3116] This clause is probably an interpolation by the translator.
[3117] 2 Tim. iv. 3.
[3118] “Coelet Demiurgo,” such is the reading in all the mss. and
editions. Harvey, however, proposes to read “celet Demiurgum;” but the
change which he suggests, besides being without authority, does not clear away the obscurity which hangs upon the sentence.
[3119] Comp. Pindar, Olymp., i. 38, etc.
[3120] “Compuncti” supposed to correspond to kekauteriasmenoi: see 1 Tim. iv. 2. The whole passage is difficult and obscure.

Chapter XXII.—The thirty AEons are not typified by the fact that Christ was
baptized in His thirtieth year: He did not suffer in the twelfth month after
His baptism, but was more than fifty years old when He died.
1. I have shown that the number thirty fails them in every respect; too
few AEons, as they represent them, being at one time found within the
Pleroma, and then again too many [to correspond with that number].
There are not, therefore, thirty AEons, nor did the Saviour come to be
baptized when He was thirty years old, for this reason, that He might
show forth the thirty silent [3121] AEons of their system, otherwise
they must first of all separate and eject [the Saviour] Himself from
the Pleroma of all. Moreover, they affirm that He suffered in the
twelfth month, so that He continued to preach for one year after His
baptism; and they endeavour to establish this point out of the prophet
(for it is written, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and
the day of retribution” [3122] ), being truly blind, inasmuch as they
affirm they have found out the mysteries of Bythus, yet not
understanding that which is called by Isaiah the acceptable year of the
Lord, nor the day of retribution. For the prophet neither speaks
concerning a day which includes the space of twelve hours, nor of a
year the length of which is twelve months. For even they themselves
acknowledge that the prophets have very often expressed themselves in
parables and allegories, and [are] not [to be understood] according to
the mere sound of the words.
2. That, then, was called the day of retribution on which the Lord will
render to every one according to his works—that is, the judgment. The
acceptable year of the Lord, again, is this present time, in which
those who believe Him are called by Him, and become acceptable to
God—that is, the whole time from His advent onwards to the
consummation [of all things], during which He acquires to Himself as
fruits [of the scheme of mercy] those who are saved. For, according to
the phraseology of the prophet, the day of retribution follows the
[acceptable] year; and the prophet will be proved guilty of falsehood
if the Lord preached only for a year, and if he speaks of it. For where
is the day of retribution? For the year has passed, and the day of
retribution has not yet come; but He still “makes His sun to rise upon
the good and upon the evil, and sends rain upon the just and unjust.”
[3123] And the righteous suffer persecution, are afflicted, and are
slain, while sinners are possessed of abundance, and “drink with the
sound of the harp and psaltery, but do not regard the works of the
Lord.” [3124] But, according to the language [used by the prophet],
they ought to be combined, and the day of retribution to follow the
[acceptable] year. For the words are, “to proclaim the acceptable year
of the Lord, and the day of retribution.” This present time, therefore,
in which men are called and saved by the Lord, is properly understood
to be denoted by “the acceptable year of the Lord;” and there follows
on this “the day of retribution,” that is, the judgment. And the time
thus referred to is not called “a year” only, but is also named “a day”
both by the prophet and by Paul, of whom the apostle, calling to mind
the Scripture, says in the Epistle addressed to the Romans, “As it is
written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are counted as
sheep for the slaughter.” [3125] But here the expression “all the day
long” is put for all this time during which we suffer persecution, and
are killed as sheep. As then this day does not signify one which
consists of twelve hours, but the whole time during which believers in
Christ suffer and are put to death for His sake, so also the year there
mentioned does not denote one which consists of twelve months, but the
whole time of faith during which men hear and believe the preaching of
the Gospel, and those become acceptable to God who unite themselves to
3. But it is greatly to be wondered at, how it has come to pass that,
while affirming that they have found out the mysteries of God, they
have not examined the Gospels to ascertain how often after His baptism
the Lord went up, at the time of the passover, to Jerusalem, in
accordance with what was the practice of the Jews from every land, and
every year, that they should assemble at this period in Jerusalem, and
there celebrate the feast of the passover. First of all, after He had
made the water wine at Cana of Galilee, He went up to the festival day
of the passover, on which occasion it is written, “For many believed in
Him, when they saw the signs which He did,” [3126] as John the disciple
of the Lord records. Then, again, withdrawing Himself [from Judaea], He
is found in Samaria; on which occasion, too, He conversed with the Samaritan woman, and while at a distance, cured the son of the centurion by a word, saying, “Go thy way, thy son liveth.” [3127]
Afterwards He went up, the second time, to observe the festival day of
the passover [3128] in Jerusalem; on which occasion He cured the
paralytic man, who had lain beside the pool thirty-eight years, bidding
him rise, take up his couch, and depart. Again, withdrawing from thence
to the other side of the sea of Tiberias, [3129] He there seeing a
great crowd had followed Him, fed all that multitude with five loaves
of bread, and twelve baskets of fragments remained over and above.
Then, when He had raised Lazarus from the dead, and plots were formed
against Him by the Pharisees, He withdrew to a city called Ephraim; and
from that place, as it is written “He came to Bethany six days before
the passover,” [3130] and going up from Bethany to Jerusalem, He there
ate the passover, and suffered on the day following. Now, that these
three occasions of the passover are not included within one year, every
person whatever must acknowledge. And that the special month in which
the passover was celebrated, and in which also the Lord suffered, was
not the twelfth, but the first, those men who boast that they know all
things, if they know not this, may learn it from Moses. Their
explanation, therefore, both of the year and of the twelfth month has
been proved false, and they ought to reject either their explanation or
the Gospel; otherwise [this unanswerable question forces itself upon them], How is it possible that the Lord preached for one year only?
4. Being thirty years old when He came to be baptized, and then possessing the full age of a Master, [3131] He came to Jerusalem, so
that He might be properly acknowledged [3132] by all as a Master. For
He did not seem one thing while He was another, as those affirm who
describe Him as being man only in appearance; but what He was, that He
also appeared to be. Being a Master, therefore, He also possessed the
age of a Master, not despising or evading any condition of humanity,
nor setting aside in Himself that law which He had [3133] appointed for
the human race, but sanctifying every age, by that period corresponding
to it which belonged to Himself. For He came to save all through means
of Himself—all, I say, who through Him are born again to God [3134]
infants, [3135] and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He
therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants,
thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those
who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of
piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an
example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise
He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect Master for
all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth, but also as
regards age, sanctifying at the same time the aged also, and becoming
an example to them likewise. Then, at last, He came on to death itself,
that He might be “the first-born from the dead, that in all things He
might have the pre-eminence,” [3136] the Prince of life, [3137] existing before all, and going before all. [3138]
5. They, however, that they may establish their false opinion regarding
that which is written, “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,”
maintain that He preached for one year only, and then suffered in the
twelfth month. [In speaking thus,] they are forgetful to their own
disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age
which is both more necessary and more honourable than any other; that
more advanced age, I mean, during which also as a teacher He excelled
all others. For how could He have had disciples, if He did not teach?
And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a
Master? For when He came to be baptized, He had not yet completed His
thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age (for
thus Luke, who has mentioned His years, has expressed it: “Now Jesus
was, as it were, beginning to be thirty years old,” [3139] when He came
to receive baptism); and, [according to these men,] He preached only
one year reckoning from His baptism. On completing His thirtieth year
He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means
attained to advanced age. Now, that the first stage of early life
embraces thirty years, [3140] and that this extends onwards to the
fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth
year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed
while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel
and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with
John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them
that information. [3141] And he remained among them up to the times of
Trajan. [3142] Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other
apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear
testimony as to the [validity of] the statement. Whom then should we
rather believe? Whether such men as these, or Ptolemaeus, who never saw
the apostles, and who never even in his dreams attained to the slightest trace of an apostle?
6. But, besides this, those very Jews who then disputed with the Lord
Jesus Christ have most clearly indicated the same thing. For when the
Lord said to them, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he
saw it, and was glad,” they answered Him, “Thou art not yet fifty years
old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?” [3143] Now, such language is
fittingly applied to one who has already passed the age of forty,
without having as yet reached his fiftieth year, yet is not far from
this latter period. But to one who is only thirty years old it would
unquestionably be said, “Thou art not yet forty years old.” For those
who wished to convict Him of falsehood would certainly not extend the
number of His years far beyond the age which they saw He had attained;
but they mentioned a period near His real age, whether they had truly
ascertained this out of the entry in the public register, or simply
made a conjecture from what they observed that He was above forty years
old, and that He certainly was not one of only thirty years of age. For
it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by
twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of
Abraham. For what they saw, that they also expressed; and He whom they
beheld was not a mere phantasm, but an actual being [3144] of flesh and
blood. He did not then want much of being fifty years old; [3145] and,
in accordance with that fact, they said to Him, “Thou art not yet fifty
years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?” He did not therefore preach
only for one year, nor did He suffer in the twelfth month of the year.
For the period included between the thirtieth and the fiftieth year can
never be regarded as one year, unless indeed, among their AEons, there
be so long years assigned to those who sit in their ranks with Bythus
in the Pleroma; of which beings Homer the poet, too, has spoken, doubtless being inspired by the Mother of their [system of] error:--

Hoi de theoi par Zeni kathemenoi egoroonto
Chruseo en dapedo: [3146]
which we may thus render into English: [3147] --

“The gods sat round, while Jove presided o’er,
And converse held upon the golden floor.”

[3121] Harvey wishes, without any authority, to substitute “tacitus”
for “tacitos,” but there is no necessity for alteration. Irenaeus is
here playing upon the word, according to a practice in which he
delights, and quietly scoffs at the Sige (Silence) of the heretics by
styling those AEons silent who were derived from her.
[3122] Isa. lxi. 2.
[3123] Matt. v. 45.
[3124] Isa. v. 12.
[3125] Rom. viii. 36.
[3126] John ii. 23.
[3127] John iv. 50.
[3128] John v. 1, etc. It is well known that, to fix what is meant by
the heorte, referred to in this passage of St. John, is one of the most
difficult points in New Testament criticism. Some modern scholars think
that the feast of Purim is intended by the Evangelist; but, upon the
whole, the current of opinion that has always prevailed in the Church
has been in favour of the statement here made by Irenaeus. Christ would
therefore be present at four passovers after His baptism: (1) John ii.
13; (2) John v. 1; (3) John vi. 4; (4) John xiii. 1.
[3129] John vi. 1, etc.
[3130] John xi. 54, John xii. 1.
[3131] Or, “teacher,” magistri.
[3132] Harvey strangely remarks here, that “the reading audiret,
followed by Massuet, makes no sense.” He gives audiretur in his text,
but proposes to read ordiretur. The passage may, however, be translated
as above, without departing from the Benedictine reading audiret.
[3133] “Neque solvens suam legem in se humani generis.” Massuet would
expunge “suam;” but, as Harvey well observes, “it has a peculiar significance, nor abrogating his own law.”
[3134] “Renascuntur in Deum.” The reference in these words is doubtless
to baptism, as clearly appears from comparing book iii. 17, 1.
[3135] It has been remarked by Wall and others, that we have here the
statement of a valuable fact as to the baptism of infants in the primitive Church.
[3136] Col. i. 18.
[3137] Acts iii. 15.
[3138] [That our Lord was prematurely old may be inferred from the text
which Irenaeus regards as proof that he literally lived to be old. St.
John viii. 56, 57; comp. Isa. liii. 2.]
[3139] Luke iii. 23.
[3140] The Latin text of this clause is, “Quia autem triginta annorum
aetas prima indolis est juvenis”—words which it seems almost
impossible to translate. Grabe regarded “indolis” as being in the
nominative, while Massuet contends it is in the genitive case; and so
regarding it, we might translate, “Now that the age of thirty is the
first age of the mind of youth,” etc. But Harvey re-translates the
clause into Greek as follows: Hoti de he ton triakonta eton helikia he
prote tes diatheseos esti neas—words which we have endeavoured to
render as above. The meaning clearly is, that the age of thirty marked
the transition point from youth to maturity.
[3141] With respect to this extraordinary assertion of Irenaeus, Harvey
remarks: “The reader may here perceive the unsatisfactory character of
tradition, where a mere fact is concerned. From reasonings founded upon
the evangelical history, as well as from a preponderance of external
testimony, it is most certain that our Lord’s ministry extended but
little over three years; yet here Irenaeus states that it included more
than ten years, and appeals to a tradition derived, as he says, from
those who had conversed with an apostle”
[3142] Trajan’s reign commenced a.d. 98, and St. John is said to have
lived to the age of a hundred years.
[3143] John viii. 56, 57.
[3144] “Sed veritas”—literally, “the truth.”
[3145] [This statement is simply astounding, and might seem a providential illustration of the worthlessness of mere tradition unsustained by the written Word. No mere tradition could be more creditably authorized than this.]
[3146] Iliad, iv. 1.
[3147] Latin, of course, in the text.

Chapter XXIII.—The woman who suffered from an issue of blood was no type of
the suffering AEon.
1. Moreover, their ignorance comes out in a clear light with respect to
the case of that woman who, suffering from an issue of blood, touched
the hem of the Lord’s garment, and so was made whole; for they maintain
that through her was shown forth that twelfth power who suffered
passion, and flowed out towards immensity, that is, the twelfth AEon.
[This ignorance of theirs appears] first, because, as I have shown,
according to their own system, that was not the twelfth AEon. But even
granting them this point [in the meantime], there being twelve AEons,
eleven of these are said to have continued impassible, while the
twelfth suffered passion; but the woman, on the other hand, being
healed in the twelfth year, it is manifest that she had continued to
suffer during eleven years, and was healed in the twelfth. If indeed
they were to say that eleven AEons were involved in passion, but the
twelfth one was healed, it would then be a plausible thing to say that
the woman was a type of these. But since she suffered during eleven
years, and [all that time] obtained no cure, but was healed in the
twelfth year, in what way can she be a type of the twelfth of the
AEons, eleven of whom, [according to hypothesis,] did not suffer at
all, but the twelfth alone participated in suffering? For a type and
emblem is, no doubt, sometimes diverse from the truth [signified] as to
matter and substance; but it ought, as to the general form and
features, to maintain a likeness [to what is typified], and in this way
to shadow forth by means of things present those which are yet to come.
2. And not only in the case of this woman have the years of her infirmity (which they affirm to fit in with their figment) been
mentioned, but, lo! another woman was also healed, after suffering in
like manner for eighteen years; concerning whom the Lord said, “And
ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound during
eighteen years, to be set free on the Sabbath-day?” [3148] If, then,
the former was a type of the twelfth AEon that suffered, the latter
should also be a type of the eighteenth AEon in suffering. But they
cannot maintain this; otherwise their primary and original Ogdoad will
be included in the number of AEons who suffered together. Moreover,
there was also a certain other person [3149] healed by the Lord, after
he had suffered for eight-and-thirty years: they ought therefore to
affirm that the AEon who occupies the thirty-eighth place suffered. For
if they assert that the things which were done by the Lord were types
of what took place in the Pleroma, the type ought to be preserved
throughout. But they can neither adapt to their fictitious system the
case of her who was cured after eighteen years, nor of him who was
cured after thirty-eight years. Now, it is in every way absurd and
inconsistent to declare that the Saviour preserved the type in certain
cases, while He did not do so in others. The type of the woman, therefore, [with the issue of blood] is shown to have no analogy to their system of AEons. [3150]

[3148] Luke xiii. 16.
[3149] John v. 5.
[3150] The text of this sentence is very uncertain. We follow Massuet’s
reading, “negotio AEonum,” in preference to that suggested by Harvey.

Chapter XXIV.—Folly of the arguments derived by the heretics from numbers,
letters, and syllables.
1. This very thing, too, still further demonstrates their opinion false, and their fictitious system untenable, that they endeavour to
bring forward proofs of it, sometimes through means of numbers and the
syllables of names, sometimes also through the letter of syllables, and
yet again through those numbers which are, according to the practice
followed by the Greeks, contained in [different] letters;--[this, I
say,] demonstrates in the clearest manner their overthrow or confusion,
[3151] as well as the untenable and perverse character of their
[professed] knowledge. For, transferring the name Jesus, which belongs
to another language, to the numeration of the Greeks, they sometimes
call it “Episemon,” [3152] as having six letters, and at other times
“the Plenitude of the Ogdoads,” as containing the number eight hundred
and eighty-eight. But His [corresponding] Greek name, which is “Soter,”
that is, Saviour, because it does not fit in with their system, either
with respect to numerical value or as regards its letters, they pass
over in silence. Yet surely, if they regard the names of the Lord, as,
in accordance with the preconceived purpose of the Father, by means of
their numerical value and letters, indicating number in the Pleroma,
Soter, as being a Greek name, ought by means of its letters and the
numbers [expressed by these], in virtue of its being Greek, to show
forth the mystery of the Pleroma. But the case is not so, because it is
a word of five letters, and its numerical value is one thousand four
hundred and eight. [3153] But these things do not in any way correspond
with their Pleroma; the account, therefore, which they give of transactions in the Pleroma cannot be true.
2. Moreover, Jesus, which is a word belonging to the proper tongue of
the Hebrews, contains, as the learned among them declare, two letters
and a half, [3154] and signifies that Lord who contains heaven and
earth; [3155] for Jesus in the ancient Hebrew language means “heaven,”
while again “earth” is expressed by the words sura usser. [3156] The
word, therefore, which contains heaven and earth is just Jesus. Their
explanation, then, of the Episemon is false, and their numerical
calculation is also manifestly overthrown. For, in their own language,
Soter is a Greek word of five letters; but, on the other hand, in the
Hebrew tongue, Jesus contains only two letters and a half. The total
which they reckon up, viz., eight hundred and eighty-eight, therefore
falls to the ground. And throughout, the Hebrew letters do not
correspond in number with the Greek, although these especially, as
being the more ancient and unchanging, ought to uphold the reckoning
connected with the names. For these ancient, original, and generally
called sacred letters [3157] of the Hebrews are ten in number (but they
are written by means of fifteen [3158] ), the last letter being joined
to the first. And thus they write some of these letters according to
their natural sequence, just as we do, but others in a reverse
direction, from the right hand towards the left, thus tracing the
letters backwards. The name Christ, too, ought to be capable of being
reckoned up in harmony with the AEons of their Pleroma, inasmuch as,
according to their statements, He was produced for the establishment
and rectification of their Pleroma. The Father, too, in the same way,
ought, both by means of letters and numerical value, to contain the
number of those AEons who were produced by Him; Bythus, in like manner,
and not less Monogenes; but pre-eminently the name which is above all
others, by which God is called, and which in the Hebrew tongue is
expressed by Baruch, [3159] [a word] which also contains two and a half
letters. From this fact, therefore, that the more important names, both
in the Hebrew and Greek languages, do not conform to their system,
either as respects the number of letters or the reckoning brought out
of them, the forced character of their calculations respecting the rest
becomes clearly manifest.
3. For, choosing out of the law whatever things agree with the number
adopted in their system, they thus violently strive to obtain proofs of
its validity. But if it was really the purpose of their Mother, or the
Saviour, to set forth, by means of the Demiurge, types of those things
which are in the Pleroma, they should have taken care that the types
were found in things more exactly correspondent and more holy; and,
above all, in the case of the Ark of the Covenant, on account of which
the whole tabernacle of witness was formed. Now it was constructed
thus: its length [3160] was two cubits and a half, its breadth one
cubit and a half, its height one cubit and a half; but such a number of
cubits in no respect corresponds with their system, yet by it the type
ought to have been, beyond everything else, clearly set forth. The
mercy-seat [3161] also does in like manner not at all harmonize with
their expositions. Moreover, the table of shew-bread [3162] was two
cubits in length, while its height was a cubit and a half. These stood
before the holy of holies, and yet in them not a single number is of
such an amount as contains an indication of the Tetrad, or the Ogdoad,
or of the rest of their Pleroma. What of the candlestick, [3163] too,
which had seven [3164] branches and seven lamps? while, if these had
been made according to the type, it ought to have had eight branches
and a like number of lamps, after the type of the primary Ogdoad, which
shines pre-eminently among the AEons, and illuminates the whole
Pleroma. They have carefully enumerated the curtains [3165] as being
ten, declaring these a type of the ten AEons; but they have forgotten
to count the coverings of skin, which were eleven [3166] in number.
Nor, again, have they measured the size of these very curtains, each
curtain [3167] being eight-and-twenty cubits in length. And they set
forth the length of the pillars as being ten cubits, with a reference
to the Decad of AEons. “But the breadth of each pillar was a cubit and
a half;” [3168] and this they do not explain, any more than they do the
entire number of the pillars or of their bars, because that does not
suit the argument. But what of the anointing oil, [3169] which
sanctified the whole tabernacle? Perhaps it escaped the notice of the
Saviour, or, while their Mother was sleeping, the Demiurge of himself
gave instructions as to its weight; and on this account it is out of
harmony with their Pleroma, consisting, [3170] as it did, of five
hundred shekels of myrrh, five hundred of cassia, two hundred and fifty
of cinnamon, two hundred and fifty of calamus, and oil in addition, so
that it was composed of five ingredients. The incense [3171] also, in
like manner, [was compounded] of stacte, onycha, galbanum, mint, and
frankincense, all which do in no respect, either as to their mixture or
weight, harmonize with their argument. It is therefore unreasonable and
altogether absurd [to maintain] that the types were not preserved in
the sublime and more imposing enactments of the law; but in other
points, when any number coincides with their assertions, to affirm that
it was a type of the things in the Pleroma; while [the truth is, that]
every number occurs with the utmost variety in the Scriptures, so that,
should any one desire it, he might form not only an Ogdoad, and a
Decad, and a Duodecad, but any sort of number from the Scriptures, and
then maintain that this was a type of the system of error devised by himself.
4. But that this point is true, that that number which is called five,
which agrees in no respect with their argument, and does not harmonize
with their system, nor is suitable for a typical manifestation of the
things in the Pleroma, [yet has a wide prevalence, [3172] ] will be
proved as follows from the Scriptures. Soter is a name of five letters;
Pater, too, contains five letters; Agape (love), too, consists of five
letters; and our Lord, after [3173] blessing the five loaves, fed with
them five thousand men. Five virgins [3174] were called wise by the
Lord; and, in like manner, five were styled foolish. Again, five men
are said to have been with the Lord when He obtained testimony [3175]
from the Father,--namely, Peter, and James, and John, and Moses, and
Elias. The Lord also, as the fifth person, entered into the apartment
of the dead maiden, and raised her up again; for, says [the Scripture],
“He suffered no man to go in, save Peter and James, [3176] and the father and mother of the maiden.” [3177] The rich man in hell [3178]
declared that he had five brothers, to whom he desired that one rising
from the dead should go. The pool from which the Lord commanded the
paralytic man to go into his house, had five porches. The very form of
the cross, too, has five extremities, [3179] two in length, two in
breadth, and one in the middle, on which [last] the person rests who is
fixed by the nails. Each of our hands has five fingers; we have also
five senses; our internal organs may also be reckoned as five, viz.,
the heart, the liver, the lungs, the spleen, and the kidneys. Moreover,
even the whole person may be divided into this number [of parts],--the
head, the breast, the belly, the thighs, and the feet. The human race
passes through five ages first infancy, then boyhood, then youth, then
maturity, [3180] and then old age. Moses delivered the law to the
people in five books. Each table which he received from God contained
five [3181] commandments. The veil covering [3182] the holy of holies
had five pillars. The altar of burnt-offering also was five cubits in
breadth. [3183] Five priests were chosen in the wilderness,--namely,
Aaron, [3184] Nadab, Abiud, Eleazar, Ithamar. The ephod and the
breastplate, and other sacerdotal vestments, were formed out of five
[3185] materials; for they combined in themselves gold, and blue, and
purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And there were five [3186] kings
of the Amorites, whom Joshua the son of Nun shut up in a cave, and
directed the people to trample upon their heads. Any one, in fact,
might collect many thousand other things of the same kind, both with
respect to this number and any other he chose to fix upon, either from
the Scriptures, or from the works of nature lying under his
observation. [3187] But although such is the case, we do not therefore
affirm that there are five AEons above the Demiurge; nor do we
consecrate the Pentad, as if it were some divine thing; nor do we
strive to establish things that are untenable, nor ravings [such as
they indulge in], by means of that vain kind of labour; nor do we
perversely force a creation well adapted by God [for the ends intended
to be served], to change itself into types of things which have no real
existence; nor do we seek to bring forward impious and abominable doctrines, the detection and overthrow of which are easy to all possessed of intelligence.
5. For who can concede to them that the year has three hundred and sixty-five days only, in order that there may be twelve months of
thirty days each, after the type of the twelve AEons, when the type is
in fact altogether out of harmony [with the antitype]? For, in the one
case, each of the AEons is a thirtieth part of the entire Pleroma,
while in the other they declare that a month is the twelfth part of a
year. If, indeed, the year were divided into thirty parts, and the
month into twelve, then a fitting type might be regarded as having been
found for their fictitious system. But, on the contrary, as the case
really stands, their Pleroma is divided into thirty parts, and a
portion of it into twelve; while again the whole year is divided into
twelve parts, and a certain portion of it into thirty. The Saviour
therefore acted unwisely in constituting the month a type of the entire
Pleroma, but the year a type only of that Duodecad which exists in the
Pleroma; for it was more fitting to divide the year into thirty parts,
even as the whole Pleroma is divided, but the month into twelve, just
as the AEons are in their Pleroma. Moreover, they divide the entire
Pleroma into three portions,--namely, into an Ogdoad, a Decad, and a
Duodecad. But our year is divided into four parts, --namely, spring,
summer, autumn, and winter. And again, not even do the months, which
they maintain to be a type of the Triacontad, consist precisely of
thirty days, but some have more and some less, inasmuch as five days
remain to them as an overplus. [3188] The day, too, does not always
consist precisely of twelve hours, but rises from nine [3189] to
fifteen, and then falls again from fifteen to nine. It cannot therefore
be held that months of thirty days each were so formed for the sake of
[typifying] the AEons; for, in that case, they would have consisted
precisely of thirty days: nor, again, the days of these months, that by
means of twelve hours they might symbolize the twelve AEons; for, in
that case, they would always have consisted precisely of twelve hours.
6. But further, as to their calling material substances “on the left hand,” and maintaining that those things which are thus on the left
hand of necessity fall into corruption, while they also affirm that the
Saviour came to the lost sheep, in order to transfer it to the right
hand, that is, to the ninety and nine sheep which were in safety, and
perished not, but continued within the fold, yet were of the left hand,
[3190] it follows that they must acknowledge that the enjoyment [3191]
of rest did not imply salvation. And that which has not in like manner
the same number, they will be compelled to acknowledge as belonging to
the left hand, that is, to corruption. This Greek word Agape (love),
then, according to the letters of the Greeks, by means of which
reckoning is carried on among them, having a numerical value of
ninety-three, [3192] is in like manner assigned to the place of rest on
the left hand. Aletheia (truth), too, having in like manner, according
to the principle indicated above, a numerical value of sixty-four,
[3193] exists among material substances. And thus, in fine, they will
be compelled to acknowledge that all those sacred names which do not reach a numerical value of one hundred, but only contain the numbers summed by the left hand, are corruptible and material.

[3151] “Sive confusionem” is very probably a marginal gloss which has
found its way into the text. The whole clause is difficult and obscure.
[3152] Comp. i. 14, 4.
[3153] Thus: Soter ( s = 200, o = 800, t = 300, e = 8, r = 100 ) = 1408.
[3154] Being written thus, ysv, and the small y being apparently regarded as only half a letter. Harvey proposes a different solution which seems less probable.
[3155] This is one of the most obscure passages in the whole work of
Irenaeus, and the editors have succeeded in throwing very little light
upon it. We may merely state that ysv seems to be regarded as containing in itself the initials of the three words yhvh, Jehovah; smym, heaven; and v’rts, and earth.
[3156] Nothing can be made of these words; they have probably been
corrupted by ignorant transcribers, and are now wholly unintelligible.
[3157] “Literae sacerdotales,”—another enigma which no man can solve.
Massuet supposes the reference to be to the archaic Hebrew characters,
still used by the priests after the square Chaldaic letters had been
generally adopted. Harvey thinks that sacerdotales represents the Greek
leitourgika, “meaning letters as popularly used in common computation.”
[3158] The editors have again long notes on this most obscure passage.
Massuet expunges “quaeque,” and gives a lengthened explanation of the
clause, to which we can only refer the curious reader.
[3159] vrvk, Baruch, blessed, one of the commonest titles of the
Almighty. The final k seems to be reckoned only a half-letter, as being
different in form from what it is when accompanied by a vowel at the beginning or in the middle of a word.
[3160] Ex. xxv. 10.
[3161] Ex. xxv. 17.
[3162] Ex. xxv. 23.
[3163] Ex. xxv. 31, etc.
[3164] Only six branches are mentioned in Ex. xxv. 32.
[3165] Ex. xxvi. 1.
[3166] Ex. xxvi. 7.
[3167] Ex. xxvi. 2.
[3168] Ex. xxvi. 16.
[3169] Ex. xxvi. 26.
[3170] Ex. xxx. 23, etc.
[3171] Ex. xxx. 34.
[3172] Some such supplement as this seems requisite, but the syntax in
the Latin text is very confused.
[3173] Matt. xiv. 19, 21; Mark vi. 41, 44; Luke ix. 13, 14; John vi. 9,
10, 11.
[3174] Matt. xxv. 2, etc.
[3175] Matt. xvii. 1.
[3176] St. John is here strangely overlooked.
[3177] Luke viii. 51.
[3178] Luke xvi. 28.
[3179] “Fines et summitates;” comp. Justin Mart., Dial. c. Tryph., 91.
[3180] “Juvenis,” one in the prime of life.
[3181] It has been usual in the Christian Church to reckon four
commandments in the first table, and six in the second; but the above
was the ancient Jewish division. See Joseph., Antiq., iii. 6.
[3182] Ex. xxvi. 37.
[3183] Ex. xxvii. 1; “altitudo” in the text must be exchanged for “latitudo.”
[3184] Ex. xxviii. 1.
[3185] Ex. xxviii. 5.
[3186] Josh. x. 17.
[3187] [Note the manly contempt with which our author dismisses a class
of similitudes, which seem, even in our day, to have great attractions
for some minds not otherwise narrow.]
[3188] 365 (the days of the year)--12 * 30 + 5.
[3189] These hours of daylight, at the winter and summer solstice
respectively, correspond to the latitude of Lyons, 45DEG 45’ N., where
Irenaeus resided.
[3190] “Alluding,” says Harvey, “to a custom among the ancients, of
summing the numbers below 100 by various positions of the left hand and
its fingers; 100 and upwards being reckoned by corresponding gestures
of the right hand. The ninety and nine sheep, therefore, that remained
quietly in the fold were summed upon the left hand, and Gnostics
professed that they were typical of the true spiritual seed; but
Scripture always places the workers of iniquity of the left hand, and
in the Gnostic theory the evil principle of matter was sinistral, therefore,” etc., as above.
[3191] “Levamen,” corresponding probably to the Greek anapausin.
[3192] ‘Agape ( a = 1, g = 3, a = 1, p = 80, e = 8 ) = 93.
[3193] ‘Aletheia ( a = 1, l = 30, e = 8, th = 9, e = 5, i = 10, a = 1 )
= 64.

Chapter XXV.—God is not to be sought after by means of letters, syllables,
and numbers; necessity of humility in such investigations.
1. If any one, however, say in reply to these things, What then? Is it
a meaningless and accidental thing, that the positions of names, and the election of the apostles, and the working of the Lord, and the arrangement of created things, are what they are?--we answer them:
Certainly not; but with great wisdom and diligence, all things have
clearly been made by God, fitted and prepared [for their special
purposes]; and His word formed both things ancient and those belonging
to the latest times; and men ought not to connect those things with the
number thirty, [3194] but to harmonize them with what actually exists,
or with right reason. Nor should they seek to prosecute inquiries
respecting God by means of numbers, syllables, and letters. For this is
an uncertain mode of proceeding, on account of their varied and diverse
systems, and because every sort of hypothesis may at the present day
be, in like manner, devised [3195] by any one; so that [3196] they can
derive arguments against the truth from these very theories, inasmuch
as they may be turned in many different directions. But, on the
contrary, they ought to adapt the numbers themselves, and those things
which have been formed, to the true theory lying before them. For
system [3197] does not spring out of numbers, but numbers from a
system; nor does God derive His being from things made, but things made
from God. For all things originate from one and the same God.
2. But since created things are various and numerous, they are indeed
well fitted and adapted to the whole creation; yet, when viewed
individually, are mutually opposite and inharmonious, just as the sound
of the lyre, which consists of many and opposite notes, gives rise to
one unbroken melody, through means of the interval which separates each
one from the others. The lover of truth therefore ought not to be
deceived by the interval between each note, nor should he imagine that
one was due to one artist and author, and another to another, nor that
one person fitted the treble, another the bass, and yet another the
tenor strings; but he should hold that one and the same person [formed
the whole], so as to prove the judgment, goodness, and skill exhibited
in the whole work and [specimen of] wisdom. Those, too, who listen to
the melody, ought to praise and extol the artist, to admire the tension
of some notes, to attend to the softness of others, to catch the sound
of others between both these extremes, and to consider the special
character of others, so as to inquire at what each one aims, and what
is the cause of their variety, never failing to apply our rule, neither
giving up the [one [3198] ] artist, nor casting off faith in the one God who formed all things, nor blaspheming our Creator.
3. If, however, any one do not discover the cause of all those things
which become objects of investigation, let him reflect that man is
infinitely inferior to God; that he has received grace only in part,
and is not yet equal or similar to his Maker; and, moreover, that he
cannot have experience or form a conception of all things like God; but
in the same proportion as he who was formed but to-day, and received
the beginning of his creation, is inferior to Him who is uncreated, and
who is always the same, in that proportion is he, as respects knowledge
and the faculty of investigating the causes of all things, inferior to
Him who made him. For thou, O man, art not an uncreated being, nor
didst thou always co-exist [3199] with God, as did His own Word; but
now, through His pre-eminent goodness, receiving the beginning of thy
creation, thou dost gradually learn from the Word the dispensations of
God who made thee.
4. Preserve therefore the proper order of thy knowledge, and do not, as
being ignorant of things really good, seek to rise above God Himself,
for He cannot be surpassed; nor do thou seek after any one above the
Creator, for thou wilt not discover such. For thy Former cannot be
contained within limits; nor, although thou shouldst measure all this
[universe], and pass through all His creation, and consider it in all
its depth, and height, and length, wouldst thou be able to conceive of
any other above the Father Himself. For thou wilt not be able to think
Him fully out, but, indulging in trains of reflection opposed to thy
nature, thou wilt prove thyself foolish; and if thou persevere in such
a course, thou wilt fall into utter madness, whilst thou deemest
thyself loftier and greater than thy Creator, and imaginest that thou
canst penetrate beyond His dominions.

[3194] Some read XX., but XXX. is probably correct.
[3195] Harvey proposes “commentitum” instead of “commentatum,” but the
alteration seems unnecessary.
[3196] The syntax is in confusion, and the meaning obscure.
[3197] “Regula.”
[3198] “Errantes ab artifice.” The whole sentence is most obscure.
[3199] Alluding to the imaginary AEon Anthropos, who existed from eternity.

Chapter XXVI.—“Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.”
1. It is therefore better and more profitable to belong to the simple
and unlettered class, and by means of love to attain to nearness to
God, than, by imagining ourselves learned and skilful, to be found
[among those who are] blasphemous against their own God, inasmuch as
they conjure up another God as the Father. And for this reason Paul
exclaimed, “Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth:” [3200] not that
he meant to inveigh against a true knowledge of God, for in that case
he would have accused himself; but, because he knew that some, puffed
up by the pretence of knowledge, fall away from the love of God, and
imagine that they themselves are perfect, for this reason that they set
forth an imperfect Creator, with the view of putting an end to the
pride which they feel on account of knowledge of this kind, he says,
“Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.” Now there can be no greater
conceit than this, that any one should imagine he is better and more
perfect than He who made and fashioned him, and imparted to him the
breath of life, and commanded this very thing into existence. It is
therefore better, as I have said, that one should have no knowledge
whatever of any one reason why a single thing in creation has been
made, but should believe in God, and continue in His love, than [3201]
that, puffed up through knowledge of this kind, he should fall away
from that love which is the life of man; and that he should search
after no other knowledge except [the knowledge of] Jesus Christ the Son
of God, who was crucified for us, than that by subtle questions and hair-splitting expressions he should fall into impiety. [3202]
2. For how would it be, if any one, gradually elated by attempts of the
kind referred to, should, because the Lord said that “even the hairs of
your head are all numbered,” [3203] set about inquiring into the number
of hairs on each one’s head, and endeavour to search out the reason on
account of which one man has so many, and another so many, since all
have not an equal number, but many thousands upon thousands are to be
found with still varying numbers, on this account that some have larger
and others smaller heads, some have bushy heads of hair, others thin,
and others scarcely any hair at all,--and then those who imagine that
they have discovered the number of the hairs, should endeavour to apply
that for the commendation of their own sect which they have conceived?
Or again, if any one should, because of this expression which occurs in
the Gospel, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of
them falls to the ground without the will of your Father,” [3204] take
occasion to reckon up the number of sparrows caught daily, whether over
all the world or in some particular district, and to make inquiry as to
the reason of so many having been captured yesterday, so many the day
before, and so many again on this day, and should then join on the
number of sparrows to his [particular] hypothesis, would he not in that
case mislead himself altogether, and drive into absolute insanity those
that agreed with him, since men are always eager in such matters to be
thought to have discovered something more extraordinary than their masters? [3205]
3. But if any one should ask us whether every number of all the things
which have been made, and which are made, is known to God, and whether
every one of these [numbers] has, according to His providence, received
that special amount which it contains; and on our agreeing that such is
the case, and acknowledging that not one of the things which have been,
or are, or shall be made, escapes the knowledge of God, but that
through His providence every one of them has obtained its nature, and
rank, and number, and special quantity, and that nothing whatever
either has been or is produced in vain or accidentally, but with
exceeding suitability [to the purpose intended], and in the exercise of
transcendent knowledge, and that it was an admirable and truly divine
intellect [3206] which could both distinguish and bring forth the
proper causes of such a system: if, [I say,] any one, on obtaining our
adherence and consent to this, should proceed to reckon up the sand and
pebbles of the earth, yea also the waves of the sea and the stars of
heaven, and should endeavour to think out the causes of the number
which he imagines himself to have discovered, would not his labour be
in vain, and would not such a man be justly declared mad, and destitute
of reason, by all possessed of common sense? And the more he occupied
himself beyond others in questions of this kind, and the more he
imagines himself to find out beyond others, styling them unskilful,
ignorant, and animal beings, because they do not enter into his so
useless labour, the more is he [in reality] insane, foolish, struck as
it were with a thunderbolt, since indeed he does in no one point own
himself inferior to God; but, by the knowledge which he imagines
himself to have discovered, he changes God Himself, and exalts his own
opinion above the greatness of the Creator.

[3200] 1 Cor. viii. 1.
[3201] “Aut;” e having been thus mistakenly rendered instead of “quam.”
[3202] [This seems anticipatory of the dialects of scholasticism, and
of its immense influence in Western Christendom, after St. Bernard’s feeble adhesion to the Biblical system of the ancients.]
[3203] Matt. x. 30.
[3204] Matt. x. 29.
[3205] [Illustrated by the history of modern thought in Germany. See the meritorious work of Professor Kahnis, on German Protestantism (translated). Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1856.]
[3206] “Rationem.”

Chapter XXVII.—Proper mode of interpreting parables and obscure passages of
1. A sound mind, and one which does not expose its possessor to danger,
and is devoted to piety and the love of truth, will eagerly meditate
upon those things which God has placed within the power of mankind, and
has subjected to our knowledge, and will make advancement in
[acquaintance with] them, rendering the knowledge of them easy to him
by means of daily study. These things are such as fall [plainly] under
our observation, and are clearly and unambiguously in express terms set
forth in the Sacred Scriptures. And therefore the parables ought not to
be adapted to ambiguous expressions. For, if this be not done, both he
who explains them will do so without danger, and the parables will
receive a like interpretation from all, and the body [3207] of truth
remains entire, with a harmonious adaptation of its members, and
without any collision [of its several parts]. But to apply expressions
which are not clear or evident to interpretations of the parables, such
as every one discovers for himself as inclination leads him, [is
absurd. [3208] ] For in this way no one will possess the rule of truth;
but in accordance with the number of persons who explain the parables
will be found the various systems of truth, in mutual opposition to each other, and setting forth antagonistic doctrines, like the questions current among the Gentile philosophers.
2. According to this course of procedure, therefore, man would always
be inquiring but never finding, because he has rejected the very method
of discovery. And when the Bridegroom [3209] comes, he who has his lamp
untrimmed, and not burning with the brightness of a steady light, is
classed among those who obscure the interpretations of the parables,
forsaking Him who by His plain announcements freely imparts gifts to
all who come to Him, and is excluded from His marriage-chamber. Since,
therefore, the entire Scriptures, the prophets, and the Gospels, can be
clearly, unambiguously, and harmoniously understood by all, although
all do not believe them; and [3210] since they proclaim that one only
God, to the exclusion of all others, formed all things by His word,
whether visible or invisible, heavenly or earthly, in the water or
under the earth, as I have shown [3211] from the very words of
Scripture; and since the very system of creation to which we belong
testifies, by what falls under our notice, that one Being made and
governs it,--those persons will seem truly foolish who blind their eyes
to such a clear demonstration, and will not behold the light of the
announcement [made to them]; but they put fetters upon themselves, and
every one of them imagines, by means of their obscure interpretations
of the parables, that he has found out a God of his own. For that there
is nothing whatever openly, expressly, and without controversy said in
any part of Scripture respecting the Father conceived of by those who
hold a contrary opinion, they themselves testify, when they maintain
that the Saviour privately taught these same things not to all, but to
certain only of His disciples who could comprehend them, and who understood what was intended by Him through means of arguments, enigmas, and parables. They come, [in fine,] to this, that they maintain there is one Being who is proclaimed as God, and another as Father, He who is set forth as such through means of parables and enigmas.
3. But since parables admit of many interpretations, what lover of truth will not acknowledge, that for them to assert God is to be searched out from these, while they desert what is certain,
indubitable, and true, is the part of men who eagerly throw themselves
into danger, and act as if destitute of reason? And is not such a
course of conduct not to build one’s house upon a rock [3212] which is
firm, strong, and placed in an open position, but upon the shifting sand? Hence the overthrow of such a building is a matter of ease.

[3207] We read “veritatis corpus” for “a veritate corpus” in the text.
[3208] Some such expression of disapproval must evidently be supplied,
though wanting in the Latin text.
[3209] Matt. xxv. 5, etc.
[3210] The text is here elliptical, and we have supplied what seems necessary to complete the sense.
[3211] It is doubtful whether “demonstravimus” or “demonstrabimus” be
the proper reading: if the former, the reference will be to book i. 22,
or ii. 2; if the latter, to book iii. 8.
[3212] Matt. vii. 25.

Chapter XXVIII.—Perfect knowledge cannot be attained in the present life:
many questions must be submissively left in the hands of God.
1. Having therefore the truth itself as our rule and the testimony concerning God set clearly before us, we ought not, by running after numerous and diverse answers to questions, to cast away the firm and
true knowledge of God. But it is much more suitable that we, directing
our inquiries after this fashion, should exercise ourselves in the
investigation of the mystery and administration of the living God, and
should increase in the love of Him who has done, and still does, so
great things for us; but never should fall from the belief by which it
is most clearly proclaimed that this Being alone is truly God and
Father, who both formed this world, fashioned man, and bestowed the
faculty of increase on His own creation, and called him upwards from
lesser things to those greater ones which are in His own presence, just
as He brings an infant which has been conceived in the womb into the
light of the sun, and lays up wheat in the barn after He has given it
full strength on the stalk. But it is one and the same Creator who both
fashioned the womb and created the sun; and one and the same Lord who
both reared the stalk of corn, increased and multiplied the wheat, and
prepared the barn.
2. If, however, we cannot discover explanations of all those things in
Scripture which are made the subject of investigation, yet let us not
on that account seek after any other God besides Him who really exists.
For this is the very greatest impiety. We should leave things of that
nature to God who created us, being most properly assured that the
Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of
God and His Spirit; but we, inasmuch as we are inferior to, and later
in existence than, the Word of God and His Spirit, are on that very
account [3213] destitute of the knowledge of His mysteries. And there
is no cause for wonder if this is the case with us as respects things
spiritual and heavenly, and such as require to be made known to us by
revelation, since many even of those things which lie at our very feet
(I mean such as belong to this world, which we handle, and see, and are
in close contact with) transcend our knowledge, so that even these we
must leave to God. For it is fitting that He should excel all [in
knowledge]. For how stands the case, for instance, if we endeavour to
explain the cause of the rising of the Nile? We may say a great deal,
plausible or otherwise, on the subject; but what is true, sure, and
incontrovertible regarding it, belongs only to God. Then, again, the
dwelling-place of birds—of those, I mean, which come to us in spring,
but fly away again on the approach of autumn—though it is a matter
connected with this world, escapes our knowledge. What explanation,
again, can we give of the flow and ebb of the ocean, although every one
admits there must be a certain cause [for these phenomena]? Or what can
we say as to the nature of those things which lie beyond it? [3214]
What, moreover, can we say as to the formation of rain, lightning,
thunder, gatherings of clouds, vapours, the bursting forth of winds,
and such like things; or tell as to the storehouses of snow, hail, and
other like things? [What do we know respecting] the conditions
requisite for the preparation of clouds, or what is the real nature of
the vapours in the sky? What as to the reason why the moon waxes and wanes, or what as to the cause of the difference of nature among various waters, metals, stones, and such like things? On all these points we may indeed say a great deal while we search into their causes, but God alone who made them can declare the truth regarding them.
3. If, therefore, even with respect to creation, there are some things
[the knowledge of] which belongs only to God, and others which come
within the range of our own knowledge, what ground is there for
complaint, if, in regard to those things which we investigate in the
Scriptures (which are throughout spiritual), we are able by the grace
of God to explain some of them, while we must leave others in the hands
of God, and that not only in the present world, but also in that which
is to come, so that God should for ever teach, and man should for ever
learn the things taught him by God? As the apostle has said on this
point, that, when other things have been done away, then these three,
“faith, hope, and charity, shall endure.” [3215] For faith, which has
respect to our Master, endures [3216] unchangeably, assuring us that
there is but one true God, and that we should truly love Him for ever,
seeing that He alone is our Father; while we hope ever to be receiving
more and more from God, and to learn from Him, because He is good, and
possesses boundless riches, a kingdom without end, and instruction that
can never be exhausted. If, therefore, according to the rule which I
have stated, we leave some questions in the hands of God, we shall both
preserve our faith uninjured, and shall continue without danger; and
all Scripture, which has been given to us by God, shall be found by us
perfectly consistent; and the parables shall harmonize with those
passages which are perfectly plain; and those statements the meaning of
which is clear, shall serve to explain the parables; and through the
many diversified utterances [of Scripture] there shall be heard [3217]
one harmonious melody in us, praising in hymns that God who created all
things. If, for instance, any one asks, “What was God doing before He
made the world?” we reply that the answer to such a question lies with
God Himself. For that this world was formed perfect [3218] by God,
receiving a beginning in time, the Scriptures teach us; but no
Scripture reveals to us what God was employed about before this event.
The answer therefore to that question remains with God, and it is not
proper [3219] for us to aim at bringing forward foolish, rash, and
blasphemous suppositions [in reply to it]; so, as by one’s imagining
that he has discovered the origin of matter, he should in reality set
aside God Himself who made all things.
4. For consider, all ye who invent such opinions, since the Father Himself is alone called God, who has a real existence, but whom ye style the Demiurge; since, moreover, the Scriptures acknowledge Him
alone as God; and yet again, since the Lord confesses Him alone as His
own Father, and knows no other, as I shall show from His very words,
--when ye style this very Being the fruit of defect, and the offspring
of ignorance, and describe Him as being ignorant of those things which
are above Him, with the various other allegations which you make
regarding Him,--consider the terrible blasphemy [ye are thus guilty of]
against Him who truly is God. Ye seem to affirm gravely and honestly
enough that ye believe in God; but then, as ye are utterly unable to
reveal any other God, ye declare this very Being in whom ye profess to
believe, the fruit of defect and the offspring of ignorance. Now this
blindness and foolish talking flow to you from the fact that ye reserve
nothing for God, but ye wish to proclaim the nativity and production
both of God Himself, of His Ennoea, of His Logos, and Life, and Christ;
and ye form the idea of these from no other than a mere human
experience; not understanding, as I said before, that it is possible,
in the case of man, who is a compound being, to speak in this way of
the mind of man and the thought of man; and to say that thought
(ennoea) springs from mind (sensus), intention (enthymesis) again from
thought, and word (logos) from intention (but which logos? [3220] for
there is among the Greeks one logos which is the principle that thinks,
and another which is the instrument by means of which thought is
expressed); and [to say] that a man sometimes is at rest and silent,
while at other times he speaks and is active. But since God is [3221]
all mind, all reason, all active spirit, all light, and always exists
one and the same, as it is both beneficial for us to think of God, and
as we learn regarding Him from the Scriptures, such feelings and
divisions [of operation] cannot fittingly be ascribed to Him. For our
tongue, as being carnal, is not sufficient to minister to the rapidity
of the human mind, inasmuch as that is of a spiritual nature, for which
reason our word is restrained [3222] within us, and is not at once expressed as it has been conceived by the mind, but is uttered by successive efforts, just as the tongue is able to serve it.
5. But God being all Mind, and all Logos, both speaks exactly what He
thinks, and thinks exactly what He speaks. For His thought is Logos,
and Logos is Mind, and Mind comprehending all things is the Father
Himself. He, therefore, who speaks of the mind of God, and ascribes to
it a special origin of its own, declares Him a compound Being, as if
God were one thing, and the original Mind another. So, again, with
respect to Logos, when one attributes to him the third [3223] place of
production from the Father; on which supposition he is ignorant of His
greatness; and thus Logos has been far separated from God. As for the
prophet, he declares respecting Him, “Who shall describe His
generation?” [3224] But ye pretend to set forth His generation from the
Father, and ye transfer the production of the word of men which takes
place by means of a tongue to the Word of God, and thus are righteously
exposed by your own selves as knowing neither things human nor divine.
6. But, beyond reason inflated [with your own wisdom], ye presumptuously maintain that ye are acquainted with the unspeakable mysteries of God; while even the Lord, the very Son of God, allowed
that the Father alone knows the very day and hour of judgment, when He
plainly declares, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man,
neither the Son, but the Father only.” [3225] If, then, the Son was not
ashamed to ascribe the knowledge of that day to the Father only, but
declared what was true regarding the matter, neither let us be ashamed
to reserve for God those greater questions which may occur to us. For
no man is superior to his master. [3226] If any one, therefore, says to
us, “How then was the Son produced by the Father?” we reply to him,
that no man understands that production, or generation, or calling, or
revelation, or by whatever name one may describe His generation, which
is in fact altogether indescribable. Neither Valentinus, nor Marcion,
nor Saturninus, nor Basilides, nor angels, nor archangels, nor
principalities, nor powers [possess this knowledge], but the Father
only who begat, and the Son who was begotten. Since therefore His
generation is unspeakable, those who strive to set forth generations
and productions cannot be in their right mind, inasmuch as they
undertake to describe things which are indescribable. For that a word
is uttered at the bidding of thought and mind, all men indeed well understand. Those, therefore, who have excogitated [the theory of]
emissions have not discovered anything great, or revealed any abstruse
mystery, when they have simply transferred what all understand to the
only-begotten Word of God; and while they style Him unspeakable and
unnameable, they nevertheless set forth the production and formation of
His first generation, as if they themselves had assisted at His birth,
thus assimilating Him to the word of mankind formed by emissions.
7. But we shall not be wrong if we affirm the same thing also
concerning the substance of matter, that God produced it. For we have
learned from the Scriptures that God holds the supremacy over all
things. But whence or in what way He produced it, neither has Scripture
anywhere declared; nor does it become us to conjecture, so as, in
accordance with our own opinions, to form endless conjectures
concerning God, but we should leave such knowledge in the hands of God
Himself. In like manner, also, we must leave the cause why, while all
things were made by God, certain of His creatures sinned and revolted
from a state of submission to God, and others, indeed the great
majority, persevered, and do still persevere, in [willing] subjection
to Him who formed them, and also of what nature those are who sinned,
and of what nature those who persevere,--[we must, I say, leave the
cause of these things] to God and His Word, to whom alone He said, “Sit
at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” [3227] But
as for us, we still dwell upon the earth, and have not yet sat down
upon His throne. For although the Spirit of the Saviour that is in Him
“searcheth all things, even the deep things of God,” [3228] yet as to
us “there are diversities of gifts, differences of administrations, and
diversities of operations;” [3229] and we, while upon the earth, as
Paul also declares, “know in part, and prophesy in part.” [3230] Since,
therefore, we know but in part, we ought to leave all sorts of
[difficult] questions in the hands of Him who in some measure, [and
that only,] bestows grace on us. That eternal fire, [for instance,] is
prepared for sinners, both the Lord has plainly declared, and the rest
of the Scriptures demonstrate. And that God foreknew that this would
happen, the Scriptures do in like manner demonstrate, since He prepared
eternal fire from the beginning for those who were [afterwards] to
transgress [His commandments]; but the cause itself of the nature of
such transgressors neither has any Scripture informed us, nor has an
apostle told us, nor has the Lord taught us. It becomes us, therefore,
to leave the knowledge of this matter to God, even as the Lord does of
the day and hour [of judgment], and not to rush to such an extreme of
danger, that we will leave nothing in the hands of God, even though we
have received only a measure of grace [from Him in this world]. But
when we investigate points which are above us, and with respect to
which we cannot reach satisfaction, [it is absurd [3231] ] that we
should display such an extreme of presumption as to lay open God, and
things which are not yet discovered, [3232] as if already we had found
out, by the vain talk about emissions, God Himself, the Creator of all
things, and to assert that He derived His substance from apostasy and
ignorance, so as to frame an impious hypothesis in opposition to God.
8. Moreover, they possess no proof of their system, which has but
recently been invented by them, sometimes resting upon certain numbers,
sometimes on syllables, and sometimes, again, on names; and there are
occasions, too, when, by means of those letters which are contained in
letters, by parables not properly interpreted, or by certain [baseless]
conjectures, they strive to establish that fabulous account which they
have devised. For if any one should inquire the reason why the Father,
who has fellowship with the Son in all things, has been declared by the
Lord alone to know the hour and the day [of judgment], he will find at
present no more suitable, or becoming, or safe reason than this (since,
indeed, the Lord is the only true Master), that we may learn through
Him that the Father is above all things. For “the Father,” says He, “is
greater than I.” [3233] The Father, therefore, has been declared by our
Lord to excel with respect to knowledge; for this reason, that we, too,
as long as we are connected with the scheme of things in this world,
should leave perfect knowledge, and such questions [as have been
mentioned], to God, and should not by any chance, while we seek to
investigate the sublime nature of the Father, fall into the danger of
starting the question whether there is another God above God. [3234]
9. But if any lover of strife contradict what I have said, and also
what the apostle affirms, that “we know in part, and prophesy in part,”
[3235] and imagine that he has acquired not a partial, but a universal,
knowledge of all that exists, --being such an one as Valentinus, or
Ptolemaeus, or Basilides, or any other of those who maintain that they
have searched out the deep [3236] things of God,--let him not (arraying
himself in vainglory) boast that he has acquired greater knowledge than
others with respect to those things which are invisible, or cannot be
placed under our observation; but let him, by making diligent inquiry,
and obtaining information from the Father, tell us the reasons (which
we know not) of those things which are in this world, --as, for
instance, the number of hairs on his own head, and the sparrows which
are captured day by day, and such other points with which we are not
previously acquainted,--so that we may credit him also with respect to
more important points. But if those who are perfect do not yet
understand the very things in their hands, and at their feet, and
before their eyes, and on the earth, and especially the rule followed
with respect to the hairs of their head, how can we believe them
regarding things spiritual, and super-celestial, [3237] and those
which, with a vain confidence, they assert to be above God? So much,
then, I have said concerning numbers, and names, and syllables, and
questions respecting such things as are above our comprehension, and
concerning their improper expositions of the parables: [I add no more
on these points,] since thou thyself mayest enlarge upon them.

[3213] Or, “to that degree.”
[3214] Comp. Clem. Rom. Ep. to Cor., c. xx.; and August, De. Civit Dei,
xvi. 9.
[3215] 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
[3216] “Permanet firma,”—no doubt corresponding to the menei of the
apostle, 1 Cor. xiii. 13. Harvey here remarks, that “the author seems
to misapprehend the apostle’s meaning.... There will be no longer room
for hope, when the substance of things hoped for shall have become a
matter of fruition; neither will there be any room for faith, when the
soul shall be admitted to see God as He is.” But the best modern
interpreters take the same view of the passage as Irenaeus. They regard
the nuni de of St. Paul as not being temporal, but logical, and
conclude therefore the meaning to be, that faith and hope, as well as
love, will, in a sense, endure for ever. Comp., e.g., Alford, in loc.
[3217] The Latin text is here untranslateable. Grabe proposes to read,
“una consonans melodia in nobis sentietur;” while Stieren and others prefer to exchange aisthesetai for asthesetai.
[3218] “Apotelesticos.” This word, says Harvey, “may also refer to the
vital energy of nature, whereby its effects are for ever reproduced in
unceasing succession.” Comp. Hippol., Philos., vii. 24.
[3219] We here follow Grabe, who understands decet. Harvey less simply
explains the very obscure Latin text.
[3220] The Greek term logos, as is well known, denotes both ratio (reason) and sermo (speech). Some deem the above parenthesis an interpolation.
[3221] Comp. i. 12, 2.
[3222] “Suffugatur:” some read “suffocatur;” and Harvey proposes
“suffragatur,” as the representative of the Greek psephizetai. The
meaning in any case is, that while ideas are instantaneously formed in
the human mind, they can be expressed through means of words only fractionally, and by successive utterances.
[3223] Thus: Bythus, Nous, Logos.
[3224] Isa. liii. 8.
[3225] Mark xiii. 32. The words, “neither the angels which are in heaven,” are here omitted, probably because, as usual, the writer quotes from memory.
[3226] Comp. Matt. x. 24; Luke xi. 40.
[3227] Ps. cx. 1.
[3228] 1 Cor. ii. 10.
[3229] 1 Cor. xii. 4, 5, 6.
[3230] 1 Cor. xiii. 9.
[3231] Massuet proposes to insert these words, and some such supplement
seems clearly necessary to complete the sense. But the sentence still
remains confused and doubtful.
[3232] [Gen. xl. 8; Deut. xxix. 29; Ps. cxxxi.]
[3233] John xiv. 28.
[3234] [On the great matter of the perichoresis, the subordination of
the Son, etc., Bull has explored Patristic doctrine, and may well be
consulted here. Defens. Fid. Nicaenae, sect. iv.; see also vol. v. 363]
[3235] 1 Cor. xiii. 9.
[3236] “Altitudines,” literally, heights.
[3237] [Wisdom ix. 13, 17. A passage of marvellous beauty.]

Chapter XXIX.—Refutation of the views of the heretics as to the future
destiny of the soul and body.
1. Let us return, however, to the remaining points of their system. For
when they declare [3238] that, at the consummation of all things, their
mother shall re-enter the Pleroma, and receive the Saviour as her
consort; that they themselves, as being spiritual, when they have got
rid of their animal souls, and become intellectual spirits, will be the
consorts of the spiritual angels; but that the Demiurge, since they
call him animal, will pass into the place of the Mother; that the souls
of the righteous shall psychically repose in the intermediate
place;--when they declare that like will be gathered to like, spiritual
things to spiritual, while material things continue among those that
are material, they do in fact contradict themselves, inasmuch as they
no longer maintain that souls pass, on account of their nature, into
the intermediate place to those substances which are similar to
themselves, but [that they do so] on account of the deeds done [in the
body], since they affirm that those of the righteous do pass [into that
abode], but those of the impious continue in the fire. For if it is on
account of their nature that all souls attain to the place of
enjoyment, [3239] and all belong to the intermediate place simply
because they are souls, as being thus of the same nature with it, then
it follows that faith is altogether superfluous, as was also the
descent [3240] of the Saviour [to this world]. If, on the other hand,
it is on account of their righteousness [that they attain to such a
place of rest], then it is no longer because they are souls but because
they are righteous. But if souls would have [3241] perished unless they
had been righteous, then righteousness must have power to save the
bodies also [which these souls inhabited]; for why should it not save
them, since they, too, participated in righteousness? For if nature and
substance are the means of salvation, then all souls shall be saved;
but if righteousness and faith, why should these not save those bodies
which, equally with the souls, will enter [3242] into immortality? For
righteousness will appear, in matters of this kind, either impotent or
unjust, if indeed it saves some substances through participating in it,
but not others.
2. For it is manifest that those acts which are deemed righteous are performed in bodies. Either, therefore, all souls will of necessity
pass into the intermediate place, and there will never be a judgment;
or bodies, too, which have participated in righteousness, will attain
to the place of enjoyment, along with the souls which have in like
manner participated, if indeed righteousness is powerful enough to
bring thither those substances which have participated in it. And then
the doctrine concerning the resurrection of bodies which we believe,
will emerge true and certain [from their system]; since, [as we hold,]
God, when He resuscitates our mortal bodies which preserved
righteousness, will render them incorruptible and immortal. For God is
superior to nature, and has in Himself the disposition [to show
kindness], because He is good; and the ability to do so, because He is
mighty; and the faculty of fully carrying out His purpose, because He
is rich and perfect.
3. But these men are in all points inconsistent with themselves, when
they decide that all souls do not enter into the intermediate place,
but those of the righteous only. For they maintain that, according to
nature and substance, three sorts [of being] were produced by the
Mother: the first, which proceeded from perplexity, and weariness, and
fear—that is material substance; the second from impetuosity [3243]
that is animal substance; but that which she brought forth after the
vision of those angels who wait upon Christ, is spiritual substance.
If, then, that substance [3244] which she brought forth will by all
means enter into the Pleroma because it is spiritual, while that which
is material will remain below because it is material, and shall be
totally consumed by the fire which burns within it, why should not the
whole animal substance go into the intermediate place, into which also
they send the Demiurge? But what is it which shall enter within their
Pleroma? For they maintain that souls shall continue in the
intermediate place, while bodies, because they possess material
substance, when they have been resolved into matter, shall be consumed
by that fire which exists in it; but their body being thus destroyed,
and their soul remaining in the intermediate place, no part of man will
any longer be left to enter in within the Pleroma. For the intellect of
man—his mind, thought, mental intention, and such like—is nothing
else than his soul; but the emotions and operations of the soul itself
have no substance apart from the soul. What part of them, then, will
still remain to enter into the Pleroma? For they themselves, in as far
as they are souls, remain in the intermediate place; while, in as far
as they are body, they will be consumed with the rest of matter.

[3238] Comp. i. 7, 1.
[3239] “Refrigerium,” place of refreshment.
[3240] Billius, with great apparent reason, proposes to read “descensio” for the unintelligible “discessio” of the Latin text.
[3241] Grabe and Massuet read, “Si autem animae perire inciperent, nisi
justae fuissent,” for “Si autem animae quae periturae essent inciperent
nisi justae fuissent,”—words which defy all translation.
[3242] The text is here uncertain and confused; but, as Harvey remarks,
“the argument is this, That if souls are saved qua intellectual
substance, then all are saved alike; but if by reason of any moral
qualities, then the bodies that have executed the moral purposes of the
soul, must also be considered to be heirs of salvation.”
[3243] “De impetu:” it is generally supposed that these words
correspond to ek tes epistrophes (comp. i. 5, 1), but Harvey thinks ex
hormes preferable (i. 4, 1).
[3244] The syntax of this sentence is in utter confusion, but the meaning is doubtless that given above.

Chapter XXX.—Absurdity of their styling themselves spiritual, while the
Demiurge is declared to be animal.
1. Such being the state of the case, these infatuated men declare that
they rise above the Creator (Demiurge); and, inasmuch as they proclaim
themselves superior to that God who made and adorned the heavens, and
the earth, and all things that are in them, and maintain that they
themselves are spiritual, while they are in fact shamefully carnal on
account of their so great impiety,--affirming that He, who has made His
angels [3245] spirits, and is clothed with light as with a garment, and
holds the circle [3246] of the earth, as it were, in His hand, in whose
sight its inhabitants are counted as grasshoppers, and who is the
Creator and Lord of all spiritual substance, is of an animal
nature,--they do beyond doubt and verily betray their own madness; and,
as if truly struck with thunder, even more than those giants who are
spoken of in [heathen] fables, they lift up their opinions against God,
inflated by a vain presumption and unstable glory,--men for whose
purgation all the hellebore [3247] on earth would not suffice, so that
they should get rid of their intense folly.
2. The superior person is to be proved by his deeds. In what way, then,
can they show themselves superior to the Creator (that I too, through
the necessity of the argument in hand, may come down to the level of
their impiety, instituting a comparison between God and foolish men,
and, by descending to their argument, may often refute them by their
own doctrines; but in thus acting may God be merciful to me, for I
venture on these statements, not with the view of comparing Him to
them, but of convicting and overthrowing their insane opinions)--they,
for whom many foolish persons entertain so great an admiration, as if,
forsooth, they could learn from them something more precious than the
truth itself! That expression of Scripture, “Seek, and ye shall find,”
[3248] they interpret as spoken with this view, that they should
discover themselves to be above the Creator, styling themselves greater
and better than God, and calling themselves spiritual, but the Creator
animal; and [affirming] that for this reason they rise upwards above
God, for that they enter in within the Pleroma, while He remains in the
intermediate place. Let them, then, prove themselves by their deeds
superior to the Creator; for the superior person ought to be proved not
by what is said, but by what has a real existence.
3. What work, then, will they point to as having been accomplished
through themselves by the Saviour, or by their Mother, either greater,
or more glorious, or more adorned with wisdom, than those which have
been produced by Him who was the disposer of all around us? What
heavens have they established? what earth have they founded? what stars
have they called into existence? or what lights of heaven have they
caused to shine? within what circles, moreover, have they confined
them? or, what rains, or frosts, or snows, each suited to the season,
and to every special climate, have they brought upon the earth? And
again, in opposition to these, what heat or dryness have they set over
against them? or, what rivers have they made to flow? what fountains
have they brought forth? with what flowers and trees have they adorned
this sublunary world? or, what multitude of animals have they formed,
some rational, and others irrational, but all adorned with beauty? And
who can enumerate one by one all the remaining objects which have been
constituted by the power of God, and are governed by His wisdom? or who
can search out the greatness of that God who made them? And what can be
told of those existences which are above heaven, and which do not pass
away, such as Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, and Powers
innumerable? Against what one of these works, then, do they set
themselves in opposition? What have they similar to show, as having
been made through themselves, or by themselves, since even they too are
the Workmanship and creatures of this [Creator]? For whether the
Saviour or their Mother (to use their own expressions, proving them
false by means of the very terms they themselves employ) used this
Being, as they maintain, to make an image of those things which are
within the Pleroma, and of all those beings which she saw waiting upon
the Saviour, she used him (the Demiurge) as being [in a sense] superior
to herself, and better fitted to accomplish her purpose through his instrumentality; for she would by no means form the images of such important beings through means of an inferior, but by a superior, agent.
4. For, [be it observed,] they themselves, according to their own declarations, were then existing, as a spiritual conception, in
consequence of the contemplation of those beings who were arranged as
satellites around Pandora. And they indeed continued useless, the
Mother accomplishing nothing through their instrumentality, [3249] --an
idle conception, owing their being to the Saviour, and fit for nothing,
for not a thing appears to have been done by them. But the God who,
according to them, was produced, while, as they argue, inferior to
themselves (for they maintain that he is of an animal nature), was
nevertheless the active agent in all things, efficient, and fit for the
work to be done, so that by him the images of all things were made; and
not only were these things which are seen formed by him, but also all
things invisible, Angels, Archangels, Dominations, Powers, and
Virtues,--[by him, I say,] as being the superior, and capable of
ministering to her desire. But it seems that the Mother made nothing
whatever through their instrumentality, as indeed they themselves
acknowledge; so that one may justly reckon them as having been an
abortion produced by the painful travail of their Mother. For no
accoucheurs performed their office upon her, and therefore they were
cast forth as an abortion, useful for nothing, and formed to accomplish
no work of the Mother. And yet they describe themselves as being superior to Him by whom so vast and admirable works have been accomplished and arranged, although by their own reasoning they are found to be so wretchedly inferior!
5. It is as if there were two iron tools, or instruments, the one of
which was continually in the workman’s hands and in constant use, and
by the use of which he made whatever he pleased, and displayed his art
and skill, but the other of which remained idle and useless, never
being called into operation, the workman never appearing to make
anything by it, and making no use of it in any of his labours; and then
one should maintain that this useless, and idle, and unemployed tool
was superior in nature and value to that which the artisan employed in
his work, and by means of which he acquired his reputation. Such a man,
if any such were found, would justly be regarded as imbecile, and not
in his right mind. And so should those be judged of who speak of
themselves as being spiritual and superior, and of the Creator as
possessed of an animal nature, and maintain that for this reason they
will ascend on high, and penetrate within the Pleroma to their own
husbands (for, according to their own statements, they are themselves
feminine), but that God [the Creator] is of an inferior nature, and therefore remains in the intermediate place, while all the time they bring forward no proofs of these assertions: for the better man is shown by his works, and all works have been accomplished by the Creator; but they, having nothing worthy of reason to point to as having been produced by themselves, are labouring under the greatest and most incurable madness.
6. If, however, they labour to maintain that, while all material
things, such as the heaven, and the whole world which exists below it,
were indeed formed by the Demiurge, yet all things of a more spiritual
nature than these, --those, namely, which are above the heavens, such
as Principalities, Powers, Angels, Archangels, Dominations, Virtues,--
were produced by a spiritual process of birth (which they declare
themselves to be), then, in the first place, we prove from the
authoritative Scriptures [3250] that all the things which have been
mentioned, visible and invisible, have been made by one God. For these
men are not more to be depended on than the Scriptures; nor ought we to
give up the declarations of the Lord, Moses, and the rest of the
prophets, who have proclaimed the truth, and give credit to them, who
do indeed utter nothing of a sensible nature, but rave about untenable
opinions. And, in the next place, if those things which are above the
heavens were really made through their instrumentality, then let them
inform us what is the nature of things invisible, recount the number of
the Angels, and the ranks of the Archangels, reveal the mysteries of
the Thrones, and teach us the differences between the Dominations,
Principalities, Powers, and Virtues. But they can say nothing
respecting them; therefore these beings were not made by them. If, on
the other hand, these were made by the Creator, as was really the case,
and are of a spiritual and holy character, then it follows that He who
produced spiritual beings is not Himself of an animal nature, and thus
their fearful system of blasphemy is overthrown.
7. For that there are spiritual creatures in the heavens, all the
Scriptures loudly proclaim; and Paul expressly testifies that there are
spiritual things when he declares that he was caught up into the third
heaven, [3251] and again, that he was carried away to paradise, and
heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter. But
what did that profit him, either his entrance into paradise or his
assumption into the third heaven, since all these things are still but
under the power of the Demiurge, if, as some venture to maintain, he
had already begun [3252] to be a spectator and a hearer of those
mysteries which are affirmed to be above the Demiurge? For if it is
true that he was becoming acquainted with that order of things which is
above the Demiurge, he would by no means have remained in the regions
of the Demiurge, and that so as not even thoroughly to explore even
these (for, according to their manner of speaking, there still lay
before him four heavens, [3253] if he were to approach the Demiurge,
and thus behold the whole seven lying beneath him); but he might have
been admitted, perhaps, into the intermediate place, that is, into the
presence of the Mother, that he might receive instruction from her as
to the things within the Pleroma. For that inner man which was in him,
and spoke in him, as they say, though invisible, could have attained
not only to the third heaven, but even as far as the presence of their
Mother. For if they maintain that they themselves, that is, their
[inner] man, at once ascends above the Demiurge, and departs to the
Mother, much more must this have occurred to the [inner] man of the
apostle; for the Demiurge would not have hindered him, being, as they
assert, himself already subject to the Saviour. But if he had tried to
hinder him, the effort would have gone for nothing. For it is not
possible that he should prove stronger than the providence of the
Father, and that when the inner man is said to be invisible even to the
Demiurge. But since he (Paul) has described that assumption of himself
up to the third heaven as something great and pre-eminent, it cannot be
that these men ascend above the seventh heaven, for they are certainly
not superior to the apostle. If they do maintain that they are more
excellent than he, let them prove themselves so by their works, for
they have never pretended to anything like [what he describes as
occurring to himself]. And for this reason he added, “Whether in the
body, or whether out of the body, God knoweth,” [3254] that the body
might neither be thought to be a partaker in that vision, [3255] as if
it could have participated in those things which it had seen and heard;
nor, again, that any one should say that he was not carried higher on
account of the weight of the body; but it is therefore thus far
permitted even without the body to behold spiritual mysteries which are
the operations of God, who made the heavens and the earth, and formed
man, and placed him in paradise, so that those should be spectators of
them who, like the apostle, have reached a high degree of perfection in
the love of God.
8. This Being, therefore, also made spiritual things, of which, as far
as to the third heaven, the apostle was made a spectator, and heard
unspeakable words which it is not possible for a man to utter, inasmuch
as they are spiritual; and He Himself bestows [3256] [gifts] on the
worthy as inclination prompts Him, for paradise is His; and He is truly
the Spirit of God, and not an animal Demiurge, otherwise He should
never have created spiritual things. But if He really is of an animal
nature, then let them inform us by whom spiritual things were made.
They have no proof which they can give that this was done by means of
the travail of their Mother, which they declare themselves to be. For,
not to speak of spiritual things, these men cannot create even a fly,
or a gnat, or any other small and insignificant animal, without
observing that law by which from the beginning animals have been and
are naturally produced by God—through the deposition of seed in those
that are of the same species. Nor was anything formed by the Mother
alone; [for] they say that this Demiurge was produced by her, and that
he was the Lord (the author) of all creation. And they maintain that he
who is the Creator and Lord of all that has been made is of an animal
nature, while they assert that they themselves are spiritual,--they who
are neither the authors nor lords of any one work, not only of those
things which are extraneous to them, but not even of their own bodies!
Moreover, these men, who call themselves spiritual, and superior to the
Creator, do often suffer much bodily pain, sorely against their will.
9. Justly, therefore, do we convict them of having departed far and wide from the truth. For if the Saviour formed the things which have been made, by means of him (the Demiurge), he is proved in that case
not to be inferior but superior to them, since he is found to have been
the former even of themselves; for they, too, have a place among
created things. How, then, can it be argued that these men indeed are
spiritual, but that he by whom they were created is of an animal
nature? Or, again, if (which is indeed the only true supposition, as I
have shown by numerous arguments of the very clearest nature) He (the
Creator) made all things freely, and by His own power, and arranged and
finished them, and His will is the substance [3257] of all things, then
He is discovered to be the one only God who created all things, who
alone is Omnipotent, and who is the only Father rounding and forming
all things, visible and invisible, such as may be perceived by our
senses and such as cannot, heavenly and earthly, “by the word of His
power;” [3258] and He has fitted and arranged all things by His wisdom,
while He contains all things, but He Himself can be contained by no
one: He is the Former, He the Builder, He the Discoverer, He the
Creator, He the Lord of all; and there is no one besides Him, or above
Him, neither has He any mother, as they falsely ascribe to Him; nor is
there a second God, as Marcion has imagined; nor is there a Pleroma of
thirty AEons, which has been shown a vain supposition; nor is there any
such being as Bythus or Proarche; nor are there a series of heavens;
nor is there a virginal light, [3259] nor an unnameable AEon, nor, in
fact, any one of those things which are madly dreamt of by these, and
by all the heretics. But there is one only God, the Creator—He who is
above every Principality, and Power, and Dominion, and Virtue: He is
Father, He is God, He the Founder, He the Maker, He the Creator, who
made those things by Himself, that is, through His Word and His
Wisdom—heaven and earth, and the seas, and all things that are in
them: He is just; He is good; He it is who formed man, who planted
paradise, who made the world, who gave rise to the flood, who saved
Noah; He is the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob, the God of the living: He it is whom the law proclaims, whom the
prophets preach, whom Christ reveals, whom the apostles make known
[3260] to us, and in whom the Church believes. He is the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ: through His Word, who is His Son, through Him He is
revealed and manifested to all to whom He is revealed; for those [only]
know Him to whom the Son has revealed Him. But the Son, eternally
co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning,
always reveals the Father to Angels, Archangels, Powers, Virtues, and
all to whom He wills that God should be revealed.

[3245] Ps. civ. 2, 4.
[3246] Isa. xl. 12, 22.
[3247] Irenaeus was evidently familiar with Horace; comp. Ars. Poet.,
[3248] Matt. vii. 7.
[3249] The punctuation is here doubtful. With Massuet and Stieren we expunge “vel” from the text.
[3250] Or, “the Scriptures of the Lord;” but the words “dominicis
scripturis” probably here represent the Greek kurion graphon, and are
to be rendered as above.
[3251] 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3, 4.
[3252] “Inciperet fieri;” perhaps for “futurus esset,” was to be.
[3253] “Quartum coelum;” there still being, according to their theory
of seven heavens, a fourth beyond that to which St. Paul had penetrated.
[3254] 2 Cor. xii. 3, defectively quoted.
[3255] This is an exceedingly obscure and difficult sentence. Grabe and
some of the later editors read, “uti neque non corpus,” thus making
Irenaeus affirm that the body did participate in the vision. But
Massuet contends strenuously that this is contrary to the author’s
purpose, as wishing to maintain, against a possible exception of the
Valentinians, that Paul then witnessed spiritual realities, and by
omitting this “non” before “corpus,” makes Irenaeus deny that the body
was a partaker in the vision. The point can only be doubtfully decided,
but Massuet’s ingenious note inclines us to his side of the question.
[3256] “Praestat dignis:” here a very ambiguous expression.
[3257] That is, as Massuet notes, all things derive not only their
existence, but their qualities, from His will. Harvey proposes to read
causa instead of substantia, but the change seems needless.
[3258] Heb. i. 3.
[3259] That is, Barbelos: comp. i. 29, 1.
[3260] “Tradunt;” literally, hand down.

Chapter XXXI.—Recapitulation and application of the foregoing arguments.
1. Those, then, who are of the school of Valentinus being overthrown,
the whole multitude of heretics are, in fact, also subverted. For all
the arguments I have advanced against their Pleroma, and with respect
to those things which are beyond it, showing how the Father of all is
shut up and circumscribed by that which is beyond Him (if, indeed,
there be anything beyond Him), and how there is an absolute necessity
[on their theory] to conceive of many Fathers, and many Pleromas, and
many creations of worlds, beginning with one set and ending with
another, as existing on every side; and that all [the beings referred
to] continue in their own domains, and do not curiously intermeddle
with others, since, indeed, no common interest nor any fellowship
exists between them; and that there is no other God of all, but that
that name belongs only to the Almighty;--[all these arguments, I say,]
will in like manner apply against those who are of the school of
Marcion, and Simon, and Meander, or whatever others there may be who,
like them, cut off that creation with which we are connected from the
Father. The arguments, again, which I have employed against those who
maintain that the Father of all no doubt contains all things, but that
the creation to which we belong was not formed by Him, but by a certain
other power, or by angels having no knowledge of the Propator, who is
surrounded as a centre by the immense extent of the universe, just as a
stain is by the [surrounding] cloak; when I showed that it is not a
probable supposition that any other being than the Father of all formed
that creation to which we belong,-- these same arguments will apply
against the followers of Saturninus, Basilides, Carpocrates, and the
rest of the Gnostics, who express similar opinions. Those statements,
again, which have been made with respect to the emanations, and the
AEons, and the [supposed state of] degeneracy, and the inconstant
character of their Mother, equally overthrow Basilides, and all who are
falsely styled Gnostics, who do, in fact, just repeat the same views
under different names, but do, to a greater extent than the former,
[3261] transfer those things which lie outside [3262] of the truth to
the system of their own doctrine. And the remarks I have made
respecting numbers will also apply against all those who misappropriate
things belonging to the truth for the support of a system of this kind.
And all that has been said respecting the Creator (Demiurge) to show
that he alone is God and Father of all, and whatever remarks may yet be
made in the following books, I apply against the heretics at large. The
more moderate and reasonable among them thou wilt convert and convince,
so as to lead them no longer to blaspheme their Creator, and Maker, and
Sustainer, and Lord, nor to ascribe His origin to defect and ignorance;
but the fierce, and terrible, and irrational [among them] thou wilt
drive far from thee, that you may no longer have to endure their idle
2. Moreover, those also will be thus confuted who belong to Simon and
Carpocrates, and if there be any others who are said to perform
miracles—who do not perform what they do either through the power of
God, or in connection with the truth, nor for the well-being of men,
but for the sake of destroying and misleading mankind, by means of
magical deceptions, and with universal deceit, thus entailing greater
harm than good on those who believe them, with respect to the point on
which they lead them astray. For they can neither confer sight on the
blind, nor hearing on the deaf, nor chase away all sorts of
demons--[none, indeed,] except those that are sent into others by
themselves, if they can even do so much as this. Nor can they cure the
weak, or the lame, or the paralytic, or those who are distressed in any
other part of the body, as has often been done in regard to bodily
infirmity. Nor can they furnish effective remedies for those external
accidents which may occur. And so far are they from being able to raise
the dead, as the Lord raised them, and the apostles did by means of
prayer, and as has been frequently done in the brotherhood on account
of some necessity—the entire Church in that particular locality
entreating [the boon] with much fasting and prayer, the spirit of the
dead man has returned, and he has been bestowed in answer to the
prayers of the saints—that they do not even believe this can be
possibly be done, [and hold] that the resurrection from the dead [3263]
is simply an acquaintance with that truth which they proclaim.
3. Since, therefore, there exist among them error and misleading
influences, and magical illusions are impiously wrought in the sight of
men; but in the Church, sympathy, and compassion, and stedfastness, and
truth, for the aid and encouragement of mankind, are not only displayed
[3264] without fee or reward, but we ourselves lay out for the benefit
of others our own means; and inasmuch as those who are cured very
frequently do not possess the things which they require, they receive
them from us;--[since such is the case,] these men are in this way
undoubtedly proved to be utter aliens from the divine nature, the
beneficence of God, and all spiritual excellence. But they are
altogether full of deceit of every kind, apostate inspiration,
demoniacal working, and the phantasms of idolatry, and are in reality
the predecessors of that dragon [3265] who, by means of a deception of
the same kind, will with his tail cause a third part of the stars to
fall from their place, and will cast them down to the earth. It behoves
us to flee from them as we would from him; and the greater the display
with which they are said to perform [their marvels], the more carefully
should we watch them, as having been endowed with a greater spirit of
wickedness. If any one will consider the prophecy referred to, and the
daily practices of these men, he will find that their manner of acting
is one and the same with the demons.

[3261] Qui, though here found in all the mss., seems to have been rightly expunged by the editors.
[3262] The reference probably is to opinions and theories of the heathen.
[3263] Comp. 2 Tim. ii. 17, 18. [On the sub-apostolic age and this
subject of miracles, Newman, in spite of his sophistical argumentation,
may well be consulted for his references, etc. Translation of the Abbe
Fleury, p. xi. Oxford, 1842.]
[3264] “Perficiatur:” it is difficult here to give a fitting translation of this word. Some prefer to read “impertiatur.”
[3265] Rev. xii. 14.

Chapter XXXII.—Further exposure of the wicked and blasphemous doctrines of
the heretics.
1. Moreover, this impious opinion of theirs with respect to
actions—namely, that it is incumbent on them to have experience of all
kinds of deeds, even the most abominable—is refuted by the teaching of
the Lord, with whom not only is the adulterer rejected, but also the
man who desires to commit adultery; [3266] and not only is the actual
murderer held guilty of having killed another to his own damnation, but
the man also who is angry with his brother without a cause: who
commanded [His disciples] not only not to hate men, but also to love
their enemies; and enjoined them not only not to swear falsely, but not
even to swear at all; and not only not to speak evil of their
neighbours, but not even to style any one “Raca” and “fool;”
[declaring] that otherwise they were in danger of hell-fire; and not
only not to strike, but even, when themselves struck, to present the
other cheek [to those that maltreated them]; and not only not to refuse
to give up the property of others, but even if their own were taken
away, not to demand it back again from those that took it; and not only
not to injure their neighbours, nor to do them any evil, but also, when
themselves wickedly dealt with, to be long-suffering, and to show
kindness towards those [that injured them], and to pray for them, that
by means of repentance they might be saved—so that we should in no
respect imitate the arrogance, lust, and pride of others. Since,
therefore, He whom these men boast of as their Master, and of whom they
affirm that He had a soul greatly better and more highly toned than
others, did indeed, with much earnestness, command certain things to be
done as being good and excellent, and certain things to be abstained
from not only in their actual perpetration, but even in the thoughts
which lead to their performance, as being wicked, pernicious, and
abominable, --how then can they escape being put to confusion, when
they affirm that such a Master was more highly toned [in spirit] and
better than others, and yet manifestly give instruction of a kind
utterly opposed to His teaching? And, again, if there were really no
such thing as good and evil, but certain things were deemed righteous,
and certain others unrighteous, in human opinion only, He never would
have expressed Himself thus in His teaching: “The righteous shall shine
forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;” [3267] but He shall
send the unrighteous, and those who do not the works of righteousness,
“into everlasting fire, where their worm shall not die, and the fire shall not be quenched.” [3268]
2. When they further maintain that it is incumbent on them to have
experience of every kind [3269] of work and conduct, so that, if it be
possible, accomplishing all during one manifestation in this life, they
may [at once] pass over to the state of perfection, they are, by no
chance, found striving to do those things which wait upon virtue, and
are laborious, glorious, and skilful, [3270] which also are approved
universally as being good. For if it be necessary to go through every
work and every kind of operation, they ought, in the first place, to
learn all the arts: all of them, [I say,] whether referring to theory
or practice, whether they be acquired by self-denial, or are mastered
through means of labour, exercise, and perseverance; as, for example,
every kind of music, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and all such as
are occupied with intellectual pursuits: then, again, the whole study
of medicine, and the knowledge of plants, so as to become acquainted
with those which are prepared for the health of man; the art of
painting and sculpture, brass and marble work, and the kindred arts:
moreover, [they have to study] every kind of country labour, the
veterinary art, pastoral occupations, the various kinds of skilled
labour, which are said to pervade the whole circle of [human] exertion;
those, again, connected with a maritime life, gymnastic exercises,
hunting, military and kingly pursuits, and as many others as may exist,
of which, with the utmost labour, they could not learn the tenth, or
even the thousandth part, in the whole course of their lives. The fact
indeed is, that they endeavour to learn none of these, although they
maintain that it is incumbent on them to have experience of every kind
of work; but, turning aside to voluptuousness, and lust, and abominable
actions, they stand self-condemned when they are tried by their own
doctrine. For, since they are destitute of all those [virtues] which
have been mentioned, they will [of necessity] pass into the destruction
of fire. These men, while they boast of Jesus as being their Master, do
in fact emulate the philosophy of Epicurus and the indifference of the
Cynics, [calling Jesus their Master,] who not only turned His disciples
away from evil deeds, but even from [wicked] words and thoughts, as I
have already shown.
3. Again, while they assert that they possess souls from the same sphere as Jesus, and that they are like to Him, sometimes even
maintaining that they are superior; while [they affirm that they were]
produced, like Him, for the performance of works tending to the benefit
and establishment of mankind, they are found doing nothing of the same
or a like kind [with His actions], nor what can in any respect be
brought into comparison with them. And if they have in truth
accomplished anything [remarkable] by means of magic, they strive [in
this way] deceitfully to lead foolish people astray, since they confer
no real benefit or blessing on those over whom they declare that they
exert [supernatural] power; but, bringing forward mere boys [3271] [as
the subjects on whom they practise], and deceiving their sight, while
they exhibit phantasms that instantly cease, and do not endure even a
moment of time, [3272] they are proved to be like, not Jesus our Lord,
but Simon the magician. It is certain, [3273] too, from the fact that
the Lord rose from the dead on the third day, and manifested Himself to
His disciples, and was in their sight received up into heaven, that, inasmuch as these men die, and do not rise again, nor manifest themselves to any, they are proved as possessing souls in no respect similar to that of Jesus.
4. If, however, they maintain that the Lord, too, performed such works
simply in appearance, we shall refer them to the prophetical writings,
and prove from these both that all things were thus [3274] predicted
regarding Him, and did take place undoubtedly, and that He is the only
Son of God. Wherefore, also, those who are in truth His disciples,
receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to
promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one
has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out
devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits
frequently both believe [in Christ], and join themselves to the Church.
Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and
utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying
their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I
have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained [3275] among
us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to
name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout
the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ,
who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day
for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practising deception upon any,
nor taking any reward [3276] from them [on account of such miraculous
interpositions]. For as she has received freely [3277] from God, freely
also does she minister [to others].
5. Nor does she perform anything by means of angelic invocations, [3278] or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure,
sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, she has been accustomed to work [3279] miracles for
the advantage of mankind, and not to lead them into error. If,
therefore, the name of our Lord Jesus Christ even now confers benefits
[upon men], and cures thoroughly and effectively all who anywhere
believe on Him, but not that of Simon, or Menander, or Carpocrates, or
of any other man whatever, it is manifest that, when He was made man,
He held fellowship with His own creation, and [3280] did all things
truly through the power of God, according to the will of the Father of
all, as the prophets had foretold. But what these things were, shall be
described in dealing with the proofs to be found in the prophetical writings.

[3266] Matt. v. 21, etc.
[3267] Matt. xiii. 43.
[3268] Matt. xxv. 41; Mark ix. 44.
[3269] Comp. i. 25, 4.
[3270] “Artificialia.”
[3271] “Pureos investes,” boys that have not yet reached the age of puberty.
[3272] The text has “stillicidio temporis,” literally “ a drop of time”
(stagme chronou); but the original text was perhaps stigme chronou, “a
moment of time.” With either reading the meaning is the same.
[3273] Some have deemed the words “firmum esse” an interpolation.
[3274] That is, as being done in reality, and not in appearance.
[3275] Harvey here notes: “The reader will not fail to remark this
highly interesting testimony, that the divine charismata bestowed upon
the infant Church were not wholly extinct in the days of Irenaeus. Possibly the venerable Father is speaking from his own personal recollection of some who had been raised from the dead, and had continued for a time living witnesses of the efficacy of Christian faith.” [See cap. xxxi., supra.]
[3276] Comp. Acts viii. 9, 18.
[3277] Matt. x. 8.
[3278] Grabe contends that these words imply that no invocations of
angels, good or bad, were practised in the primitive Church. Massuet,
on the other hand, maintains that the words of Irenaeus are plainly to
be restricted to evil spirits, and have no bearing on the general question of angelic invocation.
[3279] We follow the common reading, “perfecit;” but one ms. has “perficit,” works, which suits the context better.
[3280] We insert “et,” in accordance with Grabe’s suggestion.

Chapter XXXIII.—Absurdity of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls.
1. We may subvert their doctrine as to transmigration from body to body
by this fact, that souls remember nothing whatever of the events which
took place in their previous states of existence. For if they were sent
forth with this object, that they should have experience of every kind
of action, they must of necessity retain a remembrance of those things
which have been previously accomplished, that they might fill up those
in which they were still deficient, and not by always hovering, without
intermission, round the same pursuits, spend their labour wretchedly in
vain (for the mere union of a body [with a soul] could not altogether
extinguish the memory and contemplation of those things which had
formerly been experienced [3281] ), and especially as they came [into
the world] for this very purpose. For as, when the body is asleep and
at rest, whatever things the soul sees by herself, and does in a
vision, recollecting many of these, she also communicates them to the
body; and as it happens that, when one awakes, perhaps after a long
time, he relates what he saw in a dream, so also would he undoubtedly
remember those things which he did before he came into this particular
body. For if that which is seen only for a very brief space of time, or
has been conceived of simply in a phantasm, and by the soul alone, through means of a dream, is remembered after she has mingled again with the body, and been dispersed through all the members, much more would she remember those things in connection with which she stayed during so long a time, even throughout the whole period of a bypast life.
2. With reference to these objections, Plato, that ancient Athenian,
who also was the first [3282] to introduce this opinion, when he could
not set them aside, invented the [notion of] a cup of oblivion,
imagining that in this way he would escape this sort of difficulty. He
attempted no kind of proof [of his supposition], but simply replied
dogmatically [to the objection in question], that when souls enter into
this life, they are caused to drink of oblivion by that demon who
watches their entrance [into the world], before they effect an entrance
into the bodies [assigned them]. It escaped him, that [by speaking
thus] he fell into another greater perplexity. For if the cup of
oblivion, after it has been drunk, can obliterate the memory of all the
deeds that have been done, how, O Plato, dost thou obtain the knowledge
of this fact (since thy soul is now in the body), that, before it
entered into the body, it was made to drink by the demon a drug which
caused oblivion? For if thou hast a remembrance of the demon, and the
cup, and the entrance [into life], thou oughtest also to be acquainted
with other things; but if, on the other hand, thou art ignorant of
them, then there is no truth in the story of the demon, nor in the cup
of oblivion prepared with art.
3. In opposition, again, to those who affirm that the body itself is
the drug of oblivion, this observation may be made: How, then, does it
come to pass, that whatsoever the soul sees by her own instrumentality,
both in dreams and by reflection or earnest mental exertion, while the
body is passive, she remembers, and reports to her neighbours? But,
again, if the body itself were [the cause of] oblivion, then the soul,
as existing in the body, could not remember even those things which
were perceived long ago either by means of the eyes or the ears; but,
as soon as the eye was turned from the things looked at, the memory of
them also would undoubtedly be destroyed. For the soul, as existing in
the very [cause of] oblivion, could have no knowledge of anything else
than that only which it saw at the present moment. How, too, could it
become acquainted with divine things, and retain a remembrance of them
while existing in the body, since, as they maintain, the body itself is
[the cause of] oblivion? But the prophets also, when they were upon the
earth, remembered likewise, on their returning to their ordinary state
of mind, [3283] whatever things they spiritually saw or heard in
visions of heavenly objects, and related them to others. The body,
therefore, does not cause the soul to forget those things which have
been spiritually witnessed; but the soul teaches the body, and shares
with it the spiritual vision which it has enjoyed.
4. For the body is not possessed of greater power than the soul, since
indeed the former is inspired, and vivified, and increased, and held
together by the latter; but the soul possesses [3284] and rules over
the body. It is doubtless retarded in its velocity, just in the exact
proportion in which the body shares in its motion; but it never loses
the knowledge which properly belongs to it. For the body may be
compared to an instrument; but the soul is possessed of the reason of
an artist. As, therefore, the artist finds the idea of a work to spring
up rapidly in his mind, but can only carry it out slowly by means of an
instrument, owing to the want of perfect pliability in the matter acted
upon, and thus the rapidity of his mental operation, being blended with
the slow action of the instrument, gives rise to a moderate kind of movement [towards the end contemplated]; so also the soul, by being mixed up with the body belonging to it, is in a certain measure impeded, its rapidity being blended with the body’s slowness. Yet it does not lose altogether its own peculiar powers; but while, as it were, sharing life with the body, it does not itself cease to live.
Thus, too, while communicating other things to the body, it neither
loses the knowledge of them, nor the memory of those things which have
been witnessed.
5. If, therefore, the soul remembers nothing [3285] of what took place
in a former state of existence, but has a perception of those things
which are here, it follows that she never existed in other bodies, nor
did things of which she has no knowledge, nor [once] knew things which
she cannot [now mentally] contemplate. But, as each one of us receives
his body through the skilful working of God, so does he also possess
his soul. For God is not so poor or destitute in resources, that He
cannot confer its own proper soul on each individual body, even as He
gives it also its special character. And therefore, when the number
[fixed upon] is completed, [that number] which He had predetermined in
His own counsel, all those who have been enrolled for life [eternal]
shall rise again, having their own bodies, and having also their own
souls, and their own spirits, in which they had pleased God. Those, on
the other hand, who are worthy of punishment, shall go away into it,
they too having their own souls and their own bodies, in which they
stood apart from the grace of God. Both classes shall then cease from
any longer begetting and being begotten, from marrying and being given
in marriage; so that the number of mankind, corresponding to the
fore-ordination of God, being completed, may fully realize the scheme
formed by the Father. [3286]

[3281] Harvey thinks that this parenthesis has fallen out of its proper
place, and would insert it immediately after the opening period of the
[3282] It is a mistake of Irenaeus to say that the doctrine of
metempsychosis originated with Plato: it was first publicly taught by
Pythagoras, who learned it from the Egyptians. Comp. Clem. Alex., Strom., i. 15: Herodot., ii. 123.
[3283] “In hominem conversi,” literally, “returning into man.”
[3284] “Possidet.” Massuet supposes this word to represent kurieuei,
“rules over” and Stieren kratunei, governs; while Harvey thinks the
whole clause corresponds to kratei kai kurieuei tou somatos, which we
have rendered above.
[3285] Literally, none of things past.
[3286] The Latin text is here very confused, but the Greek original of
the greater part of this section has happily been preserved. [This Father here anticipates in outline many ideas which St. Augustine afterwards corrected and elaborated.]

Chapter XXXIV.—Souls can be recognised in the separate state, and are
immortal although they once had a beginning.
1. The Lord has taught with very great fulness, that souls not only continue to exist, not by passing from body to body, but that they
preserve the same form [3287] [in their separate state] as the body had
to which they were adapted, and that they remember the deeds which they
did in this state of existence, and from which they have now
ceased,--in that narrative which is recorded respecting the rich man
and that Lazarus who found repose in the bosom of Abraham. In this
account He states [3288] that Dives knew Lazarus after death, and
Abraham in like manner, and that each one of these persons continued in
his own proper position, and that [Dives] requested Lazarus to be sent
to relieve him--[Lazarus], on whom he did not [formerly] bestow even
the crumbs [which fell] from his table. [He tells us] also of the
answer given by Abraham, who was acquainted not only with what
respected himself, but Dives also, and who enjoined those who did not
wish to come into that place of torment to believe Moses and the
prophets, and to receive [3289] the preaching of Him who was [3290] to
rise again from the dead. By these things, then, it is plainly declared
that souls continue to exist, that they do not pass from body to body,
that they possess the form of a man, so that they may be recognised,
and retain the memory of things in this world; moreover, that the gift
of prophecy was possessed by Abraham, and that each class [of souls] receives a habitation such as it has deserved, even before the judgment.
2. But if any persons at this point maintain that those souls, which
only began a little while ago to exist, cannot endure for any length of
time; but that they must, on the one hand, either be unborn, in order
that they may be immortal, or if they have had a beginning in the way
of generation, that they should die with the body itself—let them
learn that God alone, who is Lord of all, is without beginning and
without end, being truly and for ever the same, and always remaining
the same unchangeable Being. But all things which proceed from Him,
whatsoever have been made, and are made, do indeed receive their own
beginning of generation, and on this account are inferior to Him who
formed them, inasmuch as they are not unbegotten. Nevertheless they
endure, and extend their existence into a long series of ages in
accordance with the will of God their Creator; so that He grants them
that they should be thus formed at the beginning, and that they should
so exist afterwards.
3. For as the heaven which is above us, the firmament, the sun, the
moon, the rest of the stars, and all their grandeur, although they had
no previous existence, were called into being, and continue throughout
a long course of time according to the will of God, so also any one who
thinks thus respecting souls and spirits, and, in fact, respecting all
created things, will not by any means go far astray, inasmuch as all
things that have been made had a beginning when they were formed, but
endure as long as God wills that they should have an existence and
continuance. The prophetic Spirit bears testimony to these opinions,
when He declares, “For He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and
they were created: He hath established them for ever, yea, forever and
ever.” [3291] And again, He thus speaks respecting the salvation of
man: “He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest him length of days for
ever and ever;” [3292] indicating that it is the Father of all who
imparts continuance for ever and ever on those who are saved. For life
does not arise from us, nor from our own nature; but it is bestowed
according to the grace of God. And therefore he who shall preserve the
life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him who imparted it, shall
receive also length of days for ever and ever. But he who shall reject
it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been
created, and has not recognised Him who bestowed [the gift upon him],
deprives himself of [the privilege of] continuance for ever and ever.
[3293] And, for this reason, the Lord declared to those who showed
themselves ungrateful towards Him: “If ye have not been faithful in
that which is little, who will give you that which is great?” [3294]
indicating that those who, in this brief temporal life, have shown
themselves ungrateful to Him who bestowed it, shall justly not receive
from Him length of days for ever and ever.
4. But as the animal body is certainly not itself the soul, yet has
fellowship with the soul as long as God pleases; so the soul herself is
not life, [3295] but partakes in that life bestowed upon her by God.
Wherefore also the prophetic word declares of the first-formed man, “He
became a living soul,” [3296] teaching us that by the participation of
life the soul became alive; so that the soul, and the life which it
possesses, must be understood as being separate existences. When God
therefore bestows life and perpetual duration, it comes to pass that
even souls which did not previously exist should henceforth endure [for
ever], since God has both willed that they should exist, and should
continue in existence. For the will of God ought to govern and rule in
all things, while all other things give way to Him, are in subjection,
and devoted to His service. Thus far, then, let me speak concerning the
creation and the continued duration of the soul.

[3287] Grabe refers to Tertullian, De Anima, ch. vii., as making a
similar statement. Massuet, on the other hand, denies that Irenaeus
here expresses an opinion like that of Tertullian in the passage
referred to, and thinks that the special form (character) mentioned is
to be understood as simply denoting individual spiritual properties.
But his remarks are not satisfactory.
[3288] Luke xvi. 19, etc.
[3289] With Massuet and Stieren, we here supply esse.
[3290] Some read resurgeret, and others resurrexerit; we deem the former reading preferable.
[3291] Ps. cxlviii. 5, 6.
[3292] Ps. xxi. 4.
[3293] As Massuet observes, this statement is to be understood in harmony with the repeated assertion of Irenaeus that the wicked will exist in misery for ever. It refers not annihilation, but to deprivation of happiness.
[3294] Luke xvi. 11, quoted loosely from memory. Grabe, however, thinks
they are cited from the apocryphal Gospel according to the Egyptians.
[3295] Comp. Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph., ch. vi.
[3296] Gen. ii. 7.

Chapter XXXV.—Refutation of Basilides, and of the opinion that the prophets
uttered their predictions under the inspiration of different gods.
1. Moreover, in addition to what has been said, Basilides himself will,
according to his own principles, find it necessary to maintain not only
that there are three hundred and sixty-five heavens made in succession
by one another, but that an immense and innumerable multitude of
heavens have always been in the process of being made, and are being
made, and will continue to be made, so that the formation of heavens of
this kind can never cease. For if from the efflux [3297] of the first
heaven the second was made after its likeness, and the third after the
likeness of the second, and so on with all the remaining subsequent
ones, then it follows, as a matter of necessity, that from the efflux
of our heaven, which he indeed terms the last, another be formed like
to it, and from that again a third; and thus there can never cease,
either the process of efflux from those heavens which have been already
made, or the manufacture of [new] heavens, but the operation must go on
ad infinitum, and give rise to a number of heavens which will be altogether indefinite.
2. The remainder of those who are falsely termed Gnostics, and who maintain that the prophets uttered their prophecies under the
inspiration of different gods, will be easily overthrown by this fact,
that all the prophets proclaimed one God and Lord, and that the very
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things which are therein; while
they moreover announced the advent of His Son, as I shall demonstrate
from the Scriptures themselves, in the books which follow.
3. If, however, any object that, in the Hebrew language, diverse expressions [to represent God] occur in the Scriptures, such as
Sabaoth, Eloe, Adonai, and all other such terms, striving to prove from
these that there are different powers and gods, let them learn that all
expressions of this kind are but announcements and appellations of one
and the same Being. For the term Eloe in the Jewish language denotes
God, while ElOeim [3298] and EleOuth in the Hebrew language signify
“that which contains all.” As to the appellation Adonai, sometimes it
denotes what is nameable [3299] and admirable; but at other times, when
the letter Daleth in it is doubled, and the word receives an initial
[3300] guttural sound—thus Addonai--[it signifies], “One who bounds
and separates the land from the water,” so that the water should not
subsequently [3301] submerge the land. In like manner also, Sabaoth,
[3302] when it is spelled by a Greek Omega in the last syllable
[SabaOth], denotes “a voluntary agent;” but when it is spelled with a
Greek Omicron—as, for instance, Sabaoth—it expresses “the first
heaven.” In the same way, too, the word JaOth, [3303] when the last
syllable is made long and aspirated, denotes “a predetermined measure;”
but when it is written shortly by the Greek letter Omicron, namely
Jaoth, it signifies “one who puts evils to flight.” All the other
expressions likewise bring out [3304] the title of one and the same
Being; as, for example (in English [3305] ), The Lord of Powers, The
Father of all, God Almighty, The Most High, The Creator, The Maker, and
such like. These are not the names and titles of a succession of
different beings, but of one and the same, by means of which the one
God and Father is revealed, He who contains all things, and grants to
all the boon of existence.
4. Now, that the preaching of the apostles, the authoritative teaching
of the Lord, the announcements of the prophets, the dictated utterances
of the apostles, [3306] and the ministration of the law—all of which
praise one and the same Being, the God and Father of all, and not many
diverse beings, nor one deriving his substance from different gods or
powers, but [declare] that all things [were formed] by one and the same
Father (who nevertheless adapts [His works] to the natures and
tendencies of the materials dealt with), things visible and invisible,
and, in short, all things that have been made [were created] neither by
angels, nor by any other power, but by God alone, the Father—are all
in harmony with our statements, has, I think, been sufficiently proved,
while by these weighty arguments it has been shown that there is but
one God, the Maker of all things. But that I may not be thought to
avoid that series of proofs which may be derived from the Scriptures of
the Lord (since, indeed, these Scriptures do much more evidently and
clearly proclaim this very point), I shall, for the benefit of those at
least who do not bring a depraved mind to bear upon them, devote a
special book to the Scriptures referred to, which shall fairly follow
them out [and explain them], and I shall plainly set forth from these
divine Scriptures proofs to [satisfy] all the lovers of truth. [3307]

[3297] Ex defluxu, corresponding to ex aporrhoias in the Greek.
[3298] Eloae here occurs in the Latin text, but Harvey supposes that
the Greek had been ‘Eloeim. He also remarks that Eloeuth (‘lhvt) is the
rabbinical abstract term, Godhead.
[3299] All that can be remarked on this is, that the Jews substituted
the term Adonai (‘dny) for the name Jehovah, as often as the latter occurred in the sacred text. The former might therefore be styled nameable.
[3300] The Latin text is, “aliquando autem duplicata litera delta cum
aspiratione,” and Harvey supposes that the doubling of the Daleth would
give “to the scarcely articulate ‘ a more decidedly guttural character;” but the sense is extremely doubtful.
[3301] Instead of “nec posteaquam insurgere,” Feuardent and Massuet
read “ne possit insurgere,” and include the clause in the definition of
[3302] The author is here utterly mistaken, and, notwithstanding
Harvey’s earnest claim for him of a knowledge of Hebrew, seems clearly
to betray his ignorance of that language. The term Sabaoth is never
written with an Omicron, either in the LXX. or by the Greek Fathers,
but always with an Omega (Sabaoth). Although Harvey remarks in his
preface, that “It is hoped the Hebrew attainments of Irenaeus will no
longer be denied,” there appears enough, in the etymologies and
explanations of Hebrew terms given in this chapter by the venerable
Father, to prevent such a conclusion; and Massuet’s observation on the
passage seems not improbable, when he says, “Sciolus quispiam Irenaeo
nostro, in Hebraicis haud satis perito, hic fucum ecisse videtur.”
[3303] Probably corresponding to the Hebrew term Jehovah (yhvh)
[3304] Literally, “belong to one and the same name.”
[3305] “Secundum Latinitatem” in the text.
[3306] The words are “apostolorum dictatio,” probably referring to the
letters of the apostles, as distinguished from their preaching already
[3307] This last sentence is very confused and ambiguous, and the
editors throw but little light upon it. We have endeavoured to
translate it according to the ordinary text and punctuation, but
strongly suspect interpolation and corruption. If we might venture to
strike out “has Scripturas,” and connect “his tamen” with
“praedicantibus,” a better sense would be yielded, as follows: “But
that I may not be thought to avoid that series of proofs which may be
derived from the Scriptures of the Lord (since, indeed, these Scriptures to much more evidently and clearly set forth this very point, to those at least who do not bring a depraved mind to their consideration), I shall devote the particular book which follows to them, and shall,” etc.

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