Book V. (Cont.)
Chap. VII. – The System of the Peratae; Their Tritheism; Explanation of the Incarnation.
There is also unquestionably a certain other (head of the hydra,78 namely, the heresy) of the Peratae,79 whose blasphemy against Christ has for many years escaped notice. And the present is a fitting opportunity for bringing to light the secret mysteries of such (heretics). These allege that the world is one, triply divided. And of the triple division with them, one portion is a certain single originating principle, just as it were a huge fountain, which can be divided mentally into infinite segments. Now the first segment, and that which, according to them, is (a segment) in preference (to others),80 is a triad, and it is called a Perfect Good, (and) a Paternal Magnitude. And the second portion of the triad of these is, as it were, a certain infinite crowd of potentialities that are generated81 from themselves, (while) the third is formal.82 And the first, which is good, is unbegotten, and the second is a self-producing good, and the third is created; and hence it is that they expressly declare that there are three Gods, three Logoi, three Minds, three Men. For to each portion of the world, after the division has been made, they assign both Gods, and Logoi, and Minds, and Men, and the rest; but that from unorigination and the first segment83 of the world, when afterwards the world had attained unto its completion, there came down from above, for causes that we shall afterwards declare, in the time of Herod a certain man called Christ, with a threefold nature, and a threefold body, and a threefold power, (and) having in himself all (species of) concretions and potentialities (derivable) from the three divisions of the world; and that this, says (the Peratic), is what is spoken: “It pleased him that in him should dwell all fulness bodily,”84 and in Him the entire Divinity resides of the triad as thus divided. For, he says, that from the two superjacent worlds – namely, from that (portion of the triad) which is unbegotten, and from that which is self-producing – there have been conveyed down into this world in which we are, seeds of all sorts of potentialities. What, however, the mode of the descent is, we shall afterwards declare.
(The Peratic) then says that Christ descended from above from unorigination, that by His descent all things triply divided might be saved. For some things, he says, being borne down from above, will ascend through Him, whereas whatever (beings) form plots against those which are carried down from above are cast off,85 and being placed in a state of punishment, are renounced. This, he says, is what is spoken: “For the Son of man came not into the world to destroy the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” The world, he says, he denominates those two parts that are situated above, viz., both the unbegotten (portion of the triad), and the self-produced one. And when Scripture, he says, uses the words, “that we may not be condemned with the world,” it alludes to the third portion of (the triad, that is) the formal world. For the third portion, which he styles the world (in which we are), must perish; but the two (remaining portions), which are situated above, must be rescued from corruption.
Chap. VIII. – The Peratae Derive Their System from the Astrologers; This Proved by a Statement of the Astrological Theories of the Zodiac; Hence the Terminology of the Peratic Heretics.
Let us, then, in the first place, learn how (the Peratists), deriving this doctrine from astrologers, act despitefully towards Christ, working destruction for those who follow them in an error of this description. For the astrologers, alleging that there is one world, divide it into the twelve fixed portions of the zodiacal signs, and call the world of the fixed zodiacal signs one immoveable world; and the other they affirm to be a world of erratic (signs), both in power, and position, and number, and that it extends as far as the moon.86 And (they lay down), that (one) world derives from (the other) world a certain power, and mutual participation (in that power), and that the subjacent obtain this participation from the superjacent (portions). In order, however, that what is (here) asserted may be perspicuous, I shall one by one employ those very expressions of the astrologers; (and in doing so) I shall only be reminding my readers of statements previously made in the department of the work where we have explained the entire art of the astrologers. What, then, the opinions are which those (speculators) entertain, are as follow: –
(Their doctrine is), that from an emanation of the stars the generations of the subjacent (parts) is consummated. For, as they wistfully gazed upward upon heaven, the Chaldeans asserted that (the seven stars)87 contain a reason for the efficient causes of the occurrence of all the events that happen unto us, and that the parts of the fixed zodiacal signs co-operate (in this influence). Into twelve (parts they divide the zodiacal circle), and each zodiacal sign into thirty portions, and each portion into sixty diminutive parts; for so they denominate the very smallest parts, and those that are indivisible. And of the zodiacal signs, they term some male, but others feminine; and some with two bodies, but others not so; and some tropical, whereas others firm. The male signs, then, are either feminine, which possess a co-operative nature for the procreation of males, (or are themselves productive of females.) For Aries is a male zodiacal sign, but Taurus female; and the rest (are denominated) according to the same analogy, some male, but others female. And I suppose that the Pythagoreans, being swayed from such (considerations), style the Monad male, and the Duad female; and, again, the Triad male, and analogically the remainder of the even and odd numbers. Some, however, dividing each zodiacal sign into twelve parts, employ almost the same method. For example, in Aries, they style the first of the twelve parts both Aries and a male, but the second both Taurus and a female, and the third both Gemini and a male; and the same plan is pursued in the case of the rest of the parts. And they assert that there are signs with two bodies, viz., Gemini and the signs diametrically opposite, namely Sagittarius, and Virgo, and Pisces, and that the rest have not two bodies. And (they state) that some are likewise tropical, and when the sun stands in these, he causes great turnings88 of the surrounding (sign). Aries is a sign of this description, and that which is diametrically opposite to it, just as Libra, and Capricorn, and Cancer. For in Aries is the vernal turning, and in Capricorn that of winter, and in Cancer that of summer, and in Libra that of autumn.
The details, however, concerning this system we have minutely explained in the book preceding this; and from it any one who wishes instruction (on the point), may learn how it is that the originators of this Peratic heresy, viz., Euphrates the Peratic, and Celbes the Carystian,89 have, in the transference (into their own system of opinions from these sources), made alterations in name only, while in reality they have put forward similar tenets. (Nay more), they have, with immoderate zeal, themselves devoted (their attention) to the art (of the astrologers). For also the astrologers speak of the limits of the stars, in which they assert that the dominant stars have greater influence; as, for instance, on some they act injuriously, while on others they act well. And of these they denominate some malicious, and some beneficent. And (stars) are said to look upon one another, and to harmonize with each other, so that they appear according to (the shape of) a triangle or square. The stars, looking on one another, are figured according to (the shape of90) a triangle, having an intervening distance of the extent of three zodiacal signs; whereas (those that have an interval of) two zodiacal signs are figured according to (the shape of) a square. And (their doctrine is), that as in the same way as in a man, the subjacent parts sympathize with the head, and the head likewise sympathizes with the subjacent parts, so all terrestrial (sympathize) with super-lunar91 objects. But (the astrologers go further than this92); for there exists (according to them) a certain difference and incompatibility93 between these, so as that they do not involve one and the same union. This combination and divergence of the stars, which is a Chaldean (tenet), has been arrogated to themselves by those of whom we have previously spoken.
Now these, falsifying the name of truth, proclaim as a doctrine of Christ an insurrection of Aeons and revolts of good into (the ranks of) evil powers; and they speak of the confederations of good powers with wicked ones. Denominating them, therefore, Toparchai and Proastiol,94 and (though thus) framing for themselves very many other names not suggested (to them from other sources), they have yet unskillfully systematized the entire imaginary doctrine of the astrologers concerning the stars. And since they have introduced a supposition pregnant with immense error, they shall be refuted through the instrumentality of our admirable arrangement. For I shall set down, in contrast with the previously mentioned Chaldaic art of the astrologers, some of the Peratic95 treatises, from which, by means of comparison, there will be an opportunity of perceiving how the Peratic doctrines are those confessedly of the astrologers, not of Christ.
Chap. IX. – System of the Peratae Explained out of One of Their Own Books.
It seems, then, expedient to set forth a certain one of the books held96 in repute amongst them, in which the following passage97 occurs: “I am a voice of arousal from slumber in the age of night. Henceforward I commence to strip the power which is from chaos. The power is that of the lowest depth of mud, which uprears the slime of the incorruptible (and) humid expanse of space. And it is the entire power of the convulsion, which, ever in motion, and presenting the colour of water, whirls things on that are stationary, restrains things tremulous, sets things free as they proceed, lightens98 things as they abide, removes things on the increase, a faithful steward of the track of the breezes, enjoying the things disgorged from the twelve eyes of the law,99 (and) manifesting a seal100 to the power which along with itself distributes the downborne invisible waters, and has been called Thalassa. This power ignorance has been accustomed to denominate Cronus, guarded with chains because he tightly bound the fold of the dense and misty and obscure and murky Tartarus. According to the image of this were produced Cepheus, Prometheus, (and) Japetus. The Power to which has been entrusted Thalassa101 is hermaphrodite. And it fastens the hissing sound arising from the twelve mouths into twelve pipes, and pours it forth. And the power itself is subtle, and removes the controlling, boisterous, upward motion (of the sea), and seals the tracks of its paths, lest (any antagonistic power) should wage war or introduce, any alteration. The tempestuous daughter of this one is a faithful protectress of all sorts of waters. Her name is Chorzar. Ignorance is in the habit of styling this (power) Neptune, according to whose image was produced Glaucus, Melicertes, Ino, Nebroe.102 He that is encircled with the pyramid of twelve angels,103 and darkens the gate into the pyramid with various colours, and completes the entire in the sable hues of Night: this one ignorance denominated Cronus.104 And his ministers were five, – first U, second Aoai, third Uo, fourth Uoab, fifth … Other trustworthy managers (there are) of his province of night and day, who repose in their own power. Ignorance denominated these the erratic stars, from whom depends a corruptible generation. Manager of the rising of the star105 is Carphacasemeocheir, (and) Eccabbacara (is the same). Ignorance is in the habit of denominating these Curetes chief of the winds; third in order is Ariel, according to whose image was generated Aeolus, Briares. And chief of the twelve-houred nocturnal (power) is Soclan, whom ignorance is accustomed to style Osiris; (and) according to the image of this one was born Admetus, Medea, Helen, Aethusa. Chief of the twelve-houred diurnal power is Euno. This is manager of the rising of the star Protocamarus and of the ethereal (region), but ignorance has denominated him Isis. A sign of this one is the Dog-star, according to whose image were born Ptolemaeus son of Arsinoe, Didyma, Cleopatra, and Olympias. God’s right-hand power is that which ignorance has denominated Rhea, according to whose image were produced Attis, Mygdon,106 (and) (Enone. The left-hand power has lordship over sustenance, and ignorance is in the habit of styling this Ceres, (while) her name is Bena; and according to the image of this one were born Celeus, Triptolemus, Misyr, and Praxidica.107 The right-hand power has lordship over fruits. This one ignorance has denominated Mena, according to whose image were born Bumegas,108 Ostanes, Mercury Trismegistus, Curites, Petosiris, Zodarium, Berosus, Astrampsuchus, (and) Zoroaster. The left-hand power is (lord) of fire, (and) ignorance has denominated this one Vulcan, according to whose image were born Ericthonius, Achilles, Capaneus, Phaethon,109 Meleager, Tydeus, Enceladus, Raphael, Suriel, (and) Omphale. There are three intermediate powers suspended from air, authors of generation. These ignorance has been in the habit of denominating Fates; and according to the image of these were produced the house of Priam, the house of Laius, Ino, Autonoe, Agave, Athamas, Procne, Danaides, and Peliades. A power (there is) hermaphrodite, always continuing in infancy, never waxing old, cause of beauty, pleasure, maturity, desire, and concupiscence; and ignorance has been accustomed to style this Eros, according to whose image were born Paris, Narcissus, Ganymede, Endymion, Tithonus, Icarius, Leda, Amymone, Thetis, Hesperides, Jason, Leander, (and) Hero.” These are Proastioi up to Aether, for with this title also he inscribes the book.
Chap. X. – The Peratic Heresy Nominally Different from Astrology, but Really the Same System Allegorized.
It has been easily made evident to all, that the heresy of the Peratae is altered in name only from the (art) of the astrologers. And the rest of the books of these (heretics) contain the same method, if it were agreeable to any one to wade through them all. For, as I said, they suppose that the causes of the generation of all begotten things are things unbegotten and superjacent, and that the world with us has been produced after the mode of emanation, which (world) they denominate formal. And (they maintain) that all those stars together which are beheld in the firmament have been causes of the generation of this world. They have, however, altered the name of these, as one may perceive from the PROASTIOI by means of a comparison (of the two systems). And secondly, according to the same method as that whereby the world was made from a supernal emanation, they affirm that in this manner objects here derive from the emanation of the stars their generation, and corruption, and arrangement. Since, then, astrologers are acquainted with the horoscope, and meridian, and setting, and the point opposite the meridian; and since these stars occupy at different times different positions110 in space, on account of the perpetual revolution of the universe, there are (necessarily) at different periods different declinations towards a centre, and (different) ascensions to centres.111 (Now the Peratic heretics), affixing an allegorical import to this arrangement of the astrologers, delineate the centre, as it were, a god and monad and lord over universal generation, whereas the declination (is regarded by them as a power) on the left, and ascension on the right. When any one, therefore, falling in with the treatises of these (heretics), finds mention among them of right or left power, let him recur to the centre, and the declination, and the ascension (of the Chaldean sages, and) he will clearly observe that the entire system of these (Peratae) consists of the astrological doctrine.
Chap. XI. – Why They Call Themselves Peratae; Their Theory of Generation Supported by an Appeal to Antiquity; Their Interpretation of the Exodus of Israel; Their System of “The Serpent;” Deduced by Them from Scripture; This the Real Import of the Doctrines of the Astrologers,
They denominate themselves, however, Peratae, imagining that none of those things existing by generation can escape the determined lot for those things that derive their existence from generation. For if, says (the Peratic), anything be altogether begotten, it also perishes, as also is the opinion of the Sibyl.112 But we alone, he says, who are conversant with the necessity of generation, and the paths through which man has entered into the world, and who have been accurately instructed (in these matters), we alone are competent to proceed through and pass beyond destruction.113 But water, he says, is destruction; nor did the world, he says, perish by any other thing quicker than by water. Water, however, is that which rolls around among the Proastioi, (and) they assert (it to be) Cronus. For such a power, he says, is of the colour of water; and this power, he says – that is, Cronus – none of those things existent by generation can escape. For Cronus is a cause to every generation, in regard of succumbing under destruction, and there could not exist (an instance of) generation in which Cronus does not interfere. This, he says, is what the poets also affirm, and what even appalls the gods: –
“For know, he says, this earth and spacious heaven above,
And Styx’ flooded water, which is the oath
That greatest is, and dreaded most by gods of happy life.”
And not only, he says, do the poets make this statement, but already also the very wisest men among the Greeks. And Heraclitus is even one of these, employing the following words: “For to souls water becomes death.” This death, (the Peratic) says, seizes the Egyptians in the Red Sea, along with their chariots. All, however, who are ignorant (of this fact), he says, are Egyptians. And this, they assert, is the departure from Egypt, (that is,) from the body. For they suppose little Egypt to be body, and that it crosses the Red Sea – that is, the water of corruption, which is Cronus – and that it reaches a place beyond the Red Sea, that is, generation; and that it comes into the wilderness, that is, that it attains a condition independent of generation, where there exist promiscuously all the gods of destruction and the God of salvation.
Now, he says, the stars are the gods of destruction, which impose upon existent things the necessity of alterable generation. These, he says, Moses denominated serpents of the wilderness, which gnaw and utterly ruin those who imagined that they had crossed the Red Sea. To those, then, he says, who of the children of Israel were bitten in the wilderness, Moses exhibited the real and perfect serpent; and they who believed on this serpent were not bitten in the wilderness, that is, (were not assailed) by (evil) powers. No one therefore, he says, is there who is able to save and deliver those that come forth from Egypt, that is, from the body and from this world, unless alone the serpent that is perfect and replete with fulness. Upon this (serpent), he says, he who fixes his hope is not destroyed by the snakes of the wilderness, that is, by the gods of generation. (This statement) is written, he says, in a book of Moses. This serpent, he says, is the power that attended Moses, (Exo_4:2-4, Exo_4:17, Exo_7:9-13) the rod that was turned into a serpent. The serpents, however, of the magicians – (that is,) the gods of destruction – withstood the power of Moses in Egypt, but the rod of Moses reduced them all to subjection and slew them. This universal serpent is, he says, the wise discourse of Eve. This, he says, is the mystery of Edem, this the river of Edem; this the mark that was set upon Cain, that any one who findeth him might not kill him. This, he says,114 is Cain, (Gen_4:15) whose sacrifice (Gen_4:5) the god of this world did not accept. The gory sacrifice, however, of Abel he approved of; for the ruler of this world rejoices in (offerings of) blood. This, he says, is he who appeared in the last days, in form of a man, in the times of Herod, being born after the likeness of Joseph, who was sold by the hand of his brethren, to whom alone belonged the coat of many colours. This, he says, is he who is according to the likeness of Esau, whose garment – he not being himself present – was blessed; who did not receive, he says, the benediction uttered by him of enfeebled vision. (Gen_27:1) He acquired, however, wealth from a source independent of this, receiving nothing from him whose eyes were dim; and Jacob saw his countenance, (Gen_33:10) as a man beholds the face of God. In regard of this, he says, it has been written that “Nebrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord.” (Gen_10:9) And there are, he says, many who closely imitate this (Nimrod): as numerous are they as the gnawing (serpents) which were seen in the wilderness by the children of Israel, from which that perfect serpent which Moses set up delivered those that were bitten. This, he says, is that which has been declared: “In the same manner as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of man be lifted up.” (Joh_3:14-15) According to the likeness of this was made in the desert the brazen serpent which Moses set up. Of this alone, he says, the image is in heaven, always conspicuous in light.
This, he says, is the great beginning respecting which Scripture has spoken. Concerning this, he says it has been declared: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was in the beginning with God, all things were made by Him, and without Him was not one thing that was made. And what was formed in Him is life.” (Joh_1:1-4) And in Him, he says, has been formed Eve; (now) Eve is life. This, however, he says, is Eve, mother of all living,115 – a common nature, that is, of gods, angels, immortals, mortals, irrational creatures, (and) rational ones. For, he says, the expression “all” he uttered of all (existences). And if the eyes of any, he says, are blessed, this one, looking upward on the firmament, will behold at the mighty summit116 of heaven the beauteous image of the serpent, turning itself, and becoming an originating principle of every (species of) motion to all things that are being produced. He will (thereby) know that without him nothing consists, either of things in heaven, or things on earth, or things under the earth. Not night, not moon, not fruits, not generation, not wealth, not sustenance, not anything at all of existent things, is without his guidance. In regard of this, he says, is the great wonder which is beheld in the firmament by those who are able to observe it. For, he says, at this top of his head, a fact which is more incredible than all things to those who are ignorant, “are setting and rising mingled one with other.” This it is in regard of which ignorance is in the habit of affirming: in heaven
“Draco revolves, marvel mighty of monster dread.”117
And on both sides of him have been placed Corona and Lyra; and above, near the top itself of the head, is visible the piteous man “Engonasis,”
“Holding the right foot’s end of Draco fierce.”118
And at the back of Engonasis is an imperfect serpent, with both hands tightly secured by Anguitenens, and being hindered from touching Corona that lies beside the perfect serpent.
Chap. XII. – Compendious Statement of the Doctrines of the Peratae.
This is the diversified wisdom of the Peratic heresy, which it is difficult to declare in its entirety, so intricate is it on account of its seeming to consist of the astrological art. As far forth, then, as this is possible, we shall briefly explain the whole force of this (heresy). In order, however, that we may by a compendious statement elucidate the entire doctrine of these persons, it appears expedient to subjoin the following observations. According to them, the universe is Father, Son, (and) Matter; (but) each of these three has endless capacities in itself. Intermediate, then, between the Matter and the Father sits the Son, the Word, the Serpent, always being in motion towards the unmoved Father, and (towards) Matter itself in motion. And at one time he is turned towards the Father, and receives the powers into his own person; but at another time takes up these powers, and is turned towards Matter. And Matter, (though) devoid of attribute, and being unfashioned, moulds (into itself) forms from the Son which the Son moulded from the Father.
But the Son derives shape from the Father after a mode ineffable, and unspeakable, and unchangeable; (that is,) in such a manner as Moses says that tire colours of the conceived (kine) flowed from the rods (Gen_30:37-39) which were fixed in the drinking-troughs. And in like manner, again, that capacities flowed also from the Son into Matter, similarly to the power in reference to conception which came from the rods upon the conceived (kine). And the difference of colours, and the dissimilarity which flowed from the rods through the waters upon the sheep, is, he says, the difference of corruptible and incorruptible generation. As, however, one who paints from nature, though he takes nothing away from animals, transfers by his pencil all forms to the canvas; so the Son, by a power which belongs to himself, transfers paternal marks from the Father into Matter. All the paternal marks are here, and there are not any more. For if any one, he says, of those (beings) which are here will have strength to perceive that he is a paternal mark transferred hither from above, (and that he is) incarnate – just as by the conception resulting from the rod a something white is produced, – he is of the same substance altogether with the Father in heaven, and returns thither. If, however, he may not happen upon this doctrine, neither will he understand the necessity of generation, just as an abortion born at night will perish at night. When, therefore, he says, the Saviour observes, “your Father which is in heaven,” (Mat_7:11) he alludes to that one from whom the Son deriving his characteristics has transferred them hither. When, however, (Jesus) remarks, “Your father is a murderer from the beginning,” (Joh_8:44) he alludes to the Ruler and Demiurge of matter, who, appropriating the marks delivered from the Son, generated him here who from the beginning was a murderer, for his work causes corruption and death.
No one, then, he says, can be saved or return (into heaven) without the Son, and the Son is the Serpent. For as he brought down from above the paternal marks, so again he carries up from thence those marks roused from a dormant condition and rendered paternal characteristics, substantial ones from the unsubstantial Being, transferring them hither from thence. This, he says, is what is spoken: “I am the door.” (Joh_10:7) And he transfers (those marks), he says,119 to those who close the eyelid, as the naphtha drawing the fire in every direction towards itself; nay rather, as the magnet (attracting) the iron and not anything else, or just as the backbone of the sea falcon, the gold and nothing else, or as the chaff is led by the amber. In this manner, he says, is the portrayed, perfect, and con-substantial genus drawn again from the world by the Serpent; nor does he (attract) anything else, as it has been sent down by him. For a proof of this, they adduce the anatomy120 of the brain, assimilating, from the fact of its immobility, the brain itself to the Father, and the cerebellum to the Son, because of its being moved and being of the form of (the head of) a serpent. And they allege that this (cerebellum), by an ineffable and inscrutable process, attracts through the pineal gland the spiritual and life-giving substance emanating from the vaulted chamber121 (in which the brain is embedded). And on receiving this, the cerebellum in an ineffable manner imparts the ideas, just as the Son does, to matter; or, in other words, the seeds and the genera of the things produced according to the flesh flow along into the spinal marrow. Employing this exemplar, (the heretics) seem to adroitly introduce their secret mysteries, which are delivered in silence. Now it would be impious for us to declare these; yet it is easy to form an idea of them, by reason of the many statements that have been made.
Chap. XIII. – The Peratic Heresy Not Generally Known.
But since I consider that I have plainly explained the Peratic heresy, and by many (arguments) have rendered evident (a system that hitherto) has always escaped notice, and is altogether122 a tissue of fable, and one that disguises its own peculiar venom, it seems expedient to advance no further statement beyond those already put forward; for the opinions propounded by (the heretics) themselves are sufficient for their own condemnation.
Chap. XIV. – The System of the Sethians; Their Triad of Infinite Principles; Their Heresy Explained; Their Interpretation of the Incarnation.
Let us then see what the Sithians123 affirm. To these it appears that there are three definite principles of the universe, and that each of these principles possesses infinite powers. And when they speak of powers124 let him that heareth take into account that they make this statement. Everything whatsoever you discern by an act of intelligence, or also omit (to discern) as not being understood, this by nature is fitted to become each of the principles, as in the human soul every art whatsoever which is made the subject of instruction. Just for instance, he says, this child will be a musician, having waited the requisite time for (acquiring a knowledge of) the harp; or a geometrician, (having previously undergone the necessary study for acquiring a knowledge) of geometry; (or) a grammarian, (after having sufficiently studied) grammar; (or) a workman, (having acquired a practical acquaintance) with a handicraftsman’s business; and to one brought into contact with the rest of the arts a similar occurrence will take place. Now of principles, he says, the substances are light and darkness; and of these, spirit is intermediate without admixture. The spirit, however, is that which has its appointed place in the midst of darkness which is below, and light which is above. It is not spirit as a current of wind, or some gentle breeze that can be felt; but, as it were, some odour of ointment or of incense formed out of a compound. (It is) a subtle power, that insinuates itself by means of some impulsive quality in a fragrance, which is inconceivable and better than could be expressed by words. Since, however, light is above and darkness below, and spirit is intermediate in such a way as stated between these; and since light is so constituted, that, like a ray of the sun, it shines from above upon the underlying darkness; and again, since the fragrance of the spirit, holding an intermediate place, is extended and carried in every direction, as in the case of incense-offerings placed upon fire, we detect the fragrance that is being wafted in every direction: when, I say, there is a power of this description belonging unto the principles which are classified under three divisions, the power of spirit and light simultaneously exists in the darkness that is situated underneath them. But the darkness is a terrible water, into which light is absorbed and translated into a nature of the same description with spirit. The darkness, however, is not devoid of intelligence, but altogether reflective, and is conscious that, where the light has been abstracted from the darkness, the darkness remains isolated, invisible, obscure, impotent, inoperative, (and) feeble. Wherefore it is constrained, by all its reflection and understanding, to collect into itself the lustre and scintillation of light with the fragrance of the spirit. And it is possible to behold an image of the nature of these in the human countenance; for instance, the pupil of the eye, dark from the subjacent humours, (but) illuminated with spirit. As, then, the darkness seeks after the splendour, that it may keep in bondage the spark, and may have perceptive power, so the light and spirit seek after the power that belongs to themselves, and strive to uprear, and towards each other to carry up their intermingled powers into the dark and formidable water lying underneath.
But all the powers of the three originating principles, which are as regards number indefinitely infinite, are each according to its own substance reflective and intelligent, unnumbered in multitude. And since what are reflective and intelligent are numberless in multitude, while they continue by themselves, they are all at rest. If, however, power approaches power, the dissimilarity of (what is set in) juxtaposition produces a certain motion and energy, which are formed from the motion resulting from the concourse effected by the juxtaposition of the coalescing powers. For the concourse of the powers ensues, just like any mark of a seal that is impressed by means of the concourse correspondingly with (the seal) which prints the figure on the substances that are brought up (into contact with it). Since, therefore, the powers of the three principles are infinite in number, and from infinite powers (arise) infinite concourses, images of infinite seals are necessarily produced. These images, therefore, are the forms of the different sorts of animals. From the first great concourse, then, of the three principles, ensues a certain great form, a seal125 of heaven and earth. The heaven and the earth have a figure similar to the womb, having a navel in the midst; and if, he says, any one is desirous of bringing this figure under the organ of vision, let him artfully scrutinize the pregnant womb of whatsoever animal he wishes, and he will discover an image of the heaven and the earth, and of the things which in the midst of all are unalterably situated underneath.
(And so it is, that the first great concourse of the three principles) has produced such a figure of heaven and earth as is similar to a womb after the first coition. But, again, in the midst of the heaven and the earth have been generated infinite concourses of powers. And each concourse did not effect and fashion anything else than a seal of heaven and earth similar to a womb. But, again, in the earth, from the infinite seals are produced infinite crowds of various animals. But into all this infinity of the different animals under heaven is diffused and distributed, along with the light, the fragrance of the Spirit from above. From the water, therefore, has been produced a first-begotten originating principle, viz., wind, (which is) violent and boisterous, and a cause of all generation. For producing a sort of ferment in the waters, (the wind) uplifts waves out of the waters; and the motion126 of the waves, just as when some impulsive power of pregnancy is the origin of the production of a man or mind,127 is caused when (the ocean), excited by the impulsive power of spirit, is propelled forward. When, however, this wave that has been raised out of the water by the wind, and rendered pregnant in its nature, has within itself obtained the power, possessed by the female, of generation, it holds together the light scattered from above along with the fragrance of the spirit – that is, mind moulded in the different species. And this (light) is a perfect God, who from the unbegotten radiance above, and from the spirit, is borne down into human nature as into a temple, by the impulsive power of Nature, and by the motion of wind. And it is produced from water being commingled128 and blended with bodies as if it were a salt129 of existent things, and a light of darkness. And it struggles to be released from bodies, and is not able to find liberation and an egress for itself For a very diminutive spark, a severed splinter from above like the ray of a star, has been mingled in the much compounded waters of many (existences),130 as, says he, (David) remarks in a psalm. (Psa_29:3) Every thought, then, and solicitude actuating the supernal light is as to how and in what manner mind may be liberated, by the death of the depraved and dark body, from the Father that is below, which is the wind that with noise131 and tumult uplifted the waves, and who generated a perfect mind his own Son; not, however, being his peculiar (offspring) substantially. For he was a ray (sent down) from above, from that perfect light, (and) was overpowered in the dark,132 and formidable, and bitter, and defiled water; and he is a luminous spirit borne down over the water.133 When, therefore, the waves that have been upreared from the waters have received within themselves the power of generation possessed by females, they contain, as a certain womb, in different species, the infused radiance, so as that it is visible in the case of all animals.134 But the wind, at the same time fierce and formidable,135 whirling along, is, in respect of its hissing sound, like a serpent.136
First, then, from the wind – that is, from the serpent – has resulted the originating principle of generation in the manner declared, all things having simultaneously received the principle of generation. After, then, the light and the spirit had been received, he says, into the polluted and baneful (and) disordered womb, the serpent – the wind of the darkness, the first-begotten of the waters – enters within and produces man, and the impure womb neither loves nor recognises any other form. The perfect Word of supernal light being therefore assimilated (in form) to the beast, (that is,) the serpent, entered into the defiled womb, having deceived (the womb) through the similitude of the beast itself, in order that (the Word) may loose the chains that encircle the perfect mind which has been begotten amidst impurity of womb by the primal offspring of water, (namely,) serpent, wind, (and) beast.137 This, he says, is the form of the servant, (Phi_2:7) and this the necessity of the Word of God coming down into the womb of a virgin. But he says it is not sufficient that the Perfect Man, the Word, has entered into the womb of a virgin, and loosed the pangs (Act_2:24) which were in that darkness. Nay, more than this was requisite; for after his entrance138 into the foul mysteries of the womb, he was washed, and drank of the cup of life-giving bubbling water.139 And it was altogether needful that he should drink who was about to strip off the servile form, and assume celestial raiment.
Chap. XV. – The Sethians Support Their Doctrines by an Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture; Their System Really Derived from Natural Philosophers and from the Orphic Rites; Adopt the Homeric Cosmogony.
These are the statements which the patrons140 of the Sethian doctrines make, as far as it is possible to declare in a few words. Their system, however, is made up (of tenets) from natural (philosophers), and of expressions uttered in reference to different other subjects; and transferring (the sense of) these to the Eternal141 Logos, they explain them as we have declared. But they assert likewise that Moses confirms their doctrine when he says, “Darkness, and mist, and tempest.” These, (the Sethian) says, are the three principles (of our system); or when he states that three were born in paradise – Adam, Eve, the serpent; or when he speaks of three (persons, namely) Cain, Abel, Seth; and again of three (others) – Shem, Ham,142 Japheth; or when he mentions three patriarchs -Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; or when he speaks of the existence of three days before sun and moon; or when he mentions three laws – prohibitory, permissive, and adjudicatory of punishment. Now, a prohibitory law is as follows: “Of every tree that is in paradise thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou mayest not eat.” (Gen_2:16, Gen_2:17) But in the passage, “Come forth from thy land and from thy kindred, and hither into a land which I shall show thee,” (Gen_12:1) this law, he says, is permissive; for one who is so disposed may depart, and one who is not so disposed may remain. But a law adjudicatory of punishment is that which makes the following declaration: “Thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal;” (Exo_20:13-15; Deu_5:17-19) for a penalty is awarded to each of these acts of wickedness.
The entire system of their doctrine, however, is (derived) from143 the ancient theologians Musaeus, and Linus, and Orpheus,144 who elucidates especially the ceremonies of initiation, as well as the mysteries themselves. For their doctrine concerning the womb is also the tenet of Orpheus; and the (idea of the) navel,145 which is harmony,146 is (to be found) with the same symbolism attached to it in the Bacchanalian orgies of Orpheus. But prior to the observance of the mystic rite of Celeus, and Triptolemus, and Ceres, and Proserpine, and Bacchus in Eleusis, these orgies have been celebrated and handed down to men in Phlium of Attica.147 For antecedent to the Eleusinian mysteries, there are (enacted) in Phlium the orgies148 of her denominated the “Great (Mother).” There is, however, a portico in this (city), and on the portico is inscribed a representation, (visible) up to the present day, of all the words which are spoken (on such occasions). Many, then, of the words inscribed upon that portico are those respecting which Plutarch institutes discussions in his ten books against149 Empedocles. And in the greater150 number of these books is also drawn the representation of a certain aged man, grey-haired, winged,151 having his pudendum erectum, pursuing a retreating woman of azure colour.152 And over the aged man is the inscription “phaos ruentes,” and over the woman “pereëphicola.”153 But “phaos ruentes”154 appears to be the light (which exists), according to the doctrine of the Sethians, and “phicola” the darkish water; while the space in the midst of these seems to be a harmony constituted from the spirit that is placed between. The name, however, of “phaos ruentes” manifests, as they allege, the flow from above of the light downwards. Wherefore one may reasonably assert that the Sethians celebrate rites among themselves, very closely bordering upon those orgies of the “Great (Mother” which are observed among) the Phliasians. And the poet likewise seems to bear his testimony to this triple division, when he remarks, “And all things have been triply divided, and everything obtains its (proper) distinction;”155 that is, each member of the threefold division has obtained (a particular) capacity. But now, as regards the tenet that the subjacent water below, which is dark, ought, because the light has set (over it), to convey upwards and receive the spark borne clown from (the light) itself; in the assertion of this tenet. I say, the all-wise Sethians appear to derive (their opinion) from Homer: –
“By earth I sware, and yon broad Heaven above,
And Stygian stream beneath, the weightiest oath
Of solemn power, to bind the blessed gods.”156
That is, according to Homer, the gods suppose water to be loathsome and horrible. Now, similar to this is the doctrine of the Sethians, which affirms (water) to be formidable to the mind.157
Chap. XVI. – The Sethian Theory Concerning “Mixture” and “Composition;” Application of It to Christ; Illustration from the Well of Ampa.
These, and other assertions similar to these, are made (by the Sethians) in their interminable commentaries. They, however, persuade their disciples to become conversant with the theory respecting composition and mixture. But this theory has formed a subject of meditation to many, but (among others) also to Andronicus the Peripatetic. The Sethians, then, affirm that the theory concerning composition and mixture is constituted according to the following method: The luminous ray from above is intermingled, and the very diminutive spark is delicately blended in the dark waters beneath; and (both of these) become united, and are formed into one compound mass, just as a single savour (results) from the mixture of many incense-offerings in the fire, and (just as) an adept, by having a test in an acute sense of smell, ought to be able from the single odour of the incense to distinguish accurately each (ingredient) of the incense-offerings that have been mingled in the fire, – whether, for example, storax, and myrrh, and frankincense, or whatever other (ingredient) may be mixed (in the incense). They, however, employ also other examples, saying both that brass is mixed with gold, and that some art has been discovered which separates the brass from the gold. And, in like manner, if tin or brass, or any substance homogeneous with it, be discovered mixed with silver, these likewise, by some art superior to that of mixing, are distinguished. But already some one also distinguishes water mingled with wine.158 So, say they, though all things are commingled, they are capable of being separated. Nay, but, he says, derive the same lesson from the case of animals. For when the animal is dead, each of its parts is separated; and when dissolution takes place, the animal in this way vanishes. This is, he says, what has been spoken: “I came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword,” (Mat_10:34) – that is, the division and separation of the things that have been commingled. For each of the things that have been commingled is separated and divided when it reaches its proper place. For as there is one place of mixture for all animals, so also has there been established one (locality) of separation. And, he says, no one is aware of this (place), save we alone that have been born again, spiritual, not carnal, whose citizenship is in heaven above.
In this manner insinuating themselves, they corrupt their pupils, partly by misusing the words spoken (by themselves), while they wickedly pervert, to serve any purpose they wish, what has been admirably said (in Scripture); and partly by concealing their nefarious conduct, by means of whatever comparisons they please. All these things, then, he says, that have been commingled, possess, as has been declared, their own particular place, and hurry towards their own peculiar (substances), as iron towards the magnet, and the chaff to the vicinity of amber, and the gold to the spur159 of the sea falcon. In like manner, the ray160 of light which has been commingled with the water, having obtained from discipline and instruction its own proper locality, hastens towards the Logos that comes from above in servile form; and along with the Logos exists as a logos in that place where the Logos is still: (the light, I say, hastens to the Logos with greater speed) than the iron towards the magnet.
And that these things, he says, are so, and that all things that have been commingled are separated in their proper places, learn. There is among the Persians in a city Ampa,161 near the river Tills, a well; and near the well, at the top, has been constructed a certain reservoir, supplied with three outlets; and when one pumps from this well, and draws off some of its contents in a vessel, what is thus pumped out of the well, whatever it is at all, he pours into the reservoir hard by. And when what is thus infused reaches the outlets, and when what is taken up (out of each outlet) in a single vessel is examined, a separation is observed to have taken place. And in the first of the outlets is exhibited a concretion of salt, and in the second of asphalt, and in the third of oil; and the oil is black, just as, he says, Herodotus162 also narrates, and it yields a heavy smell, and the Persians call this “rhadinace.” The similitude of the well is, say the Sethians, more sufficient for the demonstration of their proposition than all the statements that have been previously made.
Chap. XVII. – The Sethian Doctrines to Be Learned from the “Paraphrase of Seth.”
The opinion of the Sethians appears to us to have been sufficiently elucidated. If, however, any one is desirous of learning the entire doctrine according to them, let him read a book inscribed Paraphrase of Seth; for all their secret tenets he will find deposited there. But since we have explained the opinions entertained by the Sethians, let us see also what are the doctrines advanced by Justinus.
Chap. XVIII. – The System of Justinus Antiscriptural and Essentially Pagan.
Justinus163 was entirely opposed to the teaching of the holy Scriptures, and moreover to the written or oral teaching of the blessed evangelists, according as the Logos was accustomed to instruct His disciples, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles;” (Mat_10:5) and this signifies that they should not attend to the futile doctrine of the Gentiles. This (heretic) endeavours to lead on his hearers into an acknowledgment of prodigies detailed by the Gentiles, and of doctrines inculcated by them. And he narrates, word for word, legendary accounts prevalent among the Greeks, and does not previously teach or deliver his perfect mystery, unless he has bound his dupe by an oath. Then he brings forward (these) fables for the purpose of persuasion, in order that they who are conversant with the incalculable trifling of these books may have some consolation in the details of these legends. Thus it happens as when in like manner one making a long journey deems it expedient, on having fallen in with an inn, to take repose. And so it is that, when once more they are induced to turn towards studying the diffuse doctrine of these lectures, they may not abhor them while they, undergoing instruction unnecessarily prolix, rush stupified into the transgression devised by (Justinus); and previously he binds his followers with horrible oaths, neither to publish nor abjure these doctrines, and forces upon them an acknowledgment (of their truth). And in this manner he delivers the mysteries impiously discovered by himself, partly, according to the statements previously made, availing himself of the Hellenic legends, and partly of those pretended books which, to some extent, bear a resemblance to the foresaid heresies. For all, forced together by one spirit, are drawn into one profound abyss of pollution, inculcating the same tenets, and detailing the same legends, each after a different method. All those, however, style themselves Gnostics in this peculiar sense, that they alone themselves have imbibed the marvellous knowledge of the Perfect and Good (Being).
78 Something is wanting after Περατική in the text. Miller supplies the deficiency, and his conjecture is adopted above. Literally, it should be rendered – “the Peratic heresy, the blasphemy of which (heretics),” etc.
79 Most of what is mentioned by Hippolytus concerning this sect is new, as the chief writers on the early heresies are comparatively silent concerning the Peratae; indeed, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Epiphanius completely so. Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom., vii., mentions the Peratics, and Theodoret more fully than the rest speaks of them (Haeret. fabul., i. 17). Theodoret, however, as the Abbe Cruice thinks, has appropriated his remarks from Hippolytus.
80 προεχεστέρα or προσεχεστέρα, contiguous. This is Miller’s reading, but is devoid of sense. Προεχεστέρα, adopted by Schneidewin and Cruice, might bear the meaning of the expression par excellence.
81 γεγεννημένων: Miller reads γεγεννημένον, agreeing with πλῆθος. Bernays, in his Epistola Critica addressed to Bunsen, proposes the former reading.
82 εἰδικοῦ: some read ιδικοῦ. This term, adopted from the Platonic philosophy, is translated specialis by logicians, and transcendentalis by metaphysicians. It expresses the pre-existent form in the divine mind, according to which material objects were fashioned. The term seems out of place as used by the Peratics to denominate the perishable and corruptible and perishing world. We should rather expect ὑλικοῦ, i.e., material. (See Aristotle’s masterly exposition of the subject of the εἶδος and ὕλη in his Metaphysics, book vi., and p. 64 of the analysis prefixed to the translation in Bohn’s Library.)
83 πρώτης or πρὸ τῆς, “antecedent to the segment.”
84 σωματικῶς, i.e., substantially. See Col_1:19, Col_2:9.
85 ἀφίεται, some read ἀφιει, i.e., dismisses; some ἀφιεῖ εἰκῆ, i.e., heedlessly casts off. Hippolytus, in his Summary of the Peratic Heresy is book x., has αφιεται εἰκῆ, which Cruice translates temere absolvuntur. Schneidewin has in the same passage ἀφίεται merely, and translates it abjiciuntur. In both places Bernays suggests ὀφιοειδῆ, i.e., those of the nature of the Serpent.
86 Or, “is part of the moon.”
87 Some omissions here are supplied from Sextus Empiricus.
88 Or, “produces alterations and causes turnings.”
89 Celbes, as observed in a former note, has two other forms in The Refutation, viz., Acembes and Ademes. He is called Carystius, and the other founder of the heresy Peraticus. As the latter term is frequently used to designate Euboea, i.e., the country beyond (πέραν) the continent, it is inferred that Carystius has a similar import. This would seem placed beyond conjecture by a passage (Strom., vii. vol. ii. p. 555) in Clemens Alexandrinus, already alluded to, who says that some heresies, e.g., those of the Marcionites and Basilidians, derived their denomination from the names, whereas others from the country, of their founders. As an instance of the latter, he mentions the Peratics (see note 113, p. 62, [and note 79, p. 58]).
90 Some deficiencies in the text are filled up from Sextus Empiricus.
91 Or, “celestial.”
92 This expression ἀλλὰ γάρ requires to have the ellipsis supplied as above. It may be freely rendered “nay more.” Miller reads Ἄλλη γάρ, i.e., “There is some other difference,” etc; but this does not agree with Sextus Empiricus.
93 Or, “sympathy:” συμπάθεια is, however, properly altered into ἀσυμπάθεια on the authority of Sextus.
94 i.e., “Rulers of localities and suburbans.”
95 The Peratic heresy both Hippolytus and Theodoret state to have originated from Euphrates. Origen, on the other hand, states (Contr. Cels., vi. 28 [vol. iv. p. 586]) that Euphrates was founder of the Ophites. the inference from this is, that Origen was not author of The Refutation.
96 Hippolytus at the end of this chapter mentions the title of one of their books, Οἱ προάστειοι ἕως αἰθέρος, “The Suburbans up to the Air,” Bunsen suggests Περάται ἕως αἰθέρος, “The Transcendental Etherians.” (See note 89 supra).
97 the Abbe Cruice considers that the following system of cosmogony is translated into Greek from some Chaldaic or Syriac work. He recognises in it likewise a Jewish element, to be accounted for from the fact that the Jews during the Babylonian captivity imbibed the principles of the Oriental philosophy. What, therefore, is given by Hippolytus may have a Judaistic origin.
98 Schneidewin considers the text here corrupt.
99 The Abbe Cruice observes that the reference here is to the second book of the law (Exo_15:27), where mention is made of the twelve fountains of Elim. The Hebrew word (עין) stands for both an eye and a fountain. Hence the error by the Greek translator.
100 i.e., a poetic expression, as Cruice remarks, for closing the seal. (See Job_9:7.)
101 Schneidewin refers us to a passage from Berosus, who affirms that this person was styled by Thalatta by the Greeks, Talath by the Chaldeans; another denomination being Omorka, or Omoroka, or Marcaia. The Abbe Cruice, however, sets little value on these names, which, following the judgement of Scaliger, he pronounces spurious. It is unnecessary to remind scholars that the authenticity of Berosus has collapsed under the attacks of modern criticism.
102 Miller suggests Νεφέλη, Cruice Nebo.
103 Cruice thinks this may be a figure of the year and of twelve months.
104 Miller has Κόρην.
105 Or, “air.”
106 Miller reads Μυγδώνη, others Μυγδόνη.
107 Miller has Ἀπραξία.
108 Miller suggests Βουζύγης.
109 Miller reads Φλέγων.
110 γινομένων; some read κινουμένων, i.e., have different motions.
111 κέντροις; Schneidewin suggests κέντρων.
112 See Oracula Sibyllina Fragm., ii. ver. i.
113 περασαι; hence their name Peratics, i.e., Transcendentalists. Bunsen considers, however, that such a derivation as this was not the true one (See note 89, p. 60.), but merely an afterthought. the title of one of the Peratic treatises, as altered by Bunsen from Οἱ προάστειοι ἕως αιθέρος into Οἱ Περάται ἕως αἰθέρος, i.e., “the Transcendental Etherians,” would agree with their subsequent assumption of this title. [Bunsen, i. p. 37.]
114 Or, “they say.”
115 The Abbe Cruice thinks that Hippolytus is here quoting from the Gospel of Eve (see Epiph., Haer., xxvi. 2).
116 ἄκρᾳ; this is a conjectural reading instead of ἀρχῇ.
117 Aratus, Phenom., v. 62.
118 Aratus, Phenom., v. 46.
119 There is a hiatus here. Miller, who also suggests διαφέρει instead of μεταφέρει, supplies the deficiency as translated above. The Abbe Cruice fills up the hiatus by words taken from a somewhat similar passage in the third chapter of book viii., but the obscurity still remains. Miller thinks there is a reference to Isa_6:10.
120 This theory has been previously alluded to by Hippolytus in the last chapter of book iv.
121 καμαρίου; some would read μακαρίου [“the dome of thought, the palace of the soul”].
122 παντάπας; some read πάντα πᾶσι. Cruice suggests πᾶσιν ἐπιτιθειμένην, i.e., one that plots against all.
123 This is the form in which the name occurs in Hippolytus, but the correct one is Sethians. As regards this sect, see Irenaeus, Contr. Haeres., i. 30; Tertullian, Praescript., c. lxvii.; Theodoret, Haeret. Fabul., i. 14; Epiphanius, Advers. Haeres., c. xxviii., xxxvii., and xxxix., Augustine, De Haeret., c. xix.; Josephus, Antiq. Judaic., i. 2; Suidas on the word “Seth.”
124 For δυνάμεις … λογιζέσθω, Bernays reads δυνάται … λογίζεσθαι: “While these make (such) assertions, he is able to calculate,” etc.
125 Or, “form of a seal.”
126 Or, “production.”
127 This is Cruice’s mode of supplying the hiatus. Miller has “man or ox.”
128 Or, “concealed.”
129 ἅλας τῶν γενομένων; Miller reads ἀλάλων.
130 The hiatus, as filled up by Miller, is adopted above. The Abbe Cruice suggests the following emendation: “For there has been intermingled a certain very diminutive spark from the light (subsisting) along with the supernal fragrance, from the spirit producing, like a ray, composition in things dissolved, and dissolution in things compounded.”
131 βρόμῳ: some read βρασμῷ, i.e., agitation, literally a boiling up.
132 σκοτεινῷ: some read σκολιῷ (which is of similar import), crooked, i.e., involved, obscure.
133 Or, “the light.”
134 A hiatus occurs here. The deficiency is supplied by Cruice from previous statements by Hippolytus, and is adopted above.
135 Or, “strong.”
136 This passage is obscure. The passage above follows Schneidewin and Cruice. Miller’s text would seem capable of this meaning: “The wind, simultaneously fierce and formidable, is whirled along like a trailing serpent supplied with wings.” His text is, τῷ σύρματι ὄφει παραπλήσιος πτέρωτος, but suggests πτερωτῷ· ὡς ἀπὸ.
137 Schneidewin has a full stop after “wind,” and begins the next sentence with θηρίου (beast).
138 Miller would read μετὰ τὰ … ἐξελθὼν, “after the foul mysteries of the womb he went forth,” etc.
139 Joh_4:7-14. For πιεῖν some read ποιεῖν, “a course which he must pursue who,” etc.
140 προστάται. This is a military expression applied to those who placed in the foremost ranks of a battalion of soldiers; but it was also employed in civil affairs, to designate, for instance at Athens, those who protected the μἐτοικοι (aliens), and others without the rights of citizenship. Προστάτης was the Roman Patronus.
141 Or, “their own peculiar.”
142 It is written Cham in the text.
143 ὑπὸ, Miller.
144 These belong to the legendary period of Greek philosophy. Musaeus flourished among the Athenians, Linus among the Thebans, and Orpheus among the Thracians. They weaved their physical theories into crude theological systems, which subsequently suggested the cosmogony and theogony of Hesiod. See the translator’s Treatise on Metaphysics, chap. ii. pp. 33, 34.
145 ὀμφαλος: some read with greater probability φαλλὀς, which means the figure, generally wooden, of a membrum virile. This harmonizes with what Hippolytus has already mentioned respecting Osiris. A figure of this description was carried in a solemn procession in the orgies of Bacchus as a symbol of the generative power of nature. The worship of the Lingam among the Hindoos is of the same description.
146 ἁρμονία (Schneidewin). Cruice reads ἀνδρεία (manliness), which agrees with φαλλὸς (see precedingnote). For φαλλὸς Schneidewin reads ὁμφαλός (navel).
147 “Of Achaia” (Meinekius, Vindic. Strab., p. 242).
148 The reading in Miller is obviously incorrect, viz., λεγομένη μεγαληγορία, for which he suggests μεγάλη ἑορτή. Several other emendations have been proposed, but they scarcely differ from the rendering given above, which is coincident with what may be learned of these mysteries from other sources.
149 πρὸς, or it might be rendered “respecting.” A reference, however, to the catalogue of Empedocles’ works, given by Fabricus (t. v. p. 160), shows that for πρὸς we should read εις.
150 πλείοσι: Miller would read πυλεῶσι, i.e., gateways.
151 Or πετρωτὸς, intended for πετρώδης, “made of stone.” [A winged phallus was worn by the women of Pompeii as an ornament, for which Christian women substituted a cross. See vol 3., this series, p. 104.]
152 κυανοειδῆ; some read κυνοειδῆ, i.e., like a dog.
153 Some read Persephone (Proserpine) Phyla.
154 For “phaos ruentes” some read “Phanes rueis,” which is the expression found in the Orphic hymn (see Cruice’s note).
155 Iliad, xv. 189. (See the passage from Hesiod given at the end of book i. of The Refutation.)
156 Iliad, xv. 36-38 (Lord Derby’s translation); Odyssey, v. 185-187.
157 Miller reasonably proposes for τῷ νοἱ the reading στοιχεῖον, “which affirms water to be a formidable element.”
158 ὕδωρ μεμιγμένον οἴνῳ διακρίνει; Miller’s text is ὕδωρ μεμιγμένον αἰνωδία κρήνη, which is obviously corrupt. His emendation of the passage may be translated thus: “And now some one observes water from a wayside fountain, mixed, so they say; and even though all things be intermingled, a separation is effected.”
159 κέντρῳ. In other passages the word κερκίς is used, i.e., the backbone.
160 Or, “power.”
161 Or, “Ama.”
162 Herodotus, vi. 119.
163 What Hippolytus here states respecting Justinus is quite new. No mention occurs of this heretic in ecclesiastical history. It is evident, however, that, like Simon Magus, he was contemporary with St. Peter and St. Paul. Justinus, however, and the Ophitic sect to which he belonged, are assigned by Hippolytus and Irenaeus a prior position as regards the order of their appearance to the system of Simon or its offshoot Valentinianism. The Ophites engrafted Phrygian Judaism, and the Valentinians Gentilism, upon Christianity; the former not rejecting the speculations and mysteries of Asiatic paganism, and the latter availing themselves of the caballistic corruptions of Judaism. The Judaistic element soon became prominent in successive phases of Valentinianism, which produced a fusion of the sects of the old Gnostics and of Simon. Hippolytus, however, now places the Ophitic sect before us prior to its amalgamation with Valentinianism. Here, for the first time, we have an authentic delineation of the primitive Ophites. This is of great value. [See Irenaeus, vol. 1., this series, p. 354; also Bunsen (on Baur), vol. i. p. 42.]