The following are the contents of the fifth book of the Refutation of all Heresies:1 –
What the assertions are of the Naasseni, who style themselves Gnostics, and that they advance those opinions which the Philosophers of the Greeks previously propounded, as well as those who have handed down mystical (rites), from (both of) whom the Naasseni taking occasion, have constructed their heresies.
And what are the tenets of the Perstae, and that their system is not framed by them out of the holy Scriptures, but from astrological art.
What is the doctrine of the Sethians,2 and that, purloining3 their theories from the wise men among the Greeks, they have patched together their own system out of shreds of opinion taken from Musaeus, and Linus, and Orpheus.
What are the tenets of Justinus, and that his system is framed By him, not out of the holy Scriptures, but from the detail of marvels furnished by Herodotus the historian.
Chap. I. – Recapitulation; Characteristics of Heresy; Origin of the Name Naasseni; the System of the Naasseni.
I think that in the four preceding books I have very elaborately explained the opinions propounded by all the speculators among both Greeks and Barbarians, respecting the Divine Nature and the creation of the world; and not even have I omitted4 the consideration of their systems of magic. So that I have for my readers undergone no ordinary amount of toil, in my anxiety to urge many forward into a desire of learning, and into stedfastness of knowledge in regard of the truth. It remains, therefore, to hasten on to the refutation of the heresies; but it is for the purpose of furnishing this (refutation) that we have put forward the statements already made by us. For from philosophers the heresiarchs deriving5 starting-points, (and) like cobblers patching together, according to their own particular interpretation, the blunders of the ancients, have advanced them as novelties to those that are capable of being deceived, as we shall prove in the following books. In the remainder (of our work), the opportunity invites us to approach the treatment of our proposed subjects, and to begin from those who have presumed to celebrate a serpent,6 the originator of the error (in question), through certain expressions devised by the energy of his own (ingenuity). The priests, then, and champions of the system, have been first those who have been called Naasseni,7 being so denominated from the Hebrew language, for the serpent is called naas8 (in Hebrew). Subsequently, however, they have styled themselves Gnostics, alleging that they alone have sounded the depths of knowledge. Now, from the system of these (speculators), many, detaching parts, have constructed a heresy which, though with several subdivisions, is essentially one, and they explain precisely the same (tenets); though conveyed under the guise of different opinions, as the following discussion, according as it progresses, will prove.
These (Naasseni), then, according to the system9 advanced by them, magnify, (as the originating cause) of all things else, a man and a son of man. And this man is a hermaphrodite, and is denominated among them Adam; and hymns many and various are made to him. The hymns,10 however – to be brief – are couched among them in some such form as this: “From thee (comes) father, and through thee (comes) mother, two names immortal, progenitors of Aeons, O denizen of heaven, thou illustrious man.” But they divide him as Geryon11 into three parts. For, say they, of this man one part is rational, another psychical, another earthly. And they suppose that the knowledge of him is the originating principle of the capacity for a knowledge of God, expressing themselves thus: “The originating principle of perfection is the knowledge12 of man, while the knowledge of God is absolute perfection.” All these qualities, however – rational, and psychical, and earthly – have, (the Naassene) says, retired and descended into one man simultaneously – Jesus,13 who was born of Mary. And these three men (the Naassene) says, are in the habit of speaking (through Jesus) at the same time together, each from their own proper substances to those peculiarly their own. For, according to these, there are three kinds of all existent things – angelic, psychical, earthly; and there are three churches – angelic, psychical, earthly; and the names of these are elect, called, captive.
Chap. II. – Naasseni Ascribe Their System, Through Mariamne, to James the Lord’s Brother; Really Traceable to the Ancient Mysteries; Their Psychology as Given in the “Gospel According to Thomas;” Assyrian Theory of the Soul; the Systems of the Naasseni and the Assyrians Compared; Support Drawn by the Naasseni from the Phrygian and Egyptian Mysteries; the Mysteries of Isis; These Mysteries Allegorized by the Naasseni.
These are the heads of very numerous discourses which (the Naassene) asserts James the brother of the Lord handed down to Mariamne.14 In order, then, that these impious (heretics) may no longer belie Mariamne or James, or the Saviour Himself, let us come to the mystic rites (whence these have derived their figment), – to a consideration, if it seems right, of both the Barbarian and Grecian (mysteries), – and let us see how these (heretics), collecting together the secret and ineffable mysteries of all the Gentiles, are uttering falsehoods against Christ, and are making dupes of those who are not acquainted with these orgies of the Gentiles. For since the foundation of the doctrine with them is the man Adam, and they say that concerning him it has been written, “Who shall declare his generation?” (Isa_53:8) learn how, partly deriving from the Gentiles the undiscoverable and diversified15 generation of the man, they fictitiously apply it to Christ.
“Now earth,”16 say the Greeks, “gave forth a man, (earth) first bearing a goodly gift, wishing to become mother not of plants devoid of sense, nor beasts without reason, but of a gentle and highly favoured creature.” “It, however, is difficult,” (the Naassene) says, “to ascertain whether Alalcomeneus,17 first of men, rose upon the Boeotians over Lake Cephisus; or whether it were the Idaean Curetes, a divine race; or the Phrygian Corybantes, whom first the sun beheld springing up after the manner of the growth of trees; or whether Arcadia brought forth Pelasgus, of greater antiquity than the moon; or Eleusis (produced) Diaulus, an inhabitant of Raria; or Lemnus begot Cabirus, fair child of secret orgies; or Pallerie (brought forth) the Phlegraean Alcyoneus, oldest of the giants. But the Libyans affirm that Iarbas, first born, on emerging from arid plains, commenced eating the sweet acorn of Jupiter. But the Nile of the Egyptians,” he says, “up to this day fertilizing mud, (and therefore) generating animals, renders up living bodies, which acquire flesh from moist vapour.” The Assyrians, however, say that fish-eating Oannes18 was (the first man, and) produced among themselves. The Chaldeans, however, say that this Adam is the man whom alone earth brought forth. And that he lay inanimate, unmoved, (and) still as a statue; being an image of him who is above, who is celebrated as the man Adam,19 having been begotten by many powers, concerning whom individually is an enlarged discussion.
In order, therefore, that finally the Great Man from above may be overpowered, “from whom,” as they say, “the whole family named on earth and in the heavens has been formed, to him was given also a soul, that through the soul he might suffer; and that the enslaved image may be punished of the Great and most Glorious and Perfect Man, for even so they call him. Again, then, they ask what is the soul, and whence, and what kind in its nature, that, coming to the man and moving him,20 it should enslave and punish the image of the Perfect Man. They do not, however, (on this point) institute an inquiry from the Scriptures, but ask this (question) also from the mystic (rites). And they affirm that the soul is very difficult to discover, and hard to understand; for it does not remain in the same figure or the same form invariably, or in one passive condition, that either one could express it by a sign, or comprehend it substantially.
But they have these varied changes (of the soul) set down in the gospel inscribed “according to the Egyptians.”21 They are, then, in doubt, as all the rest of men among the Gentiles, whether (the soul) is at all from something pre-existent, or whether from the self-produced (one),22 or from a widespread Chaos. And first they fly for refuge to the mysteries of the Assyrians, perceiving the threefold division of the man; for the Assyrians first advanced the opinion that the soul has three parts, and yet (is essentially) one. For of soul, say they, is every nature desirous, and each in a different manner. For soul is cause of all things made; all things that are nourished, (the Naassene) says, and that grow, require soul. For it is not possible, he says, to obtain any nourishment or growth where soul is not present. For even stones, he affirms, are animated, for they possess what is capable of increase; but increase would not at any time take place without nourishment, for it is by accession that things which are being increased grow, but accession is the nourishment of things that are nurtured. Every nature, then, as of thins celestial and (the Naasene) says, of things celestial, and earthly, and infernal, desires a soul. And an entity of this description the Assyrians call Adonis or Endymion;23 and when it is styled Adonis, Venus, he says, loves and desires the soul when styled by such a name. But Venus is production, according to them. But whenever Proserpine or Cora becomes enamoured with Adonis, there results, he says, a certain mortal soul separated from Venus (that is, from generation). But should the Moon pass into concupiscence for Endymion, and into love of her form, the nature,24 he says, of the higher beings requires a soul likewise. But if, he says, the mother of the gods emasculate Attis,25 and herself has this (person) as an object of affection, the blessed nature, he says, of the supernal and everlasting (beings) alone recalls the male power of the soul to itself.
For (the Naassene) says, there is the hermaphrodite man. According to this account of theirs, the intercourse of woman with man is demonstrated, in conformity with such teaching, to be an exceedingly wicked and filthy (practice).26 For, says (the Naassene), Attis has been emasculated, that is, he has passed over from the earthly parts of the nether world to the everlasting substance above, where, he says, there is neither female or male,27 but a new creature, (See 2Co_5:17; Gal_6:15) a new man, which is hermaphrodite. As to where, however, they use the expression “above,” I shall show when I come to the proper place (for treating this subject). But they assert that, by their account, they testify that Rhea is not absolutely isolated, but – for so I may say – the universal creature; and this they declare to be what is affirmed by the Word. “For the invisible things of Him are seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made by Him, even His eternal power and Godhead, for the purpose of leaving them without excuse. Wherefore, knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, nor gave Him thanks; but their foolish heart was rendered vain. For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into images of the likeness of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore also God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” What, however, the natural use is, according to them, we shall afterwards declare. “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly” – now the expression that which is unseemly signifies, according to these (Naasseni), the first and blessed substance, figureless, the cause of all figures to those things that are moulded into shapes, – ”and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (Rom_1:20-27) For in these words which Paul has spoken they say the entire secret of theirs, and a hidden mystery of blessed pleasure, are comprised. For the promise of washing is not any other, according to them, than the introduction of him that is washed in, according to them, life-giving water, and anointed with ineffable28 ointment (than his introduction) into unfading bliss.
But they assert that not only is there in favour of their doctrine, testimony to be drawn from the mysteries of the Assyrians, but also from those of the Phrygians concerning the happy nature – concealed, and yet at the same time disclosed – of things that have been, and are coming into existence, and moreover will be, – (a happy nature) which, (the Naassene) says, is the kingdom of heaven to be sought for within a man. (Luk_17:21) And concerning this (nature) they hand down an explicit passage, occurring29 in the Gospel inscribed according to Thomas,30 expressing themselves thus: “He who seeks me, will find, me in children from seven years old; for there concealed, I shall in the fourteenth age be made manifest.” This, however, is not (the teaching) of Christ, but of Hippocrates, who uses these words: “A child of seven years is half of a father.” And so it is that these (heretics), placing the originative nature of the universe in causative seed, (and) having ascertained the (aphorism) of Hippocrates,31 that a child of seven years old is half of a father, say that in fourteen years, according to Thomas, he is manifested. This, with them, is the ineffable and mystical Logos. They assert, then, that the Egyptians, who after the Phrygians,32 it is established, are of greater antiquity than all mankind, and who confessedly were the first to proclaim to all the rest of men the rites and orgies of, at the same time, all the gods, as well as the species and energies (of things), have the sacred and august, and for those who are not initiated, unspeakable mysteries of Isis. These, however, are not anything else than what by her of the seven dresses and sable robe was sought and snatched away, namely, the pudendum of Osiris. And they say that Osiris is water.33 But the seven-robed nature, encircled and arrayed with seven mantles of ethereal texture – for so they call the planetary stars, allegorizing and denominating them ethereal34 robes, – is as it were the changeable generation, and is exhibited as the creature transformed by the ineffable and unportrayable,35 and inconceivable and figureless one. And this, (the Naassene) says, is what is declared in Scripture, “The just will fall seven times, and rise again.” (Pro_24:16; Luk_17:4) For these falls, he says, are the changes of the stars, moved by Him who puts all things in motion.
They affirm, then, concerning the substance36 of the seed which is a cause of all existent things, that it is none of these, but that it produces and forms all things that are made, expressing themselves thus: “I become what I wish, and I am what I am: on account of this I say, that what puts all things in motion is itself unmoved. For what exists remains forming all things, and nought of existing things is made.”37 He says that this (one) alone is good, and that what is spoken by the Saviour (Mat_19:17; Mar_10:18; Luk_18:19) is declared concerning this (one): “Why do you say that am good? One is good, my Father which is in the heavens, who causeth His sun to rise upon the just and unjust, and sendeth rain upon saints and sinners.” (Mat_5:45) But who the saintly ones are on whom He sends the rain, and the sinners on whom the same sends the rain, this likewise we shall afterwards declare with the rest. And this is the great and secret and unknown mystery of the universe, concealed and revealed among the Egyptians. For Osiris,38 (the Naassene) says, is in temples in front of Isis;39 and his pudendum stands exposed, looking downwards, and crowned with all its own fruits of things that are made. And (he affirms) that such stands not only in the most hallowed temples chief of idols, but that also, for the information of all, it is as it were a light not set under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, proclaiming its message upon the housetops, (Mat_5:15; Mat_10:27) in all byways, and all streets, and near the actual dwellings, placed in front as a certain appointed limit and termination of the dwelling, and that this is denominated the good (entity) by all. For they style this good-producing, not knowing what they say. And the Greeks, deriving this mystical (expression) from the Egyptians, preserve it until this day. For we behold, says (the Naassene), statues of Mercury, of such a figure honoured among them.
Worshipping, however, Cyllenius with especial distinction, they style him Logios. For Mercury is Logos, who being interpreter and fabricator of the things that have been made simultaneously, and that are being produced, and that will exist, stands honoured among them, fashioned into some such figure as is the pudendum of a man, having an impulsive power from the parts below towards those above. And that this (deity) – that is, a Mercury of this description – is, (the Naassene) says, a conjurer of the dead, and a guide of departed spirits, and an originator of souls; nor does this escape the notice of the poets, who express themselves thus: –
“Cyllenian Hermes also called
The souls of mortal suitors.”40
Not Penelope’s suitors, says he, O wretches! but (souls) awakened and brought to recollection of themselves,
“From honour so great, and from bliss so long.”41
That is, from the blessed man from above, or the primal man or Adam, as it seems to them, souls have been conveyed down here into a creation of clay, that they may serve the Demiurge of this creation, Ialdabaoth,42 a fiery God, a fourth number; for so they call the Demiurge and father of the formal world: –
“And in hand he held a lovely
Wand of gold that human eyes enchants,
Of whom he will, and those again who slumber rouses.”43
This, he says, is he who alone has power of life and death. Concerning this, he says, it has been written, “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron.” (Psa_2:9) The poet, however, he says, being desirous of adorning the incomprehensible (potency) of the blessed nature of the Logos, invested him with not an iron, but golden wand. And he enchants the eyes of the dead, as he says, and raises up again those that are slumbering, after having been roused from sleep, and after having been suitors. And concerning these, he says, the Scripture speaks: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise, and Christ will give thee light.” (Eph_5:14)
This is the Christ who, he says, in all that have been generated, is the portrayed Son of Man from the unportrayable Logos. This, he says, is the great and unspeakable mystery of the Eleusinian rites, Hye, Cye.44 And he affirms that all things have been subjected unto him, and this is that which has been spoken, “Their sound is gone forth unto all the earth,” (Rom_10:18) just as it agrees with the expressions, “Mercury45 waving his wand, guides the souls, but they twittering follow.” I mean the disembodied spirits follow continuously in such a way as the poet by his imagery delineates, using these words: –
“And as when in the magic cave’s recess
Bats humming fly, and when one drops
From ridge of rock, and each to other closely clings.”46
The expression “rock,” he says, he uses of Adam. This, he affirms, is Adam: “The chief corner-stone become the head of the corner. (Psa_118:22; Isa_28:16) For that in the head the substance is the formative brain from which the entire family is fashioned. (Eph_3:15) “Whom,” he says, “I place as a rock at the foundations of Zion.” Allegorizing, he says, he speaks of the creation of the man. The rock is interposed (within) the teeth, as Homer47 says, “enclosure of teeth,” that is, a wall and fortress, in which exists the inner man, who thither has fallen from Adam, the primal man above. And he has been “severed without hands to effect the division,” (Dan_2:45) and has been borne down into the image of oblivion, being earthly and clayish. And he asserts that the twittering spirits follow him, that is, the Logos: –
“Thus these, twittering, came together: and then the souls.
That is, he guides them;
Gentle Hermes led through wide-extended paths.”48
That is, he says, into the eternal places separated from all wickedness. For whither, he says, did they come: –
“O’er ocean’s streams they came, and Leuca’s cliff,
And by the portals of the sun and land of dreams.”
This, he says, is ocean, “generation of gods and generation of men”49 ever whirled round by the eddies of water, at one time upwards, at another time downwards. But he says there ensues a generation of men when the ocean flows downwards; but when upwards to the wall and fortress and the cliff of Luecas, a generation of gods takes place. This, he asserts, is that which has been written: “I said, Ye are gods, and all children of the highest;” (Psa_82:6; Luk_6:35; Joh_10:34) “If ye hasten to fly out of Egypt, and repair beyond the Red Sea into the wilderness,” that is, from earthly intercourse to the Jerusalem above, which is the mother of the living; (Gal_4:26) “If, moreover, again you return into Egypt,” that is, into earthly intercourse,50 “ye shall die as men.” For mortal, he says, is every generation below, but immortal that which is begotten above, for it is born of water only, and of spirit, being spiritual, not carnal. But what (is born) below is carnal, that is, he says, what is written. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” (Joh_3:6) This, according to them, is the spiritual generation. This, he says, is the great Jordan (Jos_3:7-17) which, flowing on (here) below, and preventing the children of Israel from departing out of Egypt – I mean from terrestrial intercourse, for Egypt is with them the body, – Jesus drove back, and made it flow upwards.
Chap. III. – Further Exposition of the Heresy of the Naasseni; Profess to Follow Homer; Acknowledge a Triad of Principles; Their Technical Names of the Triad; Support These on the Authority of Greek Poets; Allegorize Our Saviour’s Miracles; the Mystery of the Samothracians; Why the Lord Chose Twelve Disciples; the Name Corybas, Used by Thracians and Phrygians, Explained; Naasseni Profess to Find Their System in Scripture; Their Interpretation of Jacob’s Vision; Their Idea of the “Perfect Man;” the “Perfect Man” Called “Papa” by the Phrygians; the Naasseni and Phrygians on the Resurrection; the Ecstasis of St. Paul; the Mysteries of Religion as Alluded to by Christ; Interpretation of the Parable of the Sower; Allegory of the Promised Land; Comparison of the System of the Phrygians with the Statements of Scripture; Exposition of the Meaning of the Higher and Lower Eleusinian Mysteries; the Incarnation Discoverable Here According to the Naasseni.
Adopting these and such like (opinions), these most marvellous Gnostics, inventors of a novel51 grammatical art, magnify Homer as their prophet – as one, (according to them,) who, after the mode adopted in the mysteries, announces these truths; and they mock those who are not indoctrinated into the holy Scriptures, by betraying them into such notions. They make, however, the following assertion: he who says that all things derive consistence from one, is in error; but he who says that they are of three, is in possession of the truth, and will furnish a solution of the (phenomena of the) universe. For there is, says (the Naassene), one blessed nature of the Blessed Man, of him who is above, (namely) Adam; and there is one mortal nature, that which is below; and there is one kingless generation, which is begotten above, where, he says, is Mariam52 the sought-for one, and Iothor the mighty sage, and Sephors the gazing one, and Moses whose generation is not in Egypt, for children were born unto him in Madian; and not even this, he says, has escaped the notice of the poets.
“Threefold was our partition; each obtained
His meed of honour due.”53
For, says he, it is necessary that the magnitudes be declared, and that they thus be declared by all everywhere, “in order that hearing they may not hear, and seeing they may not see.” (Mat_13:13) For if, he says, the magnitudes were not declared, the world could not have obtained consistence. These are the three tumid expressions (of these heretics), Caulacau,54 Saulasu, Zeesar. Caulacau, i.e., Adam, who is farthest above; Saulasau, that is, the mortal one below; Zeesar, that is, Jordan that flows upwards. This, he says, is the hermaphrodite man (present) in all. But those who are ignorant of him, call him Geryon with the threefold body – Geryon, i.e., as if (in the sense of) flowing from earth – but (whom) the Greeks by common consent (style) “celestial horn of the moon,” because he mixed and blended all things in all. “For all things,” he says, “were made by him, and not even one thing was made without him, and what was made in him is life.” (Joh_1:3, Joh_1:4) This, says he, is the life, the ineffable generation of perfect men, which was not known by preceding generations. But the passage, “nothing was made without him,” refers to the formal world, for it was created without his instrumentality by the third and fourth (of the quaternion named above). For says he, this is the cup “Condy, out of which the king, while he quaffs, draws his omens.” (Gen_44:2-5) This, he says, has been discovered hid in the beauteous seeds of Benjamin. And the Greeks likewise, he says, speak of this in the following terms: –
“Water to the raging mouth bring; thou slave, bring wine;
Intoxicate and plunge me into stupor.
My tankard tells me
The sort I must become.”55
This, says he, was alone sufficient for its being understood by men; (I mean) the cup of Anacreon declaring, (albeit) mutely, an ineffable mystery. For dumb, says he, is Anacreon’s cup; and (yet) Anacreon affirms that it speaks to himself, in language mute, as to what sort he must become – that is spiritual, not carnal – if he shall listen in silence to the concealed mystery. And this is the water in those fair nuptials which Jesus changing made into wine. This, he says, is the mighty and true beginning of miracles (Joh_2:1-11) which Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee, and (thus) manifested the kingdom of heaven. This, says he, is the kingdom of heaven that reposes within us as a treasure, as leaven hid in the three measures of meal. (Mat_13:33, Mat_13:34; Luk_17:21)
This is, he says, the great and ineffable mystery of the Samothracians, which it is allowable, he says, for us only who are initiated to know. For the Samothracians expressly hand down, in the mysteries that are celebrated among them, that (same) Adam as the primal man. And habitually there stand in the temple of the Samothracians two images of naked men, having both hands stretched aloft towards heaven, and their pudenda erecta, as with the statue of Mercury on Mount Cyllene. And the aforesaid images are figures of the primal man, and of that spiritual one that is born again, in every respect of the same substance with that man. This, he says, is what is spoken by the Saviour: “If ye do not drink my blood, and eat my flesh, ye will not enter into the kingdom of heaven; but even though,” He says, “ye drink of the cup which I drink of, whither I go, ye cannot enter there.”(Joh_6:53; Mar_10:38) For He says He was aware of what sort of nature each of His disciples was, and that there was a necessity that each of them should attain unto His own peculiar nature. For He says He chose twelve disciples from the twelve tribes, and spoke by them to each tribe. On this account, He says, the preachings of the twelve disciples neither did all hear, nor, if they heard, could they receive. For the things that are not according to nature, are with them contrary to nature.
This, he says, the Thracians who dwell around Haemus, and the Phrygians similarly with the Thracians, denominate Corybas, because, (though) deriving the beginning of his descent from the head above and from the unportrayed brain, and (though) permeating all the principles of the existing state of things, (yet) we do not perceive how and in what manner he comes down. This, says he, is what is spoken: “We have heard his voice, no doubt, but we have not seen his shape.” (Joh_5:37) For the voice of him that is set apart56 and portrayed is heard; but (his) shape, which descends from above from the unportrayed one, – what sort it is, nobody knows. It resides, however, in an earthly mould, yet no one recognises it. This, he says, is “the god that inhabiteth the flood,” according to the Psalter, “and who speaketh and crieth from many waters.” (Psa_29:3, Psa_29:10) The “many waters,” he says, are the diversified generation of mortal men, from which (generation) he cries and vociferates to the unportrayed man, saying, “Preserve my only-begotten from the lions.” (Psa_22:20-21, Psa_35:17) In reply to him, it has, says he, been declared, “Israel, thou art my child: fear not; even though thou passest through rivers, they shall not drown thee; even though thou passest through fire, it shall not scorch thee.” (Isa_41:8, Isa_43:1-2) By rivers he means, says he, the moist substance of generation, and by fire the impulsive principle and desire for generation. “Thou art mine; fear not.” And again, he says, “If a mother forget her children, so as not to have pity on them and give them food, I also will forget you.” (Isa_49:15) Adam, he says, speaks to his own men: “But even though a woman forget these things, yet I will not forget you. I have painted you on my hands.” In regard, however, of his ascension, that is his regeneration, that he may become spiritual, not carnal, the Scripture, he says, speaks (thus): “Open the gates, ye who are your rulers; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in,” that is a wonder of wonders. (Psa_24:7-9) “For who,” he says, “is this King of glory? A worm, and not a man; a reproach of man, and an outcast of the people; himself is the King of glory, and powerful in war.” (Psa_22:6, Psa_24:8)
And by war he means the war that is in the body, because its frame has been made out of hostile elements; as it has been written, he says, “Remember the conflict that exists in the body.”57 Jacob, he says, saw this entrance and this gate in his journey into Mesopotamia, that is, when from a child he was now becoming a youth and a man; that is, (the entrance and gate) were made known unto him as he journeyed into Mesopotamia. But Mesopotamia, he says, is the current of the great ocean flowing from the midst of the Perfect Man; and he was astonished at the celestial gate, exclaiming, “How terrible is this place! it is nought else than the house of God, and this (is) the gate of heaven.” (Gen_28:7, Gen_28:17) On account of this, he says, Jesus uses the words, “I am the true gate.” (Joh_10:9; Mat_7:13) Now he who makes these statements is, he says, the Perfect Man that is imaged from the unportrayable one from above. The Perfect Man therefore cannot, he says, be saved, unless, entering in through this gate, he be born again. But this very one the Phrygians, he says, call also Papa, because he tranquillized all things which, prior to his manifestation, were confusedly and dissonantly moved. For the name, he says, of Papa belongs simultaneously to all creatures58 – celestial, and terrestrial, and infernal – who exclaim, Cause to cease, cause to cease the discard of the world, and make “peace for those that are afar off,” that is, for material and earthly beings; and “peace for those that are near,” (Eph_2:17) that is, for perfect men that are spiritual and endued with reason. But the Phrygians denominate this same also “corpse” – buried in the body, as it were, in a mausoleum and tomb. This, he says, is what has been declared, “Ye are whited sepulchres, full,” he says, “of dead men’s bones within,” (Mat_23:27) because there is not in you the living man. And again he exclaims, “The dead shall start forth from the graves,” (Mat_27:52, Mat_27:53) that is, from the earthly bodies, being born again spiritual, not carnal. For this, he says, is the Resurrection that takes place through the gate of heaven, through which, he says, all those that do not enter remain dead. These same Phrygians, however, he says, affirm again that this very (man), as a consequence of the change, (becomes) a god. For, he says, he becomes a god when, having risen from the dead, he will enter into heaven through a gate of this kind. Paul the apostle, he says, knew of this gate, partially opening it in a mystery, and stating “that he was caught up by an angel, and ascended as far as the second and third heaven into paradise itself; and that he beheld sights and heard unspeakable words which it would not be possible for man to declare.” (2Co_12:2)
These are, he says, what are by all called the secret mysteries, “which (also we speak), not in words taught of human wisdom, but in those taught of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him.” (1Co_2:13-14) And these are, he says, the ineffable mysteries of the Spirit, which we alone are acquainted with. Concerning these, he says, the Saviour has declared, “No one can come unto me, except my heavenly Father draw some one unto me.” (Joh_6:44) For it is very difficult, he says, to accept and receive this great and ineffable mystery. And again, it is said, the Saviour has declared, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat_7:21) And it is necessary that they who perform this (will), not hear it merely, should enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again, he says, the Saviour has declared, “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you.” (Mat_7:21) For “the publicans,” he says, are those who receive the revenues59 of all things;60 but we, he says, are the publicans, “unto whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1Co_10:11) For “the ends,” he says, are the seeds scattered from the unportrayable one upon the world, through which the whole cosmical system is completed; for through these also it began to exist. And this, he says, is what has been declared: “The sower went forth to sow. And some fell by the wayside, and was trodden down; and some on the rocky places, and sprang up,” he says, “and on account of its having no depth (of soil), it withered and died; and some,” he says, “fell on fair and good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty fold. Who hath ears,” he says, “to hear, let him hear.” (Mat_13:3-9; Mar_4:3-9; Luk_8:5-8) The meaning of this, he says, is as follows, that none becomes a hearer of these mysteries, unless only the perfect Gnostics. This, he says, is the fair and good land which Moses speaks of: “I will bring you into a fair and good land, into a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deu_31:20) This, he says, is the honey and the milk, by tasting which those that are perfect become kingless, and share in the Pleroma. This, he says, is the Pleroma, through which all existent things that are produced61 have from the ingenerable one been both produced and completed.
And this same (one) is styled also by62 the Phrygians “unfruitful.” For he is unfruitful when he is carnal, and causes the desire of the flesh. This, he says, is what is spoken: “Every tree not producing good fruit, is cut down and cast into the fire.” (Mat_3:10; Luk_3:9) For these fruits, he says, are only rational living men, who enter in through the third gate. They say, forsooth, “Ye devour the dead, and make the living; (but) if ye eat the living, what will ye do?” They assert, however, that the living “are rational faculties and minds, and men – pearls of that unportrayable one cast before the creature below.”63 This, he says, is what (Jesus) asserts: “Throw not that which is holy unto the dogs, nor pearls unto the swine.” (Mat_7:6) Now they allege that the work of swine and dogs is the intercourse of the woman with a man. And the Phrygians, he says, call this very one “goat-herd” (Aipolis), not because, he says, he is accustomed to feed the goats female and male, as the natural (men) use the name, but because, he says, he is “Aipolis” – that is, always ranging over, – who both revolves and carries around the entire cosmical system by his revolutionary motion. For the word “Polein” signifies to turn and change things; whence, he says, they all call the twos centre of the heaven poles (Poloi). And the poet says: –
“What sea-born sinless sage comes hither,
Undying Egyptian Proteus?”64
He is not undone,65 he says,66 but revolves as it were, and goes round himself. Moreover, also, cities in which we dwell, because we turn and go round in them, are denominated “Poleis.” In this manner, he says, the Phygians call this one “Aipolis,” inasmuch as he everywhere ceaselessly turns all things, and changes them into their own peculiar (functions). And the Phrygians style him, he says, “very fruitful” likewise, “because,” says he, “more numerous are the children of the desolate one, than those of her which hath an husband;” (Isa_54:1; Gal_4:27) that is, things by being born again become immortal and abide for ever in great numbers, even though the things that are produced may be few; whereas things carnal, he says, are all corruptible, even though very many things (of this type) are produced. For this reason, he says, “Rachel wept67 for her children, and would not,” says (the prophet), “be comforted; sorrowing for them, for she knew,” says he, “that they are not.” (Jer_31:15; Mat_2:18) But Jeremiah likewise utters lamentation for Jerusalem below, not the city in Phoenicia, but the corruptible generation below. For Jeremiah likewise, he says, was aware of the Perfect Man, of him that is born again – of water and the Spirit not carnal. At least Jeremiah himself remarked: “He is a man, and who shall know him?” (Jer_17:9) In this manner, (the Naassene) says, the knowledge of the Perfect Man is exceedingly profound, and difficult of comprehension. For, he says, the beginning of perfection is a knowledge of man, whereas knowledge of God is absolute perfection.
The Phrygians, however, assert, he says, that he is likewise “a green ear of corn reaped.” And after the Phrygians, the Athenians, while initiating people into the Eleusinian rites, likewise display to those who are being admitted to the highest grade at these mysteries, the mighty, and marvellous, and most perfect secret suitable for one initiated into the highest mystic truths: (I allude to) an ear of corn in silence reaped. But this ear of corn is also (considered) among the Athenians to constitute the perfect enormous illumination (that has descended) from the unportrayable one, just as the Hierophant himself (declares); not, indeed, emasculated like Attis,68 but made a eunuch by means of hemlock, and despising69 all carnal generation. (Now) by night in Eleusis, beneath a huge fire, (the Celebrant,) enacting the great and secret mysteries, vociferates and cries aloud, saying, “August Brimo has brought forth a consecrated son, Brimus;” that is, a potent (mother has been delivered of) a potent child. But revered, he says, is the generation that is spiritual, heavenly, from above, and potent is he that is so born. For the mystery is called “Eleusin” and “Anactorium.” “Eleusin,” because, he says, we who are spiritual come flowing down from Adam above; for the word “eleusesthai” is, he says, of the same import with the expression “to come.” But “Anactorium” is of the same import with the expression “to ascend upwards.” This, he says, is what they affirm who have been initiated in the mysteries of the Eleusinians. It is, however, a regulation of law, that those who have been admitted into the lesser should again be initiated into the Great Mysteries. For greater destinies obtain greater portions. But the inferior mysteries, he says, are those of Proserpine below; in regard of which mysteries, and the path which leads thither, which is wide and spacious, and conducts those that are perishing to Proserpine, the poet likewise says: –
“But under her a fearful path extends,
Hollow miry, yet best guide to
Highly-honoured Aphrodite’s lovely grove.”70
These, he says, are the inferior mysteries, those appertaining to carnal generation. Now, those men who are initiated into these inferior (mysteries) ought to pause, and (then) be admitted into the great (and) heavenly (ones). For they, he says, who obtain their shares (in this mystery), receive greater portions. For this, he says, is the gate of heaven; and this a house of God, where the Good Deity dwells alone. And into this (gate), he says, no unclean person shall enter, nor one that is natural or carnal; but it is reserved for the spiritual only. And those who come hither ought to cast off71 their garments, and become all of them bridegrooms, emasculated through the virginal spirit. For this is the virgin (Isa_7:14) who carries in her womb and conceives and brings forth a son, not animal, not corporeal, but blessed for evermore. Concerning these, it is said, the Saviour has expressly declared that “straight and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there are that enter upon it; whereas broad and spacious is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there are that pass through it.” (Mat_7:13, Mat_7:14)
Chap. IV. – Further Use Made of the System of the Phrygians; Mode of Celebrating the Mysteries; the Mystery of the “Great Mother;” These Mysteries Have a Joint Object of Worship with the Naasseni; the Naasseni Allegorize the Scriptural Account of the Garden of Eden; the Allegory Applied to the Life of Jesus.
The Phrygians, however, further assert that the father of the universe is “Amygdalus,” not a tree, he says, but that he is “Amygdalus” who previously existed; and he having in himself the perfect fruit, as it were, throbbing and moving in the depth, rent his breasts, and produced his now invisible, and nameless, and ineffable child, respecting whom we shall speak. For the word “Amyxai” signifies, as it were, to burst and sever through, as he says (happens) in the case of inflamed bodies, and which have in themselves any tumour; and when doctors have cut this, they call it “Amychai.” In this way, he says, the Phrygians call him “Amygdalus,” from which proceeded and was born the Invisible (One), “by whom all things were made, and nothing was made without Him.” (Joh_1:3) And the Phrygians say that what has been thence produced is “Syrictas” (piper), because the Spirit that is born is harmonious. “For God,” he says, “is Spirit; wherefore,” he affirms, “neither in this mountain do the true worshippers worship, nor in Jerusalem, but in spirit. For the adoration of the perfect ones,” he says, “is spiritual, not carnal.” (Joh_4:21) The Spirit, however, he says, is there where likewise the Father is named, and the Son is there born from this Father. This, he says, is the many-named, thousand-eyed Incomprehensible One, of whom every nature – each, however, differently – is desirous. This, he says, is the word of God, which, he says, is a word of revelation of the Great Power. Wherefore it will be sealed, and hid, and concealed, lying in the habitation where lies the basis of the root of the universe, viz. Aeons, Powers, Intelligences, Gods, Angels, delegated Spirits, Entities, Nonentities, Generables, Ingenerables, Incomprehensibles, Comprehensibles, Years, Months, Days, Hours, (and) Invisible Point from which72 what is least begins to increase gradually. That which is, he says, nothing, and which consists of nothing, inasmuch as it is indivisible – (I mean) a point – will become through its own reflective power a certain incomprehensible magnitude. This, he says, is the kingdom of heaven, the grain of mustard seed, (Mat_13:31, Mat_13:32; Mar_4:31, Mar_4:32; Luk_13:19) the point which is indivisible in the body; and, he says, no one knows this (point) save the spiritual only. This, he says, is what has been spoken: “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” (Psa_19:3)
They rashly assume in this manner, that whatsoever things have been said and done by all men, (may be made to harmonize) with their own particular mental view, alleging that all things become spiritual. Whence likewise they assert, that those exhibiting themselves in theatres, – not even these say or do anything without premeditation. Therefore, he says, when, on the people assembling in the theatres, any one enters clad in a remarkable robe, carrying a harp and playing a tune (upon it, accompanying it) with a song of the great mysteries, he speaks as follows, not knowing what he says: “Whether (thou art) the race of Saturn or happy Jupiter,73 or mighty Rhea, Hail, Attis, gloomy mutilation of Rhea. Assyrians style thee thrice-longed-for Adonis, and the whole of Egypt (calls thee) Osiris, celestial horn of the moon; Greeks denominate (thee) Wisdom; Samothracians, venerable Adam; Haemonians, Corybas; and them Phrygians (name thee) at one time Papa, at another time Corpse, or God, or Fruitless, or Aipolos, or green Ear of Corn that has been reaped, or whom the very fertile Amygdalus produced – a man, a musician.” This, he says, is multiform Attis, whom while they celebrate in a hymn, they utter these words: “I will hymn Attis, son of Rhea, not with the buzzing sounds of trumpets, or of Idaean pipers, which accord with (the voices of) the Curetes; but I will mingle (my song) with Apollo’s music of harps, ‘evoe, evan,’ inasmuch as thou art Pan, as thou art Bacchus, as thou art shepherd of brilliant stars.”
On account of these and such like reasons, these constantly attend the mysteries called those of the “Great Mother,” supposing especially that they behold by means of the ceremonies performed there the entire mystery. For these have nothing more than the ceremonies that are performed there, except that they are not emasculated: they merely complete the work of the emasculated. For with the utmost severity and vigilance they enjoin (on their votaries) to abstain, as if they were emasculated, from intercourse with a woman. The rest, however, of the proceeding (observed in these mysteries), as we have declared at some length, (they follow) just as (if they were) emasculated persons. And they do not worship any other object but Naas, (from thence) being styled Naasseni. But Naas is the serpent from whom, i.e., from the word Naas, (the Naassene) says, are all that under heaven are denominated temples (Naous). And (he states) that to him alone – that is, Naas – is dedicated every shrine and every initiatory rite, and every mystery; and, in general, that a religious ceremony could not be discovered under heaven, in which a temple (Naos) has no existence; and in the temple itself is Naas, from whom it has received its denomination of temple (Naos). And these affirm that the serpent is a moist substance, just as Thales also, the Milesian, (spoke of water as an originating principle,) and that nothing of existing things, immortal or mortal, animate or inanimate, could consist at all without him. And that all things are subject unto him, and that he is good, and that he has all things in himself, as in the horn of the one-horned bull; (Deu_33:17) so as that he imparts beauty and bloom to all things that exist according to their own nature and peculiarity, as if passing through all, just as (“the river) proceeding forth from Edem, and dividing itself into four heads.” (Gen_2:10)
They assert, however, that Edem is the brain, as it were, bound and tightly fastened in encircling robes, as if (in) heaven. But they suppose that man, as far as the head only, is Paradise, therefore that “this river, which proceeds out of i Edem,” that is, from the brain, “is divided into four heads, (Gen_2:11-14) and that the name of the first river is called Phison; this is that which encompasseth all the land of Havilath: there is gold, and the gold of that land is excellent, and there is bdellium and the onyx stone.” This, he says, is the eye, which, by its honour (among the rest of the bodily organs), and its colours, furnishes testimony to what is spoken. “But the name of the second river is Gihon: this is that which compasseth the land of Ethiopia.” This, he says, is hearing, since Gihon is (a tortuous stream), resembling a sort of labyrinth. “And the name of the third is Tigris. This is that which floweth over against (the country of) the Assyrians.” This, he says,74 is smelling, employing the exceedingly rapid current of the stream (as an analogy of this sense). But it flows over against (the country of) the Assyrians, because in every act of respiration following upon expiration, the breath drawn in from the external atmosphere enters with swifter motion and greater force. For this, he says, is the nature of respiration. “But the fourth river is Euphrates.” This, they assert, is the mouth, through which are the passage outwards of prayer, and the passage inwards of nourishment. (The mouth) makes glad, and nurtures and fashions the Spiritual Perfect Man. This, he says, is “the water that is above the firmament,” (Gen_1:7) concerning which, he says, the Saviour has declared, “If thou knewest who it is that asks, thou wouldst have asked from Him, and He would have given you to drink living, bubbling water.” (Joh_4:10) Into this water, he says, every nature enters, choosing its own substances; and its peculiar quality comes to each nature from this water, he says, more than iron does to the magnet, and the gold to the backbone75 of the sea falcon, and the chaff to the amber.
But if any one, he says, is blind from birth, and has never beheld the true light, “which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world,” (Joh_1:9, Joh_9:1) by us let him recover his sight, and behold, as it were, through some paradise planted with every description of tree, and supplied with abundance of fruits, water coursing its way through all the trees and fruits; and he will see that from one and the same water the olive chooses for itself and draws the oil, and the vine the wine; and (so is it with) the rest of plants, according to each genus. That Man, however, he says, is of no reputation in the world, but of illustrious fame in heaven, being betrayed by those who are ignorant (of his perfections) to those who know him not, being accounted as a drop from a cask. (Isa_40:15) We, however, he says, are spiritual, who, from the life-giving water of Euphrates, which flows through the midst of Babylon, choose our own peculiar quality as we pass through the true gate, which is the blessed Jesus. And of all men, we Christians alone are those who in the third gate celebrate the mystery, and are anointed there with the unspeakable chrism from a horn, as David (was anointed), not from an earthen vessel, (1Sa_10:1, 1Sa_16:13) he says, as (was) Saul, who held converse with the evil demon (1Sa_16:14) of carnal concupiscence.
Chap. V. – Explanation of the System of the Naasseni Taken from One of Their Hymns.
The foregoing remarks, then, though few out of many, we have thought proper to bring forward. For innumerable are the silly and crazy attempts of folly. But since, to the best of our ability, we have explained the unknown Gnosis, it seemed expedient likewise to adduce the following point. This psalm of theirs has been composed, by which they seem to celebrate all the mysteries of the error (advanced by) them in a hymn, couched in the following terms: –
The world’s producing law was Primal Mind,76
And next was First-born’s outpoured Chaos;
And third, the soul received its law of toil:
Encircl’d, therefore, with an aqueous77 form,
With care o’erpowered it succumbs to death.
Now holding sway, it eyes the light,
And now it weeps on misery flung;
Now it mourns, now it thrills with joy;
Now it wails, now it hears its doom;
Now it hears its doom, now it dies,
And now it leaves us, never to return.
It, hapless straying, treads the maze of ills.
But Jesus said, Father, behold,
A strife of ills across the earth
Wanders from thy breath (of wrath);
But bitter Chaos (man) seeks to shun,
And knows not how to pass it through.
On this account, O Father, send me;
Bearing seals, I shall descend;
Through ages whole I’ll sweep,
All mysteries I’ll unravel,
And forms of Gods I’ll show;
And secrets of the saintly path,
Styled “Gnosis,” I’ll impart.
Chap. VI. – The Ophites the Grand Source of Heresy.
These doctrines, then, the Naasseni attempt to establish, calling themselves Gnostics. But since the error is many-headed and diversified, resembling, in truth, the hydra that we read of in history; when, at one blow, we have struck off the heads of this (delusion) by means of refutation, employing the wand of truth, we shall entirely exterminate the monster. For neither do the remaining heresies present much difference of aspect from this, having a mutual connection through (the same) spirit of error. But since, altering the words and the names of the serpent, they wish that there should be many heads of the serpent, neither thus shall we fail thoroughly to refute them as they desire.
1 [Consult Bunsen, vol. i. p. 35, always interesting and ingeniously critical; nobody should neglect his work. But for a judicial mind, compare Dr. Wordsworth, p. 182.]
2 The ms employs the form of Sithians, which is obviously not the correct one.
3 This term κλεψίλογοςis frequently applied by Hippolytus to the heretics.
4 Miller has ἀποκαλύψας for παραλείψας. This, however, can bear no intelligible except, we add some other word, as thus: “not even have I failed to disclose.” Schneidewin’s correction of ἀποκαλύψας into παραλείψας is obviously an improvement.
5 Μεταλαβόντες; some read μετασχόντες, which is presumed might be rendered, “sharing in the opinions which gave occasion to these hererodox doctrines.”
6 i.e., ὄφις. This term has created the title “Ophites,” which may be regarded as the generic denomination for all the advocates of this phase of Gnosticism.
7 The heresy of the Naasseni is adverted to by the other leading writers on heresy in the early age of the church. See St. Irenaeus, i. 34; Origen, Contr. Cels., vi. 28 (p. 291 et seq. ed. Spenc.); Tertullian, Praescr., c. 47; Theodoret, Haeretic. Fabul., i. 14; Epiphanius. Advers. Haereses., xxv. and xxxvii.; St. Augustine, De Haeres., xvii., Jerome, Comment. Epist. ad Galat., lib. ii. The Abbe Cruice reminds his readers that the Naasseni carried their doctrines into India, and refers to the Asiatic Researches (vol. x. p. 39).
8 The Hebrew word is נָחָשׁ (nachash).
9 παρὰ τὸν αὐτῶν λόγον. Bernaysius suggests for these words, πατέρα τῷαὐτῷ λόγῳ. Schneidewin regards the emendation as an error, and Bunsen partly so. The latter would read, Λόγον, i.e., “The Naasseni honour the father of all existent things, the Logos, as Man and the Son of man.”
10 See Irenaeus, Haer., i., 1.
11 Geryon (see note, chap. iii.) is afterwards mentioned as a synonyme with Jordan, i.e., “flowing from earth.” (γῆ ῥύων).
12 γνῶσις, – a term often alluded to by St. John, and which gives its name “Gnosticism” to the forms of the Ophitic heresy. The aphorism in the text is one that embodies a grand principle which lies at the root of all correct philosophy. In this and other instances it will be found that the system, however wild and incoherent in its theology, of the Naasseni and some of the other Gnostic sects, was one which was corrupted by a subtle analysis of thought, and by observation of nature.
13 The Abbe Cruice remarks on this passage, that, as the statement here as regards Jesus Christ does not correspond with Origen’s remarks on the opinions of the Naasseni in reference to our Lord, the Philosophumena cannot be the work of Origen.
14 The Abbe Cruice observes that we have here another proof that the Philosophumena is not the work of Origen, who in his Contra Celsum mentions Mariamne, but professes not to have met with any of his followers (see Contr. Cels. lib. v. p. 272, ed. Spenc.). This confirms the opinion mostly entertained of Origen, that neither the bent of his mind nor the direction of his studies justifies the supposition that he would write a detailed history of heresy.
15 Or ἀδιάφορον, equivocal.
16 This has been by the best critics regarded as a fragment of a hymn of Pindar’s on Jupiter Ammon. Schneidewin furnishes a restored poetic version of it by Bergk. This hymn, we believe, first suggested to M. Miller an idea of the possible value and importance of the ms of The Refutation brought by Minöides Mynas from Greece.
17 The usual form is Alalcomenes. He was a Boeotian Autocthon.
18 Or, “Iannes.” The Abbe Cruice refers to Berosus, Chald. Hist., pp. 48, 49, and to his own dissertation (Paris, 1844) on the authority to be attached to Josephus, as regards the writers adduced by him in his treatise Contr. Apion.
19 The Rabbins, probably deriving their notions from the Chaldeans, entertained the most exaggerated ideas respecting the perfection of Adam. Thus Gerson, in his Commentary on Abarbanel, says that, “ Adam was endued with the very perfection of wisdom, and was chief of philosophers, that he was an immediate disciple of the Deity, also a physician and a astrologer, and the originator of all the arts and sciences.” The spirit of exaggeration passed from the Jews to the Christians (see Clementine Homilies, ii.). Aquinas (Sum. Theol., pars i 94) says of Adam, “Since the first man was appointed perfect, he ought to have possessed a knowledge of everything capable of being ascertained by natural means.”
20 Or, “vanquishing him.” (Roeper).
21 This is known to us only by some ancient quotations. The Naasseni had another work of repute among them, the “Gospel according to Thomas.” Bunsen conjectures that the two “Gospels” may be the same.
22 αὐτογενοῦς. Miller has αὐτοῦ γένους, which Bunsen rejects in favour of the reading “self-begotten.”
23 Schneidewin considers that there have been left out in the ms the words “or Attis” after Endymion. Attis is subsequently mentioned with some degree of particularity.
24 Or, “creation.”
25 Or, “Apis.” See Diodorus Siculus, iii. 58. 59. Pausanias, vii. 20, writes the word Attes. See also Minucius Felix, Octav., cap. xxi.
26 Or, “forbidden.”
27 Gal_3:28, and Clement’s Epist. ad Rom., ii. 12. [This is the apocryphal Clement reserved for vol. 8. of this series. See also same text, Ignatius, vol. 1. p. 81.]
28 ἀλάλῳ; some read ἄλλῳ.
29 These words do not occur in the “Gospel of Thomas concerning the Saviour’s infancy,” as given by Fabricus and Thilo.
30 The Abbe Cruice mentions the following works as of authority among the Naasseni, and from whence they derived their system: The Gospel of Perfection, Gospel of Eve, The Questions of Mary, Concerning the Offspring of Mary, The Gospel of Philip, The Gospel according to (1) Thomas, (2) the Egyptians. (See Epiphanius, Haeres., c. xxvi., and Origen, Contr. Cels., vi. 30, p. 296, ed. Spenc.) There heretics otherwise make use of the Old Testament, St. John’s Gospel, and some of the Pauline epistles.
31 Miller refers to Littré, Traduct. des Oeuvres d’Hippocrate, t. i. p. 396.
32 See Herodotus, ii. 2, 5.
33 See Origen, Contr. Cels., v. 38 (p. 257, ed. Spenc.)
34 Or, “brilliant.”
35 Or, “untraceable.”
36 Or, “spirit.”
37 See Epiphanius, Haeres., xxvi. 8.
38 Miller has οὐδεὶς. See Plutarch, De Isid. et Osirid., e. li. p. 371.
39 Or, εἰσόδου, i.e., entrance.
40 Odyssey, xxiv. 1.
41 Empedocles, v. 390, Stein.
42 Esaldaius, Miller (see Origen, Contr. Cels., v. 76, p. 297, ed. Spenc.)
43 Odyssey, xxiv. 2.
44 See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, c. xxxiv.
45 Odyssey, xxiv. 5.
46 Odyssey, xxiv. 6 et seq.
47 Iliad, iv. 350, ἕρκος ὀδόντων: –
“What word hath ‘scaped the ivory guard that should
Have fenced it in.”
48 Odyssey, xxiv. 9.
49 Iliad, iv. 246, xxiv. 201.
50 Philo Judaeus adopts the same imagery (see his De Agricult., lib. i.)
51 Or, “empty.”
52 The Abbe Cruice considers that this is taken from verses of Ezekiel, founding his opinion on fragments of these verses to be found in Eusebius’ Praeparat. Evang., ix. 38.
53 Iliad, xv. 189.
54 The commentators refer to Isa_28:10. Epiphanius, Haeres., xxv., mentions these expressions, but assigns them a different meaning. Saulasau is tribulation, Caulacau hope, and Zeesar “hope, as yet, little.” [See my note 179 on Irenaeus, p. 350, this series, and see Elucidation II.]
55 Taken from Anacreon.
56 ἀποτεταγμένου; some read ἀποτεταμένου.
57 This is a quotation from the Septuagint, Job_40:1-24:27, LXX. The reference to the authorized (English) version would be Job_41:8.
58 [A strange amplifying of the word, which is now claimed exclusively for one. Elucidation III.]
59 The word translated “revenues” and “ends” is the same – τέλη.
60 Τῶν ὅλων; some read τῶν ὠνίων.
61 Or, “genera.”
62 ὑπὸ: Miller reads ἀπὸ.
63 κάτω; some read κάρπου.
64 Odyssey, iv. 384.
65 πιπράσκεται; literally, bought and sold, i.e., ruined.
66 λέγει; some read ἀμέλει, i.e., doubtless, of course.
67 ἔκλαιε: this is in the margin: ἔλαβε in the ms. The marginal reading is the proper correction of that of the ms.
68 [The Phrygian Atys (see cap. iv. infra), whose history should have saved Origen from an imitation of heathenism.
69 παρῃτημένος: some read ἀπηρτισμένος, i.e., perfecting.
70 These verses have been ascribed to Parmenides.
71 Or, “receive.”
72 ἐξ ἧς or ἑξῆς, i.e., next.
73 The passage following obviously was in verse originally. It has been restored to its poetic form by Schneidewin.
74 Or, “they say.”
75 κερκίς. This word literally means the rod; or, in later times, the comb fixed into the ἱστός (i.e., the upright loom), for the purpose of driving the threads of the wolf home, thus making the web even and close. it is among other significations, applied to bones in the leg or arm. Cruice and Schneidewin translate κερκίς by spina, a rendering adapted above. The allusion is made again in chap. xii. and chap xvi. In the last passage, κέντρον (spur) is used instead of κερκίς.
76 The text of this hymn is very corrupt. The Abbe Cruice explains the connection of the hymn with the foregoing exposition, and considers it to have a reference to the Metempsychosis, which forms part of the system of the Naasseni. [Bunsen, i. 36.]
77 Or, “nimble.”