Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Refutation of All Heresies/Book VI/Part 38
|←Part 37|| Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. V, Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies, Book VI by , translated by John Henry MacMahon
Chapter XXXVII.—Marcus’ System Explained by Irenæus; Marcus’ Vision; The Vision of Valentinus Revealing to Him His System.
For also the blessed presbyter Irenæus, having approached the subject of a refutation in a more unconstrained spirit, has explained such washings and redemptions, stating more in the way of a rough digest what are their practices. (And it appears that some of the Marcosians,) on meeting with (Irenæus’ work), deny that they have so received (the secret word just alluded to), but they have learned that always they should deny. Wherefore our anxiety has been more accurately to investigate, and to discover minutely what are the (instructions) which they deliver in the case of the first bath, styling it by some such name; and in the case of the second, which they denominate Redemption. But not even has this secret of theirs escaped (our scrutiny). For these opinions, however, we consent to pardon Valentinus and his school.
But Marcus, imitating his teacher, himself also feigns a vision, imagining that in this way he would be magnified. For Valentinus likewise alleges that he had seen an infant child lately born; and questioning (this child), he proceeded to inquire who it might be. And (the child) replied, saying that he himself is the Logos, and then subjoined a sort of tragic legend; and out of this (Valentinus) wishes the heresy attempted by him to consist. Marcus, making a similar attempt with this (heretic), asserts that the Tetrad came to him in the form of a woman,—since the world could not bear, he says, the male (form) of this Tetrad, and that she revealed herself who she was, and explained to this (Marcus) alone the generation of the universe, which she never had revealed to any, either of gods or of men, expressing herself after this mode: When first the self-existent Father, He who is inconceivable and without substance, He who is neither male nor female, willed that His own ineffability should become realized in something spoken, and that His invisibility should become realized in form, He opened His mouth, and sent forth similar to Himself a Logos. And this (Logos) stood by Him, and showed unto Him who he was, viz., that he himself had been manifested as a (realization in) form of the Invisible One. And the pronunciation of the name was of the following description. He was accustomed to utter the first word of the name itself, which was Arche, and the syllable of this was (composed) of four letters. Then he subjoined the second (syllable), and this was also (composed) of four letters. Next he uttered the third (syllable), which was (composed) of ten letters; and he uttered the fourth (syllable), and this was (composed) of twelve letters. Then ensued the pronunciation of the entire name, (composed) of thirty letters, but of four syllables. And each of the elements had its own peculiar letters, and its own peculiar form, and its own peculiar pronunciation, as well as figures and images. And not one of these was there that beholds the form of that (letter) of which this was an element. And of course none of them could know the pronunciation of the (letter) next to this, but (only) as he himself pronounces it, (and that in such a way) as that, in pronouncing the whole (word), he supposed that he was uttering the entire (name). For each of these (elements), being part of the entire (name), he denominates (according to) its own peculiar sound, as if the whole (of the word). And he does not intermit sounding until he arrived at the last letter of the last element, and uttered it in a single articulation. Then he said, that the restoration of the entire ensued when all the (elements), coming down into the one letter, sounded one and the same pronunciation, and an image of the pronunciation he supposed to exist when we simultaneously utter the word Amen. And that these sounds are those which gave form to the insubstantial and unbegotten Æon, and that those forms are what the Lord declared to be angels—the (forms) that uninterruptedly behold the face of the Father.
- Hippolytus has already employed this word, ἁδρομέστερον, in the Proœmium. It literally means, of strong or compact parts. Hippolytus, however, uses it in contrast to the expression λεπτομέρης, in reference to his Summary of Heresies. Bunsen thinks that Hippolytus means to say that Irenæus expressed himself rather too strongly, and that the Marcosians, on meeting with Irenæus’ assertions, indignantly repudiated them. Dr. Wordsworth translates ἁδρομερῶς (in the Proœmium), “with rude generality,”—a rendering scarcely in keeping with the passage above.
- The largest extract from Irenæus is that which follows—the explanation of the heresy of Marcus. From this to the end of book vi. occurs in Irenæus likewise. Hippolytus’ text does not always accurately correspond with that of his master. The divergence, however, is inconsiderable, and may sometimes be traceable to the error of the transcriber.
- Hippolytus uses two words to signify letters, στοιχεῖον and γράμμα. The former strictly means an articulate sound as the basis of language or of written words, and the latter the sound itself when represented by a particular symbol or sign.
- [Rev. iii. 14. A name of Christ. This word is travestied as the name Logos also, most profanely.]