Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Refutation of All Heresies/Book VII/Part 9

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. V, Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies, Book VII by Hippolytus, translated by John Henry MacMahon
Part 9

Chapter VIII.—Basilides and Isidorus Allege Apostolic Sanction for Their Systems; They Really Follow Aristotle.

Basilides, therefore, and Isidorus, the true son and disciple of Basilides, say that Matthias[1] communicated to them secret discourses, which, I being specially instructed, he heard from the Saviour.  Let us, then, see how clearly Basilides, simultaneously with Isidorus, and the entire band of these (heretics), not only absolutely belies Matthias, but even the Saviour Himself. (Time) was, says (Basilides), when there was nothing. Not even, however, did that nothing constitute anything of existent things; but, to express myself undisguisedly and candidly, and without any quibbling, it is altogether nothing. But when, he says, I employ the expression “was,” I do not say that it was; but (I speak in this way) in order to signify the meaning of what I wish to elucidate. I affirm then, he says, that it was “altogether nothing.” For, he says, that is not absolutely ineffable which is named (so),—although undoubtedly we call this ineffable,—but that which is “non-ineffable.”  For that which is “non-ineffable” is not denominated ineffable, but is, he says, above every name that is named. For, he says, by no means for the world are these names sufficient, but so manifold are its divisions that there is a deficiency (of names).  And I do not take it upon myself to discover, he says, proper denominations for all things. Undoubtedly, however, one ought mentally, not by means of names, to conceive, after an ineffable manner, the peculiarities (of things) denominated. For an equivocal terminology, (when employed by teachers,) has created for their pupils confusion and a source of error concerning objects.  (The Basilidians), in the first instance, laying hold on this borrowed and furtively derived tenet from the Peripatetic (sage), play upon the folly of those who herd together with them. For Aristotle, born many generations before Basilides, first lays down a system in The Categories concerning homonymous words. And these heretics bring this (system) to light as if it were peculiarly their own, and as if it were some novel (doctrine), and some secret disclosure from the discourses of Matthias.[2]


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Miller erroneously reads “Matthew.”
  2. (See Bunsen, i. v. 86. A fabulous reference may convey a truth.  This implies that Matthias was supposed to have preached and left results of his teachings.]