Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/Against the Valentinians/XXXIX

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, Against the Valentinians by Tertullian, translated by Peter Holmes

Chapter XXXIX.—Their Diversity of Sentiment Affects the Very Central Doctrine of Christianity, Even the Person and Character of the Lord Jesus. This Diversity Vitiates Every Gnostic School.

Now, concerning even the Lord Jesus, into how great a diversity of opinion are they divided! One party form Him of the blossoms of all the Æons.[1] Another party will have it that He is made up only of those ten whom the Word and the Life[2] produced;[3] from which circumstance the titles of the Word and the Life were suitably transferred to Him. Others, again, that He rather sprang from the twelve, the offspring of Man and the Church,[4] and therefore, they say, He was designated “Son of man.” Others, moreover, maintain that He was formed by Christ and the Holy Spirit, who have to provide for the establishment of the universe,[5] and that He inherits by right His Father’s appellation. Some there are who have imagined that another origin must be found for the title “Son of man;” for they have had the presumption to call the Father Himself Man, by reason of the profound mystery of this title: so that what can you hope for more ample concerning faith in that God, with whom you are now yourself on a par? Such conceits are constantly cropping out[6] amongst them, from the redundance of their mother’s seed.[7] And so it happens that the doctrines which have grown up amongst the Valentinians have already extended their rank growth to the woods of the Gnostics.


  1. See above, ch. xii. p. 510.
  2. The Æons Sermo and Vita.
  3. See above, ch. vii. p. 506.
  4. See above, ch. viii. p. 507.
  5. See above, ch. xiv. p. 511.
  6. Superfruticant.
  7. Archamoth is referred to.