Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/Appendix: Against All Heresies/III

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, Appendix: Against All Heresies by Tertullian, translated by Sydney Thelwall

Chapter III.—Carpocrates, Cerinthus, Ebion.

Carpocrates, furthermore, introduced the following sect. He affirms that there is one Virtue, the chief among the upper (regions): that out of this were produced angels and Virtues, which, being far distant from the upper Virtues, created this world[1] in the lower regions: that Christ was not born of the Virgin Mary, but was generated—a mere human being—of the seed of Joseph, superior (they admit) above all others in the practice of righteousness and in integrity of life; that He suffered among the Jews; and that His soul alone was received in heaven as having been more firm and hardy than all others: whence he would infer, retaining only the salvation of souls, that there are no resurrections of the body.

After him brake out the heretic Cerinthus, teaching similarly. For he, too, says that the world[2] was originated by those angels;[3] and sets forth Christ as born of the seed of Joseph, contending that He was merely human, without divinity; affirming also that the Law was given by angels;[4] representing the God of the Jews as not the Lord, but an angel.

His successor was Ebion,[5] not agreeing with Cerinthus in every point; in that he affirms the world[6] to have been made by God, not by angels; and because it is written, “No disciple above his master, nor servant above his lord,”[7] sets forth likewise the law as binding,[8] of course for the purpose of excluding the gospel and vindicating Judaism.


  1. Mundum.
  2. Mundum.
  3. “Ab illis” is perhaps an error for “ab angelis,” by absorption of the first syllable. So Routh has conjectured before me.
  4. Ab angelis:” an erroneous notion, which professed probably to derive support from John i. 17, Acts vii. 53, Gal. iii. 19, where, however, the Greek prepositions should be carefully noted, and ought in no case to be rendered by “ab.”
  5. Al. Hebion.
  6. Al. Hebion.
  7. See Matt. x. 24; Luke iv. 40; John xiii. 16.
  8. i.e., as Rig.’s quotation from Jerome’s Indiculus (in Oehler) shows, “because in so far as, Christ observed it.”