Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IV/Origen/Origen Against Celsus/Book VI/Chapter XXXV

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Chapter XXXV.

It is our practice, indeed, to make use of the words of the prophets, who demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ predicted by them, and who show from the prophetic writings the events in the Gospels regarding Jesus have been fulfilled.  But when Celsus speaks of “circles upon circles,” (he perhaps borrowed the expression) from the aforementioned heresy, which includes in one circle (which they call the soul of all things, and Leviathan) the seven circles of archontic demons, or perhaps it arises from misunderstanding the preacher, when he says:  “The wind goeth in a circle of circles, and returneth again upon its circles.”[1]  The expression, too, “effluents of an earthly church and of circumcision,” was probably taken from the fact that the church on earth was called by some an effluent from a heavenly church and a better world; and that the circumcision described in the law was a symbol of the circumcision performed there, in a certain place set apart for purification.  The adherents of Valentinus, moreover, in keeping with their system of error,[2] give the name of Prunicos to a certain kind of wisdom, of which they would have the woman afflicted with the twelve years’ issue of blood to be the symbol; so that Celsus, who confuses together all sorts of opinions—Greek, Barbarian, and Heretical—having heard of her, asserted that it was a power flowing forth from one Prunicos, a virgin.  The “living soul,” again, is perhaps mysteriously referred by some of the followers of Valentinus to the being whom they term the psychic[3] creator of the world; or perhaps, in contradistinction to a “dead” soul, the “living” soul is termed by some, not inelegantly,[4] the soul of “him who is saved.”  I know nothing, however, of a “heaven which is said to be slain,” or of an “earth slaughtered by the sword,” or of many persons slain in order that they might live; for it is not unlikely that these were coined by Celsus out of his own brain.


  1. Eccles. i. 6. (literally rendered).  [Modern science demonstrates this physical truth.]
  2. κατὰ τὴν πεπλανηένην ἑαυτῶν σοφίαν.
  3. ψυχικὸν δημιουργόν.
  4. οὐκ ἀγεννῶς.