Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Refutation of All Heresies/Book VI/Part 16

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Chapter XV.—Simon’s Disciples Adopt the Mysteries; Simon Meets St. Peter at Rome; Account of Simon’s Closing Years.

The disciples, then, of this (Magus), celebrate magical rites, and resort to incantations. And (they profess to) transmit both love-spells and charms, and the demons said to be senders of dreams, for the purpose of distracting whomsoever they please. But they also employ those denominated Paredroi. “And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these.” But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one amongst them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries. This Simon, deceiving many[1] in Samaria by his sorceries, was reproved by the Apostles, and was laid under a curse, as it has been written in the Acts. But he afterwards abjured the faith, and attempted these (aforesaid practices). And journeying as far as Rome,[2] he fell in with the Apostles; and to him, deceiving many by his sorceries, Peter offered repeated opposition. This man, ultimately repairing to…(and) sitting under a plane tree, continued to give instruction (in his doctrines). And in truth at last, when conviction was imminent, in case he delayed longer, he stated that, if he were buried alive, he would rise the third day. And accordingly, having ordered a trench to be dug by his disciples,[3] he directed himself to be interred there. They, then, executed the injunction given; whereas he remained (in that grave) until this day, for he was not the Christ. This constitutes the legendary system advanced by Simon, and from this Valentinus derived a starting-point (for his own doctrine. This doctrine, in point of fact, was the same with the Simonian, though Valentinus) denominated it under different titles: for “Nous,” and “Aletheia,” and “Logos,” and “Zoe,” and “Anthropos,” and “Ecclesia,” and Æons of Valentinus, are confessedly the six roots of Simon, viz., “Mind” and “Intelligence,” “Voice” and “Name,” “Ratiocination” and “Reflection.” But since it seems to us that we have sufficiently explained Simon’s tissue of legends, let us see what also Valentinus asserts.


  1. The Abbe Cruice considers that the statements made by Origen (Contr. Celsum, lib. i. p. 44, ed. Spenc.), respecting the followers of Simon in respect of number, militates against Origen’s authorship of The Refutation.
  2. This rendering follows the text of Schneidewin and Cruice.  The Clementine Recognitions (Ante-Nicene Library, ed. Edinb., vol. iii. p. 273) represent Simon Magus as leaving for Rome, and St. Peter resolving to follow him thither.  Miller’s text is different and as emended by him, Hippolytus’ account would harmonize with that given in the Acts. Miller’s text may be thus translated:  “And having been laid under a curse, as has been written in the Acts, he subsequently disapproved of his practices, and made an attempt to journey as far as Rome, but he fell in with the apostles,” etc. The text of Cruice and Schneidewin seems less forced:  while the statement itself—a new witness to this controverted point in ecclesiastical history concerning St. Peter—corroborates Hippolytus’ authorship of The Refutation.
  3. Justin Martyr mentions, as an instance of the estimation in which Simon Magus was held among his followers, that a statue was erected to him at Rome. Bunsen considers that the rejection of this fable of Justin Martyr’s, points to the author of The Refutation being a Roman, who would therefore, as he shows himself in the case of the statue, be better informed than the Eastern writer of any event occurring in the capital of the West. [Bunsen’s magisterial decision (p. 53) is very amusingly characteristic.]  Hippolytus’ silence is a presumption against the existence of such a statue, though it is very possible he might omit to mention it, supposing it to be at Rome. At all events, the very precise statement of Justin Martyr ought not to be rejected on slight or conjectural grounds. [See vol. i., this series, pp. 171 ,172, 182, 187, and 193. But our author relies on Irenæus, same vol., p. 348. Why reject positive testimony?]