Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Refutation of All Heresies/Book VI/Part 30

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Chapter XXIX.—The Other Valentinian Emanations in Conformity with the Pythagorean System of Numbers.

The quaternion, then, advocated by Valentinus, is “a source of the everlasting nature having roots;”[1] and Sophia (is the power) from whom the animal and material creation has derived its present condition.  But Sophia is called “Spirit,” and the Demiurge “Soul,” and the Devil “the ruler of this world,” and Beelzebub “the (ruler) of demons.”  These are the statements which they put forward. But further, in addition to these, rendering, as I have previously mentioned, their entire system of doctrine (akin to the) arithmetical (art), (they determine) that the thirty Æons within the Pleroma have again, in addition to these, projected other Æons, according to the (numerical) proportion (adopted by the Pythagoreans), in order that the Pleroma might be formed into an aggregate, according to a perfect number. For how the Pythagoreans divided (the celestial sphere) into twelve and thirty and sixty parts, and how they have minute parts of diminutive portions, has been made evident.

In this manner these (followers of Valentinus) subdivide the parts within the Pleroma. Now likewise the parts in the Ogdoad have been subdivided, and there has been projected Sophia, which is, according to them, mother of all living creatures, and the “Joint Fruit of the Pleroma,” (who is) the Logos,[2] (and other Æons,) who are celestial angels that have their citizenship in Jerusalem which is above, which is in heaven. For this Jerusalem is Sophia, she (that is) outside (the Pleroma), and her spouse is the “Joint Fruit of the Pleroma.” And the Demiurge projected souls; for this (Sophia) is the essence of souls. This (Demiurge), according to them, is Abraham, and these (souls) the children of Abraham. From the material and devilish essence the Demiurge fashioned bodies for the souls. This is what has been declared: “And God formed man, taking clay from the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and man was made into a living soul.”[3] This, according to them, is the inner man, the natural (man), residing in the material body: Now a material (man) is perishable, incomplete, (and) formed out of the devilish essence. And this is the material man, as it were, according to them an inn,[4] or domicile, at one time of soul only, at another time of soul and demons, at another time of soul and Logoi.[5] And these are the Logoi that have been dispersed from above, from the “Joint Fruit of the Pleroma” and (from) Sophia, into this world. And they dwell in an earthly body, with a soul, when demons do not take up their abode with that soul. This, he says, is what has been written in Scripture: “On this account I bend my knees to the God and Father and Lord of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God would grant you to have Christ dwelling in the inner man,”[6]—that is, the natural (man), not the corporeal (one),—“that you may be able to understand what is the depth,” which is the Father of the universe, “and what is the breadth,” which is Staurus, the limit of the Pleroma, “or what is the length,” that is, the Pleroma of the Æons. Wherefore, he says, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him;”[7] but folly, he says, is the power of the Demiurge, for he was foolish and devoid of understanding, and imagined himself to be fabricating the world.  He was, however, ignorant that Sophia, the Mother, the Ogdoad, was really the cause of all the operations performed by him who had no consciousness in reference to the creation of the world.


  1. These words are a line out of Pythagoras’ Golden Verses:— Πηγή τις ἀενάου φύσεως ῥιζώματ᾽ ἔχουσα—(48).
  2. The Abbe Cruise thinks that a comparison of this passage with the corresponding one in Irenæus suggests the addition of οἱ δορυφόροι after Λόγος, i.e., the Logos and his satellites. [Vol. i. p. 381, this series.]
  3. Gen. ii. 7.
  4. Or, “subterranean” (Cruice).
  5. Epiphanius, Hær., xxxi. sec. 7.
  6. Eph. iii. 14–18.
  7. 1 Cor. ii. 14.