Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Refutation of All Heresies/Book VI/Part 31
Chapter XXX.—Valentinus’ Explanation of the Birth of Jesus; Twofold Doctrine on the Nature of Jesus’ Body; Opinion of the Italians, that Is, Heracleon and Ptolemæus; Opinion of the Orientals, that Is, Axionicus and Bardesanes.
All the prophets, therefore, and the law, spoke by means of the Demiurge,—a silly god, he says, (and themselves) fools, who knew nothing. On account of this, he says, the Saviour observes: “All that came before me are thieves and robbers.” And the apostle (uses these words): “The mystery which was not made known to former generations.” For none of the prophets, he says, said anything concerning the things of which we speak; for (a prophet) could not but be ignorant of all (these) things, inasmuch as they certainly had been uttered by the Demiurge only. When, therefore, the creation received completion, and when after (this) there ought to have been the revelation of the sons of God—that is, of the Demiurge, which up to this had been concealed, and in which obscurity the natural man was hid, and had a veil upon the heart;—when (it was time), then, that the veil should be taken away, and that these mysteries should be seen, Jesus was born of Mary the virgin, according to the declaration (in Scripture), “The Holy Ghost will come upon thee”—Sophia is the Spirit—“and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee”—the Highest is the Demiurge,—“wherefore that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy.” For he has been generated not from the highest alone, as those created in (the likeness of) Adam have been created from the highest alone—that is, (from) Sophia and the Demiurge. Jesus, however, the new man, (has been generated) from the Holy Spirit—that is, Sophia and the Demiurge—in order that the Demiurge may complete the conformation and constitution of his body, and that the Holy Spirit may supply his essence, and that a celestial Logos may proceed from the Ogdoad being born of Mary.
Concerning this (Logos) they have a great question amongst them—an occasion both of divisions and dissension. And hence the doctrine of these has become divided: and one doctrine, according to them, is termed Oriental, and the other Italian. They from Italy, of whom is Heracleon and Ptolemæus, say that the body of Jesus was (an) animal (one). And on account of this, (they maintain) that at his baptism the Holy Spirit as a dove came down—that is, the Logos of the mother above, (I mean Sophia)—and became (a voice) to the animal (man), and raised him from the dead. This, he says, is what has been declared: “He who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal and natural bodies.” For loam has come under a curse; “for,” says he, “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The Orientals, on the other hand, of whom is Axionicus and Bardesianes, assert that the body of the Saviour was spiritual; for there came upon Mary the Holy Spirit—that is, Sophia and the power of the highest. This is the creative art, (and was vouchsafed) in order that what was given to Mary by the Spirit might be fashioned.
- Epiphanius, Hær., xxxi. 22.
- John x. 8.
- Col. i. 26.
- Luke i. 35.
- Rom. viii. 11, 12.
- Gen. iii. 19.
- Axionicus is mentioned by Tertullian only (see Tertullian, Contr. Valent., c. iv; [vol. iii. p. 505, this series]).
- Bardesianes (or Ardesianes, as Miller’s text has it) is evidently the same with Bardesanes, mentioned by Eusebius and St. Jerome.