The following are the contents of the ninth book of the Refutation of all Heresies:- What the blasphemous folly is of Noetus, and that he devoted himself to the tenets of Heraclitus the Obscure, not to those of Christ. And how Callistus, intermingling the heresy of Cleomenes, the disciple of Noetus, with that of Theodotus, constructed another more novel heresy, and what sort the life of this heretic was. What was the recent arrival at Rome of the strange spirit Elchasai, and that there served as a concealment of his peculiar errors his apparent adhesion to the law, when in point of fact he devotes himself to the tenets of the Gnostics, or even of the astrologists, and to the arts of sorcery. What the customs of the Jews are, and how many diversities of opinion there are amongst them. A lengthened conflict, then, having been maintained concerning all heresies by us who, at all events, have not left any unrefuted, the greatest struggle now remains behind, viz. For it seems expedient that we, making an onslaught upon the opinion which constitutes the prime source of contemporaneous evils, should prove what are the originating principles of this opinion , in order that its offshoots, becoming a matter of general notoriety, may be made the object of universal scorn.
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Book I. The following are the contents of the first book of The Refutation of all Heresies. Among moral philosophers are Socrates, pupil of Archelaus the physicist, and Plato the pupil of Socrates. This speculator combined three systems of philosophy. Among logicians is Aristotle, pupil of Plato.
He systematized the art of dialectics. Among the Stoic logicians were Chrysippus and Zeno. Epicurus, however, advanced an opinion almost contrary to all philosophers. Pyrrho was an Academic;3 this speculator taught the incomprehensibility of everything.
The Brahmins among the Indians, and the Druids among the Celts, and Hesiod devoted themselves to philosophic pursuits.
The Prooemium. We must not overlook4 any figment devised by those denominated philosophers among the Greeks. For even their incoherent tenets must be received as worthy of credit, on account of the excessive madness of the heretics; who, from the observance of silence, and from concealing their own ineffable mysteries, have by many been supposed worshippers of God.
And then, when they have tested him to be enslaved by sin, they initiate him, putting him in possession of the perfection of wicked things. Previously, however, they bind him with an oath neither to divulge the mysteries , nor to hold communication with any person whatsoever, unless he first undergo similar subjection, though, when the doctrine has been simply delivered to any one , there was no longer any need of an oath.
For he who was content to submit to the necessary purgation,9 and so receive the perfect mysteries of these men, by the very act itself, as well as in reference to his own conscience, will feel himself sufficiently under an obligation not to divulge to others; for if he once disclose wickedness of this description to any man, he would neither be reckoned among men, nor be deemed worthy to behold the light, since not even irrational animals10 would attempt such an enormity, as we shall explain when we come to treat of such topics.
Since, however, reason compels us to plunge11 into the very depth of narrative, we conceive we should not be silent, but, expounding the tenets of the several schools with minuteness, we shall evince reserve in nothing. Now it seems expedient, even at the expense of a more protracted investigation, not to shrink from labour; for we shall leave behind us no trifling auxiliary to human life against the recurrence of error, when all are made to behold, in an obvious light, the clandestine rites of these men, and the secret orgies which, retaining under their management, they deliver to the initiated only.
But none will refute these, save the Holy Spirit bequeathed unto the Church, which the Apostles, having in the first instance received, have transmitted to those who have rightly believed. But we, as being their successors, and as participators in this grace, high-priesthood, and office of teaching,12 as well as being reputed guardians of the Church, must not be found deficient in vigilance,13 or disposed to suppress correct doctrine.
These also, illustrating by argument and creating testimony17 by letters, we shall unabashed proclaim. The undertaking admittedly is full of labour, and is one requiring extended research. We shall not, however, be wanting in exertion; for afterwards it will be a source of joy, just like an athlete obtaining with much toil the crown, or a merchant after a huge swell of sea compassing gain, or a husbandman after sweat of brow enjoying the fruits, or a prophet after reproaches and insults seeing his predictions turning out true.
In the commencement, therefore, we shall declare who first, among the Greeks, pointed out the principles of natural philosophy. For from these especially have they furtively taken their views who have first pro-pounded these heresies,20 as we shall subsequently prove when we come to compare them one with another. Assigning to each of those who take the lead among philosophers their own peculiar tenets, we shall publicly exhibit these heresiarchs as naked and unseemly.
It is said that Thales of Miletus, one of the seven21 wise men, first attempted to frame a system of natural philosophy. This person said that some such thing as water is the generative principle of the universe, and its end; — for that out of this, solidified and again dissolved, all things consist, and that all things are supported on it; from which also arise both earthquakes and changes of the winds and atmospheric movements,22 and that all things are both produced23 and are in a state of flux corresponding with the nature of the primary author of generation; — and that the Deity24 is that which has neither beginning nor end.
This person, having been occupied with an hypothesis and investigation concerning the stars, became the earliest author to the Greeks of this kind of learning. And he, looking towards heaven, alleging that he was carefully examining supernal objects, fell into a well; and a certain maid, by name Thratta, remarked of him derisively, that while intent on beholding things in heaven, he did not know,25 what was at his feet.
And he lived about the time of Croesus. But there was also, not far from these times, another philosophy which Pythagoras originated who some say was a native of Samos , which they have denominated Italian, because that Pythagoras, flying from Polycrates the king of Samos, took up his residence in a city of Italy, and there passed the entire of his remaining years. And they who received in succession his doctrine, did not much differ from the same opinion.
And this person, instituting an investigation concerning natural phenomena,26 combined together astronomy, and geometry, and music. And being astonished at the management of the entire fabric, he required that at first his disciples should keep silence, as if persons coming into the world initiated in the secrets of the universe; next, when it seemed that they were sufficiently conversant with his mode of teaching his doctrine, and could forcibly philosophize concerning the stars and nature, then, considering them pure, he enjoins them to speak.
This man distributed his pupils in two orders, and called the one esoteric, but the other exoteric. And to the former he confided more advanced doctrines, and to the latter a more moderate amount of instruction. And he also touched on magic — as they say — and himself28 discovered an art of physiognomy,29 laying down as a basis certain numbers and measures, saying that they comprised the principle of arithmetical philosophy by composition after this manner.
The first number became an originating principle, which is one, indefinable, incomprehensible, having in itself all numbers that, according to plurality, can go on ad infinitum. But the primary monad became a principle of numbers, according to sub stance. Secondly, the duad is a female number, and the same also is by arithmeticians termed even. Thirdly, the triad is a male number.
This also has been classified by arithmeticians under the denomination uneven. And in addition to all these is the tetrad, a female number; and the same also is called even, because it is female. Therefore all the numbers that have been derived from the genus are four; but number is the indefinite genus, from which was constituted, according to them, the perfect31 number, viz. For one, two, three, four, become ten, if its proper denomination be preserved essentially for each of the numbers.
Pythagoras affirmed this to be a sacred quaternion, source of everlasting nature,32 having, as it were, roots in itself; and that from this number all the numbers receive their originating principle. For eleven, and twelve, and the rest, partake of the origin of existence33 from ten. Of this decade, the perfect number, there are termed four divisions, — namely, number, monad,34 square, and cube.
And the connections and blendings of these are performed, according to nature, for the generation of growth completing the productive number. For when the square itself is multiplied35 into itself, a biquadratic is the result. But when the square is multiplied into the cube, the result is the product of a square and cube; and when the cube is multiplied into the cube, the product of two cubes is the result. So that all the numbers from which the production of existing numbers arises, are seven, — namely, number, monad, square, cube, biquadratic, quadratic-cube, cubo-cube.
This philosopher likewise said that the soul is immortal, and that it subsists in successive bodies. Wherefore he asserted that before the Trojan era he was Aethalides,36 and during the Trojan epoch Euphorbus, and subsequent to this Hermotimus of Samos, and after him Pyrrhus of Delos; fifth, Pythagoras. And Diodorus the Eretrian,37 and Aristoxenus38 the musician, assert that Pythagoras came to Zaratas39 the Chaldean, and that he explained to him that there are two original causes of things, father and mother, and that father is light, but mother darkness; and that of the light the parts are hot, dry, not heavy, light, swift; but of darkness, cold, moist, weighty, slow; and that out of all these, from female and male, the world consists.
But the world, he says, is a musical harmony;40 wherefore, also, that the sun performs a circuit in accordance with harmony. And as regards the things that are produced from earth and the cosmical system, they maintain that Zaratas41 makes the following statements: that there are two demons, the one celestial and the other terrestrial; and that the terrestrial sends up a production from earth, and that this is water; and that the celestial is a fire, partaking of the nature of air, hot and cold.
And he is reported to have ordered his followers not to eat beans, because that Zaratas said that, at the origin and concretion of all things, when the earth was still undergoing its process of solidification,43 and that of putrefaction had set in, the bean was produced.
This person, being burned along with his disciples in Croton, a town of Italy, perished. And this was a habit with him, whenever one repaired to him with a view of becoming his follower, the candidate disciple was compelled to sell his possessions, and lodge the money sealed with Pythagoras, and he continued in silence to undergo instruction, sometimes for three, but sometimes for five years.
And again, on being released, he was permitted to associate with the rest, and remained as a disciple, and took his meals along with them; if otherwise, however, he received back his property, and was rejected. These persons, then, were styled Esoteric Pythagoreans, whereas the rest, Pythagoristae. Among his followers, however, who escaped the conflagration were Lysis and Archippus, and the servant of Pythagoras, Zaniolxis,45 who also is said to have taught the Celtic Druids to cultivate the philosophy of Pythagoras.
And they assert that Pythagoras learned from the Egyptians his system of numbers and measures; and I being struck by the plausible, fanciful, and not easily revealed wisdom of the priests, he himself likewise, in imitation of them, enjoined silence, and made his disciples lead a solitary life in underground chapels.
But Empedocles, born after these, advanced likewise many statements respecting the nature of demons, to the effect that, being very numerous, they pass their time in managing earthly concerns. This person affirmed the originating principle of the universe to be discord and friendship, and that the intelligible fire of the monad is the Deity, and that all things consist of fire, and will be resolved into fire; with which opinion the Stoics likewise almost agree, expecting a conflagration.
For Pythagoras, the instructor of these sages ,49 asserted that himself had been Euphorbus, who sewed in the expedition against Ilium, alleging that he recognised his shield. The foregoing are the tenets of Empedocles. But Heraclitus, a natural philosopher of Ephesus, surrendered himself to universal grief, condemning the ignorance of the entire of life, and of all men; nay, commiserating the very existence of mortals, for he asserted that he himself knew everything, whereas the rest of mankind nothing.
So also it seemed to Heraclitus. After these arose also other natural philosophers, whose opinions we have not deemed it necessary to declare, inasmuch as they present no diversity to those already specified. Since, however, upon the whole, a not inconsiderable school has sprung from thence , and many natural philosophers subsequently have arisen from them, each advancing different accounts of the nature of the universe, it seems also to us advisable, that, explaining the philosophy that has come down by succession from Pythagoras, we should recur to the opinions entertained by those living after the time of Thales, and that, furnishing a narrative of these, we should approach the consideration of the ethical and logical philosophy which Socrates and Aristotle originated, the former ethical, and the latter logical.
Anaximander, then, was the hearer of Thales. Anaximander was son of Praxiadas, and a native of Miletus. This man said that the originating principle of existing things is a certain constitution of the Infinite, out of which the heavens are generated, and the worlds therein; and that this principle is eternal and undecaying, and comprising all the worlds.
And he speaks of time as something of limited generation, and subsistence, and destruction. This person declared the Infinite to be an originating principle and element of existing things, being the first to employ such a denomination of the originating principle. But, moreover, he asserted that there is an eternal motion, by the agency of which it happens that the heavens52 are generated; but that the earth is poised aloft, upheld by nothing, continuing so on account of its equal distance from all the heavenly bodies ; and that the figure of it is curved, circular,53 similar to a column of stone.
And that certain atmospheric exhalations arise in places where the stars shine; wherefore, also, when these exhalations are obstructed, that eclipses take place. And that the moon sometimes appears full and sometimes waning, according to the obstruction or opening of its orbital paths. But that the circle of the sun is twenty-seven times56 larger than the moon, and that the sun is situated in the highest quarter of the firmament ; whereas the orbs of the fixed stars in the lowest.
And that animals are produced in moisture57 by evaporation from the sun. And that man was, originally, similar to a different animal, that is, a fish. And that winds are caused by the separation of very rarified exhalations of the atmosphere, and by their motion after they have been condensed.
And that there are flashes of lightning when the wind coming down severs the clouds. This person was born in the third year of the XLII. But Anaximenes, who himself was also a native of Miletus, and son of Eurystratus, affirmed that the originating principle is infinite air, out of which are generated things existing, those which have existed, and those that will be, as well as gods and divine entities , and that the rest arise from the offspring of this.
But that there is such a species of air, when it is most even, which is imperceptible to vision, but capable of being manifested by cold and heat, and moisture and motion, and that it is continually in motion; for that whatsoever things undergo alteration, do not change if there is not motion.
For that it presents a different appearance according as it is condensed and attenuated, for when it is dissolved into what is more attenuated that fire is produced, and that when it is moderately condensed again into air that a cloud is formed from the air by virtue of the contraction;60 but when condensed still more, water, and that when the condensation is carried still further, earth is formed; and when condensed to the very highest degree, stones.
Wherefore, that the dominant principles of generation are contraries, — namely, heat and cold. And that the expanded earth is wafted along upon the air, and in like manner both sun and moon and the rest of the stars; for all things being of the nature of fire, are wafted about through the expanse of space, upon the air. And that the stars are produced from earth by reason of the mist which arises from this earth; and when this is attenuated, that fire is produced, and that the stars consist of the fire which is being borne aloft.
But also that there are terrestrial natures in the region of the stars carried on along with them. And he says that the stars do not move under the earth, as some have supposed, but around the earth,61 just as a cap is turned round our head; and that the sun is hid, not by being under the earth, but because covered by the higher portions of the earth, and on account of the greater distance that he is from us.
But that the stars do not emit heat on account of the length of distance; and that the winds are produced when the condensed air, becoming rarified, is borne on; and that when collected and thickened still further, clouds are generated, and thus a change made into water. And that hail is produced when the water borne down from the clouds becomes congealed; and that snow is generated when these very clouds, being more moist, acquire congelation; and that lightning is caused when the clouds are parted by force of the winds; for when these are sundered there is produced a brilliant and fiery flash.
And that a rainbow is produced by reason of the rays of the sun failing on the collected air. And that an earthquake takes place when the earth is altered into a larger bulk by heat and cold.
Refutation of All Heresies
THE following are the contents of the sixth book of the Refutation of all Heresies:- What the opinions are that are attempted to be established by Simon, and that his doctrine derives its force from the lucubrations of magicians and poets. What are the opinions propounded by Valentinus, and that his system is not constructed out of the Scriptures, but out of the Platonic and Pythagorean tenets. And what are the opinions of Secundus, and Ptolemaeus, and Heracleon, as persons also who themselves advanced the same doctrines as the philosophers among the Greeks, but enunciated them in different phraseology. And what are the suppositions put forward by Marcus and Colarbasus, and that some of them devoted their attention to magical arts and the Pythagorean numbers. Whatever opinions, then, were entertainedby those who derived the first principles of their doctrine from the serpent, and in process of time deliberately brought forward into public notice their tenets, we have explained in the book preceding this, and which is the fifth of the Refutation of Heresies.
Hippolytus (Cont,)The Refutation of All Heresies.
The following are the contents of the fifth book of the Refutation of all Heresies: - What the assertions are of the Naasseni, who style themselves Gnostics, and that they advance those opinions which the Philosophers of the Greeks previously propounded, as well as those who have handed down mystical rites , from both of whom the Naasseni taking occasion, have constructed their heresies. And what are the tenets of the Perstae, and that their system is not framed by them out of the holy Scriptures, but from astrological art. What is the doctrine of the Sethians, and that, purloining their theories from the wise men among the Greeks, they have patched together their own system out of shreds of opinion taken from Musaeus, and Linus, and Orpheus. What are the tenets of Justinus, and that his system is framed By him, not out of the holy Scriptures, but from the detail of marvels furnished by Herodotus the historian. I think that in the four preceding books I have very elaborately explained the opinions propounded by all the speculators among both Greeks and Barbarians, respecting the Divine Nature and the creation of the world; and not even have I omitted the consideration of their systems of magic. So that I have for my readers undergone no ordinary amount of toil, in my anxiety to urge many forward into a desire of learning, and into stedfastness of knowledge in regard of the truth.
Hippolytus of Rome
Life[ edit ] Little is known for certain about his community of origin. One Victorian theory suggested that as a presbyter of the church at Rome under Pope Zephyrinus — AD , Hippolytus was distinguished for his learning and eloquence. It was at this time that Origen , then a young man, heard him preach. Hippolytus championed the Logos doctrine of the Greek apologists, most notably Justin Martyr , which distinguished the Father from the Logos "Word".