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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Against the Valentinians.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter I
These Heretics Brand the Christians as Simple Persons. The Charge Accepted, and Simplicity Eulogized Out of the Scriptures.
The Folly of This Heresy.  It Dissects and Mutilates the Deity.  Contrasted with the Simple Wisdom of True Religion. To Expose the Absurdities of the Valentinian System is to Destroy It.
The Heresy Traceable to Valentinus, an Able But Restless Man. Many Schismatical Leaders of the School Mentioned. Only One of Them Shows Respect to the Man Whose Name Designates the Entire School.
Many Eminent Christian Writers Have Carefully and Fully Refuted the Heresy. These the Author Makes His Own Guides.
Although Writing in Latin He Proposes to Retain the Greek Names of the Valentinian Emanations of Deity.  Not to Discuss the Heresy But Only to Expose It. This with the Raillery Which Its Absurdity Merits.
The First Eight Emanations, or Æons, Called the Ogdoad, are the Fountain of All the Others.  Their Names and Descent Recorded.
The Names and Descent of Other Æons; First Half a Score, Then Two More, and Ultimately a Dozen Besides.  These Thirty Constitute the Pleroma.  But Why Be So Capricious as to Stop at Thirty?
Other Capricious Features in the System. The Æons Unequal in Attributes. The Superiority of Nus; The Vagaries of Sophia Restrained by Horos. Grand Titles Borne by This Last Power.
Another Account of the Strange Aberrations of Sophia, and the Restraining Services of Horus.  Sophia Was Not Herself, After All, Ejected from the Pleroma, But Only Her Enthymesis.
The Profane Account Given of the Origin of Christ and the Holy Ghost Sternly Rebuked. An Absurdity Respecting the Attainment of the Knowledge of God Ably Exposed.
The Strange Jumble of the Pleroma. The Frantic Delight of the Members Thereof. Their Joint Contribution of Parts Set Forth with Humorous Irony.
First Part of the Subject, Touching the Constitution of the Pleroma, Briefly Recapitulated.  Transition to the Other Part, Which is Like a Play Outside the Curtain.
The Adventures of Achamoth Outside the Pleroma. The Mission of Christ in Pursuit of Her. Her Longing for Christ. Horos' Hostility to Her. Her Continued Suffering.
Strange Account of the Origin of Matter, from the Various Affections of Achamoth. The Waters from Her Tears; Light from Her Smile.
Achamoth Purified from All Impurities of Her Passion by the Paraclete, Acting Through Soter, Who Out of the Above-Mentioned Impurities Arranges Matter, Separating Its Evil from the Better Qualities.
Achamoth in Love with the Angels. A Protest Against the Lascivious Features of Valentinianism. Achamoth Becomes the Mother of Three Natures.
Blasphemous Opinion Concerning the Origin of the Demiurge, Supposed to Be the Creator of the Universe.
Palpable Absurdities and Contradictions in the System Respecting Achamoth and the Demiurge.
The Demiurge Works Away at Creation, as the Drudge of His Mother Achamoth, in Ignorance All the While of the Nature of His Occupation.
The Vanity as Well as Ignorance of the Demiurge. Absurd Results from So Imperfect a Condition.
Origin of the Devil, in the Criminal Excess of the Sorrow of Achamoth. The Devil, Called Also Munditenens, Actually Wiser Than the Demiurge, Although His Work.
The Relative Positions of the Pleroma. The Region of Achamoth, and the Creation of the Demiurge. The Addition of Fire to the Various Elements and Bodies of Nature.
The Formation of Man by the Demiurge. Human Flesh Not Made of the Ground, But of a Nondescript Philosophic Substance.
An Extravagant Way of Accounting for the Communication of the Spiritual Nature to Man. It Was Furtively Managed by Achamoth, Through the Unconscious Agency of Her Son.
The Three Several Natures--The Material, the Animal, and the Spiritual, and Their Several Destinations.  The Strange Valentinian Opinion About the Structure of Soter's Nature.
The Christ of the Demiurge, Sent into the World by the Virgin. Not of Her. He Found in Her, Not a Mother, But Only a Passage or Channel. Jesus Descended Upon Christ, at His Baptism, Like a Dove; But, Being Incapable of Suffering, He Left Christ to Die on the Cross Alone.
The Demiurge Cured of His Ignorance by the Saviour's Advent, from Whom He Hears of the Great Future in Store for Himself.
The Three Natures Again Adverted to. They are All Exemplified Amongst Men. For Instance, by Cain, and Abel, and Seth.
The Lax and Dangerous Views of This Sect Respecting Good Works. That These are Unnecessary to the Spiritual Man.
At the Last Day Great Changes Take Place Amongst the Æons as Well as Among Men. How Achamoth and the Demiurge are Affected Then. Irony on the Subject.
Indignant Irony Exposing the Valentinian Fable About the Judicial Treatment of Mankind at the Last Judgment. The Immorality of the Doctrine.
These Remaining Chapters an Appendix to the Main Work. In This Chapter Tertullian Notices a Difference Among Sundry Followers of Ptolemy, a Disciple of Valentinus.
Other Varying Opinions Among the Valentinians Respecting the Deity, Characteristic Raillery.
Yet More Discrepancies.  Just Now the Sex of Bythus Was an Object of Dispute; Now His Rank Comes in Question. Absurd Substitutes for Bythus Criticised by Tertullian.
Less Reprehensible Theories in the Heresy. Bad is the Best of Valentinianism.
Other Turgid and Ridiculous Theories About the Origin of the Æons and Creation, Stated and Condemned.
Diversity in the Opinions of Secundus, as Compared with the General Doctrine of Valentinus.
Their Diversity of Sentiment Affects the Very Central Doctrine of Christianity, Even the Person and Character of the Lord Jesus. This Diversity Vitiates Every Gnostic School.


Next: Chapter I

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