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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter X.—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.

But some dreamers have given another account of the aberration 6723 and recovery of p. 509 Sophia. After her vain endeavours, and the disappointment of her hope, she was, I suppose, disfigured with paleness and emaciation, and that neglect of her beauty which was natural to one who 6724 was deploring the denial of the Father,—an affliction which was no less painful than his loss. Then, in the midst of all this sorrow, she by herself alone, without any conjugal help, conceived and bare a female offspring. Does this excite your surprise? Well, even the hen has the power of being able to bring forth by her own energy. 6725 They say, too, that among vultures there are only females, which become parents alone.  At any rate, she was another without aid from a male, and she began at last to be afraid that her end was even at hand. She was all in doubt about the treatment 6726 of her case, and took pains at self-concealment. Remedies could nowhere be found. For where, then, should we have tragedies and comedies, from which to borrow the process of exposing what has been born without connubial modesty? While the thing is in this evil plight, she raises her eyes, and turns them to the Father. Having, however, striven in vain, as her strength was failing her, she falls to praying. Her entire kindred also supplicates in her behalf, and especially Nus. Why not? What was the cause of so vast an evil? Yet not a single casualty 6727 befell Sophia without its effect. All her sorrows operate. Inasmuch as all that conflict of hers contributes to the origin of Matter. Her ignorance, her fear, her distress, become substances. Hereupon the Father by and by, being moved, produces in his own image, with a view to these circumstances 6728 the Horos whom we have mentioned above; (and this he does) by means of Monogenes Nus, a male-female (Æon), because there is this variation of statement about the Father’s 6729 sex. They also go on to tell us that Horos is likewise called Metagogius, that is, “a conductor about,” as well as Horothetes (Setter of Limits). By his assistance they declare that Sophia was checked in her illicit courses, and purified from all evils, and henceforth strengthened (in virtue), and restored to the conjugal state: (they add) that she indeed remained within the bounds 6730 of the Pleroma, but that her Enthymesis, with the accruing 6731 Passion, was banished by Horos, and crucified and cast out from the Pleroma,—even as they say, Malum foras! (Evil, avaunt!) Still, that was a spiritual essence, as being the natural impulse of an Æon, although without form or shape, inasmuch as it had apprehended nothing, and therefore was pronounced to be an infirm and feminine fruit. 6732


Footnotes

508:6723

Exitum.

509:6724

Uti quæ.

509:6725

Comp. Aristotle, Hist. Anim. vi. 2; Pliny, H. N. x. 58, 60.

509:6726

Ratione.

509:6727

Exitus.

509:6728

In hæc: in relation to the case of Sophia.

509:6729

Above, in chap. viii. we were told that Nus, who was so much like the Father, was himself called “Father.”

509:6730

In censu.

509:6731

Appendicem.

509:6732

Literally, “infirm fruit and a female,” i.e. “had not shared in any male influence, but was a purely female production.” See our Irenæus, i. 4. [Vol. I. p. 321.]


Next: 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.

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