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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Blastus, Two Theodoti, Praxeas.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.—Blastus, Two Theodoti, Praxeas.

In addition to all these, there is likewise Blastus, who would latently introduce Judaism. For he says the passover is not to be kept otherwise than according to the law of Moses, on the fourteenth of the month. But who would fail to see that evangelical grace is escheated if he recalls Christ to the Law?

Add to these Theodotus the Byzantine, who, after being apprehended for Christ’s Name, and apostatizing, 8412 ceased not to blaspheme against Christ.  For he introduced a doctrine by which to affirm that Christ was merely a human being, but deny His deity; teaching that He was born of the Holy Spirit indeed of a virgin, but was a solitary and bare human being, 8413 with no pre-eminence above the rest (of mankind), but only that of righteousness.

After him brake out a second heretical Theodotus, who again himself introduced a sister-sect, and says that the human being Christ Himself 8414 was merely conceived alike, and born, of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, but that He was inferior to Melchizedek; because it is said of Christ, “Thou art a priest unto eternity, after the order of Melchizedek.” 8415 For that Melchizedek, he says, was a heavenly Virtue of pre-eminent grace; in that Christ acts for human beings, being made their Deprecator and Advocate:  Melchizedek does so 8416 for heavenly angels and Virtues. For to such a degree, he says, is he better than Christ, that he is ἀπάτωρ (fatherless), ἀμήτωρ (motherless), ἀγενεαλογητον (without genealogy), of whom neither the beginning nor the end has been comprehended, nor can be comprehended. 8417

But after all these, again, one Praxeas introduced a heresy which Victorinus 8418 was careful to corroborate. He asserts that Jesus Christ is God the Father Almighty.  Him he contends to have been crucified, and suffered, and died; beside which, with a profane and sacrilegious temerity, he maintains the proposition that He is Himself sitting at His own right hand. 8419



Negavit. See de Idol. c. xxiii. note 1.


Hominem solitarium atque nudum. The words seems to mean, destitute of anything superhuman.


Et ipsum hominem Christum tantummodo. I rather incline to read, as in the preceding sentence, “et ipse”: “and himself affirms Christ to have been merely human, conceived alike,” etc.


See Ps. cx. 4, and the references there.


The Latin here is very careless, unless, with Routh, we suggest “et” for “eo,” and render: “and that what Christ does,” etc., “Melchizedek does,” etc.


See Heb. vii. 1-3.


Who he is, no one knows. Oehler (following the lead of Fabricius on Philaster, cap. 49, p. 102) believes the name to be a mistake for Victor, a bishop of Rome, who (see Adv. Prax. c. i.) had held the episcopate when Praxeas was there. His successor was Zephyrinus; and it is an ingenious conjecture of Oehler, that these two names, the one written as a correction of the other, may have been confused: thus, Victor/Zephrynus; and thus of the two may have been made Victorinus.


The form and order of the words here used are certainly remarkably similar to the expressions and order of the “Apostles’ Creed.”

Next: Part III

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