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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter XXX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXX.—Cosmogony of Orpheus.

“All the literature among the Greeks which is written on the subject of the origin of antiquity, is based upon many authorities, but especially two, Orpheus and Hesiod. 868   Now their writings are divided into two parts, in respect of their meaning,—that is the literal and the allegorical; and the vulgar crowd has flocked to the literal, but all the eloquence of the philosophers and learned men is expended in admiration of the allegorical.  It is Orpheus, then, who says that at first there was chaos, eternal, unbounded, unproduced, and that from it all things were made.  He says that this chaos was neither darkness nor light, neither moist nor dry, neither hot nor cold, but that it was all things mixed together, and was always one unformed mass; yet that at length, as it were after the manner of a huge egg, it brought forth and produced from itself a certain double form, which had been wrought through immense periods of time, and which they call masculo-feminine, a form concrete from the contrary admixture of such diversity; and that this is the principle of all things, which came of pure matter, and which, coming forth, effected a separation of the four elements, and made heaven of the two elements which are first, fire and air, and earth of the others, earth and water; and of these he says that all things now are born and produced by a mutual participation of them.  So far Orpheus.



[Comp. chaps. 17–19 and Homily VI. 3–10, 12–19.—R.]

Next: Chapter XXXI

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