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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Contradictory Propositions Advanced by Hermogenes Respecting Matter and Its Qualities.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXV.—Contradictory Propositions Advanced by Hermogenes Respecting Matter and Its Qualities.

As regards all other points touching Matter, although there is no necessity why we should treat of them (for our first point was the manifest proof of its existence), we must for all that pursue our discussion just as if it did exist, in order that its non-existence may be the more apparent, when these other points concerning it prove inconsistent with each other, and in order at the same time that Hermogenes may acknowledge his own contradictory positions.  Matter, says he, at first sight seems to us to be incorporeal; but when examined by the light of right reason, it is found to be neither corporeal nor incorporeal. What is this right reason of yours, 6506 which declares nothing right, that is, nothing certain? For, if I mistake not, everything must of necessity be either corporeal or incorporeal (although I may for the moment 6507 allow that there is a certain incorporeality in even substantial things, 6508 although their very substance is the body of particular things); at all events, after the corporeal and the incorporeal there is no third state. But if it be contended 6509 that there is a third state discovered by this right reason of Hermogenes, which makes Matter neither corporeal nor incorporeal, (I ask,) Where is it? what sort of thing is it? what is it called? what is its description? what is it understood to be? This only has his reason declared, that Matter is neither corporeal nor incorporeal.







De substantiis duntaxat.


Age nunc sit: “But grant that there is this third state.”

Next: Other Absurd Theories Respecting Matter and Its Incidents Exposed in an Ironical Strain. Motion in Matter. Hermogenes' Conceits Respecting It.

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