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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIII.—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.

In this series, then, is contained the first emanation of Æons, who are alike born, and are married, and produce offspring: there are the most dangerous fortunes of Sophia in her ardent longing for the Father, the most seasonable help of Horos, the expiation of her p. 511 Enthymesis and accruing Passion, the instruction of Christ and the Holy Spirit, their tutelar reform of the Æons, the piebald ornamentation of Soter, the consubstantial retinue 6763 of the angels. All that remains, according to you, is the fall of the curtain and the clapping of hands. 6764 What remains in my opinion, however, is, that you should hear and take heed. At all events, these things are said to have been played out within the company of the Pleroma, the first scene of the tragedy.  The rest of the play, however, is beyond the curtain—I mean outside of the Pleroma. And yet if it be such within the bosom of the Father, within the embrace of the guardian Horos, what must it be outside, in free space, 6765 where God did not exist?



Comparaticium antistatum. The latter word Oehler explains, “ante ipsum stantes;” the former, “quia genus eorum comparari poterat substantiæ Soteris” (so Rigaltus).


The reader will see how obviously this is meant in Tertullian’s “Quod superest, inquis, vos valete et plaudite.” This is the well-known allusion to the end of the play in the old Roman theatre. See Quintilian, vi. 1, 52; comp. Horace, A. P. 155. Tertullian’s own parody to this formula, immediately after, is: “Immo quod superest, inquam, vos audite et proficite.


In libero: which may be, however, “beyond the control of Horos.”

Next: 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.

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