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

For Enthymesis, or rather Achamoth—because by this inexplicable 6766 name alone must she be henceforth designated—when in company with the vicious Passion, her inseparable companion, she was expelled to places devoid of that light which is the substance of the Pleroma, even to the void and empty region of Epicurus, she becomes wretched also because of the place of her banishment. She is indeed without either form or feature, even an untimely and abortive production. Whilst she is in this plight, 6767 Christ descends from 6768 the heights, conducted by Horos, in order to impart form to the abortion, out of his own energies, the form of substance only, but not of knowledge also. Still she is left with some property. She has restored to her the odour of immortality, in order that she might, under its influence, be overcome with the desire of better things than belonged to her present plight. 6769 Having accomplished His merciful mission, not without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, Christ returns to the Pleroma. It is usual out of an abundance of things 6770 for names to be also forthcoming.  Enthymesis came from action; 6771 whence Achamoth came is still a question; Sophia emanates from the Father, the Holy Spirit from an angel. She entertains a regret for Christ immediately after she had discovered her desertion by him. Therefore she hurried forth herself, in quest of the light of Him Whom she did not at all discover, as He operated in an invisible manner; for how else would she make search for His light, which was as unknown to her as He was Himself? Try, however, she did, and perhaps would have found Him, had not the self-same Horos, who had met her mother so opportunely, fallen in with the daughter quite as unseasonably, so as to exclaim at her Iao! just as we hear the cry “Porro Quirites” (“Out of the way, Romans!”), or else Fidem Cæsaris!”  (“By the faith of Cæsar!”), whence (as they will have it) the name Iao comes to be found is the Scriptures. 6772 Being thus hindered from proceeding further, and being unable to surmount 6773 the Cross, that is to say, Horos, because she had not yet practised herself in the part of Catullus’ Laureolus6774 and given over, as it were, to that passion of hers in a manifold and complicated mesh, she began to be afflicted with every impulse thereof, with sorrow,—because she had not accomplished her enterprise, with fear,—lest she should lose her life, even as she had lost the light, with consternation, and then with ignorance. But not as her mother (did she suffer this), for she was an Æon. Hers, however, was a worse suffering, considering her condition; for another tide of emotion still overwhelmed her, even of conversion to the Christ, by Whom she had been restored to life, and had been directed 6775 to this very conversion.





Tertullian’s “Dum ita rerum habet” is a copy of the Greek οὕτω τῶν πραγμάτων ἔχουσο.


Deflectitur a.


Casus sui.


Rerum ex liberalitatibus.


De actia fuit. [See Vol. I. pp. 320, 321.]


It is not necessary, with Rigaltius, to make a difficulty about this, when we remember that Tertullian only refers to a silly conceit of the Valentinians touching the origin of the sacred name.


Or does “nec habens supervolare crucem” mean “being unable to elude the cross?” As if Tertullian meant, in his raillery, to say, that Achamoth had not the skill of the player who played the part of Laureolus. Although so often suspended on the gibbet, he had of course as often escaped the real penalty.


A notorious robber, the hero of a play by Lutatius Catullus, who is said to have been crucified.



Next: Strange Account of the Origin of Matter, from the Various Affections of Achamoth. The Waters from Her Tears; Light from Her Smile.

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