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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 29

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 29 [XVIII.]—The Sixth Passage of Scripture Quoted by Victor.

Let us now look at the quotation from Genesis, where the woman was created out of the side of the man, and was brought to him, and he said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Our opponent thinks that “Adam ought to have said, ‘Soul of my soul, or spirit of my spirit,’ if this, too, had been derived from him.” But, in fact, they who maintain the opinion of the propagation of souls feel that they possess a more impregnable defence of their position in the fact that in the Scripture narrative which informs us that God took a rib out of the man’s side and formed it into a woman, it is not added that He breathed into her face the breath of life; for this reason, as they say, because she had already been ensouled 2387 from the man. If, indeed, she had not, they say, the sacred Scripture would certainly not have kept us in ignorance of the circumstance. With regard to the fact that Adam says, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,” 2388 without adding, Spirit or soul, from my spirit or soul, they may answer, just as it has been already shown, that the expression, “my flesh and bone,” may be understood as indicating the whole by a part, only that the portion that was taken out of man was not dead, but ensouled; 2389 for no good ground for denying that the Almighty was able to do all this is furnished by the circumstance that not a human being could be found capable of cutting off a part of a man’s flesh along with the soul. Adam went on, however, to say, “She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” 2390 Now, why does he not rather say (and thus confirm the opinion of our opponents), “Since her flesh was taken out of man”? As the case stands, indeed, they who hold the opposite view may well contend, from the fact that it is written, not woman’s flesh, but the woman herself was taken out of man, that she must be considered in her entire nature endued with soul and spirit. For although the soul is undistinguished by sex, yet when women are mentioned it is not necessary to regard them apart from the soul. On no other principle would they be thus admonished with respect to self-adornment. “Not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but which (says the apostle) becometh women professing godliness with a good conversation.” 2391 Now, “godliness,” of course, is an inner principle in the soul or spirit; and yet they are called women, although the ornamentation concerns that internal portion of their nature which has no sex.



Animata,” possessing the “anima,” or soul.


Gen. ii. 23.


Animata,” possessing the “anima,” or soul.


Gen. ii. 23.


1 Tim. 2:9, 10.

Next: Chapter 30