SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XXXIX. TERTULLIAN, de Praescr. 7.


Faith and Knowledge


Ipsae denique haereses a philosophia subornantur. Inde aeones et formae, nescio quae, et trinitas hominis apud Valentinum: Platonicus fuerat. Inde Marcionis deus melior de tranquillitate: a Stoicis venerat. Et uti anima interire dicatur, ab Epicureis observatur; et ut carnis restitutio negetur, de una omnium philosophorum schola sumitur; et ubi materia cum deo aequatur, Zenonis disciplina est; et ubi aliquid de igneo deo allegatur, Heraclitus intervenit. Eaedem materiae apud haereticos et philosophos volutantur; iidem retractatus implicantur: unde malum, et quare? et unde homo, et quomodo? et quod proxime Valentinus proposuit: unde deus? scilicet de enthymesi et ectromate.

Finally the heresies themselves are equipped by philosophy. Thence came the aeons, the – I know not what – infinite forms, and the trinity of man taught by Valentinus: he had been a Platonist. Thence came Marcion's better god, the better for his tranquillity: he had come from the Stoics. The statement that the soul dies is a note taken from the Epicureans, and the denial of the restoration of the flesh is assumed from the entire school of all the philosophers. Where matter is made equal to God, it is the teaching of Zeno; and where anything is stated about a god of fire, it is Heraclitus who comes in. We have the same subjects repeatedly discussed by heretics and philosophers with the same complicated reconsiderations. Whence is evil, and why? Whence is man, and how? and – the very latest problem of Valentinus – whence is God? From enthymesis and ectroma, no doubt.


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