We propose to furnish an account of the tenets of natural philosophers, and who these are, as well as the tenets of moral philosophers, and who these are; and thirdly, the tenets of logicians, and who these logicians are. Among moral philosophers are Socrates, pupil of Archelaus the physicist, and Plato the pupil of Socrates. This speculator combined three systems of philosophy. Among logicians is Aristotle, pupil of Plato. He systematized the art of dialectics. Among the Stoic logicians were Chrysippus and.

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We propose to furnish an account of the tenets of natural philosophers, and who these are, as well as the tenets of moral philosophers, and who these are; and thirdly, the tenets of logicians, and who these logicians are. Among moral philosophers are Socrates, pupil of Archelaus the physicist, and Plato the pupil of Socrates. This speculator combined three systems of philosophy. Among logicians is Aristotle, pupil of Plato. He systematized the art of dialectics.

Among the Stoic logicians were Chrysippus and. Epicurus, however, advanced an opinion almost contrary to all philosophers. Pyrrho was an Academic; this speculator taught the in-comprehensibility of everything.

The Brahmins among the Indians, and the Druids among the Celts, and Hesiod devoted themselves to philosophic pursuits.

We must not overlook any figment devised by those denominated philosophers among the Greeks. For even their incoherent tenets must be received as worthy of credit, on account of the excessive madness of the heretics; who, from the observance of silence, and from concealing their own ineffable mysteries, have by many been supposed worshippers of God. We have likewise, on a former occasion, expounded the doctrines of these briefly, not illustrating them with any degree of minuteness, but refuting thorn in coarse digest; not having considered it requisite to bring to light their secret doctrines, in order that, when we have explained their tenets by enigmas, they, becoming ashamed, lest also, by our divulging their mysteries, we should convict them of atheism, might be induced to desist in some degree from their un reasonable opinion and their profane attempt.

But since I perceive that they have not been abashed by our forbearance, and have made no account of how God is long-suffering, though blasphemed by them, in order that either from shame they may repent, or should they persevere, be justly condemned, I am forced to proceed in my intention of exposing those secret mysteries of theirs, which, to the initiated, with a vast amount of plausibility they deliver who are not accustomed first to disclose to any one , till, by keeping such in suspense during a period of necessary preparation , and by rendering him blasphemous towards the true God they have acquired complete ascendancy over him, and perceive him eagerly panting after the promised disclosure.

And then, when they have tested him to be enslaved by sin, they initiate him, putting him in possession of the perfection of wicked things. Previously, however, they bind him with an oath neither to divulge the mysteries , nor to hold communication with any person whatsoever, unless he first undergo similar subjection, though, when the doctrine has been simply delivered to any one , there was no longer any need of an oath.

For he who was content to submit to the necessary purgation, and so receive the perfect mysteries of these men, by the very act itself, as well as in reference to his own conscience, will feel himself sufficiently under an obligation not to divulge to others; for if he once disclose wickedness of this description to any man, he would neither be reckoned among men, nor be deemed worthy to behold the light, since not even irrational animals would attempt such an enormity, as we shall explain when we come to treat of such topics.

Since, however, reason compels us to plunge into the very depth of narrative, we conceive we should not be silent, but, expounding the tenets of the several schools with minuteness, we shall evince reserve in nothing. Now it seems expedient, even at the expense of a more protracted investigation, not to shrink from labour; for we shall leave behind us no trifling auxiliary to human life against the recurrence of error, when all are made to behold, in an obvious light, the clandestine rites of these men, and the secret orgies which, retaining under their management, they deliver to the initiated only.

But none will refute these, save the Holy Spirit bequeathed unto the Church, which the Apostles, having in the first instance received, have transmitted to those who have rightly believed. But we, as being their successors, and as participators in this grace, high-priesthood, and office of teaching, as well as being reputed guardians of the Church, must not be found deficient in vigilance, or disposed to suppress correct doctrine.

Not even, however, labouring with every energy of body and soul, do we tire in our attempt adequately to render our Divine Benefactor a fitting return; and yet withal we do not so requite Him in a becoming manner, except we are not remiss in discharging the trust committed to us, but careful to complete the measure of our particular opportunity, and to impart to all without grudging whatever the Holy Ghost supplies, not only bringing to light, by means of our refutation, matters foreign to our subject , but also whatsoever things the truth has received by the grace of the Father, and ministered to men.

These also, illustrating by argument and creating testimony by letters, we shall unabashed proclaim. The undertaking admittedly is full of labour, and is one requiring extended research. We shall not, however, be wanting in exertion; for afterwards it will be a source of joy, just like an athlete obtaining with much toil the crown, or a merchant after a huge swell of sea compassing gain, or a husbandman after sweat of brow enjoying the fruits, or a prophet after reproaches and insults seeing his predictions turning out true.

In the commencement, therefore, we shall declare who first, among the Greeks, pointed out the principles of natural philosophy. For from these especially have they furtively taken their views who have first pro-pounded these heresies, as we shall subsequently prove when we come to compare them one with another. Assigning to each of those who take the lead among philosophers their own peculiar tenets, we shall publicly exhibit these heresiarchs as naked and unseemly.

It is said that Thales of Miletus, one of the seven, wise men, first attempted to frame a system of natural philosophy. This person said that some such thing as water is the generative principle of the universe, and its end;--for that out of this, solidified and again dissolved, all things consist, and that all things are supported on it; from which also arise both earthquakes and changes of the winds and atmospheric movements, and that all things are both produced and are in a state of flux corresponding with the nature of the primary author of generation;--and that the Deity s is that which has neither beginning nor end.

This person, having been occupied with an hypothesis and investigation concerning the stars, became the earliest author to the Greeks of this kind of learning. And he, looking towards heaven, alleging that he was carefully examining supernal objects, fell into a well; and a certain maid, by name Thratta, remarked of him derisively, that while intent on beholding things in heaven, he did not know, what was at his feet.

And he lived about the time of Croesus. But there was also, not far from these times, another philosophy which Pythagoras originated who some say was a native of Samos , which they have denominated Italian, because that Pythagoras, flying from Polycrates the king of Samos, took up his residence in a city of Italy, and there passed the entire of his remaining years. And they who received in succession his doctrine, did not much differ from the same opinion.

And this person, instituting an investigation concerning natural phenomena, combined together astronomy, and geometry, and music. And so he proclaimed that the Deity is a monad; and carefully acquainting himself with the nature of number, he affirmed that the world sings, and that its system corresponds with harmony, and he first resolved the motion of the seven stars into rhythm and melody.

And being astonished at the management of the entire fabric, he required that at first his disciples should keep silence, as if persons coming into the world initiated in the secrets of the universe; next, when it seemed that they were sufficiently conversant with his mode of teaching his doctrine, and could forcibly philosophize concerning the stars and nature, then, considering them pure, he enjoins them to speak.

This man distributed his pupils in two orders, and called the one esoteric, but the other exoteric. And to the former he confided more advanced doctrines, and to the latter a more moderate amount of instruction. And he also touched on magic--as they say--and himself discovered an art of physiogony, laying down as a basis certain numbers and measures, saying that they comprised the principle of arithmetical philosophy by composition after this manner.

The first number became an originating principle, which is one, indefinable, incomprehensible, having in itself all numbers that, according to plurality, can go on ad infinitum. But the primary monad became a principle of numbers, according to sub stance. Secondly, the duad is a female number, and the same also is by arithmeticians termed even. Thirdly, the triad is a male number. This also has been classified by arithmeti cians under the denomination uneven.

And in addition to all these is the tetrad, a female number; and the same also is called even, because it is female. Therefore all the numbers that have been derived from the genus are four; but number is the indefinite genus, from which was constituted, according to them, the perfect number, viz. For one, two, three, four, become ten, if its proper denomination be preserved essentially for each of the numbers.

Pythagoras affirmed this to be a sacred quaternion, source of everlasting nature, having, as it were, roots in itself; and that from this number all the numbers receive their originating principle. For eleven, and twelve, and the rest, partake of the origin of existence from ten.

Of this decade, the perfect number, there are termed four divisions,--namely, number, monad, square, and cube. And the connections and blendings of these are performed, according to nature, for the generation of growth completing the productive number.

For when the square itself is multiplied into itself, a biquadratic is the result. But when the square is multiplied into the cube, the result is the product of a square and cube; and when the cube is multiplied into the cube, the product of two cubes is the result. So that all the numbers from which the production of existing numbers arises, are seven,--namely, number, monad, square, cube, biquadratic, quadratic-cube, cubo-cube.

This philosopher likewise said that the soul is immortal, and that it subsists in successive bodies. Wherefore he asserted that before the Trojan era he was AEthalides, and during the Trojan epoch Euphorbus, and subsequent to this Hermotimus of Samos, and after him Pyrrhus of Delos; fifth, Pythagoras. And Diodorus the Eretrian, and Aristoxenus the musician, assert that Pythagoras came to Zaratas the Chaldean, and that he explained to him that there are two original causes of things, father and mother, and that father is light, but mother darkness; and that of the light the parts are hot, dry, not heavy, light, swift; but of darkness, cold, moist, weighty, slow; and that out of all these, from female and male, the world consists.

But the world, he says, is a musical harmony; wherefore, also, that the sun performs a circuit in accordance with harmony. And as regards the things that are produced from earth and the cosmical system, they maintain that Zaratas makes the following statements: that there are two demons, the one celestial and the other terrestrial; and that the terrestrial sends up a production from earth, and that this is water; and that the celestial is a fire, partaking of the nature of air, hot and cold.

And he therefore affirms that none of these destroys or sullies the soul, for these constitute the substance of all things. And he is reported to have ordered his followers not to eat beans, because that Zaratas said that, at the origin and concretion of all things, when the earth was still undergoing its process of solidification, and that of putrefaction had set in, the bean was produced.

And of this he mentions the following indication, that if any one, after having chewed a bean without the husk, places it opposite the sun for a certain period,--for this immediately will aid in the result,--it yields the smell of human seed. And he mentions also another clearer instance to be this: if, when the bean is blossoming, we take the bean and its flower, and deposit them in a jar, smear this over, and bury it in the ground, and after a few days uncover it, we shall see it wearing the appearance, first of a woman's pudendum, and after this, when closely examined, of the head of a child growing in along with it.

This person, being burned along with his disciples in Croton, a town of Italy, perished. Anti this was a habit with him, whenever one repaired to him with a view of becoming his follower, the candidate disciple was compelled to sell his possessions, and lodge the money sealed with Pythagoras, and he continued in silence to un dergo instruction, sometimes for three, but sometimes for five years.

And again, on being released, he was permitted to associate with the rest, and remained as a disciple, and took his meals along with them; if otherwise, however, he received back his property, and was rejected. These persons, then, were styled Esoteric Pythagoreans, whereas the rest, Pythagoristae.

Among his followers, however, who escaped the conflagration were Lysis and Archippus, and the servant of Pythagoras, Zaniolxis, who also is said to have taught the Celtic Druids to cultivate the philosophy of Pythagoras.

And they assert that Pythagoras learned from the Egyptians his system of numbers and measures; and I being struck by the plausible, fanciful, and not easily revealed wisdom of the priests, he himself likewise, in imitation of them, enjoined silence, and made his disciples lead a solitary life in underground chapels.

But Empedocles, born after these, advanced likewise many statements respecting the nature of demons, to the effect that, being very numerous, they pass their time in managing earthly concerns. This person affirmed the originating principle of the universe to be discord and friendship, and that the intelligible fire of the monad is the Deity, and that all things consist of fire, and will be resolved into fire; with which opinion the Stoics likewise almost agree, expecting a conflagration.

But most of all does he concur with the tenet of transition of souls from body to body, expressing himself thus"For surely both youth and maid I was, And shrub, and bird, and fish, from ocean stray'd.

This philosopher maintained the transmutation of all souls into any description of animal. For Pythagoras, the instructor of these sages , asserted that himself had been Euphorbus, who sewed in the expedition against Ilium, alleging that he recognised his shield. The foregoing are the tenets of Empedocles. But Heraclitus, a natural philosopher of Ephesus, surrendered himself to universal grief, condemning the ignorance of the entire of life, and of all men; nay, commiserating the very existence of mortals, for he asserted that he himself knew everything, whereas the rest of mankind nothing.

But he also advanced statements almost in concert with Empedocles, saying that the originating principle of all things is discord and friendship, and that the Deity is a fire endued with intelligence, and that all things are borne one upon another, and never are at a standstill; and just as Empedocles, he affirmed that the entire locality about us is full of evil things, and that these evil things reach as far as the moon, being extended from the quarter situated around the earth, and that they do not advance further, inasmuch as the entire space above the moon is more pure.

So also it seemed to Heraclitus. After these arose also other natural philosophers, whose opinions we have not deemed it necessary to declare, inasmuch as they present no diversity to those already specified. Since, however, upon the whole, a not inconsiderable school has sprung from thence , and many natural philosophers subsequently have arisen from them, each advancing different accounts of the nature of the universe, it seems also to us advisable, that, explaining the philosophy that has come down by succession from Pythagoras, we should recur to the opinions entertained by those living after the time of Thales, and that, furnishing a narrative of these, we should approach the consideration of the ethical and logical philosophy which Socrates and Aristotle originated, the former ethical, and the latter logical.

Anaximander, then, was the hearer of Thales. Anaximander was son of Praxiadas, and a native of Miletus. This man said that the originating principle of existing things is a certain constitution of the Infinite, out of which the heavens are generated, and the worlds therein; and that this principle is eternal and undecaying, and comprising all the worlds. And he speaks of time as something of limited generation, and subsistence, and destruction.

This person declared the Infinite to be an originating principle and element of existing things, being the first to employ such a denomination of the originating principle.

But, moreover, he asserted that there is an eternal motion, by the agency of which it happens that the heavens are generated; but that the earth is poised aloft, upheld by nothing, continuing on account of its equal distance from all the heavenly bodies ; and that the figure of it is curved, circular, similar to a column of stone.

And one of the surfaces we tread upon, but the other is opposite. And that the stars are a circle of fire, separated from the fire which is in the vicinity of the world, and encompassed by air. And that certain atmospheric exhalations arise in places where the stars shine; wherefore, also, when these exhalations are obstructed, that eclipses take place. And that the moon sometimes appears frill and sometimes waning, according to the obstruction or opening of its orbital paths.

But that the circle of the sun is twenty-seven times larger than the moon, and that the sun is situated in the highest quarter of the firmament ; whereas the orbs of the fixed stars in the lowest. And that animals are produced in moistures by evaporation from the sun. And that man was, originally, similar to a different animal, that is, a fish. And that winds are caused by the separation of very rarified exhalations of the atmosphere, and by their motion after they have been condensed.

And that rain arises from earth's giving back the vapours which it receives from the clouds under the sun. And that there are flashes of lightning when the wind coming down severs the clouds. This person was born in the third year of the XLII. But Anaximenes, who himself was also a native of Miletus, and son of Eurystratus, affirmed that the originating principle is infinite air, out of which are generated things existing, those which have existed, and those that will be, as well as gods and divine entities , and that the rest arise from the offspring of this.


Bryn Mawr Classical Review

THE following are the contents of the sixth book of the Refutation of all Heresies:- What the opinions are that are attempted to be established by Simon, and that his doctrine derives its force from the lucubrations of magicians and poets. What are the opinions propounded by Valentinus, and that his system is not constructed out of the Scriptures, but out of the Platonic and Pythagorean tenets. And what are the opinions of Secundus, and Ptolemaeus, and Heracleon, as persons also who themselves advanced the same doctrines as the philosophers among the Greeks, but enunciated them in different phraseology. And what are the suppositions put forward by Marcus and Colarbasus, and that some of them devoted their attention to magical arts and the Pythagorean numbers. Whatever opinions, then, were entertainedby those who derived the first principles of their doctrine from the serpent, and in process of time deliberately brought forward into public notice their tenets, we have explained in the book preceding this, and which is the fifth of the Refutation of Heresies.


The Refutation of All Heresies, Books I-V Philosophumena

EWTN has corrected all mistakes found. The character ' doubles as an apostrophe, when necessary. We propose to furnish an account of the tenets of natural philosophers, and who these are, as well as the tenets of moral philosophers, and who these are; and thirdly, the tenets of logicians, and who these logicians are. Among moral philosophers are Socrates, pupil of Archelaus the physicist, and Plato the pupil of Socrates. This speculator combined three systems of philosophy.

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