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Chapter XII.—The Strange Jumble of the Pleroma. The Frantic Delight of the Members Thereof. Their Joint Contribution of Parts Set Forth with Humorous Irony.

Thus they are all on the self-same footing in respect of form and knowledge, all of them having become what each of them severally is; none being a different being, because they are all what the others are.67456745    Nemo aliud quia alteri omnes. They are all turned into67466746    Refunduntur. Nuses, into Homos, into Theletuses;67476747    The reader will, of course, see that we give a familiar English plural to these names, as better expressing Tertullian’s irony. and so in the case of the females, into Siges, into Zoes, into Ecclesias, into Fortunatas, so that Ovid would have blotted out his own Metamorphoses if he had only known our larger one in the present day.  Straightway they were reformed and thoroughly established, and being composed to rest from the truth, they celebrate the Father in a chorus67486748    Concinunt. of praise in the exuberance of their joy.  The Father himself also revelled67496749    Diffundebatur. in the glad feeling; of course, because his children and grandchildren sang so well. And why should he not revel in absolute delight? Was not the Pleroma freed (from all danger)? What ship’s captain67506750    Nauclerus: “pilot.” fails to rejoice even with indecent frolic?  Every day we observe the uproarious ebullitions of sailors’ joys.67516751    Tertullian lived in a seaport at Carthage. Therefore, as sailors always exult over the reckoning they pay in common, so do these Æons enjoy a similar pleasure, one as they now all are in form, and, as I may add,67526752    Nedum. in feeling too. With the concurrence of even their new brethren and masters,67536753    Christ and the Holy Spirit, [i.e. blasphemously.] they contribute into one common stock the best and most beautiful thing with which they are severally adorned.  Vainly, as I suppose. For if they were all one by reason by the above-mentioned thorough equalization, there was no room for the process of a common reckoning,67546754    Symbolæ ratio. which for the most part consists of a pleasing variety. They all contributed the one good thing, which they all were. There would be, in all probability, a formal procedure67556755    Ratio. in the mode or in the form of the very equalization in question. Accordingly, out of the donation which they contributed67566756    Ex ære collaticio. In reference to the common symbola, Tertullian adds the proverbial formula, “quod aiunt” (as they say). to the honour and glory of the Father, they jointly fashion67576757    Compingunt. the most beautiful constellation of the Pleroma, and its perfect fruit, Jesus. Him they also surname67586758    Cognominant. Soter (Saviour) and Christ, and Sermo (Word) after his ancestors;67596759    De patritus. Irenæus’ word here is πατρωνυμικῶς (“patronymice”). and lastly Omnia (All Things), as formed from a universally culled nosegay,67606760    Ex omnium defloratione. like the jay of Æsop, the Pandora of Hesiod, the bowl67616761    Patina. of Accius, the honey-cake of Nestor, the miscellany of Ptolemy. How much nearer the mark, if these idle title-mongers had called him Pancarpian, after certain Athenian customs.67626762    Alluding to the olive-branch, ornamented with all sorts of fruits (compare our “Christmas tree”), which was carried about by boys in Athens on a certain festival (White and Riddle). By way of adding external honour also to their wonderful puppet, they produce for him a bodyguard of angels of like nature. If this be their mutual condition, it may be all right; if, however, they are consubstantial with Soter (for I have discovered how doubtfully the case is stated), where will be his eminence when surrounded by attendants who are co-equal with himself?


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