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The Refutation of All Heresies.

[Translated by the Rev. J. H. MacMahon, M.A.]


Book I.



The following are the contents of the first book of The Refutation of all Heresies.2020    The four of the mss. of the first book extant prior to the recent discovery of seven out of the remaining nine books of The Refutation, concur in ascribing it to Origen. These inscriptions run thus:  1. “Refutation by Origen of all Heresies;” 2. “Of Origen’s Philosophumena…these are the contents;” 3. “Being estimable (Dissertations) by Origen, a man of the greatest wisdom.” The recently discovered ms. itself in the margin has the words, “Origen, and Origen’s opinion.” The title, as agreed upon by modern commentators, is: 1. “Book I. of Origen’s Refutation of all Heresies” (Wolf and Gronovius); 2. “A Refutation of all Heresies;” 3. “Origen’s Philosophumena, or the Refutation of all Heresies.” The last is Miller’s in his Oxford edition, 1851. The title might have been, “Philosophumena, and the Refutation (therefrom) of all Heresies.” There were obviously two divisions of the work: (1) A résumé of the tenets of the philosophers (books i., ii., iii., iv.), preparatory to (2) the refutation of heresies, on the ground of their derivative character from Greek and Egyptian speculation. Bunsen would denominate the work “St. Hippolytus’ (Bishop and Martyr) Refutation of all Heresies; what remains of the ten books.”

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 natural philosophers2121    Most of what follows in book i. is a compilation from ancient sources.  The ablest résumé followed by Cicero in the De Nat. Deor., of the tenets of the ancient philosophers, is to be found in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. The English reader is referred to the Metaphysics, book i. pp. 13–46 (Bohn’s Classical Library), also to the translator’s analysis prefixed to this work, pp. 17–25. See also Diogenes’ Lives of the Philosophers, and Tenneman’s Manual of Philosophy (translated in Bohn’s Library); Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum; Lewes’ Biographical History of (Ancient) Philosophy; and Rev. Dr. F. D. Maurice’s History of (Ancient) Metaphysical and Moral Philosophy. The same subject is discussed in Ritter’s History of Philosophy (translated by Morrison). may be enumerated Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, Parmenides, Leucippus, Democritus, Xenophanes, Ecphantus, Hippo.

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) Zeno. Epicurus, however, advanced an opinion almost contrary to all philosophers. Pyrrho was an Academic;2222    This word is variously given thus: Academian, Academeian, Academaic, Academe, Cademian, and Cadimian. The two last would seem to indicate the character rather than the philosophy of Pyrrho. To favour this view, the text should be altered into καὶ ἄδημος, i.e., ἀπόδημος = from home, not domestic. this (speculator) taught the incomprehensibility of everything. The Brahmins among the Indians, and the Druids among the Celts, and Hesiod (devoted themselves to philosophic pursuits).

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