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Chapter XLI.—Marcus’ Mystic Interpretation of the Alphabet.

Know, (therefore,) that these letters which with you are (reckoned at) twenty-four, are emanations from the three powers, and are representative746746    εἰκονικὰς.  This is Irenæus’ reading. Miller has εἰκόνας (representations). of those (powers) which embrace even the entire number of the elements. For suppose that there are some letters that are mute—nine of them—of Pater and Aletheia, from the fact that these are mute—that is, ineffable and unutterable. And (again, assume) that there are other (letters that are) semi-vowels—eight of them—of the Logos and of Zoe, from the fact that these are intermediate between consonants and vowels, and receive the emanation747747    ἀπόῤῥοιαν:  some read ἀπορίαν, which is obviously erroneous. of the (letters) above them, but the reflux of those below them.748748    ὑπ᾽ αὐτὰ:  Irenæus reads ὑπέρ αὐτὴν, and Massuet ὑπένερθεν. And (likewise take for granted) that there are vowels—and these are seven—of Anthropos and Ecclesia, inasmuch as the voice of Anthropos proceeded forth, and imparted form to the (objects of the) universe. For the sound of the voice produced figure, and invested them with it. From this it follows that there are Logos and Zoe, which have eight (semi-vowels); and Anthropos and Ecclesia, which have seven (vowels); and Pater and Aletheia, which have nine (mutes). But from the fact that Logos wanted749749    The deficiency consisted in there not being three ogdoads. The sum total was twenty-four, but there was only one ogdoad—Logos and Zoe. The other two—Pater and Aletheia, and Anthropos and Ecclesia—had one above and one below an ogdoad. (one of being an ogdoad), he who is in the Father was removed (from his seat on God’s right hand), and came down (to earth). And he was sent forth (by the Father) to him from whom he was separated, for the rectification of actions that had been committed. (And his descent took place) in order that the unifying process, which is inherent in Agathos, of the Pleromas might produce in all the single power that emanates from all. And thus he who is of the seven (vowels) acquired the power of the eight750750    τῶν ὀκτὼ has been substituted for τῷ νοητῷ, an obviously corrupt reading. The correction is supplied by Irenæus. (semi-vowels); and there were produced three topoi, corresponding with the (three) numbers (nine, seven, and eight),—(these topoi) being ogdoads. And these three being added one to the other, exhibited the number of the twenty-four (letters). And (he maintains), of course, that the three elements,—(which he himself affirms to be (allied) with the three powers by conjugal union, and which (by this state of duality) become six, and from which have emanated the twenty-four elements,—being rendered fourfold by the Quaternion’s ineffable word, produce the same number (twenty-four) with these. And these, he says, belong to Anonomastus. And (he asserts) that these are conveyed by the six powers into a similarity with Aoratus. And (he says) that there are six double letters of these elements, images of images, which, being reckoned along with the twenty-four letters, produce, by an analogical power, the number thirty.


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