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Chapter XLVII.—The System of Marcus Shown to Be that of Pythagoras, by Quotations from the Writings of Marcus’ Followers.

I trust, therefore, that as regards these
doctrines it is obvious to all possessed of a sound mind, that (these
tenets) are unauthoritative, and far removed from the knowledge that is
in accordance with Religion, and are mere portions of astrological
discovery, and the arithmetical art of the Pythagoreans. And this
assertion, ye who are desirous of learning shall ascertain (to be true,
by a reference to the previous books, where,) amongst other opinions
elucidated by us, we have explained these doctrines likewise. In
order, however, that we may prove it a more clear statement, viz., that
these (Marcosians) are disciples not of Christ but of Pythagoras, I
shall proceed to explain those opinions that have been derived (by
these heretics) from Pythagoras concerning the meteoric (phenomena) of
the stars^{779}^{779} Cruice
thinks that for stars we should read “numbers,” but gives
no explanation of the meaning of μετέωρα. This
word, as applied to numbers, might refer to “the astrological
phenomena” deducible by means of numerical calculations. as far as it is
possible (to do so) by an epitome.

Now the Pythagoreans make the following
statements: that the universe consists of a Mon98ad and Duad, and that by reckoning from a
monad as far as four they thus generate a decade. And
again,^{780}^{780} A
comparison of Hippolytus with Irenæus, as regards what follows,
manifests many omissions in the former. a duad coming
forth as far as the remarkable (letter),—for instance, two and
four and six,—exhibited the (number) twelve. And again, if
we reckon from the duad to the decade, thirty is produced; and in this
are comprised the ogdoad, and decade, and dodecade. And
therefore, on account of its having the remarkable (letter), the
dodecade has concomitant^{781}^{781}
Following Irenæus, the passage would be rendered thus:
“And therefore, on account of its having the remarkable (letter)
concomitant with it, they style the dodecade a remarkable
passion.” Massuet, in his *Annotations on
Irenæus*, gives the following explanation of the above
statement, which is made by Hippolytus likewise. From the twelfth
number, by once abstracting the remarkable (number), which does not
come into the order and number of the letters, eleven letters
remain. Hence in the dodecade, the πάθος, or what elsewhere the
heretics call the “Hysterema,” is a defect of one
letter. And this is a symbol of the defect or suffering which,
upon the withdrawal of one Æon, happened unto the last dodecade of
Æons.
with it a remarkable passion.^{782}^{782}
Hippolytus’ statement is less copious and less clear than that of
Irenæus, who explains the defect of the letter to be symbolical of
an apostasy of one of the Æons, and that this one was a
female. And for this reason (they
maintain) that when an error had arisen respecting the twelfth number,
the sheep skipped from the flock and wandered away;^{783}^{783}
Luke xv.
4–10. for that the apostasy took place, they
say, in like manner from the decade. And with a similar reference
to the dodecade, they speak of the piece of money which, on losing, a
woman, having lit a candle, searched for diligently. (And they
make a similar application) of the loss (sustained) in the case of the
one sheep out of the ninety and nine; and adding these one into the
other, they give a fabulous account of numbers. And in this way,
they affirm, when the eleven is multiplied into nine, that it produces
the number ninety and nine; and on this account that it is said that
the word Amen embraces the number ninety-nine. And in regard of
another number they express themselves in this manner: that the
letter Eta along with the remarkable one constitutes an ogdoad, as it
is situated in the eighth place from Alpha. Then, again,
computing the number of these elements without the remarkable (letter),
and adding them together up to Eta, they exhibit the number
thirty. For any one beginning from the Alpha^{784}^{784}
Marcus’ explanation of this, as furnished by Irenæus, is
more copious than Hippolytus’. to the Eta will, after subtracting the
remarkable (letter), discover the number of the elements to be the
number thirty. Since, therefore, the number thirty is unified
from the three powers; when multiplied thrice into itself it produced
ninety, for thrice thirty is ninety, (and this triad when multiplied
into itself produced nine). In this way the Ogdoad brought forth
the number ninety-nine from the first Ogdoad, and Decade, and
Dodecade. And at one time they collect the number of this (trio)
into an entire sum, and produce a triacontad; whereas at another time
they subtract twelve, and reckon it at eleven. And in like
manner, (they subtract) ten and make it nine. And connecting
these one into the other, and multiplying them tenfold, they complete
the number ninety-nine. Since, however, the twelfth Æon,
having left the eleven (Æons above), and departing downwards,
withdrew, they allege that even this is correlative (with the
letters). For the figure of the letters teaches (us as
much). For L is placed eleventh of the letters, and this L is the
number thirty. And (they say) that this is placed according to an
image of the dispensation above; since from Alpha, irrespective of the
remarkable (letter), the number of the letters themselves, added
together up to L, according to the augmentation of the letters with the
L itself, produces the number ninety-nine. But that the L,
situated in the eleventh (of the alphabet), came down to search after
the number similar to itself, in order that it might fill up the
twelfth number, and that when it was discovered it was filled up, is
manifest from the shape itself of the letter. For Lambda, when it
attained unto, as it were, the investigation of what is similar to
itself, and when it found such and snatched it away, filled up the
place of the twelfth, the letter M, which is composed of two
Lambdas. And for this reason (it was) that these (adherents of
Marcus), through their knowledge, avoid the place of the ninety-nine,
that is, the Hysterema, a type of the left hand,^{785}^{785} The
allusion here seems to be to the habit among the ancients of employing
the fingers for counting, those of the left hand being used for all
numbers under 100, and those of the right for the numbers above
it. To this custom the poet Juvenal alludes, when he says of
Nestor:—

Atque suos jam dextera computat
annos.

That is, that he was one hundred years
old. and follow after the one which, added to
ninety-nine, they say was transferred to his own right
hand.

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