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Chapter XII.—Basilides Adopts the “Entelecheia” Of Aristotle.

This, then, constitutes the entelecheiaof the natural organic body, according to Aristotle, (viz.,) a soul operating in the body, without which the body is able to accomplish nothing; (I mean nothing) that is greater, and more illustrious, and more powerful, and more wise than the body.829829    Miller’s text has “the soul,” which Duncker and Cruice properly correct into “body.” The account, therefore, which Aristotle has previously rendered concerning the soul and the body, Basilides elucidates as applied to the Great Archon and his Son.  For the Archon has generated, according to Basilides, a son; and the soul as an operation and completion, Aristotle asserts to be an entelecheia of a natural organic body. As, therefore, the entelecheia controls the body, so the Son, according to Basilides, controls the God that is more ineffable than ineffable (entities). All things, therefore, have been provided for, and managed by the majesty830830    Μεγαλειότητος, a correction from μεγάλης. of the Great Archon; (I mean) whatever objects exist in the æthereal region of space as far as the moon, for from that quarter onwards air is separated from æther. When all objects in the æthereal regions, then, were arranged, again from (the conglomeration of) all germs another Archon ascended, greater, of course, than all subjacent (entities), with the exception, however, of the Sonship that had been left behind, but far inferior to the First Archon. And this (second Archon) is called by them Rhetus.831831    A correction from “Arrhetus.” And this Topos is styled Hebdomad, and this (Archon) is the manager and fabricator of all subjacent (entities). And He has likewise made unto Himself out (of the conglomeration of) all germs, a son who is more prudent and wise than Himself, similarly to what has been stated to have taken place in the case of the First Archon. That which exists in this quarter (of the universe) constitutes, he says, the actual conglomeration and collection of all seeds; and the things which are generated are produced according to nature, as has been declared already by Him who calculates on things future, when they ought832832    This passage is very obscure, and is variously rendered by the commentators. The above translation follows Schneidewin’s version, which yields a tolerably clear meaning. (to be), and what sort they ought (to be), and how they ought (to be). And of these no one is Chief, or Guardian, or Creator. For (a) sufficient (cause of existence) for them is that calculation which the Non-Existent One formed when He exercised the function of creation.


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