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Chapter XIX.—The Heresy of Prepon; Follows Empedocles; Marcion Rejects the Generation of the Saviour.

The principal heresy of Marcion, and (the one of his) which is most free from admixture (with other heresies), is that which has its system formed out of the theory concerning the good and bad (God). Now this, it has been manifested by us, belongs to Empedocles. But since at present, in our times, a certain follower of Marcion, (namely) Prepon, an Assyrian,875875    What Hippolytus communicates concerning Prepon is quite new. The only writer who mentions him is Theodoret (Hær. Fab., i. 25), in his article on Apelles. has endeavoured to introduce something more novel, and has given an account of his heresy in a work inscribed to Bardesanes, an Armenian, neither of this will I be silent. In alleging that what is just constitutes a third principle, and that it is placed intermediate between what is good and bad, Prepon of course is not able to avoid (the imputation of inculcating) the opinion of Empedocles. For Empedocles asserts that the world is managed by wicked Discord, and that the other 113 (world) which (is managed) by Friendship, is cognisable by intellect. And (he asserts) that these are the two different principles of good and evil, and that intermediate between these diverse principles is impartial reason, in accordance with which are united the things that have been separated by Discord, (and which,) in accordance with the influence of Friendship, are accommodated to unity. The impartial reason itself, that which is an auxiliary to Friendship, Empedocles denominates “Musa.” And he himself likewise entreats her to assist him, and expresses himself somehow thus:—

“For if on fleeting mortals, deathless Muse,

Thy care it be that thoughts our mind engross,

Calliope, again befriend my present prayer,

As I disclose a pure account of happy gods.”876876    Schneidewin gives a restored version of these lines. They are found (at lines 338–341) in Stein’s edition of the Empedoclean Verses.

Marcion, adopting these sentiments, rejected altogether the generation of our Saviour. He considered it to be absurd that under the (category of a) creature fashioned by destructive Discord should have been the Logos that was an auxiliary to Friendship—that is, the Good Deity. (His doctrine,) however, was that, independent of birth, (the Logos) Himself descended from above in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, and that, as being intermediate between the good and bad Deity, He proceeded to give instruction in the synagogues. For if He877877    Tertullian combats these heretical notions in his De Carne Christi [vol. viii. p. 521, this series]. is a Mediator, He has been, he says, liberated from the entire nature of the Evil Deity. Now, as he affirms, the Demiurge is evil, and his works. For this reason, he affirms, Jesus came down unbegotten, in order that He might be liberated from all (admixture of) evil.  And He has, he says, been liberated from the nature of the Good One likewise, in order that He may be a Mediator, as Paul states,878878    Gal. iii. 19. and as Himself acknowledges:  “Why call ye me good? there is one good.”879879    Matt. xix. 17; Mark x. 18; Luke xviii. 19. These, then, are the opinions of Marcion, by means of which he made many his dupes, employing the conclusions of Empedocles. And he transferred the philosophy invented by that (ancient speculator) into his own system of thought, and (out of Empedocles) constructed his (own) impious heresy. But I consider that this has been sufficiently refuted by us, and that I have not omitted any opinion of those who purloin their opinions from the Greeks, and act despitefully towards the disciples of Christ, as if they had become teachers to them of these (tenets). But since it seems that we have sufficiently explained the doctrines of this (heretic), let us see what Carpocrates says.

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