« Prev Chapter VI. Next »

6. On reading this epistle, Marcellus, with the kindest consideration, attended hospitably to the needs of the bearer of the letter. Archelaus, on the other hand, did not receive very pleasantly the matters which were read, but “gnashed14791479    The text gives infrendebat; the Codex Bobiensis has infringebat.[It seems to be a proverb, and I have so marked it. We should say, “he chafed like a lion,” etc.] with his teeth like a chained lion,” impatient to have the author of the epistle given over to him. Marcellus, however, counselled him to be at peace; promising that he would himself take care to secure the man’s presence. And accordingly Marcellus resolved to send an answer to what had been written to him, and indited an epistle containing the following statements:—

Marcellus, a man of distinction, to Manichæus, who has made himself known to me by his epistle, greeting.

An epistle written by you has come to my hand, and I have received Turbo with my wonted kindness; but the meaning of your letter I have by no means apprehended, and may not do so unless you give us your presence, and explain its contents in detail in the way of conversation, as you have offered to do in the epistle itself. Farewell.

This letter he sealed and handed to Turbo, with instructions to deliver it to the person from whom he had already conveyed a similar document. The messenger, however, was extremely reluctant to return to his master, being mindful of what he had to endure on the journey, and begged that another person should be despatched in his stead, refusing to go back to Manes, or to have any intercourse whatever with him again. But Marcellus summoned one of his young men,14801480    Ex pueris suis. Callistus by name, and directed him to proceed to the place. Without any loss of time this young man set out promptly on his journey thither; and after the lapse of three days he came to Manes, whom he found in a certain fort, that of Arabion14811481    Epiphanius, under this Heresy, num. 7, says that this was a fort situated on the other side of the river Stranga, between Persia and Mesopotamia. to wit, and to whom he presented the epistle. On perusing it, he was glad to see that he had been invited by Marcellus; and without delay he undertook the journey; yet he had a presentiment that Turbo’s failure to return boded no good, and proceeded on his way to Marcellus, not, as it were, without serious reflections. Turbo, for his part, was not at all thinking of leaving the house of Marcellus; neither did he omit any opportunity of conversing with Archelaus the bishop. For both these parties were very diligently engaged in investigating the practices of Manichæus, being desirous of knowing who he was and whence he came, and what was his manner of discourse. And he, Turbo, accordingly gave a lucid account of the whole position, narrating and expounding the terms of his faith in the following manner:14821482    The section extending from this point on to ch. xii. is found word for word in the Greek of Epiphanius, num. 25.

If you are desirous of being instructed in the faith of Manes by me, attend to me for a short space. That man worships two deities, unoriginated, self-existent, eternal, opposed the one to the other. Of these he represents the one as good, and the other as evil, and assigns the name of Light to the former, and that of Darkness to the latter. He alleges also that the soul in men is a portion of the light, but that the body and the formation of matter are parts of the darkness. He maintains, further, that a certain commingling or blending14831483    μιξιν δὲ ητοι σύγκρασιν. has been effected between the two in the manner about to be stated, the following 183analogy being used as an illustration of the same; to wit, that their relations may be likened to those of two kings in conflict with each other, who are antagonists from the beginning, and have their own positions, each in his due order. And so he holds that the darkness passed without its own boundaries, and engaged in a similar contention with the light; but that the good Father then, perceiving that the darkness had come to sojourn on His earth, put forth from Himself a power14841484    προβάλλειν ἐξ αὐτοῦ δύναμιν. But the Codex Bobiensis gives produxit ex virtute, put forth from His power one, etc. The Codex Casinensis has produxerit et esse virtutem, etc. which is called the Mother of Life; and that this power thereupon put forth from itself the first man, and the five elements.14851485    The text is simply καὶ αὐτὴν προβεβληκέναι τὸν πρῶτον ἄνθρωπον, τὰ πέντε στοιχεια. The Latin, with emendations from the Codex Bobiensis and Epiphanius, gives quâ virtute circumdedit primum hominem, quæ sunt quinque elementa, etc., = with which power He begirt the first man, which is the same as the five elements, etc. With slight differences the Codex Bobiensis reads quâ circumdedit, and the Codex Casinensis, quæ virtute.Petavius pointed out that there is probably an omission in the text here. And from a passage in Epiphanius, Hær., lxvi. n. 45, it has been proposed to fill out the sentence thus: προβάλλειν ἐξ ἑαυτοῦ δύναμιν μητέρα τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ αὐτὴν προβεβληκέναι τὸν πρῶτον ἄνθρωπον, αὐτὴν δὲ τὴν μητέρα τῆς ζωῆς τόν τε πρῶτον ἄνθρωπον τὰ πέντε στοιχεῖα. The sense might then be that the good Father put forth from Himself a power called the Mother of Life, that this Mother of Life put forth the first man, and that the said Mother of Life and the first man put forth (or constituted) the five elements. See the note in Routh’s Reliquiæ Sacræ, v. p. 49. And these five elements are wind,14861486    The Codex Bobiensis omits the ventus, wind. light, water, fire, and matter. Now this primitive man, being endued with these, and thereby equipped, as it were, for war, descended to these lower parts, and made war against the darkness. But the princes of the darkness, waging war in turn against him, consumed that portion of his panoply which is the soul. Then was that first man grievously injured there underneath by the darkness; and had it not been that the Father heard his prayers, and sent a second power, which was also put forth from Himself and was called the living Spirit, and came down and gave him the right hand, and brought him up again out of the grasp of the darkness, that first man would, in those ancient times, have been in peril of absolute overthrow. From that time, consequently, he left the soul beneath. And for this reason the Manichæans, if they meet each other, give the right hand, in token of their having been saved from darkness; for he holds that the heresies have their seat all in the darkness. Then the living Spirit created the world; and bearing in himself three other powers, he came down and brought off the princes, and settled14871487    The Greek gives ἐστερέωσεν ἐν τῷ στερεώματι. The Latin version has, “crucifixit eos in firmamento.” And Routh apparently favours the reading ἐσταύρωσεν = crucified them, etc. Valesius and the Codex Bobiensis have, “descendens eduxit principes Jesu, exiens in firmamentum quod est,” etc. them in the firmament, which is their body, (though it is called) the sphere. Then, again, the living Spirit created the luminaries, which are fragments of the soul, and he made them thus to move round and round the firmament; and again he created the earth in its eight species.14881488    εἰς εἴδη ὀκτώ. The Latin however, gives et sunt octo, “and they are eight;” thus apparently having read εἰσὶ δὲ ὀκτώ, instead of εἰς εἴδη ὀκτώ. And the Omophorus14891489    i.e., one who bears on his shoulders, the upholder. sustains the burden thereof beneath; and when he is wearied with bearing it he trembles, and in that manner becomes the cause of a quaking of the earth in contravention of its determinate times. On account of this the good Father sent His Son forth from His own bosom14901490    Reading ἐκ τῶν κόλπων, de sinibus suis. But the Codex Bobiensis gives de finibus, from His own territories. into the heart of the earth, and into these lowest parts of it, in order to secure for him the correction befitting him.14911491    The Greek text is, ὅπως αὐτῷ τὴν προσήκουσαν ἐπιτιμίαν δῷ. The Latin gives, “quo illum, ut par erat, coerceret.” The Codex Bobiensis reads, “quod illum, ut pareret, coerceret.” It is clear also that Petavius read correctly ἐπιτιμίαν for ἐπιθυμίαν in Epiphanius. And whenever an earthquake occurs, he is either trembling under his weariness, or is shifting his burden from one shoulder to the other. Thereafter, again, the matter also of itself produced growths;14921492    τὰ φυτά. and when these were carried off as spoil on the part of some of the princes, he summoned together all the foremost of the princes, and took from all of them individually power after power, and made up the man who is after the image of that first man, and united14931493    ἔδησεν. The Codex Bobiensis gives, “vexit animam in eo.” the soul (with these powers) in him. This is the account of the manner in which his constitution was planned.

« Prev Chapter VI. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |