« Monnica Monoimus Monophysitism »

Monoimus

Monoimus (a form, possibly representing the Jewish name Menaham), an Arabian Gnostic of 2nd cent. His name had been only preserved by a brief notice in Theodoret (Haer. Fab. i. 18) until the recovery of the lost work of Hippolytus against heresies shewed that from this work Theodoret derived his knowledge. Hippolytus gives a short abstract of the doctrine of Monoimus and an extract from a letter of his to one Theophrastus. The system described might at first seem one of mere pantheism; but a closer examination shews Christian elements in it, so that it is rightly classed as a heresy, and not as a form of heathenism. There is an express quotation from Colossians and a probable reference to the prologue of St. John's Gospel. The starting-point of the speculation is the ascription in N.T. of the work of creation to the Son of Man, whence it was inferred that the first principle was properly called Man. It follows that it is a mistake to look for God in creation; we must seek Him in ourselves, and can best find him by the study of the involuntary operations of our own soul. The relation between the "Man" and "Son of Man" exists from beyond time. The latter is derived from the former, but, it would seem, by an immediate and eternal necessity of His nature, just as from fire is necessarily derived the light which renders it visible. Thus, concerning the first principle, the Scriptures speak both of a "being" and a "becoming" (ἤν καὶ ἐγένετο), the first word properly applying to the "Man," the second to the "Son of Man." The speculations of Monoimus, as reported to us, relate only to the creation; we are told of none as to redemption.

His use of the phrases "Man" and "Son of Man" reminds us of the system of the Naassenes (Hippol. Ref. § 7; see also our art. GNOSTICISM), and a closer examination shews that Monoimus is really to be referred to that sect, although Hippolytus has classed them separately; for Monoimus describes his first principle as bisexual, and applies to it the titles "Father, Mother, the two immortal names," words taken out of a Naassene hymn. But there is a common source of this language in the Ἀπόφασις μεγάλη of Simon, this passage also being clearly the original of the description given by Monoimus of the contradictory attributes of his first principle. Further traces of the obligations of Monoimus to Simon are found in the reference to the six powers instrumental in creation, which answer to Simon's six "roots," while a similar indebtedness to Simon on the part of the Naassene writer in Hippolytus is found on comparing the anatomical speculations connected with the name Eden (v. 9; vi. 14). It is more doubtful whether there is any relation of obligation between Monoimus and the Clementine Homilies; both contrast "the Son of Man" with those "born of women" (Hom. ii. 17). Monoimus has mysteries in connexion with the number 14, shewing that he attached importance to Paschal celebration.

[G.S.]

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