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ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
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Chapter IX.—Elchasai Derived His System from Pythagoras; Practised Incantations.

This Elchasai puts forward as a decoy a polity (authorized in the) Law, alleging that believers ought to be circumcised and live according to the Law, (while at the same time) he forcibly rends certain fragments from the aforesaid heresies. And he asserts that Christ was born a man in the same way as common to all, and that Christ was not for the first time on earth when born of a virgin, but that both previously and that frequently again He had been born and would be born.  Christ would thus appear and exist among us from time to time, undergoing alterations of birth, and having his soul transferred from body to body. Now Elchasai adopted that tenet of Pythagoras to which I have already alluded. But the Elchasaites have reached such an altitude of pride, that even they affirm themselves to be endued with a power of foretelling futurity, using as a starting-point, obviously, the measures and numbers of the aforesaid Pythagorean art. These also devote themselves to the tenets of mathematicians, and astrologers, and magicians, as if they were true. And they resort to these, so as to confuse silly people, thus led to suppose that the heretics participate in a doctrine of power. And they teach certain incantations and formularies for those who have been bitten by dogs, and possessed of demons, and seized with other diseases; and we shall not be silent respecting even such practices of these heretics. Having then sufficiently explained their principles, and the causes of their presumptuous attempts, I shall pass on to give an account of their writings, through which my readers will become acquainted with both the trifling and godless efforts of these Elchasaites.

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