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ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
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Chapter XII.—The Docetæ.

Now the Docetæ advance assertions of this description: that the primal Deity is as a seed of the fig-tree; and that from this proceeded three Æons as the stem, and the leaves and the fruit; and that these projected thirty Æons, each (of them) ten; and that they were all united in decades, but differed only in positions, as some were before others. And (the Docetæ assert) that infinite Æons were indefinitely projected, and that all these were hermaphrodites. And (they say) that these Æons formed a design of simultaneously going together into one Æon, and that from this the intermediate Æon and from the Virgin Mary they begot a Saviour of all. And this Redeemer was like in every respect to the first seed of the fig-tree, but inferior in this respect, from the fact of His having been begotten; for the seed whence the fig-tree springs is unbegotten. This, then, was the great light of the Æons—it was entirely radiance—which receives no adornment, and comprises in itself the forms of all animals. And the Docetæ maintain that this light, on proceeding into the underlying chaos, afforded a cause (of existence) to the things that were produced, and those actually existing, and that on coming down from above it impressed on chaos beneath the forms of everlasting species. For the third Æon, which had tripled itself, when he perceives that all his characteristic attributes were forcibly drawn off into the nether darkness, and not being ignorant both of the terror of darkness and the simplicity of light, proceeded to create heaven; and after having rendered firm what intervened, He separated the darkness from the light. As all the species of the third Æon were, he says, overcome by the darkness, the figure even of this Æon became a living fire, having been generated by light. And from this (source), they allege, was generated the Great Archon, regarding whom Moses converses, saying that He is a fiery Deity and Demiurge, who also continually alters the forms of all (Æons) into bodies. And the (Docetæ) allege that these are the souls for whose sake the Saviour was begotten, and that He points out the way through which the souls will escape that are (now) overpowered (by darkness). And (the Docetæ maintain) that Jesus arrayed Himself in that only-begotten power, and that for this reason He could not be seen by any, on account of the excessive magnitude of His glory. And they say that all the occurrences took place with Him as it has been written in the Gospels.

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