5 This passage admits of another rendering. Lord Hailes, following the common Latin version, thus translates: "It was our chief wish to endure tortures for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so to be saved."
6 [This wholesale sentence implies a great indifference to the probable Roman citizenship of some of them, if not of our heroic martyr himself; but Acts xxii. 25-29 seems to allow that the condemned were not protected by the law.]
1 One of the Antiochian Canons probably reflects the current language of an earlier antiquity thus: dia to en th mhtropolei pantaxoqen suntrexein pantaj touj ta pragmata exontaj; and, if so, this suntrexein gives the meaning of convenire.
3 Bishop Wordsworth inclines to the idea that the original Greek was ikanwteran arxaiothta, thus conceding that Irenaeus was speaking of the greater antiquity of Rome as compared with other (Western) Churches. Even so, he shows that the argument of Irenaeus is fatal to Roman pretensions, which admit of no such ideas as he advances, and no such freedom as that of his dealings with Rome.
4 Nobody has more forcibly stated the argument of Irenaeus than the Abbé Guettée, in his exhaustive work on the Papacy. I published a translation of this valuable historical epitome in New York (Carleton), 1867; but it is out of print. The original may be had in Paris (Fishbacher), No. 33 Rue de Seine.
1 The Greek original of the work of Irenaeus is from time to time recovered through the numerous quotations made from it by subsequent writers, especially by the author's pupil Hippolytus, and by Epiphanius. The latter preserves (Haer. xxxi. secs. 9-32) the preface of Irenaeus, and most of the first book. An important difference of reading occurs between the Latin and Greek in the very first word. The translator manifestly read epei, quatenus, while in Epiphanius we find epi, against. The former is probably correct, and has been followed in our version. We have also supplied a clause, in order to avoid the extreme length of the sentence in the original, which runs on without any apodosis to the words anagkaion hghsamhn, "I have judged it necessary."
4 There are frequent references to Irenaeus to some venerable men who had preceded him in the Church. It is supposed that Pothinus, whom he succeeded at Lyons, is generally meant; but the reference may sometimes be to Polycarp, with whom in early life he had been acquainted.
6 The original is egkefalon eceptukasin, which the Latin translator renders simply, "have not sufficient brains." He probably followed a somewhat different reading. Various emendations have been proposed, but the author may be understood by the ordinary text to be referring ironically to the boasted subtlety and sublimity of the Gnostics.
10 This term Aeon (Aiwn) seems to have been formed from the words aei wn, ever-existing. "We may take aiwn, therefore," says Harvey (Irenaeus, cxix.), "in the Valentinian acceptation of the word, to mean an emanation from the divine substance, subsisting coordinately and co-eternally with the Deity, the Pleroma still remaining one."
11 Sige, however, was no true consort of Buthus, who included in himself the idea of male and female, and was the one cause of all things: comp. Hippolytus, Philosop., vi. 29. There seems to have been considerable disagreement among these heretics as to the completion of the mystical number thirty. Valentinus himself appears to have considered Bythus as a monad, and Sige as a mere nonentity. The two latest Aeons, Christ and the Holy Spirit, would then complete the number thirty. But other Gnostic teachers included both Bythus and Sige in that mystical number.
12 It may be well to give here the English equivalents of the names of these Aeons and their authors. They are as follows: Bythus, Profundity; Proarche, First-Beginning; Propator, First-Father; Ennoea, Idea; Charis, Grace; Sige, Silence; Nous, Intelligence; Aletheia, Truth; Logos, Word; Zoe, Life; Anthropos, Man; Ecclesia, Church; Bythius, Deep; Mixis, Mingling; Ageratos, Undecaying; Henosis, Union; Autophyes, Self-existent; Hedone, Pleasure; Acinetos, Immoveable; Syncrasis, Blending; Monogenes, Only-Begotten; Macaria, Happiness; Paracletus, Advocate; Pistis, Faith; Patricos, Ancestral; Elpis, Hope; Metricos, Metrical; Agape, Love; Ainos, Praise; Synesis, Understanding; Ecclesiasticus, Ecclesiastical; Macariotes, Felicity; Theletos, Desiderated; Sophia, Wisdom.
16 Alluding to the Gnostic notion that, in generation, the male gives form, the female substance. Sophia, therefore, being a female Aenon, gave to her enthymesis substance alone, without form. Comp. Hippol., Philosop., vi. 30.
20 The meaning of these terms is as follows: Stauros means primarily a stake, and then a cross; Lytrotes is a Redeemer; Carpistes, according to Grabe, means an Emancipator, according to Neander a Reaper; Horothetes is one that fixes boundaries; and Metagoges is explained by Neander as being one that brings back, from the supposed function of Horos, to bring back all that sought to wander from the special grade of being assigned them.
23 Literally, "fruit." Harvey remarks on this expression, "that what we understand by emanations, the Gnostic described as spiritual fructification; and as the seed of a tree is in itself, even in the embryo state, so these various Aeons, as existing always in the divine nature, were co-eternal with it."
24 This is an exceedingly obscure and difficult passage. Harvey's rendering is: "For, say they, Christ taught them the nature of their copulae, (namely,) that being cognisant of their (limited) perception of the Unbegotten they needed no higher knowledge, and that He enounced," etc. the words seem scarcely capable of yielding this sense: we have followed the interpretation of Billius.
25 Both the text and meaning are here very doubtful. Some think that the import of the sentence is, that the knowledge that the Father is incomprehensible secured the continued safety of the Aeons, whilethe same knowledge conferred upon Monogenes his origin and form.