Against The Valentinians by Tertullian
Chapter XII.--The Strange Jumble of the Pleroma The Frantic Delight of the Members Thereof. Their Joint Contribution of Parts Set Forth with Humorous Irony.
Thus they are all on the self-same footing in respect of form and knowledge, all of them having become what each of them severally is; none being a different being, because they are all what the others are. They are all turned into Nuses, into Homos, into Theletuses; and so in the case of the females, into Siges, into Zoes, into Ecclesias, into Fortunatas, so that Ovid would have blotted out his own Metamorphoses if he had only known our larger one in the present day. Straightway they were reformed and thoroughly established, and being composed to rest from the truth, they celebrate the Father in a chorus of praise in the exuberance of their joy. The Father himself also revelled in the glad feeling; of course, because his children and grandchildren sang so well. And why should he not revel in absolute delight? Was not the Pleroma freed (from all danger)? What ship's captain fails to rejoice even with indecent frolic? Every day we observe the uproarious ebullitions of sailors' joys. Therefore, as sailors always exult over the reckoning they pay in common, so do these Æons enjoy a similar pleasure, one as they now all are in form, and, as I may add, in feeling too. With the concurrence of even their new brethren and masters, they contribute into one common stock the best and most beautiful thing with which they are severally adorned. Vainly, as I suppose. For if they were all one by reason by the above-mentioned thorough equalization, there was no room for the process of a common reckoning, which for the most part consists of a pleasing variety. They all contributed the one good thing, which they all were. There would be, in all probability, a formal procedure in the mode or in the form of the very equalization in question. Accordingly, out of the donation which they contributed to the honour and glory of the Father, they jointly fashion the most beautiful constellation of the Pleroma, and its perfect fruit, Jesus. Him they also surname Soter (Saviour) and Christ, and Sermo (Word) after his ancestors; and lastly Omnia (All Things), as formed from a universally culled nosegay, like the jay of Æsop, the Pandora of Hesiod, the bowl of Accius, the honey-cake of Nestor, the miscellany of Ptolemy. How much nearer the mark, if these idle title-mongers had called him Pancarpian, after certain Athenian customs. By way of adding external honour also to their wonderful puppet, they produce for him a bodyguard of angels of like nature. If this be their mutual condition, it may be all right; if, however, they are consubstantial with Soter (for I have discovered how doubtfully the case is stated), where will be his eminence when surrounded by attendants who are co-equal with himself?