Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Valentinian Melons

April DeConick has been talking about Gnostic mushrooms, based upon a reference in Irenaeus, and it reminded me of the same writer's parody of the Pleroma in terms of vegetables:

There exists a certain royal Pre-principle, pre-unintelligible, pre-insubstantial and pre-prerotund, which I call Gourd.  With this Gourd there coexists a Power which I call Supervacuity.  This Gourd and this Supervacuity, being one, emitted without emitting a Fruit visible in all its parts, edible and sweet, which language calls Cucumber.  With this Cucumber there is a Power of the same substance, which I call Melon.  These Powers, Gourd and Supervacuity and Cucumber and Melon, emitting a whole multitude of Valentinus' delirious Melons.  For if one must accommodate ordinary language to the first Tetrad and if each one chooses the terms he wants, who would keep him from using these last terms, much more worthy of credence, in ordinary usage, and known by all? (Against Heresies 11.4; trans. Robert M. Grant).  

Say what you want about Irenaeus or his argument or his larger project; he's often quite funny.

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