Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ANF 5: Hippolytus IV

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

HippolytusThe Refutation of All Heresies

Books II and III are missing, so we pick back up in Book IV with Hippolytus' tackling the astrologers and their reliance on the stars. This is simply false, as it is all founded on the horoscope (how the heavens were when you were born). Which requires that you know exactly when you were born with absolute certain knowledge and exactly under what sign you were born. This is of course impossible. Even the act of delivering a baby itself takes time, and so would throw the whole system off (not that the whole system is worth all that much to begin with).

Hippolytus gives a long and involved refutation of particular beliefs of the astrologers, which no doubt it would be as tedious to summarize as it is to read. This might be of use to those who have friends in whatever's left of the New Age movement, but much of Book IV can be skipped with little loss. There are tidbits here and there that are interesting (especially his debunking of the "miracles" that happen in astrologer's temples and roadshows), but not worth the cost of reading the whole book.

Some of this shows the clear influence of Irenaeus' response to the Gnostics--maybe the Gnostics and the Astrologers were in communication with each other? (I confess I don't know much about either.)

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