Index  Previous  Next 
Fragments of a Faith Forgotten by G.R.S. Mead (Buy this book at

p. 222


HIPPOLYTUS devotes his next section to a certain Monoïmus, who is only mentioned by one other hæresiologist, namely Theodoret, in a brief paragraph. Monoïmus was an Arabian and lived somewhere in the latter half of the second century. His system is based on the idea of the Heavenly Man, the universe, and the Son of this Man, the perfect man, all other men being but imperfect reflections of the one ideal type.

Number-theories.His general ideas attach themselves to the cycle of Gnostic literature of which we are treating, and are elaborated by many mathematical and geometrical considerations from the Pythagoræan and Platonic traditions. The theory of numbers and the geometrical composition of the universe from elements which are symbolized by the five Platonic solids--namely, the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron--are developed. All these geometrical symbols are produced by the monad, which he calls the iōta, the yod, and the "one horn." It is our old friend the serpentine force, the horn of plenty, the rod of Moses and of Hermes; in other words, it is the atom which is said by seers to be a "conical" swirl of forces. This monad is in numbers the decad, the perfect number and completion of the first series of numbers, after which the whole process begins again.

Now it was Moses’ rod which brought to pass the plagues of Egypt according to the myth. These

p. 223

[paragraph continues] "plagues" are nothing else but transmutations of the matter of the physical body, e.g., water into blood, etc., all of which is quaintly worked out by the writer.

The whole of this system, indeed, opens up a number of important considerations which would lead us far beyond the scope of the present essay. Monoïmus was undoubtedly a contemporary of the Valentinian school, if not a pupil of Valentinus, and the garbled version of his system as preserved by Hippolytus can be made to yield many important points which will throw light on the "theological arithmetic" of the Gnostic doctors. This may be proved some day still to preserve a seed which may grow into a tree of real mathematical knowledge.

We will conclude our sketch of the tenets of

Monoïmus by quoting his opinion on the way to seek How to seek after God. for God. In a letter to a certain Theophrastus, he writes: "Cease to seek after God (as without thee), and the universe, and things similar to these; seek Him from out of thyself, and learn who it is, who once and for all appropriateth all in thee unto Himself, and sayeth: 'My god, my mind, my reason, my soul, my body.' And learn whence is sorrow and joy, and love and hate, and waking though one would not, and sleeping though one would not, and getting angry though one would not, and falling in love though one would not. And if thou shouldst closely investigate these things, thou wilt find Him in thyself, one and many, just as the atom; thus finding from thyself a way out of thyself."

All of this re-echoes very distinctly the teaching of the earlier Trismegistic literature.

Next: The So-Called Cainites