David W. Jorgensen provides us with a very close parallel to Celsus's use of μεταπλάσσω to describe the process of the creation of gospels rather than 'Gospel.' Given that Celsus seems to know things written by Irenaeus about the heresies, one wonders if there is a relationship here between the two testimonies as we see elsewhere with other passages in Celsus:
Irenaeus says that the Valentinians 'reform' the gospels by making 'braids' of an instable or illusionary substance - their own doctrines. Celsus says that the gospel was 'reformed' by the Christians to 'deny' philosophical refutations of the gospel. Very close though.Such is their hypothesis [ὑπόθεσις] which neither the prophets preached, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles handed down [παρέδωκαν]. They boast ratherloudly of knowing more aboutit than others do, citing it from nonscriptural [works; ἐξ ἀγράφων]; and as people would say, they attempt to braid ropes of sand. They attempt to fit to their opinions, in a plausible manner, either the parabolai” of the Lord, or the sayings of the prophets, or the words of the apostles, in order that their in order that their creation may not seem to be without support. Yet, they exceed” the arrangement and sequence of the Scriptures, and, as much as they can, dismember the body of truth.” By transferring, transforming, and making” one thing out of another, they deceive many through their illcomposed sophistry of adapting the sayings of the Lord.
In other words, through their senseless juxtaposition of scriptural passages,cherry-picking Christian scriptures for appropriate material as needed, they buttress their own cosmological theories, which were not actually derived from Scripture but, rather, were preconceived notions. Their hypothesis is not a true one, While a hypothesis of a text was imagined to be present in the text itself and thus undergird its correct interpretation, a plasma was a fictitious theme assigned for advanced students of rhetoric to argue as a classroom declamation exercise.108 In addition, the verbs Irenaeus uses to describe the Valentinian technique – two verbs of adaptation or fitting (προσαρμόζειν and ἐφαρμόζειν) bracketing two verbs of transformation (μεταφέρω and μεταπλάσσω) – collectively mount a forceful charge of retrofitting Scripture to a pre-existing theory. His primary charge, then, is twofold: (1) by seeming to make Scripture conform to the meaning they apply to it externally, they are guilty of eisegesis, and (2) this eisegesis is the natural outcome of their disregard for the underlying unity of the Scriptures. Thus their incorrect “method” leads to an incorrect result.
It is worth noting that άμμος = sand was thought to be the root of Ammon:
άμμος would also have been thought to be at the root of the Ammonius the author of the 'fourfold gospel.' Is there a relationship here between Ammonius's fourfold gospel and the 'braids of sand' remark by Irenaeus?When Bacchus, or according to others, Heracles, went to India and led his army through the deserts of Libya, he was at last quite exhausted with thirst, and invoked his father, Jupiter. Hereupon a ram appeared, which led Heracles to a place where it opened a spring in the sand by scraping with its foot. For this reason, says Servius, Jupiter Ammon, whose name is derived from ἄμμος (sand), is represented with the horns of a ram. (Comp. Hyg. Fab. 133, Poet. Astr. 1.20 ; Lucan, Pharsal. 9.511.)