A Christian Gnostic teacher active in Alexandria in the early second century. His teachings are summarized by Irenaeus and other Church Fathers. According to them, he taught a typical Gnostic cosmogony according to which the world was created and is governed by inferior creator angels. The soul of Jesus was able to escape their clutches. Carpocrates is reported to have taught a “libertine” ethic according to which salvation is achieved by engaging in all manner of forbidden licentious acts.
The souls of those not having sufficient experience of forbidden acts are condemned to be reincarnated. No writings of Carpocrates are known. Among his disciples was his son Epiphanes, who wrote a book On Righteousness, in which he taught that wives should be had in common. Fragments of this writing are quoted by Clement of Alexandria. Irenaeus mentions that a Carpocratian female teacher named Marcellina came to Rome and taught there.