Platonists

Subordinationism

SUBORDINATIONISM The inferiority of the Son to the Father, a doctrine explicitly maintained by ARIUS and later Arians. The term “of one substance” was designed to meet this claim. Another form of subordinationism maintains the inferiority of the Spirit to both Father and Son. Arius, in the opinion of Archbishop Alexander I of Alexandria, taught …

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Heracleon

HERACLEON A gnostic teacher in Alexandria about 170-180, who had great influence on Saint CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA and ORIGEN. Clement described him as “the most esteemed [dokimatotos]” disciple of VALENTINUS (Clement Stromateis 4. 9. 71. 1). Heracleon is the first known commentator on the New Testament after BASILIDES, and fragments of his commentaries on Luke …

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Plotinus (205-270)

PLOTINUS (205-270) A philosopher and founder of Neoplatonism in Egypt. At the age of twenty-eight he became a pupil of Ammonius Saccas in Alexandria. In 242-243 he was a member of the emperor Gordianus III’s expedition to the East. From 245 until his final illness, he taught philosophy in Rome, where his circle of influence …

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Gnosis

GNOSIS A Greek word, derived from the Indo-European root gno, also preserved in English “know” and Sanskrit jnana, “knowledge.” “Gnostic” comes from the adjective gnostikos (scientific), which in classical times was never used as a substantive. The only ones who called themselves Gnostics were members of the Jewish, later superficially Christianized, group of the Gnostikoi, …

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Origen

Origen General History Origen (185-255) was one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, and certainly among the greatest of Egyptian Christians. Only ATHANASIUS can rival him in stature among the sons of Christian Egypt. He was born of Christian parents at Alexandria and probably died at Tyre. In 202 his father, Leonidas, was martyred …

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Incarnation

INCARNATION A central doctrine of Christian theology affirming that the eternal Son of God, who is the Divine Logos and second HYPOSTASIS of the Holy Trinity, took human flesh from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in order to accomplish the work of our salvation. The doctrine is held to be a mystery difficult …

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