Valentinians

Apocryphon Of John

APOCRYPHON OF JOHN The apocryphal work dealing with the risen Christ. A Coptic version of this “secret book” appeared in Berlin Papyrus 8502. It was then noted that Irenaeus may have used a Greek version in his treatise Against All the Heresies (1.29) written before A.D. 180. Notably, the NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY contains no fewer …

Apocryphon Of John Read More »

Valentinian Exposition

VALENTINIAN EXPOSITION A Valentinian Exposition (Codex XV, tractate 2, of the NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY) presents itself as a document of revelation intended for a restricted elite: “I will speak my mystery to those who are mine and to those who will be mine.” This revelation concerns first of all the Father, then the Son, the …

Valentinian Exposition Read More »

Valentinus

VALENTINUS The founder of a Gnostic sect that bears his name. He was born at Phrebonis in the Nile Delta (c. A.D. 100) and educated in Alexandria. He was well trained in rhetoric and philosophy, perhaps including familiarity with some of the allegorical writings of Philo Judaeus (c. 20 B.C.-c. A.D. 50). After teaching for …

Valentinus Read More »

Gnosticism

GNOSTICISM A modern term invented by scholars to indicate arbitrarily all sorts of currents of late antiquity that stressed gnosis, an intuitive knowledge of revealed mysteries. It should be limited to writings of the group that called themselves Gnostics (e.g., the Apocryphon of John) and products of thinkers like Basilides (Alexandria, c. 120), Valentinus (c. …

Gnosticism Read More »

Exegesis On The Soul

EXEGESIS ON THE SOUL An imaginative tale, from Codex II of the NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY, describing the adventures of the soul portrayed in the guise of a woman. The story is highly animated, telling of the soul’s divine origins, her fall into the world, and her final return to the house of the Father. The …

Exegesis On The Soul Read More »

Docetism

DOCETISM The term “docetism” comes from the Greek word dokeo (I seem, I appear), and was first used by Serapion, bishop of Antioch (190-208), to refer to certain heretics of the early church. In its earliest expression, docetism apparently grew out of the difficulties of explaining how the Son of God could be subject to …

Docetism Read More »