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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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