Early Church History 13

Gnostic Imaginations

Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition. Volume I Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100 - 600)

chapter two: "Outside the Mainstream"

Marcion, Gnosticism, Montanism

Pelikan: About the contemporary critiques, the presupposition of those works was that the primitive deposit of Christian truth had been given by Christ to the apostles and by them in turn to the succession of orthodox bishops and teachers, while the heretics were those who forsook the succession and departed from the deposit.

Saint Augustine's heretic: those who in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself.

Saint Justin's heresy: the doctrine of demons

fullness (πλήρωμα)

Ireneaeus: Valentinus "strives to adopt the good terms of revelation to his own wicked inventions."

Three indicators: A) does this build up or tear down the unity of life within the Church; B) is it faithful to the Old Testament; C) is it loyal to the Lord in both testaments.


Valentinus' creed (via Saint Clement of Alexandria) "There is one God, whose presence is manifested in the Son. By him alone the heart can become pure; by the expulsion of every evil from the heart ... As long as no thought is taken for it, the heart remains unclean, and the abode of many demons; but when the Father who alone is good, visits it, it is made hold, and shines with light, and he who possesses such a heart is so blessed he shall see God."

Bythos, an abyss of eternal being

The Father conceived the First-born Son, the mind of God one with truth.  The Word is married to Life like man is married to the Church

the supreme Odgoad, eight primal aeons.

the Dekad, the five doubled attributes of God

The zodiac Circle or the Dodekad

The Tria-kontad, 30 aeons and days in a month

this is the fullness, the pleroma, in which there is fullness of love, joy, harmony and praise.

Sophia, youngest child of the 30 aeons

has a son, Ialdaboath, the child of chaos, the god of the Old Testament, creator of physical universe including flesh.

Thus the child of Mary is A) the physical Christus of the Old Testament God of physical creation AND B) the spiritual, "Psychic" Christ sent to liberate humans from their flesh

the Pneuma

King Abgar IX of Oshoene (Eusebius) "he did not completely clean off the filth of his ancient heresy." Harmonius

Theodotus, Carpocrates, Epiphanes

Basilides' cosmology

Nerva, "Liberty and the Principate are now in harmony"

Marcus Ulpius Trajanus


Aelia Capitolina

Titus Aurelius Anoninus (Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius)

Antoninus "Pius"