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Valentinus and Valentinians

(10,908 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
1. Sources and their Problems The Valentinian school represents the most important heretical Christian current of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, whose traces are still evident as late as the 7th and 8th centuries. The name “Valentinians” is first found in Justin ( Dialogus cum Tryphone, 35, 6) and Hegesippus (in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, IV, 22, 5), and also in the form ‘those who stem from Valentinus’ (frequent in Origen), while Irenaeus, → Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, and others speak of “Valentinus's school”. The group was distribut…

Valentinianer

(359 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English version] (Valentinianismus). V. heißen die Schüler des Valentinus [1] (die Bezeichnung zuerst bei Iust. Mart. dial. 35,6 und Hegesippos bei Eus. HE 4,22,5), die wichtigste christl.-häretische Strömung des 2. und 3. Jh. n. Chr. (Spuren bis ins 7. Jh.); sie war im gesamten Mittelmeerraum verbreitet und für die entstehende katholische Mehrheitskirche eine ernste Konkurrenz. Hippolytos [2] (Refutatio omnium haeresium 6,35,7) berichtet von einer Spaltung in eine ital. (Ptolemaios [66], Herakle…

Zostrianos

(131 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English version] (Ζωστριανός). Titel der längsten Schrift des Nag Hammadi-Corpus (NHCod VIII,1, 1-132). Porphyrios bezeugt seine Benutzung bei den röm. Gnostikern (Porph. vita Plotini 16). Z. ist Namensvariante für Zarathustra (Zoroastres); die Lehren beider werden identifiziert. Geschildert wird im Z. die Himmelsreise des Z., die über die “Luft-Erde”, die Antítypoi der Äonen bis zum höchsten, dreifach mächtigen Geist führt. Dabei spielen vielfache, geistige Taufen eine Rolle. Die Schrift dürfte in der 1. H. des 3. Jh. entstanden sein und geh…

Ophiten

(155 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English Version] . Erste Erwähnung dieser christl.-gnost. Sekte bei Clemens von Alexandrien, Stromata, VII 17 (108,2). Der Name leitet sich wohl von der Verehrung der Schlange im Paradies her, die die heilsame Erkenntnis des transzendenten Gottes vermittelt. Origenes (Cels. VI 24–38) schreibt der Gruppe das von Celsus angeführte Diagramm zu, zweifelt aber, ob es noch O. gebe (Hippolyt übergeht die Sekte, haer. VIII 20,3); ihr Urheber sei Euphrates (bei Hipp.haer. V 13,9 »Perat« genannt); Jesus wü…

Theodot

(150 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English Version] Theodot, Valentinianer. Unter den Werken des Clemens von Alexandrien sind »Auszüge (Epitomai) aus Th. und den Lehren der sog. östlichen Schule zu Valentins Zeiten« überliefert; es ist schwer zu entscheiden, welche Abschnitte Th. selbst zuzuweisen sind. Neben den Abschnitten, die Clemens' eigene Positionen enthalten, wird anderes den Valentinianern (Valentinianismus) allg. zugeschrieben; eine Parallelversion zu dem von Irenaeus von Lyon (haer. I 1–8) überlieferten valentinianische…

Sextos

(290 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English version] [1] Verfasser einer Gnomensammlung Unter dem Namen S. ist eine griech. Slg. von insgesamt 610 Sentenzen ( gnṓmē ) in zwei griech. Hss. überliefert (Patm. 263, Vat. Gr. 742; Pap. Palau Rib. 225v um 400 n. Chr. bietet 21 Gnomen), wohl um 200 n. Chr. entstanden. Origenes [2] erwähnt als erster den Titel Σέξτου γνῶμαι ( Séxtu gnṓmai), u. a. mit der Bemerkung, daß ‘die meisten Christen sie lesen’ (Orig. contra Celsum 8,30). Rufinus [6] Tyrannius hat um 399 n. Chr. eine Slg. von 451 Sprüchen ins Lat. übersetzt und als Autor seiner Vorlage …

Theosophia

(276 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English version] (Θεοσοφία). Titel eines christl. Werkes unbekannten Verfassers (Severos [3] von Antiocheia nach [2]) vom E. des 5. Jh. n. Chr. Der Titel zeigt einen Bezug zu Porphyrios' Schrift ‘Philosophie aus Orakeln, wo dieser th. (eine Verschmelzung aus “Theologie” und “Philosophie”) wohl erstmals zum t.t. machte (fr. 303; 323; 340a Smith, vgl. Porph. de abstinentia 2,45,4; 4,17,1); davor ist das Adv. θεοσόφως/ theosóphōs nur bei Clem. Al. strom. 1,1 (17,3) belegt; später bei Eusebios [7], Proklos [2], Damaskios, Ps. Dionysios [54] Areopagites. Erh…

Herakleon

(265 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English version] (Ἡρακλέων) gilt als “berühmtester” Vertreter der christl.-häretischen Schule der Valentinianer (Clem. Al. strom. 4,71,1). Er wirkte in der 2. H. des 2. Jh. n. Chr., aber es ist nicht bekannt, an welchem Ort (Rom und/oder Alexandreia?). Anscheinend waren von seiner Jo-Exegese Hypomnḗmata angefertigt worden, die Origenes [2] in seinem Johannes-Komm. zitiert (48 Frg.). Bei seiner Auslegung, die auch andere Evangelien, Paulus [2] und das AT heranzieht, steht ein kosmogonischer Mythos im Hintergrund. Darin wird der weltschöpferische dēmiurgós [3], der auch…

Therapeuten

(391 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[English version] (θεραπευταί) werden von Philon [12] diejenigen genannt, die ihr Leben in Askese und philos. Kontemplation ( bíos theōrētikós) allein der Verehrung Gottes widmen (zum Namen vgl. Plat. Phaedr. 252c und die Slg. von Inschr. aus Pergamon, Delos u. a. [1] für die Verehrer bes. von äg. Gottheiten). Philon bietet zwei Etym.: “Heiler der Seele” und “Verehrer des höchsten Seins”. Als die “Besten” unter ihnen bezeichnet er eine Gruppe von jüd. Einsiedlern am Mareotischen See südwestlich von Alexandreia [1] in Ägypten, von denen wir allein durch seine Schrift De vita contemp…

Menander

(147 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[German Version] Menander, a Gnostic from Samaria (Kapparetaia); taught in Syrian Antioch around the turn of the 1st and 2nd centuries ce. Justin ( 1 Apol. 26, 4) describes him as a pupil of Simon Magus and a magician. According to Irenaeus ( Haer. I 23.5), Menander swore that he could use his power over the angels who created the world. He himself claimed to be the savior ( salvator) sent by the primal power; anyone taking his name at baptism would obtain immortality. His pupils, according to Irenaeus, were Saturninus and Basilides. This information must, howeve…

Theodotus the Gnostic

(152 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[German Version] Valentinian. The works of Clement of Alexandria include “Excerpts [ Epitomai] from Theodotus and the teachings of the so-called eastern school in the time of Valentinian”; it is hard to determine which sections are ascribed to Theodotus himself. Alongside the sections containing Clement’s own position, other material is generally ascribed to the Valentinians (Valentinianism). A parallel version of the Valentinian myth recorded by Irenaeus of Lyon ( Haer. I 1–8) does not mention its source (Clement Excerpta Theodoti 43.2–65). The passages ascribed to Theodo…

Ophites

(159 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens
[German Version] The Ophites, a Gnostic Christian sect, are first mentioned in Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata (VII 17.108[2]). The name probably derives from their worship of the serpent in paradise, which conveys salutary knowledge of the transcendent God. Origen ( Cels. VI 24–38) attributes to the group the diagram cited by Celsus, but doubts that Ophites still exist (Hippolytus ignores the sect in Haer. VIII 20.3). Their spiritual father is said to have been Euphrates (called Perat in Hipp. Haer. V 13.9); they would curse Jesus. According to Theodoret, who equates the…

Theosophia

(320 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] (Θεοσοφία; Theosophía). Title of a Christian work by an unknown writer (Severus [3] of Antioch, according to [2]) from the end of the 5th cent. AD. The title shows a connexion with Porphyrius' work Philosophy from Oracles, where he made theosophia (a blending of theologia and philosophia) a technical term, probably for the first time (fr. 303; 323; 340a Smith, cf. Porph. De abstinentia 2,45,4; 4,17,1); previously the adverb θεοσόφως/ theosóphōs was documented only in Clem. Al. Strom. 1,1 (17,3); later in Eusebius [7], Proclus [2], Damascius, pseudo-…

Corpus Hermeticum

(2,148 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] A. Overview There had been a comprehensive body of writings in Egypt, produced in the name of the god  Hermes, who has been identified with the Egyptian god Thot (Theuth, Thout), the god of wisdom and the art of writing, since the Hellenistic period. The Corpus Hermeticum (CH) included not only the so-called technical writings of astrological, alchemistic, magic and medical content [1], but also religious and philosophical texts. There are 17 Greek treatises, the Lat. Asclepius (Ascl.) and 29 Greek excerpts (exc.) from the anthology of  Stobaeus (further …

Marsanes

(301 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] Title of a very fragmentarily preserved Gnostic text from Nag Hammadi (Codex X,1) in the Coptic language (Subakhmimic). The name Marsanes is also attested in the Anonymum Brucianum, in which M. appears alongside Nikotheus as a prophet of the highest truth [1. 235], and in Epiphanius (Adversus haereses 40,7,6) in the context of the description of the Archontes (here in the form Marsianes; Archontes [II]): he was translated to heaven and returned after three days. NHCod X,1 also describes an ascension into the divine spheres. The author distin…

Heracleon [5]

(296 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] (Ἡρακλέων; Hērakléōn) is considered the 'most famous' representative of the heretical Christian school of the Valentinians (Clem. Al. Strom. 4,71,1). He was active in the second half of the 2nd cent. AD, but it is not known where (Rome and/or Alexandria?). Apparently Hypomnḗmata were produced from his exegesis of John, which Origenes [2] cites in his commentary on John (48 fragments). In his interpretation, which also draws on other gospels, Paulus [II 2] and the Old Testament, there is a background cosmogonic myth. In it the world-creating dēmiourgós [3], who is a…

Kore Kosmou

(550 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] Some extensive excerpts from the hermetic book with the title Kore Kosmou are preserved through Stobaeus (excerpts 23-26 in [1]; Hermetic writings). This name describes, probably in a deliberately puzzling way, the goddess Isis, either as ‘Pupil of the Eye of the World’ [8] or as ‘Maiden of the World’ cf. the name Poemandres). The author attempts to integrate the religion of Isis and Osiris into the hermetic tradition by representing both Egyptian gods as pupils of Her…

Pan

(1,096 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] (Πάν/ Pán). Doric form of Arcadian Πάων/ Páōn, probably derived etymologically via Αἰγίπαν/ Aigípan from Mycenaean aiki-pata, which is related to Latin pastor ('shepherd'), pasci ('to graze') [1]; cf. also the ancient Indian god Pusan [15]. As the god of goatherds and shepherds, P.'s home is Arcadia [12] (Pind. fr. 95; hardly any evidence prior to 500 BC); as the twin brother of Arcas, he is a son of Zeus Lycaeus and Callisto (Epimenides fr. 16 DK); he has theriomorphic traits (the feet and head of a goa…

Zostrianus

(143 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] (Ζωστριανός; Zōstrianós). Title of the longest text of the Nag Hammadi corpus (NHCod VIII,1, 1-132). Porphyry attests its use by the Roman Gnostics (Porph. Vita Plotini 16). Z. is a variant of the name Zarathustra (Zoroaster); the teachings of both are identified. The text relates Z.' journey to  heaven, leading through 'air-earth', the antítypoi of the aeons up to the highest, threefold mighty spirit. The journey involves frequent spiritual baptisms. The text was probably written in the first half of the 3rd cent. and it belongs to…

Poemandres

(517 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] (Ποιμάνδρης/ Poimándrēs). Source of divine revelation in the first tract of the Corpus Hermeticum (= CH) which was named after him. Perhaps the Coptic connection p-eime nte-rē ('spiritual power of the sun god'), for which evidence is lacking, underlies the name, omitting the article before , thus being a paraphrase of the Egyptian god Thoth (cf. Psenprēs, 'son of Re'). The name corresponds to P.' description of himself: ho tês authentías Noûs, 'the spirit of the highest power' (CH I 1; cf. PGM XIII 258: Re as authéntēs). At the same time there is a Greek etymology…
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