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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 Ophites with t…

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…

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 imm…

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 …

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 distributed throughout the Mediterranean area (especially in Rome, North Africa, and Asia Minor), and formed its own social and cultic-ritual community apart from the nascent church of the Catholic majority. This division took place through a long process ( Interpretation of Knowledge, NHC XI, 1, reflects on this), and despite ample source-material it is very difficult to form a picture of the historical development of the Valentin…

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

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 d…

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], …

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…

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)

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…

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 o…

Poemandres

(517 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Bamberg)
[German version] (Ποιμάνδρης/ Poimándrēs). Source of divine revelation in the first tr…

Kore Kosmu

(490 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Berlin)
[English version] Durch Stobaios sind einige längere Abschnitte aus dem hermetischen Buch mit dem Titel “Kore Kosmu” erhalten (Exzerpte 23-26 bei [1]; hermetische Schriften). Es handelt sich bei diesem Namen wahrscheinlich um eine bewußt rätselhafte Umschreibung d…

Marsanes

(274 words)

Author(s): Holzhausen, Jens (Berlin)
[English version] Titel eines sehr frg. erh. gnostischen Textes aus Nag Hammadi (Codex X,1) in koptischer Sprache (subachmimisch). Der Name M. ist außerdem bezeugt im Anonymum Brucianum, wo M. neben Nikotheos als Prophet der höchsten Wahrheit erscheint [1. 235], und bei Epiphanios (adv. haereses 40,7,6) im Zusammenhang der Beschreibung der Archontiker (hier in der Form Marsianes; Archontes [II]): Er sei zum Himmel entrückt worden und nach drei Tagen zurückgekehrt. …
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