Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Gnostic Saints or Fathers of Christian Gnosticism

Gnostic Saints or Fathers of Christian Gnosticism

Praying for the Saints | Gnostic Devotions

Gnostics often considered pre-Christian figures to be among their important early teachers and leaders. Adam and his son Seth were especially important. Several figures appear in Gnostic versions of old testament stories who do not appear in canonical versions, such as Norea, who saves the Gnostics from the flood in the time of Noah. The three companions of Daniel are called by many names in Gnostic texts, and often invoked. John the Baptist is sometimes claimed as an early Gnostic leader — for example, by the Mandaeans

Jesus Christ is usually claimed as a gnostic leader by gnostics, as are several of his apostles, such as Thomas the Apostle, often thought of as the founder of the Thomasine form of Gnosticism. Indeed, Mary Magdelene is respected as a Gnostic leader, and is considered superior to the twelve apostles by some gnostic texts, such as the Gospel of Mary. John the Evangelist is claimed as a Gnostic by some Gnostic interpreters. As is even St Paul. The Gospel of Thomas relates that the disciples asked Jesus, after his resurrection and before his Ascension, "We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader?" Jesus said to them, "No matter where you come [from] it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist."

A student of Valentinius claims that Theudas was a student of St. Paul, and in turn taught Valentinius, which would put Theudas in the late 1st century if true.

Valentinus, who may have been a student of Basilides, and Theudas was a prominent Gnostic teacher of another major form of Gnosticism in the second century AD. He taught many other Gnostic fathers whose names we know, and his school survived for centuries.

His school was later divided into Eastern and Western branches based on a Christological dispute. Western Valentinians include: Ptolemy the Valentinian, whose letter to Flora survives, and who seems to have been martryed in 152; Flora a female Valentinian who corresponded with Ptolemy; Heracleon who has several surviving excerpts; Hermogenes (the painter) a late 2nd century painter, Monoimus the Arab, and Prodicus the Gnostic, Secundus, Florinus (a presbyter), Alexander, and Theotimus. Eastern Valentinians include: Marcus the Valentinian, a magician interested in using Gematria with Valentinianism; Axionicus of Antioch, who was alive in time of Tertullian; and Theodotus who also has several surviving excerpts in Clement of Alexandria's Extracts from the Works of Theodotus; Ambrose and Candidus (in the 3rd century).

The Church Fathers or Fathers of the Church is a term used in Catholic and Orthodox forms of Christianity to refer to the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian Church. The study of the Fathers is known as Patristics. There is no evidence that ancient Gnostic Christians used this term for their leaders. 

It is generally supposed that a saint is someone who, having led a blameless and pious life and worked a few so-called well authenticated miracles, is then honoured by the Pope (though not until he or she has been dead for many years!). Having been beatified and canonised such an one is then reverently alluded to as Saint Francis or Saint Cecelia etc. It becomes a sort of honorary title. This has everything to do with Roman Catholic tradition and nothing whatsoever to do with the Biblical meaning of the word ‘saint’. Both in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New, the word translated ‘saint’ comes from a root word which means ‘to be made clean’.The many Scriptural references to living members of the congregation as “holy ones,” or “saints” (Dy, KJ), make it clear that a person is not made a holy one, or “saint,” by men or by an organization, nor does such a one have to wait until after death to be made a “saint.” He is a “holy one” by virtue of God’s calling of him to joint heirship with Christ. He is holy in the eyes of God while he is on earth, with the hope of heavenly life in the spirit realm, wherein dwell Jehovah God and his Son, along with the holy angels.—1Pe 1:3, 4; 2Ch 6:30; Mr 12:25; Ac 7:56.

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