MAIN LEADERS OF GNOSTICISM



Simon Magus: The earliest known Gnostic. Magnus construed that the Garden of Eden, the exodus from Egypt, and the Red Sea crossings were symbols.

Marcion (85–160 C.E.): Organizer of Gnostic congregations. These eastern Mediterranean congregations lasted into the third century C.E. Christian leaders from Rome excommunicated Marcion for writing a book called Antitheses. He believed the death of Christ was a hallucination, because Jesus did not have a physical body.

Valentinus: Founder of the largest Gnosticism school which lasted into the fourth century C.E. He taught that groups of Aeons made up the fullness of the High God. The groups were divided into three parts: the Ogoad—Depth, Silence, Mind, Truth, Word, Life, Man and Church; the Decad (10) and Dodecad (12); and the Docecad—Wisdom, also called Sophia.

Carpocrates (c.140 C.E.): Teacher of reincarnation. He believed an individual had to live many lives and adsorb a full range of experiences before being able to return to God.

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