contact with dead matter which thus receives animation and becomes a living source of evil.? Windelband, Hist. Philosophy, 129, 144, 239 ? ?With Valentinus, side by side with the Deity poured forth into the Pleroma or Fullness of spiritual forms, appears the Void, likewise original and from eternity; beside Form appears matter; beside the good appears the evil.? Mansel, Gnostic Heresies, 139 ? ?The Platonic theory of an inert, semi-existent matter? was adopted by the Gnosis of Egypt? 187 ? Valentinus does not content himself, like Plato? with assuming as the germ of the natural world an unformed matter existing from all eternity? The whole theory may be described as a development, in allegorical language, of the pantheistic hypothesis which in its outline had been previously adopted by Basilides.? A. H. Newman, Ch. History, 1:181- 192, calls the philosophy of Basilides ?fundamentally pantheistic.? ?Valentinus,? he says, ?was not so careful to insist on the original non- existence of God and everything.? We reply that even to Basilides the Non-Existent One is endued with power; and this power accomplishes nothing until it comes in contact with things non-existent, and emit of them fashions the seed of the world. The things, non-existent are as substantial as is the Fashioner, and they imply both objectivity and limitation.
Lightfoot, Com. on Colossians, 76-113, esp. 82, has traced a connection between the Gnostic doctrine, the earlier Colossian heresy, and the still earlier teaching of the Essenes of Palestine. All these were characterized by (1) the spirit of caste or intellectual exclusiveness, (2) peculiar tenets as to creation and as to evil and (3) practical asceticism. Matter is evil and separates man from God; hence intermediate beings between man and God as objects of worship; hence also mortification of the body as a means of purifying man from sin. Paul?s antidote for both errors was simply the person of Christ, the true and only Mediator and Sanctifier. See Guericke, Church History, 1:161.
Harnack, Hist. Dogma, 1:128 ? ?The majority of Gnostic undertakings may be viewed as attempts to transform Christianity into a theosophy? In Gnosticism the Hellenic spirit desired to make itself master of Christianity, or more correctly, of the Christian communities.?? 232 ? Harnack represents one of the fundamental philosophic doctrines of Gnosticism to be that of the Cosmos as a mixture of matter with divine sparks, which has arisen from a descent of the latter into the former [Alexandrian Gnosticism], or, as some say, from the perverse, or at least merely permitted undertaking of a subordinate spirit [Syrian Gnosticism]. We may compare the Hebrew Sadducee with the Greek Epicurean; the Pharisee with the Stoic; the Essene with the Pythagorean. The Pharisees
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