How old is the Gnosticism described in the first two posts?
Schmithals holds that the Apophasis (c.f. Apophasis) attributed to Simon and from which (or from a summary or paraphrase of which) Hippolytus apparently drew his information was not itself written by Simon — at least according to what we can understand from the way Hippolytus speaks of it. Three points are singled out:
- New Testament quotations are included in the Apophasis [VI.9.10 = 137.11ff; VI.14.6 = 140.3.4; VI.16.6 = 142.23 ff.]
- The second century Galienus is perhaps used [VI.14.8 = 140.15 ff.]
- The Apophasis appears not to have been a unitary work in all respects.
I don’t have access to a copy of Hippolytus with either of these numbering systems so am unable to pull out the quotations. The NT ones in particular could be significant — are they from Paul’s epistles or elsewhere?
But the question is not the age of the Apophasis but the age of the system of Gnosticism described in it. And that is the theme of this post.
Schmithals begins with another account of Simon’s teachings that they share the terminology we find in Hippolytus’ account but that differ significantly in other respects. Continue reading “Pre-Christian Christ Gnosticism: 3 — the pre-christian date”