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Irenaeus and the Gnostic System

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  Irenaeus establishes what has roused him to react in Book 1 and disproves it in Book 2. The remnants of his work reveal that his rejoinder transcends the motivation (Johnson, 2004, 28). Irenaeus initiates with a thorough description of a Valentinian myth which is the labor of a generation succeeding Valentinus and Ptolemy. The credit to Ptolemy is an interpretation; yet the writers were most probably Valentinians who, even as referring to themselves students of Valentinus, were actually students of Ptolemy. The work demonstrates four movements, namely, “ extension, dispersion, concentration in saviour, and return to unity by saviour, and alludes into six periods, namely, “ the first principle and first emanations; the passion of Sophia and the new emanations; the formation of Achamoth; three substances; creation of the cosmos; Christ and consummation” (Cullman, 1959, 102).

All things germinate from the rightness of the pro-father, pro-first principle, chasm, who is unfathomable, further than apprehension, unseen, perpetual, serene in deep restfulness. With him subsists indivisibly reflection (ennoia) who is also silence (sige) and elegance (chairs). From this creation originate three pairs of emanations to the splendor of the Father and to create the Ogdoad: “ Nous (or Monogenes) and Aletheia, Logos, and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia” (ibid, 103).

Additional emanations carry on to the splendor of the Father. Beginning from Logos and Zoe followed five pairs of eons and beginning from Anthropos and Ecclesia six additional pairs. These thirty create the Pleroma, or breadth of the Godhead (Cullman, 1959). i) “ Passion of Sophia, an emanation of limit: The only-begotten Nous alone beholds and rejoices in the Father” (Berthold, 1962, 63). The other eons yearn sincerely to meet him.

However, the remaining of the thirty eons, Sophia, surrenders to an unmanageable motive to detain his limitless greatness which changes her through ardor.        

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