Heracleon was a Gnostic who flourished about AD 175, probably in the south of Italy. He is generally classed by the early heresiologists as belonging to the Valentinian school of Gnosticism.

In his system he appears to have regarded the divine nature as a vast abyss in whose pleroma were aeons of different orders and degrees, emanations from the source of being. Midway between the supreme God and the material world was the Demiourgos, who created the latter, and under whose jurisdiction the lower, animal soul of man proceeded after death, while his higher, celestial soul returned to the pleroma whence at first it issued.

Though conspicuously uniting faith in Christ with spiritual maturity, there is proto-orthodox hearsay that, like other Valentinians, Heracleon did not sufficiently emphasize abstinence from the moral laxity and worldliness into which his followers fell. He seems to have received the ordinary Christian scriptures; and Origen, who treats him as a notable exegete, has preserved fragments of a commentary by him on the fourth gospel (brought together by Grabe in the second volume of his "Spicilegium"), while Clement of Alexandria quotes from him what appears to be a passage from a commentary on Luke. These writings are remarkable for their intensely mystical and allegorical interpretations of the text.

External links

* [http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/heracleon.html EarlyChristianWritings entry on Heracleon]

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