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Chapter Summary

Irenaeus, the 'proto-orthodox' bishop in the province of Gaul and one of the most prominent critics of various 'heretical' groups, blamed his adversaries for corrupting the simple and innocent people with seductive myths and genealogies "on the pretext of gnôsis". The first section of the Savior's revelatory monologue (&t;What is&t;) reiterates the main themes in the Timaeus and follows its order of exposition. As the Savior turns to the next section (&t;What has come to be&t;), he introduces the Mosaic creation story and follows for a while both Genesis and Plato. The first refinement focuses on the psychological attitude of the craftsman in action: in contrast with Plato's demiurge who operates from conscious purposes, the blind creator of the Apocryphon of John cannot deliberate and cannot understand whatever he does. Apocryphon of John is a "badly constructed phantom," an early Christian response to the cultural universalism of the Antonine period.

Keywords: Apocryphon of John; Genesis; gnôsis; Irenaeus; Mosaic; Plato; Timaeus



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