One of the so-called philosophers in the first ages of Christianity, who claimed a true philosophical interpretation of the Christian religion. Their system combined Oriental theology and Greek philosophy with the doctrines of Christianity. They held that all natures, intelligible, intellectual, and material, are derived from the Deity by successive emanations, which they called Eons.

Origin: L. Gnosticus, Gr. Good at knowing, sagacious; as a n, man that claims to have a deeper wisdom, fr. Gignwskein to know: cf. F. Gnostique. See Know.

(01 Mar 1998)

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