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Simon Magus

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Submitted by John 8:32 (United States), Apr 14, 2006 at 00:17

Simon Magus

"All those who in any way corrupt the truth, and harm the teaching of the church, are the disciples and successors of Simon Magus of Samaria...They put forth, indeed, the name of Jesus Christ as a kind of lure, but in many ways they introduce the impieties of Simon...spreading to their hearers the bitter and malignant poison of the great serpent (Satan), the great author of apostasy."
- Irenaeus, Libros Quinque Adversus Haereses

"Gnostic motifs were already felt in Christian circles in the Age of the Apostles. Early church tradition attributes the rise of Gnosticism to Simon Magus, briefly mentioned in Acts 8:9-24.
- Harold O.J. Brown, Heresies

"But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Sama'ria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "'This man is that power of God which is called Great'. And they gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic."
"Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! '"
- Acts 8:9-11, 18-20

His attempt to purchase the gift of the Holy spirit gives us the expression 'simony' for the offense of buying and selling spiritual offices. According to the account in Acts, Simon repented. Later traditions tell us that he went to Rome, where he competed with the Apostle Peter and founded a gnostic sect. The second-century Christian writer Hegesippus, by contrast, tells that the gnostic movement preceded the ministry of Christ in Palestine. Gnosticism was a byproduct of 'seven Jewish heresies', some of them involving gnostic currents."

"The first two teachers to propagate gnostic ideas within Christian circles were Simon and his successor Menander. Unlike later and more famous representatives of Gnosticism, both Simon and Menander claimed divinity for themselves. According to Acts 8:9-11, Simon called himself the 'great power of God'."
Simon "met a certain Helena in a brothel in Tyre and discovered that she was a reincarnation of the primordial Ennoia ('Indwelling Mind'), the first conception of the spirit of God. As Ennoia she generated angelic powers, some of which rebelled against god, captured her, and imprisoned her in a mortal body. Reincarnated many times, she was one Helen of Troy...She is the lost sheep of Jesus' parable (Matthew 18:10-14). To save her, the highest God himself appeared in Simon. Characteristically, Simon taught that the Old Testament was the revelation of malicious angels, and hence oppressive. To believe in him was to be free from its bondage."
- Harold O.J. Brown, Heresies

"In imitation of their master, Simon's disciples seem to have repeated, in their wilder moments, that one ought to give oneself up to carnal intercourse without limit: 'All Earth is earth, it matters little where one sows provided that one does sow.' It was in this, they proclaimed, that 'perfect love' consisted. The same adepts practiced magic; they used incantations, concocted love-potions, made use of dreams and pretended to refer to familiar spirits. They installed, in their dwelling-places, images representing Simon with the features of Zeus, and Helen impersonating Athena."
- Jean Doresse, The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics
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