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A Chronology of the Valentinian School

4 BCE Birth of Jesus of Nazareth

c. 25-27 Ministry of Jesus

c. 27 Crucifixion of Jesus

37-65 Activity of Saint Paul.

c. 60 Theudas a disciple of Paul.

c. 62 Martyrdom of James, brother of Jesus

c. 65 Martyrdom of Paul

70 Destruction of Jerusalem

c. 70-110 Development of speculative theology among some of Paul's followers.

c. 90 Valentinus born in Phrebonis, Egypt (near Alexandria).

c. 110 Valentinus possibly comes into contact with Theudas, an aging disciple of Paul

c. 120 Valentinus founds school at Alexandria after having a vision of Christ in the form of a child. Theodotus among his first followers.

c. 139 Valentinus goes to Rome and founds school there.
Ptolemy and Secundus his most important pupils.

143 Valentinus a candidate for bishop of Rome

150 Florinus moves from Smyrna to Rome where he joins the Valentinian school

c. . 155 Valentinus dies

c. 155-175 Secundus, Herakleon, and Ptolemy active at Rome.
Theodotus and Marcus in Alexandria.
Valentinian school spreads throughout the Roman Empire.

c. 160 Prominent Valentinian teacher Ptolemy imprisoned and later martyred(?)
Herakleon moves from Sicily to Rome where he becomes one of the leading figures of the Valentinian school

165 Miltiades opposes Valentinians in Smyrna.

c. 170 Julius Cassian splits with the Valentinian school at Alexandria over the issue of marriage.

c. 175-225 Alexander active in north Africa.
Theotimus and Florinus active at Rome.
Axionicus active at Antioch.
Marcus active at Lyon and Syria.
North African Valentinians translate the school's writings into Latin. First opponents of the Valentinian school (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria)

178 Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, attacks Valentinians in his book "Against Heresies".

195 Valentinians in Carthage opposed by Tertullian.

c. . 200 Florinus presbyter at Rome.
Syrian school under Axionicus rises to prominence.
Leucius incorporates Valentinian material into Acts of John.
Tertullian attacks the school in "Against the Valentinians".
Valentinians at Alexandria opposed by Clement.

c. 200 Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, demands that the bishop of Rome dismiss the presbyter Florinus on the grounds that he is a Valentinian.

c. 225-325 Candidus at Athens. Philokomos, Adelphius and Aquilinus at Rome.
Demostratus active in Lydia.

229 Prominent Valentinan teacher Candidus debates orthodox teacher Origen at Athens.

c. 230 Hippolytus writes against Valentinians at Rome in his "Refutation of all Heresies".

c. 235 The teachings of Beron and Helix lead to dissension with the Valentinian school at Rome.

c. 263-268 Adelphius and Aquilinus form a Valentinian circle within the Neoplatonist school at Rome.

268 Plotinus writes "Against the Gnostics" (Enneads II:9) to curb the influence of Valentinians (Adelphius and Aquilinus) in his school.

c. 275 Burial inscription of Flavia Sophie, a Valentinian woman in Rome.

c. 250-350 Egyptian Valentinians translate Valentinian writings into Coptic e.g. Codex I and XI from Nag Hammadi.
Egyptian Valentinians translate Biblical texts into Coptic e.g. Papyrus Bodmer III (cf. Massaux, 1959, New Testament Studies 5, pp 210-12).

c. 326-379 With state support, the Catholic church begins to expel "heretics" from their congregations.

326 Catholicism becomes state religion of Roman Empire. Valentinians (among others) forbidden to assemble by emperor Constantine. No penalty was imposed on those who did.

c. 350 Church authorities ban "heretical" writings. Valentinian writings among those buried by monks at Nag Hammadi to hide them from Catholic authorities.

c. 350 Arians persecute Valentinians in Odessa

379-395 Reign of emperor Theodosius I. His reign was marked by a sort of "cultural revolution". A reign of terror was instituted. All religions other than Catholicism were banned and religious persecution became state policy. Under the "Theodosian Laws" heresy became treason and was punishable by death. Numerous books and religious buildings were destroyed. "Heretics" were forcibly expelled from larger cities and had their property seized.

c. 380 Epiphanius of Salamis writes against Valentinians in "Panarion". Based on his own writings, he was one of the major instigators of purges of non-Catholics.

385 In Spain, Priscillian is accused of having connections with the Manichaean and Valentinian schools. He and two followers are executed. They are the first of many executed for 'heresy'.

386 Valentinians in Antioch opposed by John Chrystostom

387 Catholic fanatics ransack and burn the great library of Alexandria. Thousands of books are lost including many Gnostic and philosophical works.

388 The Catholic bishop at Callinicum (modern Syria) sends a mob of monks to burn a Valentinian chapel and a Jewish synagogue. Incidents of this sort going were taking place throughout the Roman Empire. The Catholic "Church Father" Ambrose convinces the emperor not to punish the perpetrators of these acts.

395-500 Valentinianism begins to go into decline as a result of persecution by Catholic and Roman authorities.

400 Valentianians persecuted by Severian at Gabula.

400 Valentianians persecuted by Theodore at Mopsuestia.

428 Valentinians forbidden to assemble by emperor Theodosius II on pain of death.

450 Valentinians persecuted by Theodoret in Cyrus.

476 Final fall of Western Roman Empire.

500-800 Valentinianism reduced to a small underground movement.
Brutal persecution by Catholic authorities continues.

c. 600 A small group of Valentinian 'Hermetics' active at Constantinople

692 Suppression of Valentinianism is mentioned by Trullan Synod indicating the school still existed at this time.

c. 800 The Valentinian school proper disappears.

c. 1850 Neo-Valentinians active in France.

1896 The foundation of the Gnostic Church in Paris begins the revival of sacramental Gnosticism.

1928 The foundation of the Gnostic Society in North America.

1945 The Gnostic Christian Nag Hammadi Library is found in Egypt. The writings had been buried since 350. Approximately one third of the 51 writings in the library derive from the Valentinian school.

1959 The foundation of the Ecclesia Gnostica in the U.S.

Compiled in part from data in Bentley Layton "The Gnostic Scriptures" and Kurt Rudolph "Gnosis"


Content authored by David Brons