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Theognostus

At a Glance
Treatise
Genre:
(5/5) *****
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(5/5) *****
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Greek
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Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 260-280 A.D.

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Information on Theognostus

R. Höffner writes, "According to Photius's report, Theognostus dealt in book 1 with the Father as creator of the world and attacked the doctrine of the coeternity of the world. In book 2 he set forth a subordinationist teaching according to which the Son is a necessary creature (krisma) of the Fathre and rules only over the world endowed with reason. Book 3 gives reasons for belief in the existence of the Holy Spirit. According to book 4, spirits and demons possess bodies of subtle material. In books 5 and 6, Theognostus tries to prove the possibility of the incarnation of the Son. The seventh and last book (perhaps a later addition) deals once again with the creative activity of the Father and according to Photius, gives a more orthodox teaching than that in books 1-6." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 572)

Quasten writes, "From Photius' description, it is quite clear that the work of Theognostus was a kind of dogmatic summa which followed the doctrine of Origen and especially his subordinationism. Except for a small fragment of the second book, which Diekamp discovered in a Venetian manuscript of the fourteenth century, nothing survives of the Hypotyposeis." (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 110)

Enrico Norelli writes, "Let us here recall Theognostus, successor to Dionysius as director of the school of Alexandria (between 260 and about 280), of whom we are informed by Photius. Theognostus wrote a work in seven books with the title Hypotyposes, in which he supposedly claimed that the Son was a created being but was placed at the head of all rational creatures. According to Photius, Theognostus remained faithful to the teaching and spirit of Origen. If we may judge by the fragments, Theognostus indeed emphasized the derivation of the substance (ousia) of the Son from that of the Father, and asserted that the Son was not created from nothing." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, vol. 1, p. 307)


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