A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

4. Of Alexandria, was one of the earliest and most eminent leaders of the Gnostics. The time when he lived is not ascertained with certainty, but it was probably about 120 A. D. He professed to have received from Glaucias, a disciple of St. Peter, the esoteric doctrine of that apostle. (Clem. Al. Strom. vii. p. 765, ed. Potter.) No other Christian writer makes any mention of Glaucias. Basileides was the disciple of Menander and the fellow-disciple of Saturninus. He is said to have spent some time at Antioch with Saturninus, when the latter was commencing his heretical teaching, and then to have proceeded to Persia, where he sowed the seeds of Gnosticism, which ripened under Manes. Thence he returned to Egypt, and publicly taught his heretical doctrines at Alexandria. He appears to have lived till after the accession of Antoninus Pius in 138 A. D. He made additions to the doctrines of Menander and Saturninus. A complete account of his system of theology and cosmogony is given by Mosheim (Eccles. Hist. bk. i. pt. 2.5. §§ 1-13, and de Reb. Christ. ante Constant. pp. 342-361), Lardner (History of Heretics, bk. 2.100.2), and Walch. (Hist. der Ketzer. 1.281-309.) Basileides was the author of Commentaries on the Gospel, in twenty-four books, fragments of which are preserved in Grabe, Spicileg, ii. p. 39. Origen, Ambrose, and Jerome mention a " gospel of Basileides," which may perhaps mean nothing more than his Commentaries.