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(3,880 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
Basilides,, 2nd century Basilides was a free Christian teacher who presumably lived and taught in Alexandria during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (cf. Jerome, Chronicle, 201, 1f Helm). He had a son who became his disciple, Isidore. The ancient evidence about Basilides and his school can be divided into three groups: 1. the fragments and testimonies preserved by → Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea and Hegemonius ( Acta Archelai); 2. the report of Irenaeus of Lyon, which influenced the heresiology of Pseudo-Tertullian, Epiphanius of Salamis and F…


(987 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
The Perates are a gnostic group whose name is first mentioned by → Clement of Alexandria ( Stromateis, VII, 108, 2). Hippolytus identifies two otherwise unknown persons as their founders ( Refutatio, V, 13, 9): Akembes (IV, 2, 1; Kelbes: V, 13, 9; Ademes: X, 10, 1), who is called ho Karystios (Karystos is a town in Euboia), and Euphrates, who is called ho Peratikos (also mentioned by Origen, Contra Celsum VI, 28 as a teacher of the → Ophites). Clement opines that the name Perates is derived from their place of origin. Different suggestions have been discussed: Eub…


(2,168 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
The Carpocratians belong to the broad spectrum of Christian schools in the 2nd century that teach Christianity as a philosophy. Their founder, the Alexandrian Christian Carpocrates, was married to a lady called Alexandria who came from the island of Kephallenia in the Adriatic sea. They had a son called Epiphanes who received from his father an “encyclopaedic education”, wrote some treatises and died at the age of seventeen. Clement reports that the deceased Epiphanes was given divine honours: a temple and a mouseion were erected in Same on the island of Kephallenia and every…


(4,600 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
Modern scholarship has as yet reached no agreement whether or not there existed in Late Antiquity a distinct religious group or sect that took its name from Adam's son Seth (Gen 4:25; 5:3). Whereas some scholars express scepticism (e.g. Wisse), others feel confident in demarcating a body of Sethian literature and in reconstructing the doctrine of a distinct group of Sethians (e.g. Schenke, Turner). They claim that the Sethians were as much a distinct group as the Valentinians [→ Valentinus and V…

Francis of Assisi

(718 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226), baptized Giovanni Bernardone, was the founder of the Franciscan Order. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, Peter Bernardone, and his French wife, Pica, Francis experienced the kind of wild youth appropriate for a later saint. After participating in a war between his hometown Assisi and Perugia in 1202 and being held captive for a year, and after a lengthy illness, he underwent a conversion (§1) during the years 1204–7, the details of which are difficult to unde…


(287 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
[German Version] With his son and disciple Isidore, Basilides was active as a teacher of theology in the time of the emperors Hadrian (117-138) and Antoninus Pius (138-161). His Exegetica was a commentary on what was probably his own recension of Luke; two fragments have been preserved: Clement of Alexandria, Strom. IV, 81.1-83.1, and Acta Archelai 67.4-12. Fragments of the following works of Isidore have been preserved: Ethica (Clem. Alex. Strom. III, 1-3), On the Attached Soul ( Strom. II, 112.1-114.2), and An Explanation of the Prophet Parchor ( Strom. VI, 53.2-5). Additional dox…

Bishop Lists

(316 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
[German Version] The first list of bishops is found in Irenaeus, Haer. III 3.3 (c. 185 ce) as a list of names of twelve Roman bishops who had handed down in the apostolic succession the teaching entrusted to them by the apostles Peter and Paul. This construction was used by Irenaeus to legitimize his own position of being in possession of the complete apostolic teaching against the claim of the Valentinian school (Valentinianism) to a secret tradition interpreting and transcending scripture. Examples of the succession of teachings are found in ancient Judaism (cf. m. Ab. 1.1–2.8) and in …

Julian of Eclanum

(334 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
[German Version] (c. 385 – before 455), the son of a bishop and married, was consecrated bishop of Aeclanum prior to 417. In 418, Julian and 18 other bishops refused to sign the Epistola tractoria of the bishop of Rome Zosimus, which condemned Pelagianism (Pelagius), and called for a revision of the proceedings against Pelagius and Celestius. Deposed by Zosimus and banished from their sees by the emperor in 419, Julian and his companions traveled to Cilicia to join Theodore of Mopsuestia. In the autumn of 418, Julian had denounc…


(449 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
[German Version] is the conventional term for a Christological conception that denies Christ's preexistence and generation before all time, maintaining instead that God adopted the human Jesus as Son. I. Two theologians from Asia Minor are mentioned as exponents of Adoptionism in early Christianity: Theodotus the Money-Changer (or Banker) and Theodotus (or Theodotus of Byzantium). As heads of schools in Rome in th…


(452 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich A.
[German Version] Priscillian was of noble descent. From 370 ce, he led a devotional movement that spread rapidly in Spain and southern Gaul, advocating asceticism (stricter fasting, poverty, celibacy), charisma (Spirit/Holy Spirit), and intensive private study of the Bible and the Apocrypha as the true form of Christianity for clergy and laity. The Priscillianists were soon suspected of Gnostic/Manichaean heresy (Gnosis, Manichaeism), also of superstition and magic. At the Synod of Saragossa (380), sharp criti-¶ cism of Priscillian apparently led to no formal condemnat…