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Theodotus

THEODOTUS

Gnostic disciple of valentinus. No information about Theodotus survives, but portions of his writings were preserved by Clement of Alexandria in a sort of appendix to his Stromata, entitled Excerpts from the works of Theodotus and the school called Oriental from the time of Valentinus. According to Hippolytus, the Oriental school of Valentinians, as distinguished from the Italian school, held that the body of Christ belonged not to the psychic but to the pneumatic class, and this teaching is accepted in the Excerpta ex Theodoto. However, Theodotus cannot be identified with the Theodotus mentioned by Hippolytus (Ref. 7.3536). A date around a.d. 160170 is often assigned to him. His teaching apparently was related to that of the Oriental Valentinian Marcus.

The Excerpta are an important source of our knowledge of Valentinianism but a difficult one to interpret because of their unsystematic arrangement and because they contain many of Clement's own ideas and comments. Excerpts 43 to 65 closely parallel Irenaeus' account of Valentinianism (Adversus Haereses 1.18) and probably use the same source. Typically Valentinian ideas such as the Pleroma, the Demiurge, and the pneumatic seeds are discussed in the Excerpta. Theodotus' personal contribution is concerned with the role of the angels and their baptism in the sacred Name.

See Also: gnosticism.

Bibliography: theodotus, The Excerpta ex Theodoto, ed. r. p. casey (Studies and Documents 1; London 1934); Extraits de Thodote, ed. f. sagnard. w. foerster, Von Valentin zu Herakleon, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche, Beiheft 7. 8591. f. sagnard, La Gnose valentinienne et le tmoignage de Saint Irne 521561.

[g. w. macrae]

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