Simon Magus

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Simon Magus (Greek Σίμων ὁ μάγος), also known as Simon the Sorcerer and Simon of Gitta, was a Samaritan proto-Gnostic and traditional founder of the Simonians in the first century AD His only Biblical reference is in Acts 8:9-24 and prominently in several apocryphal and heresiological accounts of early Christian writers, some of whom regarded him as the source of all heresies, particularly St. Justin who wrote about Simon about one hundred years after his life. He is also mentioned in a great number of gnostic texts and was according to them one of the leaders of the early gnostics[1][2]

Simon Magus has been portrayed as both student and teacher of Dositheus, with followers who revered him as the Great Power of God. There were later accusations by Christians that he was a demon in human form, and he was specifically said to possess the ability to levitate and fly at will. The fantastic stories of Simon the Sorcerer persisted into the Middle Ages,[3] becoming a possible inspiration for the Faustbuch, and Goethe's Faust.[4]

Contents

Sources

Almost all of the surviving sources for the life and thought of Simon Magus are contained in works from ancient Christian writers: in the Acts of the Apostles, in patristic works (Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus of Rome, Epiphanius of Salamis), and in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, early Clementine literature, and the Epistle of the Apostles.

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