Heracleonites a Gnostic sect of the 2nd century, so named from Heracleon (a disciple of Valentinus), who was distinguished for his scientific bent of mind. "He wrote a commentary on the Gospel of St. John, considerable fragments of which have been preserved by Origen; perhaps also a commentary on the Gospel according to Luke. Of the latter, a single fragment only, the exposition of Lu 12:8, has been preserved by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 4, 503). It may easily be conceived that the spiritual depth and fullness of John must have been pre-eminently attractive to the Gnostics. To the exposition of this gospel Heracleon brought a profound religious sense, which penetrated to the inward meaning, together with an understanding invariably clear when not led astray by theosophic speculation. But what he chiefly lacked was a faculty to appreciate the simplicity of John, and earnest application to those necessary means for evolving the spirit out of the letter, the deficiency in which among the Gnostics generally has already been made a subject of remark. Heracleon honestly intended, indeed, so far as we can see, to derive his theology from John. But he was entirely warped by his system; and with all his habits of thought and contemplation, so entangled in its mesh-work that he could not move out of it with freedom, but, spite of himself, implied its views and its ideas in the Scriptures, which he regarded as the fountain of divine wisdom" (Neander). His fragments are gathered in Grabe, Spicilegium, 2, 83. See Neander, Ch. History, 1, 434; Mosheim, Comm. 1, 472; Lardner, Works, 2, 256; and the article SEE GNOSTICS.

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