Justin the Gnostic
Justin The Gnostic who flourished towards the close of the second century, has only recently become known to us through the Philosophoumena of Hippolytus (5, 22; 10, 15), and of his personal history and origin very little information has come down to us. His system has a Judaizing cast, and is mostly based upon a mystical interpretation of Genesis. He propagated his doctrines secretly, binding his disciples to silence by solemn oaths. In his gnosis Justin made use of Greek mythology, especially the tradition of the twelve conflicts of Hercules. He assumes three original principles, two male and one female. The last he identifies with Eden, which marries Elohim, and becomes thus the mother of the angels of the spirit world. The tree of life in Paradise represents the good, the tree of knowledge the evil angels. The four rivers are symbols of the four divisions of angels. The Naas, or the serpent spirit, he made, unlike the Ophites, the bearer of the evil principle;
he committed adultery with Eve, and a worse crime with Adam; he adulterated the laws of Moses and the oracles of the prophets; he nailed Jesus to the cross. But by this crucifixion Jesus was emancipated from his material body, rose to the good God to whom he committed his spirit in death, and thus became the deliverer. Schaff, Church History, 1, 242, 243. SEE GNOSTICISM.