Gnostic Women Teachers of Ephesus (2 0f 2)

1 Tim.2:11

11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

Diana of Ephesus

III. Jewish Gnosticism,which pre dates Christainity and is persent at Ephesus, had a tendency to reverse heros and villians from Genesis, thsu serpent is good, Moses is bad. It makes sense it would reverse the creation order as well.

(A) Jewish Gnosticism at Ephesus Theology Website
Scott David Foutz

Ph.D. Trinity International Universeity
Faculty North Park University in Chicago
site in assiciation with Trinity International Uiversity

Jewish environment.

The epistle reflects the fact that this heresy invloved Jewish elements. The most conclusive reference is that of circumcision (2:11; 3:11), of which Paul finds it necessary to put it into its true Christian perspective. The warning against human "tradition" (2:8) would be an apt reference to the familiar Jewish tendency to superimpose the traditions of the elders upon the ancient law, but could also be understood of Gentile tradition in view of its close association with philosophy. The ritual tendencies found in 2:16, where the readers are urged not to allow anyone to judge them in respect to meat or drink, or feasts or new moons or sabbaths, are predominantly, if not exclusively, Jewish.

(B) Jewish Gnsoticism Reversed Characters of Bible Jewish

OPHITES: (print this article)

By : Kaufmann Kohler Samuel Krauss 

The Naasseni. 

Collective name for several Gnostic sects which regarded the serpent (Greek, ὄφις; Hebrew, "naḥash"; hence called also Naasseni) as the image of creative wisdom. Such sects existed within Judaism probably even before the rise of Christianity; and as there were Ophites who rejected the Gospels it would be proper to make a distinction between Jewish, Christian, and anti-Christian Ophites were not the sources, which are all post-Christian, too confused to admit of even approximately positive discriminations.

Irenæus, who, toward the end of the second century, wrote a history of heresy, did not know the Gnostics under the name of "Ophites"; but Clement ("Stromata," vii. 17, § 108) mentions beside the "Cainists" (see Cain) the "Ophians" (Οφιανοί), saying that their name is derived from the object of their worship. Philaster, an author of the fourth century, places the Ophites, the Cainites, and the Sethites at the head of all heresies (ch. 1-3), because he holds that they owed their origin to the serpent (the devil). The Ophites, Cainites, Sethites, Naasseni, etc., declared the serpent of paradise to be wisdom itself (σοφία), since wisdom had come to the earth through the knowledge of good and evil which the serpent had brought. Hence they exalted Cain and Seth, who they held were endowed with this knowledge, as the heroes of the human race; other Gnostics regarded Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and even the traitor Judas, as tools of Sophia; whereas Jacob and Moses, for instance, who were the instruments of the Creator (Demiurgus), were regarded as being inferior (Irenæus, "Against Heresies," i. 31, § 2). All Ophistic circles believed in a demonic hebdomad (i.e., seven spirits under the dominion of the serpent) side by side with the holy hebdomad under Jaldabaoth. The last-mentioned is the son of fallen wisdom ("yalda bahut" = "son of chaos"), and from him proceeded, in successive generations, Jao (), Sabaot, Adoneus, Elœus, Oreus ("or" = "light"), and Astaphæus, which are said to be manifestations of the God of the Old Testament. The Ophites claimed that Moses himself had exalted Ophis by setting up the serpent, and that Jesus also had recognized it (comp. John iii. 14).

The Naasseni.

The Naasseni went even further, and the retention of the Hebrew name shows that their belief represents the oldest stage of the heresy. "Whoever says that the All proceeded from the One, errs; but whoever says, from Three, speaks truth and can explain the All. The first of these three is the blessednature of the sainted higher man, Adamas [strangely explained as "diamond"]; the second is the death below; the third is the unruled race that had its origin above, and to which belong Mariam, 'the sought one' (ἡ ζητσυμένη), Jothar (Jethro), the great sage, Sepphora, the seeing one, and Moses." The three words "Kavlakav," "Savlasav," and "Zeer Sham" (taken from Isa. xxviii. 10), they declare, indicate Adamas above, death below, and the Jordan flowing upward (Hippolytus, "Philosophumena," v. 8), and present the threefold division of the realm of blessedness or immortality which forms a part of all Gnostic heresies—the world of spirits, the corporeal world, and redemption. The "Naas" is the primal being and the source of all beauty (ib.v. 9)—the spiritual principle. Side by side with it exists chaos, or matter. The human soul leads a troubled existence between chaos and spirit until redeemed by Jesus.

Bibliography: Mosheim, Hist. Ecclésiastica, i. 242, Yverdon, 1776;
Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergesch. des Urchristenthums, pp. 250-283, Leipsic, 1884; Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., iv. 87;
Friedländer, Der Vorchristliche Jüdische Gnosticismus, pp. 81 et seq.;
idem, Der Antichrist, pp. 153, 164, et passim, Göttingen, 1901;
A. Hoenig, Die Ophiten, Berlin, 1889;
Rubin, in Ha-Eshkol, 1902, iv. 35;
Mead, Fragmente eines Verschollenen Glaubens (transl. from the English by A.
von Ulrich), pp. 150-156, Berlin, 1902.K. S. Kr.

IV. Likelyhood is demonstrated since all the other elements necessary for the teaching can be found in Ephesus.

All the elements which we know had to exist in Gnosticism from the first, and which can clearly be seen at Ephesus, suggest the straggering likelyhood that the Ephesian Gnostics reversed the order of human ceration. If they did not, surely they did at least give the primacy to Eve in terms of spiritual understanding. This was an outgrowth of their Goddess worship as well as the Jewish elements. I've already documented the Goddess worship sources in the genereal area of the seven chruches, and these were immesnse:

(A) historically the Elements of Gnsoticism favor the View

Introduction to Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

Dr. Ralph Wilson

Besides the cult of Artemis, there is evidence of various mystery religions, the practice of magic (Acts 19:19), worship of Egyptian gods Sarapis and Isis, as well as devotion to large number of other deities: Agathe Tyche, Aphrodite, Apollo, Asclepius, Athena, the Cabiri, Concord, Cybele (the Mother Goddess), Demeter, Dionysus, Enedra, Hecate, Hephaestus, Heracles, Hestia Boulaia, Kore, Nemesis, Pan, Pion (a mountain god), Pluto, Poseidon, Theos Hypsistos, Tyche Soteira, Zeus and several river deities.

Why was the Letter written? Since Paul's founding of the church, the Ephesian believers seems to have won many Gentiles to whom Paul's Letter is now directed. They were converts from a Hellenistic environment of mystery religions, magic, astrology, etc. They feared evil spirits and weren't sure about Christ's relationship to these forces. They also needed encouragement to adopt a lifestyle worthy of Christianity, free from drunkenness, sexual immorality, theft, and hatred. They also may have lacked respect for the Jewish heritage of their faith. Paul uses a number of words in Ephesus that would have been familiar to his Gentile Christian readers from their former religions -- head-body, fullness, mystery, age, ruler, etc. A century later this kind of terminology was used by full-blown Gnosticism. But Paul uses these words to demonstrate to his readers that Christ is far above and superior to any hierarchy of gods and spiritual beings -- that they are all lesser beings under Christ's feet. The language of Ephesians serves an apologetic function for the Church in a pluralistic society.

Theology Website
Scott David Foutz

Ph.D. Trinity International Universeity
Faculty North Park University in Chicago
site in assiciation with Trinity International Uiversity

The city of Colossae lay in the valley of Lycus, a tributary of the Meander, in a district of mountainous beauty about 100 miles inland from Ephesus. It was overshadowed in importance by the neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis, in both of which Christian churches had been established (Col 4:13).

It is never easy to reconstruct the precise tenets of a heresy when the only data available are indirect allusions in the course of a positive statement of doctrine intended to counteract it. Yet such is the situation in the Colossian epistle. It is impossible to determine whether or not this heresy had any coherent form.


It is clear enough that the false teaching was in some way detracting from the Person of Christ, for Paul lays great stress upon Christ's preeminence (1:15-19). This was a tendency which became fully developed in the Gnosticism of the second century.

philosophical character:

The apostle warns against "philosophy and vain deceit" (2:8), which suggests a tendency on the part of some of the Colossians to be attracted by it. It cannot be determined with any certainty in what sense Paul uses the word "philosophy", but it is generally supposed to point to Hellenistic elements. It is possible that the use of the terms "fullness" in 1:19, "knowledge" in 2:3, and "neglect of the body" in 2:23 may also be drawn from the same general background. All these terms were in use in second-century Gnosticism.

The elements of the world:

These elements may be understood in two ways, either as elementary spirits or as elementary teachings. Although the case of the former, it would be a reference to the powerful spirit world which was at that time widely believed to control the affairs of the natural world. If it means "elementary teachings" it would presumably describe a purely materialistic doctrine concerned only with this world.


From this somewhat fragmentary evidence it may safely be deduced that the heresy was of syncretistic Jewish-Gnosticizing type. One suggestion is that there was here a Jewish Gnosis influenced by Iranian ideas. Anoter is that pagan Phrygian influences were present. 4. Purpose We may certainly conclude that the threat from this false teachinng was of such a character than an immediate coorective was imperative, and that this was the real purpose of the letter. Paul has two main problems to settle, one doctrinal, concerning the Person of Christ, the other practical, respecting the life of the Christian.

In addition to this we have the Jewish elments which habitually reversed characters in the Bible, making the good bad, and the bad good. The Sodomites were good for the Ophites and Moses bad. Of course the Jewish roots would see Adam and Eve as primary characters. In addition to this, the link form Eve to Sophia is of great importance, since the Sophia myth is universal to all Gnostics and roots Gnosticism in its primordial sources. The motivation and the means (understanding of Bible characters) would have been great in Ephesus, surely the burden is on the complamentarians to prove that somehow the Gnostic cult of Ephesis avoided reversign priority in creation!

Since we know that this beilef does show up two hunderd years latter in the region in the Gospel of Eve, and that a female led heresy of carnal nature was opporative in Asia Minor at the end of the first century, since the primacy of Eve shows up in the second centruy, it is a fair assumtion that a Goddess worship Gnostic cult opporated in Ephesus which gave primacy to Eve and which sought positions of power and influence for their female leaders among Paul and Timothy's flock. We would have to know more about Christin identity and chruch structure to be able tos ay any more.. But the image that emerges for Gnosticism is one similar to that of the New Age movement today. There had not yet come a schism between Gnsoticiszing factions and Pauline circle. So it is likley that these two groups mixed easily and that Gnostically incluned memebers of Paul's flock sought a status among the Pauline group that they may have been tempted with in other circles.

Again, this heretical group need not have had to say that Eve was created chronologially first, but they did most surely say that she was the life giver and enlightener of Adam's lifeless body. In this sense, Paul had a fine rhetorical opportunity to use the Adam and Eve image as we have it in the Torah, and to link knowlede to teaching, and ignorance to decieption. This is exactly what he does do and we can see that assocition in the text itself.We can also see all of these elements in the Text as we recognize the earmarks of Paul's opponents.

V.To deny the assumption of contemporary Gnostics at Ephesus is to abandon the assumptions necessary to defend Pauline authorship. Thus in Denying the argument the Complamentarians are also undercutting their own source of authority for 1 Tim.

(2) Ecclesiology. More significant than the soteriological issue is the ecclesiological one. The reason that the pastorals have been questioned on such grounds is that they seem to reflect a period in church history which is later than Paul’s lifetime. In particular, they seem to reflect the early second century (cf. Ignatius’ writings) in which a single bishop had elders and deacons. Furthermore, the strong emphasis in the pastorals on the leaders’ qualifications, regulations concerning church life, etc., seem decidedly un-Pauline. Not only this, but the function of the church leadership is especially to pass on a fixed tradition of the truth, an emphasis lacking in the earlier Pauline epistles.

It's not that there aren't answers to this argument, the very same article gives an answer to it:

Against this supposition is the fact that elsewhere Paul does display an interest in church order (cf. Phil 1:1; 1 Thess 5:12; Rom 12:8; cf. Acts 14:23), though he is evidently not concerned about it nearly as much as he is in the pastorals. But there is a twofold reason for his concern here: (1) In all three letters, Paul is writing to an apostolic delegate—in effect, an intermediary between himself and the leadership of the church. Thus what he normally communicated in person as to church order (as he evidently must have in light of such casual references as Phil 1:1; 1 Thess 5:12, etc.), he now must put in writing. (2) In each one of the letters there are extenuating circumstances which would bring about an emphasis on church order and creedalism: (a) in 1 Timothy, the church had been infected by heretical and immoral leaders; hence, moral qualifications especially needed to be established; (b) in Titus, the church was newly planted; hence, some guidelines for selecting leaders needed to be given; (c) in 2 Timothy, Paul’s death is imminent; hence, an emphasis on a fixed tradition was in order

But the critics of my argument have to assert that the charactoristics I've marked out as indicative of a female headed Gnsotic cult are anachoronistic and late and that they mark a latter development in Gnsoticism. On the other hand, to the extent that I've already showen those aspect are clearly stated in the Text and they mark the author's concerns, then the author must be anachronistic. Thus the authority of the book must be re-considered in light of its psuedopigraphal nature.