Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 11. The Heresies of the Ante-Nicene Age” Sections 112-136, Loc. 17655-18757.
§ 118. Ethics of Gnosticism.
In this relatively brief segment, Schaff attempts to summarize the different areas in which Gnostics agree. “All the Gnostic heretics gree in disparaging the divinely created body, and over- rating the intellect” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18083). He again observes that this can lead to extrremes of self-denial or of license, depending upon the actual attitude of how the body should be treated as something of no consequence. Ascetics Schaff considers pessimists. Among these he classifies Marcion, Tatian, and Manichaeans. Schaff also finds this tendency among those addressed in Colossians or in the Pastoral Epistles (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18090). At the other end of the spectrum are the libertines, among whom Schaff classifies “the Nicolaitans, the Ophites, the Carpocratians, and the Antitactes” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18091). These people advocated indulging in sensuality so as to overcome it. Schaff notes that very little literature from the second group of Gnostics has survived.