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.
§ 125. Valentinus.
Valentinus was one of the best known Gnostics. Schaff notes that Irenaeus made Valentinus the foundation of the Gnosticism which he refuted (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18277). Valentinus was probably educated in Alexandria before spending time in Rome from before 140 until at least the mid 150s. Because Rome was gaining in importance as a center of Christianity at that time, many teachers who wished to become influential went to Rome.
Schaff sums up Valentinus as follows. “His system is an ingenious theogonic and cosmogonic epos. It describes in three acts the creation, the fall, and the redemption; first in heaven, then on earth. Great events repeat themselves in different stages of being (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18285). Valentinus made his theories work by redefining important words and concepts used by historic Christianity. Starting from an original great and silent unknown which contemplated himself, eventually a succession of emanations resulted in the created order (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18295). All the created order was a matter of sexual duality in emanations from the original unknown. They finally bring forth the second and third persons of the Trinity (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18307). Eventually, Wisdom, desiring to relieve her lonliness, springs into self-dtermination, which creates an abortive offspring. After extensive wandering, Wisdom is restored by Christ and the Holy Spirit, who are the last two of the divine offspring (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18322). Of the three saviors (Christ, Jesus, and Messiah), Jesus is the one who marries Wisdom so as to redeem her (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18337). Schaff provides an extensive quotation in German from Dr. Baur, who finds Valentinian Gnosticism in Hegelian thought. Hegelian precepts of principle roots of thoughts are very similar to the Gnostic aeons (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18346). Baur also finds similarities in the way Valentinus and Hegel distinguish between “psychic” and “pneumatic” influences (Schaff 2014, Loc. 18353).