:"Basilides" redirects here. For the 17th century Ethiopian Emperor, see Fasilides of Ethiopia. For the martyr, see Basilides and Potamiana."

Basilides (early 2nd century) was an early Christian religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt. He apparently wrote twenty-four books on the Gospel and promoted a dualism influenced by Zoroastrianism. His followers formed a Gnostic sect, the Basilideans. Historians know of Basilides and his teachings only through the writings of his detractors, Agrippa Castor, Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Hippolytus of Rome. It is impossible to determine how reliable these hostile accounts are.


Basilides was a pupil of an alleged interpreter of St. Peter, Glaucias by name, and taught at Alexandria during the reign of Hadrian (117–138). He may have been previously a disciple of Menander at Antioch, together with Saturnilus. The "Acta Archelai" state that for a time he taught among the Persians. He composed twenty-four books on the Gospel, which, according to Clement of Alexandria were entitled "Exegetics". Some fragments, preserved by Clement and in the "Acta Archelai", supplement the knowledge of Basilides furnished by his opponents.

The oldest refutation of the teachings of Basilides, by Agrippa Castor, is lost, and we are dependent upon the later accounts of Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Hippolytus of Rome, who in his "Philosophumena", gives a presentation entirely different from the other sources. It either rests on corrupt accounts, or, more probably, on those of a later, post-Basilidian phase of the system. Hippolytus describes a monistic system, in which Hellenic, or rather Stoic, conceptions stand in the foreground, whereas the genuine Basilides is an Oriental through and through, who stands in closer relationship to Zoroaster than to Aristotle.


Twentieth-century psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote his Seven Sermons to the Dead and attributed them to Basilides. The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges was interested in Irenaeus' account of Basilides' Gnostic doctrine and wrote an essay on the subject: "A Vindication of the False Basilides" (1932). Basilides is also mentioned in Borges's short story "Three Versions of Judas" (1944), which opens with the striking passage "In Asia Minor or in Alexandria, in the second century of our faith, when Basilides published that the Cosmos was a reckless or evil improvisation by deficient angels... "

ee also

Basilides or, to be more precise, "the Gnostic Gospel of Basilides", is also mentioned in Borges' story "The Library of Babel".
*Christian mystics

External links

* [ "Basilides" by T. Apiryon]
* [ Seven Sermons to the Dead]
* [ Fragments of Basilides]
* [ Fragments of his son Isidore]
* [ "Catholic Encyclopedia":] a point-of-view from a conservative orthodox Catholic position


* [ Layton,Bentley, (1989), "The Significance of Basilides in Ancient Christian Thought ", Representations, No. 28, Special Issue: Essays in Memory of Joel Fineman. (Autumn, 1989), pp.135-151.]


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  • Basilides — ist der Name folgender Personen: Basilides (Gnostiker) ( 85 145), syrischer Philosoph Basilides von Rom († um 304 in Rom), Heiliger und Märtyrer Basilides oder Fasilides (1632–1667), äthiopischer Kaiser und Erbauer von Fasil Ghebbi …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Basilides — Basilidès Basilidès était un fonctionnaire byzantin, collaborateur de l Empereur Justinien. Ses origines sont inconnues. Ayant reçu la dignité de patrice en 528, il exerça de nombreuses et importantes fonctions : préfet du Prétoire d Orient… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Basilidès — est un fonctionnaire byzantin, collaborateur de l empereur Justinien. Ses origines sont inconnues. Ayant reçu la dignité de patrice en 528, il exerce de nombreuses et importantes fonctions : préfet du prétoire d Orient en 528, membre de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Basilīdes — Basilīdes, 1) B. aus Alexandrien (nach Andern aus Syrien od. Persien), Schüler des Gnostikers Menander u. Lehrer zu Alexandrien spätestens um das Jahr 125. Er nahm an, daß Gott (Vater), aus sich selbst 7 vollkommene Äonen, den Geist, Nus, das… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Basilīdes — Basilīdes, Gnostiker, aus Syrien gebürtig, Schüler des Menander, Hauptvertreter der ägyptischen (alexandrinischen) Gnosis, lehrte um 130 n. Chr. zu Alexandria. Sein System, von dem wir zwei Darstellungen, eine von Irenäus und eine von Hippolytus …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Basilides — Basilīdes, alexandrin. Gnostiker zur Zeit Hadrians, nahm 365 aus Gott stufenweise erflossene Geisterordnungen an. – Vgl. Uhlhorn (1855) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Basilides — Basilides, gnostischer Häretiker im 2. Jahrh. n. Chr., der unter anderm 365 Geisterordnungen od. Himmel aus dem Urwesen hervorgehen läßt; vergl. Abraxas. Diesen Himmeln gegenüber steht das Chaos u. aus der Vermischung beider entsprang die… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Basilides — flourished 2nd century AD, Alexandria Founder of the Basilidian school of Gnosticism. According to Clement of Alexandria, Basilides claimed to base his teaching on a secret tradition of Peter the Apostle. He wrote psalms, odes, commentaries on… …   Universalium

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