The Term "Gnosticism"
The English term "Gnosticism" derives from the use of the Greek adjective gnostikos ("learned", "intellectual", Greek γνωστικός) by St. Irenaeus (c.185 AD) to describe the school of Valentinus as he legomene gnostike haeresis "the heresy called Learned (gnostic)". This occurs in the context of Irenaeus' work On the Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called, (Greek: elenchos kai anatrope tes pseudonymou gnoseos genitive case, ἔλεγχος καὶ ἀνατροπὴ τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως) where the term "knowledge falsely so-called" (nominative case pseudonymos gnosis) covers various groups, not just Valentinus, and is a quotation of the apostle Paul's warning against "knowledge falsely so-called" in 1 Timothy 6:20.
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