Carpocrates

, or Carpocras, of Alexandria, a famous heretic of the second century, is reported to have carried the Gnostic blasphemies to an enormous degree of extravagance. He maintained that matter was eternal; that the world was created by angels; that God formed human souls, which were imprisoned in bodies of malignant matter; that Jesus was but a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and distinguished from others by his superior greatness of soul; that none can obtain everlasting salvation by him, unless, by committing all manner of crimes, they fill up the measure of their wickedness; that human lusts and passions, being implanted by God, ought to be gratified; that all actions are in themselves indifferent, and become good or evil, only by the opinions of men, or the laws of the state; and that women, and every thing else, ought to be common property. Such are the opinions imputed to him by ecclesiastical historians, which are said to have produced a corresponding practice among his followers. Dr. Lardner only has taken considerable pains to defend Carpocrates; and his conjectures are at least inr genious, although he has not been able to render this heretic an object of much interest or admiration. 2

2

Mosheim. Lardner’s Hist, of Heretics, Works, vol. IX. Dupin.