A PROMINENT HERETICAL MOVEMENT OF THE
2ND-CENTURY CHRISTIAN CHURCH
PARTLY OF PRE-CHRISTIAN ORIGIN
THE GNOSTIC DOCTRINE TEACHES THAT THE WORLD
WAS CREATED AND RULED BY A LESSER DIVINITY
CALLED THE DEMIURGE AND THAT CHRIST WAS AN EMISSARY
OF THIS SUPREME DIVINE BEING.
ACCORDING TO THE GNOSTIC DOCTRINE,
ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE [GNOSIS] ALONE
REDEEMS THE HUMAN SPIRIT
Early on, the young, predominantly-Literalist Church condemned Gnosticism as heresy.
Few prominent Church figures were Gnostics. There was never any serious, cohesive Gnostic movement in the early Church. Gnostics cared little for organisational matters and were pretty much left out of the Church hierarchy.
Importantly they denied the humanity and physicality of Jesus Christ by asserting his death had no true metaphysical or salvation effect. Overall, historically speaking, Gnosticism was often relegated to the fringes of Christianity.