By Emily J. Hunt

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When Tatian talks of men obeying God’s word Bolgiani makes a distinction between the Logos of God and the word of the Christian message, which he suggests is implied intentionally by Tatian. 109 Whittaker, on the other hand, interprets Chapter 30 within the wider context of the Oration. She claims that in this passage Tatian is referring to points that are found elsewhere in the Oration. Thus she equates ‘childishness’ with man’s previous state of ignorance (outlined in Or 13:1) and the stripping process as a desire to mature.

75 Whilst criticisms have been made,76 I believe it constitutes an important step forward in the refining of gnostic studies. What is gnostic overlaps with other elements, and if we are to clarify the state of second century Christianity we should not merely group all apparently gnostic ideas under the banner of gnosticism. Instead, we should be attempting to separate and analyse the various gnostic-type groups. This involves a more sensitive approach that considers individual contexts and influences.

134 Therefore Valentinian exegesis of Romans, and indeed all the Pauline Epistles, is characteristically symbolic; they attempt to glean Paul’s message to the elect from a letter which they believe is pitched at psychic Christians. Thus much of their interpretation involves explanations of passages in Paul that appear to be contradictory to their own worldview. As we have seen, Tatian understood Rom 1:19–25 to refer to pagan nature worship. 135 Rom 1:20, where Paul asserts that God can be perceived through his creation, proved to be somewhat problematic for the Valentinian exegetes, since they attempted to separate the supreme God from the creation process entirely.

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