Gospel of Basilides

BASILIDES, GOSPEL OF. Basilides, a Gnostic who taught in Alexandria c. a.d. 130, is said to have written twenty-four books “on the Gospel” (Euseb. HE IV. vii. 7). Whether this was a commentary on the canonical gospels or on a gospel of his own is not clear; the extant fragments relate to Matthew and Luke. A Gospel of Basilides is mentioned by Origen (in Luc. hom. I), and by Jerome and others after him, but nothing has survived and one is reduced to conjecture regarding its contents (assuming that it was an original and independent work). Theories advanced include (a) that it was a document related to Luke, or a redaction of Luke (cf. Marcion’s Gospel); and (b) that it was a kind of gospel harmony in which passages from the canonical gospels were arranged to suit the needs of his system. Basilides claimed to have received secret teachings from Matthias, but a connection of his gospel with the “Gospel” or “Traditions of Matthias” (q.v.) must remain highly speculative. (See NTAp. I. 346ff.)