Early Church Fathers
Translator's Biographical Notice.
[a.d. 260. I can add nothing but conjectures to the following: ] Of this Theognostus we have no account by either Eusebius or Jerome. Athanasius, however, mentions him more than once with honour. Thus he speaks of him as a0nh\ r lo/gioj, an eloquent or learned man.1 And again as Qeo/gnwstoj o9 qauma/sioj kai\ spoudai=oj, the admirable and zealous Theognostus.2 He seems to have belonged to the Catechetical school of Alexandria, and to have flourished there in the latter half of the third century, probably about a.d. 260. That he was a disciple of Origen, or at least a devoted student of his works, is clear from Photius.3 He wrote a work in seven books, the title of which is thus given by Photius:4 The Outlines of the blessed Theognostus, the exegete of Alexandria. Dodwell and others are of opinion that by this term exegete,5 is meant the presidency of the Catechetical school and the privilege of public teaching; and that the title, Outlines, was taken from Clement, his predecessor in office. According to Photius, the work was on this plan. The first book treated of God the Father, as the maker of the universe; the second, of the necessary existence of the Son; the third, of the Holy Spirit; the fourth, of angels and demons; the fifth and sixth, of the incarnation of God; while the seventh bore the title, On God's Creation. Photius has much to say in condemnation of Thegnostus, who, however, has been vindicated by Bull and Prudentius Maranus. Gregory of Nyssa has also charged him with holding the same error as Eunomius on the subject of the Son's relation to the work of creation. He is adduced, however, by Athanasius as a defender of the Homousian doctrine.