Ken Humphrey's discussion of the gnostic roots of xtianity.
For all his esoterics, Valentinus struck a chord with displaced Jews and pagans searching for the 'truth.' During a 15 year career in the east he attracted a large following in Egypt, Cyprus and Syria.
Soon after the ruin of the Bar Kochba war, in 136, Valentinus sought his fortune in Rome. He almost became its bishop, losing out to Hyginus (138-142). He continued to teach in Rome for at least ten more years. He probably died there around 155. The Valentinian 'school', however, continued and elaborated still further its theology.
God itself was said to be androgynous (with the feminine aspects of the deity identified as 'Silence', 'Grace' and 'Thought'). Reflecting this gender-parity women held positions of authority within the Valentinian church. Unlike the master/slave relationship of later Christianity, for the Valentinians, Christ was like a brother, and the Holy Spirit like a consort. There was no need for the Church to acquire earthly riches and temporal power.
All of which, of course, was most alarming for the State/Church hierarchs of Catholicism. Branded 'heretics', the Valentinians were expelled from the Church and hunted down. By 350 AD, the Valentinian 'intellectuals' were dead and monks in Egypt were hiding the 'heretical' writings. Valentinus's major work The Gospel of Truth provoked its own response from the ecclesiasta: the Gospel of St John.
Despite its condemnation by orthodoxy, Valentinian doctrines continued to influence medieval gnostic groups such as the Paulicians and the Cathars and something of an underground Valentinian church survived as late as the 9th century, notably in Syria.