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H.A. Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Church Fathers
The society of saints which Dante sees in the Rose of Paradise may be like such a group, but it is without any change and development; whereas the holy assembly of Church Fathers in Raphael’s Disputa shows if not actual conflict, at least a considerable differentiation of moods and directions of thought, whence flow all the vitality and the really organic structure of that group.
The ornate decoration of the pulpit of the collegiate church at Aschaffenburg depicts the Church Fathers around the supporting pillar, busts of the same in the upper frieze, scenes from the Bible separated by spirited figures of the Evangelists, and angels in the place of consoles.
Yet a clue as to why this should be so lies in the fact that the early Church Fathers regarded the word Gnostic as being synonymous with ‘heretic’—and Simon was a Gnostic although, not, as they believed, the founder of Gnosticism.
However, the early Church Fathers knew rather more about this character, and their accounts contradict the simple morality tale of the book of Acts39.