[quote=DJHohl]Thanks for all the great answers! One more question -if anyone knows:
Did any of the primary gnostic figures study with an apostle? Were any of them high up in Church structure, like a Bishop?
Naturally some who were gnostics claimed that their teaching was Apostolic in origin as it bolstered their claim to the “truth”, but I don’t know that its ever been shown that direct students of the twelve ever went into any form of heresy. The father of the gnostics I believe, and I’m no expert on this, was seen as Simon Magus (father of many heretical lies). Simon Magus was always opposed to and by the Apostles (particularly Peter, of course).
So it seems it was only after the Apostolic Age that people trained or ordained within the Church fell into heresy though that is not to say they were free from dispute as we see both in the New Testament and today.
In the History of the Church, Eusebius quotes the now lost work of Hegesippus from about the year 170 AD:
“In addition to these things the same man, while recounting the events of that period, records that the Church up to that time had remained a pure and uncorrupted virgin, since, if there were any that attempted to corrupt the sound norm of the preaching of salvation, they lay until then concealed in obscure darkness. But when the sacred college of apostles had suffered death in various forms, and the generation of those that had been deemed worthy to hear the inspired wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then the league of godless error took its rise as a result of the folly of heretical teachers, who, because none of the apostles was still living, attempted henceforth, with a bold face, to proclaim, in opposition to the preaching of the truth, the knowledge [gnosis] which is falsely so-called.”