312 The Egyptian Contribution to Christianity These scattered items of evidence—important though they are—scarcely do more than whet our curiosity. But we have other information about early Christianity in Egypt which serves to link it up with the most important currents of thought in second-century Christianity. The Gnostic teachers, Basilides and his greater successor Valentinus, both taught in Alexandria in the reign of Hadrian (117-38). Basilides, though he travelled outside Egypt, seems to have spent the greater part of his time in Alexandria and the Delta. Valentinus started his career as a teacher at Alexandria, but was later (c. A.D. 136) drawn to Rome, where indeed we are told that he entertained the hope of succeeding to the episcopal see.1 These are the first definite names that we can link up with Egyptian Church History. How far they were representative of Egyptian Christianity and whether they secured ascendancy in the Church are questions which we cannot answer. It has been suggested that the meagre- ness of our information about early Christianity in Egypt is to be explained by the peculiar character of Alexandrine teaching; that Gnostic influences were so far dominant in the earlier part of the second century, that when later on the Canonical New Testament and the Church's rule of faith came to win accep- tance, the earlier chapters in the Church's history were intention- ally forgotten. Whether this was really so, or whether at Alexandria as elsewhere there was a nucleus of popular tradi- tional faith which maintained itself alongside the Gnostic coteries we know too little to be able to say. In any case, there can be no doubt that both Basilides and Valentinus themselves, though they were affected by ideas which were widespread out- side the Christian tradition with regard to the divine origin of the soul and the need for its redemption from the material 1 Tert. Adv. Talent. 4. But the story is suspected. See E. Preusschen in Hauck-Hertzog, R.E. xx, pp. 396 f. According to Irenaeus, iii. 4. 3 (Greek text in Eus. H.E. iv. 11.1) Valentinus came to Rome under Hyginus and lived on there till the episcopate of Anicetus, i.e. c. A.D. 136-165.