Malodore of Antioch: The Fruits of Wisdom

NOTHING HAS SURVIVED of The Fruits of Wisdom except a single reference to the work in Irenaeus: “As for Malodore the Antiochian, his ‘Fruits of Wisdom’ have rotted on the ground.” Nevertheless, on the basis of certain references in other Gnostic writers, Malo­dore’s work is believed to have had some influence on the growing Gnostic movement of the second century a.d. Thus Valentinus Arbiter says, “For it is not by bread alone that man lives, as Malodore says, but also by cheese”; and Circumflex Magnus remarks in his third book of Apophthegmatic Discourses that “Justin found gnosis in the schools, but Malodore at the grocer’s.” Some fifteen or so references to Malodore, some of which may in fact quote from The Fruits of Wisdom, are known from various Gnostic writers, and it is notable that every one of them has something to do with food in one form or another. It would be tempting to deduce from that observation something about the tenor of Malodore’s philosophy, but it would not be worth the trouble.