The 1 The account given by Irenaeus should be compared with what is said of Simon Magus in the Clementine Homilies, ii.
But Justin Martyr was decidedly weak in history, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that he may have confused the Simon of Acts with a heretical leader of the same name who lived much nearer to his own time, especially as this other Simon also had a great reputation for magic. A full century must have elapsed between the conversion of Simon Magus to Christianity and the earliest date possible (which is the one that we have adopted) for the composition of Justin Martyr's First Apology.
And this decision is not affected by the fact that in certain Gnostic sects figured historical personages such as Simon Magus and Menander.
The introduction of Pauline features, however, into the representation of Simon Magus is merely incidental.
Such is the form assumed by the legend of Simon Magus about the middle of the 4th century.
Rather Simon Magus and his sorceries would have been forgotten had not his reputation been reinforced in the popular mind by that of his successor.
But to push the equation of St Paul with Simon Magus further than we are forced to by the facts of the case is to lose sight of the real character of the Clementines as the counterblast of Jewish to Samaritan Gnosticism and to obscure the greatness of Simon of Gitta, who was really the father of all heresy, a character which has been erroneously attributed to Simon Magus.
First it is interesting to note that Simon Magus was.
The conclusions to which the present writer has been led are mainly as follows: (I) that all we know of the original Simon Magus is contained in Acts; (2) that from very early times he has been confused with dnother Simon; (3) that the idea that Simon Magus is merely a distortion of St Paul is absurd.
The opening of doors of their own accord no more connects Simon Magus with Paul than with Peter.