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practitioner of magical arts who probably came from Gitta, a village in biblical Samaria. Simon, according to the New Testament account in Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24, after becoming a Christian, offered to purchase from the Apostles Peter and John the supernatural power of transmitting the Holy Spirit, thus giving rise to the term simony (q.v.) as the buying or selling of sacred things or ecclesiastical office. Later references in certain early Christian writings identify him as the founder of post-Christian Gnosticism, a dualist religious sect advocating salvation through secret knowledge, and as the archetypal heretic of the Christian Church