Gnostic Christianity and the Myth of Sophia

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The three higher groups, though, cannot work on the physical plane. He took the teachings to Antioch, a city in Asia Minor which developed a strong Christian community. Alexandria was of central importance for the birth of Gnosticism. After the apophatic statements, the process of the Divine in action are used to describe the effect of such a god. Thus could Jesus heal the sick and walk on water. The vengeful God of wrath and restitution no longer suited the new ideas of Christian thought. In normative early Christianity the Church administered and prescribed the correct behaviour for Christians, while in Gnosticism it was the internalised motivation that was important.

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Jesus is identified with angel Christology in parable 5, when the author mentions a Son of God, as a virtuous man filled with a Holy "pre-existent spirit". The journey of the lower man is to find the soul pearl , his connection with his true and princely self, the Monad. And I mingled at the doors of his archaic royal building. Some call them world-haters, immersed in an existential negation of life. Jerome states that the Priscillianists were infected with it. And its eyes were like lightning fires which flash. Translated by John Bowden.

The Mandaens are an ancient Gnostic sect that have survived to this day and are found today in Iraq. A number of 19th Century thinkers such as Arthur Schopenhauer , [] Albert Pike and Madame Blavatsky studied Gnostic thought extensively and were influenced by it, and even figures like Herman Melville and W.

Yeats were more tangentially influenced. Early 20th Century thinkers who heavily studied and were influenced by Gnosticism include Carl Jung who supported Gnosticism , Eric Voegelin who opposed it , Jorge Luis Borges who included it in many of his short stories , and Aleister Crowley , with figures such as Hermann Hesse being more moderately influenced.

Alfred North Whitehead was aware of the existence of the newly discovered Gnostic scrolls. Accordingly, Michel Weber has proposed a Gnostic interpretation of his late metaphysics. Prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in Gnosticism was known primarily through the works of heresiologists , Church Fathers who opposed those movements. These writings had an antagonistic bias towards gnostic teachings, and were incomplete. Several heresiological writers, such as Hippolytus, made little effort to exactly record the nature of the sects they reported on, or transcribe their sacred texts.

Reconstructions of incomplete Gnostic texts were attempted in modern times, but research on Gnosticism was coloured by the orthodox views of those heresiologists. Since this time, both Simon and Menander have been considered as 'proto-Gnostic'. From Samaria he charted an apparent spread of the teachings of Simon through the ancient "knowers" into the teachings of Valentinus and other, contemporary Gnostic sects. Thirty-three of the groups he reported on are considered Gnostic by modern scholars, including 'the foreigners' and 'the Seth people'.

Prior to the discovery at Nag Hammadi, a limited number of texts were available to students of Gnosticism. Reconstructions were attempted from the records of the heresiologists, but these were necessarily coloured by the motivation behind the source accounts. Twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local farmer named Muhammed al-Samman.

These codices may have belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery, and buried after Bishop Athanasius condemned the use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of A 1st- or 2nd-century date of composition for the lost Greek originals has been proposed, though this is disputed; the manuscripts themselves date from the 3rd and 4th centuries.

The Nag Hammadi texts demonstrated the fluidity of early Christian scripture and early Christianity itself. Prior to the discovery of Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic movements were largely perceived through the lens of the early church heresiologists. Johann Lorenz von Mosheim — proposed that Gnosticism developed on its own in Greece and Mesopotamia, spreading to the west and incorporating Jewish elements.

According to Mosheim, Jewish thought took Gnostic elements and used them against Greek philosophy. Horn and Ernest Anton Lewald proposed Persian and Zoroastrian origins, while Jacques Matter described Gnosticism as an intrusion of eastern cosmological and theosophical speculation into Christianity.

In the s Gnosticism was placed within Greek philosophy, especially neo-Platonism. The Religionsgeschichtliche Schule "History of religions school," 19th century had a profound influence on the study of Gnosticism. Hans Jonas — took an intermediate approach, using both the comparative approach of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule and the existentialist hermeneutics of Bultmann.

Jonas emphasized the duality between God and the world, and concluded that Gnosticism cannot be derived from Platonism. Contemporary scholarship largely agrees that Gnosticism has Jewish or Judeo-Christian origins; [17] this theses is most notably put forward by Gershom G. Scholem — and Gilles Quispel — The study of Gnosticism and of early Alexandrian Christianity received a strong impetus from the discovery of the Coptic Nag Hammadi Library in According to Matthew J.

Dillon, six trends can be discerned in the definitions of Gnosticism: The Messina conference on the origins of gnosis and Gnosticism proposed to designate. This definition has now been abandoned.

According to Dillon, the texts from Nag Hammadi made clear that this definition was limited, and that they are "better classified by movements such as Valentinian , mythological similarity Sethian , or similar tropes presence of a Demiurge. Hans Jonas discerned two main currents of Gnosticism, namely Syrian-Egyptian, and Persian, which includes Manicheanism and Mandaeanism. Persian Gnosticism possesses more dualist tendencies, reflecting a strong influence from the beliefs of the Persian Zurvanist Zoroastrians.

The medieaval the Cathars, Bogomils, and Carpocratians seem to include elements of both categories. This "Christian Gnosticism" was Christocentric, and influenced by Christian writings such as the Gospel of John and the Pauline epistles.

The best known example of this approach is Adolf von Harnack — , who stated that "Gnosticism is the acute Hellenization of Christianity.

Hans Jonas — took an existential phenomenological approach to Gnosticism. According to Jonas, alienation is a distinguishing characteristics of Gnosticism, making it different from contemporary religions.

Jonas compares this alienation with the existentialist notion of geworfenheit , being thrown into a hostile world. In the late s scholars voiced concerns about the broadness of "Gnosticism" as a meaningful category. Bentley Layton proposed to category Gnosticism by delineating which groups were marked as gnostic in ancient texts.

According to Layton, this term was mainly applied by heresiologists to the myth described in the Apocryphon of John , and was used mainly by the Sethians and the Ophites. According to Layton, texts which refer to this myth can be called "classical Gnostic". In addition, Alastair Logan uses social theory to identify Gnosticism. He uses Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge's sociological theory on traditional religion, sects and cults. According to Logan, the Gnostics were a cult, at odds with the society at large.

According to Michael Allen Williams , the concept of Gnosticism as a distinct religious tradition is questionable, since "gnosoi" was a pervasive characteristics of many religious traditions in antiquity, and not restricted to the so-called Gnostic systems.

According to Williams the term needs replacing to more accurately reflect those movements it comprises, [] and suggests to replace it with the term "the Biblical demiurgical tradition". According to Karen King, scholars have "unwittingly continued the project of ancient heresiologists", searching for non-Christian influences, thereby continuing to portray a pure, original Christianity. Carl Jung approached Gnosticism from a psychological perspective, which was followed by Gilles Quispel.

According to this approach, Gnosticism is a map for the human development, in which an undivided person, centered on the Self , develops out of the fragmentary personhood of young age.

According to Quispel, gnosis is a third force in western culture, alongside faith and reason, which offers an experiential awareness of this Self.

According to Ioan Culianu , gnosis is made possible through universal operations of the mind, which can be arrived at "anytime, anywhere". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Agnosticism. Part of a series on Gnosticism. Buddhist modernism New religious movement "Spiritual but not religious" Syncretism. Mystical experience Religious experience Spiritual practice. Ego death Individuation Spiritual development Self-actualization.

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Indeed, it appears increasingly evident that many of the newly published Gnostic texts were written in a context from which Jews were not absent. In some cases, indeed, a violent rejection of the Jewish God, or of Judaism, seems to stand at the basis of these texts.

Robinson, "Sethians and Johannine Thought: Brill, , p. The gnostic demiurge bears resemblance to figures in Plato's Timaeus and Republic. In The Republic the description of the leontomorphic "desire" in Socrates ' model of the psyche bears a resemblance to descriptions of the demiurge as being in the shape of the lion.

In time, the gospel-narrative of this embodiment of Wisdom became interpreted as the literal history of the life of Jesus. This of itself shows that it is a mistake to reckon Marcion among the Gnostics.

A dualist he certainly was, but he was not a Gnostic". Irenaeus of Lyons Against the heresies, Vol. The origins of anti-semitism: Texts and Commentaries by Steven Bayme Publisher: New Perspectives , Yale University Press , , p.

The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Five Images of Christ in the Postapostolic Age. The most prominent example of Angel Adoptionism from the early Church would have to be the document known as The Shepherd of Hermass.

In The Shepherd, the savior is an angel called the "angel of justification", who seems to be identified with the archangel Michael. Although the angel is often understood to be Jesus, he is never named as Jesus. Mead and the Gnostic Quest p8. He was one of the earliest and most emphatic scholars to propose the Gnostic debt to Buddhist thought. Platonism, the Persian religion, and the Buddhism of India. The Gnostic Society Library.

Retrieved September 29, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. A Brief Summary of Gnosticism". Retrieved 15 May Occidental Mythology , page Retrieved 13 February Jesus, Gnosis and Dogma.

The Saviour, jesus Christ, who from the fullness the pleroma of the Father descended on earth, is identified with the Logos, but initially not entirely with the Only Begotten Son. Handbook of Classical and Modern Mandaic. Pieces in a Puzzle of Christian Origins". Journal of Higher Criticism.

Hoeller, On the Trail of the Winged God. Heracleon's Commentary on John. An Introduction , The School of Valentinus , ed. A History of Christian Thought, Vol. The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. The Nature and History of Gnosticism". A New New Testament: Advice to Clever Children. The Apocryphal Whitehead Pub. Robinson , The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: Albrile, Ezio , "Gnosticism: Secrets of Mary Magdalene. A History of Gnosticism.

Was Jezus oorspronkelijk een heidense god? Economic and Social Origins of Gnosticism. Huidekoper, Frederic , Judaism at Rome: King, Charles William The Gnostics and Their Remains. Gnosis on the Silk Road: Gnostic Texts from Central Asia. Geschichte der Gnosis in Antike, Urchristentum und Islam. Verlag Christoph Brunner, Basel Michael White ; O. The Social World of the First Christians: Essays in Honor of Wayne A. The Rediscovery of Gnosticism: Magris, Aldo , "Gnosticism: Translated by John Bowden.

Markschies, Christolph , Gnosis: An Introduction , T. Pagels, Elaine , The Gnostic Paul: The Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis. Nag Hammadi and the Gospel Tradition: Synoptic Tradition in the Nag Hammadi Library. Its History and Influence.

Williams, Michael , Rethinking Gnosticism: A Survey of the Proposed Evidences. Retrieved March 8, What would Christianity be like if gnostic texts had made it into the Bible?

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gnosticism. The last three scholars prepared a complete scholarly translation under the auspices of the Berlin Humboldt University , which was published in Robinson translation was first published in , with the name The Nag Hammadi Library in English , in collaboration between E.

The single-volume publication, according to Robinson, 'marked the end of one stage of Nag Hammadi scholarship and the beginning of another' from the Preface to the third revised edition. Paperback editions followed in and , from E. Brill and Harper, respectively. A third, completely revised, edition was published in This marks the final stage in the gradual dispersal of gnostic texts into the wider public arena—the full complement of codices was finally available in unadulterated form to people around the world, in a variety of languages.

A cross reference apparatus for Robinson's translation and the Biblical canon also exists. The volume included new translations from the Nag Hammadi Library, together with extracts from the heresiological writers, and other gnostic material. It includes extensive historical introductions to individual gnostic groups, notes on translation, annotations to the text, and the organization of tracts into clearly defined movements.

Not all scholars agree that the entire library should be considered Gnostic. Paterson Brown has argued that the three Nag Hammadi Gospels of Thomas, Philip and Truth cannot be so labeled, since each, in his opinion, may explicitly affirm the basic reality and sanctity of incarnate life, which Gnosticism by definition considers illusory. The so-called "Codex XIII" is not a codex, but rather the text of Trimorphic Protennoia , written on "eight leaves removed from a thirteenth book in late antiquity and tucked inside the front cover of the sixth.

Although the manuscripts discovered at Nag Hammadi are generally dated to the 4th century, there is some debate regarding the original composition of the texts. A wide range and the majority of scholars date authorship of the Gnostic gospel of Nag Hammadi to the 2nd and 3rd century. The traditional dating of the gospels derives primarily from this division. Other scholars with a deeper focus on pagan and Jewish literature of the period tend to date primarily based on the type of the work [ citation needed ]:.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Gnostic Gospels. Part of a series on Gnosticism. Robinson , The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: An Introduction , HarperCollins, San Francisco, Archived December 27, , at the Wayback Machine.

In Robinson, James MacConkey. Leiden, New York, Cologne: The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origins, Developments and Significance. Marcion and the New Testament. The Pre-Nicene New Testament. Indeed their audacity has gone so far that they entitle their recent composition the Gospel of Truth Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.

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Imsges: gnostic dating

gnostic dating

World view of Gnostic Christianity.

gnostic dating

The eternal conflict that we see expressed in such ancient allegories is generally personified in one or more figures like Ialdabaoth and Sophia, but this, of course, is a purely symbolic device -- they represent the various energies behind manifestation.

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TurnerGerman and Gnostic dating scholarship views Sethianism as "a distinctly inner-Jewish, albeit syncretistic and heterodox, phenomenon", while British and French scholarship tends to see Sethianism as "a form of heterodox Christian speculation". Many of the Gnostic dating Hammadi texts make reference to Judaism, gnostic dating some cases with a violent rejection of the Jewish God. Sethianism was one of the main currents of Gnosticism during the 2nd to 3rd orange county dating coach, and the prototype of Gnosticism as condemned by Irenaeus. Due to the difficult political circumstances in Egypt, individual tracts followed from the Cairo and Zurich collections only slowly. ADdescribes him as "a philosopher devoted to the contemplation of divine things" IU IIp From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.