Reconstructions were attempted from the records of the heresiologists, but these were necessarily coloured by the motivation behind the source accounts. In the end, the kingdom of light will prevail over darkness. "[81] The Johannine material reveals debates about the redeemer myth. [37] J. 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. Complete list of codices found in Nag Hammadi,, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 August 2020, at 04:03. [125], According to Kurt Rudolph, the decline of Manichaeism that occurred in Persia in the 5th century was too late to prevent the spread of the movement into the east and the west. Jonas emphasized the duality between God and the world, and concluded that Gnosticism cannot be derived from Platonism. [176] The early church heresiologists created an interpretive definition of Gnosticism, and modern scholarship followed this example and created a categorical definition. In many Gnostic systems, the aeons are the various emanations of the superior God or Monad. [94] Sethianism attributed its gnosis to Seth, third son of Adam and Eve and Norea, wife of Noah, who also plays a role in Mandeanism and Manicheanism. "[35][note 23], According to John D. Turner, German and American 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". According to Origen's Contra Celsum, a sect called the Ophites posited the existence of seven archons, beginning with Iadabaoth or Ialdabaoth, who created the six that follow: Iao, Sabaoth, Adonaios, Elaios, Astaphanos, and Horaios. "[167] According to Dillon, "many scholars today continue in the vein of Harnack in reading gnosticism as a late and contaminated version of Christianity", notably Darrell Block, who criticises Elaine Pagels for her view that early Christianity was wildly diverse. "Nag Hammadi and the New Testament". This understanding of the transmission of Gnostic ideas, despite Irenaeus' certain antagonistic bias, is often utilized today, though it has been criticized. Persian Gnosticism possesses more dualist tendencies, reflecting a strong influence from the beliefs of the Persian Zurvanist Zoroastrians. Certain elements of the light became entrapped within darkness, and the purpose of material creation is to engage in the slow process of extraction of these individual elements. These movements are considered by most to be religions in their own right, and are not emanations from Christianity or Judaism. The author of the Testament of Solomon held Christ to be a particularly effective "thwarting" angel in the exorcism of demons. Fifty-two copies of ancient writings, called the Gnostic gospels were found in … [113], The followers of Valentinius attempted to systematically decode the Epistles, claiming that most Christians made the mistake of reading the Epistles literally rather than allegorically. A mythical story developed about the descent of a heavenly creature to reveal the Divine world as the true home of human beings. The school was popular, spreading to Northwest Africa and Egypt, and through to Asia Minor and Syria in the east,[109] and Valentinus is specifically named as gnostikos by Irenaeus. In the Persian Empire, Gnostic ideas spread as far as China via the related movement Manichaeism, while Mandaeism is still alive in Iraq. "[14][note 12], The origins of Gnosticism are obscure and still disputed. John the Evangelist is claimed as a Gnostic by some Gnostic interpreters,[93] as is even St. The Supreme Light or Consciousness descends through a series of stages, gradations, worlds, or hypostases, becoming progressively more material and embodied. Genesis was reinterpreted in Jewish milieus, viewing. Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism includes Sethianism, Valentinianism, Basilideans, Thomasine traditions, and Serpent Gnostics, as well as a number of other minor groups and writers. God is commonly thought of as being beyond human comprehension. [18][note 14] Gershom Scholem once described Gnosticism as "the Greatest case of metaphysical anti-Semitism". [173], 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). It also focuses on the connection between pre-Socratic (and therefore Pre-Incantation of Christ) ideas and the false beliefs of early gnostic heretical leaders. [170], 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. [citation needed], Sophia, emanating without her partner, resulted in the production of the Demiurge (Greek: lit. Prior to the discovery of Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic movements were largely perceived through the lens of the early church heresiologists. In the 1880s Gnostic connections with neo-Platonism were proposed. [33] The Religionsgeschichtliche Schule saw Gnosticism as a pre-Christian phenomenon, and Christian gnosis as only one, and even marginal instance of this phenomenon. [33] Ugo Bianchi, who organised the Congress of Messina of 1966 on the origins of Gnosticism, also argued for Orphic and Platonic origins. [note 28] There is evidence for Manicheans in Rome and Dalmatia in the 4th century, and also in Gaul and Spain. [154], 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. A major question in scholarly research is the qualification of Gnosticism as either an interreligious phenomenon or as an independent religion. [132], Ginan, which literally translates to gnosis, refers to a collection of literature that is respected by the Ismailis. Here, in 762, Manicheanism became the state religion of the Uyghur Empire. Pleroma is also used in the general Greek language, and is used by the Greek Orthodox church in this general form, since the word appears in the Epistle to the Colossians. A human being captured by its animal desires, mistakenly claims autonomy and independence from the "higher God", thus resembling the lower deity in classical gnostic traditions. Initially, they were hard to distinguish from each other. This thesis is most notably put forward by Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) and Gilles Quispel (1916–2006). 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. In 240–41, Mani travelled to the Indo-Greek Kingdom of the Sakhas in modern-day Afghanistan, where he studied Hinduism and its various extant philosophies. [86] The Naassenes, Cainites, and Valentinians referred to Paul's epistles. [105] One offshoot was in turn headed by Dositheus, Simon Magus, and Menander. [68] According to DeConick, the Gospel of John shows a "transitional system from early Christianity to gnostic beliefs in a God who transcends our world. 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Laenen, "Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism", Contact Made Vision: The Apocryphal Whitehead, "Fall 2014 Christianity Seminar Report on Gnosticism", "Gnosticism Theorized: Major Trends and Approaches to the Study of Gnosticism". [102] In the early third century, Sethianism was fully rejected by Christian heresiologists, as Sethianism shifted toward the contemplative practices of Platonism while losing interest in their primal origins. The Paulicians, an Adoptionist group which flourished between 650 and 872 in Armenia and the Eastern Themes of the Byzantine Empire, were accused by orthodox medieval sources of being Gnostic and quasi Manichaean Christian. For centuries, most scholarly knowledge of Gnosticism was limited to the anti-heretical writings of orthodox Christian figures such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Hippolytus of Rome. [75], According to Walter Bauer, "heresies" may well have been the original form of Christianity in many regions. Sethian texts such as Zostrianos and Allogenes draw on the imagery of older Sethian texts, but utilize "a large fund of philosophical conceptuality derived from contemporary Platonism, (that is, late middle Platonism) with no traces of Christian content. [3], Gnosis refers to knowledge based on personal experience or perception. J. M. Robinson, "Sethians and Johannine Thought: The Trimorphic Protennoia and the Prologue of the Gospel of John" in, The idea that Gnosticism was derived from Buddhism was first proposed by the Victorian gem collector and numismatist. The Sethian hidden transcendent God is, by contrast, defined through negative theology: he is immovable, invisible, intangible, ineffable; commonly, "he" is seen as being hermaphroditic, a potent symbol for being, as it were, "all-containing". The positive or negative depiction of materiality thus resides a great deal on mythic depictions of Sophia's actions. The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi library, initially completed i… [140] Like the gnostic conception of human beings imprisoned in matter, Sufi traditions acknowledge that the human soul is an accomplice of the material world and subject to bodily desires similar to the way archontic spheres envelop the pneuma. "public builder"),[54] who is also referred to as Yaldabaoth and variations thereof in some Gnostic texts. [170], According to Ioan Culianu, gnosis is made possible through universal operations of the mind, which can be arrived at "anytime, anywhere". ", Rise of the Evangelical Church in Latin America, Beliefs condemned as heretical by the Catholic Church, Relationship between religion and science,, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles that may contain original research from November 2019, All articles that may contain original research, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2019, Articles needing additional references from July 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2016, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2009, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2020, Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from November 2010, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from October 2019, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, psychic – "soulful", partially initiated. 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. It was an intellectually vibrant tradition,[110] with an elaborate and philosophically "dense" form of Gnosticism. "[21] However, the Nag Hammadi library contained Hermetic teachings that can be argued go back to the Old Egyptian Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BC). The Nag Hammadi library (less accurately known as the Gnostic Gospels) are a collection of Coptic Christian and philosophical writings discovered in 1945 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt.The papyrus itself is generally dated to the 3 rd or 4 th century CE at the time of burial, though each individual codex has different dates of original composition.. [note 32], Prior to the discovery of Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic movements were largely perceived through the lens of the early church heresiologists. There was no particular relationship among any set of groups which one could distinguish as “Gnostic”, as if they were in opposition to some other set of groups. Other names or identifications are Ahriman, El, Satan, and Yahweh. Part of the Gnostic Society Library, which includes the entire Nag Hammadi Library. Reconstructions of incomplete Gnostic texts were attempted in modern times, but research on Gnosticism was coloured by the orthodox views of those heresiologists.
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