[13][note 11] The term Gnosticism was derived from the use of the Greek adjective gnostikos (Greek γνωστικός, "learned", "intellectual") by St. Irenaeus (c. 185 AD) to describe the school of Valentinus as he legomene gnostike haeresis "the heresy called Learned (gnostic). There is also the Qolastā, or Canonical Book of Prayer and the Mandaean Book of John (Sidra ḏ'Yahia). [7] The usual meaning of gnostikos in Classical Greek texts is "learned" or "intellectual", such as used by Plato in the comparison of "practical" (praktikos) and "intellectual" (gnostikos). It was an intellectually vibrant tradition,[110] with an elaborate and philosophically "dense" form of Gnosticism. [72], The Christian heresiologists, most notably Irenaeus, regarded Gnosticism as a Christian heresy. [33] Hans Heinrich Schaeder (1896–1957) and Hans Leisegang saw Gnosticism as an amalgam of eastern thought in a Greek form. She is occasionally referred to by the Hebrew equivalent of Achamoth (this is a feature of Ptolemy's version of the Valentinian gnostic myth). Jesus is interpreted as an intermediary aeon who was sent from the pleroma, with whose aid humanity can recover the lost knowledge of the divine origins of humanity. Islam also integrated traces of an entity given authority over the lower world in some early writings: Iblis is regarded by some Sufis as the owner of this world, and humans must avoid the treasures of this world, since they would belong to him. 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.. According to Quispel, gnosis is a third force in western culture, alongside faith and reason, which offers an experiential awareness of this Self. Valentinian Gnosticism is a form of monism, expressed in terms previously used in a dualistic manner. [26] Professor Steven Bayme said gnosticism would be better characterized as anti-Judaism. [68] The Johannine letters show that there were different interpretations of the gospel story, and the Johannine images may have contributed to second-century Gnostic ideas about Jesus as a redeemer who descended from heaven. [113] Valentinians treat physical reality with less contempt than other Gnostic groups, and conceive of materiality not as a separate substance from the divine, but as attributable to an error of perception which becomes symbolized mythopoetically as the act of material creation. [104], According to Magris, Samaritan Baptist sects were an offshoot of John the Baptist. The similarities probably point to a relationship between gnostic ideas and the Johannine community. [131][132] However, according to Islam and unlike most Gnostic sects, not rejection of this world, but performing good deeds leads to the heaven. Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism includes Sethianism, Valentinianism, Basilideans, Thomasine traditions, and Serpent Gnostics, as well as a number of other minor groups and writers. The Nag Hammadi texts demonstrated the fluidity of early Christian scripture and early Christianity itself. [114] Simone Petrement, while arguing for a Christian origin of Gnosticism, places Valentinus after Basilides, but before the Sethians. Indeed, it appears increasingly evident that many of the newly published Gnostic texts were written in a context from which Jews were not absent. [168], In the late 1980s scholars voiced concerns about the broadness of "Gnosticism" as a meaningful category. 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 Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel.The content consists of conversations between Jesus and Judas Iscariot.Given that it includes late 2nd century theology, it is thought to have been composed in the 2nd century by Gnostic Christians, rather than the historic Judas himself. [29], Alexandria was of central importance for the birth of Gnosticism. [126] In the west, the teachings of the school moved into Syria, Northern Arabia, Egypt and North Africa. Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1694–1755) proposed that Gnosticism developed on its own in Greece and Mesopotamia, spreading to the west and incorporating Jewish elements. The term gnostikos may have acquired a deeper significance here. This gospel consists of 114 sayings of Jesus: wisdom sayings, prophetic sayings and parables. The influence of Manicheanism was attacked by imperial elects and polemical writings, but the religion remained prevalent until the 6th century, and still exerted influence in the emergence of the Paulicians, Bogomils and Cathari in the Middle Ages, until it was ultimately stamped out by the Catholic Church. [note 20] This figure is also called "Yaldabaoth",[47] Samael (Aramaic: sæmʻa-ʼel, "blind god"), or "Saklas" (Syriac: sækla, "the foolish one"), who is sometimes ignorant of the superior god, and sometimes opposed to it; thus in the latter case he is correspondingly malevolent. Brill 1978, sfn error: no target: CITEREFVerardi1997 (, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Clare Goodrick-Clarke, sfn error: no target: CITEREFPerkins1987 (, sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFDillon2016 (, sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFBroek2013 (, Bentley Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures (SCM Press, London, 1987). The movement spread in areas controlled by the Roman Empire and Arian Goths,[70] and the Persian Empire. [147] The 13th-century Zohar ("Splendor"), a foundational text in Kabbalah, is written in the style of a Jewish Aramaic Midrash, clarifying the five books of the Torah with a new Kabbalistic system that uses completely Jewish terms. [8] The use of gnostikos in relation to heresy originates with interpreters of Irenaeus. [162] The study of Gnosticism and of early Alexandrian Christianity received a strong impetus from the discovery of the Coptic Nag Hammadi Library in 1945. In some cases they may contain early, independently attested traditions (e.g., the Gospel of Thomas). 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 367. "[14][note 12], The origins of Gnosticism are obscure and still disputed. [118][7] Like the Gnostics, Marcion argued that Jesus was essentially a divine spirit appearing to men in the shape of a human form, and not someone in a true physical body. [81] According to Raymond Brown, the Gospel of John shows "the development of certain gnostic ideas, especially Christ as heavenly revealer, the emphasis on light versus darkness, and anti-Jewish animus. In many Gnostic systems, God is known as the Monad, the One. Asgeirsson, April D. DeConick and Risto Uro (editors), sfn error: no target: CITEREFPerkins11987 (, Deutsch, Nathaniel. In academic circles, three of the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are regarded as so similar in wording and content that they are often treated as one unit, the synoptic gospels. Jehova), is depicted as more ignorant than evil. Basilides claimed to have been taught his doctrines by Glaucus, a disciple of St. Peter, but could also have been a pupil of Menander. [citation needed], Gnostics tended toward asceticism, especially in their sexual and dietary practice. [80] According to Helmut Koester, this is because the Thomas-sayings are older, implying that in the earliest forms of Christianity Jesus was regarded as a wisdom-teacher. [105] The Samaritan leaders were viewed as "the embodiment of God's power, spirit, or wisdom, and as the redeemer and revealer of 'true knowledge'". [98], According to Smith, Sethianism may have begun as a pre-Christian tradition, possibly a syncretic cult that incorporated elements of Christianity and Platonism as it grew. Three periods can be discerned in the development of Gnosticism:[68], During the first period, three types of tradition developed:[68]. In the 1880s Gnostic connections with neo-Platonism were proposed. From Syria it progressed still farther, into Palestine, Asia Minor and Armenia. In most, if not all, versions of the gnostic myth, Sophia births the demiurge, who in turn brings about the creation of materiality. This understanding of the transmission of Gnostic ideas, despite Irenaeus' certain antagonistic bias, is often utilized today, though it has been criticized. This "true" angel Christology took many forms and may have appeared as early as the late First Century, if indeed this is the view opposed in the early chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews. [134] It seems that Gnostic ideas were an influential part of early Islamic development but later lost its influence. They are the only surviving Gnostics from antiquity. This "Christian Gnosticism" was Christocentric, and influenced by Christian writings such as the Gospel of John and the Pauline epistles. Reconstructions were attempted from the records of the heresiologists, but these were necessarily coloured by the motivation behind the source accounts. Complete ancient text and explanatory material. [155] Alfred North Whitehead was aware of the existence of the newly discovered Gnostic scrolls. [23][1][18][note 14], Many heads of gnostic schools were identified as Jewish Christians by Church Fathers, and Hebrew words and names of God were applied in some gnostic systems. 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. Likewise, they believed some kind of secret knowledge (“gnosis”) was essential to ensuring one’s salvation. The name of the group derives from the term Mandā d-Heyyi, which roughly means "Knowledge of Life". [95] Earlier texts such as Apocalypse of Adam show signs of being pre-Christian and focus on the Seth, third son of Adam and Eve. [163][164] A great number of translations have been published, and the works of Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, especially The Gnostic Gospels, which detailed the suppression of some of the writings found at Nag Hammadi by early bishops of the Christian church, has popularized Gnosticism in mainstream culture,[web 3][web 4] but also incited strong responses and condemnations from clergical writers. Prior to the discovery at Nag Hammadi, only the following texts were available to students of Gnosticism. [25] Gnostics borrowed significant ideas and terms from Platonism,[34] using Greek philosophical concepts throughout their text, including such concepts as hypostasis (reality, existence), ousia (essence, substance, being), and demiurge (creator God). "[81] According to DeConick, John may show a bifurcation of the idea of the Jewish God into Jesus' Father in Heaven and the Jews' father, "the Father of the Devil" (most translations say "of [your] father the Devil"), which may have developed into the gnostic idea of the Monad and the Demiurge. Johann Lorenz von Mosheim(1694–1755) proposed that Gnosticism developed on its own in Greece and Mesopotamia, spreading to the west and incorporating Jewish elements. Mani's father was a member of the Jewish-Christian sect of the Elcesaites, a subgroup of the Gnostic Ebionites. These schools tend to view evil in terms of matter that is markedly inferior to goodness and lacking spiritual insight and goodness rather than as an equal force. [64] Most of the literature from this category is known to us through the Nag Hammadi Library. The text is not closely related to the canonical gospels and is not accepted as canonical by the Christian church. "[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. It exists in two Coptic translations, a Subakhmimic rendition surviving almost in full in the first Nag Hammadi codex (the "Jung Codex") and a Sahidic in fragments in the twelfth codex. The primary source text is known as the Genzā Rabbā and has portions identified by some scholars as being copied as early as the 2nd–3rd centuries. to the thing the art represents. [47] The inferiority of the demiurge's creation may be compared to the technical inferiority of a work of art, painting, sculpture, etc. [5] However, Gnosticism is not a single standardized system, and the emphasis on direct experience allows for a wide variety of teachings, including distinct currents such as Valentianism and Sethianism. Gnostic texts Gnostic texts preserved before 1945. In de Nederlandse literatuur worden religies met gnosis als kernbegrip gezamenlijk weleens benoemd met het woord … The mortal body belonged to the world of inferior, worldly powers (the archons), and only the spirit or soul could be saved. Matter-dwelling spirits. (2003) Mandaean Literature. Robinson: "At this stage we have not found any Gnostic texts that clearly antedate the origin of Christianity." In some cases, indeed, a violent rejection of the Jewish God, or of Judaism, seems to stand at the basis of these texts. of thought, somehow identifiable with the Gnostic Monad. 1929) has analyzed and criticised the Iranian hypothesis of Reitzenstein, showing that many of his hypotheses are untenable. At ages 12 and 24, Mani had visionary experiences of a "heavenly twin" of his, calling him to leave his father's sect and preach the true message of Christ. [note 28] There is evidence for Manicheans in Rome and Dalmatia in the 4th century, and also in Gaul and Spain. Their religion has been practised primarily around the lower Karun, Euphrates and Tigris and the rivers that surround the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, part of southern Iraq and Khuzestan Province in Iran. [153] Celia Green has written on Gnostic Christianity in relation to her own philosophy. The various emanations of God are called æons. According to Hippolytus, this view was inspired by the Pythagoreans, who called the first thing that came into existence the Monad, which begat the dyad, which begat the numbers, which begat the point, begetting lines, etc. The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. The Syrian–Egyptian traditions postulate a remote, supreme Godhead, the Monad. [116][note 26] Karen L. King notes that "Thomasine Gnosticism" as a separate category is being criticised, and may "not stand the test of scholarly scrutiny". [83] In I Corinthians Paul refers to some church members as "having knowledge" (Greek: τὸν ἔχοντα γνῶσιν, ton echonta gnosin). And according to the Islamic belief in strict Oneness of God, there was no room for a lower deity; such as the demiurge. In other cases it takes on a more ascetic tendency to view material existence negatively, which then becomes more extreme when materiality, including the human body, is perceived as evil and constrictive, a deliberate prison for its inhabitants. Valentinianism was named after its founder Valentinus (c. 100 – 180), who was a candidate for bishop of Rome but started his own group when another was chosen. "[166] Dillon further notes that the Messian-definition "also excluded pre-Christian Gnosticism and later developments, such as the Mandaeans and the Manichaeans."[166]. [25], In 1966, at the Congress of Median, Buddhologist Edward Conze noted phenomenological commonalities between Mahayana Buddhism and Gnosticism,[39] in his paper Buddhism and Gnosis, following an early suggestion put forward by Isaac Jacob Schmidt. Cohen & Mendes-Flohr: "Recent research, however, has tended to emphasize that Judaism, rather than Persia, was a major origin of Gnosticism. [126], The Mandaeans are Semites and speak a dialect of Eastern Aramaic known as Mandaic. The Gospel of Peter (second centur… It would be impossible that both light and darkness were created from one source, since they were regarded as two different eternal principles. [79] Especially the Gospel of Thomas has a significant amount of parallel sayings. While some scholars in the middle of the 20th century tried to assume an influence between the Cathar "gnostics" and the origins of the Kabbalah, this assumption has proved to be an incorrect generalization not substantiated by any original texts. From this highest divinity emanate lower divine beings, known as Aeons. When people speak about the gnostic gospels, they are almost always referring to a collection of ancient writings (in Coptic) that were discovered near the upper Nile village of Nag Hammadi, in Egypt, in 1945. [159] Though the original language of composition was probably Greek, the various codices contained in the collection were written in Coptic. Gospel of Philip(Nag Hammadi Library) 5. Gnosticism (from Greek gnosis, knowledge) is a term created by modern scholars to describe diverse, syncretistic religious movements, especially in the first centuries of the Common Era.Gnostics believe in gnosis, a knowledge of Ultimate Reality or God enabled by secret teachings. The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi library after 1945 has had a huge effect on Gnosticism since World War II. However, since the goal is not to abandon the created world, but just to free oneself from ones own lower desires, it can be disputed whether this can still be Gnostic, but rather a completion of the message of Muhammad. [99] According to Temporini, Vogt, and Haase, early Sethians may be identical to or related to the Nazarenes (sect), the Ophites, or the sectarian group called heretics by Philo. The Cathars (Cathari, Albigenses or Albigensians) were also accused by their enemies of the traits of Gnosticism; though whether or not the Cathari possessed direct historical influence from ancient Gnosticism is disputed. [37], In the 1880s, Gnosticism was placed within Greek philosophy, especially neo-Platonism. Manicheanism inherits this dualistic mythology from Zurvanist Zoroastrianism,[124] in which the eternal spirit Ahura Mazda is opposed by his antithesis, Angra Mainyu. Those of the medieval Cathars, Bogomils, and Carpocratians seem to include elements of both categories. "The Phenomenon and Significance of Gnostic Sethianism" in The Rediscovery of Gnosticism. "[81] The Johannine material reveals debates about the redeemer myth. In most Gnostic systems, the sufficient cause of salvation is this "knowledge of" ("acquaintance with") the divine. Dat was min of meer gelijktijdig met andere religieuze bewegingen waarin gnosis centraal stond, zoals het hermetisme, het mandeïsme en het derde-eeuwse manicheïsme. Late-first century and early second century: development of Gnostic ideas, contemporaneous with the writing of the New Testament; mid-second century to early third century: high point of the classical Gnostic teachers and their systems, "who claimed that their systems represented the inner truth revealed by Jesus"; end of the second century to the fourth century: reaction by the proto-orthodox church and condemnation as heresy, and subsequent decline. The author of De Centesima and Epiphanius' "Ebionites" held Christ to have been the highest and most important of the first created archangels, a view similar in many respects to Hermas' equation of Christ with Michael. [51] The aeons as a totality constitute the pleroma, the "region of light". After its decline in the Mediterranean world, Gnosticism lived on in the periphery of the Byzantine Empire, and resurfaced in the western world. Hippolytus further presents individual teachers such as Simon, Valentinus, Secundus, Ptolemy, Heracleon, Marcus and Colorbasus. Hans Jonas discerned two main currents of Gnosticism, namely Syrian-Egyptian, and Persian, which includes Manicheanism and Mandaeanism. Pre-Christian Gnosticism in the Nag Hammadi Texts? [134] Muslim theologists countered this accusation by the example of a repeating sinner, who says: "I laid, and I repent";[135] this would prove that good can also result out of evil. ontstond en waarbij de verwerving van gnosis centraal stond. The demiurge is responsible for the creation of mankind; trapping elements of the pleroma stolen from Sophia inside human bodies. [121] Marcion held that the heavenly Father (the father of Jesus Christ) was an utterly alien god; he had no part in making the world, nor any connection with it. [96], According to Turner, Sethianism was influenced by Christianity and Middle Platonism, and originated in the second century as a fusion of a Jewish baptizing group of possibly priestly lineage, the so-called Barbeloites,[100] named after Barbelo, the first emanation of the Highest God, and a group of Biblical exegetes, the Sethites, the "seed of Seth". The term is thus a central element of Gnostic cosmology. [4]It is now generally believed that the evidence suggests that Gnosticism was a Jewish movement which subsequently reacted to Christianity or that Gnosticism emerged directly in reaction t… Thirty-three of the groups he reported on are considered Gnostic by modern scholars, including 'the foreigners' and 'the Seth people'. In the early- to mid-fourth century, Sethianism fragmented into various sectarian Gnostic groups such as the Archontics, Audians, Borborites, and Phibionites, and perhaps Stratiotici, and Secundians. [104][35] Some of these groups existed into the Middle Ages. [citation needed]. [79] Yet, a striking difference is that the canonical sayings center on the coming endtime, while the Thomas-sayings center on a kingdom of heaven that is already here, and not a future event. [note 17]. 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." The Gospel of Judas (second century CE) 4. J. M. Robinson, "Jesus: From Easter to Valentinus (Or to the Apostles' Creed)", Understanding Jewish History: Texts and Commentaries by, Schenke, Hans Martin. Fifty-two copies of ancient writings, called the Gnostic gospels were found in … umbrella term for a diverse movement of more than 50 ancient spiritual sects that sprang up around the same time as early Christianity (though some sects predated Christianity 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. [47] This creature is concealed outside the pleroma;[47] in isolation, and thinking itself alone, it creates materiality and a host of co-actors, referred to as archons. The Elchasaites, or at least Christians influenced by them, paired the male Christ with the female Holy Spirit, envisioning both as two gigantic angels. In the Persian Empire, Gnostic ideas spread as far as China via the related movement Manichaeism, while Mandaeism is still alive in Iraq. Here, in 762, Manicheanism became the state religion of the Uyghur Empire. First published in 1979 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Gnostic Gospels has continued to grow in reputation and influence over the past two decades. The term demiurge derives from the Latinized form of the Greek term dēmiourgos, δημιουργός, literally "public or skilled worker". The original writings were written in Syriac Aramaic, in a unique Manichaean script. [117], Marcion was a Church leader from Sinope (present-day Turkey), who preached in Rome around 150 CE,[118] but was expelled and started his own congregation, which spread throughout the Mediterranean. [178] A similar suggestion has been made by Edward Conze, who suggested that the similarities between prajñā and sophia may be due to "the actual modalities of the human mind", which in certain conditions result in similar experiences. [130] Mandaeans revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Noah, Shem, Aram, and especially John the Baptist. ", Traditional approaches, viewing Gnosticism as a Christian heresy, Phenomenological approaches, most notably. [80] According to April DeConick, such a change occurred when the end time did not come, and the Thomasine tradition turned toward a "new theology of mysticism" and a "theological commitment to a fully-present kingdom of heaven here and now, where their church had attained Adam and Eve's divine status before the Fall. There are countless contradictions between the Gnostic gospels and the true Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Gnosticism used a number of religious texts that are preserved, in part or whole, in ancient manuscripts, or lost but mentioned critically in Patristic writings. Gnostic Thelemite organizations, such as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica and Ordo Templi Orientis, trace themselves to Crowley's thought. It was in this milieu that the idea emerged that the world was created by ignorant angels. He uses Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge's sociological theory on traditional religion, sects and cults. [citation needed], Sophia, emanating without her partner, resulted in the production of the Demiurge (Greek: lit. [142], Gnostic ideas found a Jewish variation in the mystical study of Kabbalah. The Demiurge, one of those Aeons, creates the physical world. Orthodox theologians often attempt to define God through a series of explicit positive statements: he is omniscient, omnipotent, and truly benevolent. For instance, every sect of Christianity on which we have any information on this point, believed in a separate Logos who created the universe at God’s behest. The adjective is not used in the New Testament, but Clement of Alexandria[note 3] speaks of the "learned" (gnostikos) Christian in complimentary terms. The Gnostic Gospels is a landmark study of the long-buried roots of Christianity, a work of luminous scholarship and wide popular appeal. [note 32], Prior to the discovery of Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic movements were largely perceived through the lens of the early church heresiologists. Gilles Quispel divided Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism further into Jewish Gnosticism (the Apocryphon of John)[94] and Christian Gnosis (Marcion, Basilides, Valentinus). Gospel of Mary(recovered in 1896) 2. 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