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Encyclopedia > Gnosticism
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Gnosticism

History of Gnosticism
Early Gnosticism
Syrian-Egyptic Gnosticism
Gnosticism in modern times Image File history File links Simple_crossed_circle. ... The History of Gnosticism is subject to a great deal of debate and interpretation. ... Early Gnosticism Ophites Cainites Carpocratians Borborites Thomasines ... Syrian-Egyptian Gnostic Schools were ancient Gnostic sects from around the middle east, with some Judaic influences. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Proto-Gnostics
Philo
Valentinius
Cerinthus
Basilides The death of Simon Magus. ... Philo (20 BC - 50 AD), known also as Philo of Alexandria and as Philo Judaeus And as Yedidia, was a Hellenized Jewish philosopher born in Alexandria, Egypt. ... -Quevedo Valentinius, also called Valentinus (c. ... Cerinthus was the leader of a late first-century or early 2nd century sect, an offshoot of the Ebionites yet similar to Gnosticism in some respects, interesting in that it demonstrates the wide range of conclusions that could be drawn from the life and teachings of Jesus. ... Basilides redirects here. ...

Gnostic texts
Gnostic Gospels
Nag Hammadi library
Codex Tchacos
Bruce Codex
Gnosticism and the New Testament
Gnosticism used a number of religious texts that are preserved, in part or whole, in ancient manuscripts or are lost but mentioned critically in Patristic writings. ... The Gnostic Gospels are a class of writings about the life of Jesus which are associated with the early mystical trend of Gnostic Christianity. ... The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. ... The Codex Tchacos is an ancient Egyptian Coptic papyrus document containing early Christian Gnostic texts: The Gospel of Judas The First Apocalypse of James The Letter of Peter to Philip A fragment of Allogenes It is important because it contains the first known surviving text of the Gospel of Judas... The Bruce Codex (also called the Codex Brucianus) is a gnostic manuscript acquired by the British Museum. ... This article discusses the relationship between Gnosticism and the New Testament. ...

Related articles
Gnosis
Pythagoreanism
Neoplatonism and Gnosticism
Manichaeism
Bosnian Church
Esoteric Christianity
Theosophy
This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Bust of Pythagoras Pythagoreanism is a term used for the esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans, who were much influenced by mathematics and probably a main inspirational source for Plato and platonism. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Manichean priests, writing at their desk, with panel inscription in Sogdian. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... In fashion then as of a snow-white rose Displayed itself to me the saintly host, Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride - The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto XXXI “Esoteric Christianity” is a term which refers to an ensemble of spiritual currents which regard Christianity as a... Theosophy is a word and a concept known anciently, commonly understood in the modern era to describe the studies of religious philosophy and metaphysics originating with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from the 1870s. ...

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Gnosticism (Greek: γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge) refers to a diverse, syncretistic religious movement consisting of various belief systems generally united in the teaching that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect god, the demiurge, who is frequently identified with the Abrahamic God. The demiurge may be depicted as an embodiment of evil, or in other instances as merely imperfect and as benevolent as its inadequacy permits. This demiurge exists alongside another remote and unknowable supreme being that embodies good. In order to free oneself from the inferior material world, one needs gnosis, or esoteric spiritual knowledge available to all through direct experience or knowledge (gnosis) of God.[1][2] Jesus of Nazareth is identified by some Gnostic sects as an embodiment of the supreme being who became incarnate to bring gnosis to the earth. In others he was thought to be a gnosis teacher, and yet others, nothing more than a man. For other uses, see Knowledge (disambiguation). ... Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various schools of thought. ... Fishers of men; Oil on panel by Adriaen van de Venne (1614) Religion—sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system—is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices, values, and institutions associated with such belief. ... Religion—sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system—is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices and institutions associated with such belief. ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... For alternative meanings, see nature (disambiguation). ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... An Abrahamic religion (also referred to as desert monotheism) is any religion derived from an ancient Semitic tradition attributed to Abraham, a great patriarch described in the Torah, the Bible and the Quran. ... This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... The term Supreme Being is often defined simply as God,[1] and it is used with this meaning by theologians of many religious faiths, including, but not limited to, Christianity,[2] Islam,[3] Hinduism,[4] Deism[5] and Scientology. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Etymology Esoteric is an adjective originating during Hellenic Greece under the domain of the Roman Empire; it comes from the Greek esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of esô: within. It is a word meaning anything that is inner and occult, a latinate word meaning hidden (from which... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Gnosticism was popular in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions in the second and third centuries, though some scholars claim it was suppressed and was actually popular as early as the first century, predating Jesus Christ[3] as a dualistic heresy in areas controlled by the Roman Empire when Christianity became its state religion in the fourth century. Conversion to Islam and the Albigensian Crusade greatly reduced the remaining number of Gnostics throughout the middle ages, though a few isolated communities continue to exist to the present. Gnostic ideas became influential in the philosophies of various esoteric mystical movements of the late 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and North America, including some that explicitly identify themselves as revivals or even continuations of earlier gnostic groups. The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ... For other uses, see Heresy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... South America Europe Middle East Africa Asia Oceania Demography of religions by country Full list of articles on religion by country Religion Portal         Nations with state religions:  Buddhism  Islam  Shia Islam  Sunni Islam  Orthodox Christianity  Protestantism  Roman Catholic Church A state religion (also called an official religion, established church... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209 - 1229) was a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Roman Catholic Church to eliminate the heresy of the Cathars of Languedoc. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Etymology Esoteric is an adjective originating during Hellenic Greece under the domain of the Roman Empire; it comes from the Greek esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of esô: within. It is a word meaning anything that is inner and occult, a latinate word meaning hidden (from which... Mysticism (ancient Greek mysticon = secret) is meditation, prayer, or theology focused on the direct experience of union with divinity, God, or Ultimate Reality, or the belief that such experience is a genuine and important source of knowledge. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... North American redirects here. ...

Contents

Nature and structure of Gnosticism

The main features of gnosticism

Gnostic systems are typically marked by:

  1. The notion of a remote, supreme monadic divinity - this figure is known under a variety of names, including 'Pleroma' and 'Bythos' (Greek 'deep');
  2. The introduction by emanation of further divine beings, which are nevertheless identifiable as aspects of the God from which they proceeded; the progressive emanations are often conceived metaphorically as a gradual and progressive distancing from the ultimate source, which brings about an instability in the fabric of the divine nature;
  3. The subsequent identification of the Fall of Man as an occurrence with its ultimate foundations within divinity itself, rather than as occurring either entirely or indeed partially through human agency; this stage in the divine emanation is usually enacted through the recurrent Gnostic figure of Sophia (Greek 'Wisdom'), whose presence in a wide variety of Gnostic texts is indicative of her central importance;
  4. The introduction of a distinct creator god, who is named as in the Platonist tradition demiurgos.
    Evidence exists that the conception of the demiurge has derivation from figures in Plato's Timaeus and Republic. In the former, the demiurge is the benevolent creator of the universe from pre-existent matter, to whose limitations he is enthralled in creating the cosmos; in the latter, the description of the leontomorphic 'desire' in Socrates' model of the psyche bears a strong resemblance to descriptions of the demiurge as being in the shape of the lion.
    Elsewhere this figure is called 'Ialdabaoth', 'Samael' (Aramaic sæmʕa-ʔel, '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.
    The demiurge typically creates a group of coactors named 'Archons', who preside over the material realm and, in some cases, present obstacles to the soul seeking ascent from it;
  5. The estimation of the world, owing to the above, as flawed or a production of 'error' but nevertheless as good as its constituent material might allow. This world is typically an inferior simulacrum of a higher-level reality or consciousness. The inferiority may be compared to the technical inferiority of a painting, sculpture, or other handicraft to the thing(s) of which those crafts are supposed to be a representation. In certain other cases it is also perceived as evil and constrictive, a deliberate prison for its inhabitants;
  6. The explanation of this state through the use of a complex mythological-cosmological drama in which a divine element 'falls' into the material realm and lodges itself within certain human beings; from here, it may be returned to the divine realm through a process of awakening (leading towards salvation). The salvation of the individual thus mirrors a concurrent restoration of the divine nature; a central Gnostic innovation was to elevate individual redemption to the level of a cosmically significant event;
  7. Knowledge of a specific kind as a central factor in this process of restoration, achieved through the mediation of a redeemer figure (Christ, or, in other cases, Seth or Sophia).

The model limits itself to describing characteristics of the Syrian-Egyptian school of Gnosticism. This is for the reason that the greatest expressions of the Persian gnostic school - Manicheanism and Mandaeanism - are typically conceived of as religious traditions in their own right; indeed, the typical usage of 'Gnosticism' is to refer to the Syrian-Egyptian schools alone, while 'Manichean' describes the movements of the Persia school. Within certain variations of Gnosticism, especially those inspired by Monoimus, the Monad was the highest God which created lesser gods, or elements (similar to aeons). ... Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ... Bythos was the name given by some Gnostics to the monadic first being and originator of the spiritual world of the Pleroma. ... In Abrahamic religion, The Fall of Man or The Story of the Fall, or simply The Fall, refers to humanitys transition from a state of innocent bliss to a state of sinful understanding. ... Sophia (Σoφíα, Greek for wisdom) is a central term in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Gnostic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity. ... Gnosticism used a number of religious texts that are preserved, in part or whole, in ancient manuscripts or are lost but mentioned critically in Patristic writings. ... Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Timaeus (Honour) (or Timæus) is a name that appears in several ancient (Greek) sources: Timaeus (dialogue), a Socratic dialogue by Plato Timaeus of Locri, the 5th-century Pythagorean philosopher, appearing in Platos s Timaeus. ... The Republic (Greek: ) is a Socratic dialogue by Plato, written approximately 360 BC. It is an influential work of philosophy and political theory, and perhaps Platos best known work. ... This page is about the Classical Greek philosopher. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Syriac is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... For other uses, see Archon (disambiguation). ... Simulacrum (plural: simulacra), from the Latin simulare, to make like, to put on an appearance of, originally meaning a material object representing something (such as a cult image representing a deity, or a painted still-life of a bowl of fruit). ... For other uses , see Painting (disambiguation). ... Sculptor redirects here. ... A handicraft shop in Delhi-India, other opction is Apus-Inka. ... Mimesis (μίμησις from μιμεîσθαι) in its simplest context means imitation or representation in Greek. ... Icon of Christ in a Greek Orthodox church This page is about the title, office or what is known in Christian theology as the Divine Person. ... This article is about the Biblical Seth. ... Sophia (Σoφíα, Greek for wisdom) is a central term in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Gnostic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity. ... Manichaeism was one of the major ancient religions. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Mandaeism. ...


The relationship between Gnosticism and Christianity during the early first and the whole of the second century is vital in helping us to further understand the main doctrines of Gnosticism, due in part to the fact that much of what we know today about gnosticism has only been preserved in the teachings of early church fathers. The age of the Gnostics was highly diverse religiously, and due to there being no fixed church authority, syncretism with pre-existing belief systems as well as new religions was often embraced. Above all, the central idea of Gnosticism (a knowledge superior to and independent of faith) made it welcome to many who were half-converted from paganism to Christianity. According to gnostics, faith was for the multitude, knowledge for the few.


Irenaeus declares (Adversus Haereses, II, 27, 1. PG, VI, 802) it subjected everything to the caprice of the individual, and made any fixed rule of faith impossible. It destroyed, as Clement puts it (Stromata., II, 3, pp. 443-4) the efficacy of Baptism (that is, it set at naught faith, the gift conferred in that sacrament). The Gnostics professed to impart a knowledge "greater and deeper" (Iren. I, 31, 2) than the ordinary doctrine of Christians. This knowledge, to those who were capable of it, was the means of redemption; indeed, in most of the Gnostics systems it was the one and sufficient passport to perfect bliss. But it kept the resemblance of Christianity for in nearly all the Gnostic systems Christ occupied a central place. Without its Christian element, it could not have entered into such close conflict with the Church; without its mythological garb, it would have missed its popularity.


The conception of Gnosticism here has in recent times come to be challenged (see below). Despite this, the understanding presented above remains the most common and is useful in aiding meaningful discussion of the phenomena that compose Gnosticism.


Dualism and monism

Typically, Gnostic systems are loosely described as being 'dualistic' in nature, meaning they had the view the world consists of or is explicable as two fundamental entities. Within this definition, they run the gamut from the 'extreme' or 'radical dualist' systems of Manicheanism to the 'weak' or 'mitigated dualism' of classic gnostic movements; Valentinian developments arguably approach a form of monism, expressed in terms previously used in a dualistic manner. For other uses, see Monist (disambiguation). ...

  • Radical Dualism - or absolute Dualism which posits two co-equal divine forces. Manichaeism conceives of two previously coexistent realms of light and darkness which become embroiled in conflict, owing to the chaotic actions of the latter. Subsequently, certain elements of the light became entrapped within darkness; the purpose of material creation is to enact the slow process of extraction of these individual elements, at the end of which the kingdom of light will prevail over darkness. Manicheanism likely inherits this dualistic mythology from Zoroastrianism, in which the eternal spirit Ahura Mazda is opposed by his antithesis, Angra Mainyu; the two are engaged in a cosmic struggle, the conclusion of which will likewise see Ahura Mazda triumphant.
    The Mandaean creation myth witnesses the progressive emanations of Supreme Being of Light, with each emanation bringing about a progressive corruption resulting in the eventual emergence of Ptahil, the god of darkness who had a hand in creating and henceforward rules the material realm.
    Additionally, general Gnostic thought (specifically to be found in Iranian sects; for instance, see 'The Hymn of the Pearl') commonly included the belief that the material world corresponds to some sort of malevolent intoxication brought about by the powers of darkness to keep elements of the light trapped inside it, or literally to keep them 'in the dark', or ignorant; in a state of drunken distraction.
  • Mitigated Dualism - where one of the two principles is in some way inferior to the other. Such classical Gnostic movements as the Sethians conceived of the material world as being created by a lesser divinity than the true God that was the object of their devotion. The spiritual world is conceived of as being radically different from the material world, co-extensive with the true God, and the true home of certain enlightened members of humanity; thus, these systems were expressive of a feeling of acute alienation within the world, and their resultant aim was to allow the soul to escape the constraints presented by the physical realm.
  • Qualified Monism - where it is arguable whether or not the second entity is divine or semi-divine. Elements of Valentinian versions of Gnostic myth suggest to some that its understanding of the universe may have been monistic rather than a dualistic one: 'Valentinian gnosticism [...] differs essentially from dualism' (Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospel, 1978); 'a standard element in the interpretation of Valentinianism and similar forms of Gnosticism is the recognition that they are fundamentally monistic' (William Schoedel, 'Gnostic Monism and the Gospel of Truth' in The Rediscovery of Gnosticism, Vol.1: The School of Valentinus, edited by Bentley Layton, E.J.Brill, Leiden, 1980). In these myths, the malevolence of the demiurge is mitigated; his creation of a flawed materiality is not due to any moral failing on his part, but due to his honest ignorance of the superior spiritual world above him. As such, Valentinians already have more cause to treat physical reality with less contempt than might a Sethian Gnostic.
    Perhaps for this reason Valentinus appears to conceive of materiality, rather than as being a separate substance from the divine, as attributable to an error of perception. Thus it follows that the Valentinian conception of the universe may be of a fundamentally monistic nature, in which all things are aspects of the divine; our ordinary view which is limited to the material realm is owing to our errors of perception, which become symbolized mythopoetically as the demiurge's act of creation.

Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ... The Hymn of the Pearl (also The Hymn of the Soul or The Hymn of Judas Thomas the Apostle) is a passage of the apocryphal Acts of Thomas. ... Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey, (born February 13, 1943), is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. ...

Moral and ritual practice

The question of Gnostic morality can only be resolved by reading the claims of their contemporaries. Numerous Christian writers accused some Gnostic teachers of claiming to eschew the physical realm, while simultaneously freely indulging their physical appetites; however there is reason to question the accuracy of these claims.


Evidence in the source texts indicates Gnostic moral behaviour as being generally ascetic in basis, expressed most fluently in their sexual and dietary practice[4]. Many monks would deprive themselves of food, water, or necessary needs for living. This presented a problem for the heresiologists writing on gnostic movements: this mode of behavior was one which they themselves favoured and supported, so the Church Fathers, it seemed, would be required perforce to offer support to the practices of their theological opponents. In order to avoid this, a common heresiological approach was to avoid the issue completely by resorting to slanderous (and, in some cases, excessive) allegations of libertinism, or to explain Gnostic asceticism as being based on incorrect interpretations of scripture, or simply duplicitous in nature. Epiphanius provides an example when he writes of the 'Archontics' 'Some of them ruin their bodies by dissipation, but others feign ostensible fasts and deceive simple people while they pride themselves with a sort of abstinence, under the disguise of monks' (Panarion, 40.1.4). This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Libertine is the name given to certain political or social groups active in Europe in the 17th century. ... Epiphanius (ca 310–20 – 403) was a Church Father, a heresiologist who was a strong defender of orthodoxy, known for tracking down deviant teachings (heresies) wherever they could be traced, during the troubled era in the Christian Church following the Council of Nicaea. ... This article is about the practice of abstinence in general. ... Of early Christian heresiology, the Panarion (Greek: Πανάριον, Medicine Chest), also known as Adversus Haereses (Latin: Against Heresies), is the most important of the works of Epiphanius (d. ...


In other areas of morality, Gnostics were less rigorously ascetic, and took a more moderate approach to correct behaviour. Ptolemy's Epistle to Flora lays out a project of general asceticism in which the basis of action is the moral inclination of the individual:

External physical fasting is observed even among our followers, for it can be of some benefit to the soul if it is engaged on with reason (logos), whenever it is done neither by way of limiting others, nor out of habit, nor because of the day, as if it had been specially appointed for that purpose. This article is about logos (logoi) in ancient Greek philosophy, mathematics, rhetoric, Theophilosophy, and Christianity. ...

Ptolemy, Letter to Flora Ptolemy the Gnostic (not the same person as the astronomer and geographer, nor the Egyptian ruler) was a disciple of the Gnostic Valentinius, known to us for writing a letter to a wealthy non-Gnostic lady named Flora. ...

This extract marks a definite shift away from the position of orthodoxy, that the correct behaviour for Christians is best administered and prescribed by the central authority of the church, as transmitted through the apostles. Instead, the internalised inclination of the individual assumes paramount importance; there is the recognition that ritualistic behaviour, though well-intentioned, possesses no significance or effectiveness unless its external prescription is matched by a personal, internal motivation.


Charges of Gnostic libertinism find their source in the works of Irenaeus. According to this writer, Simon Magus (whom he has identified as the prototypical source of Gnosticism) founded the school of moral freedom ('amoralism'). Irenaeus reports that Simon's argument, that those who put their trust in him and his consort Helen, need trouble themselves no further with the biblical prophets or their moral exhortations and are free 'to do what they wish', as men are saved by his (Simon's) grace, and not by their 'righteous works' (adapted from Adversus Haereses, I.23.3). Saint Irenaeus (Greek: Ειρηναίος), (b. ... For the film, see Simon Magus (film). ... See also Morality and Ethics. ... On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, commonly called Against Heresies (Latin: Adversus haereses), is a five volume work written by St. ...


Simon is not known for any libertinistic practice, save for his curious attachment to Helen, typically reputed to be a prostitute. There is, however, clear evidence in the Testimony of Truth that followers of Simon did, in fact, get married and beget children, so a general tendency to asceticism can likewise be ruled out. Not to be confused with the Quaker ideal sometimes bearing the same name (see also: Testimony of Integrity). ...


Irenaeus reports of the Valentinians, whom he characterizes as eventual inheritors of Simon, that they are lax in their dietary habits (eating food that has been 'offered to idols'), sexually promiscuous ('immoderately given over to the desires of the flesh') and guilty of taking wives under the pretence of living with them as adopted 'sisters'. In the latter case, Michael Allen Williams has argued plausibly that Irenaeus was here broadly correct in the behaviour described, but not in his apprehension of its causes. Williams argues that members of a cult might live together as 'brother' and 'sister': intimate, yet not sexually active. Over time, however, the self-denial required of such an endeavour becomes harder and harder to maintain, leading to the state of affairs Irenaeus criticizes.


Irenaeus also makes reference to the Valentinian practise of the Bridal Chamber, a ritualistic sacrament in which sexual union is seen as analogous to the activities of the paired syzygies that constitute the Valentinian Pleroma. Though it is known that Valentinus had a more relaxed approach to sexuality than much of the orthodox church (he allowed women to hold positions of ordination in his community), it is not known whether the Bridal Chamber was a ritual involving actual intercourse, or whether human sexuality is here simply being used in a metaphorical sense. In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is a rite that mediates divine grace, constituting a sacred mystery. ... Look up Syzygy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ...


Of the Carpocratians Irenaeus makes much the same report: they 'are so abandoned in their recklessness that they claim to have in their power and be able to practise anything whatsoever that is ungodly (irreligious) and impious ... they say that conduct is only good or evil in the eyes of man' (Adversus Haereses, I.25.4). Once again a differentiation might be detected between a man's actions and the grace he has received through his adherence to a system of gnosis; whether this is due to a common sharing of such an attitude amongst Gnostic circles, or whether this is simply a blanket-charge used by Irenaeus is open to conjecture. Carpocrates was an early Gnostic from sometime in the second century A.D. who was mentioned by Clement of Alexandria in the Mar Saba letter discovered in 1958 by ancient historian Morton Smith. ...


On the whole, it would seem that Gnostic behavior tended towards the ascetic. This said, the heresiological accusation of duplicity in such practises should not be taken at face value; nor should similar accusations of amoral libertinism. The Nag Hammadi library itself is full of passages which appear to encourage abstinence over indulgence. Fundamentally, however, gnostic movements appear to take the 'ancient schema of the two ways, which leaves the decision to do what is right to human endeavour and promises a reward for those who make the effort, and punishment for those who are negligent' (Kurt Rudolph, Gnosis:The Nature and History of Gnosticism, 262).


Major Gnostic movements and their texts

As noted above, schools of Gnosticism can be defined according to one classification system as being a member of two broad categories. These are the 'Eastern'/'Persian' school, and a 'Syrian-Egyptic' school. The former possesses more demonstrably dualist tendencies, reflecting a strong influence from the beliefs of the Persian Zoroastrians. Among the Syrian-Egyptian schools and the movements they spawned are a typically more Monist view. Notable exceptions include relatively modern movements which seem to include elements of both categories, namely: the Cathars, Bogomils, and Carpocratians which are included in their own section. Zoroastrianism was adapted from an earlier, polytheistic faith by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) in Persia very roughly around 1000 BC (although, in the absence of written records, some scholars estimates are as late as 600 BC). ...


Persian Gnosticism

The Persian Schools are representative of what is believed to be among the oldest of the Gnostic thought forms. These movements are considered by most to be religions in their own right, and are not emanations from Christianity or Judaism. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

  • Mandaeanism is still practised in small numbers, in parts of southern Iraq and the Iranian province of Khuzestan. The name of the group derives from the term: Mandā d-Heyyi which roughly means "Knowledge of Life." Although the exact chronological origins of this movement are not known, John the Baptist eventually would come to be a key figure in the religion. As part of the core of their beliefs is an emphasis placed on baptism. As with Manichaeism, despite certain ties with Christianity, Mandaeans do not believe in Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed. Their beliefs and practices likewise have little overlap with the religions that manifested from those religious figures and the two should not be confused. Significant amounts of original Mandaean Scripture survive in the modern era. 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 century CE. There is also the Qolastā, or Canonical Book of Prayer and The Book of John the Baptist (sidra ḏ-iahia).
  • Manichaeism which represented an entire independent religious heritage, but is now mostly extinct was founded by the Prophet Mani (210-276 CE). Although most of the literature/scripture of the Manichaeins was believed lost, the discovery of an original series of documents have helped to shed new light on the subject. Now housed in Cologne Germany, the Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis contains mainly biographical information on the prophet and details on his claims and teachings. Despite connections with Jesus Christ, it is not believed that the Manichaeins in any way practiced a religion with identifiable overlap with any of the various Christian sects.

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Mandaeism. ... Map showing Khuzestan in Iran Domes like this are quite common in Khuzestan province. ... Ginza Rba (in Mandaic, which translates into The Great Treasure) or Siddra Rba (The Great Book) is one of many holy scriptures of the Mandaean religion. ... The Qolusta is the canonical prayerbook of the Mandaeans, a present day gnostic sect within Iraq and Iran. ... Manichean priests, writing at their desk, with panel inscription in Sogdian. ... Cologne (German: , IPA: ; local dialect: Kölle ) is Germanys fourth-largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than... Mani (in Persian مانی), born in western Persia (approximately 210-276 A.D.), was a religious preacher and the founder of Manichaeism, an ancient gnostic religion that was once prolific but now considered extinct. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... Icon of Christ in a Greek Orthodox church This page is about the title, office or what is known in Christian theology as the Divine Person. ...

Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism

The Syrian-Egyptian school derives much of its outlook from Platonist influences. Typically, it depicts creation in a series of emanations from a primal monadic source, finally resulting in the creation of the material universe. As a result, there is a tendency in these schools to view evil in terms of matter which is markedly inferior to goodness, evil as lacking spiritual insight and goodness, rather than to emphasize portrayals of evil as an equal force. These schools of gnosticism may be said to use the terms 'evil' and 'good' as being relative descriptive terms, as they refer to the relative plight of human existence caught between such realities and confused in its orientation, with 'evil' indicating the extremes of distance from the principle and source of goodness, without necessarily emphasizing an inherent negativity. As can be seen below, many of these movements included source material related to Christianity, with some identifying themselves as specifically Christian (albeit quite different from the so-called Orthodox or Roman Catholic forms). Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. ... in Christianity: Eastern Christianity Oriental Orthodoxy Orthodox Christianity Orthodoxy by country in Judaism: Orthodox Judaism Modern Orthodox Judaism Jewish organisations: Orthodox Union Categories: ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ...


Syrian-Egyptic scripture

Most of the literature from this category is known/confirmed to us in the modern age through the Library discovered at Nag Hammadi. The town of Nag Hammadi in Egypt Nag Hammâdi (Arabic نجع حمادي; transliterated: Naj Hammādi) (26°03′N 32°15′E), is a town in the middle of Egypt, called Chenoboskion in classical antiquity, about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor with some 30,000 citizens. ...

  • Valentinian works are named in reference to the Bishop and teacher Valentinius, also spelled Valentinus. ca. 153 AD/CE, Valentinius developed a complex Cosmology outside of the Sethian tradition. At one point he was close to being appointed the Bishop of Rome of what is now the Roman Catholic Church. Works attributed to his school are listed below, and fragmentary pieces directly linked to him are noted with an asterisk:
    • The Divine Word Present in the Infant (Fragment A) *
    • On the Three Natures (Fragment B) *
    • Adam's Faculty of Speech (Fragment C) *
    • To Agathopous: Jesus' Digestive System (Fragment D) *
    • Annihilation of the Realm of Death (Fragment F) *
    • On Friends: The Source of Common Wisdom (Fragment G) *
    • Epistle on Attachments (Fragment H) *
    • Summer Harvest*
    • The Gospel of Truth*
    • Ptolemy's Version of the Gnostic Myth
    • The Prayer of the Apostle Paul
    • Ptolemy's Epistle to Flora
    • Treatise on Resurrection (Epistle to Rheginus)
    • Gospel of Philip
  • Basilidian works are named for the founder of their school, Basilides (132–? CE/AD). These works are mainly known to us through the criticisms of one of his opponents, Irenaeus in his work Adversus Haereses. The other pieces are known through the work of Clement of Alexandria:
    • The Octet of Subsistent Entities (Fragment A)
    • The Uniqueness of the World (Fragment B)
    • Election Naturally Entails Faith and Virtue (Fragment C)
    • The State of Virtue (Fragment D)
    • The Elect Transcend the World (Fragment E)
    • Reincarnation (Fragment F)
    • Human Suffering and the Goodness of Providence (Fragment G)
    • Forgivable Sins (Fragment H)
  • The Gospel of Judas is the most recently discovered Gnostic text. National Geographic has published an English translation of it, bringing it into mainstream awareness. It portrays Judas Iscariot as the most enlightened disciple, who acted at Jesus' request when he handed Jesus over to the authorities. Its reference to Barbelo and inclusion of material similar to the Apocryphon of John and other such texts, connects the text to Barbeloite and/or Sethian Gnosticism.

The Secret Book of John (Apocryphon of John)[1] is a second-century Sethian gnostic text of secret teachings. ... The Apocalypse of Adam discovered in 1945 as part of the Nag Hammadi Library is a Gnostic work written in Coptic. ... The Hypostasis of the Archons or The Reality of the Rulers is an exegesis on the Book of Genesis 1-4 and expresses Gnostic concerns of cosmogony and anthropogony, the creation of the cosmos and humanity. ... The Thunder, Perfect Mind is a poem discovered among the Gnostic manuscripts at Nag Hammadi in 1945. ... The Trimorphic Protennoia is a sethian gnostic text from the New Testament apocrypha. ... Two versions of the suppressed Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians (which is quite distinct from the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians), were among the codices in the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in 1945. ... Zostrianos is a sethian gnostic text from the New Testament apocrypha. ... Allogenes is a sethian gnostic text from the New Testament apocrypha. ... The Three Steles of Seth is a sethian gnostic text from the New Testament apocrypha. ... Subscript text == Headline text ==dfgdfgdsfgfdgdf Insert non-formatted text here Saint Thomas the Apostle, Judas Thomas or Didymus, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. ... // History According to the lore of the Thomasine Church, Thomas the Apostle was called the Twin of the Savior because Christ referred to him as his spiritual twin and as an intimate confidant; according to the Church, the Thomasine movement began in Edessa, a city in eastern Syria. ... The Hymn of the Pearl (also The Hymn of the Soul or The Hymn of Judas Thomas the Apostle) is a passage of the apocryphal Acts of Thomas. ... The Hymn of the Pearl (also The Hymn of the Soul or The Hymn of Judas Thomas the Apostle) is a passage of the apocryphal Acts of Thomas. ... The Gospel of Thomas (full name The Gospel According to Thomas (in Coptic, p. ... The Book of Thomas the Contender, also known more simply as the Book of Thomas (though this must not be confused with the quite different Gospel of Thomas), is one of the books of the New Testament apocrypha. ... -Quevedo Valentinius, also called Valentinus (c. ... Look up Circa on Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Latin word circa, literally meaning about, is often used to describe various dates (often birth and death dates) that are uncertain. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Pope. ... Catholic Church redirects here. ... The Gospel of Truth is one of the texts from the New Testament apocrypha found in the Nag Hammadi codices. ... The Prayer of the Apostle Paul was the first manuscript from the Jung Codex (Codex I) of the Nag Hammadi Library. ... The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a text of New Testament apocrypha, dating back to around the third century but lost to modern researchers until it was rediscovered by accident in the mid-20th century. ... Basilides redirects here. ... Saint Irenaeus (Greek: Ειρηναίος), (b. ... Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) is the standard name of two books on Gnosticism and other Christian heresies. ... Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens), was the first member of the Church of Alexandria to be more than a name, and one of its most distinguished teachers. ... The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel. ... The National Geographic Society was founded in the USA on January 27, 1888, by 33 men interested in organizing a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge. ... Iscariot redirects here. ... The Gnostic term Barbelo refers to the first emanation of Bythos. ...

Later Gnosticism and Gnostic-influenced groups

  • Other schools and related movements; these are presented in chronological order:
    The circular, harmonic cross was an emblem used most notably by the Cathars, a medieval group that related to Gnosticism
    The circular, harmonic cross was an emblem used most notably by the Cathars, a medieval group that related to Gnosticism
    • Simon Magus and Marcion of Sinope both had Gnostic tendencies, but such familiar ideas that they presented were as-yet unformed; they might thus be described as pseudo- or proto-Gnostics. Both developed a sizeable following. Simon Magus' pupil Menander of Antioch could potentially be included within this grouping. Marcion is popularly labelled a gnostic, however most scholars do not consider him a gnostic at all, for example, the Encyclopædia Britannica article on Marcion clearly states: "In Marcion's own view, therefore, the founding of his church — to which he was first driven by opposition — amounts to a reformation of Christendom through a return to the gospel of Christ and to Paul; nothing was to be accepted beyond that. 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 - Depending of course on one's definition of 'Gnostic'."
    • Cerinthus (c 100), the founder of a heretical school with gnostic elements. Like a Gnostic, Cerinthus depicted Christ as a heavenly spirit separate from the man Jesus, and he cited the demiurge as creating the material world. Unlike the Gnostics, Cerinthus taught Christians to observe the Jewish law; his demiurge was holy, not lowly; and he taught the Second Coming. His gnosis was a secret teaching attributed to an apostle. Some scholars believe that the First Epistle of John was written as a response to Cerinthus. [5]
    • The Ophites, so-named because they worshipped the serpent of Genesis as the bestower of knowledge.
    • The Cainites, as the term implies, worshipped Cain, as well as Esau, Korah, and the Sodomites. There is little evidence concerning the nature of this group; however, it is surmisable that they believed that indulgence in sin was the key to salvation because since the body is evil, one must defile it through immoral activity (see libertinism). The name Cainite is used as the name of a religious movement, and not in the usual Biblical sense of people descended from Cain. According to Biblical text, which is our only source of knowledge about the man Cain, all descendants of Cain perished in Noah's Flood, as only Noah's family survived, deriving from the line of Seth.
    • The Carpocratians
    • The Borborites
    • The Bogomils
    • The Paulicans
    • The Cathars (Cathari, Albigenses or Albigensians) are typically seen as being imitative of Gnosticism; whether or not the Cathari possessed direct historical influence from ancient Gnosticism is disputed. Though the basic conceptions of Gnostic cosmology are to be found in Cathar beliefs (most distinctly in their notion of a lesser, Satanic, creator god), they did not apparently place any special relevance upon knowledge (gnosis) as an effective salvific force. For the relationship between these medieval heresies and earlier Gnostic forms, see historical discussion above.

Image File history File links Simple_crossed_circle. ... A Caddo solar cross, to Southeastern Native Americans a symbol of both the sun and fire. ... Rather unusually, these Angels wear white hart (deer) badges, with the personal emblem of King Richard II of England, who commissioned this, the Wilton diptych, about 1400. ... Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... For the film, see Simon Magus (film). ... Marcion of Sinope (ca. ... The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ... This T-and-O map, which abstracts the known world to a cross inscribed within an orb, remakes geography in the service of Christian iconography. ... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ... Cerinthus was the leader of a late first-century or early 2nd century sect, an offshoot of the Ebionites yet similar to Gnosticism in some respects, interesting in that it demonstrates the wide range of conclusions that could be drawn from the life and teachings of Jesus. ... The Ophites is a blanket term for numerous gnostic sects in Syria and Egypt about 100 A.D. The common trait was that these sects would give great importance to the serpent of the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, connecting the Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil) to... For other uses, see Genesis (disambiguation). ... The Cainites, or Cainians, were a Gnostic and Antinomian sect who were known to worship Cain as the first victim of the Demiurge Jehovah, the Old Testament God, who was identified by many groups of gnostics as evil. ... In stories common to the Abrahamic religions, Cain or Káyin (קַיִן / קָיִן spear Standard Hebrew Qáyin, Tiberian Hebrew Qáyin / Qāyin; Arabic قايين Qāyīn in the Arabic Bible; قابيل Qābīl in Islam) is the eldest son of Adam and Eve, and the first man born in creation... Esaw redirects here. ... Korah or Kórach (Hebrew: קֹרַח, Standard Tiberian ; Baldness; ice; hail; frost) is the name associated with at least two Biblical villains. ... Sodom can refer to: Sodom and Gomorrah, Biblical cities Sodom (band), a German thrash metal band Sodom, an album by the band Sodom Sodom (Final Fight), a character from Street Fighter and Final Fight Il Sodoma, an Italian Mannerist painter (1477-1549) Sodom, South Georgia, a song by Iron & Wine... Libertine is the name given to certain political or social groups active in Europe in the 17th century. ... Noah or Nóach (Rest, Standard Hebrew נוֹחַ Nóaḥ, Tiberian Hebrew נֹחַ Nōªḥ; Arabic نوح Nūḥ), son of Lamech and the grandson of Methuselah, built an ark to save his family and a selection of the worlds animals from the Deluge. ... Carpocrates was an early Gnostic from sometime in the second century A.D. who was mentioned by Clement of Alexandria in the Mar Saba letter discovered in 1958 by ancient historian Morton Smith. ... According to Epiphanius of Salamis book Panarion/Adversus Haereses chapter xxv, xxvi and Theodorets Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium the borborites (or barbelos, barbelites, phibionites, stratiotici, coddians etc) were a extraordinarily filthy and evil Gnostic ophite sect. ... Bogomils was the name of a defunct Gnostic social-religious movement and doctrine which originated in Macedonia in X century at the time of Peter I of Bulgaria (927-969) as a reaction of the state and clerical oppression. ... Paulicianism was a Gnostic and Manichaean Christian sect that florished between 650 and 872 in Anatolia, outgoing from Armenia and the Eastern Themes of the Byzantine Empire. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Catharism. ... This article is about the concept of Satan. ...

Kabbalah

Gnostic ideas found a Jewish variation in the mystical study of Kabbalah. The Kabbalists took many core Gnostic ideas and used them to dramatically reinterpret earlier Jewish sources according to this new foreign influence. See Gershom Scholem's Origins of the Kabbalah for further discussion. The Kabbalists originated in Provence which was at that time also the center of the Gnostic Cathars. It is thus believed that Cathar Gnostics persuaded Jews to Gnostic ideas, leading to the development of Kabbalah. Another influence on Kabbalah was probably that of the Muslim Ismailis. (By contrast, however, followers of Kabbalah dates its origins as early as the Garden of Eden.) This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ... Coat of arms of Provence Provence (Provençal Occitan: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) was a Roman province and now is a region of southeastern France on the Mediterranean Sea adjacent to Italy. ... The Ismāʿīlī (Urdu: اسماعیلی Ismāʿīlī, Arabic: الإسماعيليون al-Ismāʿīliyyūn; Persian: اسماعیلیان Esmāʿīliyān) branch of Islam is the second largest part of the Shīa community, after the Twelvers (Ithnāʿashariyya). ...


Kabbalah, however, does not employ the terminology or labels of gentile Gnosticism, but grounds the same or similar concepts in the language of the Torah (first five books of the Holy Bible). Nevertheless, during the time periods when Gnosticism was drawing large numbers of followers from various religions, creating Gnostic versions of those religions, many Jews also developed a mystical version of Judaism remarkably similar to Gnostic beliefs.


While Kabbalah shares several themes with Gnosticism, such as a multiplicity of heavenly levels and archetypes and the importance of mystical knowledge of these, it does not reflect the distinctive Gnostic belief that the material world and the Hebrew Bible are the work of an inferior and malevolent deity. Rather than describing Kabbalah as a form of Gnosticism, it would be more accurate to describe both Kabbalah and Gnosticism as members of a family of Neoplatonic/Neopythagorean Oriental mystical traditions, which would also include Sufism. Sufism is a mystic tradition within Islam that encompasses a diverse range of beliefs and practices dedicated to Divine love and the cultivation of the elements of the Divine within the individual human being. ...


Important terms and concepts

Main article: List of gnostic terms

The following is a list of vocabulary that many books on gnosticism will assume the reader is familiar with Gnosticism#Important terms and concepts The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters Eleaine Pagels ISBN 1563380390 Category: ...

Aeons

Main article: Aeon

In many Gnostic systems, the various emanations of the God, who is also known by such names as the One, the Monad, Aion teleos (The Perfect Aeon), Bythos (Depth or profundity, Greek Βυθος), Proarkhe (Before the Beginning, Greek προαρχη), E Arkhe (The Beginning, Greek ἡ ἀρχή), are called aeons. This first being is also an æon and has an inner being within itself, known as Ennoia (Thought), Charis (Grace), or Sige (Greek Σιγη, Silence). The split perfect being conceives the second aeon, Caen (Power), within itself. Along with the male Caen comes the female æon Akhana (Truth, Love). For the geologic time, see eon (geology). ... Emanationism is a component in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems that argue that a sentient, self-aware Supreme Being, born from an unmanifested The Absolute (Root of Existence) beyond comprehension, emanated lower and lower spiritual modalities and lastly matter (the physical universe) as the resultant... This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Look up the one in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Within certain variations of Gnosticism, especially those inspired by Monoimus, the Monad was the highest God which created lesser gods, or elements (similar to aeons). ... Bythos was the name given by some Gnostics to the monadic first being and originator of the spiritual world of the Pleroma. ...


The aeons often came in male/female pairs called syzygies, and were numerous (20-30). Two of the most commonly listed æons were Jesus and Sophia. The aeons constitute the pleroma, the "region of light". The lowest regions of the pleroma are closest to the darkness; that is, the physical world. This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... Sophia (Σoφíα, Greek for wisdom) is a central term in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Gnostic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity. ... Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ...


When an æon named Sophia emanated without her partner aeon, the result was the Demiurge, or half-creator (Occasionally referred to as Ialdaboth in Gnostic texts), a creature that should never have come into existence. This creature does not belong to the pleroma, and the One emanates two savior æons, Christ and the Holy Spirit to save man from the Demiurge. Christ then took the form of the man, Jesus, in order to be able to teach man how to achieve gnosis; that is, return to the pleroma. Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Icon of Christ in a Greek Orthodox church This page is about the title, office or what is known in Christian theology as the Divine Person. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      In mainstream... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


These systems, however, are only a sample of the various interpretations that exist. The roles of familiar beings such as Jesus Christ, Sophia, and the Demiurge usually share the same general themes between systems but may have somewhat different functions or identities ascribed to them.


Archon

Main article: Archon

In late antiquity some variants of Gnosticism used the term Archon to refer to several servants of the Demiurge, the "creator god" that stood between spiritual humanity and a transcendent God that could only be reached through gnosis. In this context they may be seen as having the roles of the angels and demons of the Old Testament. For other uses, see Archon (disambiguation). ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... God is the divine being that created the omniverse. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Note: Judaism...


The Orphics accepted the existence of seven archons: Iadabaoth or Ialdabaoth (who created the six others), Iao, Sabaoth, Adonaios, Elaios, Astaphanos and Horaios (Origen, Contra Celsum, VI.31). Ialdabaoth had a head of a lion, just like Mithraic Kronos (Chronos) and Vedic Narasimha, a form of Vishnu. Orphism or (more rarely) Orphicism seems to have been a mystery religion in the ancient Greek world. ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Alternate spelling of the Gnostic deity Ialdabaoth i. ... At the bottom of the hands, the two letters on each hand combine to form יהוה (YHWH), the name of God. ... Origen Origen (Greek: ÅŒrigénÄ“s, 185–ca. ... Contra Celsus, or (probably better Latin) Contra Celsum, is the title of a major work by the Church Father Origenes, refutating the anti-christian writings of Celsus the Platonist. ... Mithraism was an ancient Iranic religion, based on worship of a god called Mehr who apparently derives from the Persian god Mithra and other Zoroastrian deities. ... For other uses, see Chronos (disambiguation). ... This article discusses the historical religious practices in the Vedic time period; see Dharmic religions for details of contemporary religious practices. ... (man-lion) (also spelt as Narasingh, Narasinga) (नरसिंह in Devanagari) is described as an incarnation (avatara) of Vishnu within the Puranic texts of Hinduism [1] who takes the form of half-man / half-lion, having a human torso and lower body, but with a lion-like face and claws. ... For other meanings, see Vishnu (disambiguation). ...


Abraxas/Abrasax

Main article: Abraxas
Engraving from an Abraxas stone.
Engraving from an Abraxas stone.

The Egyptian Gnostic Basilideans referred to a figure called Abraxas who was at the head of 365 spiritual beings (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, I.24); it is unclear what to make of Irenaeus' use of the term 'Archon', which may simply mean 'ruler' in this context. The role and function of Abraxas for Basilideans is not clear. Engraving from an Abraxas stone. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (581x1038, 35 KB) Source:Nordisk familjebok (1904) vol. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (581x1038, 35 KB) Source:Nordisk familjebok (1904) vol. ... The Basilideans were a Gnostic sect founded by Basilides of Alexandria in the 2nd century. ... Saint Irenaeus (Greek: Ειρηναίος), (b. ... On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, commonly called Against Heresies (Latin: Adversus haereses), is a five volume work written by St. ...


The word Abraxas was engraved on certain antique stones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which may have been used as amulets or charms by Gnostic sects. In popular culture, Abraxas is sometimes considered the name of a god who incorporated both Good and Evil (God and Demiurge) in one entity, and therefore representing the monotheistic God, singular, but (unlike, for example, the Christian God) not omni-benevolent (See Hesse's Demian, and Jung's Seven Sermons to the Dead). Opinions abound on Abraxas, who in recent centuries has been claimed to be both an Egyptian god and a demon, sometimes even being associated with the dual nature of Satan/Lucifer. The word abracadabra may be related to Abraxas. Engraving from an Abraxas stone. ... Ancient redirects here. ... An amulet from the Black Pullet grimoire An amulet (from Latin amuletum, meaning A means of protection) consists of any object intended to bring good luck and/or protection to its owner. ... God, as a male deity, contrasts with female deities, or goddesses while the term goddess specifically refers to a female deity, words like gods and deities can be applied to all gods collectively, regardless of gender. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Evil (disambiguation). ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... This article focuses on the concept of singular, monotheistic God. ... ... “Fiend” redirects here. ... This article is about the concept of Satan. ... This article is about the star or fallen angel. ... Abracadabra (sometimes spelled Abrakadabra) is a word used as an incantation. ...


The above information relates to interpretations of ancient amulets and to reports of Christian heresy hunters which are not always clear.


Actual ancient Gnostic texts from the Nag Hammadi Library, such as the Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians, refer to Abrasax as an Aeon dwelling with Sophia and other Aeons of the Spiritual Fullness in the light of the luminary Eleleth. In several texts, the luminary Eleleth is the last of the luminaries (Spiritual Lights) that come forward, and it is the Aeon Sophia, associated with Eleleth, who encounters darkness and becomes involved in the chain of events that leads to the Demiurge and Archon's rule of this world, and the salvage effort that ensues. As such, the role of Aeons of Eleleth, including Abrasax, Sophia, and others, pertains to this outer border of the Divine Fullness that encounters the ignorance of the world of Lack and interacts to rectify the error of ignorance in the world of materiality. Two versions of the suppressed Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians (which is quite distinct from the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians), were among the codices in the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in 1945. ...


Words like or similar to Abraxas or Abrasax also appear in the Greek Magical Papyri. There are similarities and differences between such figures in reports about Basiledes' teaching, in the larger magical traditions of the Graeco-Roman world, in the classic ancient Gnostic texts such as the Gospel of the Egyptians, and in later magical and esoteric writings. The Greek Magical Papyri (papyri is plural of papyrus) (commonly abbreviated to PGM from the Latin title Papyri Graecae Magicae) is a collective term for a collection of texts, mostly in Ancient Greek, found on papyrus in the deserts of Egypt, which cast light in some way on the magico...


The Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung wrote a short Gnostic treatise in 1916 called The Seven Sermons to the Dead, which called Abraxas a God higher than the Christian God and Devil, that combines all opposites into one Being. Jung redirects here. ...


Demiurge

Main article: Demiurge
A lion-faced deity found on a Gnostic gem in Bernard de Montfaucon's L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures may be a depiction of the Demiurge.
A lion-faced deity found on a Gnostic gem in Bernard de Montfaucon's L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures may be a depiction of the Demiurge.

The term Demiurge refers to an entity (usually seen as evil) responsible for the creation of the physical universe and the physical aspect of humanity. Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Image File history File links Lion-faced_deity. ... Image File history File links Lion-faced_deity. ... Bernard de Montfaucon (1655 - 1741) was a French Benedictine monk and scholar. ... In religion the term physical universe or material universe is used to distinguish the physical matter of the universe from its spiritual essence. ... For other uses, see Human nature (disambiguation). ...


The term occurs in a number of other religious and philosophical systems, most notably Platonism. While always suggestive of a creator god, the moral judgements regarding the demiurge vary wildly, from a benign grand architect to an evil subvertor of God's will. Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. ... God is the divine being that created the omniverse. ... Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU) is a term used within Freemasonry to denominate the Supreme Being which each member individually holds an adherence to. ...


Like Plato, Gnosticism presents a distinction between the highest, unknowable "alien God" and the demiurgic "creator" of the material. However, in contrast to Plato, several systems of Gnostic thought present the Demiurge as antagonistic to the will of the Supreme God: his act of creation either in unconscious imitation of the divine model, and thus is fundamentally flawed, or else formed with the malevolent intention of entrapping aspects of the divine in materiality. Thus, in such systems, the Demiurge acts as a solution to the problem of evil. In the Apocryphon of John (several versions of which are found in the Nag Hammadi library), the Demiurge has the name "Yaltabaoth", and proclaims himself as God: For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of a god. ... The Secret Book of John (Apocryphon of John)[1] is a second-century Sethian gnostic text of secret teachings. ... The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. ... The term Demiurge (or Yaldabaoth, Yao, Bythos and several other variants, such as Ptahil used in Mandaeanism) refers in some belief systems to a deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe and the physical aspect of humanity. ...

"Now the archon who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, the second is Saklas, and the third is Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, 'I am God and there is no other God beside me,' for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come."

Gnostic myth recounts that Sophia (Greek, literally meaning "wisdom"), the Demiurge's mother and a partial aspect of the divine Pleroma or "Fullness", desired to create something apart from the divine totality, and without the receipt of divine assent. In this abortive act of separate creation, she gave birth to the monstrous Demiurge and, being ashamed of her deed, she wrapped him in a cloud and created a throne for him within it. The Demiurge, isolated, did not behold his mother, nor anyone else, and thus concluded that only he himself existed, being ignorant of the superior levels of reality that were his birth-place. For other uses, see Archon (disambiguation). ... The term Demiurge refers in some belief systems to a deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe and the physical aspect of humanity. ... This article is about the archangel. ... Gnosticism is a blanket term for various religions and sects most prominent in the first few centuries A.D. General characteristics The word gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis (γνῶσις), referring to the idea that there is special, hidden mysticism (esoteric knowledge) that only a few possess. ... Sophia (Σoφíα, Greek for wisdom) is a central term in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Gnostic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity. ... Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ...


The Gnostic myths describing these events are full of intricate nuances portraying the declination of aspects of the divine into human form; this process occurs through the agency of the Demiurge who, having stolen a portion of power from his mother, sets about a work of creation in unconscious imitation of the superior Pleromatic realm. Thus Sophia's power becomes enclosed within the material forms of humanity, themselves entrapped within the material universe: the goal of Gnostic movements was typically the awakening of this spark, which permitted a return by the subject to the superior, non-material realities which were its primal source. (See Sethian Gnosticism.) Sethian is also a Finnish progressive metal band. ...


"Samael" may equate to the Judaic Angel of Death, and corresponds to the Christian demon of that name, as well as Satan. Literally, it can mean "Blind God" or "God of the Blind" in Aramaic (Syriac sæmʕa-ʔel). Another alternative title for Yaldabaoth, "Saklas", is Aramaic for "fool" (Syriac sækla "the foolish one"). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A Western depiction of Death as a skeleton carrying a scythe. ... “Fiend” redirects here. ... This article is about the archangel. ... This article is about the concept of Satan. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Syriac is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ...


Some Gnostic philosophers identify the Demiurge with Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, in opposition and contrast to the God of the New Testament. Still others equated the being with Satan. Catharism apparently inherited their idea of Satan as the creator of the evil world directly or indirectly from Gnosticism. For other uses, see Yahweh (disambiguation). ... This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Note: Judaism... This article is about the Christian scriptures. ... This article is about the concept of Satan. ... Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209 Catharism was a name given to a religious sect with dualistic and gnostic elements that appeared in the Languedoc region of France in the 11th century and flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries. ...


Gnosis

Main article: Gnosis

The word 'Gnosticism' is a modern construction, though based on an antiquated linguistic expression: it comes from the Greek word meaning 'knowledge', gnosis (γνῶσις). However, gnosis itself refers to a very specialised form of knowledge, deriving both from the exact meaning of the original Greek term and its usage in Platonist philosophy. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ...


Unlike modern English, ancient Greek was capable of discerning between several different forms of knowing. These different forms may be described in English as being propositional knowledge, indicative of knowledge acquired indirectly through the reports of others or otherwise by inference (such as "I know of George Bush" or "I know Berlin is in Germany"), and empirical knowledge acquired by direct participation or acquaintance (such as "I know George Bush personally" or "I know Berlin, having visited"). The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Propositional knowledge or declarative knowledge is knowledge that some proposition is either true or false. ... A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses. ...


Gnosis (γνῶσις) refers to knowledge of the second kind. Therefore, in a religious context, to be 'Gnostic' should be understood as being reliant not on knowledge in a general sense, but as being specially receptive to mystical or esoteric experiences of direct participation with the divine. Indeed, in most Gnostic systems the sufficient cause of salvation is this 'knowledge of' ('acquaintance with') the divine. This is commonly identified with a process of inward 'knowing' or self-exploration, comparable to that encouraged by Plotinus (ca. 205–270 AD). However, as may be seen, the term 'gnostic' also had precedent usage in several ancient philosophical traditions, which must also be weighed in considering the very subtle implications of its appellation to a set of ancient religious groups. For other uses, see Knowledge (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Salvation (disambiguation). ... Plotinus (Greek: ) (ca. ... Look up Circa on Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Latin word circa, literally meaning about, is often used to describe various dates (often birth and death dates) that are uncertain. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ...


According to depth psychologist Carl Jung he believed Gnosis was equivalent to his Theory of Individuation. Gnosis is believed to be the key to higher and altered states of consciousness. Jung redirects here. ... Individuation comprises the processes whereby the undifferentiated becomes or develops individual characteristics, or the opposite process, by which components of an individual are integrated into a more indivisible whole. ...


Monad (apophatic theology)

Main article: Monad (Gnosticism)

In many Gnostic systems (and heresiologies), God is known as the Monad, the One, The Absolute, Aion teleos (The Perfect Æon), Bythos (Depth or Profundity, Βυθος), Proarkhe (Before the Beginning, προαρχη), and E Arkhe (The Beginning, η αρχη). God is the high source of the pleroma, the region of light. The various emanations of God are called æons. Within certain variations of Gnosticism, especially those inspired by Monoimus, the Monad was the highest God which created lesser gods, or elements (similar to aeons). ... Gnosticism is a blanket term for various religions and sects most prominent in the first few centuries A.D. General characteristics The word gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis (γνῶσις), referring to the idea that there is special, hidden mysticism (esoteric knowledge) that only a few possess. ... This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Look up the one in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... ÆON Co. ... Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ... ÆON Co. ...


Within certain variations of Gnosticism, especially those inspired by Monoimus, the Monad was the highest God which created lesser gods, or elements (similar to æons). Monoimus (lived somewhere between 150 - 210) was an arabic gnostic (arabic name: Munim), who was known to us only from one account in Theodoret (Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium i. ... This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... See also: List of deities Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


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. This was also clarified in the writings of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus. This teaching being largely Neopythagorean via Numenius as well. Statue of Hippolytus, 3rd century. ... The Pythagoreans were a Hellenic organization of astronomers, musicians, mathematicians, and philosophers who believed that all things are, essentially, numeric. ... Etymology: Late Latin dyad-, dyas, from Greek, from dyo The word dyad has a number of uses: A dyad (general) pair, consisting of two parts. ... For other uses, see Number (disambiguation). ... A spatial point is an entity with a location in space but no extent (volume, area or length). ... Look up line in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... Plotinus (Greek: ) (ca. ... Bust of Pythagoras Pythagoreanism is a term used for the esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans, who were much influenced by mathematics and probably a main inspirational source for Plato and platonism. ... Numenius of Apamea was a Greek philosopher, who lived in Apamea in Syria and flourished during the latter half of the 2nd century A.D. He was a Neo-Pythagorean and forerunner of the Neo-Platonists. ...


This Monad is the spiritual source of everything which emanates the pleroma, and could be contrasted to the dark Demiurge (Yaldabaoth) that controls matter. For other uses, see Supernatural (disambiguation). ... Emanationism is a component in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems that argue that a sentient, self-aware Supreme Being, born from an unmanifested The Absolute (Root of Existence) beyond comprehension, emanated lower and lower spiritual modalities and lastly matter (the physical universe) as the resultant... Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ... Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... This article is about matter in physics and chemistry. ...


The Sethian cosmogony as most famously contained in the Apocryphon ('Secret book') of John describes an unknown God, very similar to the orthodox apophatic theology, although very different from the orthodox credal teachings that there is one such god who is identified also as creator of heaven and earth. In describing the nature of a creator god associated with Biblical texts, orthodox theologians often attempt to define God through a series of explicit positive statements, themselves universal but in the divine taken to their superlative degrees: he is omniscient, omnipotent and truly benevolent. The Sethian conception of the most 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'. In the Apocryphon of John, this god is good in that it bestows goodness. After the apophatic statements, the process of the Divine in action are used to describe the effect of such a god. Sethian is also a Finnish progressive metal band. ... This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... “Orthodox” redirects here. ... For the album by Swans, see Omniscience (album). ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is the power to do absolutely anything. ... Negative theology - also known as the Via Negativa (Latin for Negative Way) and Apophatic theology - is a theology that attempts to describe God by negation, to speak of God only in terms of what may not be said about God. ... In zoology, a hermaphrodite is a species that contains both male and female sexual organs at some point during their lives. ...


An apophatic approach to discussing the Divine is found throughout gnosticism, Vendantic hinduism, and Platonic and Aristotelian theology as well. It is also found in some Judaic sources.


Pleroma

Main article: Pleroma

Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of God's powers. The term means fullness, and is used in Christian theological contexts: both in Gnosticism generally, and in Colossians 2.9. Pleroma (Greek πληρωμα) generally refers to the totality of Gods powers. ... The Epistle to the Colossians is a book of the Bible New Testament. ...


Gnosticism holds that the world is controlled by evil archons, one of whom is the demiurge, the deity of the Old Testament who holds the human spirit captive. For other uses, see Archon (disambiguation). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Note: Judaism...


The heavenly pleroma is the center of divine life, a region of light "above" (the term is not to be understood spatially) our world, occupied by spiritual beings such as aeons (eternal beings) and sometimes archons. 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. The term is thus a central element of Gnostic cosmology. For the geologic time, see eon (geology). ... For other uses, see Archon (disambiguation). ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... Cosmology, from the Greek: κοσμολογία (cosmologia, κόσμος (cosmos) order + λογος (logos) word, reason, plan) is the quantitative (usually mathematical) study of the Universe in its totality, and by extension, humanitys place in it. ...


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 under the book of Colossians. Proponents of the view that Paul was actually a gnostic, such as Elaine Pagels of Princeton University, view the reference in Colossians as something that was to be interpreted in the gnostic sense. This article discusses the relationship between Gnosticism and the New Testament. ... Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey, (born February 13, 1943), is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. ... Princeton University is a private coeducational research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. ...


Sophia

Main article: Sophia (wisdom)

In Gnostic tradition, the term Sophia (Σoφíα, Greek for "wisdom") refers to the final and lowest emanation of God. Sophia (Σoφíα, Greek for wisdom) is a central term in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Gnostic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity. ...


In most if not all versions of the gnostic myth, Sophia births the demiurge, who in turn brings about the creation of materiality. The positive or negative depiction of materiality thus resides a great deal on mythic depictions of Sophia's actions. She is occasionally referred to by the Hebrew equivalent of Achamoth (this is a feature of Ptolemy's version of the Valentinian gnostic myth). Jewish Gnosticism with a focus on Sophia was active by 90 [6] Demiurge (from the Greek , Latinized , meaning artisan or craftsman, literally worker in the service of the people, from of the people + work) is a term for a creator deity, responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... Hebrew redirects here. ... Ptolemy the Gnostic (not the same person as the astronomer and geographer, nor the Egyptian ruler) was a disciple of the Gnostic Valentinius, known to us for writing a letter to a wealthy non-Gnostic lady named Flora. ... -Quevedo Valentinius, also called Valentinus (c. ...


Almost all gnostic systems of the Syrian or Egyptian type taught that the universe began with an original, unknowable God, referred to as the Parent or Bythos, as the Monad by Monoimus, or the first Aeon by still other traditions. From this initial unitary beginning, the One spontaneously emanated further Aeons, pairs of progressively 'lesser' beings in sequence. The lowest of these pairs were Sophia and Christ. The Aeons together made up the Pleroma, or fullness, of God, and thus should not be seen as distinct from the divine, but symbolic abstractions of the divine nature. This article is about the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Bythos was the name given by some Gnostics to the monadic first being and originator of the spiritual world of the Pleroma. ... Within certain variations of Gnosticism, especially those inspired by Monoimus, the Monad was the highest God which created lesser gods, or elements (similar to aeons). ... Monoimus (lived somewhere between 150 - 210) was an arabic gnostic (arabic name: Munim), who was known to us only from one account in Theodoret (Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium i. ... For the geologic time, see eon (geology). ... Emanationism is a component in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems that argue that a sentient, self-aware Supreme Being, born from an unmanifested The Absolute (Root of Existence) beyond comprehension, emanated lower and lower spiritual modalities and lastly matter (the physical universe) as the resultant... For the geologic time, see eon (geology). ... Icon of Christ in a Greek Orthodox church This page is about the title, office or what is known in Christian theology as the Divine Person. ...


History

Main article: History of Gnosticism

The History of Gnosticism is subject to a great deal of debate and interpretation. ...

The development of the Syrian-Egyptian school

Bentley Layton has sketched out a relationship between the various gnostic movements in his introduction to The Gnostic Scriptures (SCM Press, London, 1987). In this model, 'Classical Gnosticism' and 'The School of Thomas' antedated and influenced the development of Valentinus, who was to found his own school of Gnosticism in both Alexandria and Rome, whom Layton called 'the great [Gnostic] reformer' and 'the focal point' of Gnostic development. While in Alexandria, where he was born, Valentinus probably would have had contact with the Gnostic teacher Basilides, and may have been influenced by him. Bentley Layton (born c. ... Valentinus can refer to: Pope Valentinus Saint Valentine Basil Valentinus, a 15th century monk from Erfurt who may have described Bismuth Valentinius, a Gnostic also known as Valentinus Roman emperors - Valentinian I (364 - 375) and Valentinian II (371 - 392) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other... This article is about the city in Egypt. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... Basilides redirects here. ...


Valentinianism flourished throughout the early centuries of the common era: while Valentinus himself lived from ca. 100–180 AD/CE, a list of sectarians or heretics, composed in 388 AD/CE, against whom Emperor Constantine intended legislation includes Valentinus (and, presumably, his inheritors). The school is also known to have been extremely popular: several varieties of their central myth are known, and we know of 'reports from outsiders from which the intellectual liveliness of the group is evident' (Markschies, Gnosis: An Introduction, 94). It is known that Valentinus' students, in further evidence of their intellectual activity, elaborated upon the teachings and materials they received from him (though the exact extent of their changes remains unknown), for example, in the version of the Valentinian myth brought to us through Ptolemy. Valentinius, more usually called Valentinus (c. ... Look up Circa on Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Latin word circa, literally meaning about, is often used to describe various dates (often birth and death dates) that are uncertain. ... Ptolemy the Gnostic (not the same person as the astronomer and geographer, nor the Egyptian ruler) was a disciple of the Gnostic Valentinius, known to us for writing a letter to a wealthy non-Gnostic lady named Flora. ...


Valentinianism might be described as the most elaborate and philosophically 'dense' form of the Syrian-Egyptian schools of Gnosticism, though it should be acknowledged that this in no way debarred other schools from attracting followers: Basilides' own school was popular also, and survived in Egypt until the 4th century.


Simone Petrement, in A Separate God, in arguing for a Christian origin of Gnosticism, places Valentinus after Basilides, but before the Sethians. It is her assertion that Valentinus represented a moderation of the anti-Judaism of the earlier Hellenized teachers; the demiurge, widely regarded to be a mythological depiction of the Old Testament God of the Hebrews, is depicted as more ignorant than evil. (See below.)

Manichean priests writing at their desks, with panel inscription in Sogdian. Manuscript from Khocho, Tarim Basin.
Manichean priests writing at their desks, with panel inscription in Sogdian. Manuscript from Khocho, Tarim Basin.

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (585x863, 108 KB)Manicheans. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (585x863, 108 KB)Manicheans. ... The Sogdian language is a Middle Iranian language spoken in Sogdiana (Zarafshan River Valley) in the modern day republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (chief cities: Samarkand, Panjikent, Ferghana). ... Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin. ...

The development of the Persian school

An alternate heritage is offered by Kurt Rudolph in his book Gnosis: The Nature & Structure of Gnosticism (Koehler and Amelang, Leipzig, 1977), to explain the lineage of Persian Gnostic schools. The decline of Manicheism that occurred in Persia in the 5th century AD/CE was too late to prevent the spread of the movement into the east and the west. In the west, the teachings of the school moved into Syria, Northern Arabia, Egypt and North Africa (where Augustine was a member of school from 373-382); from Syria it progressed still farther, into Palestine, Asia Minor and Armenia. There is evidence for Manicheans in Rome and Dalmatia in the 4th century, and also in Gaul and Spain. 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 as a heresy by the Catholic Church. Leipzig ( ; Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk from the Sorbian word for Tilia) is, with a population of over 506,000, the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. ... Manichaeism was one of the major ancient religions. ... The Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula is a mainly desert peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia and an important part of the greater Middle East. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Augustinus redirects here. ... A 2003 satellite image of the region. ... Anatolia (Greek: ανατολη anatole, rising of the sun or East; compare Orient and Levant, by popular etymology Turkish Anadolu to ana mother and dolu filled), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to the Asian portion of Turkey. ... Dalmatia, highlighted, on a map of Croatia. ... Gaul (Latin: ) was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine river. ... Bogomils was the name of an ancient Gnostic religious community which is thought to have originated in Bulgaria. ... Bogomils was the name of an ancient Gnostic religious community which is thought to have originated in Bulgaria. ... Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209. ...


In the east, Rudolph relates, Manicheanism was able to bloom, given that the religious monopoly position previously held by Christianity and Zoroastrianism had been broken by nascent Islam. In the early years of the Arab conquest, Manicheanism again found followers in Persia (mostly amongst educated circles), but flourished most in Central Asia, to which it had spread through Iran. Here, in 762, Manicheanism became the state religion of the Uyghur Empire. Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... Map of the Uyghur Empire and areas under its dominion at its height, c. ...


Buddhism and Gnosticism

Early 3rd century–4th century Christian writers such as Hippolytus and Epiphanius write about a Scythianus, who visited India around 50 CE from where he brought "the doctrine of the Two Principles". According to Cyril of Jerusalem, Scythianus' pupil Terebinthus presented himself as a "Buddha" ("He called himself Buddas"[citation needed]). Terebinthus went to Palestine and Judaea ("becoming known and condemned"), and ultimately settled in Babylon, where he transmitted his teachings to Mani, thereby creating the foundation of Manichaeism: For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... Statue of Hippolytus, 3rd century. ... Epiphanius (ca 310–20 – 403) was a Church Father, a heresiologist who was a strong defender of orthodoxy, known for tracking down deviant teachings (heresies) wherever they could be traced, during the troubled era in the Christian Church following the Council of Nicaea. ... According to 3rd-4th century writers such as Hippolytus and Epiphanius, Scythianus was an Alexandrian who visited India around 50 CE. Scythianus apparently lived on the border between Palestine and Arabia, and was active in trade between the Red Sea ports and India. ... Cyril of Jerusalem was a distinguished theologian of the early Church ( 315 - 386). ... Terebinthus (also Terebinthus of Turbo ) was the pupil of Scythianus, during the 1st-2nd century CE, according to the early Christian writer Cyril of Jerusalem. ... A 2003 satellite image of the region. ... Map of the southern Levant, c. ... For other uses, see Babylon (disambiguation). ... Mani (in Persian: مانی, Syriac: ) was born of Iranian (Parthian) parentage in Babylon, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) which was a part of Persian Empire about 210-276 CE. He was a religious preacher and the founder of Manichaeism, an ancient Persian gnostic religion that was once prolific but is now extinct. ... Manichean priests, writing at their desk, with panel inscription in Sogdian. ...

"But Terebinthus, his disciple in this wicked error, inherited his money and books and heresy, and came to Palestine, and becoming known and condemned in Judæa he resolved to pass into Persia: but lest he should be recognised there also by his name he changed it and called himself Buddas."

In the 3rd century, the Syrian writer and Christian Gnostic theologian Bar Daisan described his exchanges with the religious missions of holy men from India (Greek: Σαρμαναίοι, Sramanas), passing through Syria on their way to Elagabalus or another Severan dynasty Roman Emperor. His accounts were quoted by Porphyry (De abstin., iv, 17[citation needed]) and Stobaeus (Eccles., iii, 56, 141). Cyril of Jerusalem was a distinguished theologian of the early Church ( 315 - 386). ... Bar Daisan (154-222), also latinized as Bardesanes, was a Syrian gnostic and an outstanding scientist, scholar, and poet. ... Elagabalus Elagabalus (c. ... The Severan dynasty is a lineage of Roman Emperors, reigning several decades from the late 2nd century to the early 3rd century. ... Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law This article discusses the nature of the imperial dignity, and its dynastic development throughout the history of the Empire. ... Porphyry of Tyre (Greek: , c. ... Joannes Stobaeus, so called from his native place Stobi in Macedonia, was the compiler of a valuable series of extracts from Greek authors. ...


Finally, from the 3rd century to the 12th century, some Gnostic religions such as Manichaeism, which combined Christian, Hebrew and Buddhist influences (Mani, the founder of the religion, resided for some time in Kushan lands), spread throughout the Old World, to Gaul and Great Britain in the West, and to China in the East. Some leading Christian theologians such as Augustine of Hippo were Manichaeans before converting to orthodox Christianity. Mani (in Persian: مانی, Syriac: ) was born of Iranian (Parthian) parentage in Babylon, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) which was a part of Persian Empire about 210-276 CE. He was a religious preacher and the founder of Manichaeism, an ancient Persian gnostic religion that was once prolific but is now extinct. ... Boundary of the Kushan empire, c. ... For other uses, see Old World (disambiguation). ... Gaul (Latin: ) was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine river. ... Augustinus redirects here. ...


Such exchanges, many more of which may have gone unrecorded, suggest that Buddhism may have had some influence on early Christianity: "Scholars have often considered the possibility that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity. They have drawn attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus" (Bentley, "Old World Encounters"). Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ...


Influence in East Asia

Early missionaries, including Manicheans, Zoroastrians, and Nestorians, traveled and proselytized along the Silk Road east to Chang'an, the Tang Dynasty capital of China. The first introduction of Christianity, under the Chinese name Jĭngjiào (景教, literally "bright/luminous religion"), was from Nestorianism or the Assyrian Church of the East. In 635, when Nestorian missionaries arrived in Chang'an, the Emperor assigned his famous Prime Minister Fang Xuanling (房玄齡) to hold a grand welcome ceremony. Chinese Nestorianism was popular in the late 8th century, but never became a widely-practice mainstream religion in China. In 845, Emperor Wuzong of Tang ordered the Great Persecution of Buddhism, which affected other foreign religions, weakened Nestorianism and practically destroyed Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism in China. Manichaeism was one of the major ancient religions. ... Zoroastrianism was adapted from an earlier, polytheistic faith by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) in Persia very roughly around 1000 BC (although, in the absence of written records, some scholars estimates are as late as 600 BC). ... The term Nestorianism is eponymous, even though the person who lent his name to it always denied the associated belief. ... For other uses, see Silk Road (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Changan (disambiguation). ... For the band, see Tang Dynasty (band). ... The form of Christianity often called Nestorianism but better described as the Church of the East spread widely across the continent of Asia following the banishment and condemnation of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, at the Council of Ephesus in 431. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Assyrian Church of the East... Emperor Tang Wuzong (武宗 814-846), born Li Yan, was a later emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. ...


Chinese Nestorianism revived during the 13th-14th century Yuan Dynasty, but was replaced by Roman Catholicism in 16th-17th centuries. Rudolph reported that despite the suppression, Manichean traditions are reputed to have survived until the 17th century (based on the reports of Portuguese sailors). Capital Dadu Language(s) Mongolian Chinese Government Monarchy Emperor  - 1260-1294 Kublai Khan  - 1333-1370 (Cont. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ...


'Gnosticism' as a potentially flawed category

In 1966 in Messina, Italy, a conference was held concerning systems of gnosis. Among its several aims were the need to establish a program to translate the recently-acquired Nag Hammadi library (see above) and the need to arrive at an agreement concerning an accurate definition of 'Gnosticism'. This was in answer to the tendency, prevalent since the eighteenth century, to use the term 'gnostic' less as its origins implied, but rather as an interpretive category for contemporary philosophical and religious movements. For example, in 1835, New Testament scholar Ferdinand Christian Baur constructed a developmental model of Gnosticism that culminates in the religious philosophy of Hegel; one might compare literary critic Harold Bloom's recent attempts to identify Gnostic elements in contemporary American religion, or Eric Voegelin's analysis of totalitarian impulses through the interpretive lens of Gnosticism. Messina, Italy Strait of Messina, Italy. ... This article is about the Christian scriptures. ... Ferdinand Christian Baur (June 21, 1792 - 1860), was a German theologian and leader of the Tübingen school of theology. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Literary criticism is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. ... Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American professor and prominent literary and cultural critic. ... Eric Voegelin, born Erich Hermann Wilhelm Vögelin, (January 3, 1901 – January 19, 1985) was a political philosopher. ... Totalitarianism is a term employed by some political scientists, especially those in the field of comparative politics, to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. ...


The 'cautious proposal' reached by the conference concerning Gnosticism is described by Markschies:

In the concluding document of Messina the proposal was 'by the simultaneous application of historical and typological methods' to designate 'a particular group of systems of the second century after Christ' as 'gnosticism', and to use 'gnosis' to define a conception of knowledge transcending the times which was described as 'knowledge of divine mysteries for an élite'.

Markschies, Gnosis: An Introduction, p. 13

In essence, it had been decided that 'Gnosticism' would become a historically-specific term, restricted to mean the Gnostic movements prevalent in the 3rd century, while 'gnosis' would be an universal term, denoting a system of knowledge retained 'for a privileged élite.' However, this effort towards providing clarity in fact created more conceptual confusion, as the historical term 'Gnosticism' was an entirely modern construction, while the new universal term 'gnosis' was a historical term: 'something was being called "gnosticism" that the ancient theologians had called "gnosis" ... [A] concept of gnosis had been created by Messina that was almost unusable in a historical sense' (Markschies, Gnosis: An Introduction, 14-15). In antiquity, all agreed that knowledge was centrally important to life, but few were agreed as to what exactly constituted knowledge; the unitary conception that the Messina proposal presupposed did not exist.


These flaws have meant that the problems concerning an exact definition of Gnosticism persist. It remains current convention to use 'Gnosticism' in a historical sense, and 'gnosis' universally. Leaving aside the issues with the latter noted above, the usage of 'Gnosticism' to designate a category of religions in the 3rd century has recently been questioned as well. Of note is the work of Michael Allen Williams in Rethinking Gnosticism: An Argument for the Dismantling of a Dubious Category, in which the author examines the terms by which gnosticism as a category is defined, and then closely compares these suppositions with the contents of actual Gnostic texts (the newly-recovered Nag Hammadi library was of central importance to his thesis). To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Williams argues that the conceptual foundations on which the category of Gnosticism rests are the remains of the agenda of the heresiologists. Too much emphasis has been laid on perceptions of dualism, body-and-matter hatred, and anticosmism, without these suppositions being properly tested. In essence, the interpretive definition of Gnosticism that was created by the antagonistic efforts of the heresiologists has been taken up by modern scholarship and reflected in a categorical definition, even though the means now exist to verify its accuracy. Attempting to do so, Williams contests, reveals the dubious nature of categorical 'Gnosticism', and he concludes that the term needs replacing in order to more accurately reflect those movements it comprises. Williams' observations have provoked debate; however, to date his suggested replacement term 'the Biblical demiurgical tradition' has not become widely used.


Gnosticism in modern times

A number of 19th century thinkers such as William Blake, Schopenhauer,[7] Albert Pike, Madame Blavatsky, studied Gnostic thought extensively and were influenced by it, and even figures like Herman Melville and W. B. Yeats were more tangentially influenced.[8] Jules Doinel "re-established" a Gnostic church in France in 1890 which altered its form as it passed through various direct successors (Fabre des Essarts as Tau Synésius and Joanny Bricaud as Tau Jean II most notably), and which, although small, is still active today.[9] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For other persons named William Blake, see William Blake (disambiguation). ... Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher born in Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland. ... Albert Pike (b. ... Helena Blavatsky Helena Petrovna Hahn (also Hélène) (July 31, 1831 (O.S.) (August 12, 1831 (N.S.)) - May 8, 1891 London), better known as Helena Blavatsky (Russian: ) or Madame Blavatsky, born Helena von Hahn, was a founder of the Theosophical Society. ... Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. ... William Butler Yeats, 1933 photograph, author unknown. ... Jules Doinel (1842-1903) was the founder of the modern Gnostic Church. He proclaimed 1890 the beginning of a new gnostic era, and took for himself the name Valentin II, after Valentinius, the second century Christian gnostic thinker. ...


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 moderatedly influenced. Rene Guenon founded the gnostic review, Le Gnose in 1909 (before moving to a more "Perennialist" position). Several of the Thelemite organizations tracing themselves to Crowley's thought, think of themselves as Gnostic organizations today, such as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica and Ordo Templi Orientis. Jung redirects here. ... Eric Voegelin, born Erich Hermann Wilhelm Vögelin, (January 3, 1901 – January 19, 1985) was a political philosopher. ... Borges redirects here. ... Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947, pronounced ) was a British occultist, writer, mountaineer, philosopher, poet, and yogi. ... Hermann Hesse (pronounced ) (2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962) was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. ... René Guénon (aka Sheikh Abd Al Wahid Yahya) (1886-1951) was a French-born author, philosopher, and social critic of the early 20th century. ... The Traditionalist School of thought (not to be confused with Traditionalist Catholicism), attained its current form with the French metaphysician René Guénon, although its precepts are considered to be timeless and to be found in all authentic traditions. ... Thelema is the English transliteration of the Ancient Greek noun : will, from the verb θέλω: to will, wish, purpose. ... Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (EGC), or the Gnostic Catholic Church, is the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), an international fraternal initiatory organization devoted to promulgating the Law of Thelema. ... Lamen of the Ordo Templi Orientis Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) (Order of the Temple of the East, or the Order of Oriental Templars) is an international fraternal and religious organization founded at the beginning of the 20th century. ...


The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi library after 1945 had a huge impact on Gnosticism since World War II. Thinkers who were heavily influenced by Gnosticism in this period include Hans Jonas, Philip K. Dick and Harold Bloom, with Albert Camus and Allen Ginsberg being more moderately influenced.[8] A number of ecclesiastical bodies which think of themselves as Gnostic have been set up or re-founded since World War II as well, including the Society of Novus Spiritus, Ecclesia Gnostica, the Thomasine Church, the Apostolic Johannite Church, the Alexandrian Gnostic Church, the North American College of Gnostic Bishops, and the International Gnostic Movement of Samael Aun Weor. Celia Green has written on Gnostic Christianity in relation to her own philosophy[10] . The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. ... German-born philosopher Hans Jonas (May 10, 1903 - February 5, 1993) studied under Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann in the 1920s. ... Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer, mostly known for his works of science fiction. ... Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American professor and prominent literary and cultural critic. ... For other uses, see Camus. ... Irwin Allen Ginsberg (IPA: ) (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet. ... Sylvia Browne (born October 19, 1936) is a bestselling American author on the subject of spirituality who is known as a psychic and medium. ... The Ecclesia Gnostica (Latin for The Gnostic Church) is a gnostic church founded in United States under the name Pre-Nicene Gnostic Catholic Church in 1959 after influence from England. ... ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Alexandrian Gnostic Church is a modern sacramental gnostic community. ... Samael Aun Weor Samael Aun Weor (March 16, 1917 - December 24, 1977) was a prolific writer, lecturer and teacher of occultism. ... Celia Green. ...


Also there are Gnostic Churches and Organisations based in the United Kingdom due to popularity of the Gnostic Scriptures since the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.[11] The Da Vinci Code book cover The Da Vinci Code is a novel written by American author Dan Brown and published in 2003 by Doubleday Fiction (ISBN 0385504209). ... Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. ...


See also

Antinomianism (from the Greek αντι, against + νομος, law), or lawlessness (in the Greek Bible: ανομια,[1] which is unlawful), in theology, is the idea that members of a particular religious group are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality as presented by religious authorities. ... Apocrypha (from the Greek word , meaning those having been hidden away[1]) are texts of uncertain authenticity or writings where the authorship is questioned. ... The Black Iron Prison is an all-pervasive system of social control otherwise referred to as Empire. ... Christian anarchism is any of several traditions which combine anarchism with Christianity. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christian mysticism... Seal of the Theosophical Society Theosophy is a body of belief which holds that all religions are attempts by man to ascertain the Divine, and as such each religion has a portion of the truth. ... In fashion then as of a snow-white rose Displayed itself to me the saintly host, Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride - The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto XXXI “Esoteric Christianity” is a term which refers to an ensemble of spiritual currents which regard Christianity as a... The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first Ecumenical council[1] of the early Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. ... For other uses, see Gospel (disambiguation). ... The term gnosiology (μελέτη της γνώσης) is derived from the Greek words gnosis (knowledge, γνώση) and logos (word or discourse, λόγος). Linguistically, one might compare epistemology, which is derived from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos. ... This article is about the magical and religious movement stemming from the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. ... The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. ... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ... Samael Aun Weor Samael Aun Weor (March 16, 1917 - December 24, 1977) was a prolific writer, lecturer and teacher of occultism. ... Theodicy (IPA: ) (adjectival form theodicean) is a specific branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the belief in an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God, i. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels, Vintage Press, 1989, pgs. 18, 37, 42
  2. ^ Metropolitan Hierotheos, A Night In The Desert of The Holy Mountain, Translated by Effie Mavromichali, glossary
  3. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. Lost Christianities. Oxford University press, 2003, p.188-202
  4. ^ Layton, Bentley (1987). The Gnostic Scriptures. SCM Press - Introduction to "Against Heresies" by St. Irenaeus
  5. ^ González, Justo L.(1970). A History of Christian Thought, Vol. I. Abingdon. pp. 132-3
  6. ^ Gnosticism, Judaism and Egyptian Christianity
  7. ^ Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. II, Ch. XLVIII
  8. ^ a b Smith, Richard. "The Modern Relevance of Gnosticism" in The Nag Hammadi Library, 1990 ISBN 0-06-066935-7
  9. ^ Cf. l'Eglise du Plérôme
  10. ^ Green, Celia (1981,2006). Advice to Clever Children. Oxford: Oxford Forum. Ch.s XXXV-XXXVII
  11. ^ Cf. Gnostic Christian Society of Shakerley

Bart D. Ehrman is a New Testament scholar and an expert on early Christianity. ... Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher born in Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland. ... Published in 1819, The World as Will and Representation, sometimes translated as The World as Will and Idea (original German title: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung), is the central work of Arthur Schopenhauer. ...

References

Books

Primary sources

Bentley Layton (born c. ... James M. Robinson is Professor Emeritus of Religion, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California. ... Plotinus (Greek: ) (ca. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Harvard redirects here. ...

Secondary sources

  • Aland, Barbara (1978). Festschrift für Hans Jonas. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 3-525-58111-4. 
  • Anderson, Robert A. (2006). Church of God? or the Temples of Satan - A Reference Book of Spiritual Understanding & Gnosis. TGS Publishers. ISBN 0-9786249-6-3. 
  • Burstein, Dan (2006). Secrets of Mary Magdalene. CDS Books. ISBN 1-59315-205-1. 
  • Freke, Timothy; Gandy, Peter (1999). The Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharaohs. Tarcher. ISBN 0-87477-950-2. 
  • Freke, Timothy; Gandy, Peter (2002). Jesus and the Lost Goddess : The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-00-710071-X. 
  • Green, Henry (1985). Economic and Social Origins of Gnosticism. Scholars P.,U.S.. ISBN 0-89130-843-1. 
  • Haardt, Robert (1967). Die Gnosis: Wesen und Zeugnisse. Otto-Müller-Verlag, Salzburg, 352 pages. , translated as Haardt, Robert (1971). Gnosis: Character and Testimony. Brill, Leiden. 
  • Hoeller, Stephan A. (2002). Gnosticism - New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing, 257 pages. ISBN 0-8356-0816-6. 
  • Jones, Peter (1992). The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back: An Old Heresy for the New Age. Presbyterian & Reformed, 112 pages. ISBN 0-87552-285-8. 
  • Jonas, Hans. Gnosis und spätantiker Geist vol. 2:1-2, Von der Mythologie zur mystischen Philosophie. ISBN 3-525-53841-3. 
  • King, Charles William (1887). The Gnostics and Their Remains. 
  • King, Karen L. (2003). What is Gnosticism?. Harvard University Press, 343 pages. ISBN 0-674-01071-X. 
  • Klimkeit, Hans-Joachim (1993). Gnosis on the Silk Road: Gnostic Texts from Central Asia. Harper, San Francisco. ISBN 0-06-064586-5. 
  • Layton, Bentley (1995). "Prolegomena to the study of ancient gnosticism", in edited by L. Michael White, O. Larry Yarbrough: The Social World of the First Christians: Essays in Honor of Wayne A. Meeks. Fortress Press, Minneapolis. ISBN 0-8006-2585-4. 
  • Layton, Bentley (ed.) (1981). The Rediscovery of Gnosticism: Sethian Gnosticism. E.J. Brill. 
  • Longfellow, Ki (2007). The Secret Magdalene. Random House, New York, 458 pages. ISBN 0-9759255-3-9. 
  • Markschies, Christoph (2000). Gnosis: An Introduction. T & T Clark, 145 pages. ISBN 0-567-08945-2. 
  • Mins, Denis (1994). Irenaeus. Geoffrey Chapman. 
  • Pagels, Elaine (1979). The Gnostic Gospels, 182 pages. ISBN 0-679-72453-2. 
  • Pagels, Elaine (1989). The Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis, 128 pages. ISBN 1-55540-334-4. 
  • Petrement, Simone (1990), A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticsim, Harper and Row ISBN 0-06-066421-5
  • Puma, Jeremy (2005). Running Towards the Bomb: Gnosticism and the End of Civilisation. Geosynchronous Lamps. ISBN 1-4116-4523-5. 
  • Rudolph, Kurt (1987). Gnosis: The Nature & Structure of Gnosticism. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-067018-5. 
  • Walker, Benjamin (1990). Gnosticism: Its History and Influence. Harper Collins. ISBN 1-85274-057-4. 
  • Wapnick, Kenneth (1989). Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles. Foundation for A Course in Miracles, 614 pages. ISBN 0-933291-07-8. 
  • Wilberg, Peter (2003) From New Age to New Gnosis - On the Contemporary Significance of a New Gnostic Spirituality, ISBN 1-904519-07-5
  • Williams, Michael (1996). Rethinking Gnosticism: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01127-3. 

In academia, a Festschrift (; plural, Festschriften, ) is a book honouring a respected academic. ... Stephan A. Hoeller, (1931 - ) is a writer, scholar and religious leader. ... German-born philosopher Hans Jonas (May 10, 1903 - February 5, 1993) studied under Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann in the 1920s. ... ... Karen Leigh King (born 1954) is an American academic working in the field of early Christianity and Gnosticism. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey, (born February 13, 1943), is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. ... Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey, (born February 13, 1943), is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. ... Benjamin Walker (November 25, 1913) is the truncated pen name of George Benjamin Walker, who also writes under the pseudonym Jivan Bhakar. ... Benjamin Walker (November 25, 1913) is the truncated pen name of George Benjamin Walker, who also writes under the pseudonym Jivan Bhakar. ...

Videos

  • The Naked Truth: Exposing the Deceptions About the Origins of Modern Religions (1995).

External links

The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as dmoz (from , its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ... Below are words that designate a set or subset of beliefs. ... Acosmism, in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, (the prefix a- in Greek meaning negation; like un- in English), and only the infinite unmanifest Absolute as real. ... Agnosticism (Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge; after Gnosticism) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality — is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently unknowable due to... The term Animism is derived from the Latin anima, meaning soul.[1][2] In its most general sense, animism is simply the belief in souls. ... Antireligion is opposition to some or all religions in some or all contexts. ... Atheist redirects here. ... For other uses, see Ceremonial Deism. ... This article is about the general notion of determinism in philosophy. ... For other uses, see Dualism (disambiguation). ... Look up Esotericism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article discusses Humanism as a non-theistic life stance. ... In philosophical debates about free will and determinism, libertarianism is generally held to be the combination of the following beliefs: that free will is incompatible with determinism that human beings do possess free will, and that determinism is false All libertarians subscribe to the philosophy of incompatibilism which states that... For other uses, see Monist (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... The New Thought Movement or New Thought is comprised of a loosely allied group of denominations, organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning healing, life force, visualization, and personal power. ... The term nondual is a literal translation of the Sanskrit term advaita, (meaning not two). ... Pandeism (Greek πάν, pan = all and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. ... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. ... Thelema is the English transliteration of the Ancient Greek noun : will, from the verb θέλω: to will, wish, purpose. ... Theosophy is a word and a concept known anciently, commonly understood in the modern era to describe the studies of religious philosophy and metaphysics originating with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from the 1870s. ... In religion, transcendence is a condition or state of being that surpasses, and is independent of, physical existence. ... Below are words that designate a set or subset of beliefs. ... Image File history File links Portal. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Definition of Gnosticism (10687 words)
Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know.
The Gnostics, it is true, borrowed their terminology almost entirely from existing religions, but they only used it to illustrate their great idea of the essential evil of this present existence and the duty to escape it by the help of magic spells and a superhuman Saviour.
The Gnostics seem also to have used oil sacramentally for the healing of the sick, and even the dead were anointed by them to be rendered safe and invisible in their transit through the realms of the archons.
Gnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (7552 words)
Gnosticism is a term used to identify a common belief among various religious movements that likely originated in prehistory and became most active in the first few centuries AD.
Gnostic myth recounts that Sophia (Greek, literally meaning "wisdom"), the Demiurge's mother and a partial aspect of the divine Pleroma or "Fullness", desired to create something apart from the divine totality, and without the receipt of divine assent.
Gnosticism holds that the world is controlled by evil archons, one of whom is the demiurge, the deity of the Old Testament who holds the human spirit captive.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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