Theology & Religion

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Beliefs and Practices

In the series Religious Beliefs & Practices

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The discovery of Gnostic texts in 1945, some probably from the second century, provide prime source material about Gnosticism as a system of “gnosis” necessary for salvation, and about the origin, meaning and destiny of human life. The author provides a fresh interpretation and evaluation of Gnostic texts and their impact on early Christianity.

As an alternative to “orthodox” Christianity these texts shed light on the characters and events of the New Testament, and the reasons why the “orthodox” community opposed Gnosticism so strongly and sought to repress its ideas. The text includes information about initiation rites into the mystery of this secret knowledge and practices of the “elect”.

The questions which Gnosticism opens up have been debated throughout the ages and continue to be relevant today. This book is essential reading for those who seek light on the origins and meaning of Christianity, and the true meaning of salvation.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-902210-07-0
Paperback Price: £13.95 / $24.95
Release Date: September 1999
Page Extent / Format: 234 pp. / 216 x 138 mm
Illustrated: Yes


Preface and Acknowledgements

1 The World of Gnosticism

Gnosis and gnosticism
Gnosis and faith
The true gnostic
Gnosis and revelation
Gnosis and experience
Gnosis and initiation
Presenting gnosis

2 Gnostic Communities: Origins and History

The east and gnosis
The Iranian experience
The Jewish dimension
Apocalyptic writings
Gnosticism and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Gnosticism in the early Christian centuries
Why did gnosticism disappear?
Jacob Boehme (1575–1624)
Goethe's Faust
William Blake (1757–1827)
Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961)

3 Gnosticism and its Literature
The Church Fathers
Apocryphal works
Mandaean literature
Manichaean literature
Hermetic literature
The Bruce Codex and Codex Askew
The Nag Hammadi texts
Censorship and tolerance

4 Beliefs and Practices


5 Orthodoxy and Heresy

Simon Magus, Father of Heresy
Cerinthus, gnostic teacher
Marcion, gnostic reformer
Valentinus, gnostic poet and visionary
Basilides, gnostic mythologist
Irenaeus, defender of the faith
Hippolytus, refuter of heresy

6 Gospel and the Gnostic Gospels

Interpreting the gospel
The Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Philip
The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Truth
The Gospel of the Egyptians

7 Gnosticism and the Gospel of John

Interpreting the gospel
The prologue
The sacrament of geography
The gnostic redeemer

8 Conclusion

Notes Pre Nag Hammadi Texts/Codex Index of the Texts
Select Bibliography

A prized edition to any personal, seminary, and academic reference collection.
Midwest Book Review

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