The Apocalypse of Adam and Pre-Christian Gnosticism

in Vigiliae Christianae
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Abstract

Solomonic legend evolved through four clearly perceptible stages. The first stage found in the pre-Christian literature was marked by the most primitive notions about Solomon-as-exorcist. These legends about Solomon's abilities, however, were controlled by several qualifiers. Solomon controlled the demons by means of his God-given gift of wisdom along with the aid of some archaic talismans. The second evolutionary stage which spanned the first and second centuries A.D. expanded the theme of Solomon-as-exorcist. Solomon controlled the demons with talismans (his ring, seal, shield, magic roots, incantations, magic bottles ...), but God was still seen as the ultimate source of his power. Demons were used by the exorcist solely to help build the Temple in Jerusalem. The third stage, from the late second through the fourth centuries, was a watershed in the development of Solomonic legend. Solomon-the-magician extraordinaire was first attested at this date. Solomon's source of power was no longer readily identified with God. At this stage, demons were used by Solomon to accomplish manifold tasks. The final stage of development, dominated by Muslim adaptations, expanded the theme of Solomon-the-wizard and the idea of subservient demons, to imaginative heights.

The Apocalypse of Adam and Pre-Christian Gnosticism

in Vigiliae Christianae

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