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Edited by Edmondo F. Lupieri

An international team of twenty scholars under Edmondo F. Lupieri’s direction produced Mary Magdalene from the New Testament to the New Age and Beyond. While the historical figure of the Magdalene may be lost forever, the construction of her literary images and their transformations and adaptations over the centuries are a lively testimony to human creativity and faith. Different pictures of Mary travelled through time and space, from history to legend and mythology, crossed religious boundaries, going beyond the various Christianities, to become a “sign of contradiction” for many. This book describes a special case of biblical reception history, that of the New Testament figure of a woman whose presence at the side of Jesus has been disturbing for some, but proves to be inspiring for others.

Brill's Companion to Hellenistic Astronomy

The Science in Its Contexts

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Edited by Alan C. Bowen and Francesca Rochberg

In Hellenistic Astronomy: The Science in its Contexts, new essays by renowned scholars address questions about what the ancient science of the heavens was in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean worlds, and the numerous contexts in which it was pursued. Together, these essays will enable readers not only to understand the technical accomplishments of this ancient science but also to appreciate their historical significance by locating the questions, challenges, and issues inspiring them in their political, medical, philosophical, literary, and religious contexts.

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Edited by Jörg Frey, Matthijs Dulk, den and Jan van der Watt

In the 2016 Radboud Prestige Lectures, published in this volume, Jörg Frey develops a new perspective on 2 Peter by arguing that the letter is dependent on the Apocalypse of Peter. Frey argues that reading 2 Peter against the backdrop of the Apocalypse of Peter sheds new light on many longstanding interpretative questions and offers fresh insights into the history of second-century Christianity. Frey’s lectures are followed by responses from leading scholars in the field, who discuss Frey’s proposal in ways both critical and constructive. Contributors include: Richard Bauckham, Jan Bremmer, Terrance Callan, Paul Foster, Jeremy Hultin, Tobias Nicklas, David Nienhuis and Martin Ruf.

The Ethics of The Tripartite Tractate (NHC I, 5)

A Study of Determinism and Early Christian Philosophy of Ethics

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Paul Linjamaa

In The Ethics of The Tripartite Tractate (NHC I, 5) Paul Linjamaa offers the first full length thematical monograph on the longest Valentinian text extant today. By investigating the ethics of The Tripartite Tractate, this study offers in-depth exploration of the text's ontology, epistemology, theory of will, and passions, as well as the anthropology and social setting of the text.

Valentinians have often been associated with determinism, which has been presented as “Gnostic” and then not taken seriously, or been disregarded as an invention of ancient intra-Christian polemics. Linjamaa challenges this conception and presents insights into how early Christian determinism actually worked, and how it effectively sustained viable and functioning ethics.

L’Hymnaire manichéen chinois Xiabuzan 下部讚 à l’usage des Auditeurs

Un manuscrit trouvé à Dunhuang, traduit, commenté et annoté

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Lucie Rault

L’Hymnaire manichéen chinois offre un ensemble de 25 hymnes destinées à la pratique de la religion manichéenne par la Section des Auditeurs. Mis au jour à Dunhuang (actuel Gansu) au début du 20ème siècle, après être resté enfoui dans une cache pendant quelque douze siècles, ce rouleau écrit en langue chinoise, comprend plusieurs hymnes transcrites de diverses langues courantes en Asie centrale à l’époque de sa rédaction.
Cette traduction apporte une vision nouvelle de la Religion de Lumière, telle qu’elle se vit adoptée par les Chinois, ainsi que de l’ampleur du message du prophète iranien Mani (216-276), aspirant à une portée universelle et destiné à relier entre eux les hommes de tous horizons de par le monde, quelque soit leur origine, leur langue ou leur histoire.



L’Hymnaire manichéen chinois presents a collection of twenty-five hymns that were intended for the Manichean religious practice of the class of Auditors. The scroll, which came to light in the early twentieth century in the province of Dunhuang (modern Ganzu) after lying buried for around twelve centuries, contains several hymns transcribed from a variety of languages that were current in Central Asia during the epoch of its redaction. This translation provides a new perspective on the Religion of Light as it was adopted in China, and on the wide reach of the message of the Iranian prophet Mani (216-276) that aimed at universal scope and was meant to unite people from all parts of the world, of whatever origin, language and history.

The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus

The Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom

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Christian H. Bull

In The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus, Christian H. Bull argues that the treatises attributed to Hermes Trismegistus reflect the spiritual exercises and ritual practices of loosely organized brotherhoods in Egypt. These small groups were directed by Egyptian priests educated in the traditional lore of the temples, but also conversant with Greek philosophy. Such priests, who were increasingly dispossessed with the gradual demise of the Egyptian temples, could find eager adherents among a Greek-speaking audience seeking for the wisdom of the Egyptian Hermes, who was widely considered to be an important source for the philosophies of Pythagoras and Plato. The volume contains a comprehensive analysis of the myths of Hermes Trismegistus, a reevaluation of the Way of Hermes, and a contextualization of this ritual tradition.

The Gospel of Thomas and Plato

A Study of the Impact of Platonism on the “Fifth Gospel”

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Ivan Miroshnikov

In The Gospel of Thomas and Plato, Ivan Miroshnikov contributes to the study of the earliest Christian engagements with philosophy by offering the first systematic discussion of the impact of Platonism on the Gospel of Thomas, one of the most intriguing and cryptic works among the Nag Hammadi writings. Miroshnikov demonstrates that a Platonist lens is indispensable to the understanding of a number of the Thomasine sayings that have, for decades, remained elusive as exegetical cruces. The Gospel of Thomas is thus an important witness to the early stages of the process that eventually led to the Platonist formulation of certain Christian dogmata.

The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani

Part III: Pages 343-442 (Chapters 321-347)

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Iain Gardner, Jason D. Beduhn and Paul Dilley

The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani, a Coptic papyrus codex preserved at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, describes Mani’s mission, teachings and debates with sages in the courts of the Sasanian empire during the reign of Shapur I; with an extended account of his last days and death under Bahram I. The text offers an unprecedented new source for the history of religions in Late Antiquity, including interactions of Manichaean, Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions in Iran, remarkably transmitted into the Mediterranean world as part of Manichaean missionary literature. This is the first of four fascicles constituting the editio princeps, based on enhanced digital and multispectral imaging and extended autoptic study of the manuscript.

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Herbert Schmid

In Christen und Sethianer. Ein Beitrag zur Diskussion um den religionsgeschichtlichen und den kirchengeschichtlichen Begriff der Gnosis versucht Herbert Schmid zu zeigen, dass es vermutlich keine Vorform der Gnosis an den Rändern des antiken Judentums gegeben hat. Sowohl Schenkes Sethianismus, als auch der Valentinianismus und andere frühe Ausprägungen der Gnosis sind vermutlich als frühe Versuche christlicher Theologie zu begreifen. In diesem Zusammenhang erweist sich der Begriff Gnosis als eine durchaus brauchbare Kategorie, um antike Religionsgeschichte zu beschreiben.

In Christen und Sethianer. Ein Beitrag zur Diskussion um den religionsgeschichtlichen und den kirchengeschichtlichen Begriff der Gnosis, Herbert Schmid argues that there are no hints for a more primitive and independent form of Gnosticism which developed on the fringes of ancient Judaism. Not only the Valentinian school, but also Hans-Martin Schenkes Sethianism and other early manifestations of Gnosis are probably best understood as early attempts to phrase Christian theology. In this context, the term Gnosticism is a useful category to describe ancient religious history.

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Edited by Ulla Tervahauta, Ivan Miroshnikov, Outi Lehtipuu and Ismo Dunderberg

Women and knowledge are interconnected in several ways in late ancient and early Christian discourses, not least because wisdom (Sophia) and spiritual knowledge (Gnosis) were frequently personified as female entities. Ancient texts deal with idealized women and use feminine imagery to describe the divine but they also debate women’s access to and capacity of gaining knowledge. Combining rhetorical analysis with social historical approaches, the contributions in this book cover a wide array of source materials, drawing special attention to the so-called Gnostic texts. The fourteen essays, written by prominent experts of ancient Christianity, are dedicated to Professor Antti Marjanen (University of Helsinki).