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In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

Abstract

In an article from 2017, I introduced the study of the anthropological framework of Nag Hammadi texts and established the existence in this corpus of two anthropological patterns, the bipartite and tripartite. The present study continues the analysis by means of an exhaustive investigation of the evidence provided by the three Hermetic treatises included in Nag Hammadi Codex VI, namely, the Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth, the Prayer of Thanksgiving, and the fragment of Asclepius. It concludes that, far from presenting a tripartite anthropological framework, “die für die Gnosis typische trichotomische Anthropologie,” in the words of Karl-Wolfgang Tröger, these three Hermetic treatises only include a bipartite of view of the human being.

Open Access
In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

Abstract

One expects that ancient Gnostic sources would be hostile towards Moses as the ignorant prophet of the deficient demiurge. While some ancient Gnostic sources uphold this perspective, others indicate greater ambivalence, as they both rely upon and resist Moses’s authority. Other sources cite Moses positively and present him as a prophet of true, spiritual realities, even to the point of portraying Moses as a proto-Gnostic. This variety of attitudes, moreover, follows exegetical patterns stemming from New Testament writings, especially Matthew, and social patterns, providing an index to how Gnostics viewed themselves vis-à-vis other Christians and other Christian Gnostics.

In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

Abstract

In this article, I present a new reading of the Gospel of Truth, Nag Hammadi Codex I.3. Although Gnostics often have been described as taking part in the Godhead, the consequences are understudied. According to my analysis, the knowers are not subordinated to, but on equal footing with the Savior. Here, I draw the attention to some gradual processes. The Savior understands more and develops in the encounter with the need of others, saved as well as not yet saved. Through mission and deepening insight, the knowers more and more actualize themselves as Saviors, thereby embodying divinity. The consequence of this is a gradual actualization of the godhead itself. As the knowers gradually are enlightened and their divine nature disclosed, the insight of the godhead accordingly evolves. Thus, mutuality is a key concept. The Saviors cannot actualize their own nature without first having been saved and then they need to save others. The godhead, Saviors and saved are interdependent. The godhead evolves into actualized divinity through the evolving enlightenment of all its parts. Thus, the daily-life encountering with others is of fundamental importance on all levels, from the individual to the cosmic.

Open Access
In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

Abstract

This article examines the ways in which gnostic ideas of spiritual growth, enlightenment, and transcendence resonate with the “cyber-gnostic” ideology presented through the viral “Cicada 3301” internet mystery. The content of the mystery situates traditionally spiritual enlightenment in the libertarian concerns of freedom of information and privacy, and in the tiered cosmology of the “surface/deep/dark” web. Additionally, this article evaluates the potential for classifying the Cicada 3301 mystery and its surrounding community as an online form of religious expression. Ultimately, it is argued that the mystery offers an insight into how philosophical notions of identity and communication interface with spiritual notions of enlightenment and transcendence through the experience of cybertechnology.

In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies
Author: Byard Bennett

Abstract

This chapter discusses a short work entitled The Proposition of a Manichaean (CPG 6998, 7011), which argues for the existence of two unoriginate first principles, one good and one evil. The Proposition has been transmitted in conjunction with three philosophical works written by Christian authors in the sixth to eleventh centuries (Zacharias of Mitylene’s Adversus Manichaeos, Paul the Persian’s Defensio, and John Italus’ Quaestiones quodlibetales). I provide a critical edition and English translation of the Proposition and show that the text was revised and adapted several times during the course of its transmission. Although a Manichaean origin cannot be securely established for the Proposition, the work was preserved and transmitted because it played a role in later Neoplatonic instruction in logic. The revisions made to the work arose from a need to simplify the text so that students could more easily follow the argument. The discussion and refutation of the Proposition by Christian authors can thus be seen as part of a broader trend toward expanding the study of paralogisms (fallacious arguments) in sixth-century teaching of logic.

In: Manichaeism and Early Christianity