Browse results

Restricted Access

The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus

The Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom

Series:

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.
Restricted Access

The Gospel of Thomas and Plato

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

Series:

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.
Restricted Access

The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani

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

Series:

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.
Restricted Access

Series:

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.
Restricted Access

Series:

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).
Restricted Access

Series:

Christopher A. Graham

In The Church as Paradise and the Way Therein: Early Christian Appropriation of Genesis 3:22–24, Christopher A. Graham demonstrates that early Christian authors employed the words “paradise” and “way” as allusions to the expulsion narrative (Genesis 3:22–24) to signify that the benefits available in protological Paradise were once again accessible in and through Jesus and the Church.

The centrality of the expulsion narrative in their literary milieus gave these authors confidence that readers would discern these allusions. After considering the reception of the expulsion in texts circulating within the early Christian milieu, Graham turns to the texts of Luke and Irenaeus of Lyons. Both authors drew from an interpretive tradition in which a return to Paradise was desirable. Both celebrated Jesus's reversal of Adam's expulsion and the constitution of Jesus's followers as the location and means by which humanity could continue to access divine truth and life. For both authors, the Church is Paradise and the way therein.
Restricted Access

Series:

Kevin T. Van Bladel

This historical study argues that the Mandaean religion originated under Sasanid rule in the fifth century, not earlier as has been widely accepted. It analyzes primary sources in Syriac, Mandaic, and Arabic to clarify the early history of Mandaeism. This religion, along with several other, shorter-lived new faiths, such as Kentaeism, began in a period of state-sponsored persecution of Babylonian paganism. The Mandaeans would survive to become one of many groups known as Ṣābians by their Muslim neighbors. Rather than seeking to elucidate the history of Mandaeism in terms of other religions to which it can be related, this study approaches the religion through the history of its social contexts.
Restricted Access

Series:

Outi Lehtipuu and Ismo Dunderberg