Given the concept of salvation through knowledge in Valentinian Gnosis, which is basically anti-materialist, one would not expect concrete physical rituals to play a large role in its practice. The Nag Hammadi Gospel of Philip is widely recognized as a Valentinian text, yet it contains portions of a treatise on the value of baptism, anointing, and the eucharist. The text, which arguably comes from the end of the second century, presents the first developed theory and justification of these sacraments in Early Christianity. The present study reconstructs this theory from the fragmentary text and considers its consequences for the organization of the community. Thus, the book is also an attempt to address the problem of institutionalization in early Christian communities.
Herbert Schmid, Dr. Theol. (2004) Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Ecclesiastical History of the University of Munich.
"...eine überaus spannende,...immer gut lesbare und klar argumentierte Arbeit vorgelegt... Vor allem für Interessierte an frühchristlicher Gnosis ein wirklich empfehlenswertes Buch!" – Tobias Nicklas,
Theologische Literaturzeitung 134 (2009)
Gospel of Philip can arguably be considered as the first developed theory and justification of the sacraments in Early Christianity. This makes the work important for all students of early Christianity and its liturgy." – Bas van Os, in:
Vigiliae Christianae, 2009
"This book testifies to a profound knowledge of the research on the Gospel of Philip and of contemporaneous gnostic and patristic literature. Often the comparisons with patristic testimonies to gnostic traditions are elucidating." – Riemer Roukema, in:
INSTITUTES OF THEOLOGY, ACADEMIC LIBRARIES AND ACADEMICS INTERESTED IN THE HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHURCH, THE HISTORY OF GNOSTICISM AND THE HISTORY OF THE SACRAMENTS, AS WELL AS COPTOLOGISTS.