Introduction to "Gnosticism": Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds

Paperback | December 31, 2012

byNicola Denzey Lewis

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Discovered in Egypt in 1945, the fascinating and challenging Nag Hammadi writings forever changed our understanding of early Christianity. State-of-the-art and the only volume of its kind, Introduction to "Gnosticism": Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds guides students through the mostsignificant of the Nag Hammadi texts. Employing an exceptionally lucid and accessible writing style, Nicola Denzey Lewis groups the texts by theme and genre, places them in the broader context of the ancient world, and reveals their most inscrutable mysteries.Ideal for use in courses in Early Christianity/Origins of Christianity, Christianity to 1500, Gnostic Gospels, Gnosticism, Early Christian Writings, Orthodoxy and Heresy, and New Testament Studies, Introduction to "Gnosticism" is enhanced by numerous pedagogical features, including images of themanuscripts, study and discussion questions, annotated bibliographies, tables, diagrams, and a glossary.

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Discovered in Egypt in 1945, the fascinating and challenging Nag Hammadi writings forever changed our understanding of early Christianity. State-of-the-art and the only volume of its kind, Introduction to "Gnosticism": Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds guides students through the mostsignificant of the Nag Hammadi texts. Employing an ex...

Nicola Denzey Lewis is an award-winning teacher who has taught Gnosticism for fifteen years at Bowdoin College, Dartmouth University, and Harvard University. An internationally recognized expert in Gnosticism, she is the author of two books and numerous articles on various aspects of Nag Hammadi. She is currently Visiting Associate Pro...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:408 pages, 9.25 × 7.5 × 0.68 inPublished:December 31, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199755310

ISBN - 13:9780199755318

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviations and Signs Used in this BookTable of Alternate Names of TractatesList of Nag Hammadi Tractates by CodexMaps and Timelines1. A Fourth-Century Christian Library: the Nag Hammadi CodicesThe Nag Hammadi Manuscripts: Some SpecificsWhy a Codex or Book?Making Sense of a Coptic Gnostic LibraryHow Unusual Is It to Have These Books?How Good Were These Scribes?Who Were These Scribes?Dating and Locating the CodicesWere These Texts Really Gnostic Scripture?2. The Problem with GnosticismDid Gnosticism Really Exist?Hans Jonas and Gnosticism as a Typological CategoryThe Messina DefinitionRethinking Gnosticism: Michael Williams and Karen KingThe "Yale School""Heresy" versus "Orthodoxy"Is There Any Truth to the Reconstructions of the Heresiologists?Modern Christianity and Ancient Gnosticism3. The Roman Empire: Religious LandscapesThe Nag Hammadi Library in ContextThe Roman EmpireReligious ContextsOther Religions of the Roman EmpireElements of Roman Life that Affected Christianity4. Christianity in the Second-Century Empire: An OverviewHow did Christianity Work?Accommodation versus Non-Accommodation: A Christian DilemmaRegional ChristianitiesA Glimpse Forward5. Gnostic Prayer: Prayer of the Apostle Paul and Prayer of ThanksgivingThe Prayer of the Apostle Paul: BackgroundThe Prayer of Thanksgiving: BackgroundWhat Constituted Prayer in the Ancient World?Why Did Its Ancient Copyist Choose Prayer of the Apostle Paul to Begin Codex I?The View of Jesus in Prayer of the Apostle PaulGod in the Prayer of ThanksgivingThe Invisible Aspects of PrayerOther Prayers in the Nag Hammadi LibraryOther Prayers Outside the Nag Hammadi Library6. Valentinus and the ValentiniansIrenaeus on Valentinus and the ValentiniansWhat Kind of a Christian Was Valentinus?The Writings of ValentinusValentinian Teachers and Later ValentinianismWhat Happens to the Valentinians?7. Some Valentinian Writings from Nag Hammadi: Tripartite Tractate, Interpretation of Knowledge and A Valentinian ExpositionTripartite Tractate: BackgroundInterpretation of Knowledge: BackgroundA Valentinian Exposition: BackgroundWhat Makes a Text Valentinian?Other Signs of Valentinianism from Nag HammadiValentinians on the Ground8.8. Two Valentinian Gospels: Gospel of Truth and the Gospel of PhilipThe Gospel of Truth: BackgroundLanguage and Imagery in the Gospel of TruthThe Gospel of Truth's Creation MythJesus in the Gospel of TruthGospel of Philip: BackgroundJesus in the Gospel of PhilipRitual and Sacrament in the Gospel of Philip9. The Thomas Literature: The Gospel of Thomas, Book of Thomas the ContenderWho Was Thomas?The End of the World in the Gospel of ThomasThe Gospel of Thomas's Relation to the New Testament GospelsWhat's Second-Century about This Gospel?The Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of John: An Early Christian Conflict?Gnosis and Self-Knowledge in the Gospel of ThomasUnderstanding Thomas as Jesus's Twin10. Sethian Gnosticism: The Three Steles of SethHow the Heresiologists Don't HelpHow to Recognize a Sethian (Text)Sethian TypologiesFour Elements of SethianismA Sethian Case Study: Three Steles of SethFinding Those Elusive Sethians11. In the Beginning. Two Creation Myths: Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the WorldHypostasis of the Archons: History of the TextOn the Origin of the World: History of the TextThe Question of Literary Relationship Between Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the WorldThe Nature of the Archons in Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the WorldAre These Texts "Retakes" of Genesis or Are They Anti-Genesis?Genesis: Questions and QualmsAnswering Questions, Addressing QualmsReading Genesis Like an Ancient ReaderGender and Power: The Rape of EveRape and Ancestry: Founding a PeopleWhere Does the Tripartite Division of Humankind in These Texts Come From?The Enthronement of SabaothThe End of the Story12. A Classic Text: The Apocryphon of JohnRelationship Between the Manuscripts of the Apocryphon of JohnThe Secret Book of John and Not-So-Secret RevelationsApophatic Theology and the Problem of CreationThe Structure of the CosmosThe Creation of Ialdabaoth and the Repentance of SophiaThe Creation of HumankindBiblical Exegesis in the Apocryphon of JohnThe Pronoia HymnWays Out (of Enslavement)Who Wrote, and Read, This Text?EXCURSUS: Table of Genesis Comparisons between the Apocryphon of John, Hypostasis of the Archons, and On the Origin of the World13. A Classic Text: The Gospel of the EgyptiansBackground and Structure of the TextCosmology of the Gospel of the EgyptiansThe Lower Cosmos and Its BeingsRecounting Sacred History: A Sethian MassWhat Are Those Strings of Vowels?The Three Descents of SethBaptism in the Gospel of the EgyptiansHow Christian is the Gospel of the Egyptians?14. Dealing with Death: First Apocalypse of James, Second Apocalypse of James, Apocryphon of James, Treatise on the ResurrectionAfterlife Conceptions in the Roman EmpireWhat Happened in Rome When Someone Died?Did Gnostics Have Their Own Death Rites?15. Deconstructing the Divine Feminine: Thunder: Perfect Mind and Trimorphic ProtennoiaThe Narrative Structure of Thunder: Perfect MindThe Trimorphic Protennoia in BriefWisdom Sayings and "I-sayings"Who Is Protennoia/Ennoia?The Ending of the Trimorphic ProtennoiaThe Trimorphic Protennoia and the Gospel of JohnThunder: Perfect Mind and Social ViolenceThe Question of AudienceLast Thoughts16. What Are Pagan Texts Doing in a Christian Library? Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth; Plato's Republic; Asclepius; Sentences of SextusThe HermeticaAsclepiusA Few Hermetic Themes17. Apostolic Traditions in Conflict: Letter of Peter to Philip, Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles, Apocalypse of PeterThe Letter of Peter to Philip: BackgroundPeter and the Tradition of the Twelve ApostlesPeter (and Paul) in Acts of the ApostlesActs of the Twelve Disciples and Apocryphal ActsActs of Peter and the Twelve Apostles: BackgroundActs of Peter and the Twelve Apostles and AllegoryApocalypse of Peter: BackgroundAre These Petrine Texts Gnostic?Authority and Visions: The Post-Resurrection Appearances18. Visions of the End! Apocalypses in Nag Hammadi: Apocalypse of Paul, Apocalypse of AdamBuilding a Social ContextJudaism and Apocalyptic LiteratureFeatures of Ancient Apocalyptic LiteratureThe End of the World as We Know It?Apocalypses at Nag HammadiApocalyptic Passages in Other Nag Hammadi Writings19. The Sethian Platonizing ApocalypsesZostrianos, Allogenes, and MarsanesGreek Philosophy and GnosticismWhat's Apocalyptic about Sethian Apocalypses?Baptism in Sethian Apocalypses20. Beyond Nag Hammadi: Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary MagdaleneBackground of the Codex TchacosGospel of Judas: BackgroundWho Was Judas?The Cosmology of the Gospel of JudasIs the Gospel of Judas Sethian?What the Gospel of Judas Tells Us about Proto-Orthodox ChristianityA Gospel without Salvation?The Gospel of Mary MagdaleneGospel of Mary: BackgroundWho Was Mary?The Cosmology of the Gospel of MaryJesus in the Gospel of MarySalvation in the Gospel of MaryWhat the Gospel of Mary Tells Us about Proto-Orthodox ChristianityIllustration CreditsGlossaryIndex