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Introduction to "Gnosticism"
Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds
Nicola Denzey Lewis
Table of Contents
Abbreviations and Signs Used in this Book
Table of Alternate Names of Tractates
List of Nag Hammadi Tractates by Codex
Maps and Timelines
1. A Fourth-Century Christian Library: the Nag Hammadi Codices
The Nag Hammadi Manuscripts: Some Specifics
Why a Codex or Book?
Making Sense of a Coptic Gnostic Library
How Unusual Is It to Have These Books?
How Good Were These Scribes?
Who Were These Scribes?
Dating and Locating the Codices
Were These Texts Really Gnostic Scripture?
2. The Problem with Gnosticism
Did Gnosticism Really Exist?
Hans Jonas and Gnosticism as a Typological Category
The Messina Definition
Rethinking Gnosticism: Michael Williams and Karen King
The "Yale School"
"Heresy" versus "Orthodoxy"
Is There Any Truth to the Reconstructions of the Heresiologists?
Modern Christianity and Ancient Gnosticism
3. The Roman Empire: Religious Landscapes
The Nag Hammadi Library in Context
The Roman Empire
Other Religions of the Roman Empire
Elements of Roman Life that Affected Christianity
4. Christianity in the Second-Century Empire: An Overview
How did Christianity Work?
Accommodation versus Non-Accommodation: A Christian Dilemma
A Glimpse Forward
5. Gnostic Prayer: Prayer of the Apostle Paul and Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Prayer of the Apostle Paul: Background
The Prayer of Thanksgiving: Background
What 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 Paul
God in the Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Invisible Aspects of Prayer
Other Prayers in the Nag Hammadi Library
Other Prayers Outside the Nag Hammadi Library
6. Valentinus and the Valentinians
Irenaeus on Valentinus and the Valentinians
What Kind of a Christian Was Valentinus?
The Writings of Valentinus
Valentinian Teachers and Later Valentinianism
What Happens to the Valentinians?
7. Some Valentinian Writings from Nag Hammadi: Tripartite Tractate, Interpretation of Knowledge and A Valentinian Exposition
Tripartite Tractate: Background
Interpretation of Knowledge: Background
A Valentinian Exposition: Background
What Makes a Text Valentinian?
Other Signs of Valentinianism from Nag Hammadi
Valentinians on the Ground
8. Two Valentinian Gospels: Gospel of Truth and the Gospel of Philip
The Gospel of Truth: Background
Language and Imagery in the Gospel of Truth
The Gospel of Truth's Creation Myth
Jesus in the Gospel of Truth
Gospel of Philip: Background
Jesus in the Gospel of Philip
Ritual and Sacrament in the Gospel of Philip
9. The Thomas Literature: The Gospel of Thomas, Book of Thomas the Contender
Who Was Thomas?
The End of the World in the Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Thomas's Relation to the New Testament Gospels
What'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 Thomas
Understanding Thomas as Jesus's Twin
10. Sethian Gnosticism: The Three Steles of Seth
How the Heresiologists Don't Help
How to Recognize a Sethian (Text)
Four Elements of Sethianism
A Sethian Case Study: Three Steles of Seth
Finding Those Elusive Sethians
11. In the Beginning. Two Creation Myths: Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the World
Hypostasis of the Archons: History of the Text
On the Origin of the World: History of the Text
The Question of Literary Relationship Between Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the World
The Nature of the Archons in Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the World
Are These Texts "Retakes" of Genesis or Are They Anti-Genesis?
Genesis: Questions and Qualms
Answering Questions, Addressing Qualms
Reading Genesis Like an Ancient Reader
Gender and Power: The Rape of Eve
Rape and Ancestry: Founding a People
Where Does the Tripartite Division of Humankind in These Texts Come From?
The Enthronement of Sabaoth
The End of the Story
12. A Classic Text: The Apocryphon of John
Relationship Between the Manuscripts of the Apocryphon of John
The Secret Book of John and Not-So-Secret Revelations
Apophatic Theology and the Problem of Creation
The Structure of the Cosmos
The Creation of Ialdabaoth and the Repentance of Sophia
The Creation of Humankind
Biblical Exegesis in the Apocryphon of John
The Pronoia Hymn
Ways 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 World
13. A Classic Text: The Gospel of the Egyptians
Background and Structure of the Text
Cosmology of the Gospel of the Egyptians
The Lower Cosmos and Its Beings
Recounting Sacred History: A Sethian Mass
What Are Those Strings of Vowels?
The Three Descents of Seth
Baptism in the Gospel of the Egyptians
How 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 Resurrection
Afterlife Conceptions in the Roman Empire
What Happened in Rome When Someone Died?
Did Gnostics Have Their Own Death Rites?
15. Deconstructing the Divine Feminine: Thunder: Perfect Mind and Trimorphic Protennoia
The Narrative Structure of Thunder: Perfect Mind
The Trimorphic Protennoia in Brief
Wisdom Sayings and "I-sayings"
Who Is Protennoia/Ennoia?
The Ending of the Trimorphic Protennoia
The Trimorphic Protennoia and the Gospel of John
Thunder: Perfect Mind and Social Violence
The Question of Audience
16. What Are Pagan Texts Doing in a Christian Library? Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth; Plato's Republic; Asclepius; Sentences of Sextus
A Few Hermetic Themes
17. Apostolic Traditions in Conflict: Letter of Peter to Philip, Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles, Apocalypse of Peter
The Letter of Peter to Philip: Background
Peter and the Tradition of the Twelve Apostles
Peter (and Paul) in Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Twelve Disciples and Apocryphal Acts
Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles: Background
Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles and Allegory
Apocalypse of Peter: Background
Are These Petrine Texts Gnostic?
Authority and Visions: The Post-Resurrection Appearances
18. Visions of the End! Apocalypses in Nag Hammadi: Apocalypse of Paul, Apocalypse of Adam
Building a Social Context
Judaism and Apocalyptic Literature
Features of Ancient Apocalyptic Literature
The End of the World as We Know It?
Apocalypses at Nag Hammadi
Apocalyptic Passages in Other Nag Hammadi Writings
19. The Sethian Platonizing Apocalypses
Zostrianos, Allogenes, and Marsanes
Greek Philosophy and Gnosticism
What's Apocalyptic about Sethian Apocalypses?
Baptism in Sethian Apocalypses
20. Beyond Nag Hammadi: Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene
Background of the Codex Tchacos
Gospel of Judas: Background
Who Was Judas?
The Cosmology of the Gospel of Judas
Is the Gospel of Judas Sethian?
What the Gospel of Judas Tells Us about Proto-Orthodox Christianity
A Gospel without Salvation?
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
Gospel of Mary: Background
Who Was Mary?
The Cosmology of the Gospel of Mary
Jesus in the Gospel of Mary
Salvation in the Gospel of Mary
What the Gospel of Mary Tells Us about Proto-Orthodox Christianity