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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} gnostikos, "having knowledge", from γνῶσις{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} gnōsis, knowledge) is a modern term categorizing a collection of ancient religions whose adherents shunned the material world – which they viewed as created by the demiurge – and embraced the spiritual world.<ref>On the complexity of gnosticism, see {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Gnostic ideas influenced many ancient religions<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> that teach that gnosis (variously interpreted as knowledge, enlightenment, salvation, emancipation or 'oneness with God') may be reached by practicing philanthropy to the point of personal poverty, sexual abstinence (as far as possible for hearers, entirely for initiates) and diligently searching for wisdom by helping others.<ref name=gph>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> However, practices varied among those who were Gnostic.

In Gnosticism, the world of the demiurge is represented by the underworld, which is associated with matter, flesh, time and, more particularly, an imperfect, ephemeral world. The world of God is represented by the upper world and is associated with the soul and perfection. The world of God is eternal and not part of the physical. It is impalpable and timeless.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Gnosticism is primarily defined in a Christian context.<ref>Adolf von Harnack (1885) defined it as "the acute Hellenization of Christianity". Moritz Friedländer (1898) advocated Hellenistic Jewish origins, and Wilhelm Bousset (1907) advocated Persian origins.</ref><ref>Karen L. King, What is Gnosticism? (2005) "Bousset held that Gnosticism was a pre-Christian religion, existing alongside of Christianity. It was an Oriental product, anti-Jewish and un-Hellenic... "</ref> In the past, some scholars thought that gnosticism predated Christianity and included pre-Christian religious beliefs and spiritual practices argued to be common to early Christianity, Neoplatonism, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, and Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism). The discussion of gnosticism changed radically with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library and led to a revision of older assumptions. To date, no pre-Christian gnostic texts have been found,<ref>James M. Robinson, one of the chief scholars on Gnosticism said at the 1978 International Conference on Gnosticism at Yale "At this stage we have not found any Gnostic texts that clearly antedate the origin of Christianity." cited in Edwin Yamauchi, "Pre-Christian Gnosticism, the New Testament and Nag Hammadi in recent debate," in Themelios 10.1 (Sept 1984): 22–27.</ref> and gnosticism as a unique and recognizable belief system is considered to be a second century (or later) development.<ref>To this end Paul Trebilco cites the following in his article "Christian Communities In Western Asia Minor Into The Early Second Century: Ignatius And Others As Witnesses Against Bauer" in JETS 49.1: E.M. Yamauchi, “Gnosticism and Early Christianity,” in {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }} ; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; cf. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; For discussions of “Gnosticism” see Yamauchi, “Gnosticism” 29–61; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}.</ref>


Gnosticism sections
Intro  Nature and structure  Origins  History  Major movements  Origin of the term  Studies  Modern times  Terms and concepts  See also  Notes  References  External links  

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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} gnostikos, "having knowledge", from γνῶσις{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} gnōsis, knowledge) is a modern term categorizing a collection of ancient religions whose adherents shunned the material world – which they viewed as created by the demiurge – and embraced the spiritual world.<ref>On the complexity of gnosticism, see {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Gnostic ideas influenced many ancient religions<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> that teach that gnosis (variously interpreted as knowledge, enlightenment, salvation, emancipation or 'oneness with God') may be reached by practicing philanthropy to the point of personal poverty, sexual abstinence (as far as possible for hearers, entirely for initiates) and diligently searching for wisdom by helping others.<ref name=gph>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> However, practices varied among those who were Gnostic.

In Gnosticism, the world of the demiurge is represented by the underworld, which is associated with matter, flesh, time and, more particularly, an imperfect, ephemeral world. The world of God is represented by the upper world and is associated with the soul and perfection. The world of God is eternal and not part of the physical. It is impalpable and timeless.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Gnosticism is primarily defined in a Christian context.<ref>Adolf von Harnack (1885) defined it as "the acute Hellenization of Christianity". Moritz Friedländer (1898) advocated Hellenistic Jewish origins, and Wilhelm Bousset (1907) advocated Persian origins.</ref><ref>Karen L. King, What is Gnosticism? (2005) "Bousset held that Gnosticism was a pre-Christian religion, existing alongside of Christianity. It was an Oriental product, anti-Jewish and un-Hellenic... "</ref> In the past, some scholars thought that gnosticism predated Christianity and included pre-Christian religious beliefs and spiritual practices argued to be common to early Christianity, Neoplatonism, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, and Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism). The discussion of gnosticism changed radically with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library and led to a revision of older assumptions. To date, no pre-Christian gnostic texts have been found,<ref>James M. Robinson, one of the chief scholars on Gnosticism said at the 1978 International Conference on Gnosticism at Yale "At this stage we have not found any Gnostic texts that clearly antedate the origin of Christianity." cited in Edwin Yamauchi, "Pre-Christian Gnosticism, the New Testament and Nag Hammadi in recent debate," in Themelios 10.1 (Sept 1984): 22–27.</ref> and gnosticism as a unique and recognizable belief system is considered to be a second century (or later) development.<ref>To this end Paul Trebilco cites the following in his article "Christian Communities In Western Asia Minor Into The Early Second Century: Ignatius And Others As Witnesses Against Bauer" in JETS 49.1: E.M. Yamauchi, “Gnosticism and Early Christianity,” in {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }} ; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; cf. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; For discussions of “Gnosticism” see Yamauchi, “Gnosticism” 29–61; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}; {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}.</ref>


Gnosticism sections
Intro  Nature and structure  Origins  History  Major movements  Origin of the term  Studies  Modern times  Terms and concepts  See also  Notes  References  External links  

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