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Title: Gnosticism: An investigation into the possible origins of some of its salient features.
Authors: King, Nicholas David.
First Published: 1990
Award date: 1990
Abstract: This essay attempts to uncover various areas in the study of Gnosticism worthy of further research, such as the emphasis on various divine or angelic intermediaries in the creative and redemptive processes and the widespread tendency towards the allegorisation or re-interpretation of ancient myths, although many of them are here investigated. It is divided into six chapters, the first of which aspires to trace the possible impact of both the Graeco-Roman mystery religions and the oriental cults upon the Gnostic movement. The second chapter attempts to investigate Judaism, (which was in the Classical world viewed as a mystery religion), and its relevance to Gnostic thought, while the third chapter seeks to describe the place of the Holy Spirit within Jewish mysticism, whether as the creative "Ruach", or the "Shekinah", (or "Divine Indwelling"), usually described in female terms. The fourth chapter endeavours to re-examine the myth of Simon Magus and his female companion, Helen, and details the possible backgrounds of Simonian thought which for the early haeresiologists, such as Irenaeus and Hippolytus, was the source of all the Gnostic heresies. The fifth chapter dwells on the astrological and calendrical aspects of Gnosticism and examines the Jewish symbolism of the "Quabbalah", which as Scholem has demonstrated betrays much Gnostic influence, while the sixth chapter attempts to explore in greater detail the classic fourfold Gnostic myth as expounded in the systems of Basilides and Valentinus, among others.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, College of Arts, Humanities & Law
Leicester Theses

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