Presentation on theme: "Gnosticism 1.Discovery in Nag Hammadi 2.Gnosticism: main features 3.Valentinus & his system."— Presentation transcript:
Gnosticism 1.Discovery in Nag Hammadi 2.Gnosticism: main features 3.Valentinus & his system
Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library Discovered in 1945 in a jar in Egypt 12 codices containing 52 writings Major source of Gnostic texts Coptic Museum in Cairo
Main Features of Gnosticism 1.Intricate and obscure cosmology. 2.Syncretism: blending various religious world-views. 3.Fundamental questions of human existence. 4.Gnosis: secret knowledge as means of attaining salvation. 5.Dualism: spiritual/ material; soul/ body. 6.Docetic christology (some Gnostics). 7.Sense of non-belonging to the world. 8.Ethics: world-denying asceticism or extreme libertinism. 9.Three groups: spiritual (initiated Gnostics); psychic (ordinary believers); fleshy (unbelievers, those who will perish).
Valentinian ‘Pleroma’ = Fullness (see ANF 31, pp ) Ungenerated Father (= Abyss= first aeon) Sophia (= Wisdom = Mother) gave birth outside of the Pleroma to the imperfect creator (= Demiurge = Craftsman = Yaldabaoth) 30 divine beings called aeons
St. Irenaeus of Lyons Approx AD Knew Stt. Polycarp & Justin Bishop of Lyons Wrote Against Haeresies ca. 180.
NT canon: stages of development Witnessing Jesus’ ministry Preaching, teaching, and worshipping Jesus Composition of the written materials Proliferation of writings Informal selection of writings
Proliferation of Apocrypha Gospels attributed to individual apostles or groups: –Peter, James, Philip, Thomas,Judas, Mary, pseudo- Matthew, Matthias, Bartholomew, the Twelve Apostles, Ebionites, Hebrews, Nazaraeans, Egyptians, Gospels under general titles: –Perfection, Truth, the Four Heavenly Regions Gospels attributed to heretics: –Cerinthus, Basilides, Marcion, Apelles, Bardesanes, Mani Other apocryphal literature: –Apocryphon of: John, James; Apocalypse of John, Peter; Correspondence between Paul and Seneca; Shepherd of Hermas Non-canonical gospel fragment
Irenaeus' contribution Four gospels, no less and no more Four beasts of Ezekiel symbolizing the four evangelists
NT canon: informal selection criteria 1.Use in public worship & teaching. 2.Orthodoxy = agreement with the apostolic tradition and rule of faith). 3.Apostolicity = attributed to apostles or ‘apostolic men’. 4.Antiquity =belong to the ‘apostolic age’.
Timeline 3 rd c. B.C.E. Septuagint. Started under Ptolemy II Philadelphus ( BCE) in Alexandria. end of 1 st c. C.E. Council of Javneh: Jewish canon closed with 39 books. NT canon: 50ies: Pauline Epistles. Paul died ca ies-early 70ies: Gospel of Mark. 80ies: Gospels of Matthew and Luke. 90ies: Gospel of John and the rest of the canon. 140ies Marcion produced his own canon. 170ies Tatian published his Diatessaron. 180ies Irenaeus endorsed the four gospels. 200 ( or 4 th c?): Muratorian canon. Some Gnostic Gospels and apocrypha rejected. 367: The first full list of the 27 NT writings mentioned in letter of Athanasius of Alexandria