Gnosticism Essay

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Gnosticism, which was viewed as a threat to early Christian beliefs can be defined as the “thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis (King, p.5).” Besides the dictionary’s condensed definition summarizing Gnosticism, “Gnosticism” is a much more complex belief composed of numerous myths defining humans and God and viewed as an ancient Christian heresy. Gnosticism is rather a term invented in the early modern period to aid in defining the boundaries of normative Christianity. Yet, it has been mistakenly come to be thought of as a distinctive Christian heresy or seen as a religion in its own…show more content…
One of the most important characteristics is mythopeia. Mythopoeia is, “the construction of elaborate myth through which revealed gnosis is transmitted (Birger, p. 14, 17). The Gnostics saw these myths as a divine revelation, which gave more expressions to their beliefs when thought. This also meant that each teacher would tell a story in their own words. There were a handful of teachers who taught Gnosticism. They had many beliefs and teachings where they were seeking to address their ideas and problems. Some of these teachers included: Simon the Magician, Basilides, Valentinus, and Marcion. Simon the Magician is introduced in the Bible as, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power”. This statement is showing Simon as God by saying he is the great power. No one really knows exactly when Gnosticism became a movement. Orthodox writers believe that Simon was the one to begin this movement. He is the first prophet to be known to us by name. He thought that the Garden of Eden, exodus from Egypt, and the crossing of the Red Seas were allegories. He believed in Jesus. Some believe he may have been the Simon mentioned in Acts 8: 9-24. He wanted to buy the Holy Spirit from those that believe. Orthodox writers like Justin
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