Similarities And Differences Between Gnosticism And Christianity

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Gnosticism is nearly as old as Christianity and some would argue very similar to Christianity in beliefs. However, there are distinct differences to Gnosticism in beliefs, doctrines, and practices from, and practices of Christianity. Gnosticism had several key leaders during its early years, few of whom we will discuss at further length later in this paper. There were also several key leaders of the early Christian church who denounced Gnosticism for heresy and claimed that it was pseudo way to Christianity. Up until the 1900’s, very little was known about the precise beliefs of Gnosticism, then this changed with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi works which may have been written by Valentinus. Gnosticism is a more distinct religion than it…show more content…
Their idea of salvation is that God sent a “spiritual redeemer” to teach those humans that will listen where their true home is and that they can obtain their salvation through self-knowledge. Gnostics held to the idea that Jesus was the “spiritual redeemer” sent from God to teach humans about their true home. However they did not believe as Christians do that Jesus was the incarnate of God because they believed that all material is evil and that God could not take on the form of a human who died and rose bodily. To justify that Jesus was indeed their spiritual redeemer they claimed that whoever entered Jesus at his baptism left him before his death on the cross. So while Gnostics identify themselves as Christians many of their doctrines are not biblically based. Scholars have not found sufficient proof, but tradition holds that Simon Magus and Cerinthus were the founders of the Gnostic faith. Tradition also holds that Paul on his second missionary journey encountered Simon and his beliefs of Gnosticism. Later we will discuss Paul’s views of Gnosticism. Cerinthus was a Jewish-Gnostic from Asia Minor who lived around 100 A.D. Gnosticism was perhaps the most well known in Alexandria because from there haled Valentinus most famous of all Alexandrian Gnostics. Valentinus wrote his Letter to Rheginos in order to clarify the standpoint of Gnostics in regards to redemption and that freeing of the spirit comes not by
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