Re: Gnosticism RE: [GTh] McGrath Review in RBL
- Why not describe the sources and thought processes through which we come to identify the Gnostics? Irenaeus refers to Gnostics, Valentinians, Sethians and others. The Nag Hammadi library contains texts which may be grouped according to their features and which generally match Irenaeus' categories of Sethians and Valentinians (plus some less easily categorisable texts.) Historically scholarship has picked features more-or-less common to Sethians, Valentinians and other writings, groups and individuals described by Irenaeus or in the NHL and other codices and created the category of Gnostcism.
Brakke argues that Gnostic was a self-designation for the Sethians, based on analysis of Irenaeus' use of the term, but doesn't believe that the term should be applied to the Valentinians. Incidentally, no Valentinian text refers to itself as such, or even refers to Valentinus.
Andrew Phillip Smith
- While I am very much in favor of the principle of self-identification, we do have to recognize that we have a number of texts in the Nag Hammadi library about which we have almost no (reliable) information as to which person or group of people produced, transmitted, and/or used them. The only thing to go on is their contents.Stephen--
Stephen C. Carlson
Graduate Program in Religion
- At 08:43 AM 9/18/2011, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
On: Definition of Gnostic
I still like the idea of letting people define themselves. Let me therefore repeat an earlier question:
What is the earliest text that uses the term gnosis or its derivatives in a way that seems to be theologically definitional? Or less carefully worded, what is the oldest self-labeled Gnostic text?
What would be the result of applying this rule to the New Testament? Would any of it be considered "Christian"?
Northern Arizona University