Most an individual drawn to such subject matters as production mythology, Jungian concept, or the assumption of "secret teachings" in historical Judaism and Christianity has discovered "gnosticism" compelling. but the time period "gnosticism," which frequently connotes a unmarried rebellious move opposed to the present religions of past due antiquity, offers the misunderstanding of a monolithic non secular phenomenon. right here Michael Williams demanding situations the validity of the generally invoked classification of historic "gnosticism" and the methods it's been defined. offering such well-known writings and activities because the Apocryphon of John and Valentinian Christianity, Williams uncovers the similarities and changes between a few significant traditions commonly categorised as gnostic. He offers an eloquent, systematic argument for a extra exact technique to talk about those interpretive approaches.
The glossy build "gnosticism" isn't justified via any historical self-definition, and plenty of of the main ordinarily pointed out spiritual gains that supposedly outline gnosticism phenomenologically become questionable. Exploring the pattern units of "gnostic" teachings, Williams refutes generalizations pertaining to asceticism and libertinism, attitudes towards the physique and the created international, and alleged gains of protest, parasitism, and elitism. He sketches a clean version for realizing old recommendations on extra "mainstream" Judaism and Christianity, a version that's educated via sleek learn on dynamics in new non secular routine and is free of the fake stereotypes from which the class "gnosticism" has been constructed.