From: wbarwell@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM (William Barwell) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Gnosticism again. Date: 24 Nov 1995 16:28:19 -0600
Looking for something interesting to read, I picked up a copy of Bible Review. It had an interesting book review on Gnosticism.
Gnosticism and the New Testament, Pheme Perkins, 1993, pp 261, (Minneapolis Fortress), $17
Reviewed by Stevan Davies
Even for specialists, Gnosticism is hard to define. It is a set of forms of religious belief that probably came into existance in the first century BCE as a heretical form of Judaism. Gnosticism flourished in the second to fourth centuries CE as heretical forms of Christianity. It is, as Pheme Perkins correctly argues, not a systematic set of ideas but of "mythemes" and speculations that were combined in a host of different ways both within and without Christian vocabulary. Gnosticism claimed that there exists a higher god that has become traped in the material world due to a flaw in God's wisdom. The book of Genesis was therefore understood to be a story of how the demonic Jewish God, (often labelled Yaldobaoth) tried to trap human souls in material bodies. To free the soul from its entrapment, the Higher God sent a revealer into this world to inform humans of its divine origin. Those who understand this relevation, this gnosis, are empowered to rise above this world of demonic materialism and resume their places in the realm of the Higher God.
Not too far off of the modified 'Gnosticism' of Hubbard, heh?
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