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Archive for the ‘Gnosticism’ Category

The Demiurge in Ancient Thought

In Cambridge University Press, Carl Séan O'BRIEN, Demiurge, Gnosticism, Paul Linjamaa on June 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm


2016.06.09 | Carl Séan O’Brien, The Demiurge in Ancient Thought: Secondary Gods and Divine Mediators. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781107075368, £65.00.

Review by Paul Linjamaa, Lund University.

This book is a convenient and detailed compilation of ideas concerning the Demiurge and “demiurgry” in ancient thought—ideas on how the cosmos was generated and how matter was ordered and sustained. The work is the published version of a PhD-dissertation at Trinity College, Dublin.

The book begins with a  chapter that briefly introduces and situates the subject of “demiugry” and presents the Platonic background of it in relation to Stoic, Aristotelian and Judeo-Christian thought. Chapter 2 goes over to a detailed presentation of Plato’s introduction of the Demiurge-character in his Timaeus, as well his other dialogues. The main thrust of the book lies in chapters 3-10, in presenting the way Plato’s Demiurge was received and developed among philosophers (Jew, Gentile and Christian) from the first to the third century CE. Read the rest of this entry »


The Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia as Handbooks to Eternity

In Books of Jeu, Brill, Erin EVANS, Gnosticism, Nag Hammadi, Paul Linjamaa, Pistis Sophia on October 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm


2015.10.18 | Erin Evans. The Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia as Handbooks to Eternity: Exploring the Gnostic Mysteries to the Ineffable. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 89. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Review by Paul Linjamaa, Lund University.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

This is a much needed book. After the Nag Hammadi-texts became available for the broader scholarly public – after many years of preservation work, editing and legal quarrels – much effort has been devoted to tracing the different Christian stances found in the large corpus. However, there have been surprisingly few studies on the very interesting Coptic “Gnostic” texts found before the Nag Hammadi discoveries. Considering the amount of attention the different Nag Hammadi-texts have received and considering the many similarities to the texts in the Bruce and Askew codex (found long before the Nag Hammadi), this is indeed surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

Gnostic Religion in Antiquity

In Gnosticism, Matthew Twigg, Roelof van den BROEK on July 8, 2013 at 2:00 am


2013.07.13 | Roelof van den Broek, Gnostic Religion in Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 263pp. ISBN: 978-1107031371.

Review by Matthew Twigg, University of Oxford.

Gnostic Religion in Antiquity is split into six chapters: Chapter 1 (“Gnosis and gnostic religion”) lays out van den Broek’s methodological approach to the thorny problem of gnostic religion itself; Chapter 2 (“Gnostic literature I: tradition”) introduces the Greek and Coptic sources themselves, making clear that there is gnostic literature extant outside the Nag Hammadi codices; Chapter 3 (“Gnostic literature II: texts”) gives extremely useful introductions and overviews of this extant literature; Chapter 4 (“Anti-gnostic literature”) introduces a selection of heresiological literature; Chapter 5 (“Gnosis: essence and expressions”) provides more detailed analyses of various gnostic ideas concerning religious experience, theology, pleromatology, cosmology, cosmogony, anthropology, and soteriology; and Chapter 6 (“Backgrounds”) assesses the scholarly hypotheses on “gnostic origins” in Platonism, Judaism, and Christianity.

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