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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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Temple Mysticism: An Introduction

In Margaret BARKER, Matthew Twigg, SPCK, Temple Mysticism on December 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm


2012.12.19 | Margaret Barker, Temple Mysticism: An Introduction. London: SPCK, 2011. 192 pp. ISBN: 978-0281064830.

Review by Matthew Twigg, University of Oxford.

Any review of Margaret Barker’s Temple Mysticism needs to take adequate account of its overall position in her wider corpus. Since the late 1980s, Barker has published a series of monographs developing what she calls “temple theology”; that is, the idea that the roots of early Christianity, and indeed the New Testament, are both indebted to and built upon forms of worship and theology stemming from the First Temple cult of Judaism. Temple Mysticism is therefore, only the latest instalment in what Barker treats as a lifelong vocation to establish the First Temple essence of early Christianity.

As in Barker’s other works, temple mysticism (i.e. seeing the Lord in a Temple setting) is presented as a hypothesis, as opposed to an overtly demonstrable brute fact of New Testament theology.

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