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Judaism and gnosis

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Chapter Summary

Robert McLachlan Wilson stressed the importance of Judaism for Gnostic studies, and expressed the opinion that certain elements of Gnosticism were purely Jewish, and that other, pagan elements were also derived from Diaspora Judaism, even though it was not the ultimate source. Marcel Simon starts his survey of the present state of the problem by observing that only a few decades ago nobody spoke about Jewish Christianity, whereas today there is barely a single scholar in the field of early Christian literature who does not feel he has to express his opinion on this question. He sees the relationship between Jewish Christianity and Gnosticism as extremely problematic. But if we take Judaic Christianity in its limited, geographical sense, then the special relationship between the Egyptian branch of Judaic Christianity and the Egyptian section of Valentinian Gnosis becomes somewhat more plausible.

Keywords: Gnosis; Jewish Christianity; Judaism; Marcel Simon; Robert McLachlan Wilson; Valentinians



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