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Monism And Dualism In Jewish-Mystical And Gnostic Ascent Texts

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Chapter Summary

A variety of texts from the ancient world depict human beings escaping the constraints of their physical existence even before death and ascending to a supernal realm. This chapter discusses and compares two bodies of ancient esoteric literature in which the ascent theme is prominently present a group of late antique or medieval Jewish mystical writings commonly referred to as Hekhalot texts and some of the early Christian gnostic texts which were recovered in Egypt in 1945. It addresses such questions as who the subject or protagonist of the ascension is, how the journey on high is imagined and depicted, and what its ultimate goal is regarded as. In this way the author hopes to throw some light onto the distinct features of these two literary corpora as well as onto the possible relationship between them.

Keywords: early Christian gnostic texts; Hekhalot texts; medieval Jewish mystical writings



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