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Ressentiment—A Few Motifs In Hans Jonas’s Early Book On Gnosticism

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Chapter Summary

Hans Jonas embarked on his book about Gnosticism in 1925, submitted it in 1928 as a dissertation in Marburg, published it in 1934 in Göttingen, and republished it years later in clearly revised versions. Scholarship appears to be largely in agreement on the fact that Hans Jonas presented an interpretation of Gnosticism that is essentially based on psychology of religion, and gave it the air of an existential analysis. If ?Gnosticism? is a revolutionary position resulting from the spirit of resentment, and if this resentment is directed against the Jewish God of creation and of the law, then this God proves to be at the same time a principle-even if in the best sense-of what exists respectively. In Jonas?s view, Marcion?s Gnosticism misjudges the Jewish God at most in his ?intellectuality,? but not in terms of his revolutionary and liberating traits, which can equally be asserted.

Keywords: Gnosticism; God; Göttingen; Hans Jonas; Jewish law



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