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Conceiving spirits: The mystery of valentinian sex

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Chapter Summary

Valentinian thought and practices have been the subject of countless academic studies even prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi collection in 1945. The Valentinians distinguished themselves from the ordinary Christian by their claim to a certain gnosis, which could only be gained through esoteric study and practices. Thus, it is more accurate to call the Valentinians "gnostic Christians" than "Christian Gnostics". The author presents a revised interpretation that reflects the actual Valentinian teaching about gradations of spiritual seed that infused all humanity. Given the reproductive theory, it should not be surprising that the Valentinian Christians prescribe a "correct" way for the aeons to procreate: they must work together as a couple, a syzygy, usually envisioned as a masculine and feminine pair. The Gospel of Philip states that, in the "marriage of purity" during sexual intercourse the thoughts of the couple must not be adulterous, focusing on another lover.

Keywords: Christian Gnostics; Conceiving; Gospel of Philip; Mystery; Nag Hammadi collection; syzygy; Valentinian; Valentinian Sex

10.1163/ej.9789004168732.i-544.16
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004168732.i-544.16
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