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Critical Gnostic Interpretations Of Genesis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the biblical Paradise story as it is explained and rewritten in two Gnostic Christian texts, the Apocryphon of John and the Testimony of Truth. Special attention will be given to the historical context and the possible purpose of these Gnostic interpretations. In the third and last part, Christ teaches John the Gnostic truth about the creation of man and the earliest history of humankind. This part of the Apocryphon is replete with quotations from - and allusions to - the Septuagint version of the first chapters of Genesis. In the Apocryphon of John, the serpent is presented as a helper of the Creator-God and therefore as an evil figure, in the Testimony of Truth from Nag Hammadi Codex IX, dating from the end of the second or the beginning of the third century, the serpent is described as the Creator-God's opponent and therefore as a positive figure.

Keywords: Apocryphon of John; biblical; Christian texts; Genesis; Gnostic interpretations; John; paradise story; Testimony of Truth

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