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Apostles As Archons: The Fight For Authority And The Emergence Of Gnosticism In The Tchacos Codex And Other Early Christian Literature

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Chapter Summary

The correspondences between the apostles and the archons shows a progressive social demarcation over four centuries that begins as a religious lodge movement, an esoteric gathering for hierophantic teaching, attended by Jews and Christians who were still affiliated with local synagogues and churches. Ultimately, this progression culminates in the establishment of a new religious movement that can properly call Gnosticism, a movement that produces at least two great Gnostic religions, Manichaeism and Mandaeism, but also the handbook compendia of Jeu and Pistis Sophia. Pistis Sophia is dependent on the late third century Gnostic texts called the Books of Jeu. Together they comprise a compendium of Gnostic instructions about ascent and salvation. The teachings in these books do not represent a single school of Gnosis, but rather are an eclectic blend of Sethian, Valentinian, and Manichaean instructions, complete with diagrams and magical seals.

Keywords: apostles; archons; Books of Jeu; Christian literature; Gnosticism; Mandaeism; Manichaeism; Pistis Sophia; Tchacos Codex

10.1163/ej.9789004181410.i-640.65
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