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Use, Authority and Exegesis of Mikra in Gnostic Literature

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Chapter Summary

It used to be thought that one of the chief characteristics of Gnosticism, as 'the acute hellenization of Christianity', was a rejection of the Old Testament (OT). The fact is, the Gnostic interpretation of Mikra is a very complicated matter, and there is great variety in the range of attitudes adopted by Gnostics vis-a-vis the Bible. Now that the new source material is available a comprehensive assessment of the use, authority, and exegesis of Mikra in Gnostic literature is possible. The earliest Gnostic literature was heavily indebted to the text of Mikra and biblical exegetical traditions. The use and interpretation of Mikra among the various Gnostic groups in antiquity is characterized by a great deal of variety and complexity, thanks to the creative inventiveness of the different Gnostic teachers in their elaboration of Gnostic mythological consciousness.

Keywords: biblical exegetical traditions; Christianity; Gnostic literature; Mikra; Old Testament



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