Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The Egyptian Background of Gnostic Mythology

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

The mythologies recorded by Irenaeus that he ascribes to the Gnostics contain many features that are difficult to explain by reference solely to Jewish sources, whether orthodox or heterodox. Previously, Douglas Parrott proposed an Egyptian background for the pattern of divinities found in the Gnostic text Eugnostos. In this article, it is argued that the so-called Ophite mythology recorded by Irenaeus is earlier than Eugnostosand has more compelling parallels with Egyptian theogony. An Egyptian background for the Barbeloite mythology is also speculated. These parallels demonstrate that there is scope for further research into the Egyptian origins of Gnosticism.

Affiliations: 1: 126 Upper Road, Kennington, Oxford, ox1 5 lw


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Barrett Clive The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses: The Mythology and Belief of Ancient Egyptians 1992 London Aquarian Press
2. Brakke David The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual and Diversity in Early Christianity 2012 Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press
3. Burden J. A. The Burden of Egypt 1963 Chicago University of Chicago Press
4. Capponi Livia Lloyd Alan B. "“The Roman Period.”" A Companion to Ancient Egypt 2010 Vol I Chichester, West Sussex Wiley-Blackwell 180 198
5. Casey R. P. "“Naassenes and Ophites.”" The Journal of Theological Studies 1926 Vol 108 374 387
6. Clark Dennis C. "“Iamblichus’ Egyptian Neoplatonic Theology in De Mysteriis.”" The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 2008 Vol 2 164 205
7. Clarysse Willy Lloyd Alan B. "“Egyptian Temples and Priests: Graeco-Roman Period.”" A Companion to Ancient Egypt, Volume i Chichester, West Sussex Wiley-Blackwell 274 290
8. Cruz-Uribe Eugene "“The Khonsu Cosmogony.”" Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 1994 Vol 31 169 189
9. Dunand Francoise , Zivie-Coche Christiane Lorton D. Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 bceto 395 ce 2004 Ithaca Cornell University Press
10. Edwards Mark. J. "“The Naming of the Naassenes: Hippolytus, Refutatio v.6–10 as Hieros Logos.”" Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik 1996 Vol 112 74 80
11. Faulkner Raymond O. The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts 1969 Oxford Clarendon Press
12. Faulkner Raymond O. The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts 2004 Oxford David Brown Book Company
13. Fowden Garth The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind 1986 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
14. Frankfurter David Lloyd Alan B. "“Religion in Society: Graeco-Roman.”" A Companion to Ancient Egypt, Volume i 2010 Chichester, West Sussex Wiley-Blackwell 526 546
15. Glazer Brian "“The Goddess with a Fiery Breath: The Egyptian Derivation of a Gnostic Mythologoumenon.”" Novum Testamentum 1991 Vol 33 1 92 94
16. Helderman Jan Krause Martin "“Isis as planê in the Gospel of Truth.”" Gnosis and Gnosticism: Papers Read at the Eighth International Conference on Patristic Studies (Oxford, September 3–8, 1979) 1981 Leiden Brill 26 46
17. Jackson Howard M. The Lion Becomes Man: The Gnostic Leontomorphic Creator and the Platonic Tradition 1983 Atlanta Society of Biblical Literature Press
18. King Karen L. What is Gnosticism? 2003 Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press
19. Layton Bentley Hedrick Charles W. , Hodgson Robert Jr. "“The Riddle of the Thunder.”" Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism and Early Christianity 1986 Peabody, Mass. Hendrickson Publishers 37 54
20. Layton Bentley The Gnostic Scriptures: A New Translation with Annotations and Introductions 1987 London SCM Press
21. Logan Alastair. H. B. Gnostic Truth and Christian Heresy 1996 Edinburgh T&T Clark
22. Logan Alastair. H. B. The Gnostics: Identifying an Early Christian Cult 2006 London T&T Clark
23. MacRae George. W. "“The Jewish Background of the Gnostic Sophia Myth.”" Novum Testamentum 1970 Vol 12 2 86 101
24. Painchaud Louis "“The Literary Contacts Between The Writing Without Title On the Origin of the World( cg ii,5 and xiii,2) and Eugnostos the Blessed( cg iii,3 and v,1).”" Journal of Biblical Literature 1995 Vol 114 1 81 101
25. Parker R. A. , Lesko L. H. Baines John , James T. G. H. , Leahy Anthony , Shore A. F. "“The Khonsu Cosmogony.”" Pyramid Studies and Other Essays Presented to I. E. S. Edwards 1988 London Egypt Exploration Society 168 175
26. Parrott Douglas M. "“Gnosticism and Egyptian Religion.”" Novum Testamentum 1987 Vol 29 1 73 93
27. Parrott Douglas M. Robinson James M. "“Eugnostos the Blessed ( iii,3 and v,1) and The Sophia of Jesus Christ ( iii,4 and bg8502,3).”" The Nag Hammadi Library in English 1990 San Francisco HarperSanFrancisco 220 243
28. Pinch Geraldine Handbook of Egyptian Mythology 2002 Santa Barbara, Calif. ABC-CLIO
29. Quack Joachim F. "“Dekane und Gliedervergottung: Altägyptische Traditionen im Apokryphon Johannis.”" Jahrbuch fur Antike und Christentum 1995 Vol 38 97 122
30. Rasimus Tuomas Paradise Reconsidered in Gnostic Mythology: Rethinking Sethianism in Light of the Ophite Evidence 2009 Leiden Brill
31. Schenke Hans-Martin Layton Bentley "“The Phenomenon and Significance of Gnostic Sethianism.”" The Rediscovery of Gnosticism, Volume ii: Sethian Gnosticism 1981 Leiden Brill 588 616
32. Smith Jonathan Z. "“In Comparison a Magic Dwells.”" Imagining Religion 1982 Chicago University of Chicago Press 19 35
33. Te Velde Herman Kippenberg Hans G. "“Relation and Conflicts between Egyptian Gods, particularly in the Divine Ennead of Heliopolis.”" Struggles of Gods: Papers of the Groningen Working Group for the Study of the History of Religion 1984 Berlin Walter de Gruyter 239 257
34. Tower Hollis Susan "“Otiose Deities and the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon.”" Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 1998 Vol 35 61 72
35. Wilkinson Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt 2003 London Thames and Hudson
36. Williams Michael A. Rethinking “Gnosticism”: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category 1996 Princeton Princeton University Press
37. Wisse Frederik Layton Bentley "“Stalking those Elusive Sethians.”" The Rediscovery of Gnosticism, Vol. ii: Sethian Gnosticism 1981 Leiden Brill 563 576

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation