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 Countercultural Gnostic: Turning the World Upside Down and Inside Out

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 Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies

Because the gnostic heresy is a social construction imposed by the early Catholics on religious people they identified as transgressors of Christianity, scholars are entertaining the idea that ancient gnostics were actually alternative Christians. While gnostics may have been made into heretics by the early Catholics, this does not erase the fact that gnostics were operating in the margins of the conventional religions with a countercultural perspective that upset and overturned everything from traditional theology, cosmogony, cosmology, anthropology, hermeneutics, scripture, religious practices, and lifestyle choices. Making the gnostic into a Christian only imposes another grand narrative on the early Christians, one which domesticates gnostic movements. Granted, the textual evidence for the interface of the gnostic and the Christian is present, but so is the interface of the gnostic and the Greek, the gnostic and the Jew, the gnostic and the Persian, and the gnostic and the Egyptian. And the interface looks to have all the signs of transgression, not conformity. Understanding the gnostic as a spiritual orientation toward a transcendent God beyond the biblical God helps us handle this kind of diversity and transgression. As such, it survives in the artifacts that gnostics and their opponents have left behind, artifacts that help orient religious seekers to make sense of their own moments of ecstasy and revelation.

Affiliations: 1: Rice University Houston, Texas


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Barclay John M.G. Esler Philip "“Deviance and Apostasy: Some Applications of Deviance Theory to First-Century Judaism and Christianity”" Modelling Early Christianity 1995 London Routledge 114 127
2. Bauer Walter Kraft Robert , Krobel Gerhard Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity 1971 Philadelphia Fortress Press [1934]
3. Becker Howard Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance 1963 New York Free Press
4. BeDuhn Jason David Gardner Iain , DeBuhn Jason , Dilley Paul "“Mani and the Crystallization of the Concept of ‘Religion’ in Third Century Iran”" Mani at the Court of the Persian Kings: Studies on the Chester Beatty Kephalaia Codex 2015 Vol Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 87 Leiden Brill 247 275
5. Bloom Harold The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation 1992 New York Simon & Schuster
6. Bloom Harold Omens of Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection 1996 New York Riverhead Books
7. Bock Darrell L. The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities 2006 Nashville Nelson
8. Boulluec Alain Le La notion d’hérésie dans la literature grecque II–III siècles. 1985 Paris Etudes Augustiniennes 2 volumes
9. Boulluec Alain Le Elm Susana , Rebillard Eric , Romano Antonella "“Orthodoxie et hérésie aux premiers siècles dans l’historiographie récente”" Orthodoxie, Christianisme, histoire 2000 Rome École Française de Rome 303 319
10. Burfeind Peter M. Gnostic America: A Reading of Contemporary American Culture and Religion According to Christianity’s Oldest Heresy 2014 Pax Domini Press
11. Cameron Averil "“How to Read Heresiology”" The Cultural Turn in Late Antique Studies: Gender, Asceticism, and Historiography 2005 Durham, NC Duke University Press 192 212
12. Campbell Colin "“The Cult, the Cultic Milieu and Secularization”" A Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain 1972 Vol 5 London 119 136
13. Clarke Edward J. Deviant Behavior: A Text-Reader in the Sociology of Deviance 2008 7th edition New York Worth Publishers
14. Clinard Marshall B. , Meier Robert F. Sociology of Deviant Behavior 2008 13th edition Belmont, CA Thomson Wadsworth
15. Curra John The Relativity of Deviance 2000 Thousand Oaks, CA Sage Publications
16. Dahl Nils Layton Bentley "The Arrogant Archon and the Lewd Sophia: Jewish Traditions in gnostic Revolt" 1980–1981 Vol Volume 2 The Rediscovery of gnosticism: Proceedings of the International Conference on gnosticism March 28–31, 1978 Yale, New Haven, Connecticut SHR 41 Leiden Brill 689 712
17. Davies Christie "“Sexual Taboos and Social Boundaries”" American Journal of Sociology 1982 Vol 87 1032 1063
18. DeConick April D. Corrigan Kevin , Rasimus Tuomas "“Crafting Gnosis: Gnostic Spirituality in the Ancient New Age”" Gnosticism, Platonism and the Late Ancient World: Essays in Honour of John D. Turner 2013a Vol Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 82 Leiden Brill 285 305
19. DeConick April D. Iricinschi Eduard , Jenott Lance , Lewis Nicola Denzey , Townsend Philippa "Gnostic Spirituality at the Crossroads of Christianity: Transgressing Boundaries and Creating Orthodoxy" Beyond the gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine Pagels 2013b Vol Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 82 Tübingen Mohr Siebeck 148 184
20. DeConick April D. Rowland Christopher , Williams Catrin H. "“Why are the Heavens Closed? Johannine Revelation of the Father in the Catholic-Gnostic Debate”" John’s Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic Thought 2013c London T&T Clark 147 179
21. DeConick April D. DeConick April D. , Adamson Grant "“Who is Hiding in the Gospel of John? Reconceptualizing Johannine Theology and the Roots of Gnosticism”" Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions 2013d London Acumen 13 29
22. DeConick April D. The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutioned Religion from Antiquity to Today 2016a New York Columbia University Press
23. DeConick April D. Kripal Jeffrey J. "“Secret Religion: The Challenge from the Margins”" Religion: Sources, Perspectives, and Methodologies 2016b Vol MacMillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks on Religion New York MacMillan 93 105
24. Denzey Lewis Nicola Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds 2013 New York Oxford University Press
25. Dillon John M. The Middle Platonists: A Study of Platonism 80 BC to AD 220 1977 London Duckworth
26. Douglas Mary Natural Symbols 1973 New York Penguin
27. Erikson Kai T. Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance 1966 New York Wiley
28. Fauconnier Gilles , Turner Mark The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities 2002 New York Basic Books
29. Franzese Robert J. The Sociology of Deviance: Differences, Tradition, and Stigma 2009 Springfield, IL Charles C. Thomas
30. Gärtner Bertil Sharpe Eric J. The Theology of the Gospel of Thomas 1961 London Collins
31. Grant Robert M. Gnosticism and Early Christianity 1966 revised edition New York Harper & Row
32. Grant Robert , Freedman David Noel The Secret Sayings of Jesus: The gnostic movement which challenged Christianity and its ‘Gospel of Thomas’ recently discovered in Egypt 1960 New York Doubleday
33. Green Henry A. The Economic and Social Origins of Gnosticism 1985 Atlanta Scholars Press SBL Dissertation Series 77
34. Greenberg David F. The Construction of Homosexuality 1988 Chicago University of Chicago Press
35. Hanegraaff Wouter J. New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought 1997 Albany State University of New York Press
36. Harnack Adolf von History of Dogma 1961 Vol Vol. 1 New York Dover Publications Translated from the 3rd German ed. by Neil Buchanan [1885]
37. Henderson John B. The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy: Neo-Confucian, Islamic, Jewish, and Early Christian Patterns 1998 Albany State University of New York Press
38. Hill Charles E. The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church 2004 Oxford Oxford University Press
39. Iricinschi Eduard , Zellentin Holger M. Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity 2008 Vol Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 119 Tübingen Mohr Siebeck
40. Kaler Michael "“Cultic Milieu, Nag Hammadi Collectors and Gnosticism”" Studies in Religion 2009 Vol 38 427 444
41. Keniston Kenneth The Uncommitted: Alienated Youth in American Society 1960 New York Harcourt, Brace and World
42. Keniston Kenneth Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth 1968 New York Harcourt, Brace and World
43. King Karen L. What is Gnosticism? 2003 Cambridge Harvard University Press
44. King Karen L. Iricinschi Eduard , Zellentin Holger M. "“Social and Theological Effects of Heresiological Discourse”" Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity 2008 Vol Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 119 Tübingen Mohr Siebeck 28 49
45. Kroymann A. Tertulliani Opera, Pars II: Opera Montanistica 1954 Turnhaut Brepols Corpus Christianorum: Series Latina 2
46. Lahe Jaan Gnosis und Judentum: Alttestamentliche und jüdische Motive in der gnostichen Literatur und das Ursprungsproblem der Gnosis 2012 Vol Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 75 Leiden Brill
47. Layton Bentley White L.M. , Yarbrough O.L. "“Prolegomena to the Study of Ancient Gnosticism”" The Social World of the First Christians: Essays in Honor of Wayne A. Meeks 1995 Minneapolis Augsburg Fortress 334 350
48. Lehtipuu Outi Chalcraft David J. , Uhlenbruch Frauke , Watson Rebecca S. "“Who Has the Right to Be Called A Christian? Deviance and Christian Identity in Tertullian’s On the Prescription of Heretics”" Methods, Theories, Imagination: Social Scientific Approaches in Biblical Studies 2014 Sheffield Sheffield Phoenix 80 98
49. Lupieri Edmondo The Mandaeans: The Last Gnostics 2002 Grand Rapids Eerdmans
50. Malina Bruce J. , Neyrey Jerome H. Neyrey Jerome H. "“Conflict in Luke-Acts: Labelling and Deviance Theory”" The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation 1991 Peabody, MA Hendrickson Publishers 97 122
51. Marcovich Miroslav Hippolytus Refutatio Omnium Haeresium 1986 Vol Patristische Texte und Studien 25 Berlin de Gruyter
52. Markschies Christoph Bowden John Gnosis: An Introduction 2003 London T&T Clark
53. McWilliams Peter Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do 1993 Los Angeles Prelude Press
54. Musgrove Frank Ecstasy and Holiness: Counter Culture and the Open Society 1974 Bloomington Indiana University Press
55. Nock Arthur Darby "“Gnosticism”" Harvard Theological Review 1964 Vol 57 255 279
56. Pagels Elaine The Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis: Heracleon’s Commentary on John 1973 Nashville and New York Abingdon Press
57. Pagels Elaine The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters. 1975 Philadelphia Fortress Press
58. Pagels Elaine The Gnostic Gospels 1979 New York Vintage Books
59. Pearson Birger A. The Emergence of the Christian Religion 1997 Harrisburg Trinity Press International
60. Pietersen Lloyd K. "Despicable Deviants: Labelling Theory and the Polemic of the Pastorals" Sociology of Religion 1997 Vol 58 343 352
61. Pietersen Lloyd K. The Polemic of the Pastorals: A Sociological Examination of the Development of Pauline Christianity 2004 Vol Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement 264 London T&T Clark
62. Roig Lanzillotta Lautaro Bremmer Jan "The Early Christians and Human Sacrifice" The Strange World of Human Sacrifice 2007 Leuven Peeters 81 102
63. Roig Lanzillotta Lautaro "A Way of Salvation: Becoming Like God in Nag Hammadi" Numen 2013 Vol 60 71 102
64. Roof Wade Clark A Generation of Seekers: The Spiritual Journeys of the Baby Boom Generation 1993 San Francisco HarperSanFrancisco
65. Roof Wade Clark Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion 1999 Princeton Princeton University Press
66. Roszak Theodore The Making of a Counter Culture 1968 Berkeley University of California Press
67. Rousseau Adelin , Hemmerdinger Bertrand , Doutreleau Louis , Mercier Charles Irénée de Lyon, Contre les hérésies, livre IV 1965 Vol Volume 2 Sources Chrétiennes 100 Paris Cerf
68. Rousseau Adelin , Doutreleau Louis , Mercier Charles Irénée de Lyon, Contre les hérésies, livre V 1969 Vol Volume 2 Sources Chrétiennes 153 Paris Cerf
69. Rousseau Adelin , Doutreleau Louis Irénée de Lyon, Contre les hérésies, livre III 1974 Vol Volume 2 Sources Chrétiennes 211 Paris Cerf
70. Rousseau Adelin , Doutreleau Louis Irénée de Lyon. Contre les Hérésies Livre I. 1979 Vol Volume 2 Paris Les Éditions du Cerf
71. Rousseau Adelin , Doutreleau Louis Irénée de Lyon. Contre les Hérésies Livre 2 1982 Vol Volume 2 Paris Les Éditions du Cerf
72. Royalty Robert M. The Origin of Heresy: A History of Discourse in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity 2012 London Routledge
73. Rudolph Kurt Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism 1987 San Francisco HarperOne
74. Schur E.M. Labelling Deviant Behavior: Its Sociological Implications 1971 New York Harper & Row
75. Schur E.M. The Politics of Deviance: Stigma, Contests and the Uses of Power 1980 Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice-Hall
76. Segal Alan F. Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism 1977 Vol Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity 25 Leiden Brill
77. Smith Carl A. No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins 2004 Peabody Hendrickson Publishers
78. Smith Geoffrey S. Guilt by Association: Heresy Catalogues in Early Christianity 2015 Oxford Oxford University Press
79. Smith Morton Layton Bentley "“The History of the Term Gnostikos”" The Rediscovery of Gnosticism: Proceedings of the Conference at Yale March 1978 1981 Vol Volume 2: Sethian Gnosticism Studies in the History of Religions 49 Leiden Brill 796 807
80. Smoley Richard Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism 2006 San Francisco HarperSanFrancisco
81. Stählin Otto Clemens Alexandrinus 1960 Vol Stromata 1-VI Berlin Akademie-Verlag
82. Still Todd D. Conflict at Thessalonica: A Pauline Church and its Neighbors 1999 Vol Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement 183 Sheffield Sheffield Academic Press
83. Tolle Eckhart The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment 1999 Novato, CA New World Library and Vancouver: Namaste Publishing
84. Versluis Arthur American Gurus: From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion. 2014 Oxford Oxford University Press
85. Westhues Kenneth Society’s Shadow: Studies in the Sociology of Counter Cultures. 1972 Toronto McGraw-Hill Ryerson
86. Whittaker John "“Epekeina nou kai ousias”" Vigiliae Christianae 1969 Vol 23 91 104
87. Williams Michael Allen The Immovable Race: A Gnostic Designation and the Theme of Stability in Late Antiquity 1985 Vol Nag Hammadi Studies 29 Leiden Brill
88. Williams Michael Allen Rethinking Gnosticism: Arguments for Dismantling a Dubious Category. 1996 Princeton Princeton University Press
89. Wilson Stephen G. Related Strangers: Jews and Christians 70–170 C.E. 1995 Minneapolis Fortress Press
90. Wisse F. "“The Nag Hammadi Library and the Heresiologists”" Vigiliae Christianae 1971 Vol 25 205 223
91. Witherington Ben III The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci 2004 Downers Grove, IL InterVarsity Press
92. Yamauchi Edwin "“The Descent of Ishtar, the Fall of Sophia, and the Jewish Roots of Gnosticism”" Tyndale Bulletin 1978 Vol 29 169 174
93. Yinger J. Milton Countercultures: The Promise and the Peril of a World Turned Upside Down 1982 New York The Free Press

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:
    Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation