The rise of gnosticism in the second century and its impact

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The rise of gnosticism in the second century and its impact

It was all but dead by the end of the 5th century, in spite of the contributions it made to the growth of Christianity. The Problem of Understanding Gnosticism In trying to understand Gnosticism, we face a serious problem: In a buried jar, were found a number of rolled-up manuscripts.

Scholars have determined them to have been at least partially Gnostic in nature, dated to about the turn of the 5th century. The jar may have been left behind by a small, secluded Gnostic community, trying to avoid persecution; they may have had to bury their texts to keep them from prying eyes, but for some reason, never got back to them.

The best we can do, is to collect clues from many sources, and like the pieces of an incomplete jigsaw puzzle, put them together, reconstructing, as best can be arranged, those pieces which are missing.

In the following well documented article Dr Muhammad Abdul Jabbar Beg surveys the origins of Islamic science, with a special focus on its interaction with the previous intellectual traditions of the ancient world as well as a survey of the beginnings of scientific activity in Arabic. Christianity arose in the syncretistic Hellenistic world of the first century CE, which was dominated by Roman law and Greek culture. Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in the Land of Israel and in the inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious. The Apologists The second century brought with it a steady growth of Gentile Christianity, but not without opponents. We have seen the rise of various heresies, opposition marked by a twisting of "apostolic teaching.".

That belief system was known as Orpheanism, after the Greek hero Orpheus. Orpheus was a son of Zeus, and an incredibly skilled musician.

The rise of gnosticism in the second century and its impact

When his wife, whom he loved immeasurably, died, he followed her shade to the River Styx. She went across, while he remained on its earthly side, mourning her. He played on his flute such stirring laments, that even Hades, in his halls, heard it, and was moved to tears.

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He allowed Orpheus to come across the Styx and visit her, for only one day; he had to return by nightfall. Unfortunately, the majority of Orphean beliefs are lost to us. This is not merely because of later Christian eradication of any record of them, but because they did not generally put any of their teachings in writing.

The earliest Orpheans used music, songs and poetry, via oral tradition, to convey their teachings. They appear to have depended on songs, thereafter. For example, the Pythagoreans were, very likely, an Orphean movement, founded by Pythagoras or perhaps his mentor.

Most were in the Aegean islands or in western Anatolia, the district known as Ionia. Some Orphean communities were not well-received, for they were viewed as a collection of useless outcasts. Basic Orphean Beliefs Intrinsic to all Orphean communities, up to and including Gnosticism, was a belief in a dualistic universe — made up of matter and light.

Matter was considered evil by nature, the purview of an evil god, gods, or demons. Light was considered good by nature, the realm of the divine, that god being a solitary, aloof being. Humanity, like the universe as a whole, had a dual nature: These two natures warred with one another, in the heart of each and every person.

For Orpheans, then, life was a constant effort to minimize the physical, in order to release the light, or good side, which was by nature divine.

Toward that end, Orpheans tended to be reclusive. Some Orphean communities were ascetic, and lived by what today might be called a monastic lifestyle.

Some were not as reserved, though, and these tended to be found in or near major cities.

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In this regard, all of the many manifestations of Orpheanism owe a good deal to Zoroastrianism. It taught that the world was basically the battleground of two beings, Ahura Mazda, the god of light, creation, goodness and life, and Ahriman, the god of darkness, destruction, corruption, and death.

This dualistic notion permeated almost every major ancient religious movement. This is not due to persecution, per se, but because under the Roman regime, it was considered a frivolous and eccentric belief system; it attracted fewer followers.

The rise of gnosticism in the second century and its impact

One of these was Mithraism, which really blossomed in the Empire just prior to the turn of the first century. It also had many followers among Romans, particularly in southern Italy where the Greeks had had a number of colonies, hence its ancient name Magna Graeca.

Precisely what happened to Orpheanism, in light of all of this competition, is uncertain. Records of Orpheans in the last century BCE are all but non-existent.

From the accounts of others, though, we know that some small groups did manage to live on. A number of mystery religions exploded in numbers. Christianity was only one of them. Other similar movements sprang to life, some of them brand-new, others founded on older movements.Early Church History - second century heresies, gnosticism, montanism, Montanus, Marcion, docetism, gnosis, Gospel of Thomas, New .

the impact of Ancient Egypt on Greek Philosophy against Hellenocentrism, against Afrocentrism in defence of the Greek Miracle Section 1 the influence of Egyptian thought on. Edwin M. Yamauchi Themelios (September ): led from Paul's view of the resurrected Christ as a 'luminous appearance' and from Easter 'enthusiasm' to Gnosticism in the second century.

A She would date the rise of Gnosticism in the first quarter of the second century. Gnosticism. Gnosticism (after gnôsis, the Greek word for "knowledge" or "insight") is the name given to a loosely organized religious and philosophical movement that flourished in the first and second centuries exact origin(s) of this school of thought cannot be traced, although it is possible to locate influences or sources as far back as the second and first centuries BCE, such as.

Overview. Evangelicalism, or the Evangelical Movement, represents a potent force in modern “Christendom”. A full third of those who would profess Christ in the world fall under the Evangelical umbrella, and most such persons live outside of North America and Europe described below, it is often difficult to pin down a specific definition of evangelicalism, but in general.

The most important “heresies” that the early Church faced, were a collection of sects now labelled “Gnosticism.” It was less common in the western half of the Roman Empire, and found more often in the major urban centers of the east. until the late second century CE.

By this time it went by the name “Gnostic,” from the Greek.

An Overview of Gnosticism and the Bible