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In broad strokes, the Gnostics saw a cosmos sharply divided between good and evil, which they identified with spirit and matter.
How did the four New Testament gospels get selected as canon, and the gnostic gospels rejected?
Gnostic politics can even turn dangerous in the face of unmet desire; based on a coarsened, unexamined moralism, it readily descends into righteous indignation, aggressive nihilism, and even uncritical embrace of consumer culture.
The Gnostics sought gnosis as a means to redemption.
In the lengthy account of Milton, which contains both familiar and fresh points, the topic of Gnostic heresy is not always at the centre of Nuttall's discussion, but when it is, the 'alternative Trinity' allows him to highlight the Arian elements of Milton's unorthodox theology that stresses that the Father is prior to and superior to the Son, though Milton's 'alternative Trinity' clearly diverges from the Gnostic model that places the Son above the Father.
If one chooses to believe only the teachings of the Orthodox Church, and ignore the more authentic Gnostic gospels found in Nag Hammadi, so be it.
For the Gnostics, the soul is part of the divine realm, manifested within the human being who makes his way from the lower world to the upper world.
Scholars of Asian religions, Kahn claims, should accord these four modern Gnostics more importance because they were interested in finding connections between and engaging seriously with the metaphysical and ontological claims of others.
Taking the Gnostics seriously in their claims about Jesus marrying would be like allowing the organisers of the Gay Pride movement to write the official history of the Catholic Church.
Discovering actual sex practices hidden within the writings of the Church's authorities, he reconstructs the lost world of Gnostic spiritual-erotic experience as taught by initiated masters and mistresses and practiced by Christian couples seeking spiritual freedom from the world.
This biblical concept, adopted by the Gnostics, influenced the American novelist Robert A.
Nor are religions the only movements growing up side by side with gnostic thought; Plato and Neoplatonism, especially insights advanced in the Timaeus, are powerful preludes to Dante's own vision of a heaven in which Union with the One and yet separation of the temporal from the eternal makes possible Dante's vision of God.