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Outlining the Gnostic cosmology, Jonas writes that "the cardinal feature of gnostic thought is the radical dualism that governs the relation of God and the world, and correspondingly that of man and the world" (1963, 42).
Not until the middle of the 20th century did some of these writings re-emerge, and they have proved indispensable in illuminating the beliefs and practices of Gnostics during the first centuries of Christianity.
The Gnostics also rejected the Augustinian view of God as an inscrutable other.
Specifically, the value-laden matter/spirit dualism of the Gnostics affected their view of the body.
This basic structure allows Brakke to distinguish between Gnostic and Gnostic, offering in the process one of the clearest accounts of this diverse tradition to have appeared in recent years.
Gnostics believe they have special knowledge which will lead to their salvation.
Stephen Pisano, rector of Rome's prestigious Pontifical Biblical Institute, reflect the theology of a group of ancient Christian Gnostics, a movement based on alleged secret revelation that takes its name from the Greek word gnosis, meaning "knowledge.
The Gnostic gospels, of which there are many besides this one, are not Christian documents per se, since they proceed from a syncretistic sect that incorporated elements from different religions, including Christianity.
If one strand of Emerson's legacy does in fact lead to the American Religion, then another leads through Whitman to Allen Ginsburg and the Beats, Gnostics in their own ways perhaps but certainly not founders of any sect (whatever their cult status) or authors of any single holy text.
This is perhaps the greatest distinction between the worldview of the traditional Christian teaching and the resurrected old Gnostic point of view of these progressives.
Gnostic gospels such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Truth, and the Secret Gospel of Mark purported to give their readers unique information that would free the "spark of God" trapped in their essentially evil human bodies.
This conclusion was reached on the basis of a newly translated Gnostic text, known as the Gospel of Judas, which was written in Coptic and dates from the fourth century of the Christian era but is presumed by most scholars to have been translated from an earlier Greek original.