Chapter I - THE ROAD TO THE GNOSIS
This chapter resumes the theme of Volume VI, Chapter IV, but this time concentrated on the origination of Gnosis itself. It begins with a short survey of the study of the Gnosis, which began in the eighteenth century. The Gnosis is often seen as a heresy of Christianity. Its relations with Greek thought and with Judaism were discussed. The present author presents the Gnosis, not as an epiphenomenon of Christianity and Judaism, but as something unique and independent, albeit syncretistic. The `gnosticizing' elements in the Hellenic world and in the oriental stream are described. Two prototypes of the Gnosis are presented: Orphism and Mahayna Buddhism. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 32 pp.)
Chapter II - `GNOSIS' : ITS SEMANTICS AND ETYMOLOGY
Knowledge' (with a capital) has a predominant role in the Gnostic sects. This chapter traces the history of the knowledge words in Greek authors. The Greeks had five verbs for `knowing'; of these five only gignooskein had the significance of a special knowledge (the substantive gnoosis only in a later period), a knowledge that is not acquired by study or experience but by revelation or sudden flashes of insight. This is found already in Homer, somewhat later also in Hesiod and in the early lyric periods. It has an imporatnt role in the Tragedians and in the later Hellenistic poets, whereas the historians and the doctors attach no special significance to it. The occurrence of these knowledge words in the later Presocratics is studied, while Plato with his `gnosticizing' is an important station on the road to the Gnosis. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 55 pp.)
Chapter III - DUALISM IN GNOSTIC SYSTEMS IN SAMARIA, SYRIA, AND ASIA MINOR UNTIL A.D. 130
Traditionally the Jewish magician Simon Magus, in the first century A.D., is seen as the first Gnostic prophet. We find in him several typical Gnostic-dualistic elements: the role of a special Knowledge about higher things, the opposition of male and female, and the unbridgeable distance between the upper and nether worlds. The role of his successors Menander, Saturnilos, and Cerinthus is discussed.
Ample attention is paid to an early Gnostic work, the Pseudoclementina, probably dating from the second century A.D. In this work too the two worlds are sharply opposed, while we also find the male-female duality. The ideology of an early Gnostic sect, the Carpocratians, is described. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 42 pp.)
Chapter IV - ANTAGONISTIC, DUALISTIC, AND GNOSTIZICING ELEMENTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
It is argued that the New Testament is neither a dualistic nor a Gnostic book. Several typical Gnostic elements are not found in it: in Jesus' preaching there is no denigration of women, there are not two powers in heaven nor two sets of people on earth; there is even no antagonism towards the Romans nor to the Gentiles. There are, however, dualistic or antagonistic elements in John and in the Book of Revelation: two sets of people, a rejection of politics, and the enmity towards the Romans in Revelation. Then there is the constant antagonism towards the Pharisees and Paul's struggle with the Law. The enmity of the Jews against the early Christians is also mentioned.
On the whole, the New Testament takes an anti-Gnostic stance, but some gnosticizing tendencies are found in it. (Length of chapter, with notes, = 71 pp.)
Chapter V - THE DUALISM OF THE ESSENES
That there were Essenes has been known of old, but they have come much better known, with their ideology and their way of life, through the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the excavation of their site at Qumran.
The Essenes were not Gnostics, but a deviant Jewish sect, which was bitterly opposed to orthodox Judaism and had holy books, a ritual, and a way of life of their own. They were outspoken dualists, not only because of their rejection of orthodox Judaism, but also because of their stressing of the necessity of absolute purity. Two inimical powers were fighting for the possession of mankind. Their kind of dualism was eschatological dualism. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 55 pp.)
Chapter VI - ON THE TALMUD AND EARLY JEWISH MYSTICISM
The Talmud is introduced to the reader; it was not a dualistic book, still less a Gnostic one. It is studied what it says of the Jewish-Christian relationship. There, however, shades of an ethical dualism in it. Finally, attention is paid to Jewish mysticism and the possible occurrence of dualistic elements in it. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 26 pp.)
This chapter contains a Bibliography and a General Index.
Published in 1992 by J.C. Gieben, Publisher.
ISBN 90 5063 085 5