What is Gnosticism? While that suffix “-ism” might lead you to believe that Gnosticism was a specific religion in antiquity, scholars increasingly argue that Gnosticism was not a cohesive “system” or social group. Gnosticism instead is a vast umbrella term encompassing several religious groups and schools of thought, including several varieties of early Christianity such as the Valentinians.
Topics will include the discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices, basic beliefs within gnostic theology, and the modern gnostic religion Mandeanism. We will also tackle the writings of Christian heresiologists who started to define the borders of orthodoxy and heresy in the early centuries of Christianity.