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Fortress Press Releases Ancient Gnosticism
Minneapolis (July 20, 2007) — In the newly released Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature, Birger A. Pearson provides authoritative answers to the questions: Who were the Gnostics? What did they believe?
Even as public interest is attracted to this esoteric religion, scholars have debated its origins, its relationship to Judaism and Christianity, and even whether one distinctive and separate Gnostic “religion” ever existed. Pearson’s expert and accessible introduction brings the reader into this debate.
In Ancient Gnosticism Pearson surveys all the primary literary evidence for ancient Gnosticism, providing a clear and succinct introduction to each individual writing (including the newly published Gospel of Judas from the Tchacos Codex), along with a judicious consideration of the historical origin of Gnosticism. The classic schools of Christian Gnosticism are discussed, along with Hermetic Gnosis, Manichaeism, and the Mandaeans. Chapters are helpfully keyed to all the standard translations of Gnostic writings, including The Nag Hammadji Scriptures: The International Edition, edited by Marvin W. Meyer (2007). The book includes illustrations, maps, timeline, and a bibliography.
Maps and Illustrations
Map of the World of Ancient Gnosticism
1. What is Gnosticism?
2. Heresiological Reports on Early Gnostic Teachers and Systems
3. Sethian or Classic Gnosticism
4. Gnostic Biblical Interpretation: The Gnostic Genesis
5. Basilides and Basilidian Gnosis
6. Valentinus and Valentinian Gnosis
7. Three-Principle Systems
8. Coptic Gnostic Writings of Uncertain Affiliation
9. Thomas Christianity
10. Hermes Trismegistus and Hermetic Gnosis
11. Mani and Manichaeism
12. The Mandaeans: A Surviving Relic of Ancient Gnosis
Epilogue: The Persistence of Gnosticism
Suggestions for Further Reading
Birger A. Pearson is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a leading expert on Gnosticism. His previous books include The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (Fortress Press, 1997), Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity (Fortress Press, 1990; new release 2006), and Gnosticism and Christianity in Roman and Coptic Egypt (2004). He is the translator of Nag Hammadi Codices IX and X (1997) and (with Frederik Wisse) of Nag Hammadi Codex VII (1996).
Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature
By Birger A. Pearson
Item Number: 978-0-8006-3258-8
Price: $25.00 / CAN $30.00/ UK £14.99
Specs: 6” x 9”, paperback, 256 pages
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