Christ Pantocrator, Holy Trinity’s monastery, Meteora, Greece

While scholarly views on the origins of Gnosticism present what can be a bewildering array of competing theories, they can broadly be divided into two schools of thought. The first holds that Gnosticism originated outside of Christianity and later came to wrap itself in a Christian form. The second holds that Gnosticism originated from within Christianity, and that the Gnostics had always seen themselves as Christians. Both schools of thought have had numerous great minds enter the fray on their side, and arguments from both sides must be taken seriously. However, the weight of the evidence we now possess falls on the side of those who see in Gnosticism a thoroughly Christian movement.

In the interest of keeping this discussion to a readable length (it’s already over 4000 words long), there’s unfortunately not enough room to provide anything like a complete survey of the cases made by the most noteworthy scholars on both sides. Instead, I’ll present an argument for why we can now be reasonably certain that Gnosticism’s origins are to be found in Christianity – and specifically the Christianity of the late first century AD. Along the way, I hope to at least indicate some of the broad outlines of the views of the opposing camp, and to do so in a way that members of that camp would deem to be fair.

Everyone agrees that Gnosticism must have originated well before the year 180 AD. That’s because Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons, a fierce opponent of the Gnostics, describes them as flourishing throughout the Roman Empire in a book written right around that time.[1]

The French historian Simone Pétrement has made an extremely compelling case that Gnostic theology is based on ingenious, sensitive interpretations of the early Christian writings attributed to the apostles Paul and John that would later come to comprise part of the “New Testament.” In Pétrement’s words, “Whatever the strangeness of some of the Gnostic writings, Pauline thought and Johannine thought are always to be found at their roots.”[2]

We’ll see a great deal of evidence for that claim throughout this article. If it’s correct, then Gnosticism couldn’t have originated any earlier than 90-95 AD, since that’s when the last of the relevant works attributed to Paul and John were written.[3] Gnosticism therefore would have been initially conceived sometime in the late first or early second century.

So, then, what can be said for and against Pétrement’s thesis?

The Evidence for Non-Christian Gnosticism

Let’s begin by asking the question: what evidence is there that any non-Christian forms of Gnosticism existed in the ancient world? After all, if Gnosticism’s origins lie outside of Christianity, then surely those pre-Christian forms of Gnosticism have left traces somewhere.

While there’s some evidence that’s ambiguous enough to permit some scholars to argue in good faith for a non-Christian Gnosticism, there’s no clear, direct evidence for such a thing. There’s no Gnostic text that’s explicitly non-Christian, and no ancient writers who wrote about the Gnostics describe them as self-identifying as anything but Christians.

For example, the heresiologists – non-Gnostic Christian writers who denounced the Gnostics and other rival Christian groups – all treat Gnosticism as a movement within Christianity rather than as an external threat. If the heresiologists had suspected that Gnosticism originated outside of Christianity, or if they had known of any non-Christian Gnostics, then surely they would have pointed this out, because it would have done much to advance their cause of portraying Gnosticism as something foreign to “true” Christianity. As far as we can tell, such a possibility never even occurred to them.[4]

In the third century, the Gnostics drew the attention and condemnation of the pagan Platonic philosopher Plotinus and his students. They criticized the Gnostics for having drawn heavily from the same pagan traditions as they, yet having reached erroneous and blasphemous conclusions. Surely these Gnostics couldn’t have been Christians, right? Not so fast. A famous student of Plotinus, Porphyry of Tyre, wrote about these Gnostics, and he, too, pointedly refers to them as “Christians.”[5]

Why would Christians of any sort use pagan materials for edification and inspiration, perhaps even studying with pagan philosophers as part of their education? The specific pagan tradition the Gnostics drew from was Platonism, the philosophical school of thought that had grown around the philosophy of Plato. Christianity didn’t emerge in a vacuum; as early Christians sought to develop and define their fledgling religion, they naturally turned to the sources that were readily available to them in the intellectual culture of the Mediterranean world within which they lived. They drew especially heavily from Jewish and Platonic thought.[6] There are recorded instances of non-Jewish Christians studying with Jewish teachers,[7] so why would studying with Platonist teachers have been off-limits, either?

Tellingly, Porphyry is appalled at the Gnostics for “alleging that Plato really had not penetrated to the depth of intelligible substance.”[8] The Gnostics evidently saw Plato and Platonism as possessing some truth that was useful for them to incorporate into their own thinking, but their own thinking ultimately belonged to another tradition that wasn’t afraid to criticize even Plato himself.

Christianity’s intellectual debts to Platonism and Judaism are relevant to our purposes here for another reason as well. Scholars who argue that Gnosticism existed apart from Christianity at some point, such as John D. Turner[9][10][11] and Birger A. Pearson,[12][13] often point to the fact that some Gnostic texts show considerable Jewish and/or Platonic influence as evidence that specifically Jewish and/or Platonic forms of Gnosticism once existed. But since Christians of all sorts borrowed heavily and directly from Judaism and Platonism, evidence of such influence on any particular text is not by itself sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the text was composed and used by Jews or Platonists rather than Christians.

Pearson and Turner would likely agree with that statement for what it is. But they would add that if a text does show lots of Jewish and/or Platonic influence yet contains no Christian elements, or only superficial ones that read as if they were added by editors after the text’s initial composition and use, then it’s more plausible that the text was originally composed and used by Jews or Platonists than by Christians. That’s certainly sound logic. The problem, however, is that no surviving Gnostic texts fit such a bill.

Take, for example, a work that both Turner[14] and Pearson[15] characterize as originally “Jewish Gnostic” and subsequently “Christianized:” the Secret Book of John.

The elements of the Secret Book of John that strike a modern reader as being immediately, unmistakably Christian, such as mentions of Jesus and his apostles, are largely confined to a few particular sections of the text. Pearson[16] and Turner[17] argue that these sections of the text were added by Christians who used the text after its original creation by Jews. And, indeed, if those sections were removed, the remaining work could stand on its own as a free-floating revelatory monologue.[18] As Pearson points out, it would then read much like another Gnostic text, Eugnostos the Blessed, which was later worked into a more obviously Christian piece called the Wisdom of Jesus Christ.[19]

Judging whether or not a text is Christian on such a basis reminds me of a common joke about Christian pop music that I heard repeatedly while growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, the Mecca of such music. It was said that the Christian-ness of a song could be measured in units called “JPMs” – mentions of “Jesus” per minute. The more JPMs a song had, the more Christian it was.

Of course, a song can be thoroughly Christian without even once explicitly invoking the name of Jesus – and so, too, can an ancient text. Leaving aside the question of whether or not the most transparently Christian segments of the Secret Book of John are later additions to the text, there’s no particular reason to believe that even the stripped-down version of the text postulated by Turner and Pearson would have been written by anyone other than Christians, and there are good reasons to believe that it was, in fact, written by Christians.

As Karen L. King writes in her magisterial book-length study of the text, “Just because the [Secret Book of John] in many respects presents a type of Christianity that was largely rejected, we cannot assume that it was not regarded as Christian in its own day.”[20] She notes that all of the contexts from which the Secret Book of John is known are Christian contexts: the form in which it’s come down to us, the characterization of it by the heresiologist Irenaeus, and its discovery in a library of mostly Christian texts that was buried in the Egyptian desert, probably by the monks of a nearby Christian monastery. Furthermore, she points out that the entirety of the text – not just a few portions – portrays Christianity as infallible, yet portrays all of the other religious traditions it draws from, including Judaism and Platonism, as fallible, and, indeed, profoundly wrong on crucial points.[21] She concludes: “[T]here is no evidence that Jews composed or used this work. All the evidence points to Christian contexts.”[22]

Much the same case can be made with regard to the other texts that some scholars have pointed to as being the products of “Jewish Gnosticism” or “Platonic Gnosticism,” such as the Revelation of Adam, the Reality of the Archons, the Gospel of the Egyptians, Allogenes, Zostrianos, Marsanes, and even Eugnostos the Blessed.

Of course, nothing in what’s been said here so far conclusively demonstrates that Gnosticism was always a Christian phenomenon. It just demonstrates that there’s no clear evidence that Gnosticism was ever anything but a Christian phenomenon.

Now let’s see if we can go further and actively make a case that Gnosticism originated from within Christianity – that the only plausible way to account for many central aspects of Gnosticism is to see them as developments from within Christianity, and not any other ancient religion or movement. If we can do that, then it’s virtually certain that all of the apparently Christian Gnostic texts – which is to say, all of the extant Gnostic texts – were actually Christian texts from the outset.

How Did Gnosticism Originate in Christianity, Then?

The historical Jesus was an apocalyptic Jewish prophet. Like other Jewish apocalypticists of his day, his teachings were centered around predictions of a world-changing cataclysm during which the social order would be judged by God and stood on its head: “The last will be first and the first will be last.”[23] He even gave a specific timetable for the establishment of this new, physical “Kingdom of God” on a cleansed earth: it would happen within the lifetime of the people to whom he was speaking in person during the early first century. Consider his words preserved in the earliest surviving gospel, Mark (8:38-9:1):

Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of that one will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. … Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.[24]

This was a testable prediction about the near-term future. Decades passed, and before long, the generations to whom Jesus had been speaking had all died. Yet the kingdom whose arrival Jesus had prophesied had still failed to manifest. Had Jesus been wrong all along?

His late first-century followers answered that question with a resounding “No.” They came up with new interpretations of Jesus’s message that drew further and further away from what the historical Nazarene had actually said and meant, but which enabled them to make sense of the historical, existential, and spiritual predicaments of their own lives. These changes in the Christian message over the course of the first century are traceable in the writings that eventually came to be included in the New Testament.[25][26]

This process reached its culmination in the Gospel of John, the last of the New Testament gospels to be written. In the writings of the author whom we today call “John” for the sake of convenience (there’s no plausible way that Jesus’s apostle John was still alive and writing in 90-95 AD), the Kingdom of God has been transformed into a timeless, otherworldly, spiritual realm. Each individual person who hears Jesus’s teachings and believes in them becomes a member of that kingdom the moment he or she believes.[27]

Take, for example, John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life.” Or 5:24: “He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Or 12:31: “Now is the judgment of the world.” Or 3:18: “He who believes in [Christ] is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already.”[28]

Jewish apocalypticists like Jesus had taught that the world was basically good, but the age in which they were living was evil. The world had been more or less fine in the past, and it would be made thoroughly good in the future.[29] John’s gospel, however, takes a darker view: the hopelessly fallen world is inherently evil. In John 17:25, Jesus prays: “Righteous Father, the world does not know you.”[30] John 1:10 says the same of Jesus: “the world did not know him.”[31] In John 15:18, Jesus says to his disciples, “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.”[32] And in John 16:33, he proclaims, “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”[33]

The book of 1 John, which was written by the same author,[34] takes an equally emphatic stance (in 2:15-16): “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world — the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches — comes not from the Father but from the world.”[35]

This view went hand in hand with the “internalization” of the Kingdom of God. If one only needed to be saved from a particular age of this world, as the Jewish apocalypticists had taught, then a change in one’s earthly affairs – making “the last first and the first last” – would be sufficient to bring about salvation. But if salvation were a matter of admittance into an otherworldly realm rather than a coming earthly kingdom, then this world as such had to be what one needed to be saved from.

Thus, the writings of John already contain, in a nascent form, the central idea of Gnosticism: a form of dualism known as “anticosmicism.” As the word “anticosmicism” implies, the Gnostics were against (“anti-“) the world (“cosmos”) as such, not just a particular aspect or time period of the world. They attributed suffering to the intrinsic nature of the world, not to any particular historical circumstances. And they thought of salvation (which they called “gnosis”) as a transcendence of the world itself, not just a change from one type of worldly existence to another.[36]

John had already anticipated these views; the Jewish apocalypticists whom some scholars would like to credit with having directly founded Gnosticism had not anticipated these views.[37]

The Christianity of the late first century is also the only plausible origin of another one of the Gnostics’ central doctrines: the idea that the god of the Hebrew scriptures, who had created this awful world and continued to rule it, was a malevolent, ignorant being who was inferior to the true God who sent Jesus. The creator god – the “demiurge” – had a host of minions called “archons” (from a Greek word for “ruler”[38]) who helped him administer his horrible rule.

John is adamant that the world is ruled by such a being, even though, of course, he doesn’t identify the cosmic tyrant with the Hebrew god. So he says in 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.”[39] In three places (John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11), John specifically calls this being “the archon of this world.”[40] Paul, too, repeatedly uses the term “archon,” and other similar terms, to refer to nefarious beings who rule the world from the part of the sky below the highest heaven.[41]

It’s true that a more limited form of this same idea can be found in Jewish apocalypticism – “more limited” because Jewish apocalypticists thought of the reign of “the evil one” and his forces over this world as a recent development, not an abiding characteristic of the world.[42]

But how could the Gnostics’ identification of this “evil one” with the Hebrew god possibly have arisen directly from within Judaism? Because of the persecution of the Jews by the Roman authorities, it’s not impossible that, hypothetically speaking, something akin to anticosmicism could have arisen from within Judaism. Indeed, apocalypticism was a movement that did feature some semi-anticosmic traits relative to the prevailing pro-cosmic religious sensibilities of the day. However, the apocalypticists boldly asserted Jewish identity in the face of Roman suppression. The idea that they would have turned against the central pillar of Judaism in the process is absurd. The god of the Jews was the last thing they would have cast as evil, not the first. Had full-blown anticosmicism arisen from within Judaism, it surely would have given the god of the Hebrew scriptures a role antithetical to the one he was given by the Gnostics.[43]

By contrast, one can make a straightforward and thoroughly plausible argument that the Gnostics’ denigration of the creator god of Genesis originated within Christianity.

One of the main positions that separated early Christianity from Judaism was that Christianity represented a new revelation, a “new testament,” that superseded and replaced the “old testament” of Judaism.[44] The Christian savior brought a salvation that wasn’t found within the Jewish Law, which meant that the Law was insufficient, and that Christ had come to correct that insufficiency.[45] Consider the words that Paul addresses to Peter in Galatians 2:11-21:

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. … I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.[46]

The Gnostics broadened this existing Christian criticism of the Law to include the god who had given the Law to Moses. They also reasoned that if, as John had said, the world was intrinsically evil, then the creator of the world must himself be evil. Christ must have come from a different, higher, and better realm than the one occupied by the creator and Lawgiver. Socially, this may have been a radical step. But it logically followed from prevalent Christian views of the day – views that are nowhere to be found in any form of first-century Judaism that shows up in the historical record.[47]

The Gnostics’ treatment of the god of Judaism is indicative of their more general attitude toward Judaism, and the ways in which they used Jewish materials in their own works. They depended on a background of Judaism and the Jewish scriptures, but presented that background as something incomplete at best that needed to be corrected. In Pétrement’s words, Gnosticism

…is concerned with the place Judaism ought to have in another religion, and this other religion cannot be anything other than Christianity. Gnosticism sprang from Judaism, but not directly; it could only have sprung from a great revolution, and at the time when Gnosticism must have appeared, such a great revolution in Judaism could have been nothing other than the Christian revolution. … [T]he desire to limit the value of the Old Testament within a religion that nevertheless preserves it explains, and is the only thing that can explain, the structure of the Gnostic myth.[48]

The Diversity of Early Christianity

At this point, you, dear reader, may be thinking something along the lines of, “But Gnosticism is so different from any form of Christianity that I’ve ever encountered that it intuitively strikes me as highly unlikely that Gnosticism could have originated within Christianity.” Such an intuition is entirely understandable.

What it’s missing, however, is a recognition that the Christianity of the late first and early second centuries was still a young and unsettled movement. While there was widespread – but by no means universal – agreement about some of the broad, shadowy outlines of the religion by that time, there was much that Christians of that period hadn’t yet decided on and were still trying to figure out.

As King aptly puts it, “At the beginning of Christianity, nothing of what would later define it existed: no fixed canon [of scripture], creed, or ritual, no established institutions or hierarchy of bishops and laity, no church buildings or sacred art. The story of Christian origins is the story of the formation of these ideas and institutions. It is a story fraught with conflict and controversy.”[49]

Back then, there wasn’t any central church with the power to determine what was “orthodox” and what was “heretical.” Those concepts, if they meant anything at all at that point, were purely matters of personal opinion. One person’s or group’s orthodoxy was another’s heresy, and vice versa.[50]

Thus, there was a great deal of room for Christians to explore various possibilities for what it meant to be a “Christian.” Through that process, several distinct varieties of Christianity emerged, all of which seem to have been good-faith attempts to discover, formulate, and implement a comprehensive vision of what exactly Christianity was.[51] One of these varieties was the one that we today call “Gnosticism” or “Gnostic Christianity.”

When an “orthodox,” “catholic” church emerged in later centuries, Gnosticism was declared to be “heretical.” But the Gnostics didn’t think of their version of Christianity that way. For them, “Gnosticism” was Christianity, pure and simple, and the other varieties were deviations from the true model that had been revealed to them.

Conclusion

Thus, despite how bizarre Gnosticism may seem in comparison with what we today call “Christianity,” that apparent strangeness vanishes when it’s considered in the context of the Christianity of the late first and early second centuries, from which it seems to have emerged.

References:

[1] Layton, Bentley. 1995. The Gnostic Scriptures. Yale University Press. p. 8.

[2] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 14.

[3] Ehrman, Bart. 2004. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Third Edition. Oxford University Press. p. xxxii.

[4] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 15-16.

[5] Burns, Dylan M. 2014. Apocalypse of the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 2.

[6] MacCulloch, Diarmaid. 2009. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. Penguin. p. 30-34.

[7] King, Karen L. 2006. The Secret Revelation of John. Harvard University Press. p. 15.

[5] Burns, Dylan M. 2014. Apocalypse of the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 2-3.

[9] Turner, John D. 2001. Sethian Gnosticism and the Platonic Tradition. Les Presses de l’Université Laval.

[10] Turner, John D. 2008. “The Sethian School of Gnostic Thought.” In The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Edited by Marvin Meyer. HarperOne. p. 784-789.

[11] Turner, John D. 1986. “Sethian Gnosticism: A Literary History.” In Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, and Early Christianity. Edited by Charles W. Hedrick and Robert Hodgson. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 55-86.

[12] Pearson, Birger A. 2007. Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature. Fortress Press.

[13] Pearson, Birger A. 1986. “The Problem of ‘Jewish Gnostic’ Literature.” In Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, and Early Christianity. Edited by Charles W. Hedrick and Robert Hodgson. Hendrickson Publishers. P. 15-35.

[14] Turner, John D. 1986. “Sethian Gnosticism: A Literary History.” In Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, and Early Christianity. Edited by Charles W. Hedrick and Robert Hodgson. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 58.

[15] Pearson, Birger A. 1986. “The Problem of ‘Jewish Gnostic’ Literature.” In Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, and Early Christianity. Edited by Charles W. Hedrick and Robert Hodgson. Hendrickson Publishers. P. 19-25.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Turner, John D. 1986. “Sethian Gnosticism: A Literary History.” In Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, and Early Christianity. Edited by Charles W. Hedrick and Robert Hodgson. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 55-86.

[18] King, Karen L. 2006. The Secret Revelation of John. Harvard University Press. p. 10.

[19] Pearson, Birger A. 2007. Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature. Fortress Press. p. 11.

[20] King, Karen L. 2006. The Secret Revelation of John. Harvard University Press. p. 16.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid. p. 24.

[23] Matthew 20:16, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+20%3A16&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-15-2019.

[24] Ehrman, Bart. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press. p. 129.

[25] Ehrman, Bart, 2014. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. HarperOne.

[26] Ehrman, Bart. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press.

[27] Ibid. p. 131.

[28] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 162-163.

[29] Ehrman, Bart. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press.

[30] John 17:25, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+17%3A25&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-15-2019.

[31] John 1:10, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+1%3A10&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-15-2019.

[32] John 15:18, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+15%3A18&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-15-2019.

[33] John 16:33. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+16%3A33&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-15-2019.

[34] Ehrman, Bart. 2004. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Third Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 181.

[35] 1 John 2:15-16, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+2%3A15-16&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-15-2018.

[36] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 171-172.

[37] Ehrman, Bart. 2003. Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press. p. 116-120.

[38] Lewis, Nicola Denzey. 2013. Introduction to “Gnosticism:” Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds. Oxford University Press. p. 135.

[39] 1 John 5:19, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+5%3A19&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-18-2018.

[40] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 53.

[41] Ibid. p. 52-53.

[42] Ehrman, Bart. 1999. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press. p. 120-121.

[43] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 10-11.

[44] Ibid. p. 21.

[45] Ibid. p. 31.

[46] Galatians 2:11-21, NRSV. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=galatians+2%3A11-21&version=NRSV Accessed on 3-18-2019.

[47] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 31.

[48] Ibid. p. 12, 46.

[49] King, Karen L. 2006. The Secret Revelation of John. Harvard University Press. p. 1.

[50] Lewis, Nicola Denzey. 2013. Introduction to “Gnosticism:” Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds. Oxford University Press. p. 42.

[51] Pétrement, Simone. 1990. A Separate God: The Origins and Teachings of Gnosticism. Translated by Carol Harrison. Harper San Francisco. p. 24.