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Rethinking "Gnosticism": An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  19 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Most anyone interested in such topics as creation mythology, Jungian theory, or the idea of "secret teachings" in ancient Judaism and Christianity has found "gnosticism" compelling. Yet the term "gnosticism," which often connotes a single rebellious movement against the prevailing religions of late antiquity, gives the false impression of a monolithic religious phenomenon. ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 2nd 1999 by Princeton University Press (first published 1996)
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Emily
Jan 31, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students of ancient christianity, students of religion
This is a groundbreaking book on Gnosticism and should be read by all who study or teach about ancient Christianity.

In this surprisingly readable work Williams argues that the category “gnosticism” is inadequate to account for the varieties of literature and/or groups that have been placed within this category. The stereotypes of “gnostic” ideology are inadequate or simply wrong and have become presupposed in literature described as “gnostic.” The main body of the work is a detailed analysis of
...more
A
Jan 14, 2008 A rated it really liked it
I think that Emily's review already gives a good summation of why this book is worth reading, and I don't have much to add on that count. Williams's approach to the subject matter is very thorough, well researched and well reasoned. For those interested in the history of early Christianity and the groups often labeled as "gnostic," he brings new insight and corrects some unhelpful reductions and stereotypes. The other reason I'd recommend the book is that, like others in the field, it offers a g ...more
Ted Morgan
Sep 22, 2016 Ted Morgan rated it it was amazing
An important correction.
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