Гностицизм - определение и краткое описание (англ.)
Philosophical and religious movement prominent in the Greco-Roman world in the 2nd century AD. While Gnosticism drew from and influenced in turn many traditional religions, its effect was most clearly felt on nascent Christianity, in which it led to the formation of the canon, creed, and episcopal organization.
The designation Gnosticism, derived from the Greek gnostikos (one who has gnosis, or "secret knowledge"), is a term of modern scholarship. Evidence for the Gnostic phenomenon, found in the Church Fathers who opposed Gnostic teachings (Irenaeus, c. 185; Hippolytus, c. 230; Epiphanius, c. 375) and in the Gnostic writings themselves, reveals a diversity in theology, ethics, and ritual that defies strict classification. Yet Gnostic sects appear to have shared an emphasis on the redemptive power of esoteric knowledge, acquirednot by learning or empirical observation but by divine revelation.
History.The origins of the Gnostic world view have been sought by scholars in the dualism of Iranian religion, the allegorical Idealism of the Middle Platonic philosophers, and the apocalypticism of certain Jewish mystics. There are analogies also with Egyptian and Mesopotamian thought. It was only with the rise of Christianity, however, that Gnostic syncretism came to full expression.
The first Gnostic about whom something can be said with confidence is Simon Magus, a 1st-century Jewish heterodox teacher who introduced the fundamental Gnostic conception that evil resulted from a break within the Godhead. But Simon's gnosis remained essentially Jewish and monotheistic, as did that of the Gnostic circles to which later parts of the New Testament allude.
The dualistic phase was reached after the expansion of Gnosticism into the Hellenistic world and under the influence of Platonic philosophy, from which was borrowed the doctrine that a lower demiurge was responsible for the creation of this world.
Eastern Gnosticism took a somewhat different course. Under the influence of traditional Iranian religion, the semi-Gnostic Manichaeism developed an absolute cosmic dualism between soul and matter. Moreover, it showed the enormous influence of Syrian asceticism, but it was equally rooted in popular Gnosticism and preserved its essential doctrines.
Nature.In the Gnostic view, the unconscious self of man is consubstantial with the Godhead, but because of a tragic fall it is thrown into a world that is completely alien to its real being. Through revelation from above, man becomes conscious of his origin, essence, and transcedent destiny. Gnostic revelation is to be distinguished both from philosophical enlightenment, because it cannot be acquired by the forces of reason, and from Christian revelation, because it is not rooted in history and transmitted by Scripture. It is rather the intuition of the mystery of the self.
The world, produced from evil matter and possessed by evil demons, cannot be a creation of a good God; it is mostly conceived of as an illusion, or an abortion, dominated by Yahweh, the Jewish demiurge, whose creation and history are depreciated. This world is therefore alien to God, who is for the Gnostics depth and silence, beyond any name or predicate, the absolute, the source of good spirits who together form the pleroma, or realm of light.
These conceptions are expressed in various myths, which employ material from many traditional religions but serve to express a basic experience that is new, the discovery of the unconscious self or spirit in man which sleeps in him until awakened by the Saviour. The Gnostic sects of the 2nd century made use of Hebrew and Christian religious writings, employing the allegorical method to extricate Gnostic meanings from them.
The Gnostic writersAlthough the church eventually maintained its identity intact, the confrontation forced it to clarify its ideas on vital issues on which it differed sharply from the Gnostics. Chief among these were the Gnostics' distinction between the unknown supreme God and the Demiurge (identified with the God of the Old Testament) who created this world; their dualist disparagement of the material order and insistence that the Redeemer became incarnate in appearance only; their belief in salvation by esoteric knowledge; and their division of humanity into a spiritual elite able to achieve salvation and, below this elite, "psychics" capable of a modified form of salvation and "material" people cut off from salvation.
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