Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism / Edition 1

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In this groundbreaking collection of essays, King and other contributors engage in a systematic study of issues of gender in Gnosticism. Using a variety of critical methods, the writers ask questions such as: What is the relationship of gendered images to the real lives of women and men? Did ascetic or libertine practices offer an attractive alternative to women in a patriarchal society? Are the images of strong, female goddesses, saviors, and heroines an indication Gnosticism would have been attractive to women? Is it plausible that women in some gnostic groups were authors, teachers, and leaders? Is it possible that some of the Gnostic texts we possess were written by women? What parts did women play in ritual? Did asceticism or libertinism have a different set of social functions for women than for men? These lucid essays offer significant insights into the cultural context and religious practices of Gnosticism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563383311
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Series: Studies in Antiquity & Christianity Series
  • Edition description: LST TRINIT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen L. King is Professor of Religious Studies at Occidental College, Los Angeles. She is the editor of Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism (Fortress Press, 1998).

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Table of Contents

Editor's Foreword
1 Variety in Gnostic Perspectives on Gender 2
2 Gender and Generation: Observations on Coptic Terminology, with Particular Attention to Valentinian Texts 23
3 A Response to Gender and Generation 41
4 Prouneikos. A Colorful Expression to Designate Wisdom in Gnostic Texts 47
5 A Response to Prouneikos 67
6 Jewish and Greek Heroines in the Nag Hammadi Library 71
7 A Response to Jewish and Greek Heroines 91
8 Sophia as Goddess in the Nag Hammadi Codices 96
9 Very Goddess and Very Man: Jesus' Better Self 113
10 A Response to Very Goddess and Very Man 128
11 Female Figures in the Gnostic Sondergut in Hippolytus's Refutatio 136
12 A Response to Female Figures 153
13 Sophia and Christ in the Apocryphon of John 158
14 A Response to Sophia and Christ 177
15 Pursuing the Spiritual Eve: Imagery and Hermeneutics in the Hypostasis of the Archons and the Gospel of Philip 187
16 A Response to Pursuing the Spiritual Eve 207
17 "The Holy Spirit Is a Double Name": Holy Spirit, Mary, and Sophia in the Gospel of Philip 211
18 A Response to "The Holy Spirit Is a Double Name" 228
19 Virginity and Subversion: Norea Against the Powers in the Hypostasis of the Archons 239
20 A Response to Virginity and Subversion 259
21 Revisiting Norea 265
22 Corinthian Veils and Gnostic Androgynes 276
23 A Response to Corinthian Veils 293
24 Flee Femininity: Antifemininity in Gnostic Texts and the Question of Social Milieu 297
25 The Social Functions of Women's Asceticism in the Roman East 308
26 A Response to The Social Functions of Women's Asceticism 324
27 Libertine or Liberated: Women in the So-called Libertine Gnostic Communities 329
28 Sex Education in Gnostic Schools 345
29 A Response to Sex Education in Gnostic Schools 361
30 Vitiated Seeds and Holy Vessels: Augustine's Manichean Past 367
31 A Response to Vitiated Seeds and Holy Vessels 402
32 Adam and Eve and the Serpent in Genesis 1 - 3 412
Works Cited 425
Index 447
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