Rethinking

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

by Michael Allen Williams

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400822218
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 04/12/1999
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 360
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Michael Allen Williams is Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Washington, and is currently chair of the Department of Near East Languages and Civilization. He is also the author of The Immovable Race: A Gnostic Designation and the Theme of Stability in Late Antiquity and co-editor, with Collett Cox and Martin Jaffee, of Innovation in Religious Traditions: Essays in the Interpretation of Religious Change.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction 3
Ch. 1 What Kind of Thing Do Scholars Mean by "Gnosticism"?: A Look at Four Cases 7
Ch. 2 "Gnosticism" as a Category 29
Ch. 3 Protest Exegesis? or Hermeneutical Problem-Solving? 54
Ch. 4 Parasites? or Innovators? 80
Ch. 5 Anticosmic World-Rejection? or Sociocultural Accommodation? 96
Ch. 6 Hatred of the Body? or the Perfection of the Human? 116
Ch. 7 Asceticism...? 139
Ch. 8 ...or Libertinism? 163
Ch. 9 Deterministic Elitism? or Inclusive Theories of Conversion? 189
Ch. 10 Where They Came From... 213
Ch. 11 ...and What They Left Behind 235
Conclusion 263
Notes 267
Modern Works Cited 311
Index 329


What People are Saying About This

Paul-Hubert Poirier

Michael Williams presents the first treatment of gnosticism in book form that endeavors, and succeeds, to get out of beaten tracks by questioning the very definition and description of this phenomenon. He conducts a detailed analysis of the clichés that have been in circulation for decades and shows convincingly how they have contributed to a distorted and biased approach to the sources. This book will be epoch-making for the field of gnostic studies and should attract a very large reading audience.
Paul-Hubert Poirier, Universite Laval

Paul-Hubert Poirier, Universite Laval

Michael Williams presents the first treatment of gnosticism in book form that endeavors, and succeeds, to get out of beaten tracks by questioning the very definition and description of this phenomenon. He conducts a detailed analysis of the cliches that have been in circulation for decades and shows convincingly how they have contributed to a distorted and biased approach to the sources. This book will be epoch-making for the field of gnostic studies and should attract a very large reading audience.

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