RELST 4628

RELST 4628

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2020-2021.

What is "Gnosticism" and why has it come to be so hotly debated among scholars and in our contemporary media? What is the Gospel of Judas and are its ideas "heretical"? Who wrote the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary and why were these Gospels not included in the New Testament canon? To what extent did Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code draw from ancient Christian gnostic sources? This seminar will explore answers to these questions and many others by focusing on the complex array of literary sources from late antiquity-primarily from a cache of manuscripts found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945-that have long been associated with a so-called "Christian Gnosticism". Church Fathers condemned the "movement" on a variety of grounds, but in this course we will not simply read the condemnations written by the opponents of gnostic thought; rather, we will focus our attention on reading (in English translation) substantial portions of the "gnostic" texts written by the adherents themselves. We will give special attention to the ways in which conflicts about Gnosticism connected with conflicts about gender, heresy, power, and authority. To set these texts within a socio-historical context, we will discuss the possible Jewish and hellenistic roots of early Christian Gnosticism and ties to Stoic and other ancient philosophical movements.

When Offered Fall.

Breadth Requirement (GHB)
Distribution Category (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Course Attribute (CU-ITL)

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Syllabi: none
  • 18004 RELST 4628   SEM 101

    • W Online Meeting
    • Feb 8 - May 14, 2021
    • Haines-Eitzen, K

  • Instruction Mode: Online