Gnosticism from Thought to Religion

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD. University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

2 Associate Professor, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.



The origin of Gnostic thought and its evolution is a controversial topic. By critically examining Gnostic sects and analyzing the opinions of experts, this article will answer the following questions: What are the components of Gnostic thought? What are the sources of Gnostic thought? Were there any sects known as Gnostics before Christ? This research shows that most of our knowledge of Gnosticism is based on controversial Christian works and the Qumran manuscripts. According to these works, no group or sect was called Gnostic before Christ. Although some of the components of Gnostic thought, such as the originality of knowledge and the exile of the soul, date back to the pre-Christ era, and especially to Plato, some other components, such as the distinction between the Christian and Jewish gods, belief in the multiplicity of the eternal Christ, the primacy of knowledge over faith, are products of the period of the formation of Gnostic sects and their conflict with the Church Fathers in the first centuries of the common era.


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