Williams M. A.
Rethinking «Gnosticism»
an argument for dismantling a dubious category


Princeton, 1996


LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
PREFACE
ABBREVIATIONS

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER ONE. What Kind of Thing Do Scholars Mean by «Gnosticism»?
A LOOK AT FOUR CASES
Introduction
The Apocryphon of John
Ptolemy and Valentinian Christianity
Justin the Gnostic
Marcion of Sinope
What Is «Gnosticism»?

CHAPTER TWO. «Gnosticism» as a Category
Introduction
«Gnosticism» and Self-Definition
«Gnosticism» as Typological Construct
Alternatives to «Gnosticism» as a Category

CHAPTER THREE. Protest Exegesis? or Hermeneutical Problem-Solving?
Introduction
Hermeneutical Value Reversals Not Thoroughgoing
Value Reversals Usually Linked to Specific Problems
Conclusion

CHAPTER FOUR. Parasites? or Innovators?
Introduction
Special Organism versus Ordinary Process
The Agents of Innovation
Innovation as a Dynamic Process
Metaphors versus Explanations
Conclusion

CHAPTER FIVE. Anticosmic World-Rejection? or Sociocultural Accommodation?
Introduction
Mythological Symbol and Social Reality
General Level of Social Interaction and Involvement
Degree of Sociopolitical Deviance
Attempts to Reduce Cultural Distance
Social Dropouts?
Breaking Off the Front End
Conclusion

CHAPTER SIX. Hatred of the Body? or the Perfection of the Human?
Introduction
The Body Negative
The Body Divine
Conclusion

CHAPTER SEVEN. Asceticism . . . ?
Introduction
Ascetic Practices and Lifestyles
Perfection and the Family
Conclusion

CHAPTER EIGHT. . . . or Libertinism?
Introduction
The Problematic Evidence
The One Instance of Direct Testimony
Conclusion

CHAPTER NINE. Deterministic Elitism? or Inclusive Theories of Conversion?
Introduction
Ethical Parenesis
Spiritual Ethnicity, Conversion, and Growth
Providence, Fate, and Free Will
Recruitment and Conversion
Conclusion

CHAPTER TEN. Where They Came From . . .
Introduction
The Problem with Defining «Gnosticism» as the Innovation
Accounting for the Innovations in Question
Conclusion

CHAPTER ELEVEN. . . . and What They Left Behind
Introduction
Successful Movements and Unsuccessful Movements
Previous Theories about the Relation of the Library’s Content to Its Social Context
Selection and Arrangements of Tractates within the Nag Hammadi Codices
Conclusion

CONCLUSION

NOTES

MODERN WORKS CITED

INDEX

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