From Theosophy Wiki
Revision as of 05:37, 26 November 2023 by SysopJ (talk | contribs) (→‎Articles)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gnosticism (from the Greek gnōsis [γνῶσις], "knowledge") is the religious philosophy and practice of various movements of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries. Although some scholars have claimed that gnosticism pre-dated Christianity, it is usually defined in a Christian context. It is generally accepted that gnosticism developed into a coherent movement only in the second century CE.

Most gnostic movements saw the material world as created through an intermediary being (the demiurge) rather than directly by God. This demiurge was generally seen as imperfect, and sometimes even as evil. A common characteristic of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis (esoteric or intuitive knowledge) is the way to salvation of the soul from the material world.

Additional resources


  • Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospel.




  • "The Origins of Gnosticism" by Richard Smoley, presented March 24, 2022 at the Theosophical Society in America. Richard Smoley, author of "Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism," presents a radical new theory. He argues that Gnosticism arose out of the failure of apocalyptic expectations in early Christianity.
  • Hermeticism and Gnosticism by Stephan Hoeller
  • Turning-Points for the West: From Pythagoras and Plato through Gnosticism and Neoplatonism by Stephan Hoeller and Tony Lysy, presented on September 11, 2004 at the Theosophical Society in America.
  • Our Gnostic Legacy: The Western Esoteric Tradition by Richard Smoley