The Basic Tenets of Gnosticism

  • Joe E. Morris


In order to adequately examine Gnosticism and Fundamentalism,we must first identify their basic concepts or hermeneutical keys. Important to understanding any belief system is grasping its hermeneutics or its underlying principles of interpretation.1 Hermeneutics is the “science of interpretation, especially of the Biblical text.” For the purposes of this study, hermeneutics is an important word and one we will encounter frequently.2 One might view hermeneutics as a template or pattern of a particular set of beliefs. What are the dominant themes of a religion? When you peel back the layers of dogma and liturgy, what is the core? What ultimately drives this religion, fuels its meaning? What about it creates adoration, devotion, worship, sacrifice? What causes it to generate obsession, fanaticism? In other words, what are its basic concepts? What are the hermeneutical keys that open the doors to its interpretation of sacred texts?


Material World Basic Tenet Sacred Text Christian Church Biblical Text 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 3.
    Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus ( San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2005 ), 217.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Kurt Rudolph, Gnosis: The Nature & History of Gnosticism ( San Francisco: Harper, 1987 ), 307–8.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Bruce Metzger, The New Testament ( New York: Oxford University Press, 2004 ), 190.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (New York: Random House, 1976), xviii.Google Scholar

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© Joe E. Morris 2008

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  • Joe E. Morris

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