By Nicola Denzey Lewis
In 'Cosmology and destiny in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity,' Nicola Denzey Lewis dismisses Hans Jonas' mischaracterization of second-century Gnosticism as a philosophically-oriented non secular circulate outfitted at the conception of the cosmos as damaging or enslaving. A concentrated learn at the suggestion of astrological destiny in “Gnostic” writings together with the Apocryphon of John, the recently-discovered Gospel of Judas, Trimorphic Protennoia, and the Pistis Sophia, this publication reexamines their language of “enslavement to destiny (Gk: heimarmene)” from its origins in Greek Stoicism, its deployment via the apostle Paul, to its later use via a number of second-century intellectuals (both Christian and non-Christian). Denzey Lewis therefore deals an educated and revisionist conceptual map of the traditional cosmos, its impact, and all those that claimed to be freed from its possibly pernicious results.
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Additional resources for Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Under Pitiless Skies (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, Volume 81)
The second-century Syrian Christian Tatian (120–180 ce) expressed a similar view in his vituperative polemic on Graeco-Roman religion and philosophy, the Oratio ad Graecas. , the angels’] apostasy. For they showed people a diagram of the constellations, and like dice-players they introduced heimarmene—an exceedingly unjust thing—which brought both judge and prisoner to where they are now. (Ad Graec. 1) 19 On Athenagoras’s theory of providence, see Michael Williams, The Immoveable Race (Leiden: Brill, 1985), 130.
29DE on God’s beneficent ordering of the cosmos. 16 Compare Tim. 42DE on Plato’s association of the planets with the ‘young gods’ and their administration over matter. 17 This division is also drawn from Tim. 42DE. 34 chapter two quos Genios et Lares possumus nuncupare, ministros deorum arbitrantur custodesque hominum et interpretes, si quid a diis velint”: “the daimōnes also, whom we may term genii and larii, are considered to be ministers of the gods and guardians and interpreters for people, if ever they wish anything from the gods” (de Plat.
15 Perhaps inspired by the pioneering work of his fellow Harvard scholar 12 Gilbert Murray, Five Stages of Greek Religion (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925), 119. Murray, Five Stages, 9. -J. 1–18. 15 Arthur Darby Nock, Conversion. The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933). -J. Festugière to produce the learned, four-volume critical edition of the Hermetic Corpus, Corpus Hermeticum (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1946–1954). 13 were the gnostics cosmic pessimists?