Gnostic Interpretations of Genesis

Ismo Dunderberg

in The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199204540
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Gnostic Interpretations of Genesis

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One noteworthy development in 2nd-century Christianity was the emergence of teachers and groups claiming that the God described in the Hebrew Bible is not the supreme deity but only an inferior creator-God (demiurge). The distinction between the perfect, unknown God and the inferior creator-God, who was identified with the God described in the Hebrew Bible, is usually regarded as one of the main tenets of ‘Gnosticism’. This term, however, may create a misleading impression of a unified ‘heretical’ front as opposed to ‘the early church’. Not only did those Christians, who questioned the Jewish belief in one God, not form a single social body, but there is also a great variety in the exegetical methods they used and in their precise assessments of the creator-God.

Keywords: Hebrew Bible; Jewish God; Christianity; Gnosticism; supreme deity; exegesis

Article.  6196 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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