Call Boomerang Books 1300 36 33 32

Description - Rethinking "Gnosticism" by Michael Allen Williams

Most anyone interested in such topics as creation mythology, Jungian theory, or the idea of "secret teachings" in ancient Judaism and Christianity has found "gnosticism" compelling. Yet the term "gnosticism," which often connotes a single rebellious movement against the prevailing religions of late antiquity, gives the false impression of a monolithic religious phenomenon. Here Michael Williams challenges the validity of the widely invoked category of ancient "gnosticism" and the ways it has been described. Presenting such famous writings and movements as the Apocryphon of John and Valentinian Christianity, Williams uncovers the similarities and differences among some major traditions widely categorized as gnostic. He provides an eloquent, systematic argument for a more accurate way to discuss these interpretive approaches. The modern construct "gnosticism" is not justified by any ancient self-definition, and many of the most commonly cited religious features that supposedly define gnosticism phenomenologically turn out to be questionable.Exploring the sample sets of "gnostic" teachings, Williams refutes generalizations concerning asceticism and libertinism, attitudes toward the body and the created world, and alleged features of protest, parasitism, and elitism. He sketches a fresh model for understanding ancient innovations on more "mainstream" Judaism and Christianity, a model that is informed by modern research on dynamics in new religious movements and is freed from the false stereotypes from which the category "gnosticism" has been constructed.

Buy Rethinking "Gnosticism" by Michael Allen Williams from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780691005423
ISBN-10: 0691005427
Format: Paperback
(254mm x 197mm x mm)
Pages: 360
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 12-Apr-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Rethinking "Gnosticism" by Michael Allen Williams

» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about Rethinking "Gnosticism" book by Michael Allen Williams and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a Boomerang Books Account Holder - it's free to sign up and there are great benefits!)

Write Review


Author Biography - Michael Allen Williams

Michael Allen Williams is Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Washington, and is currently chair of the Department of Near East Languages and Civilization. He is also the author of The Immovable Race: A Gnostic Designation and the Theme of Stability in Late Antiquity and co-editor, with Collett Cox and Martin Jaffee, of Innovation in Religious Traditions: Essays in the Interpretation of Religious Change.