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Gnosis, Gnostics, Gnosticism
(4,110 words)

[German version]

A. Definition, names

The term Gnosticism that is common today in the German-speaking areas (γνῶσις; gnôsis, ‘insight, knowledge’) has to a large extent superseded the older term ‘Gnosticism’ that is, however, used in English and French. It goes back to the early Christian period (1. Tim 6, 20; Iren. Adversus haereses I, 6.2) and has a heresiological meaning; its representatives are called ‘Gnostics’ (γνωστικοί; gnōs…

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Rudolph, Kurt (Marburg/Lahn), “Gnosis, Gnostics, Gnosticism”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 27 February 2020 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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