Defining the term Gnosis and its relationship to Gnosticism, this book indicates why Gnosis may be preferable and sketches out the main problems. It then treats the sources, both those in the church fathers and heresiologists, and the more recent Nag Hammadi finds. It goes on to discuss early forms of Gnosis in antiquity, Jewish and Christian (New Testament) and the early Gnostics; the main representatives of Gnosis, especially Valentinus and Marcion; Manichaeism as the culmination and end-point of Gnosis; ancient communities of Gnostics; and finally Gnosis in antiquity and the present.
'(T)he introduction by Markschies....provides a useful and accessible survey of the main texts and groupings.' 'Markschies's book is a stimulating introduction to a complex topic; it is not only suitable for students, but will provide food for thought to specialists as well.'--Sanford Lakoff