Gnosticism

Gnosticism (from gnostikos, "learned", from Greek: γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) is a modern scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices found among some early Christian and non-Christian groups called "gnostic" ("learned") by Irenaeus and other early Christian leaders. In the past many scholars believed that gnosticism pre-dated Christianity, but now it is generally accepted that gnosticism developed into a coherent movement only in the second century CE.

Gnosticism was primarily defined in Christian context, e.g., as "the acute Hellenization of Christianity" per Adolf von Harnack (1885), until Moritz Friedländer (1898) advocated Hellenistic Jewish origins, and Wilhelm Bousset (1907) advocated Persian origins.

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