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To: alt.magick
From: James Foster 
Subject: Re: Gnosis
Date: Sun, 8 Jun 1997 03:10:40 PDT

> Wasn't Gnosticism one of the three primary pre - Council of Nicea 
> christian sects, a synthesis of Zoroastrian dualism and christian belief, 
> and weren't it's teachings largly excluded from what was to become Roman 
> Catholic doctrine due to the uncooperative nature of Gnostic 
> representatives at said Council?  I'm not trying to cast doubt upon 
> Gnosticism, I find it fascinating...I just need clarification.  I suppose 
> that's what the site is for.  Thanks for providing the address,
> 					Jim

Keep in mind that there was no single "Gnostic" religion, or belief.
Gnosticism predates Christianity by quite a stretch, and there were Jewish
Gnostics, Zoroastrian Gnostics, Hellenic Gnostics, etc.  When Christianity
first began to spread like wild fire towards the end of the first century,
right up until the end of the second over 80% of all Christians were
Gnostics.  In fact, when you talk about Christianity during that time
period you might as well think of it as a new brand of Gnosticism, with
what we consider today to be mainstream Christian thought as simply a
vocal yet tiny fringe group.
During the end of the second century and into the beginning of the third,
however, Gnostic Christianity suddnly (relatively speaking) disappears.
Why?  There are several theories but no one knows for certain.  A
concerted "pogrom" against the "Gnostic Heretics" doesn't appear likely
though, as the (now) Orthodox didn't have the strength or influence for
such a move, and no historical texts give witness to such an event (and
you think they might, given that it would have been such an incredible
Hope this helps!

James Foster
Religious Studies Dept.
University of Oregon

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Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
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