Main content

Gnosticism

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Gnosticism, a religious sect associated with early Christianity.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Gnosticism, a sect associated with early Christianity. The Gnostics divided the universe into two domains: the visible world and the spiritual one. They believed that a special sort of knowledge, or gnosis, would enable them to escape the evils of the physical world and allow them access to the higher spiritual realm. The Gnostics were regarded as heretics by many of the Church Fathers, but their influence was important in defining the course of early Christianity. A major archaeological discovery in Egypt in the 1940s, when a large cache of Gnostic texts were found buried in an earthenware jar, enabled scholars to learn considerably more about their beliefs.

With:

Martin Palmer
Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education, and Culture

Caroline Humfress
Reader in History at Birkbeck College, University of London

Alastair Logan
Honorary University Fellow of the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 2 May 2013 21:30

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

Dr Caroline Humfress at Birkbeck College, University of London

 

Dr Alastair Logan at the University of Exeter

 

The Nag Hammadi Library

 

History of Gnosticism - Wikipedia

 

Melvyn Bragg on Front Row's Cultural Exchange

 

 

READING LIST:

 

Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer, The Gnostic Bible: Gnostic Texts of Mystical Wisdom from the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (New Seeds Books, 2003)

 

David Brakke, The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual and Diversity in Early Christianity (Harvard University Press, 2010)

 

Giovanni Filoramo, A History of Gnosticism (Blackwell, 1992)

 

Hans-Joachim Klimkeit, Gnosis on the Silk Road (HarperCollins, 1993)

 

Bentley Layton, The Gnostic Scriptures: A New Translation with Annotations and Introductions (Doubleday, 1987)

 

Alastair Logan, The Gnostics: Identifying an Early Christian Cult (T&T Clark, 2006)

 

Christoph Markschies, Gnosis: An Introduction (T&T Clark, 2003)

 

Marvin Meyer and James M. Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts (HarperOne, 2009)

 

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (Phoenix, 2006)

 

Martin Palmer, The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity (Wellspring/Ballantine, 2001)

 

Birger A. Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature (Fortress Press, 2007)

 

James M. Robinson (ed.), The Nag Hammadi Library (HarperOne, 1990)

 

Riemer Roukema, Jesus, Gnosis and Dogma (T&T Clark, 2010)

 

Kurt Rudolph, Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism (HarperOne, 1987)

 

Michael A. Williams, Rethinking “Gnosticism”: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (Princeton University Press, 1999)

 

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Producer Thomas Morris
Producer Thomas Morris
Producer Victoria Brignell
Producer Victoria Brignell
Interviewed Guest Caroline Humfress
Interviewed Guest Caroline Humfress
Interviewed Guest Alastair Logan
Interviewed Guest Alastair Logan

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

The Matter of the North

Melvyn Bragg explores the pivotal role of England's north in shaping modern Britain.

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.

Podcast