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* ''[[http://www.indarkalleys.com/!IDA/ In Dark Alleys]]'' from [[http://www.vajraenterprises.com/ Vajra Enterprises]]. In Dark Alleys has several philosophies in the history of unpopular ideas section. Animism, Buddhism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Descartian Skepticism, Sadism, Marxism, Nihilism, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Surrealism, Existentialism, Jungian Psychology, Punk, Paglian Feminism, and Postmodernism.

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* ''[[http://www.indarkalleys.com/!IDA/ vajraenterprises.com/new/?p=44 In Dark Alleys]]'' from [[http://www.vajraenterprises.com/ Vajra Enterprises]]. In ''In Dark Alleys Alleys'' has several philosophies in the history of unpopular ideas section. Animism, Buddhism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Descartian Skepticism, Sadism, Marxism, Nihilism, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Surrealism, Existentialism, Jungian Psychology, Punk, Paglian Feminism, and Postmodernism.

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Gnosticism at no point constituted a monolith, but rather a wide variety of sects, schools and even religions from a rough period of History (between the first and third centuries AD, with some exceptions) that maintained an at least vaguely similar set of beliefs. These beliefs can be synthesized in four points:

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Gnosticism at no point constituted a monolith, but rather a wide variety of sects, schools schools, and even religions from a rough period of History (between the first and third centuries AD, with some exceptions) that maintained an at least vaguely similar set of beliefs. These beliefs can be synthesized in into four points:



* In many Gnostic sects, the "good" God receives the name of the Monad, also known as The One or The Absolute. It is the high source of the Pleroma and its divine light, is hermafroditic (or asexual) and omnipotent, and goes often accompanied by a pantheon of emanations or minor deities called the Aeons. These are often separated in male and female and gathered in pairs called syzygies, although some texts give also a hermafroditic aeon named Barbelo as the first and father of all them, inferior only to the Monad.

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* In many Gnostic sects, the "good" God receives the name of the Monad, also known as The One or The Absolute. It is the high source of the Pleroma and its divine light, is hermafroditic hermaphroditic (or asexual) and omnipotent, and goes often accompanied by a pantheon of emanations or minor deities called the Aeons. These are often separated in male and female and gathered in pairs called syzygies, although some texts give also a hermafroditic hermaphroditic aeon named Barbelo as the first and father of all them, inferior only to the Monad.



* On the other hand, there ''is'' evil in the Gnostic universe. From the matter that solidified out of Sophia's divine power, a false god (the "bad" one) was born, known as the Demiurge or Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic equivalent of [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Azathoth]]. The Demiurge then creates the physical universe, which is isolated from the higher dimensions above, and elects himself as its ruler. He's accompanied by a myriad of created servants called the Archons, which are identified as the angels and demons of the Old Testament. Some sects specify the archons are actually only six and are rulers of six celestial bodies, with the Demiurge being the seventh and ruling the Earth.

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* On the other hand, there ''is'' evil in the Gnostic universe. From the matter that solidified out of Sophia's divine power, a false god (the "bad" one) was born, known as the Demiurge or Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic equivalent of [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Azathoth]]. The Demiurge then creates the physical universe, which is isolated from the higher dimensions above, above and elects himself as its ruler. He's accompanied by a myriad of created servants called the Archons, which are identified as the angels and demons of the Old Testament. Some sects specify the archons are actually only six and are rulers of six celestial bodies, with the Demiurge being the seventh and ruling the Earth.



That said, scholarship agrees that Gnosticism was a eclectic mixture of beliefs. It is safe to say that early/primitive Christianity codified most of its basis, and that Hellenic currents like [[Creator/{{Plato}} Platonism]] and Stoicism surely had a hand on it, but it might have been spiced up by esoteric Judaic mystic teachings, and considering by that time there was already influence of Asian religions flowing over into the Western world, this has to be counted on too. That goes without mentioning the doctrines that were influenced by Gnosticism and the latter's own revival movements in later ages. Although it is largely (thought not fully) extinct today, remnants of Gnosticism can still be found in multiple facets of history and religion.

In comparison with other ancient religions, Gnosticism didn't permeate modern popular culture until a relatively recent time. When it did, it was largely thanks to one of the mentioned revivals, medieval Catharism, due to its role in some historical conspiration theories about Christianity (most notably Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' and the cultural phenom surrounding it). Additionally, some more or less popular pieces of fiction (like ''Franchise/TheMatrix'', Creator/PhilipKDick's works and some selected anime series) would include more essential Gnostic influences in order to achieve a certain philosophic premise. Otherwise, it remains a comparatively obscure historical curiosity.

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That said, scholarship agrees that Gnosticism was a an eclectic mixture of beliefs. It is safe to say that early/primitive Christianity codified most of its basis, basis and that Hellenic currents like [[Creator/{{Plato}} Platonism]] and Stoicism surely had a hand on it, but it might have been spiced up by esoteric Judaic mystic teachings, and considering by that time there was already influence of Asian religions flowing over into the Western world, this has to be counted on too. That goes without mentioning the doctrines that were influenced by Gnosticism and the latter's own revival movements in later ages. Although it is largely (thought (though not fully) extinct today, remnants of Gnosticism can still be found in multiple facets of history and religion.

In comparison with other ancient religions, Gnosticism didn't permeate modern popular culture until a relatively recent time.recently. When it did, it was largely thanks to one of the mentioned revivals, medieval Catharism, due to its role in some historical conspiration theories about Christianity (most notably Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' and the cultural phenom surrounding it). Additionally, some more or less popular pieces of fiction (like ''Franchise/TheMatrix'', Creator/PhilipKDick's works and some selected anime series) would include more essential Gnostic influences in order to achieve a certain philosophic premise. Otherwise, it remains a comparatively obscure historical curiosity.



A 2nd century sect that regarded [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Magus Simon Magus]] (the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to have been a syncretic Jewish cult, originally built around John the Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. They taught about a version of Sophia called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.

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A 2nd century second-century sect that regarded [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Magus Simon Magus]] (the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to have been a syncretic Jewish cult, originally built around John the Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. They taught about a version of Sophia called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, SlutShaming until God himself descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.



Founded in the 2nd century by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcion_of_Sinope Marcion of Sinope]] (85-160 AD), possibly a disciple to the Simonian [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerdo_(gnostic) Cerdo]], Marcionism was a Christian dualist sect. Like the previous, it is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered just a very Christianized form of it. It might have also helped the figure of Paul the Apostle to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them.

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Founded in the 2nd century by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcion_of_Sinope Marcion of Sinope]] (85-160 AD), possibly a disciple to the Simonian [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerdo_(gnostic) Cerdo]], Marcionism was a Christian dualist sect. Like the previous, it is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered just a very Christianized form of it. It might have also helped the figure of Paul the Apostle to become a fan favourite favorite for posterior Gnostics, cementing a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them.



This tradition was founded in the early 2nd century by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinus_(Gnostic) Valentinius of Alexandria]] (100-160 AD), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption. This school had an European offshoot founded by Valentinus's apprentice, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_(Marcosian) Marcus]], in which Gnosticism was mixed with Pyathagorean mathematics for extra MindScrew.

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This tradition was founded in the early 2nd century by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinus_(Gnostic) Valentinius of Alexandria]] (100-160 AD), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption. This school had an a European offshoot founded by Valentinus's apprentice, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_(Marcosian) Marcus]], in which Gnosticism was mixed with Pyathagorean Pythagorean mathematics for extra MindScrew.



The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, Basilidean and Marcionite, but it actually descended from older Hellenistic Jewish traditions that might have predated Christianity and Gnosticism themselves. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.

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The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, Basilidean Basilidean, and Marcionite, but it actually descended from older Hellenistic Jewish traditions that might have predated Christianity and Gnosticism themselves. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.



Founded in the 3rd century by Persian prophet [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mani_(prophet) Mani]] (216Ė274 AD), who was influenced by UsefulNotes/{{Zoroastrianism}} and possibly a former Valentinian named [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardaisan Bardaisan]], Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it from all sides. Its doctrine postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, so Jesus Christ and Mani (as well as Zoroaster and Buddha) had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.

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Founded in the 3rd century by Persian prophet [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mani_(prophet) Mani]] (216Ė274 AD), who was influenced by UsefulNotes/{{Zoroastrianism}} and possibly a former Valentinian named [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardaisan Bardaisan]], Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam Islam, and the Chinese religions ganged up on it from all sides. Its doctrine postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, so Jesus Christ and Mani (as well as Zoroaster and Buddha) had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.



A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of a boring waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.

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A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin Yushamin, and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of a boring waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.



A Gnostic school created around 650 by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine-Silvanus Constantine of Samosata]]. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's strong Christian heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves rejected many Christian symbols and doctrines themselves). Although they resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been chosen (not sent, but chosen, as an "adoptive" son of God) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.

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A Gnostic school created around 650 by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine-Silvanus Constantine of Samosata]]. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's strong Christian heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves themselves, rejected many Christian symbols and doctrines themselves). Although they resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been chosen (not sent, but chosen, as an "adoptive" son of God) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.



Catharism (from Greek "pure", although it seems they called themselves "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title), the second great Gnostic revival school, came to Southern Europe in the 12th century from the Byzantine Empire, where Bogomilian influences were still hot. Their beliefs were basically a re-Christianized, more zealous version of Paulicianism, the main difference being that they considered only through vows of ascetism and celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.

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Catharism (from Greek "pure", although it seems they called themselves "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title), the second great Gnostic revival school, came to Southern Europe in the 12th century from the Byzantine Empire, where Bogomilian influences were still hot. Their beliefs were basically a re-Christianized, more zealous version of Paulicianism, the main difference being that they considered only through vows of ascetism asceticism and celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.



-->''Light and darkness, life and death, the right and the left are each other's brothers. [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil They cannot separate from one another]]. Therefore, [[AboveGoodAndEvil the good are not good, nor are the evil evil]], [[NietzscheWannabe nor is life life, nor death, death]].''
* AmbiguousSituation: 4th century Spanish heretic [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillian Priscillian]] is sometimes described as a Gnostic, usually by his enemies, but whether he really was one remains controversial. It is certain that he knew what Gnosticism was, given that he uses some of its concepts and words in his own books, but the rest of his system seems to be just a very ascetic Christian doctrine (spiced with some other heresies, that is). Then again, he was known to favor secretism, so whether he would have put his true teachings on a public book is another thing.

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-->''Light and darkness, life and death, the right and the left are each other's brothers. [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil They cannot separate from one another]]. Therefore, [[AboveGoodAndEvil the good are not good, nor are the evil evil, evil]], [[NietzscheWannabe nor is life life, life, nor death, death]].''
* AmbiguousSituation: 4th century fourth-century Spanish heretic [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillian Priscillian]] is sometimes described as a Gnostic, usually by his enemies, but whether he really was one remains controversial. It is certain that he knew what Gnosticism was, given that he uses some of its concepts and words in his own books, but the rest of his system seems to be just a very ascetic Christian doctrine (spiced with some other heresies, that is). Then again, he was known to favor secretism, so whether he would have put his true teachings on a public book is another thing.



* AllThereInTheManual: The Gnostic scriptures are the manual that they believed contain all their knowledge needed for salvation by gnosis. Unfortunately, big chunks of the manual are lost.

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* AllThereInTheManual: The Gnostic scriptures are the manual that they believed contain contained all their knowledge needed for salvation by gnosis. Unfortunately, big chunks of the manual are lost.



** Or alternately, Mary Magdalene. Who is also sometimes implied to have a romantic relationship with Jesus. Probably not sexual though-the Gnostics were really into asceticism.

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** Or alternately, alternatively, Mary Magdalene. Who is also sometimes implied to have a romantic relationship with Jesus. Probably not sexual though-the Gnostics were really into asceticism.



* CessationOfExistence: The Gospel of Judas says that this will be the fate of the Hylics, since they're TheSoulless.

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* CessationOfExistence: The Gospel of Judas says that this will be the fate of the Hylics, Hylics since they're TheSoulless.



* CrapSaccharineWorld[-/-]CrapsackWorld: Depends on people's lot in life and various other factors effecting how they view the world. Crapsack if their life is obviously bad, Crapsaccharine if deceptively good.

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* CrapSaccharineWorld[-/-]CrapsackWorld: Depends on people's lot in life and various other factors effecting affecting how they view the world. Crapsack if their life is obviously bad, Crapsaccharine if deceptively good.



** It should be noted that they are ALighterShadeOfBlack in EvilVersusEvil against the Demiurge. It should also be noted that the Demiurge was the TheChessmaster who used a XanatosGambit to orchestrate their StartOfDarkness. This is especially with regards to Cain and Pharaoh. Cain was pushed over the edge to killing his brother Abel because the Demiurge liked him better. Actually, the Demiurge creates several enemies using this same "love the younger brother, hate the older brother" strategy i.e. love Abel hate Cain, love Isaac hate Ishmael, love Jacob hate Esau, love Judah hate Israel, etc. The Pharaoh was needed to play the role he did because the Demiurge was really really invested in a 400+ year old XanatosGambit to cause the Exodus. Similar to god on trial if you think about it. Sodom and Gommorah was ArsonMurderAndJaywalking because of the jaywalking part, i.e. deviant sexuality, which is one of the Demiurge's {{Berserk Button}}s.

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** It should be noted that they are ALighterShadeOfBlack in EvilVersusEvil against the Demiurge. It should also be noted that the Demiurge was the TheChessmaster who used a XanatosGambit to orchestrate their StartOfDarkness. This is especially with regards to Cain and Pharaoh. Cain was pushed over the edge to killing his brother Abel because the Demiurge liked him better. Actually, the Demiurge creates several enemies using this same "love the younger brother, hate the older brother" strategy i.e. love Abel hate Cain, love Isaac hate Ishmael, love Jacob hate Esau, love Judah hate Israel, etc. The Pharaoh was needed to play the role he did because the Demiurge was really really invested in a 400+ year old 400+-year-old XanatosGambit to cause the Exodus. Similar to god on trial if you think about it. Sodom and Gommorah was ArsonMurderAndJaywalking because of the jaywalking part, i.e. deviant sexuality, which is one of the Demiurge's {{Berserk Button}}s.



** {{Averted}}, the Demiurge (BigBad) is a lion headed serpent who is also really ugly. Unlike modern Christian interpretations of evil, evil in Gnosticism is usually boneheaded and bureaucratic in nature, more like a supernal [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Oceania]] than a whorehouse. Its paragons have unattractive names like "Quarrelsomeness" and "Bitter Weeping."

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** {{Averted}}, the Demiurge (BigBad) is a lion headed lion-headed serpent who is also really ugly. Unlike modern Christian interpretations of evil, evil in Gnosticism is usually boneheaded and bureaucratic in nature, more like a supernal [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Oceania]] than a whorehouse. Its paragons have unattractive names like "Quarrelsomeness" and "Bitter Weeping."



* GhostInTheMachine: The basis for most Westerners having this view of the soul, as opposed to it being: [[OurSoulsAreDifferent a) breath, b) your life force, c) your conscience, d) a shield from demons, e) your free will, f) your goodness, g) dependent on your body, h) protection from comas, i) your glamour, j) your ticket to heaven, k) your ticket to surviving death, etc.]] Some of these aspects are compatible with this view and some are incompatible in and of themselves, but taken as standalone statements they can lead in a different direction.\\\

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* GhostInTheMachine: The basis for most Westerners having this view of the soul, as opposed to it being: [[OurSoulsAreDifferent a) breath, b) your life force, c) your conscience, d) a shield from demons, e) your free will, f) your goodness, g) dependent on your body, h) protection from comas, i) your glamour, j) your ticket to heaven, k) your ticket to surviving death, etc.]] Some of these aspects are compatible with this view and some are incompatible in and of themselves, themselves but taken as standalone statements they can lead in a different direction.\\\



* JesusWasWayCool: No matter what their interpretation of Yahweh, all branches of Gnosticism present Jesus as an emissary of the good God. The one exception to this are the Mandaeans who hold Jesus to be a false messiah who perverted the teachings of the prophet John the Baptist, the main figure of the religion. Interestingly, despite the heresy Mandaeism is the sole historic gnostic sect which remains extant (though is now in danger as a result of belonging to an isolated group not accepting converts.)

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* JesusWasWayCool: No matter what their interpretation of Yahweh, all branches of Gnosticism present Jesus as an emissary of the good God. The one exception to this are the Mandaeans who hold Jesus to be a false messiah who perverted the teachings of the prophet John the Baptist, the main figure of the religion. Interestingly, despite the heresy heresy, Mandaeism is the sole historic gnostic sect which remains extant (though is now in danger as a result of belonging to an isolated group not accepting converts.)



* PiecesOfGod: The original single consciousness is now split into infinite conciousnesses.

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* PiecesOfGod: The original single consciousness is now split into infinite conciousnesses.consciousnesses.



** Ironically, the Father, the "true God" is often seen as much a creator deity as the Demiurge, only unlike the demiurge His creation is not of matter and is much like human imagination or thought, or even dreams. He does not actively, physically create, as the demiurge does, but His every thought and mental image becomes real as soon as it is thought. This is how the Aeons, cosmic constructs which are personifications of concepts, ideas and emotions, were formed, and it is also, in turn, how the Aeons themselves are able to create. This, in fact, is how the demiurge came to be, from a misguided thought brought about by Sophia.

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** Ironically, the Father, the "true God" is often seen as much a creator deity as the Demiurge, only unlike the demiurge His creation is not of matter and is much like human imagination or thought, or even dreams. He does not actively, physically create, as the demiurge does, but His every thought and mental image becomes real as soon as it is thought. This is how the Aeons, cosmic constructs which are personifications of concepts, ideas and emotions, were formed, and it is also, in turn, how the Aeons themselves are able to create. This, in fact, is how the demiurge Demiurge came to be, from a misguided thought brought about by Sophia.



** The Monad, based on all of it's genderless descriptions, gets confused by being listed with the male Aeons in the family tree of Aeons.

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** The Monad, based on all of it's its genderless descriptions, gets confused by being listed with the male Aeons in the family tree of Aeons.



* TangledFamilyTree: The Aeonic family tree of generational emanations. Note: This list is the fusion of various sources ie Valentinius, Valentinians, Tertullian (Hereseologist), Ptolmey, Colorbasus, etc. Some lists list their names all in Greek, some lists traslate some names into Latin. Different lists sometimes give different meanings to each name. Also, other Aeons like Abrasax/Abrasax, Barbelo, etc. aren't list in the family tree.

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* TangledFamilyTree: The Aeonic family tree of generational emanations. Note: This list is the fusion of various sources ie Valentinius, Valentinians, Tertullian (Hereseologist), Ptolmey, Colorbasus, etc. Some lists list their names all in Greek, some lists traslate translate some names into Latin. Different lists sometimes give different meanings to each name. Also, other Aeons like Abrasax/Abrasax, Barbelo, etc. aren't list in the family tree.



* [[spoiler: The Mother]] in ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' appears to be a pastiche of Sophia and the Demiurge. [[spoiler: Like Sophia, she fell from the perfection of the heavens... although unlike her, she can't seem to get back on her own... and bears great understanding. Like the Demiurge, she created intelligent life expressly for her sake, namely to get her back up there--in a sense, to let her regain her glory. And every time, her children either turn against her, or extinguish themselves. Never mind that [[ShaggyDogStory the fact that she fell to begin with might mean that re-ascension was impossible from the very beginning]]--just as, in the more severe forms of Gnosticism, the Demiurge has no ability (or right) to become genuinely divine.]] Nonetheless, this character is [[AntiVillain rather sympathetic]]--[[spoiler: just being stuck on Earth is severely agonizing for her. She's not malevolent, but ''desperate''.]]

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* [[spoiler: The Mother]] in ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' appears to be a pastiche of Sophia and the Demiurge. [[spoiler: Like Sophia, she fell from the perfection of the heavens... although unlike her, she can't seem to get back on her own... and bears great understanding. Like the Demiurge, she created intelligent life expressly for her sake, namely to get her back up there--in a sense, to let her regain her glory. And every time, her children either turn against her, or extinguish themselves. Never mind that [[ShaggyDogStory the fact that she fell fell, to begin with with, might mean that re-ascension was impossible from the very beginning]]--just as, in the more severe forms of Gnosticism, the Demiurge has no ability (or right) to become genuinely divine.]] Nonetheless, this character is [[AntiVillain rather sympathetic]]--[[spoiler: just being stuck on Earth is severely agonizing for her. She's not malevolent, but ''desperate''.]]



* ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' -- At first, it seems like the Gnostic influence is toned down to a much lesser extent than its predecessors'. The [[LaserBlade Monad(o)]] and [[HumongousMecha Yaldabaoth]] are virtually the only references to it. But then the game's final act begins, in which case [[spoiler:Zanza is the Demiurge, who created the world in his image, with Meyneth serving as his Sophia, while Alvis is the real God, and the Monado represents personal truth/revelation]], among other things. It doesn't name-drop as heavily as the previous Xeno-games, but it's just as Gnostic as them.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' -- At first, it seems like the Gnostic influence is toned down to a much lesser extent than its predecessors'. The [[LaserBlade Monad(o)]] and [[HumongousMecha Yaldabaoth]] are virtually the only references to it. But then the game's final act begins, in which case [[spoiler:Zanza [[spoiler: Zanza is the Demiurge, who created the world in his image, with Meyneth serving as his Sophia, while Alvis is the real God, and the Monado represents personal truth/revelation]], among other things. It doesn't name-drop as heavily as the previous Xeno-games, but it's just as Gnostic as them.



%%* ''VideoGame/Persona5'' doesn't immediately make it apparent, but in the last leg of the Trickster's rehabilitation [[spoiler: Igor is revealed to have actually been Yaldaboath the Demiurge, who has been playing a game with the MC where the winner decides the fate of humanity. It's only after the real Igor is returned that the team is made aware that the outcome has been rigged from the start, and that Yaldaboath is trying to use humanity's want for societal order as an excuse to become a God of Order.]] Bonus points for having the final four mini-bosses be four archangels and the game ends with [[spoiler: the main character summoning Satanael to finish Yaldaboath off]]
* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled manoeuvring, a player can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]] The latter is notable for the fact that females could become priests and bishops.

[[AC:Web Comics]]

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%%* ''VideoGame/Persona5'' doesn't immediately make it apparent, apparent but in the last leg of the Trickster's rehabilitation [[spoiler: Igor is revealed to have actually been Yaldaboath the Demiurge, who has been playing a game with the MC where the winner decides the fate of humanity. It's only after the real Igor is returned that the team is made aware that the outcome has been rigged from the start, and that Yaldaboath is trying to use humanity's want for societal order as an excuse to become a God of Order.]] Bonus points for having the final four mini-bosses be four archangels and the game ends with [[spoiler: the main character summoning Satanael to finish Yaldaboath off]]
* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled manoeuvring, maneuvering, a player can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]] The latter is notable for the fact that females could become priests and bishops.

[[AC:Web [[AC: Web Comics]]



[[AC:Web Original]]
* The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': The storylines about the Church of the Broken God and the Sarkic Cults are ''heavily'' based around this; the former being a sort of technological gnosticism with a dispersed god, with the latter being flesh-obsessed cultists whose god is, yes, outright called Yaldabaoth.

[[AC:Western Animation]]

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[[AC:Web [[AC: Web Original]]
* The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': The storylines about the Church of the Broken God and the Sarkic Cults are ''heavily'' based around this; the former being a sort of technological gnosticism Gnosticism with a dispersed god, with the latter being flesh-obsessed cultists whose god is, yes, outright called Yaldabaoth.

[[AC:Western [[AC: Western Animation]]



* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'', believe it or not. [[spoiler:Specifically the "Man Upstairs" plot, when it fully enters the stage.]]

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* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'', believe it or not. [[spoiler:Specifically [[spoiler: Specifically the "Man Upstairs" plot, when it fully enters the stage.]]


* AboveGoodAndEvil: The difference between the sides is more defined as Chaos (Monad and Eons) vs. Order (Demiurge and Archons). The Chaotic side is ChaoticGood (Valentinianism) or ChaoticNeutral (several sects). The Orderly side is LawfulEvil (most sects) or LawfulNeutral (as in Valentinianism).

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* AboveGoodAndEvil: The difference between the sides is more defined as Chaos (Monad and Eons) vs. Order (Demiurge and Archons). The Chaotic side is ChaoticGood (Valentinianism) or ChaoticNeutral (several sects). The Orderly side is LawfulEvil (most sects) or LawfulNeutral (as in Valentinianism).



* OrderVersusChaos: The Monad and the Aeons are ChaoticGood (or ChaoticNeutral), versus the LawfulEvil [[GodIsEvil Demiurge]] and Archons. Naturally, OrderIsNotGood.

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* OrderVersusChaos: The Monad and the Aeons are ChaoticGood (or ChaoticNeutral), good, versus the LawfulEvil evil [[GodIsEvil Demiurge]] and Archons. Naturally, OrderIsNotGood.


A sect founded by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerinthus Cerinthus]] (50-100 AD), an early Christian who learned supposedly angelic secrets in Egypt and opposed the Four Evangelists. He was the first to speak about a world-creating Demiurge and a spirit-like Jesus, though he did not consider the former to be evil, but merely ignorant of the true God. His movement ended up becoming more of a curiosity, as it did not seem to have offshoots or direct relation to the posterior Gnostic schools, but it would be influential enough at his day for St. John to write his first epistles only to teach Christians not to follow Cerinthus.

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A sect founded by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerinthus Cerinthus]] (50-100 AD), an early Jewish Christian who learned supposedly angelic secrets in Egypt and opposed the Four Evangelists. He was the first to speak about a world-creating Demiurge and a spirit-like Jesus, Christ, though he did not consider the former to be evil, but merely ignorant of the true God. His movement ended up becoming more of a curiosity, as it did not seem to have offshoots or direct relation to the posterior Gnostic schools, but it would be influential enough at his day for St. John to write his first epistles only to teach Christians not to follow Cerinthus.



!!!Priscillian
The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the 4th century Hispania by a Manichaen noble named [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillian Priscillian]]. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.


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* AmbiguousSituation: 4th century Spanish heretic [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillian Priscillian]] is sometimes described as a Gnostic, usually by his enemies, but whether he really was one remains controversial. It is certain that he knew what Gnosticism was, given that he uses some of its concepts and words in his own books, but the rest of his system seems to be just a very ascetic Christian doctrine (spiced with some other heresies, that is). Then again, he was known to favor secretism, so whether he would have put his true teachings on a public book is another thing.


* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled manoeuvring, a player can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]]

to:

* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled manoeuvring, a player can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]]
]] The latter is notable for the fact that females could become priests and bishops.


* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled navigation, a player character can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]]

to:

* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled navigation, manoeuvring, a player character can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]]



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* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKingsII'' features Bogomilism and Catharism as heretical breakaway sects of Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively. With some skilled navigation, a player character can [[AlternateHistory make them major religious denominations in Medieval Europe.]]


* Gnostic beliefs were dualistic as often as monistic. The former entailed believing in a balance of forces of spirit and matter, a concept loosely similar to the [[UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} Yin-Yang]] where the force that ruled the physical world (the "bad" God) was as old and powerful as the force that ruled the spiritual plane (the "good" God). The latter, on the other hand, believed matter and its evil ruler to be an accidental subproduct of spirit and its divine creator, thus inferior to them. This is roughly what Syriac-Egyptianism preached, although it was by no means the only or most popular interpretation.

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* Gnostic beliefs were dualistic as often as monistic. The former entailed believing in a balance of forces of spirit and matter, a concept loosely similar to the [[UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} Yin-Yang]] where the force that ruled the physical world (the "bad" God) was as old and powerful as the force that ruled the spiritual plane (the "good" God). The latter, on the other hand, believed matter and its evil ruler to be an accidental subproduct of spirit and its divine creator, thus inferior to them. This is roughly what Syriac-Egyptianism preached, although it was by no means the only or most popular interpretation.



A 2nd century sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposed EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to have been a syncretic Jewish cult, originally built around John the Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. They taught about a version of Sophia called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.

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A 2nd century sect that regarded [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Magus Simon Magus Magus]] (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposed supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to have been a syncretic Jewish cult, originally built around John the Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. They taught about a version of Sophia called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.



A sect founded by Cerinthus, an early Christian who learned supposedly angelic secrets in Egypt and opposed the Four Evangelists. He could be considered a proto-Gnostic, as while he was the first to speak about a world-creating Demiurge and a spirit-like Jesus, he did not consider the former to be evil, but merely ignorant of the true God. His movement ended up becoming more of a curiosity, as it did not seem to have relation to the posterior Gnostic schools, but it would influent enough at his day to St. John to write his first epistles only to teach Christians not to follow Cerinthus.

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A sect founded by Cerinthus, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerinthus Cerinthus]] (50-100 AD), an early Christian who learned supposedly angelic secrets in Egypt and opposed the Four Evangelists. He could be considered a proto-Gnostic, as while he was the first to speak about a world-creating Demiurge and a spirit-like Jesus, though he did not consider the former to be evil, but merely ignorant of the true God. His movement ended up becoming more of a curiosity, as it did not seem to have offshoots or direct relation to the posterior Gnostic schools, but it would influent be influential enough at his day to for St. John to write his first epistles only to teach Christians not to follow Cerinthus.



Founded in 144 by Marcion of Sinope, possibly a former Simonian, Marcionism was an ancient Christian dualist sect. Like the previous, it is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was reading the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered the direct prototype of those posterior currents. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them. A minor Simonian sect, the Cerdonians, merged with Marcionism at some point.

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Founded in 144 the 2nd century by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcion_of_Sinope Marcion of Sinope, Sinope]] (85-160 AD), possibly a former Simonian, disciple to the Simonian [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerdo_(gnostic) Cerdo]], Marcionism was an ancient a Christian dualist sect. Like the previous, it is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was reading in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered the direct prototype just a very Christianized form of those posterior currents. it. It might have also helped the figure of Paul the Apostle to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them. A minor Simonian sect, the Cerdonians, merged with Marcionism at some point.
them.



This tradition was founded in the early 2nd century by Valentinius, a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption. This school had an European offshoot founded by Valentinus's apprentice, Marcus, in which Gnosticism was mixed with Pyathagorean mathematics for extra MindScrew.

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This tradition was founded in the early 2nd century by Valentinius, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinus_(Gnostic) Valentinius of Alexandria]] (100-160 AD), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption. This school had an European offshoot founded by Valentinus's apprentice, Marcus, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_(Marcosian) Marcus]], in which Gnosticism was mixed with Pyathagorean mathematics for extra MindScrew.



The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian one, but it actually descended from older Hellenistic Jewish traditions that might have predated Christianity and Gnosticism themselves. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.

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The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian one, Valentinian, Basilidean and Marcionite, but it actually descended from older Hellenistic Jewish traditions that might have predated Christianity and Gnosticism themselves. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.



This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria at the time of the previous three. It's actually very little what we know for sure about it, but they apparently believed the universe was created with a war between innocent angels/archons, among which an arrogant Great Archon created the world believing himself to be a god. Unlike other schools, Basilideans believed this conflict had already ended and the Great Archon had already redeemed himself; only the world itself was left in need of enlightening, so Jesus would have been sent by the true God as a spirit inhabiting a body to teach about it. This school was quite secretive, but it was known for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing the deity name Abrasax or Abraxas (though whether this was a name for the Great Archon or the true God remains unknown).

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This sect was founded by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilides Basilides of Alexandria at Alexandria]], disciple to either the time of the previous three. It's actually very little what we know for sure about it, but they Simonian [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menander_(gnostic) Menander]] or a Christian named Glaucias. They apparently believed the universe was created with a war between innocent angels/archons, among which an arrogant Great Archon created the world believing himself to be a god. Unlike other schools, Basilideans believed this conflict had already ended and the Great Archon had already redeemed himself; only the world itself was left in need of enlightening, so Jesus would have been sent by the true God as a spirit inhabiting a body to teach about it. This school was quite secretive, but it was known for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing the deity name Abrasax or Abraxas (though whether this was a name for the Great Archon or the true God remains unknown).



Founded in the 3rd century by Persian prophet Mani, who was possibly influenced by a former Valentinian named Bardaisan, Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it from all sides. Its doctrine was significantly different from Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, so Jesus Christ and Mani (as well as Zoroaster and Buddha) had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.

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Founded in the 3rd century by Persian prophet Mani, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mani_(prophet) Mani]] (216Ė274 AD), who was possibly influenced by UsefulNotes/{{Zoroastrianism}} and possibly a former Valentinian named Bardaisan, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardaisan Bardaisan]], Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it from all sides. Its doctrine was significantly different from Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, so Jesus Christ and Mani (as well as Zoroaster and Buddha) had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.



The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the 4th century Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.

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The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the 4th century Hispania by a Manichaean Manichaen noble named Priscillian.[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillian Priscillian]]. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.



A Gnostic school created around 650 by Constantine of Samosata. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's strong Christian heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves rejected many Christian symbols and doctrines themselves). Although they resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been chosen (not sent, but chosen, as an "adoptive" son of God) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.

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A Gnostic school created around 650 by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine-Silvanus Constantine of Samosata.Samosata]]. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's strong Christian heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves rejected many Christian symbols and doctrines themselves). Although they resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been chosen (not sent, but chosen, as an "adoptive" son of God) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.



The first Gnostic revival movement in the Middle Ages, Bogomilism was created in the 10th century by the Bulgarian monk Bogomil (probably influenced by Paulicianism) as a current of both political and religious anarchism. According to their doctrine, God had two sons, Sataniel and Michael; the former revolted and created the material world, enslaving mankind there and founding the Abrahamic religions out of arrogance, while the latter adopted the role of Jesus and came to the world to teach humans the way to escape. Bogomils were deeply social, rejecting any religious hierarchy beyond the rank of teacher and any temple beyond the human body, which meant it was their duty to travel far and wide to heal the sick and propagate their doctrine. Bogomilism was finally eradicated in the 13th century by both the Pope and the Ottoman Empire.

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The first Gnostic revival movement in the Middle Ages, Bogomilism was created in the 10th century by the Bulgarian monk Bogomil Bulgary (probably influenced by Paulicianism) Paulicianism and Marcionism) as a current of both political and religious anarchism. According to their doctrine, God had two sons, Sataniel and Michael; the former revolted and created the material world, enslaving mankind there and founding the Abrahamic religions out of arrogance, while the latter adopted the role of Jesus and came to the world to teach humans the way to escape. Bogomils were deeply social, rejecting any religious hierarchy beyond the rank of teacher and any temple beyond the human body, which meant it was their duty to travel far and wide to heal the sick and propagate their doctrine. Bogomilism was finally eradicated in the 13th century by both the Pope and the Ottoman Empire.



Catharism (from Greek "pure", although it seems they called themselves "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title), the second great Gnostic revival school, came to Southern Europe in the 12th century from the Byzantine Empire, where Bogomilian and Paulician influences were still hot. Their beliefs were basically a modernized, more zealous version of Paulicianism, the main difference being that they considered only through vows of ascetism and celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.

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Catharism (from Greek "pure", although it seems they called themselves "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title), the second great Gnostic revival school, came to Southern Europe in the 12th century from the Byzantine Empire, where Bogomilian and Paulician influences were still hot. Their beliefs were basically a modernized, re-Christianized, more zealous version of Paulicianism, the main difference being that they considered only through vows of ascetism and celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.


* ShadesOfConflict: Depending on if you cast the Aeonic side as ChaoticGood or ChaoticNeutral and the Archonic side as LawfulEvil or LawfulNeutral gives you four possible scenarios, while ignoring the obvious OrderVersusChaos. WhiteAndBlackMorality has Aeons as ChaoticGood and Archons as LawfulEvil. WhiteAndGrayMorality has ChaoticGood Aeons and LawfulNeutral Archons. GrayAndGrayMorality has ChaoticNeutral Aeons who are ALighterShadeOfGray than the LawfulNeutral Archons. BlackAndGrayMorality has ChaoticNeutral Aeons and LawfulEvil Archons.


Gnosticism was both a religious and an intellectual movement, which pretty much guaranteed the developing of an elaborated, multiculturally-influenced mythology. Although there were dominant currents that codified most of it, most specifically those called Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism, different groups would hold doctrines that mixed-and-matched or varied from the below list in their own ways. Gnosticism was also highly syncretic, tending to merge with any other religion it came into contact with, creating a new Gnostic sect of that religion or forming a new religion altogether.

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Gnosticism was both a religious and an intellectual movement, which pretty much guaranteed the developing of an elaborated, multiculturally-influenced mythology. Although there were dominant currents that codified most of it, most specifically those called Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism, different groups would hold doctrines that mixed-and-matched or varied from the below list in their own ways. Gnosticism was also highly syncretic, tending to merge with any other religion religious school it came into contact with, creating a new Gnostic sect of that religion or forming a new religion altogether.



It is difficult even to tell where Gnosticism came from, as there is so little information on it. Much of what we know about the Gnostics is fairly fragmentary-few of their original works survive to this day. Furthermore, much of what we have learned about the Gnostics comes from early Christian writings which were often critical of these perceived "heretics." Gnosticism was also highly secretive, being practiced mostly by elites who had the leisure time necessary to contemplate its mysteries.

That said, scholarship agrees that Gnosticism was a eclectic mixture of believes. It is safe to say that early/primitive Christianity codified most of its basis, and that Hellenic currents like [[Creator/{{Plato}} Platonism]] and Stoicism surely had a hand on it, but it might have been spiced up by esoteric Judaic mystic teachings, and considering by that time there was already influence of Asian religions flowing over into the Western world, this has to be counted on too. That goes without mentioning the doctrines that were influenced by Gnosticism and the latter's own revival movements in later ages. Although it is largely (thought not fully) extinct today, remnants of Gnosticism can still be found in multiple facets of history and religion.

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It is difficult even to tell where Gnosticism came from, as there is so little information on it. Much of what we know about the Gnostics is fairly fragmentary-few of their original works survive to this day. Furthermore, much of what we have learned about the Gnostics comes from early Christian writings which were often critical and/or derisive of these perceived "heretics." Gnosticism was also highly secretive, being practiced mostly by elites who had the leisure time necessary to contemplate its mysteries.

That said, scholarship agrees that Gnosticism was a eclectic mixture of believes.beliefs. It is safe to say that early/primitive Christianity codified most of its basis, and that Hellenic currents like [[Creator/{{Plato}} Platonism]] and Stoicism surely had a hand on it, but it might have been spiced up by esoteric Judaic mystic teachings, and considering by that time there was already influence of Asian religions flowing over into the Western world, this has to be counted on too. That goes without mentioning the doctrines that were influenced by Gnosticism and the latter's own revival movements in later ages. Although it is largely (thought not fully) extinct today, remnants of Gnosticism can still be found in multiple facets of history and religion.



!!!Marcionite
Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus's life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered the prototype of those posterior currents. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them. Its sucessor current, both geographically and theologically, was Paulicianism.



An ancient sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to have been a syncretic Jewish cult, originally built around John the Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. They taught about a version of Sophia called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.

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An ancient A 2nd century sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly supposed EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to have been a syncretic Jewish cult, originally built around John the Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. They taught about a version of Sophia called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.
mankind.

!!!Cerinthian
A sect founded by Cerinthus, an early Christian who learned supposedly angelic secrets in Egypt and opposed the Four Evangelists. He could be considered a proto-Gnostic, as while he was the first to speak about a world-creating Demiurge and a spirit-like Jesus, he did not consider the former to be evil, but merely ignorant of the true God. His movement ended up becoming more of a curiosity, as it did not seem to have relation to the posterior Gnostic schools, but it would influent enough at his day to St. John to write his first epistles only to teach Christians not to follow Cerinthus.

!!!Marcionite
Founded in 144 by Marcion of Sinope, possibly a former Simonian, Marcionism was an ancient Christian dualist sect. Like the previous, it is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was reading the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered the direct prototype of those posterior currents. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them. A minor Simonian sect, the Cerdonians, merged with Marcionism at some point.



This tradition was founded or at least influenced by Valentinius (100-180), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.

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This tradition was founded or at least influenced in the early 2nd century by Valentinius (100-180), Valentinius, a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, ignorance, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.
redemption. This school had an European offshoot founded by Valentinus's apprentice, Marcus, in which Gnosticism was mixed with Pyathagorean mathematics for extra MindScrew.



The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, but it actually descended from Hellenistic Jewish traditions that predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.

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The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, Valentinian one, but it actually descended from older Hellenistic Jewish traditions that might have predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself.themselves. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.



This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. It's actually very little what we know for sure about it, as not even its Christian detractors were remotely unanimous about what was up with it. However, for what we can recount, Basilideans apparently believed the universe was created with a war between innocent angels/archons, among which an arrogant Great Archon created the world believing himself to be a god. Unlike other schools, Basilideans believed this conflict had already ended and the Great Archon had already redeemed himself; only the world itself was left in need of enlightening, so Jesus would have been sent by the true God as a spirit inhabiting a body to teach about it. This school was better known for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing the deity name Abrasax or Abraxas (though whether this was a name for the Great Archon or the true God remains unknown).

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This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. Alexandria at the time of the previous three. It's actually very little what we know for sure about it, as not even its Christian detractors were remotely unanimous about what was up with it. However, for what we can recount, Basilideans but they apparently believed the universe was created with a war between innocent angels/archons, among which an arrogant Great Archon created the world believing himself to be a god. Unlike other schools, Basilideans believed this conflict had already ended and the Great Archon had already redeemed himself; only the world itself was left in need of enlightening, so Jesus would have been sent by the true God as a spirit inhabiting a body to teach about it. This school was better quite secretive, but it was known for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing the deity name Abrasax or Abraxas (though whether this was a name for the Great Archon or the true God remains unknown).



Founded by Persian prophet Mani, who was influenced by Jesus, Zoroaster and Buddha, Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it from all sides. Its doctrine was significantly different from Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, so Jesus Christ and Mani had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.

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Founded in the 3rd century by Persian prophet Mani, who was possibly influenced by Jesus, Zoroaster and Buddha, a former Valentinian named Bardaisan, Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it from all sides. Its doctrine was significantly different from Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, so Jesus Christ and Mani (as well as Zoroaster and Buddha) had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.
gnosis.

!!!Mandaean
A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of a boring waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.

!!!Priscillian
The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the 4th century Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.



A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves rejected nearly all Christian symbols and doctrines). Although they resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.

!!!Priscillian
The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the Roman Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.

!!!Mandaean
A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of a boring waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.

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A Christian-turned-Gnostic Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire around 650 by Paul, Bishop Constantine of Antiochy. Samosata. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's strong Christian heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves rejected nearly all many Christian symbols and doctrines). doctrines themselves). Although they resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) chosen (not sent, but chosen, as an "adoptive" son of God) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.

!!!Priscillian
The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the Roman Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.

!!!Mandaean
A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of a boring waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.
Christianity.



The first Gnostic revival movement in the Middle Ages, Bogomilism was created in the first Bulgarian empire by the monk Bogomil (probably influenced by Paulicianism) as a current of both political and religious anarchism. According to their doctrine, God had two sons, Sataniel and Michael; the former revolted and created the material world, enslaving mankind there and founding the Abrahamic religions out of arrogance, while the latter adopted the role of Jesus and came to the world to teach humans the way to escape. Bogomils were deeply social, rejecting any religious hierarchy beyond the rank of teacher and any temple beyond the human body, which meant it was their duty to travel far and wide to heal the sick and propagate their doctrine. Bogomilism was finally eradicated in the 13th century by both the Pope and the Ottoman Empire.

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The first Gnostic revival movement in the Middle Ages, Bogomilism was created in the first 10th century by the Bulgarian empire by the monk Bogomil (probably influenced by Paulicianism) as a current of both political and religious anarchism. According to their doctrine, God had two sons, Sataniel and Michael; the former revolted and created the material world, enslaving mankind there and founding the Abrahamic religions out of arrogance, while the latter adopted the role of Jesus and came to the world to teach humans the way to escape. Bogomils were deeply social, rejecting any religious hierarchy beyond the rank of teacher and any temple beyond the human body, which meant it was their duty to travel far and wide to heal the sick and propagate their doctrine. Bogomilism was finally eradicated in the 13th century by both the Pope and the Ottoman Empire.



Catharism (from Greek "pure", although it seems they called themselves "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title), the second great Gnostic revival school, came to Southern Europe during the Middle Ages from the Byzantine Empire, where Bogomilian and Paulician influences were still hot. Their beliefs were basically a modernized, more zealous version of Paulicianism, the main difference being that they considered only through vows of ascetism and celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.

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Catharism (from Greek "pure", although it seems they called themselves "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title), the second great Gnostic revival school, came to Southern Europe during in the Middle Ages 12th century from the Byzantine Empire, where Bogomilian and Paulician influences were still hot. Their beliefs were basically a modernized, more zealous version of Paulicianism, the main difference being that they considered only through vows of ascetism and celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.


In comparison with other ancient religions, Gnosticism didn't permeate modern popular culture until a relatively recent time. When it did, it was largely thanks to one of the mentioned revivals, medieval Catharism, due to its role in some historical conspiration theories about Christianity (most notably Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' and the cultural phenom surrounding it). Additionally, some more or less popular pieces of fiction (like ''Franchise/TheMatrix'', Creator/PhillipKDick's works and some selected anime series) would include more essential Gnostic influences in order to achieve a certain philosophic premise. Otherwise, it remains a comparatively obscure historical curiosity.

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In comparison with other ancient religions, Gnosticism didn't permeate modern popular culture until a relatively recent time. When it did, it was largely thanks to one of the mentioned revivals, medieval Catharism, due to its role in some historical conspiration theories about Christianity (most notably Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' and the cultural phenom surrounding it). Additionally, some more or less popular pieces of fiction (like ''Franchise/TheMatrix'', Creator/PhillipKDick's Creator/PhilipKDick's works and some selected anime series) would include more essential Gnostic influences in order to achieve a certain philosophic premise. Otherwise, it remains a comparatively obscure historical curiosity.


Due to the influence that Gnosticism has had on popular media and Christianity itself in recent decades, an examination of the basic beliefs of the Gnostic worldview would be helpful.

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Due to the influence that Gnosticism [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism Gnosticism]] has had on popular media and Christianity itself in recent decades, an examination of the basic beliefs of the Gnostic worldview would be helpful.




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[[quoteright:250:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/abraxasgn.jpg]]


* Beyond the material world there is a dimension of non-material existence, often called the Pleroma. This is the place where true existence lies, usually considered to be in a timeless, thoughtless state analogous to the Buddhist experience of Nirvana. If there is a creator god, this is where it resides in, along with its godly light and possible derivates.

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* Beyond the material world there is a dimension of non-material existence, often called the Pleroma. This is the place where true existence lies, usually considered to be in a timeless, thoughtless state analogous to the Buddhist [[UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} Buddhist]] experience of Nirvana. If there is a creator god, this is where it resides in, along with its godly light and possible derivates.offspring.



* Gnostic beliefs were dualistic as often as monistic. The former entailed believing in a balance of forces of spirit and matter, a concept similar to the Yin-Yang where the force that ruled the physical world (the "bad" God) was as old and powerful as the force that ruled the spiritual plane (the "good" God). The latter, on the other hand, believed matter and its evil ruler to be an accidental subproduct of spirit and its divine creator, thus inferior to them. This is roughly what Syriac-Egyptianism preached, although it was by no means the only or most popular interpretation.

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* Gnostic beliefs were dualistic as often as monistic. The former entailed believing in a balance of forces of spirit and matter, a concept loosely similar to the Yin-Yang [[UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} Yin-Yang]] where the force that ruled the physical world (the "bad" God) was as old and powerful as the force that ruled the spiritual plane (the "good" God). The latter, on the other hand, believed matter and its evil ruler to be an accidental subproduct of spirit and its divine creator, thus inferior to them. This is roughly what Syriac-Egyptianism preached, although it was by no means the only or most popular interpretation.



* There are many versions about how humans came to be. Some say the Demiurge originally created a bunch of soulless apes out of matter, and that Sophia took pity on them and breathed sparks from the Pleroma into them, trapping the sparks in their material bodies but also giving the bodies the capacity for intelligence, hence the evolution of humanity. Others say that the sparks were the destroyed remnants of Sophia herself, imprisoned and tortured by the Demiurge. Sometimes also considered a reinterpretation of the story of Genesis, with Sophia herself as the Tree of Knowledge[=/=]Prometheus-equivalent (her name implies that role) who gave intelligence and souls to the ignorant animals who then became mankind, either by herself or through the serpent.
* Despite the fundamentally anti-Abrahamic nature of Gnosticism, [[JesusWasWayCool Jesus has a free pass in their teachings]], as he's described as come to Earth to spread the Gospel of the True God, which explains the discrepancy between the Old and New Testaments. Their beliefs about his nature varied radically: some believed he was fully divine and his physical form an illusion, some believed he was a divine being who temporarily inhabited a human shell and was "freed" at death. Anyways, to show how important he was in their beliefs, he was often considered to be an aeon by itself, sometimes the intended counterpart of Sophia who came too late. With the true knowledge of the universe he imparted, others could hope to achieve freedom from the Demiurge's clutches.

It is difficult even to tell where Gnosticism came from. By that time there was already influence of Asian religion flowing over into the Western world and having its merry way with Platonism and Stoicism; it may have also came from esoteric Judaic mystic teachings privy to only scholars, its difficult to trace considering there is so little information on it. Gnosticism was also highly secretive, being practiced mostly by elites who had the leisure time necessary to contemplate its mysteries. Although it is largely extinct today, remnants of it still leave influences. Much of what we know about the Gnostics is fairly fragmentary-few of their original works survive to this day. Furthermore, much of what we have learned about the Gnostics comes from early Christian writings which were often critical of these perceived "heretics."

Additionally it is both distinct yet incredibly close to some other religions, often causing it to pair within media possibly with the intention of playing with viewer expectations. Other belief systems can have enough traits to be within the family of gnosticism, which is pretty much what this page is for, but if you're having a conversation about gnosticism specifically rather than gnostic religions or parallel religions this is probably not your page. It is distinct enough that it is debatable whether it should be thrown into serious conversation with Lurianic Jewish tradition, Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, Mandaeism, Manichaeism, Christian Cabbala, Orphic or other greco-roman mysteries, new age beliefs, ascetic beliefs, and certain Southeast Asian philosophies and mythologies.

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* There are many versions about how humans came to be. Some say the Demiurge originally created a bunch of soulless apes out of matter, and that Sophia took pity on them and breathed sparks from the Pleroma into them, trapping the sparks in their material bodies but also giving the bodies the capacity for intelligence, hence the evolution of humanity. Others say that the sparks were the destroyed remnants of Sophia herself, imprisoned and tortured by the Demiurge. Sometimes also it is considered a reinterpretation of the story of Genesis, with Sophia herself as an equivalent to the serpent or the Tree of Knowledge[=/=]Prometheus-equivalent Knowledge (her name implies that role) who gave intelligence and souls to the ignorant animals who that then became mankind, either by herself or through the serpent.
mankind.
* Despite the fundamentally anti-Abrahamic nature of Gnosticism, [[JesusWasWayCool Jesus has a free pass in their teachings]], as he's described as come to Earth to spread the Gospel of the True God, which explains the discrepancy between the Old and New Testaments. Their beliefs about his nature varied radically: some believed he was fully divine and his physical form just an illusion, while some believed he was a divine being who temporarily inhabited a human shell and was "freed" at death. Anyways, to show how important he was in their beliefs, he was often considered to be an aeon by itself, sometimes the intended counterpart of Sophia who came too late. With the true knowledge of the universe he imparted, others could hope to achieve freedom from the Demiurge's clutches.

!! History

It is difficult even to tell where Gnosticism came from. By that time there was already influence of Asian religion flowing over into the Western world and having its merry way with Platonism and Stoicism; it may have also came from esoteric Judaic mystic teachings privy to only scholars, its difficult to trace considering from, as there is so little information on it. Gnosticism was also highly secretive, being practiced mostly by elites who had the leisure time necessary to contemplate its mysteries. Although it is largely extinct today, remnants of it still leave influences.it. Much of what we know about the Gnostics is fairly fragmentary-few of their original works survive to this day. Furthermore, much of what we have learned about the Gnostics comes from early Christian writings which were often critical of these perceived "heretics."

Additionally
" Gnosticism was also highly secretive, being practiced mostly by elites who had the leisure time necessary to contemplate its mysteries.

That said, scholarship agrees that Gnosticism was a eclectic mixture of believes. It is safe to say that early/primitive Christianity codified most of its basis, and that Hellenic currents like [[Creator/{{Plato}} Platonism]] and Stoicism surely had a hand on it, but it might have been spiced up by esoteric Judaic mystic teachings, and considering by that time there was already influence of Asian religions flowing over into the Western world, this has to be counted on too. That goes without mentioning the doctrines that were influenced by Gnosticism and the latter's own revival movements in later ages. Although
it is both distinct yet incredibly close to some largely (thought not fully) extinct today, remnants of Gnosticism can still be found in multiple facets of history and religion.

In comparison with
other ancient religions, often causing Gnosticism didn't permeate modern popular culture until a relatively recent time. When it did, it was largely thanks to pair within media possibly with one of the intention of playing with viewer expectations. Other belief systems can have enough traits mentioned revivals, medieval Catharism, due to be within the family of gnosticism, which is pretty much what this page is for, but if you're having a conversation its role in some historical conspiration theories about gnosticism specifically rather than gnostic religions or parallel religions this is probably not your page. It is distinct enough that it is debatable whether it should be thrown into serious conversation with Lurianic Jewish tradition, Jewish mysticism Christianity (most notably Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' and Kabbalah, Mandaeism, Manichaeism, Christian Cabbala, Orphic the cultural phenom surrounding it). Additionally, some more or other greco-roman mysteries, new age beliefs, ascetic beliefs, less popular pieces of fiction (like ''Franchise/TheMatrix'', Creator/PhillipKDick's works and some selected anime series) would include more essential Gnostic influences in order to achieve a certain Southeast Asian philosophies and mythologies.
philosophic premise. Otherwise, it remains a comparatively obscure historical curiosity.



Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus' life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, to the point it could be considered the prototype of Gnosticism. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing the idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them. Its sucessor current, both geographically and theologically, was Paulicianism.

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Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus' Jesus's life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, otherwise almost identical to mainstream Gnosticism, to the point it could be considered the prototype of Gnosticism. those posterior currents. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing the a recurrent idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them. Its sucessor current, both geographically and theologically, was Paulicianism.



An ancient sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to be a syncretic Jewish cult built around John the Baptist that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianism became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. Their version of Sophia who was called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would be forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself had descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.

to:

An ancient sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. It is believed to be have been a syncretic Jewish cult cult, originally built around John the Baptist Baptist, that turned towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianism Christianity became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. Their They taught about a version of Sophia who was called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would be have been forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself had descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.



This tradition was founded or at least influenced by Valentinius (100-180), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sects (which are called Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.

to:

This tradition was founded or at least influenced by Valentinius (100-180), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sects sect (which are called together Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.



The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, but it actually descended from Hellenistic Jewish traditions that predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christís role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.

to:

The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, but it actually descended from Hellenistic Jewish traditions that predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christís Christ's role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.



This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. Although Syriac-Egyptian in kind like the previous two, itís actually very little what we know for sure about this school, as it was incredibly secretive and not even its Christian detractors were very sure what was up with it. Apparently, they believed the world was created with the rising of powerful yet innocent archons, or possibly during a violent rebellion among them in the line of the Christian War in Heaven. They were known, however, for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing a sort of deity called Abrasax or Abraxas.

to:

This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. Although Syriac-Egyptian in kind like the previous two, itís It's actually very little what we know for sure about this school, it, as it was incredibly secretive and not even its Christian detractors were very sure remotely unanimous about what was up with it. Apparently, they However, for what we can recount, Basilideans apparently believed the world universe was created with the rising of powerful yet a war between innocent archons, or possibly during a violent rebellion angels/archons, among them in which an arrogant Great Archon created the line of world believing himself to be a god. Unlike other schools, Basilideans believed this conflict had already ended and the Christian War Great Archon had already redeemed himself; only the world itself was left in Heaven. They were known, however, need of enlightening, so Jesus would have been sent by the true God as a spirit inhabiting a body to teach about it. This school was better known for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing a sort of the deity called name Abrasax or Abraxas.
Abraxas (though whether this was a name for the Great Archon or the true God remains unknown).



Founded by Persian prophet Mani, who was influenced by Jesus, Zoroaster and Buddha, Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic sect. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it. Its doctrine was significantly different from Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities, equivalent to God and Satan. They believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by evil to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, and Jesus Christ and Mani had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.

to:

Founded by Persian prophet Mani, who was influenced by Jesus, Zoroaster and Buddha, Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic sect. religion. So much, in fact, that it covered from Rome to ''China'', contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia Minor, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and the Chinese religions ganged up on it. it from all sides. Its doctrine was significantly different from Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles (or "creations", in a multiple sense) between God and Satan, who would have been actually two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities, equivalent to God and Satan. They deities. Manichaeans believed matter was mostly neutral instead of evil by itself, but it had been used by evil Satan to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, and so Jesus Christ and Mani had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.



A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage. Although they similarly taught that there were two opposing deities, God and the Demiurge, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems they were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.

to:

A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers Pagan eclecticism due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage. heritage (a rather hypocritical sentiment, as Paulicians themselves rejected nearly all Christian symbols and doctrines). Although they similarly taught resembled Manichaeans by teaching that there were two opposing deities, God the Good Spirit and the Demiurge, Evil Spirit, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems they there were some vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.



The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the Roman Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.

to:

The ActionizedAdaptation of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the Roman Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in gross matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.



A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison itself, but more of an annoying waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.

to:

A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison itself, prison, but more of an annoying a boring waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.



Catharism (from Greek "pure", etymologically the source of the German word ''Ketzer'' for a heretic, although it seems they called themselves ''Bons Hommes'' or "Good Men" rather than any other title) was a Gnostic revival school that grew out in Southern Europe, where Paulician and Bogomilian influences were still hot. Their members believed the God of Ancient Testament was actually Satan and humans were angels trapped in his world of matter, which they could escape through vows of ascetism and celibacy. Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church to feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.

to:

Catharism (from Greek "pure", etymologically the source of the German word ''Ketzer'' for a heretic, although it seems they called themselves ''Bons Hommes'' or "Good Men" or "Good Christians" rather than any other title) was a title), the second great Gnostic revival school that grew out in school, came to Southern Europe, Europe during the Middle Ages from the Byzantine Empire, where Paulician and Bogomilian and Paulician influences were still hot. Their members believed the God of Ancient Testament was actually Satan and humans beliefs were angels trapped in his world basically a modernized, more zealous version of matter, which Paulicianism, the main difference being that they could escape considered only through vows of ascetism and celibacy. celibacy one could escape the world (if not, they would just reincarnate over and over upon dying). Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church to feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.


Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus' life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, to the point it could be considered the prototype of Gnosticism. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing the idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them.

to:

Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus' life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul. However, its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, to the point it could be considered the prototype of Gnosticism. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing the idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them.
them. Its sucessor current, both geographically and theologically, was Paulicianism.



An ancient sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. A syncretic Jewish cult turned Gnostic, its philosophy are considered an earlier form of Valentinianism. Their version of Sophia who was called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would be forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself had descended in the form of Simon to save her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.

to:

An ancient sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. A It is believed to be a syncretic Jewish cult built around John the Baptist that turned Gnostic, its towards Simon and Gnosticism when Christianism became the latest trend, creating in the process a philosophy are considered similar to an earlier form of Valentinianism. Their version of Sophia who was called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would be forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself had descended in the form of Simon to save both her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.



This tradition was founded or at least influenced by Valentinius (100-180), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sects (called Syriac-Egyptian together) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.

to:

This tradition was founded or at least influenced by Valentinius (100-180), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sects (called Syriac-Egyptian together) (which are called Syriac-Egyptian) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply optimistic and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; according to it, even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.



The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, but it descended from such an old tradition that some even believe its foundations predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christís role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.

to:

The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, but it actually descended from such an old tradition Hellenistic Jewish traditions that some even believe its foundations predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christís role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.



This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. Although Syriac-Egyptian in kind like the previous two, itís actually very little what we know for sure about this school, as it was incredibly secretive and not even its Christian detractors were very sure what was up with it. Apparently, they believed the world was created with the rising of powerful yet innocent archons, or possibly during a violent rebellion among them in the line of the Christian War in Heaven. They were known, however, for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing a sort of deity called Abrasax (wrongly spelled Abraxas everywhere else).

to:

This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. Although Syriac-Egyptian in kind like the previous two, itís actually very little what we know for sure about this school, as it was incredibly secretive and not even its Christian detractors were very sure what was up with it. Apparently, they believed the world was created with the rising of powerful yet innocent archons, or possibly during a violent rebellion among them in the line of the Christian War in Heaven. They were known, however, for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations, as well as for introducing a sort of deity called Abrasax (wrongly spelled Abraxas everywhere else).
or Abraxas.



A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage. Although they similarly taught that there were two opposing deities, God and the Demiurge, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems they were some vestigial, re-Christianized forms until ''19th Century'' before vanishing into the dark.

to:

A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage. Although they similarly taught that there were two opposing deities, God and the Demiurge, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History in diminutive communities, and it seems they were some vestigial, re-Christianized vestigial forms until ''19th Century'' before vanishing into the dark.
merging back with Christianity.



A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by the "bad" god (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of an annoying waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the "good" god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.

to:

A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some monistic flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by the "bad" god evil gods (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, prison itself, but more of an annoying waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the "good" good god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.


Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus' life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didnít teach about any kind of gnosis yet (instead, it postulated the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul), but its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, to the point it could be considered the prototype of Gnosticism.

to:

Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years after Jesus' life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didnít didn't teach about any kind of gnosis yet (instead, it postulated yet, postulating instead that the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul), but Paul. However, its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, to the point it could be considered the prototype of Gnosticism.
Gnosticism. It might have also helped the figure of Paul to become a fan favourite for posterior Gnostics, cementing the idea that he was unknowingly or secretly one of them.

!!!Simonian
An ancient sect that regarded Simon Magus (the one from Literature/TheBible, the supposedly EvilSorcerer that butted heads with St. Peter) as its founder. A syncretic Jewish cult turned Gnostic, its philosophy are considered an earlier form of Valentinianism. Their version of Sophia who was called Ennoia, a creation of God who had created many angels herself, only for them to rebel against her and create the world to imprison her. There she would be forced to reincarnate in many female figures through history to receive cosmic SlutShaming, until God himself had descended in the form of Simon to save her (incarnated in a human named Helena) and mankind.



A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage. Although they similarly taught that there were two opposing deities, God and the Demiurge, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Although persecuted, Paulicians survived through History under in diminutive communities, and it seems they were still active in 19th Century before merging back with Christianity.

to:

A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers due to Paulicianism's Christian heritage. Although they similarly taught that there were two opposing deities, God and the Demiurge, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Although persecuted, Paulicians were theologically tough: their sect survived through History under in diminutive communities, and it seems they were still active in 19th Century some vestigial, re-Christianized forms until ''19th Century'' before merging back with Christianity.
vanishing into the dark.

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