Journal of Gnostic studies

Leiden: Brill


Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies is a peer-reviewed publication devoted to the study of Gnostic religious currents from the ancient world to the modern, where ‘Gnostic’ is broadly conceived as a reference to special direct knowledge of the divine, which either transcends or transgresses conventional religious knowledge. It aims to publish academic papers on: the emergence of the Gnostic, in its many different historical and local cultural contexts; the Gnostic strands that persisted in the middle ages; and modern interpretations of Gnosticism – with the goal of establishing cross-cultural and trans-historical conversations, together with more localized historical analyses.

The corpus of Gnostic materials includes (but is not restricted to) testimonies from outsiders as well as insider literature such as the Nag Hammadi collection, the Hermetica, Neoplatonic texts, the Pistis Sophia, the books of Jeu, the Berlin and Tchacos codices, Manichaean documents, Mandaean scriptures, and contemporary Gnostic fiction/film and ‘revealed’ literature. The journal will publish the best of traditional historical and comparative scholarship while also featuring newer approaches that have received less attention in the established literature, such as cognitive science, cognitive linguistics, social memory, psychology, ethnography, sociology, and literary theory.Executive Editors
April D. DeConick (Rice University)
Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta (University of Groningen)

(Text from the editors)

The journal welcomes proposals for book reviews


Revealing Women

Feminine Imagery in Gnostic Christian Texts

L. Cieroni, Turnhout, Brepols Publishers, 2021, 231 p.


Revealing Women offers a detailed and textual oriented investigation of the roles and functions of female mythological characters in Gnostic Christian mythologies. Revealing Women offers a detailed and textually oriented investigation of the roles and functions of female characters in Gnostic Christian mythologies. It answers questions such as: to what end did Gnostic Christian theologians employ feminine imagery in their theology? What did they want to convey through it? This book shows that feminine imagery was a genuine concern for Gnostic theologians, and it enquires about how it was employed to describe the divine through a contextual reading of Gnostic Christian texts presenting Ophite, Sethian, Barbeloite and Valentinian mythologoumena and theologoumena. Overall, it argues that feminine imagery ought to be acknowledged as an important theological framework to investigate and contextualize Gnostic works by showing that these theologians used feminine imagery to exemplify those aspects of the Godhead which they considered paradoxical and, yet, essential. The claims made in the first chapters are later substantiated by an in-depth investigation of understudied Gnostic texts, such as the so-called Simonian Gnostic works, the Book of Baruch of the Gnostic teacher Justin and the Nag Hammadi treatise known as Exegesis of the Soul.

Dr Lavinia Cerioni completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2018. Since then, she has worked as Adjunct Lecturer at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome. In 2021, she has been awarded a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at Aarhus University in Denmark. She has published several articles on gender in early Christianity, Gnosticism and Origen of Alexandria.

(Text from the publisher) 

Table of contents

Front matter (« Table of Contents », « Acknowledgements », « Abbreviations »)  p.1

Introduction  p. 15

I. Methodological problems in the study of gnosticism  p. 23

II. The soteriological feminine in Ophite, Sethian and Barbeloite texts  p. 45

III. The Valentinian feminine imagery  p. 99

IV. Gnostic case-studies: the feminine in other gnostic traditions  p. 149

Conclusion  p. 199

Back matter (« Bibliography », « Indices »)  p. 205


Les Gnostiques

 Mythe, rituel et diversité au temps du christianisme primitif

David Brakke, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2019, 202 p.


Qui étaient les gnostiques ? Comment le mouvement gnostique a-t-il influencé le développement du christianisme dans l’Antiquité ? L’Église a-t-elle rejeté le gnosticisme ? La somme de David Brakke introduit le lecteur dans les débats les plus récents à propos du « gnosticisme » et de la diversité du premier christianisme. En reconnaissant que la catégorie « gnostique » est imparfaite et doit être reconsidérée, David Brakke plaide pour un rassemblement plus prudent des preuves sur le premier christianisme, connu comme école de pensée gnostique. Il met ainsi en évidence la manière dont le mythe et les rituels gnostiques se sont adressés à des questionnements humains élémentaires (notamment à propos de l’aliénation et du sens), répandant le message d’un Christ sauveur et permettant aux hommes de regagner leur connaissance de Dieu en tant que source ultime de l’être. Plutôt que de dépeindre les gnostiques comme des hérétiques ou comme les grands perdants de la lutte pour la définition du Christianisme, David Brakke soutient la thèse d’une participation active des gnostiques à la réinvention de la religion monothéiste. Si les autres chrétiens ont pu rejeter les idées gnostiques, ils les ont aussi et surtout adaptées et transformées.

(Text de la maison d’édition) 

Table de matières

. Imaginer le gnosticisme et les christianismes primitifs
CHAPITRE 2. Identifier les gnostiques et leur littérature
CHAPITRE 3. Mythe et rituels de l’école de pensée gnostique
CHAPITRE 4. Unité et diversité à Rome au IIe siècle
CHAPITRE 5. Les stratégies de différenciation
Bibliographie (sources choisies)



New Antiquities

Transformations of Ancient Religion in the New Age and Beyond

Dylan Michael Burns and Almut-Barbara Renger (eds.), Leiden: Brill, 2019, 107 p.


Just as we speak of “dead” languages, we say that religions “die out.” Yet sometimes, people try to revive them, today more than ever. New Antiquities addresses this phenomenon through critical examination of how individuals and groups appeal to, reconceptualize, and reinvent the religious world of the ancient Mediterranean as they attempt to legitimize developments in contemporary religious culture and associated activity. Drawing from the disciplines of religious studies, archaeology, history, philology, and anthropology, New Antiquities explores a diversity of cultic and geographic milieus, ranging from Goddess Spirituality to Neo-Gnosticism, from rural Oregon to the former Yugoslavia. As a survey of the reception of ancient religious works, figures, and ideas in later twentieth-century and contemporary alternative religious practice, New Antiquities will interest classicists, Egyptologists, and historians of religion of many stripes, particularly those focused on modern Theosophy, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Religious Movements, Magick, and Occulture. The book is written in a lively and engaging style that will appeal to professional scholars and advanced undergraduates as well as lay scholars.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of Contents

1 – Introduction: What are New Antiquities? – Dylan Michael Burns, Almut-Barbara Renger

2 – ‘From Aphrodite to Kuan Yin’ – ‘The Tao of Venus’ and its Modern Genealogy: Invoking Ancient Goddesses in Cos(met)ic Acupuncture – Almut-Barbara Renger

3 – Ancient Goddesses for Modern Times or New Goddesses from Ancient Times? – Meret Fehlmann

4 – The Artifice of Daidalos: Modern Minoica as Religious Focus in Contemporary Paganism – Caroline Jane Tully

5 – Transforming Deities: Modern Pagan Projects of Revival and Reinvention – Kathryn Rountree

6 – Archaeology, Historicity and Homosexuality in the New Cultus of Antinous: Perceptions of the Past in a Contemporary Pagan Religion – Ethan Doyle White

7 – Reading History with the Essenes of Elmira – Anne Kreps

8 – The Jungian Gnosticism of the Ecclesia Gnostica – Olav Hammer

9 – The Impact of Scholarship on Contemporary “Gnosticism(s)”: A Case Study on the Apostolic Johannite Church and Jeremy Puma – Matthew Dillon

10 – Studying the “Gnostic Bible”: Samael Aun Weor and the Pistis Sophia – Franz Winter

11 – Binding Images: The Contemporary Use and Efficacy of Late Antique Ritual Sigils, Spirit-Beings, and Design Elements – Jay Johnston

12 – (Neo-)Bogomil Legends: The Gnosticizing Bogomils of the Twentieth-Century Balkans – Dylan Michael Burns,Nemanja Radulovic

Index – Dylan Michael Burns,Almut-Barbara Renger


Nag Hammadi and Manichean Studies

The Gospel of Thomas and Plato

A Study of the Impact of Platonism on the “Fifth Gospel”

Ivan Miroshnikov, Leiden: Brill, 2018


Now available in Open Access thanks to the support of the University of Helsinki. In The Gospel of Thomas and Plato, Ivan Miroshnikov contributes to the study of the earliest Christian engagements with philosophy by offering the first systematic discussion of the impact of Platonism on the Gospel of Thomas, one of the most intriguing and cryptic works among the Nag Hammadi writings. Miroshnikov demonstrates that a Platonist lens is indispensable to the understanding of a number of the Thomasine sayings that have, for decades, remained elusive as exegetical cruces. The Gospel of Thomas is thus an important witness to the early stages of the process that eventually led to the Platonist formulation of certain Christian dogmata.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Acknowledgements A Note to the Reader

1 Setting the Scene   

Middle Platonism: A Debated Concept

Early Christian Appropriation of Platonism: The Prologue of John

Preliminary Notes on the Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas and Philosophy: A History of Research

2 The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on the World   

The Text of Sayings 56 and 80

The World as a Body and as a Corpse

Bodies are Corpses

What is Alive is Hidden in What is Dead


3 The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on the Body and the Soul   

Interpretative Notes on Sayings 29, 87, and 112

Tripartite Anthropology in the Gospel of Thomas?

The Body vs. the Soul


4 The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Oneness   

The Androgynous Protoplast?

Becoming Asexual?

Platonists on Becoming One

Aramaic Background of the Term μοναχός?

The Meaning of μοναχός in the Gospel of Thomas


5 The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Stability   

DeConick, Williams, and Murray on “Standing” in the Gospel of Thomas

The Varieties of “Standing” in the Gospel of Thomas

Platonists on Transcendental “Standing”

Transcendental “Standing” in the Gospel of Thomas


6 The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Immutability and Indivisibility  

The Setting of the Dialogue

The Contents of the Dialogue

The Integrity of the Dialogue


7 The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Freedom from Anger   

The Text of Gos. Thom. 7

Recent Research on Gos. Thom. 7

The Lion within a Human is Anger

Tripartite or Bipartite?

Platonists on Anger

The Meaning of Gos. Thom. 7


8 Thomasine Metaphysics of the Image and Its Platonist Background   

The Text of Gos. Thom. 83

The Two Types of Images in Middle Platonism

Εἰκὼν θεοῦ as a Paradigmatic Image

The Meaning of Gos. Thom. 83:1

The Meaning of Gos. Thom. 83:2

The Metaphysics of the Image in Sayings 22, 50, and 84


9 Concluding Remarks 

Appendix 1: The Greek Vorlage of Gos. Thom. 12:2

Appendix 2: The Secondary Nature of Gos. Thom. 5:3

Appendix 3: A Note on Gos. Thom. 77:1

Bibliography Index



Nag Hammadi and Manichean Studies

The Gospel of Thomas and Plato

A Study of the Impact of Platonism on the “Fifth Gospel”

Ivan Miroshnikov, Leiden: Brill, 2018, 273 p.


In The Gospel of Thomas and Plato, Ivan Miroshnikov contributes to the study of the earliest Christian engagements with philosophy by offering the first systematic discussion of the impact of Platonism on the Gospel of Thomas, one of the most intriguing and cryptic works among the Nag Hammadi writings. Miroshnikov demonstrates that a Platonist lens is indispensable to the understanding of a number of the Thomasine sayings that have, for decades, remained elusive as exegetical cruces. The Gospel of Thomas is thus an important witness to the early stages of the process that eventually led to the Platonist formulation of certain Christian dogmata.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


A Note to the Reader

Setting the Scene

The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on the World

The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on the Body and the Soul

The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Oneness

The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Stability

The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Immutability and Indivisibility

The Gospel of Thomas and the Platonists on Freedom from Anger

Thomasine Metaphysics of the Image and Its Platonist Background

Concluding Remarks

The Greek Vorlage of Gos. Thom. 12:2

The Secondary Nature of Gos. Thom. 5:3

A Note on Gos. Thom. 77:1


Index of Ancient and Medieval Sources


Nag Hammadi and Manichean Studies

Early Christian Determinism

A Study of The Ethics of The Tripartite Tractate

Paul Linjamaa, Leiden: Brill, 2018, 326 p.


The aim of this study is to explore the ethics of the Nag Hammadi text, The Tripartite Tractate. This text, the fifth tractate in Nag Hammadi Codex I, has received comparatively little attention, although it is the most detailed Valentinian treaty still extant. By investigating the ethics of The Tripartite Tractate, this study not only illuminates a previously unstudied aspect of this very interesting early Christian text, but also seeks to explore the workings of early Christian determinism. This has previously been presented as “Gnostic”, and then not taken seriously, or been disregarded as an invention of intra-Christian polemics. The present study challenges this conception and presents insights into how early Christian determinism worked, sustaining viable and functioning ethical systems. The ethics of The Tripartite Tractate are approached by connecting practical, lived ethics and the theoretical foundations for ancient ethical discussion. This entails examining the text’s ontology and epistemology, as well as ancient cognitive and behavioral theory. In short, this study aims to answer the question, “how should people behave?”, by first exploring questions regarding how human behavior and actions were thought to have worked in the first place. Part I of the study investigates The Tripartite Tractate’s views on epistemology, ontology and theory of passions, as well as the nature of the human will and cognitive apparatus. It is noted that The Tripartite Tractate outlines a Christian deterministic system that denies free will in humans. The Tripartite Tractate presents an anthropology with three different classes of humans, each person being defined by the composition of their physical and mental make up, a mixture of the three basic substance viable in the cosmic system: matter, psychê and pneuma. This part of the study explores the The Tripartite Tractate’s dependence on, and relation to, Greco-Roman physics and theories of passions and cognition, and how they relate to and legitimize social structures. As a conclusion to Part I, the context of the text’s determinism is discussed and it is suggested that the views that Origen of Alexandria took action against in his work Peri Archon are reflected in The Tripartite Tractate. Part II of the study is devoted to the practical and social implications of the text’s determinism and explores how it would have worked to create and sustain group identity. It is argued that the tripartite anthropology promotes a pedagogical schema that points out different roles and responsibilities humans have in relation to each other. The people termed “pneumatics” are described as ethical experts and are called upon to play the role of teachers in the ideal community, while the people termed “psychics” are described as the helpers and students of the “pneumatics”. The “material” people are outsiders destined to be lost. It is argued that the text utilizes ancient pedagogic language in order to construct the ideal social structure, and the usage of the terms “church” and “school” in the text is analyzed. It is suggested that the most likely social structure referenced by TriTrac would have comprised a group consisting of two parts: intellectually advanced pneumatics in an inner study circle within a second, larger part consisting of psychic everyday Christians, two groups that at times came together to study and celebrate communion and baptism. The everyday Christians are described as driven by honor, and encouraged to prosper in the world for the benefit of the larger community. This is discussed in light of the concept of “honor” and its importance in Roman society. Part II of the study demonstrates the effectiveness of a deterministic anthropology for creating and sustaining a group structure where a viable ethical system was implemented. Part III of the study recapitulates the main arguments, and also explores the context of the text in light of the findings. It is argued that early third-century Alexandria is the most likely original context of the text. The implications of the study are discussed in light of the broader topic of early Christianity. Among other things, it is suggested that the doctrine of free will, which became a cornerstone in later Christianity, developed in the wake of debates with Christians we find represented in The Tripartite Tractate, whose approaches represent a serious alternative to the doctrine of free will.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations 
1 The Structure of the Present Study
2 Who Were the Valentinians?
3 The Myth in TriTrac and the Ethics in Storytelling
4 Previous Research on TriTrac and the Historical Setting of the Text
5 Early Christian Ethics and the Bad Reputation of Determinism
6 Notes on Translation and Transcription

Part 1: Theoretical Framework for Ethics

1 The Ontological and Epistemological Foundations for Ethics
1 Knowledge in TriTrac and Ancient Epistemology
2 Phantasms, Likenesses, and Images: the Ontology of TriTrac and the Question of Logos
3 Remembering (and) the Nature of Virtue
4 The Individual and the Collective
5 Mixing and Blending, Truth and Falsehood
6 Conclusion: Ontology, Epistemology and Ethics

2 Emotions, Demons, and Moral Ability
1 Emotions and Cognitive Theory in Ancient Thought
2 Emotions and the Creation Narrative
3 The Logos’ First Movement and Ancient Cognitive Theory
4 Good Emotions
5 Negative Passions as “Mixed” Heavenly Powers and their Influence on Humans
6 Apatheia, Therapeia, and Eleutheria
7 Femaleness and the Sickness of Emotions
8 Conclusion

3 Free Will and the Configuration of the Human Mind
1 Will and Ethics in Ancient Thought
2 Christian Free Will, the Configuration of God, and the Creation of the Cosmos
3 Free Will and Moral Accountability in TriTrac
4 TriTrac’s Anthropology in Context: Origen’s Christian Opponents

Part 2: Ethics in Practice

4 Natural Human Categories and Moral Progress
1 The Three Classes of Humans in TriTrac
2 The Pedagogical Purpose of the Logos’ Organization and the Composition of Humans
3 Three Categories of Humans According to TriTrac’s Epistemology and Theory of Passions
4 Restricted Choice in Practice
5 Fixed, Fluid, or in Flux? The Advantages of a Fixed Anthropology
6 Conclusions

5 School or Church? Teaching, Learning, and the Community Structure
1 On the Community Structure Behind TriTrac in Light of the Term “Church”
2 The Cosmos as a “School” in TriTrac and its Early Christian Context
3 The “School of Conduct” in the Pleroma and the Gaining of Form
4 The Cosmic School: an Imperfect Reflection of the Heavens
5 Silent and Oral Instruction: Formation, Baptism and Education
6 The Duty of the Pneumatic Moral Expert and the Formation of Psychic Christians
7 The Category of the ‘School of Valentinus’ in Early Christian Scholarship
8 Conclusions: the Dual Structure of the Community Behind TriTrac

6 Honor and Attitudes Toward Social and Political Involvement
1 TriTrac and Early Christian Attitudes Toward Involvement in Society
2 Cosmogony as Political Commentary
3 The Pursuit of Honor
4 Psychic Humans and their Political Involvement
5 Conclusion: the Character of Psychic Christians and Attitudes Toward Social and Ecclesiastical Involvement

Part 3: Conclusions and Implications

7 Summary: the Nature of Early Christian Determinism
1 TriTrac’s Alexandrian Context

Appendix: Implications and Suggestions for Further Studies
Ancient Authors and Texts
Secondary Literature


The Nag Hammadi Codices and Late Antique Egypt

 Lance Jenott (Editor),‎ Hugo Lundhaug (Editor), Heidelberg: Mohr Siebeck, 2018, 508 p.


This volume showcases the new trend in scholarship to treat the Nag Hammadi Codices as sources for Christianity and monasticism in late antique Egypt rather than for Gnosticism. The essays situate the Nag Hammadi Codices and their texts in the context of late antique Egypt, treating such topics as Coptic readers and readings, the difficulty of dating early Greek and Coptic manuscripts, scribal practices, the importance of heavenly ascent, asceticism, and instruction in Egyptian monastic culture, the relationship of the texts to the Origenist controversy and Manichaeism, the continuity of mythical traditions in later Coptic literature, and issues relating to the codices’ production and burial. Most of the essays were originally presented at the conference “The Nag Hammadi Codices in the Context of Fourth- and Fifth-Century Christianity in Egypt,” organized by the ERC-financed project New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt (NEWCONT), at the University of Oslo in December 2013.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Hugo Lundhaug and Lance Jenott – Introduction

Christian Askeland – Dating early Greek and Coptic literary hands

Christian Bull – Hermes Between Pagans and Christians in Fourth Century Egypt: The Literary and Historical Contexts of the Nag Hammadi Hermetica

Dylan Burns – Sethian, Coptic, Christian: Eleleth and the “Four Luminaries” in Roman and postConquest Egypt

Julio Cesar Dias Chaves – From the Apocalypse of Paul (NH V, 2) to Coptic Epic Passions: Welcoming and Greeting Paul and the Martyrs in Heaven

Jon Dechow – The Nag Hammadi Milieu: An Assessment in the Light of the Origenist Controversies (with Appendix 2015)

Stephen Emmel – Toward (Re-)Constructing a Coptic Reading Experience in Late Antique Egypt

René Falkenberg – What has Nag Hammadi to do with Medinet Madi? Literary connections between Eugnostos and Manichaeism

James E. Goehring – The Material Encoding of Early Christian Division: Nag Hammadi Codex VII and the Ascetic Milieu in Upper Egypt

Lillian Larsen – Slippery Sources: The Sentences of Sextus as Sayings and Stories (and Schooltexts)

Hugo Lundhaug – The Relationship Between the Nag Hammadi Codices and the Dishna Papers

Louis Painchaud – The Production and Destination of the Nag Hammadi Codices

Philip Sellew – Reading Jesus in the Desert: The Gospel of Thomas Meets the Apophthegmata Patrum

Blossom Stefaniw – Hegemony and Homecoming in the Ascetic Imagination: Sextus, Silvanus, and Monastic Instruction in Egypt

Ulla Tervahauta – Scriptural allusions and reminiscences in Authentikos Logos (NHC VI,)

Paula Tutty – Books of the Dead or Books with the Dead: Interpreting Book Depositions in Late Antique Egypt

Michael A. Williams and David Coblentz – A Reexamination of the Articulation Marks in Nag Hammadi Codices II and XIII


Spiritual Taxonomies and Ritual Authority

Platonists, Priests, and Gnostics in the Third Century C.E.

Heidi Marx-Wolf, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016, 216 p.


The people of the late ancient Mediterranean world thought about and encountered gods, angels, demons, heroes, and other spirits on a regular basis. These figures were diverse, ambiguous, and unclassified and were not ascribed any clear or stable moral valence. Whether or not they were helpful or harmful under specific circumstances determined if and what virtues were attributed to them. That all changed in the third century C.E., when a handful of Platonist philosophers—Plotinus, Origen, Porphyry, and Iamblichus—began to produce competing systematic discourses that ordered the realm of spirits in moral and ontological terms. In Spiritual Taxonomies and Ritual Authority, Heidi Marx-Wolf recounts how these Platonist philosophers organized the spirit world into hierarchies, or « spiritual taxonomies, » positioning themselves as the high priests of the highest gods in the process. By establishing themselves as experts on sacred, ritual, and doctrinal matters, they were able to fortify their authority, prestige, and reputation. The Platonists were not alone in this enterprise, and it brought them into competition with rivals to their new authority: priests of traditional polytheistic religions and gnostics. Members of these rival groups were also involved in identifying and ordering the realm of spirits and in providing the ritual means for dealing with that realm. Using her lens of spiritual taxonomy to look at these various groups in tandem, Marx-Wolf demonstrates that Platonist philosophers, Christian and non-Christian priests, and gnostics were more interconnected socially, educationally, and intellectually than previously recognized.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. How to Feed a Daemon: Third-Century Philosophers on Blood Sacrifice
Chapter 2. Everything in Its Right Place: Spiritual Taxonomy in Third-Century Platonism
Chapter 3. The Missing Link: Third-Century Platonists and « Gnostics » on Daemons and Other Spirits
Chapter 4. High Priests of the Highest God: Third-Century Platonists as Ritual Experts



Christians, Gnostics and Philosophers

in Late Antiquity

Mark Edwards, London: Routledge, 2012, 330 p.


Gnosticism, Christianity and late antique philosophy are often studied separately; when studied together they are too often conflated. These articles set out to show that we misunderstand all three phenomena if we take either approach. We cannot interpret, or even identify, Christian Gnosticism without Platonic evidence; we may even discover that Gnosticism throws unexpected light on the Platonic imagination. At the same time, if we read writers like Origen simply as Christian Platonists, or bring Christians and philosophers together under the porous umbrella of « monotheism », we ignore fundamental features of both traditions. To grasp what made Christianity distinctive, we must look at the questions asked in the studies here, not merely what Christians appropriated but how it was appropriated. What did the pagan gods mean to a Christian poet of the fifth century? What did Paul quote when he thought he was quoting Greek poetry? What did Socrates mean to the Christians, and can we trust their memories when they appeal to lost fragments of the Presocratics? When pagans accuse the Christians of moral turpitude, do they know more or less about them than we do? What divides Augustine, the disenchanted Platonist, from his Neoplatonic contemporaries? And what God or gods await the Neoplatonist when he dies?

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Contents: Preface;

Part I Christians and Pagans in Dispute: Quoting Aratus: Acts 17.28;

Some early Christian immoralities; Justin’s logos and the word of God;

Satire and verisimilitude: Christianity in Lucian’s Peregrinus; Xenophanes Christianus?;

Pagan and Christian monotheism in the age of Constantine;

Notes on the date and venue of the Oration to the Saints;

Dracontius the African and the fate of Rome.

Part II Gnostic Thought and its Milieu: Gnostics and Valentians in the church fathers;

Neglected texts in the study of Gnosticism;

Pauline Platonism: the myth of Valentinus;

The tale of Cupid and Psyche;

Porphyry’s Cave of the Nymphs and the Gnostic controversy.

Part III Christianity and the Platonic Tradition: Socrates and the early Church’

Origen’s Platonism: questions and caveats;

Ammonius, teacher of Origen;

Birth, death and divinity in Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus;

Porphyry and the intelligible triad;

The figure of love in Augustine and in Proclus the neoplatonist;