Definition of Gnosticism in US English:



  • A prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church, partly of pre-Christian origin. Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.

    • ‘He also emphasized that salvation was complete in Christ, countering the legalistic ascetism of Gnosticism.’
    • ‘What I call the new Gnosticism does not resemble the old Gnosticism in every respect.’
    • ‘To counteract the incipient Gnosticism of Colosse he dwelt upon the pre-eminence of Christ.’
    • ‘She wants to reclaim for today the rich spirituality offered by alternative forms of early Christianity, especially Gnosticism, that she thinks orthodox Christianity booted away.’
    • ‘Its practitioners - rich and newly rich collectors, dealers, museum directors, and curators - cultivate an air of exclusiveness, and, at times, of sanctity and Gnosticism.’
    • ‘I wanted the facts of the book to stand up on their own, so I had to read a lot about lighthouses, the legacy of slavery in Scotland and about the religions of voodooism and Gnosticism.’
    • ‘It's only been through my study of the Kabbalah (and Gnosticism to a lesser degree) that I've been able to understand the mysteries of the Christian tradition, without the social interference of my own embittered education.’
    • ‘And John's gospel is certainly far removed from the full-blown Gnosticism which the later church fathers attacked as heretical.’
    • ‘Far from being a thoroughly secular perspective, meme theory lines up quite well with both Buddhist philosophy and the more esoteric branches of Christian philosophy, like Gnosticism.’
    • ‘I think there is a genuine analogy between the situation of the church today and the challenge Gnosticism presented to the church in the mid-second century.’
    • ‘It is true that a Logos doctrine existed in Gnosticism.’
    • ‘He wrote pungently against Gnosticism and other heresies, and in the course of his polemic unfolded a story of salvation of breathtaking coherence and scope.’
    • ‘This should be kept in mind as we consider, later on, divergences in the early church, in particular those related to Gnosticism.’
    • ‘Ali's doctrine was an eccentric mixture of Islamic mysticism, Gnosticism and Masonic lore.’
    • ‘It is, rather, Gnosticism with a few vestigial elements of a distinctively Christian tradition.’
    • ‘To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame.’
    • ‘When asked if their work was shaped by the ancient Christian heresy called Gnosticism, they cryptically replied: ‘Do you consider that to be a good thing?’’
    • ‘Thus, we see how there might be elements of alchemy and Gnosticism providing the origins of an organized religion in so far as the origins are founded in an individual's experience.’
    • ‘In a very real sense, Gnosticism was an argument for spirituality over religion.’
    • ‘Indeed one of the core teachings of Gnosticism, that we live in a dark world controlled by Satan, probably finds its strongest evidence in examples of disease and unmerited suffering.’