Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas : The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor David Brakke
  • Series: The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion
  • 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Gnosticism, one of the most fascinating and perplexing phenomena in Western religious history, sparked religious ideologies that competed with many other religions of the time, including the theological thinking that came to define Christianity. And, though the emerging Orthodox Church eventually condemned Gnosticism as heretical, the church formed many of its most central doctrines (such as original sin, the Immaculate Conception, and even the concept of heresy) in response to Gnostic ideas.
This fascinating 24-lecture course is a richly detailed guide to the theology, sacred writings, rituals, and outstanding human figures of the Gnostic movements. What we call "Gnosticism" comprised a number of related religious ideologies and movements, all of which sought "gnosis," or immediate, direct, and intimate knowledge of God. The Gnostics had many scriptures, but unlike the holy texts of other religions, Gnostic scriptures were often modified over time. Gnostic cosmology was extraordinarily intricate and multidimensional, but religious myth was simply a means to the ultimate end of gnosis.
Follow Gnostic ideology and its vivid impact on Western thought through the centuries, from its role in early religions and its re-emergence in medieval spirituality to its remarkable traces in modern popular culture, from science fiction novels like Blade Runner to Hollywood films like The Matrix. In delving into the paths of gnosis, you'll discover a compelling, alternative current of religious practice in the West, and reveal Gnostic influence resonating in Western spirituality even in the present day.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

High quality study of Gnosticism

Would you listen to Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas again? Why?

As a PhD in Theology, who gets questions on Gnosticism, I found this comprehensive study excellent. Many years ago the topic perhaps got a couple of pages in a New Tetament introduction, today it s a subject attracting courses from many perspectives.

What did you like best about this story?

The scope and depth of the lectures.the discussion on the views of the Alternative Christianity school(s) of thought.

Any additional comments?

It will be interesting to. See what emerges next from the Great Courses religion and Theology departments

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- Mike


I found this lecture series to be of much interest. The depth was perfect for myself, someone who had some familiarity with gnosticism through articles, videos and podcasts, but not an academic level of knowledge.

If you have taken a course on gnosticism before, you might not learn much more. If you haven't, then this is a superb introduction.

I was appreciative that a number of related topics were covered here: Valentinus, Irenaeus, Mani, Cathars, Augustine. I might have enjoyed more references to nag hammadi texts.
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- L. Taylor

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses