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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A Classic Treatment of the Gnostic Religion", April 10, 2002
This review is from: The Gnostic Religion (Paperback)
As an introduction to this insightful work, Hans Jonas opens with one of the most illuminating overviews of the condition of the Greco-Roman and the Orient from times of Alexander the Great to the early centuries of the Christian Era. Then, moving into the Gnostic texts, Jonas discusses the meaning of "gnosis", as the ancient man understood it, along with other terms pervasive throughout Gnostic literature. At last, in part one, Jonas describes the extent of the Gnostic movement, and ultimately sets the stage for his in-depth analysis of the various schools and Gnostic systems of thought in part two, namely those of Simon Magus, Marcion, Valentinian, Hermes Trismegistus, and the infamous Manes. In part three, Jonas deals with the Gnostic cosmology and morality, with some of the new discoveries in the field, and finally, in the epilogue, he closes with a dissertation on Gnosticism, Existentialism, and Nihilism. Hans Jonas' work, overall is an excellent, comprehensive study of the multifaceted belief systems of the Mediterranean World. While his treatment may exhaust even the most concentrated of readers, it nevertheless will furnish such a wealth of knowledge that it will act as a superb reference tool and will be a valuable source for religious, cultural, or philosophical studies.
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Location: South Bend, Indiana

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