Gnosticism Information

Gnosticism was a group of ancient religions that combined different elements from Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , Neoplatonism, and eventually early Christianity.

It taught that some esoteric knowledge was necessary for salvation from the material world, which was created by some intermediary figure instead of God. In some systems, the demiurge was considered evil, in others merely imperfect. Different gnostic schools sometimes identified the demiurge as Adam, Ahriman, Samael, Satan, Yaldabaoth, or Yahweh.

Many schools inverted traditional interpretations of the Hebrew Bible, leading Jewish-Israeli scholar Gershom Scholem to call Gnosticism "the greatest case of metaphysical anti-Semitism." However, some scholars have argued that Jewish mysticism is Gnostic, and more recent research into Gnosticism's origins reveal influence from Jewish Hekhalot mysticism.

Wikipedia, Gnosticism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism (as of May 11, 2011)

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