The Gnostics is a critical socio-historical examination of the life of and practice of one of Christianity's earliest foes.
While orthodox Christianity gained ascension as the officially sanctioned expression of the Church in the patristic era, many sects and heretical groups also existed. One of the most prominent and yet loosely organized groups were the Gnostics. We have no doubt heard much about the Gnostic heresies, but what about their practices, way of life, and rituals? How did they influence the development of early Christianity?
David Brakke explores these questions and more with lucidly written prose and detailed historical research. An excellent monograph on what increasingly appears to be a critical group for understanding early Christianity.
Brakke has a growing reputation for his studies on the history and literature of ancient Christianity, and he moves easily among the sources, making good sense of the sometimes scanty evidence...The Gnostics is a book to be warmly commended to those who have an interest in the development of Christianity.
-Nicholas King, SJ.
Perhaps the finest aspect of this book is the way that Bakke successfully nuances the conflict models of early Christian history that remain current in most introductory texts.
Brakke's book provides both an excellent introduction as well as some innovative proposals that are bound to stimulate further discussion. The volume is certainly one that students and scholars are going to need to familiarize themselves with and engage in years to come.
-James F. McGrath
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