Brakke writes a pioneering study of the way the demon role relates to religious thinking and to cultural anxieties. The author’s sources include biographies of exceptional monks, collections of monastic sayings and stories, letters from ascetic teachers to their disciples, sermons, community rules, and biblical commentaries. When monks imagined the resistance that they had to overcome in cultivating their selves or the temptation that offered an easier path, they saw supernatural beings that could take the shapes of animals, women, boys, and false angels in their attempts to seduce monks away from their devotion to God. And when they considered the inclinations in their own selves that opposed their best intentions, they concluded that demons introduced such problematic “thoughts” to their minds. Although the last twenty years has seen an explosion of scholarship on early Christian asceticism, producing brilliant explorations of the body, sexual renunciation, fasting, and gender, combat with demons has been left relatively unexplored.
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1 Imagining Gnosticism and Early Christianities
2 Identifying the Gnostics and Their Literature
3 The Myth and Rituals of the Gnostic School of Thought
4 Unity and Diversity in SecondCentury Rome
5 Strategies of SelfDifferentiation
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Abercius According to John acquaintance aeons ancient apostles appears argued baptism Barbelo believers Bentley Layton biblical bishops called chapter Chris Christ Christian groups Church claim Clement of Alexandria created creator demonic distinct diversity divine doctrines early Christian Einar Thomassen Eleleth entirety ethnic example false Father five seals Genesis Gnos gnosis Gnostic authors Gnostic myth Gnostic school Gnostic Scriptures God’s Gospel of Judas hairesis heresy heretics Holy Book human Ialdabaoth ideas identify intellectual interpretive Invisible Spirit Irenaeus Irenaeus’s Jesus Jewish Jews Judaism Justin Justin Martyr Karen King Marcion Marjanen movement mystical Naassenes Nag Hammadi original orthodoxy Paul Paul’s Philo philosophical presbyters proto-orthodoxy realm religion religious Revelation of Adam ritual Roman Christians Rome rulers salvation scholars school of thought Secret Book According Self-Originate Sethian Gnosticism shared single social spiritual teachings term Gnostic texts tian tion tradition true truth ultimate unity Valentinian Valentinus Valentinus’s Wisdom Zostrianos