The Savior Made Her Worthy: The Gnostic Faith and Its Implications for a Modern Feminist
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In the first part of this paper, I will discuss the conflict between gnosticism and orthodoxy, centering upon their divergent interpretations of the life and meaning of the risen Jesus as the Christ. I will also discuss the conflict that arose around the issue of martyrdom. Here I shall draw heavily upon the work of Elaine Pagels and Helmut Koester. In the second part of the paper, I turn my attention to the specifics of the gnostic beliefs in the Kingdom of God. Because of the many schools within gnosticism, I will concentrate primarily on Valentinian texts and the Gospel of Thomas. Next, I will discuss the place of the disciple in gnosticism. Specifically, I will talk about the attainment of self-knowledge, the discipleship of women and the gnostic sacraments. Due to the amount of information pertaining to these topics, the first three sections of this paper are intended to be only a general overview. Finally, after this introduction to gnosticism, I will consider the revelations of Nag Hammadi as they apply to a feminist interpretation of early Christianity towards women today. It is my intention that we can learn much about modern Christianity if we study gnostic beliefs and practices.