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Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt$
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Gawdat Gabra and Hany Takla

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166631

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166631.001.0001

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Egyptian Gnosticism from Its Cradle in the Alexandrian Quarters of the Second Century to Its Jar Tomb in the Upper Egyptian Town of Nag‘ Hammadi

Egyptian Gnosticism from Its Cradle in the Alexandrian Quarters of the Second Century to Its Jar Tomb in the Upper Egyptian Town of Nag‘ Hammadi

Chapter:
(p.145) 14 Egyptian Gnosticism from Its Cradle in the Alexandrian Quarters of the Second Century to Its Jar Tomb in the Upper Egyptian Town of Nag‘ Hammadi
Source:
Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt
Author(s):

Hany N. Takla

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774166631.003.0014

This chapter attempts to interpret the fate of Gnosticism in Egypt by investigating places where texts were found and the historical material available. It first presents a list of texts of a Gnostic nature or those that were found in the same corpus, followed by a review of historical events that affected the beginning and the effective end of Gnosticism in Egypt. It then reconstructs the flight path of the main Gnostic community from Alexandria to Nagʻ Hammadi. The evidence shows an intellectual, eclectic community rising out of the ruins of the Jewish quarter in Alexandria after AD 117, losing the intellectual war in Alexandria by the early third century, and going on the run southward, away from the ecclesiastical authorities in Alexandria. In the process, it changes the language of its texts to hide them from its pursuers; this language conversion took place in Lykopolis (modern Asyut), as evidenced by the dialect influence of the area. The region's stance against the Alexandria ecclesiastical authority was the attraction to settle there, and eventually the reason to move on as this resistance movement was overcome. Its final resting place was in a ruined Pachomian monastery that became ruined because of its federation alliance with the Alexandrian (Chalcedonian) authority at the time.

Keywords:   Gnosticism, Egypt, Nagʻ Hammadi, Gnostic community, Alexandria

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