When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

15 July, 2013

Heresies of the Week: Obscure Gnostic Sects, Part 2

Part 2 of the obscure Gnostic sects post.
Naassenism is an early 2nd century Gnosticism sect whose name traces back to the Hebrew word for “snake”. They claim their revelations came from James, the brother of Jesus. The initial Montanism rites appear to have come from this sect. Naassenism is considered an Ophitism Gnosticism sect, along with Borboritism, Mandaeism, Peratism, and Sethianism. Their followers were likely absorbed into the Mandaeism sect. 
Notzrimism (also known as Nazaraiosism) was a 1st and 2nd century Gnosticism sect that were the predecessors of the Nazarenes (a Jewish Christian group who were contemporaries of Ebionitism and still exist today). It is suggested that this sect emerged towards the end of the 1st century as a pre-Mandaeism sect. Very little is known about them other than they believed that all Christian books were fiction and that Jesus was just a character invented by the Apostle Paul. 
Sethianism is a 1st century Gnosticism sect that might even predate Christianity. It is considered the forerunner of Basilidianism and Valentinianism. They were named is after the third son of Adam and Eve, Seth, whom they considered to be divinely incarnate, therefore his offspring are considered a ‘superior elect’ within human society. Like most other Gnostic sects, they preached secret knowledge of multiple heavens and a vastly different creation story from the one in the Old Testament. 
Simonianism (also known as Helenianism) is a 2nd-4th century Gnosticism sect, who, based upon the writings of some early church fathers, appear to have been a rather formidable sect. They were an early Valentinianism Gnosticism sect, to whom they are very similar in dogma, and Simonians were heavily influenced by Aristotle and Stoic physics. Much of their writings were allegorical. It was believed they performed magic and adopted a Greek pantheon of ‘lesser gods’. 
Thomasenism (also known as Thomasinism) is a little-known 1st century sub-Sethianism Gnosticism sect. The only distinct thing that has survived about this sect is that they revered the Apostle Thomas. Like most Gnosticism sects, they likely taught dualism, that matter was evil, etc.

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