Download PDF by Gedaliahu A. G. Stroumsa: Another Seed: Studies in Gnostic Mythology (Nag Hammadi

By Gedaliahu A. G. Stroumsa

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Additional resources for Another Seed: Studies in Gnostic Mythology (Nag Hammadi Studies 24)

Sample text

UNDE MALUM 33 In the introduction I noted that there are no "pure" or "degenerate" forms of a myth. If the Gnostic and the Jewish versions of the myth differ as much as they do, it is because Gnostic etiological concerns were different from Jewish ones. In a way, it may be said that the theological problem of the existence of evil as posed by Judaism (or, for that matter, by Christianity) is almost inverted in Gnosticism. In monotheistic theology, it is essential to account for the existence of evil in a world created by God, who is good.

E. the archons). These women, having remained unsoiled, were thus able to transmit the pure seed. Evidence for the importance of the myth in Gnosticism will be cited as we proceed to analyze the various related themes. One passage, however, which shows quite clearly how the myth of the Fallen Angels was con- nected with the very beginnings of mankind, is worth quoting at the outset. In Val. Exp. 38:22-37, the Devil, "one of the divine beings" (38:13-14) is said to have begotten sons who [angered one another.

22 FROM ORIGIN OF EVIL TO ORIGIN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS seized that first star which had fallen from the heaven, and bound it hand and foot and cast it into an abyss ... " Thus the star which "fell from heaven, and . arose and ate and pastured amongst those oxen" is clearly the leader of the angels (I Enoch 86:1). The portrayal of the sinful angels as stars has some bearing upon our investigation. We shall see in the course of this work how the "star" . metaphor will be used subsequently in a seemingly very different context.

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