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

By Gedaliahu A. G. Stroumsa

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

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In monotheistic theology, it is essential to account for the existence of evil in a world created by God, who is good. Dualist Gnosticism, on the other hand, takes evil for granted. The main emphasis, therefore, is placed on the explanation of the possibility of salvation-for some-in a creation seen as utterly evil. This peculiar focus of the problem-not so much of evil as of good-for Gnostic mythology, has not been accorded due attention. The two biblical myths that could account for the presence of evil were sometimes integrated in apocalyptic literature, and Satan was linked to the Fallen Angels of Genesis 6 in some of the versions.

40The beginning of the text reads: "The poets relate that the giants were earthborn, children of the earth. " (Haik is "the name of the Armenian eponymous hero for Greek Herakles" and thus refers to "giant"; see It Marcus's note in his translation for the Loeb edition, 61). Prof. John Strugnell suggests that Philo might play here on yriyh'ctc and yiyavres. Philo admits afterwards, however, that "Sons of God" is a name which can be given to good and excellent men too. We shall conic back to this interpretation in Part If.

See W. Bousset, "Gnosis," PW, VII. 2, 1514, and Tardieu, Trois Mythes, 65 n. 91, who refers to the "spiritual virgins" of Orig. World 102:18. The antiminlon pneuma, a purely Gnostic concept, is not found in philosophical texts. 9The theme of the wicked angels who taught men "things contrary to nature" and thus "led them into evil things" also appears in the fragment of Asclepius found at Nag Hammadi (73:5-12). The same text mentions the punishment of the demon who has done evil deeds-"He is suspended between heaven and earth" (77:8).

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