Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


The doctrines of various religious sects flourishing especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries ad in the Near East, teaching that the material world is the imperfect creation of a subordinate power or powers rather than of the perfect and unknowable Divine Being, and that the soul can transcend material existence by means of esoteric knowledge. The Mandaean religion preserves one system of Gnostic belief.


(Other Non-Christian Religions) a religious movement characterized by a belief in gnosis, through which the spiritual element in man could be released from its bondage in matter: regarded as a heresy by the Christian Church


the beliefs and practices of pre-Christian and early Christian sects, condemned by the church, especially the conviction that matter is evil and that knowledge is more important than faith, and the practice of esoteric mysticism. — Gnostic, n., adj.
See also: Mysticism
the beliefs and practices of pre-Christian and early Christian sects, condemned by the church, especially the conviction that matter is evil and that knowledge is more important than faith, and the practice of esoteric mysticism. Cf. Cainism, Manichaeism, Valentinianism. — Gnostic, n., adj.
See also: Heresy
the doctrines of any of various dualistic sects among the Jews and the early Christians who claimed possession of superior spiritual knowledge, explained the creation of the world in an emanational manner, and condemned matter as evil. — Gnostic, n., adj.
See also: Philosophy
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Gnosticism - a religious orientation advocating gnosis as the way to release a person's spiritual element; considered heresy by Christian churches
heresy, unorthodoxy - a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
theological doctrine - the doctrine of a religious group
Mandaeanism, Mandeanism - a Gnostic religion originating the 2nd and 3rd centuries that believes John the Baptist was the Messiah and that incorporates Jewish and Christian elements into a framework of dualistic beliefs
aeon, eon - (Gnosticism) a divine power or nature emanating from the Supreme Being and playing various roles in the operation of the universe


[ˈnɒstɪˌsɪzəm] Ngnosticismo m
References in periodicals archive ?
and in substantial articles on gnosticism for the Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity and the Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, (3) The pattern of "fall and restoration of souls" is common not only to Origen and the "gnostics," as McC suggests, but to all patristic Platonists, including the anti-Manichaean Augustine (who speaks of creatures' deficere and their restoration by God).
The pope also said there were two specific temptations he wanted to warn the national church against, tying modern-day struggles to two ancient heresies of the church: Pelagianism and Gnosticism.
Synopsis: In "Gnostic Mysteries of Sex: Sophia the Wild One and Erotic Christianity", author Tobias Churton (Britain's leading scholar of Western Esotericism, a world authority on Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Rosicrucianism) takes the reader on an exploration of the sexual practices and doctrinal secrets of Gnosticism.
Irresolute Heresiarch: Catholicism, Gnosticism and Paganism in the Poetry of Czeslaw Milosz.
The first argument equates some forms of dualism with the heresy of Gnosticism.
King, 58, is an expert in Coptic writings and has written books on women in antiquity, the so-called Gospels of Judas and Mary Magdalene, and Gnosticism - the set of spiritual practices and religious beliefs found among some groups of early Christians.
compatible ideas from Voegelin, especially his notion of gnosticism,
But Monophyitism is an offspring of a much earlier heresy, Gnosticism (from gnosis, meaning the knowledge of the initiate) otherwise known as Dualism or Manichaeism.
The name for this perennial option is gnosticism and it was the spiritual new wave of the first and second centuries AD.
For example, Schatz never quite understood Voegelin's notion of Gnosticism articulated in The New Science of Politics and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism.
But it is necessary to recognize that for Lewis, as for the great pagan tradition of neo-Platonism and gnosticism, existence as such is the ultimate sham.
Outlining the ideological twists and turns of Darwin's theory, the author introduces the reader to several of the main themes that run throughout the book: the problems of essentialism, gnosticism, and reductive materialism.