Church Fathers vs Gnostics

Term: Spring 2012

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6649

Between the 1st and the 3rd Century AD a various set of religious movements collectively defined as "Gnosticism" spread in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Gnostics preached a strong depreciation of the material world, the idea of a constitutive imperfection of the divine world, and the dualistic opposition between a good god and a bad demiurge. They therefore represented a serious challenge for a set of Christian thinkers, committed to the building of the Christian orthodoxy and of the institution of the Church. In this seminar, we will analyze the way in which the polemics against the Gnostics on issues like Evil, the nature of the material world, and predestination and free will, represented a turning point in the development of Christian thought in the first centuries of our era.

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