Gnostic Morality Revisited

Dunderberg I.



While the early Christian texts discussed in this book are often treated as «gnostic» ones, they are here approached as witnesses to the views of educated Christians engaged in dialogue with philosophical traditions. Following the idea that ancient philosophical schools provided their adherents with ways of life, Ismo Dunderberg explores issues related to morality and lifestyle in non-canonical gospels and among groups that were gradually denounced as heretical in the church. He deals with the soul’s progress from material concerns to a life dominated by spirit, the control of emotions, the avoidance of luxury, the ideal «perfect human» as a tool in moral instruction, classifications of humankind into distinct groups based on their moral advancement, and Christian debates about the value of martyrdom. In addition, he offers a critical review of some recent trends and attitudes in New Testament scholarship.