Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism

In this groundbreaking collection of essays, King and other contributors engage in a systematic study of issues of gender in Gnosticism. Using a variety of critical methods, the writers ask questions such as: What is the relationship of gendered images to the real lives of women and men? Did ascetic or libertine practices offer an attractive alternative to women in a patriarchal society? Are the images of strong, female goddesses, saviors, and heroines an indication Gnosticism would have been attractive to women? Is it plausible that women in some gnostic groups were authors, teachers, and leaders? Is it possible that some of the Gnostic texts we possess were written by women? What parts did women play in ritual? Did asceticism or libertinism have a different set of social functions for women than for men? These lucid essays offer significant insights into the cultural context and religious practices of Gnosticism.