Suppressed prayers.
Gnostic Spirituality in Early Christianity

Lüdemann G.Janssen M.

This book is about Gnostic prayers, hymns and other material from the beginnings of Christianity. The authors were branded heretics and thrown out of the church. However, many documents of Gnostic spirituality have survived and have become more accessible especially since the spectacular discoveries at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945.

At the centre of Gnostic spirituality stands the question of what it is to be human: ‘Who were we? What have we become? Where were we? Into what have we been thrown? Whither are we hastening? What are we freed from? What is birth? What is rebirth?’

These key questions can be taken as a programme of the religious feelings of Gnosticism. Here they are illustrated by texts which, perhaps even more than contemporary material from the mainstream church, convey the feeling and the imagination of believers from a time long past. They give a lively impression of how Gnostics felt about the world, and with their shimmering images and poetic symbols attest their unique religious creativity.

Gerd Liidemann is Professor of New Testament in the University of Tubingen. Martina Janssen is his academic.