From Christianity to Gnosis and From Gnosis to Christianity

Magne J.

An Itinerary through the Texts to and from the Tree ofParadise Starting with the eucharistic liturgies, proceeding with the Feeding and Last Supper narratives, the author arrives at the account of the Emmaus pilgrims and points out that the eu­ charistized bread given by Jesus opens the eyes of the two disciples as the fruit of Paradise eaten at the serpent’s insti­ gation opened the eyes of Adam and Eve.

The parallel between the bread at Emmaus and the fruit of Paradise supposes a positive interpretation of the Genesis narrative: just as the two disciples were saved by acknow­ ledging the crucified Jesus as the Messiah “at the Breaking of bread”, so Adam and Eve were saved by acquiring the knowledge of good and evil, gnosis or the science of sal­ vation, through the manducation of the fruit.

Attested and refuted by the early heresiologists, this po­ sitive interpretation of Adam’s disobedience is set out in the gnostic writings discovered at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in 1945.

The author puts forward the hypothesis, subsequently proved by the texts, that the gnostic movement originating in this anti-Judaic interpretation of Genesis, gave rise to Christianity through a gradual but Law-less rejudaization.