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The journey of the Valentinian hero - Outlining the imaginative world of early Christian apocalyptic narratives: A comparative study of the Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V, 2)and the First Apocalypse of James (NHC V, 3 & TC 2)
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: This thesis aims to show that the narratives of the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Pauland First Apocalypse of James are written for a Valentinian audience. The purpose is to broaden the field of research on Valentinianism by showing how the authors and their implied readers composed and perceived the texts in question.

Method: Comparing the mythological language of the two narratives and their description of a hero’s journey in a transcendent reality it is possible to disentangle the Valentinian material from the imaginative world of the reader, a world consisted of ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology as well as Jewish apocalypticism and early Christian legends and traditions. The texts are also compared with new research in the field, other related Valentinian scriptures, the New Testament, and Christian Apocrypha.

Results: The texts are pseudepigraphic and written within a Jewish apocalyptic genre sometime during the late second or early third century. The symbolism and the diverse metaphors of the narratives indicate that the texts incorporate a specific soteriological message through embedded Valentinian mythology. The implied reader is to understand that the material world is an illusion and that the purpose of the initiate is to awaken the mind and acquire knowledge about the truth. By doing so the redemption of the believer’s spirit from its human body and soul leads to the spirits reunion with God.

Conclusion: The analysis of the texts points toward the fact that the narratives could very well have been used for catechetical or other educational purposes within a Valentinian community. The language and form of the two narratives fit to serve this purpose. In many ways, the reader has to be initiated within a Valentinian context in order to grasp the intended message.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 78
Keywords [en]
Gnostic literature, Nag Hammadi scriptures, Valentinians, Early Christianity, Comparative mythology, Apocalyptic literature, The hero’s journey.
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-37709OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-37709DiVA, id: diva2:1371175
Subject / course
Religious Science RV1
Educational program
Magisterprogram i religionsvetenskap HRELA 60 AV
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Godkännande datum 2019-06-10

Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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