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From Ignorant to Inspired: Moses in Gnostic Literature
How did various early Christians groups understand Moses? How did they interpret his prophetic authority and his divine visions? Why did it matter? Of all Christian groups, Gnostic Christians supposedly have at first glance the most negative view of Moses, treating him as the ignorant prophet of his equally ignorant master, the Demiurge or Creator of this world. A closer look at the evidence produced by both Gnostics themselves and their enemies, however, demonstrates a much greater diversity of perspectives. Far from always being the puppet of the ignorant Demiurge, some Gnostics portrayed Moses as the revealer of hidden, spiritual realities, as a prototypical Gnostic himself. This paper will trace the shift from ignorance to inspiration, demonstrating how Gnostic groups interpreted Moses can be used as an index for how they viewed themselves vis-à-vis other Christian groups.
When: Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 4:15-6:00 p.m.
Where: 111 Bryant Hall