By Attilio Mastrocinque

Attilio Mastrocinque examines the intriquing hyperlink among magic and Gnosticism. there have been major the explanation why Christian thinkers pointed out Gnosticism with magic: the truth that the roots of Gnosticisim lay within the Hellenistic Judaism motivated through the Chaldeans and the Magi, and the necessity felt by means of orthodox Christians to tell apart themselves from Christian Gnostics by way of proving that the latter have been magicians.

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Filoramo, A History of Gnosticism, Eng. trans I. , Oxford 1990, 2-7. 190 191 48 49 A snake in the sky § 16. The Hebrew god in 1st century BC Chaldean wisdom the presence of Hebraic religious elements in the doctrines of the Chaldeans. Varro, in the time of Caesar, wrote that the Chaldeans studied the nature of the Hebrew god in their secret writings l97 . We do not know exactly what Varro meant by "Chaldeans": they could have been the Babylonian astrologers or the astrologers and magi of the Near East in general, or the fortune-teller astrologers who travelled around the world l98; but whether they could also be Jewish it is not clear.

Christ had introduced baptism, by means of which the cosmic serpent and the demons afflicting humankind could be sealed. All this would continue until the end of time and the final victory over the Devil. These beliefs were widely held by all branches of Christianity. Magic and Gnosis (or, at least, some streams of these types of heresy) were therefore closely interlinked and inseparable from each other. Gnostic texts made explicit reference to the writings of Zoroaster 178 , who was considered the founding father of the line of magi and of magic arts.

They say they have the power to rule the Archons and the Creators of this world"; he also states that they used idols and statues. The Basilidians used images, spells, invocations and other arts; they followed the ideas of the mathematici, that is the astrologers, and speculated on the magic name of Abrasax l7O • The heretics critiqued by Irenaeus also used children, to whom they made spirits appearl7l, invoked angels and cast spells 172. The two Books of Jeu 173 , from the codex Brucianus, describe a series of Gnostic baptismal rites that Christ is said to have taught the Apostles in 166 Cf.

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