Gnostic Concept of Authority and the Nag Hammadi Documents

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This volume demonstrates that Gnostic authority originated in and was based upon the spiritual (pneumatic) Gnostic's self-identification as consubstantial with the "highest god". The "divine spark" basic to this self-identification exalted the Gnostic over his contemporaries and even over the Demiurge (the creator-God of the Old Testament) who did not possess it. The Gnostic rejected the orthodox church and the inferior law and world of the Demiurge. Either in asceticism or in libertinism, the superiority of the Gnostic's authority is clearly expressed in the Gnostic writings, and it is uniformly based on his identity with the divine.


"Wayne Flory has made a major contribution to the field through his study of the theme of authority in Gnostic writings. . . . The thesis of the book is well-argued, but the greater strength of the book is Flory's intimate knowledge and adept utilization of the primary sources from the Nag Hammadi to support and illustrate his thesis. . . . an important advancement in our quest for a better understanding of Gnosticism." - Dr. Clinton E. Arnold

"Flory's thesis is economical and convincing. He confines himself to the relevant texts from the gnostic corpus and to the single, but central theme of gnostic self-understanding its corollary doctrine regarding authority. . . . This analysis highlights the enormous void that separates orthodox Christianity from gnosticism, but also illuminates with great clarity the inner logic of one of the major alternatives to Christianity in its early years." - D. Brendan Nagle

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