Course No.

THEO 201


Working Theologies: Gnosticism and the Subversive Imagination; Theory and Practice


Bruce Chilton / Leonard Schwartz


Th 1:30 pm - 3:50 pm LC 115
In this course we will examine the strikingly original intellectual contributions of historical Gnosticism - the idea of alienation, the feminine face of God, the spark and the call and the crucial role of knowledge of the divine object - from a double perspective, as both theological proposition and part of an ongoing poetics. Gnosticism as religion represents the most abstract development of meditative arts in Western antiquity; its similarity to practices in Hinduism and Buddhism has been ignored in most scholarship, but will be explored in this course. Gnosticism as poetics involves a radical method of reading by which conventions of interpretation are systemically upended. Readings include The Nag Hammadi Library, Hans Jonas' The Gnostic Religion, Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, St. Augustine's Confessions,