Gnosis  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Gnosis (from one of the Greek words for knowledge, γνώσις) is the spiritual knowledge of a saint or mystically enlightened human being. In the cultures of the term (Byzantine and Hellenic) gnosis was a special knowledge or insight into the infinite, divine and uncreated in all and above all, rather than knowledge strictly into the finite, natural or material world which is called Epistemological knowledge. Gnosis is a transcendent as well as mature understanding. It indicates direct spiritual experiential knowledge and intuitive knowledge, rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking.

In the formation of early Christianity, various sectarian groups, labeled "gnostics" by their opponents, emphasised spiritual knowledge (gnosis) over faith (pistis) in the teachings of the established community of Christians. These sectarians considered the most essential part of the process of salvation to be this personal knowledge, in contrast to faith in ecclesiastical authority. These break away groups were branded heretics by the fathers of the early church due to teaching antinomianism. The knowledge of these sectarian groups is contested by Eastern Orthodox theology as knowledge devired from religio-philosophical systems rather than knowledge derived from revelation as insight (noesis) coming from faith.

As such the gnostic sects made a duality out of the difference between noesis (insight) and pistis (faith).



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gnosis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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