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King the Gnostics 5

King the Gnostics 5

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Published by Farlang

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Published by: Farlang on Sep 16, 2009
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01/05/2013

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PART
-LJ.JL
.
ABRAXAS,
ABRAXASTER,
AND
ABRAXOID
GEMS.
 
GNOSTICS AND 'I'HEIR REMAINS. 215THE AGATIIOD^EMON WORSHIP
"
THERE
was a time
"
(says M. Mlatter with much
force)
"
when itwas from Judaism, especially from the Kabbala, and the systemof
Philo,
that people sought to derive the great transition of thehuman mind from the ancient into the modern world
:
a revolution
111
which so important a part is played by
Gnosticism.
Sofar as regards the explanation of the writings and the understanding of the views given by Origen,
Irenajus,
and the other-bathers upon (gnosticism, the Jewish element still retains itsancient
pre-eminence;
but in the case of the
tangible
monumentscome down to us from the Gnostics
themselves,
we ought henceforth to be fully convinced that it is in the
antiquities
of Eyypt
we must look for our chief information
:
and if the ideas,terminology, and symbols of Judaism (that
is,
of the Kabbala)have lent certain cloctrmos to tins system, yet it
is
J^ijijptian
artthat has furnished it with the greatest part of
its
symbols."
This grand development of the old Wisdom of Egypt
m
anew phase is the most conspicuously exhibited
m
that verynumerous
class of
engraved gems popularly and indiscriminatelycalled
Abraxas, Basilidan,
and
Gnostic
stones, almost the soleproduction of the expiring Glyptic Art during the last twocenturies of the Western Emiire. But, contrary to thegenerally received notion concerning their nature, a carefu,study of their numerous subdivisions has fully convinced methat only a very small minority amidst their multitude presentany traces of the influence of Christian doctrines
;
being for themost part the fruit of religious ideas which had nourished longbefore the first dawn of Christianity. An important portion,
mcieea.,
ori
&
matm
&
in tiie primuive iJ
0
\ptian
IUJ
tnoiogy, havemore connexion with Magic and Medicine than with anyreligious
object;
and their employment as talismans establishes

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