No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins
School or Department
Biblical and Theological Studies
Dates of Service
Where, when, and how did Gnosticism arise? What exactly is Gnosticism? There is no scholarly consensus on these questions. No Longer Jews reviews the theories about Gnosticism and its sources and details Smith's hypothesis, offering an excellent introductory text on Gnosticism.
In addition to examining the development of Gnosticism, this book addresses issues of New Testament development and the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Gnosticism as they interact in the late first and early second centuries.
Carl Smith starts with a lucid and incisive survey of the secondary materials on Gnosticism and explains various understandings of the development of Gnosticism. He defines Gnosticism by its unique anti-cosmic dualism between material things (evil) vs. spiritual things (good) and also explores both Gnosticism's probable close relationship with Judaism and its rejection of the Creator God of the Old Testament.
After an extensive survey of the issues, Smith provides his own conclusions: first, that an early second-century dating for Gnosticism is most consistent with the historical details of the period; and second, that Egypt following the Jewish Revolt under Trajan (115-117 CE) provides a ripe context for Gnosticism's most unique and definitive innovation, the rejection of the cosmos and the Creator God of the Jews. He argues that individuals closely connected with Judaism--whether Jews, Jewish Christians, or gentile God-fearers--may have responded to the rebellion by rejecting the God and religion that inspired this apocalyptic and messianic ferment. "No longer Jews," they were now free to follow a higher God and way of life.
Hendrickson Publishers (Purchased by Baker Academic in 2010)
Christian Denominations and Sects | History of Christianity | Religion
Smith, Carl B. II, "No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins" (2004). Faculty Books. 12.