Questions of Gnostic influence on early Islam
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While the evidence for Gnostic influence upon Muhammad or the Quran remains tenuous, it is indisputable that Gnostic literature of various stripes continued to circulate and win admirers within the Islamicate world during the first few centuries. A term like "Gnostic" presents a potentially more complicated problem, given the rightly recognized issues which surround the scholarly use of labels like "Gnostic" and "Gnosticism" as taxonomic categories for characterizing certain types of religious texts and behaviors. The Hermetic corpus, consisting of both philosophical and technical treatises associated with the teachings of Thoth/Hermes, had a major impact upon the development of the occult sciences in the Islamicate world. The most suggestive affinity between Jewish-Christian sects like the Elchasaites, certain religions like Manichaeism, and the conceptual world of the Quran lies in the realm of prophetology. The possibility that early Islam may be specifically indebted to Manichaeism for some of its prophetological and scriptural fixations is one that some scholars have explored.