Gnostic motifs in the New Testament
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Gnostic motifs in the New Testament book
Key elements in the configurations that took shape in various Gnostic systems of the second and third centuries are emerging in the New Testament period. The New Testament gospels mention occasions on which Jesus withdrew from public healing and preaching to instruct all or a small group of disciples in private. Once the New Testament motifs are expanded and repackaged in later Gnostic systems of myth, speculation and ritual, they will look quite different from their first-century prototypes. Poetic language in the New Testament epistles provides additional images for redemption as restoration. The long version of a Gnostic revelation that was allegedly transmitted by the risen Jesus to John concludes with a hymnic celebration of the descent of heavenly Forethought as light into the realm of darkness. Some Gnostic apocalypses mention prior revelations or admit an unspecified time lapse between the mythological set-up and the emergence of a Gnostic race.