Zusammenfassung / Summary
Recent research sees gnosis as a phenomenon of the early history of the church. Gnosis rises in the 2nd century with the Christian aim to explain its message for educated layers of the society. Seven typical markers help to identify gnosis: (1) God’s complete transcendence; (2) the introduction of other figures in the divine realm; (3) the devaluation of the material word; (4) the creation of the material word through a particular creator-god (Demiurge); (5) a myth which explains the existence of a divine spark in the human beings; (6) the mission of the savior-figure to free this divine spark; (7) salvation through knowledge. These points are united by a theological theory, which searches for the origin of the creation’s negativity in the divine being itself. The material world is a part of God’s spirit, which has fallen out of his own being. The salvation of humanity means therefore, that the divine spirit, which has fallen from God into human beings, would be re-integrated into God’s being. God’s own existence is dependent on salvation. Despite the deficient answers of gnostic approaches in the 2nd century gnosis still raises questions, which have to be answered by a true Christian knowledge of God also today.