Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
Gnosticism (from gnostikos , "learned", from Greek : γνῶσις gnōsis , knowledge; Arabic : الغنوصية ) is the dualistic belief that the material world should be shunned and the spiritual world should be embraced. Gnostic ideas influenced many ancient religions [ 1 ] which teach that gnosis (variously interpreted as enlightenment , salvation , emancipation or 'oneness with God' ) may be reached by practising philanthropy to the point of personal poverty , sexual abstinence (as far as possible for hearers , total for initiates ) and diligently searching for wisdom by helping others. [ 2 ] Gnosticism was primarily defined in a Christian context. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] Some scholars have claimed that gnosticism predated Christianity. Such discussions have included pre-Christian religious beliefs and spiritual practices argued to be common to early Christianity , Hellenistic Judaism , Greco-Roman mystery religions , Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism ), and Neoplatonism .