Gnosticism

Gnosticism Definitions

Samuel Johnson’s 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language does not have a definition for Gnosticism.

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defined Gnosticism as a noun meaning:[1]
“The doctrines, principles or systems of philosophy taught by the Gnostics.”

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defined Gnosticism as a noun meaning:[3]
“the thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis.”

Dictionary.com defined it as:[5]
“a group of ancient heresies, stressing escape from this world through the acquisition of esoteric knowledge.”

Lexico’s US Dictionary defined it as a noun meaning:[7]
“A prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church, partly of pre-Christian origin. Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.”

Gnostic Definitions

Samuel Johnson’s 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language does not have a definition for gnostic.

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defined gnostic as a noun meaning:[2]
“The Gnostics were a sect of philosophers that arose in the first ages of christianity, who pretended they were the only men who had a true knowledge of the christian religion. They formed for themselves a system of theology, agreeable to the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato, to which they accommodated their interpretations of scripture. They held that all natures, intelligible, intellectual and material, are derived by successive emanations from the infinite fountain of deity. These emanations they called oeons. These doctrines were derived from the oriental philosophy.”

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defined gnostic as:[4]
“an adherent of gnosticism”

Dictionary.com defined it as an adjective meaning:[6]
1 – “pertaining to knowledge.”
2 – “possessing knowledge, especially esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters.”
3 – “(initial capital letter) pertaining to or characteristic of the Gnostics.”

Dictionary.com also defined Gnostic as a noun meaning:
“(initial capital letter) a member of any of certain sects among the early Christians who claimed to have superior knowledge of spiritual matters, and explained the world as created by powers or agencies arising as emanations from the Godhead.”

Lexico’s US Dictionary defined it as an adjective meaning:[8]
1 – “Relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge.”
1.1 – “Relating to Gnosticism.”

Lexico’s US Dictionary also defined Gnostic as a noun meaning:
“An adherent of Gnosticism.”

Gnosticism Etymologies

“1664, in the meaning defined above”[3]

“First recorded in 1660–70; Gnostic + -ism”[5]

“1660s, from Gnostic + -ism.”[9]

Gnostic Etymologies

“circa 1587, in the meaning defined above”[4]

“1555–65; <Late Latin Gnōsticī (plural) name of the sect <Greek gnōstikós (singular) pertaining to knowledge, equivalent to gnōst(ós) known + -ikos-ic”[6]

“Late 16th century (as a noun): via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek gnōstikos, from gnōstos ‘known’ (related to gignōskein ‘know’).”[8]

Gnostic as a noun: “1580s, “believer in a mystical religious doctrine of spiritual knowledge,” from Late Latin Gnosticus “a Gnostic,” from Late Greek Gnōstikos, noun use of adjective gnōstikos “knowing, able to discern, good at knowing,” from gnōstos “known, to be known,” from gignōskein “to learn, to come to know,” from PIE root *gno- “to know.” Applied to various early Christian sects that claimed direct personal knowledge beyond the Gospel or the Church hierarchy; they appeared in the first century A.D., flourished in the second, and were stamped out by the 6th.”[10]

Gnostic as an adjective: “”relating to knowledge,” especially mystical or esoteric knowledge of spiritual things, 1650s, from Greek gnōstikos “knowing, good at knowing, able to discern,” from gnōstos “known, perceived, understood,” earlier gnōtos, from gignōskein “learn to know, come to know, perceive; discern, distinguish; observe, form a judgment,” from PIE *gi-gno-sko-, reduplicated and suffixed form of root *gno- “to know.””[10]

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References:

[1] – http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/gnosticism. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[2] – http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/gnostic. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[3] – “Gnosticism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gnosticism. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[4] – “Gnostic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gnostic. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[5] – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gnosticism?s=t. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[6] – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gnostic?s=t. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[7] – https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/gnosticism. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[8] – https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/gnostic. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[9] – https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=gnosticism. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

[10] – https://www.etymonline.com/word/Gnostic. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

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