Gnostic texts and the RA Material

March, 2003 According to a rational approach to the academic study of the development of religion, the early Near Eastern Gnostic conception of an evil world-creating “Demiurge” (identified with the Old Testament Yahweh or Jehovah), is generally understood as merely an imaginative invention to help support the growth of their religion. Scholars imagine this strange reformulation of the Hebraic god to simply indicate the Gnostics’ rejection of local Jewish authority. In this essay we will take a close look at the complex set of issues surrounding the Gnostic view of Yahweh, the Old Testament god of the Jews and so-called creator of the world. To this academic recounting -- using several Nag H