Gnosticism used a number of religious texts that are preserved, in part or whole, in ancient manuscripts, or lost but mentioned critically in Patristic writings. Prior to the discovery at Nag Hammadi, only the following texts were available to students of Gnosticism. Reconstructions were attempted from the records of the heresiologists, but these were coloured by the motivation behind the source accounts. Works preserved by the Church: Acts of Thomas The Acts of John The Bruce Codex: The Gnosis of the Invisible God or The Books of Jeu The Untitled Apocalypse or The Gnosis of the Light The Askew Codex: Pistis Sophia: Books of the Savior The Berlin Codex or The Akhmim Codex: The Gospel of Mary Apocryphon of John an epitome of the Acts of Peter The Wisdom of Jesus Christ Unknown origin: The Secret Gospel of Mark The Hermetica Codex I: The Prayer of the Apostle Paul The Apocryphon of James The Gospel of Truth The Treatise on the Resurrection The Tripartite Tractate Codex II: The Apocryphon of John The Gospel of Thomas a sayings gospel The Gospel of Philip The Hypostasis of the Archons On the Origin of the World The Exegesis on the Soul The Book of Thomas the Contender Codex III: The Apocryphon of John The Gospel of the Egyptians Eugnostos the Blessed The Sophia of Jesus Christ The Dialogue of the Savior Codex IV: The Apocryphon of John The Gospel of the Egyptians Codex V: Eugnostos the Blessed The Apocalypse of Paul The First Apocalypse of James The Second Apocalypse of James The Apocalypse of Adam Codex VI: The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles The Thunder, Perfect Mind Authoritative Teaching The Concept of Our Great Power Republic by Plato - The original is not gnostic, but the Nag Hammadi library version is modified with then-current gnostic concepts.
The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth - a Hermetic treatise The Prayer of Thanksgiving - a Hermetic prayer Asclepius 21-29 - another Hermetic treatise Codex VII: The Paraphrase of Shem The Second Treatise of the Great Seth Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter The Teachings of Silvanus The Three Steles of Seth Codex VIII: Zostrianos The Letter of Peter to Philip Codex IX: Melchizedek The Thought of Norea The Testimony of truth Codex X: Marsanes Codex XI: The Interpretation of Knowledge A Valentinian Exposition, On the Anointing, On Baptism and On the Eucharist Allogenes Hypsiphrone Codex XII The Sentences of Sextus The Gospel of Truth Fragments Codex XIII: Trimorphic Protennoia On the Origin of the WorldThe so-called "Codex XIII" is not a codex, but rather the text of Trimorphic Protennoia, written on "eight leaves removed from a thirteenth book in late antiquity and tucked inside the front cover of the sixth." Only a few lines from the beginning of Origin of the World are discernible on the bottom of the eighth leaf.
The Hymn of Jesus Acts of Peter Apocalypse of Adam Coptic Apocalypse of Peter Dialogue of the Saviour Odes of Solomon Gospel of Judas Gospel of the Saviour These texts are mentioned or quoted in the writings of the Church Fathers. Gospel of Basilides mentioned by Origen, Ambrose, Philip of Side, Bede. Basilides' Exegetica mentioned in Hippolytus of Rome and Clement of Alexandria Epiphanes' On Righteousness, mentioned in Clement of Alexandria. Heracleon, Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John, mentioned in Origen Naassene Fragment mentioned in Hippolytus. Ophite Diagrams mentioned in Celsus and Origen Ptolemy's Commentary on the Gospel of John Prologue, mentioned in Irenaeus. Ptolemy's Letter to Flora, mentioned in Epiphanius. Theodotus: Excerpta Ex Theodoto mentioned in Clement of Alexandria. Askew Codex contains some other unknown texts. Berlin Codex, 5th century, contains a fragmentary Gospel of Mary, out of nineteen pages, pages 1–6 and 11-14 are missing the Apocryphon of John, The Sophia of Jesus Christ, an epitome of the Act of Peter.
Bruce Codex contains the first and second Books of Jeu and three fragments - an untitled text, an untitled hymn, the text "On the Passage of the Soul Through the Archons of the Midst". Codex Tchacos, 4th century, contains the Gospel of Judas, the First Apocalypse of James, the Letter of Peter to Philip, a fragment of Allogenes. Nag Hammadi library contains a large number of texts Three Oxyrhynchus papyri contain portions of the Gospel of Thomas: Oxyrhyncus 1: this is half a leaf of papyrus which contains fragments of logion 26 through 33. Oxyrhyncus 654: this contains fragments of the beginning through logion 7, logion 24 and logion 36 on the flip side of a papyrus containing surveying data. Oxyrhyncus 655: this contains fragments of logion 36 through logion 39 and is 8 fragments named a through h, whereof f and h have since been lost; the Gnostic Society Library Gnostics, Gnostic Gospels, & Gnosticism - from earlychristianwritings.com
Simon the Sorcerer, or Simon the Magician, is a religious figure whose confrontation with Peter is recorded in Acts 8:9–24. The act of simony, or paying for position and influence in the church, is named after Simon. According to Acts, Simon was a Samaritan magus or religious figure of the 1st century AD and a convert to Christianity, baptised by Philip the Evangelist. Simon clashed with Peter. Accounts of Simon by writers of the second century are not considered verifiable. Surviving traditions about Simon appear in orthodox texts, such as those of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Epiphanius, where he is described as the founder of Gnosticism, accepted by some modern scholars, while others reject that he was a Gnostic, just designated as one by the Church Fathers. Justin, himself a 2nd-century native of Samaria, wrote that nearly all the Samaritans in his time were adherents of a certain Simon of Gitta, a village not far from Flavia Neapolis. According to Josephus, Gitta was settled by the tribe of Dan.
Irenaeus held him as being the founder of the sect of the Simonians. Hippolytus quotes from a work he attributes to Simon or his followers the Simonians, Apophasis Megale, or Great Declaration. According to the early church heresiologists, Simon is supposed to have written several lost treatises, two of which bear the titles The Four Quarters of the World and The Sermons of the Refuter. In apocryphal works including the Acts of Peter, Pseudo-Clementines, the Epistle of the Apostles, Simon appears as a formidable sorcerer with the ability to levitate and fly at will, he is sometimes referred to as "the Bad Samaritan" due to his malevolent character. The Apostolic Constitutions accuses him of "lawlessness"; the earliest reference to Simon is in the canonical Acts of the Apostles. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God.
And to him they had regard. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: Then laid they their hands on them, they received the Holy Ghost, and when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost." But Peter said unto him, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, pray God, if the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee, for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, in the bond of iniquity." Answered Simon, said, "Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me." Josephus mentions a magician named Atomus as being involved with the procurator Felix, King Agrippa II and his sister Drusilla, where Felix has Simon convince Drusilla to marry him instead of the man she was engaged to. Some scholars have considered the two to be identical, although this is not accepted, as the Simon of Josephus is a Jew rather than a Samaritan. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus record that after being cast out by the Apostles, Simon Magus came to Rome where, having joined to himself a profligate woman of the name of Helen, he gave out that it was he who appeared among the Jews as the Son, in Samaria as the Father and among other nations as the Holy Spirit, he performed such signs by magic acts during the reign of Claudius that he was regarded as a god and honored with a statue on the island in the Tiber which the two bridges cross, with the inscription Simoni Deo Sancto, "To Simon the Holy God".
However, in the 16th century, a statue was unearthed on the island in question, inscribed to Semo Sancus, a Sabine deity, leading most scholars to believe that Justin Martyr confused Semoni Sancus with Simon. Justin and Irenaeus are the first to recount the myth of Simon and Helen, which became the center of Simonian doctrine. Epiphanius of Salamis makes Simon speak in the first person in several places in his Panarion, the implication is that he is quoting from a version of it, though not verbatim. In the beginning God had his first thought, his Ennoia, female, that thought was to create the angels; the First Thought descended into the lower regions and created the angels. But the angels rebelled against her out of jealousy and created the world as her prison, imprisoning her in a female body. Thereafter, she was reincarnated each time being shamed, her many reincarnations included Helen of Troy, among others, she was reincarnated as Helen, a slave and prostit
Chinese people are the various individuals or ethnic groups associated with China through ancestry, nationality, citizenship or other affiliation. Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China, at about 92% of the population, are referred to as "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" in English, however there are dozens of other related and unrelated ethnic groups in China. A number of ethnic groups within China, as well as people elsewhere with ancestry in the region, may be referred to as Chinese people. Han Chinese people, the largest ethnic group in China, are referred to as "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" in English; the ethnic Chinese form a majority or notable minority in other countries, may comprise as much as 19% of the global human population. Other ethnic groups in China include the related Hui people or "Chinese Muslims", the Zhuang, Manchu and Miao, who make up the five largest ethnic minorities in mainland China with populations exceeding 10 million. In addition, the Yi, Tujia and Mongols each number populations between six and nine million.
The People's Republic of China recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, many of whom live in the special administrative regions of the country. However, there exists several smaller ethnicities who are "unrecognized" or subsumed as part another ethnic group; the Republic of China recognizes 14 tribes of Taiwanese aborigines, who together with unrecognized tribes comprise about 2% of the country's population. During the Qing dynasty the term "Chinese people" was used by the Qing government to refer to all subjects of the empire, including Han and Mongols. Zhonghua minzu, the "Chinese nation", is a supra-ethnic concept which includes all 56 ethnic groups living in China that are recognized by the government of the People's Republic of China, it includes established ethnic groups who have lived within the borders of China since at least the Qing Dynasty. The term zhonghua minzu was used during the Republic of China from 1911–1949 to refer to a subset of five ethnic groups in China; the term zhongguo renmin, "Chinese people", was the government's preferred term during the life of Mao Zedong.
The Nationality law of the People's Republic of China regulates nationality within the PRC. A person obtains nationality either by birth when at least one parent is of Chinese nationality or by naturalization. All people holding nationality of the People's Republic of China are citizens of the Republic; the Resident Identity Card is the official form of identification for residents of the People's Republic of China. Within the People's Republic of China, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport or Macao Special Administrative Region passport may be issued to permanent residents of Hong Kong or Macao, respectively; the Nationality law of the Republic of China regulates nationality within the Republic of China. A person obtains nationality either by naturalization. A person with at least one parent, a national of the Republic of China, or born in the ROC to stateless parents qualifies for nationality by birth; the National Identification Card is an identity document issued to people who have household registration in Taiwan.
The Resident Certificate is an identification card issued to residents of the Republic of China who do not hold a National Identification Card. The relationship between Taiwanese nationality and Chinese nationality is disputed. Overseas Chinese refers to people of Chinese ethnicity or national heritage who live outside the People's Republic of China or Taiwan as the result of the continuing diaspora. People with one or more Chinese ancestors may consider themselves overseas Chinese; such people vary in terms of cultural assimilation. In some areas throughout the world ethnic enclaves known as Chinatowns are home to populations of Chinese ancestry. In Southeast Asia, Chinese people call themselves 華人, distinguished from or the citizens of the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China; this is so in the Chinese communities of Southeast Asia. The term Zhongguoren has a more ideological aspect in its use. Chinese Ethnic Minorities The Ranking of Ethnic Chinese Population, Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission, Republic of China, archived from the original on 23 November 2013, retrieved 2008-11-02
The Basilidians or Basilideans were a Gnostic sect founded by Basilides of Alexandria in the 2nd century. Basilides claimed to have been taught his doctrines by a disciple of St. Peter. Of the customs of the Basilidians, we know no more than that Basilides enjoined on his followers, like Pythagoras, a silence of five years; the sect had three grades – material and spiritual – and possessed two allegorical statues and female. The sect's doctrines were similar to those of the Ophites and Jewish Kabbalism. Basilidianism survived until the end of the 4th century as Epiphanius knew of Basilidians living in the Nile Delta, it was however exclusively limited to Egypt, though according to Sulpicius Severus it seems to have found an entrance into Spain through a certain Mark from Memphis. St. Jerome states; the descriptions of the Basilidian system given by our chief informants and Hippolytus, are so divergent that they seem to many quite irreconcilable. According to Hippolytus, Basilides was a pantheistic evolutionist.
Historians such as Philip Shaff have the opinion that "Irenaeus described a form of Basilidianism, not the original, but a corruption of the system. On the other hand, Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus, in the fuller account of his Philosophumena drew their knowledge of the system directly from Basilides' own work, the Exegetica, hence represent the form of doctrine taught by Basilides himself"; the fundamental theme of the Basilidian system is the question concerning the origin of evil and how to overcome it. A cosmographical feature common to many forms of Gnosticism is the idea that the Logos Spermatikos is scattered into the sensible cosmos, where it is the duty of the Gnostics, by whatever means, to recollect these scattered seed-members of the Logos and return them to their proper places. "Their whole system," says Clement, "is a confusion of the Panspermia with the Phylokrinesis and the return of things thus confused to their own places." According to Hippolytus, Basilides asserted the beginning of all things to have been pure nothing.
He uses every device of language to express absolute nonentity. Nothing being in existence, "not-being God" willed to make a not-being world out of not-being things; this not-being world was only "a single seed containing within itself all the seed-mass of the world," as the mustard seed contains the branches and leaves of the tree. Within this seed-mass were three parts, or sonships, were consubstantial with the not-being God; this was the one origin of all future growths. Part subtle of substance; the first part of the seed-mass ascended to the not-being God. Part coarse of substance; the second part of the seed-mass to burst forth could not mount up of itself, but it took to itself as a wing of the Holy Spirit, each bearing up the other with mutual benefit. But when it came near the place of the first part of the seed-mass and the not-being God, it could take the Holy Spirit no further, it not being consubstantial with the Holy Spirit. There the Holy Spirit remained, as a firmament dividing things above the world from the world itself below.
Part needing purification. From the third part of the seed-mass burst forth into being the Great Archon, "the head of the world, a beauty and greatness and power that cannot be uttered." He too ascended. There he "made to himself and begat out of the things below a son far better and wiser than himself", he became wiser and every way better than all other cosmical things except the seed-mass left below. Smitten with wonder at his son's beauty, he set him at his right hand. "This is what they call the Ogdoad, where the Great Archon is sitting." All the heavenly or ethereal creation, as far down as the moon, was made by the Great Archon, inspired by his wiser son. Another Archon arose out of the seed-mass, inferior to the first Archon, but superior to all else below except the seed-mass; this region is called the Hebdomad. On the other hand, all these events occurred according to the plan of the not-being God; the Basilidians believed in a different Gospel to that of orthodox Christians. Hippolytus summed up the Basilidians' Gospel by saying: "According to them the Gospel is the knowledge of things above the world, which knowledge the Great Archon understood not: when it was shewn to him that there exists the Holy Spirit, the and a God Who is the author of all these things the not-being One, he rejoiced at what was told him, was exceeding glad: this is according to them the Gospel."
That is, the Basilidians believed from Adam until Moses the Great Archon supposed himself to be God alone, to have nothing above him. But it was thought to enlighten the Great Archon that there were beings above him, so through the Holy Spirit the Gospel was conveyed to the Great Archon. First, the son of the Great Archon received the Gospel, he in turn instructed the Great Archon himself, by whose side he was sitting; the Great Archon learned that he was not God of the universe, b
Manichaeism was a major religion founded by the Iranian prophet Mani in the Sasanian Empire. Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process that takes place in human history, light is removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light, whence it came, its beliefs were based on Gnosticism. Manichaeism was successful and spread far through the Aramaic-speaking regions, it thrived between the third and seventh centuries, at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire, it was the main rival to Christianity before the spread of Islam in the competition to replace classical paganism. Manichaeism survived longer in the east than in the west, it appears to have faded away after the 14th century in south China, contemporary to the decline of the Church of the East in Ming China.
While most of Manichaeism's original writings have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived. An adherent of Manichaeism was called a Manichaean or Manichean, or Manichee in older sources. Mani was an Iranian born in 216 near Seleucia-Ctesiphon in the Parthian Empire. According to the Cologne Mani-Codex, Mani's parents were members of the Jewish Christian Gnostic sect known as the Elcesaites. Mani composed seven works, six of which were written in the Syriac language, a late variety of Aramaic; the seventh, the Shabuhragan, was written by Mani in Middle Persian and presented by him to the Sasanian emperor, Shapur I. Although there is no proof Shapur I was a Manichaean, he tolerated the spread of Manichaeism and refrained from persecuting it within his empire's boundaries. According to one tradition, it was Mani himself who invented the unique version of the Syriac script known as the Manichaean alphabet, used in all of the Manichaean works written within the Sasanian Empire, whether they were in Syriac or Middle Persian, for most of the works written within the Uyghur Khaganate.
The primary language of Babylon at that time was Eastern Middle Aramaic, which included three main dialects: Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and Syriac, the language of Mani, as well as of the Syriac Christians. While Manichaeism was spreading, existing religions such as Zoroastrianism were still popular and Christianity was gaining social and political influence. Although having fewer adherents, Manichaeism won the support of many high-ranking political figures. With the assistance of the Sasanian Empire, Mani began missionary expeditions. After failing to win the favour of the next generation of Persian royalty, incurring the disapproval of the Zoroastrian clergy, Mani is reported to have died in prison awaiting execution by the Persian Emperor Bahram I; the date of his death is estimated at 276–277. Mani believed that the teachings of Gautama Buddha and Jesus were incomplete, that his revelations were for the entire world, calling his teachings the "Religion of Light". Manichaean writings indicate that Mani received revelations when he was 12 and again when he was 24, over this time period he grew dissatisfied with the Elcesaite sect he was born into.
Mani began preaching at an early age and was influenced by contemporary Babylonian-Aramaic movements such as Mandaeism, Aramaic translations of Jewish apocalyptic writings similar to those found at Qumran, by the Syriac dualist-gnostic writer Bardaisan. With the discovery of the Mani-Codex, it became clear that he was raised in a Jewish-Christian baptism sect, the Elcesaites, was influenced by their writings, as well. According to biographies preserved by Ibn al-Nadim and the Persian polymath al-Biruni, he received a revelation as a youth from a spirit, whom he would call his Twin, his Syzygos, his Double, his Protective Angel or Divine Self, it taught. His divine Twin or true Self brought Mani to self-realization, he claimed to be the Paraclete of the Truth. Manichaeism's views on Jesus are described by historians: Jesus in Manichaeism possessed three separate identities: Jesus the Luminous, Jesus the Messiah and Jesus patibilis; as Jesus the Luminous... his primary role was as supreme revealer and guide and it was he who woke Adam from his slumber and revealed to him the divine origins of his soul and its painful captivity by the body and mixture with matter.
Jesus the Messiah was a historical being, the prophet of the Jews and the forerunner of Mani. However, the Manichaeans believed, he never experienced human birth as notions of physical conception and birth filled the Manichaeans with horror and the Christian doctrine of virgin birth was regarded as obscene. Since he was the light of the world, where was this light, they asked, when he was in the womb of the Virgin? Jesus the Messiah was bor
Western esotericism called esotericism and sometimes the Western mystery tradition, is a term under which scholars have categorised a wide range of loosely related ideas and movements which have developed within Western society. These ideas and currents are united by the fact that they are distinct both from orthodox Judeo-Christian religion and from Enlightenment rationalism. Esotericism has pervaded various forms of Western philosophy, pseudoscience, art and music, continuing to affect intellectual ideas and popular culture; the idea of grouping a wide range of Western traditions and philosophies together under the category, now termed esotericism developed in Europe during the late seventeenth century. Various academics have debated how to define Western esotericism, with a number of different options proposed. One scholarly model adopts its definition of "esotericism" from certain esotericist schools of thought themselves, treating "esotericism" as a perennialist hidden, inner tradition.
A second perspective sees esotericism as a category that encompasses movements which embrace an "enchanted" world-view in the face of increasing disenchantment. A third views Western esotericism as a category encompassing all of Western culture's "rejected knowledge", accepted neither by the scientific establishment nor by orthodox religious authorities; the earliest traditions which analysis would label as forms of Western esotericism emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity, where Hermetism and Neoplatonism developed as schools of thought distinct from what became mainstream Christianity. Renaissance Europe saw increasing interest in many of these older ideas, with various intellectuals combining "pagan" philosophies with the Kabbalah and Christian philosophy, resulting in the emergence of esoteric movements like Christian theosophy; the seventeenth century saw the development of initiatory societies professing esoteric knowledge such as Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, while the Age of Enlightenment of the eighteenth century led to the development of new forms of esoteric thought.
The nineteenth century saw the emergence of new trends of esoteric thought that have come to be known as occultism. Prominent groups in this century included the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Modern Paganism developed within occultism, includes religious movements such as Wicca. Esoteric ideas permeated the counterculture of the 1960s and cultural tendencies, from which emerged the New Age phenomenon in the 1970s. Although the idea that these varying movements could be categorised together under the rubric of "Western esotericism" developed in the late eighteenth century, these esoteric currents were ignored as a subject of academic enquiry; the academic study of Western esotericism only emerged in the late twentieth-century, pioneered by scholars like Frances Yates and Antoine Faivre. Esoteric ideas have meanwhile exerted an influence in popular culture, appearing in art, literature and music; the concept of the "esoteric" originated in the second century AD with the coining of the Ancient Greek adjective esôterikós.
The term "esotericism" thus came into use in the wake of the Age of Enlightenment and of its critique of institutionalised religion, during which time alternative religious groups began to disassociate themselves from the dominant Christianity in Western Europe. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the term "esotericism" came to be seen as something, distinct from Christianity, which had formed a subculture, at odds with the Christian mainstream from at least the time of the Renaissance; the French occultist and ceremonial magician Eliphas Lévi popularized the term in the 1850s, Theosophist Alfred Percy Sinnett introduced it into the English language in his book Esoteric Buddhism. Lévi introduced the term l'occultisme, a notion that he developed against the background of contemporary socialist and Catholic discourses. "Esotericism" and "occultism" were employed as synonyms until scholars distinguished the concepts. The concept of "Western esotericism" is a modern scholarly construct rather than a pre-existing, self-defined tradition of thought.
In the late seventeenth century, several European Christian thinkers presented the argument that certain traditions of Western philosophy and thought could be categorised together, thus establishing the category, now called "Western esotericism". The first to do so was de: Ehregott Daniel Colberg, a German Lutheran who wrote Platonisch-Hermetisches Christianity. A hostile critic of various currents of Western thought that had emerged since the Renaissance—among them Paracelsianism and Christian theosophy—in his book he labelled all of these traditions under the category of "Platonic–Hermetic Christianity", arguing that they were heretical to what he saw as true Christianity. Despite his hostile attitude toward these traditions of thought, he was the first to connect these disparate philosophies and study them under one rubric recognising that these ideas linked back to earlier philosophies from late antiquity. In Europe during the eighteenth century, amid the Age of Enlightenment, these esoteric traditions came to be categorised under the labels of "superstition", "magic", "the occult", terms which were used interchangeably.
Christology "the understanding of Christ," is the study of the nature and work of Jesus Christ. It studies Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity, the relation between these two aspects; the earliest Christian writings gave several titles to Jesus, such as Son of Man, Son of God and Kyrios, which were all derived from the Hebrew scriptures. These terms centered around two themes, namely "Jesus as a preexistent figure who becomes human and returns to God," and "Jesus as a creature elected and'adopted' by God."From the second to the fifth century, the relation of the human and divine nature of Christ was a major focus of debates in the early church and at the first seven ecumenical councils. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 issued a formulation of the hypostatic union of the two natures of Christ, one human and one divine, "united with neither confusion nor division". Most of the major branches of Western Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy subscribe to this formulation, while many branches of Oriental Orthodox Churches reject it, subscribing to miaphysitism.
Christology "the understanding of Christ," is the study of the nature and work of Jesus Christ. It studies Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity, the relation between these two aspects. "Ontological Christology" analyzes the being of Jesus Christ. "Functional Christology" analyzes the works of Jesus Christ, while "soteriological Christology" analyzes the "salvific" standpoints of Christology. Several approaches can be distinguished within Christology; the term "Christology from above" or "high Christology" refers to approaches that include aspects of divinity, such as Lord and Son of God, the idea of the pre-existence of Christ as the Logos, as expressed in the prologue to the Gospel of John. These approaches interpret the works of Christ in terms of his divinity. According to Pannenberg, Christology from above "was far more common in the ancient Church, beginning with Ignatius of Antioch and the second century Apologists." The term "Christology from below" or "low Christology" refers to approaches that begin with the human aspects and the ministry of Jesus and move towards his divinity and the mystery of incarnation.
A basic Christological teaching is that the person of Jesus Christ is both divine. The human and divine natures of Jesus Christ form a duality, as they coexist within one person. There are no direct discussions in the New Testament regarding the dual nature of the Person of Christ as both divine and human, since the early days of Christianity, theologians have debated various approaches to the understanding of these natures, at times resulting in ecumenical councils, schisms. Historical christological doctrines which gained broader support are Monophysitism, Miaphysitism and Monarchianism. Influential Christologies which were broadly condemned as heretical are Docetism and Nestorianism. In Christian theology, atonement is the method by which human beings can be reconciled to God through Christ's sacrificial suffering and death. Atonement is the forgiving or pardoning of sin in general and original sin in particular through the suffering and resurrection of Jesus, enabling the reconciliation between God and his creation.
Due to the influence of Gustaf Aulèn's Christus Victor, the various theories or paradigma's of atonement are grouped as "classical paradigm," "objective paradigm," and the "subjective paradigm": Classical paradigm:Ransom theory of atonement, which teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice said to have been paid to Satan or to death itself, in some views paid to God the Father, in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin. Gustaf Aulén reinterpreted the ransom thory, calling it the Christus Victor doctrine, arguing that Christ's death was not a payment to the Devil, but defeated the powers of evil, which had held humankind in their dominion.. Theosis is a "corollary" of the recapitualtion. Objective paradigm: Satisfaction theory of atonement, developed by Anselm of Canterbury, which teaches that Jesus Christ suffered crucifixion as a substitute for human sin, satisfying God's just wrath against humankind's transgression due to Christ's infinite merit.
Penal substitution called "forensic theory" and "vicarious punishment,", a development by the Reformers of Anselm's satisfaction theory. Instead of considering sin as an affront to God's honour, it sees sin as the breaking of God's moral law. Penal substitution sees sinful man as being subject to God's wrath, with the essence of Jesus' saving work being his substitution in the sinner's place, bearing the curse in the place of man. Moral government theory, "which views God as both the loving creator and moral Governor of the universe." Subjective paradigm: Moral influence theory of atonement, developed, or most notably propagated, by Abelard, who argued that "Jesus died as the demonstration of God's love," a demonstration which can change the hearts and minds of the sinners, turning back to God. Moral example theory, developed by Faustus Socinus in his work De Jesu Christo servatore, who rejected the idea of "vicarious satisfaction." According to