Gnosticism is a collection of beliefs best described as a synthesis of cosmic dualism, Hellenistic and Eastern beliefs, and Christianity. Common themes among Gnostic sects include the idea that the material world is evil, the idea that the creator of the material world (the "Demiurge") was evil, and the idea that Jesus shared secret knowledge with a select few (e.g. Mary Magdalene). Well-known Gnostic sects include the Cainites, Sethians, Valentinians, and Cathars. Some sects, such as the Cathars, detested the material world to such an extant that they even opposed procreation.
Well-known Gnostic texts include the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Thomas, and the Gospel of Judas.
Certain aspects of Gnosticism (e.g. female protagonists, equality between the sexes, anti-God, anti-natalism) can be described as, or indeed has been, receptive to feminism or liberalism. Nevertheless, certain aspects of feminism and liberalism (e.g. materialism, sexual promiscuity) would not be receptive to classical and medieval Gnostics.
Prominent female figures
- Minkowitz, Donna (2004-01-22). "“The Gnostic Bible,” edited by Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer". Salon. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
- Minkowitz, Donna (2013-06-29). "Religiously Queer". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
- Pagels, Elane H. (1979-11-22). "The Suppressed Gnostic Feminism". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- Snyder, J. Adam (2016-06-14). "The Secret Gnostic Roots of Feminism". J. Adam Snyder Blog. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- Winnail, Douglas S. (2000). "A Different Gospel?". Tomorrow's World. Retrieved 2017-03-02.