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orion Gnosticism

Part of the problem with arguing that the ideas of the Qumran sect 
influenced Gnosticism, or vice-versa, lies in the basic problem that 
"Gnosticism" is a term which is often used fairly indiscriminately to 
refer to an enormous range of different groups in the 
Mediterranean World from some time before the time of Christ to the 
4th century CE and beyond. On a terminological level, the Qumran sect 
could be described as proto-gnostic due to the significance in the 
sectarian QS of esoteric knowledge/da`at (cf. Greek gnosis); but 
many, myself included, would see this as pressing a point too far. 
What can be said is that Gnosticism, and its predecessors, was an 
enormously disparate series of groups which were found in many parts 
of the Mediterranean World, and which drew on ideas which surfaced in 
Hellenistic and Jewish texts, notably, in different degrees, in the 
texts from Qumran, the New Testament, and (much later) Nag Hammadi. A 
more precise answer to the question of Gnostic influence would be 
very difficult to pin down.

James Harding.
Department of Biblical Studies,
University of Sheffield.