An important addition to the Studies in Antiquity and Christianity series. This book, by one of the world's most renowned experts on Coptic Christianity and Gnosticism, contains the results of research that Pearson has conducted over the past several years. The first chapter alone is groundbreaking and contributes in significant ways to our understandings of the development of early Christianity in Egypt. In that chapter Pearson discusses current research on topics ranging from the growth of the Egyptian Christian hierarchy, the spread of Christianity from Alexandria into the Egyptian countryside, the origins of Egyptian monasticism, to Gnostic literature and Hermetic literature. In other chapters, Pearson nimbly ranges over a number of other topics from the Acts of Mark to Enoch in Egypt to Gnostic ritual and Gnostic iconography. This book is a classic of scholarship on early Christianity and adds immeasurably to our knowledge about these matters. Birger A. Pearson is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of The Emergence of the Christian Religion: Essays on Early Christianity and a co-editor of Nag Hammadi Codex VII.
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