Department of Religious Studies

"Valentinian Christians and their Demons: Fate, Deception, and Seduction in the Quest for Virtue"

A Lecture by David Brakke (Indiana University)

Wed, April 15, 2009 | Sinclair Suite (Texas Union, room 3.128)

2:00 PM

How did ancient people overcome vice and achieve virtue? If they were Christians, they did so in part by struggling against demons: "the cosmic powers of the present darkness" (Ephesians 6:12). This lecture will explore the demonological teachings of Valentinian Christians, an important school of Christian thought that flourished in the second and third centuries.

Usually misleadingly labeled "Gnostics," the Valentinians offered a serious religious program of baptism, instruction, and moral reformation, designed to overcome the demonically inspired passions. Their spirituality may have contributed to the birth of desert monasticism, with its emphasis on the integration of the self and resistance to demonic deception and division.

David Brakke is a Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University.

Sponsored by: Department of Religious Studies; Center for Middle Eastern Studies

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