GNOSTICISM A modern term invented by scholars to indicate arbitrarily all sorts of currents of late antiquity that stressed gnosis, an intuitive knowledge of revealed mysteries. It should be limited to writings of the group that called themselves Gnostics (e.g., the Apocryphon of John) and products of thinkers like Basilides (Alexandria, c. 120), Valentinus (c. …

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MAGIC The art of pretending to accomplish actions with the help of supernatural forces contrary to the laws of nature. Coptic magic is a particularly rich field for studying the relationships of the ancient Copts with the invisible forces of heaven and hell that were part of the old Egyptian heritage (Lexa, 1925; Brier, 1980). …

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