The remains of the Gnostics now available for study show that, viewed as a whole, their Gnosis or " knowledge" was influenced by the teachings of the ZEND-A VESTA, the cult of MITHRAS, Manichaeism, the popular form of religion current in Egypt during the Graeco-Roman period, Hebrew books like the Book of Enoch, the Jewish ~abbalah, and early Christian Literature. The Church during the 1st and Hnd centuries condemned Gnosticism unsparingly, but in the end it was recognized that a Gnostic might also be a good Christian. For the noblest part of the Gnostic's religion proclaimed the conquest of Darkness by Light, and of Evil by Good, and it was taught esoterically; but many of those who proclaimed themselves to be Gnostics never plumbed the depths of its fundamental truths. A work like the present is no place to describe the Gnostic system and the tenets of the various sects who taught it; those who wish to study it will find much information on the subject in MATTER, HISTOIRE,

Critique du Gnosticisme, 2 vols. and plates, Paris, r828; C. W. KING, The Gnostics and their Remains, London, r864; LIPSIUS, Der Gnosticismus, Leipzig, r860; and MANSEL, The Gnostic Heresies, London, r875·

The Gnostics, in common with the peoples among whom they lived, adopted the use of amulets, and as far as the inscriptions and figures on them can be understood, aimed at securing by their means knowledge of a celestial character, and the protection of the Great God Who was ONE and Who embraced ALL within himself, both in this world and in the next. The amulets are made of various kinds of semi-precious stones, e.g. blood stone, iron ore or haematite, green jasper, nefrite, agates of various kinds, sard, carnelian, crystal, chrysoprase, beryl, chalcedony, obsidian, lapis lazuli, nicolo, onyx, plasma, granite, etc. Some of these stones were believed to possess the powers and influences of the planets, and to confer upon the wearer wisdom, health, strength, shrewdness, and the ability to absorb transcendental knowledge. They have various shapes-triangular, square, oval, etc.-and vary in size from half an inch to three inches in length. The most popular stones are black and green in colour, and it is probable that these were supposed to possess medicinal properties. The inscriptions on nearly all Gnostic amulets are in Greek uncials, but a few are known which are inscribed in a sort of pictographic script. Quite nine-tenths of the GnostiG amulets now known were found in Egypt, and it is therefore not surprising that they bear on them figures of Egyptian gods and goddesses, and Nilotic


creatures and symbols. The Egyptian Gnostics rejected many of the pagan cults of the early dynastic Egyptians, but they regarded Ra, Horus and Harpokrates as forms of their "One God of heaven," and they connected Isis with the Virgin Mary, Osiris and Serapis with Christ, and Hathor with the naked woman who was the symbol of wisdom according to the latest form of Gnosticism in the IVth or Vth century.