|dc.description.abstract||The primary objective of this thesis is to argue that the Books of Jeu (in the Bruce
Codex) and the Pistis Sophia (the Askew Codex) are the product of a hitherto largely
unrecognized religious group or community emerging from the dynamic religious
climate of the first four centuries of the Common Era. It presents evidence that they
have their own coherent system of theology, cosmology and soteriology, and
demonstrates the strong ties that bind the individual tractates contained within these
texts to one another.
Chapter One provides a brief introduction to the history of the manuscripts, discusses
methodology, presents definitions and a short thesis outline, and delivers a review of
literature on the subject.
Chapter Two examines each of the texts under consideration, giving a brief overview
of their contents; arguments are presented for their chronological order, the exclusion
of certain texts and fragments from the wider codices, and reasons these texts should
be considered products of a religious group as opposed to being pure literary
products of individual thinkers.
Chapter Three traces the cosmology from the earliest to the latest of the texts,
outlining shifts that take place and proposing explanations for these changes within
an overall developmental framework.
Chapter Four examines the roles of individual figures from the earliest to the latest
texts; it demonstrates that although on the surface these roles may seem to change,
their underlying nature remains constant, supporting the notion that they are the
products of a group with a consistent underlying system.
Chapter Five analyses the profusion of diagrams found in the two Books of Jeu,
breaking them down into categories based on their nature and use as expressed by the
texts. It further demonstrates that such images had a precedent in the religious and
cultural atmosphere of Greco-Roman society.
Chapter Six discusses potential outside religious influences present in these texts,
and shows that while they are highly syncretistic, outside ideas are always
incorporated within the existing framework of the group’s system: conflicting
notions are subordinated to the existing theology and soteriology.
The thesis concludes that these texts represent evidence of a practicing religious
group that remained active over a period of time, producing multiple texts by
multiple authors, adapting to a changing religious climate but maintaining the ideas
that remained central to their underlying theological and soteriological system.||en_US