No one made more of the concept of “principalities and powers” than the Gnostics, and in the process they developed one of the most radical views of evil ever propounded. Yet an interpretative framework for understanding what they were identifying in their experience as the Powers has been lacking. Consequently, most readers of Gnosticism simply dismiss the Powers as superstition. This work argues that, on the contrary, the Powers cannot be so easily dismissed. The Powers, according to the Wink’s thesis, were real and referred to the spirituality of the massive institutions and forces that controlled the ancient world.
The originality of Wink’s thesis will provoke a response from specialists in Gnosticism. At the same time, his accessible style makes this an ideal text for introducing Gnosticism to undergraduate and graduate students.