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In a religious context, gnosis is mystical or esoteric knowledge based on direct participation with the divine.
In most Gnostic systems, the sufficient cause of salvation is this "knowledge of" ("acquaintance with") the divine.
Gnosticism united material from the "outer fringes of Judaism" such as the Essenes and the Diaspora Judaism of the Aramaic Syro-Mesopotamian world.
The Shepherd of Hermas is a Christian literary work considered as canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus.A major question in scholarly research is the qualification of Gnosticism, based on the study of its texts, as either an interreligious phenomenon or as an independent religion.Gnosis refers to knowledge based on personal experience or perception.The author of De Centesima and Epiphanius’ "Ebionites" held Christ to have been the highest and most important of the first created archangels, a view similar in many respects to Hermas’ equation of Christ with Michael.Finally, a possible exegetical tradition behind the Ascension of Isaiah and attested by Origen's Hebrew master, may witness to yet another angel Christology, as well as an angel Pneumatology.From this highest divinity emanate lower divine beings, known as Aeons.