Gilles Quispel

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Gilles Quispel (born May 30, 1916 in Rotterdam , † March 2, 2006 in El Gouna ) was a Dutch theologian , church and religion historian. His research focus was in the area of gnosis .


Gilles Quispel was born in Rotterdam on May 30, 1916. Shortly after his birth, he and his family moved to rural Kinderdijk, a small village in the Netherlands, where his father found a job as a blacksmith. However, the parents recognized early on that Gilles was too thin and clumsy to do hard physical work, and so they sent him to high school. He then studied classical philology, Middle Eastern culture and theology in Leiden and Groningen and finally received his doctorate in Utrecht in 1943 with a dissertation on Tertullian's writings. From 1955, he began doing research on the Nag Hammadi writings and the Gospel of Thomas .

From 1946 to 1951 he taught Latin at the Gymnasium in Leiden. Then he moved to the university, where he was appointed Professor of Church History in Utrecht in 1951, at the age of 35. After this time he also accepted professorships at Louvain and Harvard, from which he withdrew entirely in 1976.

Quispel died of pneumonia on March 2, 2006, at the age of 89, while staying in Egypt.


His most important writings in the research group include:

  • Gnosis as a world religion. 1951.
  • Tatian and the Gospel of Thomas: Studies in the History of the Western Diatessaron. 1975.
  • Jewish and Gnostic Man. 1986.


  • Preface . In: Johannes Van Oort (Ed.): Gnostica, Judaica, Catholica: Collected Essays of Gilles Quispel . Brill, 2008, ISBN 978-90-04-13945-9 , pp. ix – xiv (869 p., limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed July 30, 2017] short biography).

Individual evidence

  1. a b P.J. Williams: Gilles Quispel dies. March 4, 2006, accessed July 30, 2017 .
  2. a b Cokky van Limpt: Groot gnosisgeleerde vergroeide allegs met zijn onderwerp., March 3, 2006, accessed July 30, 2017 (Dutch).