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The term gnosiology ("study of knowledge") is a term of 18th century aesthetics. The Collins English Dictionary defines 'gnosiology' as "the philosophy of knowledge and cognition". The term is currently used mainly in regard to Eastern Christianity.
The term is derived from the Ancient Greek words gnosis ("knowledge", γνῶσις) and logos ("word" or "discourse", λόγος). Linguistically, one might compare it to epistemology, which is derived from the Greek words episteme ("certain knowledge") and logos.
Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–1762) introduced the term "gnosiology" in conjunction with his efforts in the field of aesthetics. The term gnosiology is not well known today, though found in Baldwin's (1906) Dictionary of Psychology and Philosophy. The Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) remarks that "The term Gnosiology has not, however, come into general use. (See Philosophy.)".
Eastern Orthodox theology
The term "gnosiology" (Modern Greek: γνωσιολογία) is used more commonly in Greek than in English. As a philosophical concept, gnosiology broadly means the theory of knowledge, which in ancient Greek philosophy was perceived as a combination of sensory perception and intellect and then made into memory (called the mnemonic system). When considered in the context of science, gnosiology takes on a different meaning: the study of knowledge, its origin, processes, and validity. Gnosiology being the study of types of knowledge i.e. memory (abstract knowledge derived from experimentation being "episteme" or teachable knowledge), experience induction (or empiricism), deduction (or rationalism), scientific abductive reasoning, contemplation (theoria), metaphysical and instinctual or intuitive knowledge. Gnosiology is focused on the study of the noesis and noetic components of human ontology.
Within gnosiology, gnosis is derived by noesis. Noesis refers to the experiences or activities of the nous. This makes the study and origin of gnosis and gnosiology the study of the intuitive and or instinctual.
The nous in Hellenistic philosophy is the term for the demiurge, meaning that the creator God is the God of consciousness or nous, making the activities of the nous also the activities of the spirit and/or demiurge. This strand of thought, in vilifing the Creator (the demiurge in Plato's Timaeus) and the nous' activity (including gnosis) is shown by Plotinus to be vilifying the nous. The followers of gnosticism vilified the material world, the human body and nature (all components of the nous, according to Neoplatonism). This view is in contrast with Hellenistic non-Christian philosophy (which uses the term demiurge to mean nous) as well as Greek Orthodox Christianity (which uses spirit, consciousness or heart and sometimes soul to mean nous). Plotinus and other Neoplatonic philosophers pointed out that sensory perception is part of the nous, and that in essence it is critical to existence, since nothing is outside of the universe in Neoplatonism. Plotinus viewed the followers of gnosticism as vilifying existence when they vilify a critical ontological component of being. Greek Orthodox Christianity also sees this as vilification of existence in specific by equating consciousness with evil.[original research?]
- John Meyendorff Christ in Eastern Christian thought 1975 p77 "The classical book on Eastern Christian gnosiology is by V. Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (London: James Clarke, 1957);
- On actions, products and other topics in philosophy 1999 p183 ed. Kazimierz Twardowski, Johannes Brandl, Jan Woleński
- William Warren Philosophical dimensions of personal construct psychology 1998 p24 "This term, gnosiology, is less well known today and a likely source for the description is Baldwin's (1906/1960) Dictionary of Psychology and Philosophy."
- "The Illness and Cure of the Soul", Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.
- "Theology's academic classification among the theoretical sciences or arts began in the 12th century in the west and is due to the shift of theology into metaphysics. Therefore, those in the East who condemn our own theology, demonstrate their Westernization, since they, essentially, condemn and reject a disfigured caricature of what they regard as theology. But what is the noetic function? In the Holy Scriptures there is, already, the distinction between the spirit of man (his nous) and the intellect (the logos or mind). The spirit of man in patristics is called nous to distinguish it from the Holy Spirit. The spirit, the nous, is the eye of the soul (see Matt. 6:226). Within the realm of Greek Orthodox theology and modern Greek usage, the term encompasses the concepts of the created (that which comes from Ex nihilo) and the uncreated (that which transcends the limits of nature and is therefore supernatural). Leading to the study of both God (the uncreated) and Spiritual beings, human beings and the material world (creatures and the created). Since the created world can only be reduced to either force (dunamis) or energy (energeia), the created world in its essence leads to the study of the uncreated, either through the uncreated essence of energies or hypostases or immanence. The study of the createdness or the processes of creation in themselves is called science. Gnosis as intuitive knowledge, it is an activity of the spirit. As such it is considered complementary to other activities of the spirit. Most important of these is faith, which is intuitive truth. The noetic faculty is called the function of the nous within the heart and is the spiritual function of the heart, its parallel function is the heart as the organ that pumps the blood throughout our bodies. This noetic faculty is a mnemonic system that exists with the brain cells. These two are known and are detectab1e from human science, which science cannot, however, conceive of the nous. When man attains illumination by the Holy Spirit and becomes the temple of God, self-love changes to unconditional love and it then becomes possible to buiId real social relations supported upon this unconditional reciprocity (a willingness to sacrifice for our fellow man) rather than a self- interested claim of individual rights according to the spirit of western European society." Rev. Prof. George Metallinos at University of Athens Greece
- Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite, The Philokalia, Macmillan, 1983, pg 432: "intellection (noīsis): not an abstract concept or a visual image, but the act or function of the intellect. whereby it apprehends spiritual realities in a direct manner."
- Richard T. Wallis, Jay Bregman (eds.), Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, SUNY Press, 1992, p. 19 
- Anti-Gnostic Polemic, Francisco García Bazán, translated from Spanish by Winifred T. Slater: Nous as a "Second God" According to Plotinus In Enneads 
- Faith And Science In Orthodox Gnosiology and Methodology, Rev. Prof. George Metallinos at University of Athens, Greece