By Philip J. Lee
Because the discovery of unique gnostic files at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have famous a well-recognized presence inside of this historical heresy. to a few authors the most positive factors of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation to be had in basic terms to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual global, and get away into the self--seemed equivalent to smooth cult teams and secular pursuits. although, Philip Lee, noting that almost all of the early gnostics have been firmly ensconced in the Church, locates sleek gnosticism in the Protestant institution itself. "As a Protestant, i feel i've got pointed out the elusive smooth gnostics and they're ourselves," he writes. during this penetrating and provocative overview of the present country of faith and its impact on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he strains gnostic motifs to the very roots of yank Protestantism. With references to a unprecedented spectrum of writings from resources as different as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the results of gnostic considering on matters starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of this kind of gnostic flip were destructive and scary, he keeps. The ebook issues to optimistic methods of restoring healthiness to endangered Protestant church buildings. Calling for the recovery of a dialectical religion and perform, Lee deals an time table for reform, together with a renewal of obedience to the scriptures and an confirmation of lifestyles and production in the circle of the .
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Extra resources for Against the Protestant Gnostics
Nor does St. Paul, who is often accused of having gnostic tendencies, ever indicate the slightest interest in an individual search for God. Even less does he offer any hope for locating God within the self. All along he maintains a staunchly corporate view of what faith is. "1 1 Koinonia is a Pauline word used to describe the particular form of participation with one another by which Christians are bound together. "1 2 It is in this spiritually intimate and physically interconnected sense that Paul wishes to state the participatory bonds that hold Christians together.
The gnostics were necessarily Docetist in their Christology," argues Runciman. If Christ is to be taken seriously as the Savior, how can he actually be part and parcel of this material cosmos? Again, the gnostics were compelled to embark upon another chore of distance-making, in this instance creating distance between Christ and the flesh. Valentinus spoke of Christ passing through the Virgin Mary as "through a canal. "21 Christ himself is credited with a body which is nonterrestrial: It was by his unremitting self-denial in all things that Jesus attained to Godship; he ate and drank in a peculiar manner, without any waste.
To know Christ was not in any sense to have knowledge about the "historical man of flesh and blood" but rather to be personally related to the mythical heavenly being who liberates humanity from historical concerns. 40 This utterly different concept of what it is that is to be known caused an irreconcilable rift at the very center of the Church's life, 20 Gnosticism as a Heresy namely, in the understanding of the eucharistic feast. Again Heracleon is quoted as saying: It is characteristic of psychics ("the many") that they mistake the images of spiritual reality for the reality itself.