By Philip J. Lee
Because the discovery of unique gnostic records at Nag Hammadi in 1945, many students have well-known a well-known presence inside of this old heresy. to a couple authors the most gains of gnosticism--belief in a mystery revelation on hand purely to an initiated elite, rejection of the actual international, and get away into the self--seemed corresponding to smooth cult teams and secular activities. notwithstanding, Philip Lee, noting that the majority of the early gnostics have been firmly ensconced in the Church, locates glossy 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 evaluate of the present country of faith and its impact on values in society at huge, Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he lines gnostic motifs to the very roots of yankee Protestantism. With references to a rare spectrum of writings from assets as varied as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickinson between many others, he probes the consequences of gnostic considering on matters starting from politics to feminism, from ecology to parenthood. the moral ramifications of this kind of gnostic flip were damaging and scary, he continues. The ebook issues to confident methods of restoring wellbeing and fitness 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 existence and production in the circle of the nuclear family.
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Additional info for Against the Protestant Gnostics
54 A modern poet aptly expresses the enticement of escape: We doctors know a hopeless case if—listen:there's a hell of a good universe next doorjlet's go55 Classical gnosticism, with much more anguish and no humor at all, was determined to step off into that universe next door. As Harold Bloom has argued, within the context of their own system the escape of the gnostics has been successful: It is a familiar formula to say that failed prophesy becomes apocalyptic, and that failed apocalyptic becomes Gnosticism.
The true Christ, after all, would not be sullied by evil-created matter. " The gnos24 tic contention was indeed against flesh and blood. 17 GNOSTICISM IN CONFLICT WITH THE FAITH Because nothing is quite so earthy (or quite so supportive of continuing earthiness) as sexuality, it is not hard to understand why the gnostics did everything they could to interpret Holy Writ in an antisexual way. Some of their allegorizing efforts in this regard are mind-boggling. The Jordan River, for example, symbolized sexual intercourse.
It was for a similar reason that Jesus himself speaks in so unkind a fashion to the Pharisees. The very fact that they are inside the faith of Israel makes the Pharisees the primary enemies of Jesus. They are to be feared precisely because of their religion: "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. "5 They are a hidden danger for the faithful, "like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it. "6 Because of their claims to embody the very essence of faith, Jesus addresses them as "Hypocrites!