Studies in Gnosticism and in the Philosophy of Religion
Drawing on the testimonies of the early Christian apologists - and on the extant texts - this book attempts to identify the motivating experiences and the fundamental tenets of the original gnostic movement. In what can be only a rough and incomplete guide to a vast terrain, an outline is given of the principal recurrences of the gnostic outlook in the period from late-antiquity to the modern age. In the light of these studies, it is argued that the comprehensive rational synthesis of Hegel can be located on the spectrum of gnostic speculation. The astringent responses of Simone Weil to what she saw as the intellectual, moral and spiritual crises of the twentieth century occupy another segment of the gnostic spectrum. For his part, C. G. Jung argued that his theoretical and practical psychology had been anticipated in the rich deposits of gnostic speculation throughout the ages.
In the essays concerned with issues in the Philosophy of Religion, the audacious speculation of the late-medieval mystic Meister Eckhart is taken to be a crucial influence on the varieties of 'mystical atheism' which have emerged in the modern period. Gabriel Marcel's attempts to recover the originating experiences of the Western philosophical tradition are seen as effective antidotes to the nihilistic strands in twentieth-century Western culture.
The concluding essay of the book gives an account of the critical reflections of Karl Jaspers on what he judged to be the obscure, seductive and, in the final analysis, gnostic speculation of Martin Heidegger.
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The Gnostic Synthesis of G W F Hegel
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