Gnostic Return in Modernity by Cyril O'Regan

By Cyril O'Regan

Gnostic go back in Modernity demonstrates the prospect that Gnosticism haunts sure smooth discourses. learning Gnosticism of the 1st centuries of the typical period and using narrative research, the writer indicates how Gnosticism returns in a opt for band of narrative discourses that extends from the 17th century German mystic Jacob Boehme via Hegel and Blake down into the modern interval. the most important proposal is that of narrative grammar. in contrast to the speculation of an invariant narrative, a Gnostic narrative grammar permits room for the variations among glossy and old types of Gnosticism, and respects the glory of either classes.

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For Baur, a major trend in modern thought, which receives its apogee in Hegel, displays manifest signs of repetition across the gap of rupture between the premodern and the modern. Furthermore, one can think of ancient Gnosis as providing a template for a speculative philosophy of religion that points to the intimate relation between religion and philosophy that is denied by skeptical forms of rationalism and forms of Christianity that are fideistic or biblicist in orientation. On the theological front—the front of most concern to Baur—he contests a reading of the theological situation that makes the only cogent choice that between a newly minted rationalism and an ancient and moribund orthodoxy.

This is Balthasar’s taking literary discourses seriously from a theological point of view and his sense that theological discourses such as those of Boehme and Hegel have aesthetic properties. This means, on the one hand, that literary as well as theological discourses are in principle open to Gnostic ascription, and on the other, that a feature of the Gnostic nature of theological discourses in the third line of Protestant thought is their aesthetic quality. I will capitalize on Balthasar’s use of aesthetics as a mediation among genres of discourse throughout the project.

4 Certainly we seem to have little difficulty marking where we have come from and where we are, and we have a determinate idea about change in direction. The persistence of plot suggests something beyond accident. Yet even if all one could do was appeal to naked survival, it is uncertain that survival is not the proxy for truth or that Darwinism is not the manifold of alethic claims. And, of course, many antigenealogical discourses themselves suggest some discomfort regarding their disavowals. They may make pained confession or simply acknowledge that continuity is a posited element even of antigenealogical discourses.

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