[Review Essay] A Gnostic Study of Religions

Robertson, David G. (2020). [Review Essay] A Gnostic Study of Religions. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 32(1) pp. 75–88.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15700682-12341464


April DeConick’s The Gnostic New Age demonstrates that scholarship of Gnosticism is still entrenched in an Eliadian phenomenological paradigm which essentializes an ahistorical sui generis “Gnosis”. This approach is traceable to the Eranos Circle, particularly Carl G. Jung and Gilles Quispel, and builds certain philosophical and psychoanalytical affinities into an ahistorical religious current. DeConick’ comparison with New Age is tenuous, and misses the important fact that Gnosticism and New Age share specific genealogical antecedents. Interdisciplinary work needs to pay more attention to the theological and colonial implications of categories, or such problematic categories will continue to take root in the gaps between academic specialisms.

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