One reads the first few pages of Cyril O’Regan’s Gnostic Return in Modernity with a kind of dawning horror: not only is this just the “method” volume rather than the thing itself, but the thing itself is going to total seven volumes (on Boehme, British and German Romanticism, Hegel, Schelling, 19th-century anti-Gnostic discourse, and 20th-century Gnostic and anti-Gnostic discourse) — many of which, he leads one to believe, are already largely drafted. Surely this is one of the most ambitious scholarly projects currently underway in theology today.
One also reads with a sense of profound relief, because it is clear that this is not going to be a moralizing discourse on Gnosticism of the Voeglin type. He rejects the notion that modernity as such is Gnostic, and he also rejects the common notion that Gnostic teachers are egomaniacs addicted to fame — in short, that the cause of Gnosticism is being a bad person. Read the rest of this entry »