In these days of the " higher criticism," with its merciless analysis of original Scripture, much light would doubtless be thrown on the New Testament by an unprejudiced study of Gnosticism. This philosophy, which reached a flourishing maturity in the second century of the Christian era, but became virtually extinct in the sixth, taught that all natures — intellectual, moral, spiritual, and material—are successive emanations from Deity. Its professors claimed to have an esoteric and philosophic knowledge of Christian doctrines, and some modern scholars assert that the Gospels are replete with allusions to the Gnostic teaching. Although it is now fashionable to dismiss the Syrian and Egyptian schools as a fantastic combination of Oriental mysticism, Greek philosophy, and Christian theology, yet it is probable that a profound interest will be awakened among reasoning Christians by " Pistis Sophia."
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