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Pope Francis, in his wise reflections on holiness in Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), discusses Gnosticism and Pelagianism as “two subtle enemies of holiness.”
The Pope calls them “anthropocentric immanentism disguised as Catholic truth.” That is, they are both unhealthy patterns by which humans stay focused on themselves and on worldly concerns.
His discussion of Gnosticism notes how its essential…

The intellectual culture of the philosophes, what Alexis de Tocqueville called esprit revolutionare,[1] is what political theorists today understand is a form of "political religion."  The term "political religion" might strike some as unacceptable. On the one hand, those who piously affirm the tenets of orthodox spiritual traditions and attest to the reality of their faith may resent the suggestion…

Prelude: Gnosticism Ancient and Modern
Eric Voegelin’s use of the phrase “modern gnosticism” complicates the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns in that the phrase suggests a continuity between antiquity and modernity, even as it obfuscates the full character of the original Gnostics. Ancient Gnosticism was a form of theological dualism according to which evil and suffering can be attributed…

Eric Voegelin (1901-85) is often portrayed as one of the severest critics of modernity–its belief in human reason’s ability to understand and convey the fundamental structures of reality and its dismissal of transcendent teleologies as private and suspect beliefs. For Voegelin, modernity was a “Gnostic revolt” against reality: the belief that human beings can transform the nature of reality through…

Introduction
The American debate regarding the policy needed to combat the dangers posed by immigration from nations who are currently hotbeds of Islamic radicalization is presently being vociferously fought.  This debate recently culminated with an Executive Order by President Trump that suspended travel from seven such nations to improve vetting measures.  Six of the nations included in the Order are amongst…

The debate about scientism (also referred to as positivism or scientific reductionism) is an argument over the validity of applying the methods of the natural sciences to the social sciences. The desire of the positivist to purge the social sciences of its subjective element reveals his or her assumptions that reality consists only of immanent existence and that knowledge only…

Gnosticism is an extreme religious sensibility from the early Christian era that has influenced twentieth century thinkers in their understanding of the modern world.  Having its origins in the second century A.D., Gnosticism has been adopted by conservative thinkers to diagnose and to criticize certain characteristics of the modernity.  Philosophers such as Eric Voegelin, Hans Jonas, and Thomas J. J.…

The fallacious character of an eidos of history [the belief that the whole course of history can be known–ed] has been shown on principle–but the analysis can and must be carried one step fur­ther into certain details. The Christian symbolism of supernatural destination has in itself a theoretical structure, and this structure is continued into the variants of immanentization. The…

Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millenial Experience. Richard Landes. Oxford University Press, 2011.
 
Readers of Eric Voegelin’s work are familiar with the fundamental themes of millennial or millenarian thinking. In Christian eschatology, the millennium is the period following Christ’s second coming, in which Christ and his saints will reign on earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). Prior to…