This morning, over at The Imaginative Conservative, Eric Voegelin’s Gnosticism.
Though we associate Gnosticism with early Christianity, especially with the warnings against the “anti-Christ” in the writings of St. John the Beloved, Gnosticism actually emerged in the Near East and Asian Subcontinent roughly 600 years before Jesus lived. When Jesus lived and died, however, the Gnostics saw him as the perfect vehicle to promote their own vision of the world. They did not necessarily love Jesus; they simply saw him as a popular figure whose memory and image could be manipulated for their own purposes.
As Voegelin rightly notes, for the Gnostic, man will always be an alien in this world, and he must always seek a way out.