Against the Protestant Gnostics
"Lee asserts the ongoing relevance of the Christian story of man. In doing so, he has made the study of gnosticism crucial to the ongoing debate about the future of American culture."--The Christian Science Monitor "Lee deserves all praise for...
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"Lee asserts the ongoing relevance of the Christian story of man. In doing so, he has made the study of gnosticism crucial to the ongoing debate about the future of American culture."--The Christian Science Monitor "Lee deserves all praise for seeing clearly what is indeed there to be seen, though concealed in the multiple masks of supposed Protestantism."--Harold Bloom, in The American Religion (1992) "Lee's description of Gnosticism is not a historical sketch. Rather, it is an attempt to map the tendencies and characteristic forms of the Gnostic mindset. The resulting summary is one of the most readable and insightful treatments of Gnosticism presently available."--The Thomist "This is a thought-provoking, readable work, argued by means of numerous examples....It will prove valuable especially to those who teach North America's religious history and Protestant theologies."--Horizons "This is 'must' reading for every member of the cloth."--Virginia Episcopalian
In this penetrating and provocative assessment of the current state of religion and its effects on society at large, Philip J. Lee criticizes conservatives and liberals alike as he traces gnostic motifs to the very roots of American Protestantism. With references to an extraordinary spectrum^of writings from sources as diverse as John Calvin, Martin Buber, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood, and Emily Dickinson, he probes the effects of gnostic thinking on a wide range of issues. Calling for the restoration of a dialectical faith and practice, the book points to positive ways of restoring^health to endangered Protestant churches.
Gnosticism is a term covering a group of heresies that for a time had great influence within the early church, including: belief in the existence of a hidden or secret revelation available only to the initiated; rejection of the physical world as evil or impure; and stress on the radical individuality of the spiritual self. In this book Philip Lee finds parallels between gnosticism and belief and practice in contemporary North American Proestantism. Sharply attacking conservatives and liberals alike, Lee spares no one in this penetrating and provocative assessment of the current stage of religion and its effects on values and society at large. The book concludes with a call for a return to orthodoxy and a series of prescriptions for reform. Lee will add a short preface for this paperback edition.