gnosis

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

gnosis
Gnosticism

Baader sometimes speaks of ‘gnosis.’ For example, he says,

Da die wahrhafte Gnosis keine Reihe von Begriffen, sondern einen Kreis derselben bildet, so kommt es weniger darauf an, von welchem dieser Begriffe aus man im Vortrage der Wissenschaft anhebt, wohl aber darauf, daß man jeden derselben bis ins Zentrum durchführt, aus welchem dieser Begriff notwendig sodann auf all anderen regressiv oder antizipierend wieder weiset und führt, welche Durchführung darum allein als die systematische in der Tat und im Wesen sich erweist. (Werke VIII, 11, cited by Sauer 27)

[Because true gnosis is a circle and not a row of concepts, it matters little from which concept we begin our theory; it is more important that each concept must be related to the Center, from which this concept then necessarily points to other concepts in a regressive (retrocipatory) or anticipatory way; this relation to the Center therefore shows itself in act and essence as the only systematic relation].

‘Gnosis’ here means ‘knowledge’ in the sense of true enlightenment. It is a cognate from the Sanskrit ‘jnana.’ It does not mean ‘gnosticism.’ True gnosis or enlightenment is a relation of our knwoeldge to our central selfhood. This was also Dooyeweerd’s key of knowledge.

Baader was opposed to gnosticism (Werke 10,19). He oppose the Gnostic dualism that separated creation from redemption (Werke 1, 157). Gnosticism depreciates the world, and Baader emphasizes the importance of embodiment. Like Dooyeweerd, Baader holds that the present temporal world is fallen and will be redeemed. But during cosmic time, we must not try to flee our embodiment by a false spiritualizing.

Koslowski has recently written about how Baader’s theosophy is not to be confused with a gnosticism. Peter Koslowski: Philosophien der Offenbarung (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2001).

Revised Dec. 27/04

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