This text was first discovered in its entirety in 1896, then was rediscovered as part of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945. The papyrus dates from the middle fourth century and the text perhaps from middle second. This test is certainly the ‘deepest’ of them all.
Wisdom of Christianity is based on belief and faith. You find such examples in the Holy Bible as Daniel in the Lions Den; Noah and the Ark; King Solomon; Moses; and the various stories that Jesus Christ shares in the First 4 Books of the New Testament. Mostly, wisdom comes from just plain common sense in how to do things in the right way and manner, and treating others as you would want them to treat you.
“Gnosis” and “Gnosticism” are still rather arcane terms, though in the last two decades they have been increasingly encountered in the vocabulary of contemporary society. The word Gnosis derives from Greek and connotes “knowledge” or the “act of knowing”. On first hearing, it is sometimes confused with another more common term of the same root but opposite sense: agnostic, literally “not knowing”. The Greek language differentiates between rational, propositional knowledge, and a distinct form of knowing obtained by experience or perception. It is this latter knowledge gained from interior comprehension and personal experience that constitutes gnosis.1
In Spiritual Bankruptcy you are very critical of secularism and call for the secularizing of Christianity. How does a secularized Christianity differ from secularism? How would it facilitate the church responding to the global crises?
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love… The test of a man then is not, ‘How have I believed?’ but ‘How have I loved?’ The test of religion, the final test of religion, is not religiousness, but love. Not what I have done, not what I have believed, not what I have achieved, but how I have discharged the common charities of life. –Henry Drummond
As we experience a rebirth of the wisdom tradition of Christianity, it is natural to want to know the story of that tradition and of its strange fate (virtual extinction) in the West. We cannot understand the history which has led us into this sapiential desert of the modern West, however, without interrogating St. Augustine. Sometimes it seems as if, all by himself, he knotted with his muscular mind the central tensions and polarities which have become the warp and the woof of our western history. Like Walt Whitman—perhaps a distant, paradoxical descendant—Augustine might reply to his questioner,
If we are to respond to the question of a Christian contemplative wisdom for today, we cannot spend all our time on the well-trodden way of rational reflection. Let us take a suggestion from one of the more exciting principles of postmodern thought: the enactive, creative quality of knowledge. Can we imagine our way forward?