This evening I find myself mulling over the future of Gnosticism. Haven’t heard many noises from that scene lately, not since the publishing of The Gospel of Judas by the National Geographic Society back in 2006, and Google Trends shows a downward slide ever since.
Could it be that Gnosticism, after a decade or so in the limelight, is drifting into obscurity once again? That the Nag Hammadi Library and its Gnostic Gospels is becoming “occult” once more in the literal sense of the word?
I suppose one test is whether we’ll see yet another Gnostic-inspired Jesus Conspiracy this Easter, or whether some other source of anti-Christian skepticism will be drawn from. I’m suspecting the latter, but we’ll see.
Personally I suspect the popular attraction with Gnosticism was that it repackaged Jesus as a messageless messenger. This “lost” and reconstructed Jesus was not the key to all mysteries, he was the mystery of mysteries, ready to reflect consumers desires.
However, as I’ve said before, the problem with eclecticism is that it has no staying power. When everyone is busy deconstructing and reinventing their own traditions, there is no ancient tradition to pass on to others. This is where the Jesus Seminar failed. The only thing they could really agree on is who Jesus was not, not on who he was. This is why I think Christian Mysticism will thrive long after Gnosticism is forgotton. It’s grounded in tradition and community rather than imagination and individualism.