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Seeking Ancient Wisdom In The New Age: New Age And Neognostic Commentaries On The Gospel Of Thomas

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses how the Gospel of Thomas has been appropriated in New Age and Neognostic discourse, in the form of commentaries, in order to fulminate against "mainstream Christianity" and secular culture. The Gospel of Thomas offers what James Fernandez terms 'peripheral wisdom', which excoriates the perceived center while relishing the ambivalence of 'the desire to at once escape the identity constrictions of boundedness and, at the same time, 'to celebrate and privilege the separate identity it confers'. The chapter discusses five Thomas commentaries, two of which dub themselves '(neo)-Gnostic', although it argues that they are beholden entirely to New Age interests and speculations. The chapter then briefly discusses some instances where Thomas scholarship has been appropriated in these New Age commentaries. The various New Age and Neognostic readings of Thomas are diverse, but share several common traits.

Keywords: Gospel of Thomas; Neognostic readings; New Age commentaries



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