THE HISTORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF OPINION
by G.R.S. Mead (1906)
“The Church Fathers appealed to the authority of antiquity [the original gnostic teacher, Hermes] and to a tradition that had never been called into question, in order to show that they taught nothing fundamentally new—that, in brief, they taught on main points what Hermes had taught. They lived in days too proximate to that tradition to have ventured on bringing any charge of plagiarism and forgery against it without exposing themselves to a crushing rejoinder from men who were still the hearers of its “living voice” and possessors of its “written word.”
The scholars of the Renaissance naturally followed the unvarying tradition of antiquity, confirmed by the Fathers of the Church.
Gradually, however, it was perceived that, if the old tradition were accepted, the fundamental originality of general Christian doctrines—that is to say, the philosophical basis of the Faith, as apart from the historical dogmas peculiar to it—could no longer be maintained. It, therefore, became imperatively necessary to discredit the ancient tradition by every possible means. With what success this policy has been attended we have already seen; we have also reviewed this growth of opinion, and shown its baseless character and the straits to which its defenders have been put.
From the clouds of this obscurantism the sun of Thrice-greatest Hermes and the radiance of his Gnosis have once more shone forth in the skies of humanistic enquiry and unprejudiced research. He is no longer to be called bastard, and plagiarist, and thief of other people’s property, but must be regarded as a genuine teacher of men, handing on his own, and giving freely of his substance to all who will receive the gift.”
‘Imagination is not a talent of some men, but the health of every man.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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