The best account of modern gnostic doctrine I think is H.N. Frye’s Fearful Symmetry, a book on Blake. Frye I know. He is a Jungian. Most of Bergson would seem to be naively gnostic too. You have seen Victor White’s book on gnosticism called God and the Unconscious (Harvest Press, London, 1952)? White is a Dominican. Now I assume that your own program of activity includes illumination of these secret relationships which have so long masked the power politics of the modern world. Since the arts in a very special way are the focus of all the esoteric speculation of the cults, I am baffled to know what attitude to take up toward them. For me, of course, art is no channel of grace or gnosis, but an activity of making – analogous to the act of cognition itself. As such, art is a humanist, not a religious, affair. But I should much welcome any reading suggestions you could give me that would clear up some of the historical relationships between the arts and the cults, as for example you do apropos of Hooker in suggesting that he was quite aware that puritanism was the re-emergence of the pagan cults.
E Gilson’s recent Métamorphoses de la Cité de Dieu is curious in omitting Joachim of Flora [sic] and Thos More, and Marx. In fact, Gilson ducks the gnostic tradition. Would you say that the gnostic is EASTERN, neo-platonic and that the opposite cult is WESTERN, platonic? This split occurs everywhere in the techniques of the arts. It seems to divide Gilson and Maritain.
In rewriting my doctoral dissertation I am going to include a history of Senecanism as the opponent of Ciceronianism. Can you suggest any available research done on Senecanism beside Zanta?[ii] Seneca is the way of gnosis. Cicero of expression. Senecans stress connatural, irrational knowing via the passions. Use of the passions [or not] as a way of knowing seems to divide the cults of every age.
I look forward immensely to the appearance of your complete study.
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