Restoring the Adam of Light

in The Serpent's Gift

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780226453804
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226453828 | DOI:
Restoring the Adam of Light

Show Summary Details


This chapter turns to some of the Gnostic contours of modern critical thought. It is striking that the gnostic texts claim repeatedly that the original Adam or Human One knew more and more deeply than the creator-god. The goal of much gnostic ritual and speculation, moreover, was to restore humanity to its unitary source in the Pleroma (“the Full”) via what the texts call “the bridal chamber,” an initiatory or baptismal rite that may have had actual sexual components. Well before Freud or Nietzsche, Ludwig Feuerbach attempted something similar through a radical reversal of the psychological dynamic of projection. For him, religious ideas are human projections that alienate and impoverish us by denying what is best in us and projecting it into the sky. In proposing his projectionist method as a means to get at the “essence of Christianity” and help effect the incarnation of God in humanity, Feuerbach was essentially proposing a kind of mystical humanism. The chapter takes up these ideas as the historical foundations of later critical thought, particularly as it is found in Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud—those three critical thinkers whom Paul Ricoeur called our “masters of suspicion.”

Keywords: Gnostics; Pleroma; Ludwig Feuerbach; human projections; Christianity; God; Marx; Nietzsche; humanism

Chapter.  14926 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.