Shadow of the Third Century, a Revaluation of Christianity

By Alvin Boyd Kuhn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE VEILED LIGHT

The causes of the translation of Christianity into the baneful Christianism can not be expounded without a brief survey of the religious field in the ancient day. That world was motivated and dominated by elements of human psychology in the domain of what is known as religion which are so different from those prevailing in later days and at present that failure to take them into account will vitiate every attempt to write the true history of the rise of Christianity. It is the incapacity of modern exegetists to apprehend and give due value to these elements that has rendered both false and worthless nearly all the histories of early Christianity. We have never had the truth about Christianity because it can not be written unless these true keys to competent understanding are utilized. It is impossible here to cover this ground with any promise of completeness. It must suffice to unfold the predominant features of the picture, the one, at any rate, which will most radically correct traditional error and guide conception to true goals by true formulas.

That chief trait of antiquity, the neglect of which has so weakened universal Christian exposition, is what might be expressed by the one word -- esotericism. For modern Christian investigators it seems ever difficult, even with scores of writers expatiating on the subject, to give proper credit to the significance of the universal prevalence in the ancient world of a method of expressing religious truth which is critical at every point for apprehending what was written or spoken. And even where the principle is admitted to have been employed, there still is manifest a disposition to minimize or ignore its influence in the task of interpretation. Writers shy away from it as deftly as they can or shun it outright.

But there will be no profit in the study of ancient religious tomes, they simply will not yield their meaning, until their construction on a basis determined by esoteric principles is given full consideration in

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