Shadow of the Third Century, a Revaluation of Christianity

By Alvin Boyd Kuhn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
NIGHTFALL

The ground may now be considered to have been tolerably well prepared for the planting of the seeds of a new envisagernent of the genesis and true character of the Christian movement. This new approach goes to the profoundest depths of the human psychological nature and its reaction to history. Its sources are to be located in the innermost recesses of the human psyche in its living struggle with its evolutionary problem. The terms and conditions of that problem, its relation to cosmology in the overall picture and to anthropology in the distinctly human sphere, were themselves largely swept out of general knowledge by the repudiation of previous Pagan learning, the closing of the esoteric Platonic academies, and the destruction of books and libraries. Christianity thus came close to obliterating the very keys to a more glorious understanding of its own highest message. But happily it failed; and now the supplementation of Egyptian wisdom upon the splendid rationalism of the Hellenic philosophies enables us to rebuild those basic archai and upon them erect the lovelier and stronger edifice of the systems of religious truth. Seen in the light of this restored wisdom, the situation that gave birth to the Christian development can be viewed with a clear discernment of its features, currents and motivations that has not been possible before.

Christianity was a growth resulting from one of the most thrilling episodes in the history of culture. It sprang to the fore as the outcome of a struggle between the forces of enlightenment and those of darkness. The universal tradition in all Christendom has had it that the new faith sprang into existence out of this conflict as the bearer of the banner of victory of the light over darkness. Alas and again alas, it was not so. It came out waving the banner of darkness as victor over the light. It all but put out the light of the world.

Light and darkness, as in the grand symbolizations of the Hermetic and Zoroastrian systems, are eternally in combat. Every human his-

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