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Gnostics

Heretics, consisting of various sects that arose in the Apostolic age of Christianity, and that sought, agreeably to the philosophic opinions which they had severally embraced, to extract an esoteric meaning out of the letter of Scripture and the facts especially of the Gospel history, such as only those of superior speculative insight could appreciate; they set a higher value on Knowledge (gnosis, whence their name) than Faith; thus their understanding of Christianity was speculative, not spiritual, and their knowledge of it the result of thinking, not of life; like the Jews they denied the possibility of the Word becoming flesh and of a realisation of the infinite in the finite; indeed, Gnosticism was at once a speculative and a practical denial that Christ was God manifest in the flesh, and that participation in Christianity was, as He presented it (John vi. 53), participation in His flesh. See Christianity.

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