Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


Adviser: James Laine


This paper follows Hans Blumenberg’s argument that gnosticism persisted throughout the Middle Ages due to Augustine of Hippo’s accidental incorporation of gnostic eschatology into his theory of voluntas. Gnosticism is a radically dualist structure originating in Late Antiquity that splits the cosmos between corrupt matter and a divine spirit. I take issue with Blumenberg’s assertion that modernity has truly rid itself of a concern with spirit, or transcendence. By doing so, I am able to take his argument to its logical conclusion: gnosticism persists today through the capitalist descendent of spirit—value. Moreover, I argue that the supersession of spirit by value in capitalism results in a system built on credit, which necessarily entails postponement of the modern apocalyptic crisis: that is, the payment of debt.

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Religion Commons



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