Originally presented as five lectures at Union Theological Seminary in New York, this volume by F. Crawford Burkitt considers the origins of Gnosticism within the context of early Christianity and apocalypticism.
Burkitt thinks that Gnosticism was an expression of ordinary Christianity in terms and categories that suited the science and philosophy of the day. He holds that if we can make our way through the unfamiliar imagery to the ideas that they attempt to express, some of these forms will appear thoughtful to us and will show kinship with some modern philosophical and psychological conceptions. To him Gnosticism was a Christian product, albeit a heretical one. Nevertheless, he views Gnosticism as a serious attempt to fill the void left by the failure of apocalypticism and the eschatological hope