Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

GNOSTICISM

The theory of salvation by knowledge. Already in the first century of the Christian era there were Gnostics who claimed to know the mysteries of the universe. They were disciples of the various pantheistic sects that existed before Christ. The Gnostics borrowed what suited their purpose from the Gospels, wrote new gospels of their own, and in general proposed a dualistic system of belief. Matter was said to be hostile to spirit, and the universe was held to be a depravation of the Deity. Although extinct as an organized religion, Gnosticism is the invariable element in every major Christian heresy, by its denial of an objective revelation that was completed in the apostolic age and its disclaimer that Christ established in the Church a teaching authority to interpret decisively the meaning of the revealed word of God.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

In Iraq, the Pope has good reason to seek intervention, but fear unilateral US action 3 hours ago
As Catholic News Unfolds... August 19
An Iraqi archbishop's warning to the West August 19
The cause for beatification of Archbishop Romero: BBC botched the story August 19
Church Fathers: The Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas August 19

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8