Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



Hugh Nibley, The World and the Prophets, gnostics, early Christian church, fakirs, spiritual gifts


In his book The World and the Prophets, Hugh W. Nibley considers the historical role of Gnostics and their influence on the early Christian church. He explains that in the great Gnostic revolution of the second century, the whole orientation of the church changed completely. What brought this about? It was the ceasing of prophetic voices. The continuing demand in the church for the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy, gave rise to an army of quacks and fakirs who, though discredited in time, left their mark permanently and conspicuously on the Christian church. These were the Gnostics, so called.