A critical analysis of the concept of "Gnosticism" in Polish literary studies

Fryderyk Kwiatkowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In Polish literary-historical criticism, the concept of Gnosticism has been used most frequently as a hermeneutical category that makes it possible to understand better the oeuvre of authors from Central and Eastern Europe. Polish scholars have successfully identified (neo)gnostic ideas present in the works of Jerzy Hulewicz, Tadeusz Miciński, and Franz Kafka. By referring to the works of Hans Jonas, Kurt Rudolph, and Jerzy Prokopiuk, many of them, unfortunately, have reproduced stereotypes on Gnosticism. In light of more recent studies on Gnosticism, the conclusions of their inquiries have become problematic. The main goal of this paper, therefore, is to highlight the most common errors present in the examination of Polish literary scholars from the perspective of Gnostic studies, as well as the inaccuracies in their methodology that stem from outdated scholarly materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-66
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian-American Slavic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2018


  • Gnosis
  • Gnosticism
  • Literature
  • Modernism
  • Young Poland


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