A “cut-and-paste” spirituality emerges from the Gnostic writings. As Philip Lee observes, “Gnostic syncretism…believes everything in general for the purpose of avoiding a belief in something in particular. In the case of Christian Gnosticism, what is being avoided is the particularity of the Gospel, that which is a ‘stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.'” It is generally agreed that Gnosticism emerged as a form of mystical Christian spirituality blended together with Greek paganism. We recall Paul in Athens, in the Areopagus, where “people did nothing but discuss the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21), telling the Greeks that they were “very religious.” Gnosticism was an attempt to incorporate the seeker spirituality of the Greeks into Christianity.
from: The New Gnosticism by Michael Horton, Modern Reformation
Scholars who define “Gnosticism” generally agree that Gnostic philosophies had their source in the Zoroastrianism and Hinduism of Persia and India, and that these ideas were brought into the West via Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia. These Eastern thoughts blended with Greek culture, producing a heady mixture that profoundly influenced the Jews of the time and Christians centuries later.