The intoxication of unprecedentedness

Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion, 1958:

The gnostic challenge was one expression of the crisis which the general culture experienced. To understand Gnosticism as such a challenge is part of understanding its essence. To be sure, the insights which its message propounded for the first time stand in their own right. But without the Hellenic counter-position upon which it burst, Gnosticism would not have been of that significance in the world history of ideas which it assumed as much by historical configuration as by its intrinsic content. The stature of what it challenged gives it some of its own historic stature. And its being “first” with those insights, and “different,” and filled with the intoxication of unprecedentedness, colors its view no less than their utterance.