Interesting readlots of information here A uick look into the history of the world that surrounds the monotheistic religions that are organized and not organized This is a chronology of gnostic thought from its beginnings to the present day The book is reasonably easy to read despite the fact it has some difficult concepts A thorough discussion of the basic tenets of gnosticism would have been useful but the author seems to pre suppose the reader has acuaintance with these and does not do much to describe them In places the author seems to be reaching rather than basing conclusions on solid fact but it is overall a good interesting book I cannot think of better popular introduction to the gnostic turn of mind although book is mistitled and the author admits as much The Gnostic turn of mind is a way of seeing for many human beings whereas Gnosticism was a belief system of a particular time and placeGnosticism the very particular set of beliefs emerged out of the creative struggles for meaning in antiuity It died out with the triumph of an authoritarian nay totalitarian catholicism in alliance with secular tyranny This is the story of the first half of the bookIn a series of lucid chapters Smoley looks into Gnosticism proper and its fall including its longest survival the forgotten Manichaeanism the lost fourth universal religion of the old world which lasted strangely through to the secret society culture of seventeenth century Fukien ChinaIt is hard to believe that there is much continuity between these ancient beliefs and modern re emergences of the Gnostic that emphasise the flawed nature of creation and looks to an occult relationship with what is behind it what Heideggerians would call Being only divinisedThere may be some Manichaean influence in the Cathars via the Bogomils although Smoley does not go deeply into this aspect of the case There may be some mystical survivals of ancient thinking through many abbalistic and Christian filters but the claim of continuity is unproven and unlikelyWhat is likely is that to be blunt the way some people s brains are wired up gives them a way of seeing the universe that recurs in every age Some are so struck by it all that they construct a model to share with others enraging the totalitarian guardians of religionI am persuaded that the original Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas may well have been one of these but subseuently contained and turned into a universalist power play by the likes of Paul and Augustine But there are others Meister Eckhart Jacob Boehme perhaps William BlakeOne is struck time and again by the trigger of light a reflection off a plate or the beam from a piece of jewellery Philip K Dick and by the constant references to light and darkness One speculates that some brains are triggered into ecstatic mechanism by their reception of photonsYe even the direct experience of the gnostic mind cannot avoid some form of systematisation for once experienced it may not be easily repeated and so it becomes a belief about a past experience truly real to the percipient easily repeated and so it becomes a belief about a past experience truly real to the percipient hard not only to convey but to turn into a regular practiceThe gnostic mind then tends to create elaborate systems and mythopoeic fantasies to try both to continue the experience and entrain followers or initiates above all to persuade that the experience has some basis in fact The Special Agent kabbala may be one such system Others just need toeep writingThe book switches tone at the Renaissance because it is at this point that it is mostly a matter of intellectuals and individuals rediscovering the textual past or experiencing something personally rather than of some initiatory or uasi. Who were the Gnostics Were they heretics or visionaries who possessed the Sleep with the Fishes keys to Christianity's deepest secrets Where did they come from Did they leave any descendants Why were they suppressed Why do their ideaseep reappearing Forbidden Faith is a comprehensive popular history of Gnosticism a secretive tradition that has survived for centuries in many forms under many names Richard Smoley an expert in esoteric Christianity traces the Gnostic legacy from its ancient roots in the Gospel of Thomas discovered in Egypt; early 2nd century Gnostic communities of the Roman Empire the Manichaeans of Central Asia He tracks how the Gnostic.
Richard Smoley ✓ 1 CHARACTERS
Ilosophies Smoley fails to show how they carry on the Gnostic tradition Repeating much studied history of the Templars and Masons may be interesting but Smoley is unable to demonstrate
tradition Repeating much studied history of the Templars and Masons may be interesting but Smoley is unable to demonstrate they were in any way GnosticThe fault really is not the research Smoley has done but his inability to organize and structure the information into a cogent and coherent argument that proves his point Smoley seems to think that presenting the facts is proof enough It s not he needs to link the threads together for us to show how all these different groups and philosophies are in fact GnosticSmoley ends the book by trying to find Gnostic trends in contemporay literature and popular culture this part of the book can be skipped as THERE IS NOTHING TO BE LEARNED is nothing to be learned it In passing Smoley dismisses the popular work of Elaine Pagels as some sort of New Age feminism while attempting to write a popular book himself In the end I would trust Pagels scholarship over Smoley s rambling and vague musings One of the most interesting Gnostic books I ve read very easy to read for the novice and has a lot of details for the starter to grasp and ponder and explore much much further Though this book meanders constantly with occultism and esoteric The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History
knowledge of otherinds like Manichaeism it is sort of like a wide coverage of many important hermetic and secret nowledge and overall for anyone interested a good book to check out at least This book is designed to be popular If you ve liked what you ve read about gnostic religion are intrigued by claims of vast masonic conspiracies read CG Jung or William Blake or think either The Matrix or The DaVinci Code profound films then there s a lure here to catch your attention and it will likely be found to deliver at least a foretaste of what you re really interested in As an introduction to what has traditionally been associated with gnosticizing tendencies in religion this isn t all that bad although with marketing in mind it does pay attention than it ought to very recent cultural phenomena a disproportionate emphasis which will date it pretty uickly While there are some errors of fact all trivial the overall approach is within the playing field of contemporary debate While vastly oversimplified the text and appended bibliography do point toward *some worthy books for those wishing further informationMost noteworthy in my *
worthy books for those wishing further informationMost noteworthy in my are I read this book once before a few years ago before I had joined Good Reads It is a good introduction to gnosis and the Gnostic legacy This is a very difficult subject to write authoritatively on as the Gnostics were systematically wiped out and their ideas suppressed for hundreds of years by the Roman Catholic church Mr Smoley acknowledges these limitations and does an admirable job of siting so There were many different schools of thought in early Christianity The New Testament as most people now it was selected by church leaders out of many gospels The Gospel of Thomas was not included because it taught that divinity resides within each person instead of in the place A World on Fire
known as heaven The church wanted to consolidate power in the hands of church leaders rather than allowing individuals to find their own way so such beliefs were condemned and its advocates persecuted This book is a bit drier than what it could have been but I imagine the author was trying toeep it factual and not push any hidden agendas This was a good easily accessible overview of gnosticism and what is often referred to as gnosticism today If you are looking for an in depth analysis you will be slightly disappointed but for those beginning their research this is an excellent place to begin. Rix The Da Vinci Code Why should Gnosticism exercise such a lasting fascination Throughout most of Christian history Gnosticism was the forbidden faith such condemnation by the official Church might actually have served to endow the movement with glamour But that explanation goes only so far For the Gnostics to have such lasting appeal it seems logical that they must offer solutions to some problems solutions overlooked by mainstream religion Forbidden Faith provides the enduring story continuing legacy of those errant faithful who've had direct experiences of the divine that can't be explained by the official beliefs of the Church. R
eligious traditionThis second half of The Book Is No Than book is no than intelligent commentary on a succession of disconnected gnostically minded individuals with varying credibility as to their credentials that is just a measured version of the hidden history narratives of our own counter cultureThere is a hidden and lightly worn polemic embedded in the Book Smoley was for many years Editor of Gnosis He has a mission here to re establish gnostic experience as eually valid alongside religion and scientific positivism on the basis that all three have their usesIt is a polemic directed at evangelical and liberal Christians than at scientists You either accept the premises or you do not although much as Hutton has shown for modern neo paganism it is clear that modern Gnosticism is only another invented reconstructionismMy own view on all this might be called cynical existentialist uasi gnostic The experiences are valid because they are part of the tool Setting Them Straight: You CAN Do Something About Bigotry and Homophobia in Your Life
kit of being human Similarly gnostic ways of thinking relate directly to our perceptual and cognitive flaws though in fact these served us well as a speciesOn the other hand without this necessarily resulting in any form of nihilism uite the contrary the idea of some occult divine hand behind the flawed materiality of evolution and materiality is delusion and worse wishful thinking It is whistling in the darkThis does not make occult gnosticism less important than science and religion but actually places all three on the same level as aspects of our own weak relationship to an ultimate reality that we can never ultimatelynow or understand All three are a form of whistling in the darkThe virtue of gnostic ways of thinking lies not in divining the divine but in challenging the claims of religio specifically religion s propensity to push us around against our own personal natures *and as a reminder that science is useful but actually tells us nothing about ultimate thingsIn this context *
as a reminder that science is useful but actually tells us nothing about ultimate thingsIn this context s polemic partially works for me the gnostic view of the world may be no true of the world than its rivals but it is no less true either All are eually flawed but gnostic thinking has the virtue of reasserting individual choice and autonomy in making sense of it allThe treatment of gnostic thinkers is a bellwether of human freedom since too much religion enslaves into conformity under special interests and too much science crushes the dreaming spirit of humanity The dark ages may be defined by the repression of gnostic free thoughtAnd what of too much gnosticism I am not sure we have ever seen that by the nature of things though there is an argument that we are in danger of coming into such an age of dreamy negativity about material reality and lack of any awareness of the need for some order in societyBe all that as it may the book is recommended as a general and thought provoking introduction to the general subject It is also well written and likely to trigger a desire to read elsewhere One also finds oneself soon liking the author for his essential indness and thoughtfulness This book fails to live up to its promise of tracing the Gnostic legacy from the Gospels to the Da Vinci Code In spite of being the editor of the magazine Gnosis for many years it is unclear if author Smoley understands what the main threads of Gnosticism are His chapter Who Were the Gnostics is muddy and fails to clearly define the main tenets of the Gnostic faith there were many Gnostic groups who were not all in agreement The rambling history he traces is one of esoteric hermeticism and occultism than Christian Gnosticism and while there may be Gnostic similarities in occultism alchemy and other ph. Impulse was publicly repressed but survived underground in various forms of Christianity surfacing again in the Middle Ages with the Cathars a mysterious group of heretics who inspired the medieval tradition of courtly love but were then wiped out by the Inuisition Since then the Gnostic legacy has survived into the modern era with the help of Kabbalists the Freemasonry of our founding fathers Wm Blake's poetry the intuitive insights of 19th century Theosophists the psychological work of CG Jung Finally we learn how some of their ey teachings are being revived in Harold Bloom's criticism the sf of Philip K Dick films like The Mat.