Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing

By Stephan A Hoeller

Gnosticism constructed along Judeo-Christianity over thousand years in the past, yet with an incredible distinction: It emphasizes, now not religion, yet direct belief of God--Gnosticism being derived from the Greek notice gnosis, that means "knowledge." Given the arguable premise that you will comprehend God at once, the historical past of Gnosticism is an unfolding drama of ardour, political intrigue, martyrdom, and secret. Dr. Hoeller lines this interesting tale all through time and indicates how Gnosticism has encouraged such nice thinkers as Voltaire, Blake, Yeats, Hesse, Melville, and Jung.

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For them the interior drama continually reflected the cosmic and certainly the transcosmic drama; because the tale spread out on excessive, so it's mirrored and duplicated within the human soul. They looked the Christ in us and the Sophia in us as our dual hopes of glory, looking one another in holy longing and divine wish. The celestial pair, bearing those comparable names, have been the supernal prototypes whose activities are repeated in the souls and spirits of guys and girls. even if the determine of Sophia, and the parable of her fall and redemption, have been certainly publicized and poetically multiplied through the Gnostics, they weren't the made from moment- or third-century inspiration. The previous testomony includes quite a few references to the knowledge of God as a female hypostasis (emanation) of God, present ahead of the production of the realm and mystically found in the visionary and intuitive studies of prophets and sages. The Hebrew note for "wisdom" is cbokrnab, which throughout the Hellenistic interval used to be translated into Greek as sopbia. a whole physique of biblical literature is called the "wisdom literature" and contains such works as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus, the e-book of the knowledge, and the music of Songs. a few of these books have been declared apocryphal through the Protestant reformers, yet they have been very hot in lots of quarters, either Catholic and Protestant. in lots of of the outdated testomony knowledge books, Chokmah-Sophia speaks to the reader within the first individual, as in a revelatory discourse. She continuously appears to be like as girl and she or he on a regular basis broadcasts that she participated with God in early cosmic acts of production. this is an instance from the publication of Proverbs (8. 22-24,27): The Lord possessed me from the start of his manner, prior to his works of outdated. i used to be organize from eternal, from the start, or ever the earth was once. whilst there have been no depths 1 used to be introduced forth. . . . while he ready the heavens i used to be there: whilst he set a compass upon the face of the intensity. She additionally introduces herself in exalted phrases in Ecclesiasticus (24. five, 7-10, 14): I got here out of the mouth of the main excessive and lined the earth as a cloud. I dwelt in excessive areas, and my throne is a cloudy pillar. I on my own compassed the circuit of the sky and walked within the backside of the deep; within the waves of the ocean and in the entire earth and in each humans and state. . . . H e created me from the start, earlier than the realm and that i shall by no means fail. the best Jewish theologian and thinker to advance the biblical teachings referring to Sophia was once absolutely Philo of Alexandria, every now and then referred to as Philo the Jew. This awesome spiritual philosopher, who used to be contemporaneous with very early Christianity (he died approximately 50 A. D. ), built many teachings which are just like these of the Gnostics. Philo famous the potential of divine wisdom in humanity but additionally acknowledged that to stimulate such wisdom yes emanations of God needs to come into touch with people. the sort of is the trademarks, God's first-born outpouring, or "son"; one other is Sophia, the knowledge of God, whom Philo calls the mum of all production.

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