June 8, 2005
Gnostic Philosophy: From Ancient Persia to Modern Times
By Tobias Churton
Publisher: Inner Traditions (January 2005)
Pages: 463 - Price: $18.95
Review by Lee Prosser - firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who enjoy a sense of mystery and wonder, this thriller of a book will hold your interest from beginning to end! As a reference point, Gnosticism was a direct contemporary of early Christianity, and its demise was engineered by Christianity's efforts to silence and eradicate its teachings. Tobias Churton is the founding editor of the magazine Freemasonry Today, a well-known filmmaker, and author who lives in England.
Churton gives us an accurate and unbiased approach to how the teachings of Gnosticism survived despite the effort of the Catholic Church to destroy them. The teachings emerged in the magical traditions of the middle ages. They are in contemporary times widespread again.
The book will prove to be enjoyable and fast-paced reading. Following the introduction, the book starts with a section on what was before the Gnostics. There is seen an influence of Vedanta from Ancient India.
To share with the readers how this book delves into intricate information, a sampling of the topics discussed needs to be listed. Here are some of the topics, Sufis, Mithra, Jewish themes, Sophia, the Unknown God and the Demiurge, Philo of Alexandria, the Essenes, Enoch, Jesus, Paul, Hans Jonas, Being is Seeing, Clement of Alexandria, Neoplatonic theurgy, clestial hierarchies, Light Metaphysics, Kabbalistic Magic, Roger Bacon, Miraval, Loba, the Knights Templar, Templars and Cathars, the Templars and the Gral, Baphomet, Kilwinning, Jacob Bohme, William Blake, the Rosicrucians. Levi, Alister Crowley, Carl Jung, Meister Eckhart, among many others.
Essentially, the Gnostics believed that there is a unending contest going on between opposing principles, which gives it an existential flavor. When one lives in the physical world, there is the struggle between good and evil, life and death, enlightenment and ignorance. among other subjects. The physical then becomes an obstacle to the individual's ability to recall his or her divine origin and recover this original unity with God. The goal of the Gnostic teaching is to restore humans to their godlike nature.
There are many good things about this book, and it is a book that should be available in the public library. If you don't own a copy, and are interested in Gnosticism, this is an ideal reference text for your home library.
Gnostic Philosophy is a fascinating, involved reading experience! This is a memorable reading journey. Congratulations to the author on a well-written book.
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