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Gnostic Philosophy
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GNOSTICISM / MYSTICISM

Gnosticism was a contemporary of early Christianity whose demise can be traced to Christianity's efforts to silence its teachings. The Gnostic message, however, was not destroyed but simply went underground. Starting with the first emergence of Gnosticism, the author shows how its influence extended from the teachings of Neoplatonists and the magical traditions of the Middle Ages to the beliefs and ideas of the Sufis, Jacob B?hme, Carl Jung, Rudolf Steiner, and the Rosicrucians and Freemasons. In the language of spiritual Freemasonry, gnosis is the rejected stone necessary for the completion of the Temple, a temple of a new cosmic understanding that today's heirs to Gnosticism continue to strive to create.

The Gnostics believed that the universe embodies a ceaseless contest between opposing principles. Terrestrial life exhibits the struggle between good and evil, life and death, beauty and ugliness, and enlightenment and ignorance: gnosis and agnosis. The very nature of physical space and time is an obstacle to humanity's ability to remember its divine origins and recover its original unity with God. Thus the preeminent Gnostic secret is that we are God in potential, and the purpose of bona fide Gnostic teaching is to return us to our godlike nature.

TOBIAS CHURTON is a filmmaker and the founding editor of the magazine Freemasonry Today. He studied theology at Oxford University and created the award-winning documentary series and accompanying book The Gnostics, as well as several other films onChristian doctrine, mysticism, and magical folklore. He lives in England.
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Table of Contents

Gnostic Philosophy From Ancient Persia to Modern Times Foreword by Christopher McIntosh Acknowledgments Introduction Part one--Antiquity 1--Before the Gnostics Also Sprach Zarathushtra The Wise Lord That Old Devil Time Mithra the Mediator Enter the Demiurge 2--From the Magi to St. Paul Jewish Themes The Anthropos: Man Sophia The Unknown God and the Demiurge Philo of Alexandria The Essenes The Book of Enoch Life at the Dead Sea Jesus Stone Theology Paul 3--The First Gnostics Gnosticism Hans Jonas: The Gnostic Religion The Irresistible Character of Gnosis; or, "The Spirit Is Willing" Being Is Seeing Clement of Alexandria: The Gnosis Truly So-called? Part two--The Middle Ages 4--Magic in the Middle Ages Neoplatonic Theurgy Celestial Hierarchies Light Metaphysics After the Pact Kabbalistic Magic Roger Bacon 5--The Sufis The Insights of Sufism Sufis and Philosophy Maulana Jalal-ud-din Rumi: Sufi Master Interesting Times 6--The Troubadours Prologue: The Two Worlds What Is a Troubadour? Miraval The Ladies in His Life Loba The Rules of Love: Miraval's Guide to Successful Courtship Was the Fine Love a Spiritual Love? The Allegory of Love Troubadours and Cathars The Last Song The Joy That We Have Lost Creation Is the Product of Pain Were the Troubadours Sexual Mystics? 7--The Knights Templar Templars and Cathars The Templars and the Gral Baphomet Templars in Search of the Stones Kilwinning Conclusion: Gnostics in the Temple? Part three--Enlightenment 8--Jacob Boehme's Theosophick Cosmos Boehme's Life Elements of Boehme's Theosophy The Influence of Jacob Boehme William Law Romantic Philosophy The Neo-Rosicrucians William Blake 9--Germany 1710-1800: The Return of the Rosy Cross The Gold und Rosenkreuzers Masonry in Germany Radicals Under Attack: Gold und Rosenkreuz vs. the Illuminati A Real Rosicrucian King (on the Throne of Prussia) Rosicrucians in Poland Russia The Asiatic Brethren Romanticism 10--Freemasonry in France The Elect Cohens Eliphas Levi Zahed: A Great Socialist Magician and Occult Revivalist Levi's Legacy Magic Revives in France Part Four--The Modern Age 11--A New Aeon: Aleister Crowley Aiwass: Messenger of the Gods The Book of the Law The Crisis Aleister Crowley: Sex Magician Sexual Alchemy 12--Light in the Jar Carl Jung 13--Gnosis and the New Physics The Copenhagen Interpretation 14--Gnosis Today: A Personal View Rudolf Steiner Gnosis and Ecology Neo-Gnostics Cinema Hipgnostics: Popular Music The Arts Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Tobias Churton is a filmmaker and the founding editor of the magazine Freemasonry Today. He studied theology at Oxford University and created the award-winning documentary series and accompanying book The Gnostics, as well as several other films on Christian doctrine, mysticism, and magical folklore. He lives in England.

Reviews

"We desperately need a solid historical overview of Gnosticism which is historically credible and yet not too academic to put it out of reach of the average reader and this book is it. To get a good handle on what Gnosticism really is (and isn't), a great place to start is with Gnostic Philosophy by Tobias Churton." * Living Traditions, May 2007 * "GET THIS BOOK. This is, quite simply, one of the best books I have read this year. Though I could, with plenty of justification, describe this work as erudite, witty, humorous, profound, engaging, or any of a number of depictions, none of these would convey the sense of validation I got with devouring its pages." * Sven Davisson, Ashe! Journal of Experimental Sexuality, 2005 * "Churton separates the wheat from the chaff and disposes of unnecessary speculations and fantasy. To get a good handle on what Gnosticism is really all about (and isn't), a great place to start is with Gnostic Philosophy by Tobias Churton." * Robert Burns, New Dawn, Nov-Dec 2005 * "Exhaustive (but not exhausting) in scope and copiously annotated, [Churton's] work will spice up virtually any reading list of Gnosticism and early Christianity. . . . will pique the interest not only of professional academics but anyone interested in the Gnostics through the centuries." * Publishers Weekly, Jan. 24, 2005 * "Recommended for upper-level academic collections that specialize in early Christianity, religion, or philosophy." * Brad Matthies, Butler Univ. Lib., Library Journal, Feb. 1, 2005 *

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