Modern Gnosticism
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Modern Gnosticism

The Mystic Christ

   by Ethan Walker III
The light of non-duality and the path of love according to the life and teachings of Jesus. The Gnostic path is the inner path to God-realization. Buddha, Krishna, Jesus and the other great Masters are all one and in essence taught the same thing.

The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters
       by Elaine H. Pagels

Written before The Gnostic Gospels, Pagels investigates the Valentinian Gnostic reading of the Pauline letters which present a new perspective on Pauline studies. This exegesis of Paul is composed in a high scholarly fashion.

Jung and the Lost Gospels
by Stephan A. Hoeller

In this introductory book, Hoeller offers the reader a new perspective on Gnosticism and its relationship to the spiritual quest of today’s age by drawing from the work of psychologist Carl Jung. Religious and psychological contexts are used by Hoeller to explore several fundamental motifs of Gnosticism.

The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus
   edited and translated by Marvin Meyer

For those just beginning their Gnostic exploration, this is our top recommendation. An eminently talented Gnostic commentator and translator, Professor Marvin Meyer has distinguished himself over the last thirty years. Heralded as the best collection he has ever published, Meyer proffers twelve Gnostic “gospels” in a succinctly readable and accurate translation.
   Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel  of Thomas         
    by Elaine Pagels

With another book destined to become a classic, Pagels revisits the themes she initially introduced in her breakthrough study, The Gnostic Gospels. In Beyond Belief, Pagels blends ancient history with a subtle telling of her personal struggle in an effort to reveal the intimacy of spirituality.

Modern Gnosticism

Gnosticism has enjoyed a quiet integration into modern popular culture. While Gnosticism itself may be widely regarded as an esoteric religion, it has penetrated today’s modern society. Gnosticism is prevalent throughout every aspect and media of popular culture including literature, comic books, film, television and music.

Perhaps one of the most commercially successful novels of the 20th century, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, draws upon Gnostic scriptures, The Nag Hammadi Library, and also includes re-interpretations of Gnostic themes. Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov may be most well known for Lolita, however, his work Invitation to a Beheading is closely related to Gnosticism. The main character is found guilty of “Gnostic turpitude” and is thought to be better than his fellow, average countrymen. The entire novel is diary of this man as he awaits his unknown be-heading date. His personal insights of the world reflect his gnosis that he is the only real person in the universe, and it is because of this knowledge that he is to be killed. Anatole France authored a novel entitled The Revolt of the Angels, in which the story of an unhappy guardian angel is weaved with the doctrine of Yaldabaoth to a satiric effect. Beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg uses several Gnostic terms such as Elohim, Aeon and Sophia.

Comics are also known to display Gnostic themes. The universe that is detailed in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is very Gnostic in nature. The cosmological structure details many Gnostic archetypical figures that control human nature at various times. Marvel Comics (responsible for such well-known characters such as Spider Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Wolverine, Captain America and many others) depicts a universe in which its origins are described using Gnostic mythemes. The most notable of these would be the notion of a subordinate creator of the universe.

There are also several films that incorporate Gnostic themes and terms. A very notable movie that uses lots of Gnostic influences is Vanilla Sky. In this movie, one of the main characters is named Sophia. This movie along with several other Hollywood blockbusters (including The Matrix, Pleasantville,The Truman Show,Twelve Monkeys,Groundhog Day and The Island ) compare the Gnostic cosmological myth with the presentation of an illusory world, one that is created with the intention of restrict its inhabitants. Ultimately, the key to unraveling this illusion and perceiving reality without the obstruction of the illusory world is through a form of self-knowledge and gnosis. This may also suggest a dualist world throughout these Gnostic films.

The television series Doctor Who ended in a 2005 finale that incorporated many Gnostic themes. The show ended with a Gnostic allegory that employed such notable Gnostic characters as theDemiurge and archons. Another television show that has notable Gnostic tones is an anime series entitled Full Metal Alchemist. It is thought that the Gnostic ideas throughout the show are attributed to the influence of Gnostic thinking on some real-world Alchemist systems. Popular sci-fi show Stargate SG1 also heavily incorporates Gnostic elements into its plot. Gnosticism is even more prevalent during the ninth season of the show, in which the race of the Ori is introduced. The Ori are a race of ascended beings that deceive and oppress humanity for the purpose of deriving energy from humanity to fuel their own selfish ascension.

Gnosticism has also managed to permeate music. Tori Amos explores her influences in her book Piece by Piece. In the first two chapters of her book, Tori Amos discusses the fact that she believes that Mary Magdalene authored the fourth Gospel of the apostles. Bill Nelson’s album Close Encounters in the Garden of Lights is extremely Gnostic in nature, especially considering that the majority of the thirty eight songs on the album have Gnostic themed names. The most Gnostic of these could be: “Female Nebula” (likely a reference to Sophia), “Little Daughters of Light” and “Body of Light” (both of which may refer to Adamas of Light).

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