Gnostic Philosophy From Ancient Persia to Modern Times- 2 edition

Review :

Churton takes a generic approach, hence he is able to connect the two concepts, "gnostic" and "philosophy." Can there be such a thing as a gnostic philosophy Harold Bloom probably would say so, and agree with this author--for didn't Bloom tell us that gnosticism is the real American religion Meaning that each American thinks he/she has a corner on God, each of us seems to be utterly assured that God loves him/her,in despite the bewildering religious babble, the hypocritical priests and the obscurantist doctrines--whatever. This is gnosticism with a small "g," a "spiritual commitment to, and an awareness of, divine union." In other words, it's just me and God--that's the vastly oversimplified but common denominator that holds together all this vast panoply of beliefs and movements. Gnosis is "philosophy as spiritual liberation," is in the end a "religion of the mind."
This is Huxley's "perennial philosophy" all over again, and Churton traces it from ancient Persia where it was first discoverd that "spiitual being is divine" all the way through to modern times, where he finds the same expression in modern film and modern music, in Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. You can learn a lot about what the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians did with all this (and get some myths dispelled along the way), how it all got elevated by the troubadors in their exaltation of women--even what Aleister Crowley did with it as a "sex magician." Little is left out, and the author's insights are fresh and provocative. Churton is a historian of freemasonry, true, but he is no spooky propagandist--rather, here is a man who seems to seek reality and truth, wherever he looks at the "gnostic philosophy," and he sees a stream of it running through our past, manifesting in many diverse movements. It is not monolithic. It all ends up with the unveiling of Sophia, the "goddess within," a kind of latter-day manifestation of Maat, the ancient Egyptian goddess of justice and truth, where it all began...


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